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.
Special Note: Subsequent to the publication of my article on the conflict between a young woman and her mother-in-law, I received an avalanche of mail. I feel very saddened to share with you that these letters all reflected anger, resentment, and most tragic of all, a deterioration of what used to be the beautiful cohesiveness of Jewish family life.
My Dear Friend Allow me to preface my remarks by recalling a story about two brothers who lived in the holy city of Jerusalem. Their houses were at opposite ends of the city, and they were separated by a great mountain.
Today, the impossible has become our reality. Events are transpiring so swiftly, that we have difficulty absorbing them. Our generation is sleeping, and we have failed to react to that which is befalling us. So I felt compelled to devote my columns of the past month to those events. Nevertheless, despite the critical world situation, personal problems – family, shalom bayis, children, illness, continue to assail us. I receive hundreds of e-mail requests for help weekly from every part of the globe, and while, in the past, I published many of these letters, for the past few weeks I have been responding to them personally. Some of these e-mails, however, do not lend themselves to personal responses, but require the public forum of my column since many people are reluctant to identify themselves and write anonymously, or the letter writer hopes to convey a message that will be read by people involved in his or her problem. So I now return to addressing family conflicts through my column.
In last week's column I published a letter from a young man who felt that he was treated unfairly in his quest for a shidduch.
Special Note: When I wrote my most recent book, I weighed and considered what the most appropriate title should be, and although I examined many options, the title that kept repeating in my mind was "Life Is A Test."
Special Note: I have received an unusual volume of mail in regard to my articles on the discovery of Ilan Ramon's diary and the Shabbos prayer he planned to recite which miraculously survived fire and a plunge through space at thirteen thousand miles per hour.
I am interrupting the sequence of my articles to share with you some of my experiences in Europe. During the past few days, I have had the privilege of addressing the members of the Jewish communities of Amsterdam, Budapest, Berlin and London. While each community has its own unique character, there is a common denominator that connects them all, and that is the "pintele Yid," that spark from Sinai that HaShem engraved on the heart of every Jew, which, if ignited, can become a glorious flame of Torah.