My saintly father, HaRav HaGoan HaTzaddik Avraham HaLevi Jungreis, zt”l, taught me that before I address an audience I should ask myself, “What will the people take home from my message? What am I giving? Will it enhance their lives? Will it bring the individual closer to Hashem? Will it be a life-altering experience?”
Nachman and Raizy Glauber, a”h, were killed in a horrific automobile accident. Their unborn baby survived for a short time but then joined his parents in olam haba. The tragedy shocked us all.
Last week I published excerpts from a letter written by a suffering mother whose rebellious son had not only turned his back on his family but had also rejected his Jewish faith. This woman’s husband had given up on the young man but she was determined to keep the door open in the hope he would yet come back.
Based on the response to my recent columns, it seems the problem of parents struggling with rebellious children may be more prevalent than even the pessimists among us had assumed. As we approach Pesach, the great yom tov during which we confront the Haggadah’s four sons –one wise, one wicked, one simple and one who does not know how to ask – we need to remember that these sons are in our midst in every generation and that we invite all four to join us at the Seder.
Last week I shared a letter from a troubled mother. Her story is typical of many ba’al teshuvah families who discover the Torah way of life in their middle years only to encounter resentment on the part of their adolescent children. Very often these teenagers become angry at the new restrictions in their home.
Dear Rebbetzin Jungreis, The letter you shared last week from a troubled wife who became a ba’alas teshuvah, a returnee to religious observance, hit a sensitive spot in my heart. My husband and I have also been struggling with this problem – albeit from a different perspective.
Last week I shared a letter from a troubled and confused young woman. She had become a ba’alas teshuvah after marriage. Her husband, however, has not changed his secular ways and thinking. The following is my response.
Dear Rebbetzin Jungreis, I was born into a secular family. Neither my father nor my mother had Jewish names and I was never given one either. In college I met the man I knew I would marry. After graduation we rented an apartment in Manhattan. I was a lawyer and found a good job. My boyfriend was a CPA. After six years we felt financially secure and got married.
I concluded last week’s column with some questions that, if answered honestly, will give us insight into whether we as parents reflect chesed and rachamim to our children.
“Rebbetzin,” people say to me, “we have been following your articles on chesed and rachamim. You presented the challenge, but what is the solution? How do we impart these values to our children? How do we instill them in our homes?”
The e-mails keep coming in response to my recent columns on compassion. Last week I shared one of them with you; here is another one. We once again see that the readership of The Jewish Press is comprised of many segments of our society with a wide range of opinions, values and traditions.
The challenge you posed – How much chesed do our children see in their homes and in their schools? – should make every one of us stop and think.
How do we teach our children, and more importantly ourselves, the art of kindness and compassion? How do we become better people? Is there a university that teaches us kindness, sensitivity or consideration for one another?
I’ve received numerous e-mails in response to my recent columns on the Sandy Hook massacre, gun control, and the violence and immorality in our society. Here is one of those e-mails, followed by my response.
As I wrote last week, who among us can find the words to console the tragically stricken parents of Newtown, Connecticut whose lives have been forever shattered? There are no words of consolation that can bring relief to their bleeding hearts. There are no magic words that can give these stricken parents even a moment of relief, and if anyone knows this it is we, the Jewish people; our blood-drenched history testifies to it.
I am interrupting my series of columns on the power of prayer to focus, this week and next, on the atrocity that occurred two weeks ago in Newtown, Connecticut, and its repercussions.
People all over the world are conveying their prayers and expressing their appreciation for my decision to share my personal trials in a public forum.
King Solomon, who was the wisest of all men, grew up in Jerusalem, the wisest of all cities. He was the son of King David, whose wisdom and vision lives through the centuries and to this day guides us and comforts us in our daily lives through his immortal Tehillim – Psalms.
Readers are always asking me how I have the strength to open my heart, to tell my personal story, my struggles, my pain. My saintly father, HaRav HaGaon Avraham HaLevi Jungreis, zt”l, taught us that whenever we have difficult challenges we should share them with others, so that they will be strengthened in dealing with their own tests. My father learned this from our Torah, which relates to us all the painful struggles of our Patriarchs and Matriarchs. “Ma’aseh avos siman la’banim – that which befell our forefathers is a sign for the children” – so that we too might be fortified.
Events have been unfolding so rapidly. First it was Hurricane Sandy, which attacked with merciless fury and left multitudes homeless, their cars and belongings swept away. Power failed, not for a day, or for a week, but in some cases for several weeks.
As promised last week, in keeping with the dictum of our sages that “ayn doma” – there is no comparison to that which you hear and that which you see – I am sharing excerpts from a diary my daughter kept during Superstorm Sandy.
As I write these words I am still in my new adopted home. Originally I came to my wonderful friends’ warm apartment with the intention of staying just overnight and I did not even bother packing. My children kept pressuring me – “Ima, you have to go!”
The continuation of my column on the power of prayer was ready to go – but then tragedy hit. Tragedy of a magnitude none of us could have envisioned.
My column on prayer last week touched sensitive chords in many hearts. It is apparent that in our troubled times people are struggling with the entire concept of prayer. Does it really work? Is there Someone listening, or is it a waste of time?
Once again I must postpone the continuation of my Oct. 5 column, “Technology, Yom Kippur, Ahmadinejad,” this time due to the heavy reader response to last week’s column.