Special Note: For the past two weeks, my columns have focused on ways and means to establish shalom bayis in our homes and our families. The following is the third installment of this series.
Special Note: In my last column, I discussed the tragic consequences of Sinas ChinamB jealousy and hatred of the brothers toward Joseph that cast us into our first exile in Egypt, which continues to plague us to this very day. The following is a continuation of that column:
In this season, when we gather around the Seder table to celebrate the birth of our nation, it behooves us to take a few moments to consider what we have learned - what we are taking with us to guide us throughout the year. Among the many priorities we should consider, surely shalom and achdus - unity - must be in the forefront. Sadly, today these pillars of our faith are missing from our families, from our communities and from the world at large. While we may not be able to influence the world, our communities or even our families, we can and must impact upon ourselves - we must emerge from this Pesach - different.
Once again, I am on a plane. I am returning to New York after a long, two- week journey. It has been a grueling, but exhilarating tour. Each day, I addressed the Jewish community of another European country. The first stop was Paris. I was forewarned that in Europe if you draw an audience of 100-200 people, you could regard yourself successful, so my expectations were not very high. But when I arrived at the huge synagogue it was crowded wall-to-wall. There wasn't a seat to be had, and people were still coming, not only residents of Paris, but from as far away as Strasbourg.
Dear Rebbetzin Jungreis: I can't begin to tell you how important your column has been in this most trying period. To one extent or another, everyone has been tested by the financial meltdown.... some of us more than others, and I'm afraid that my family falls into that category. Allow me to give you some background:
In last week's column, I published a letter from a woman who successfully overcame enormous challenges in her life through the power of faith. At the same time, I invited our readers to share with us their own personal difficulties so that others might benefit and be strengthened.
In my last column I published a letter from a woman whose husband, like many others, was experiencing financial reversals. While in the past they had been prosperous, overnight everything changed. She was concerned for her husband's health since he has a history of high blood pressure and heart problems. He had become tense, irritable and depressed. She conceded that she herself was in the same emotional state - and her mood was impacting on her children.
Special Note: The letter written by the woman experiencing a financial crisis has evoked a strong response. Many people identify with her plight and still others have come forth to share their own experiences in confronting painful challenges. I am pleased to publish one of these letters.
Everyone is concerned about the economy. There seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel, and to one extent or another, we are all impacted. This concern is not imaginary.
I was planning to write this column on Gemilas Chassadim several weeks ago, but events unfolded that, with the passage of time, would have lost their immediacy, so this article was put on hold. But I guess it's no coincidence that I am writing this column in the wake of Parshas Vaera and the yahrzeit of my beloved husband, HaRav Meshulem Halevi Jungreis, zt"l, for both the parshah and the exemplary life of my husband, provide us with insights on gemilas chassadim.
Last week I began to outline the three-fold formula that our sages advise will protect us from the painful birth pangs of the pre-Messianic era. Now with Hashem's help, I will continue, for this is a subject of great urgency. But to those who have sent e-mails and letters regarding personal problems, let me assure you that I will respond to all your correspondence personally.
In previous columns I indicated that Hashem, in His infinite mercy, endowed us with a three-fold formula through which we can protect ourselves in this most trying period of Chevlei Moshiach. As promised I will now outline what exactly that formula entails.
As I write this column I am returning from the Philippines. Yes, the Philippines! Are there any Jews there? Hashem's people are scattered throughout the four corners of the world. And now, as we enter the period described as Chevlei Moshiach, the holy flock has to be awakened and gathered.
For the past few weeks I have been writing about the crisis that has descended upon our world - a crisis that is nothing less than Chevlei Moshiach, the pain and suffering that has been predicted will occur in the pre-Messianic era.
In my last column I promised that, B'Ezrat Hashem, I would outline constructive steps to help reverse the madness that seems to have overtaken our world. One of the most powerful weapons that we, the Jewish people possess, that has been our shield from the genesis of our history is prayer. Through genuine prayer, we can conquer and triumph over every adversity.
As I promised in my last column, I will get down to basics and begin outlining what we must do to convert darkness into light - tragedy into blessing.
Those of you who have been following my column and those of you who have read my books, especially Life Is A Test, know that in the closing chapters, I focus on Acharit HaYamim - the days that will precede our Redemption, known as Chevlei Moshiach - the birth pangs that will herald the coming of Messiah.
The tragedy of Mumbai was still fresh in our hearts. The cry of little Moishele, "Ima, Ima - Mommy. Where is Mommy?" kept reverberating in our minds.
Special Note: Once again I share with you that, much as I had planned to conclude our discussion on daughter/daughters-in law - mother/mothers-in-law problems, the letters keep pouring in. It appears that these internal family conflicts are more widespread than we realized.
I realize that many people attribute this type of negative, obstreperous behavior to the tenor of our times. We are living in Ikvesa d'Moshicha, a period, our sages tell us, in which chutzpah will abound - the young will rise against their elders, and children will relate to their parents and in-laws with insolence. But to me, that is not quite acceptable. I do not consider that to be a legitimate excuse.