web analytics
August 1, 2015 / 16 Av, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Putting Ideals Into Action


Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Dear Rebbetzin Jungreis,

I grew up on your Jewish Press columns. On Shabbos we would always discuss the guidance you offered readers that week. My parents both passed away several years ago but your articles give me a sense of connection to them.

Your most recent columns have made a particularly vivid impression on me.  Somehow I never associated tzedakah with a smile or a helping hand or even making someone laugh in the midst of their pain. It always meant money.

It really hit home when you pointed out that on Yom Kippur G-d forgives us with a smile and loving embrace. You poignantly explained that we have a mandate to emulate our Heavenly Father. This holds true for every area of life. G-d is our perfect role model and we must try to reflect His commandments in our everyday behavior.

But how can we translate these beautiful ideals into action, Rebbetzin, especially given the sordid reality of the world around us?

You once wrote about an elderly widow who lived alone and depended on her two sons to take her on her weekly visits to the doctor. One son was impoverished and lived a very modest lifestyle. The other was fabulously wealthy and enjoyed all the luxuries of life.

When it was the rich son’s turn to take the mother to the doctor, he’d complain. In an annoyed tone of voice he’d say things like, “How many times do I have to tell you to be ready when I come?” Or “Look, Mom, I’m a busy man. I have appointments. I have business meetings. I just cannot go on interrupting my day to take you to your doctor.”

The impoverished son, on the other hand, never complained and went out of his way to treat his mother with respect and compassion.

Two brothers, one wealthy and one impoverished, fulfilling the same mitzvah of honoring parents. One chauffeured his mother in a luxurious car while the other, who couldn’t even afford a used car, escorted her to her appointments via bus or subway. You asked your readers which of the sons was on a higher level.

Some might think it was the son who transported his mother in a large, luxurious car. But as you pointed out, according to the Torah it’s not what you give but how you give that counts. The poor son, who couldn’t afford to treat his mother with the opulence he felt she deserved, enveloped her in love and kindness, in stark contrast to the rich son with his big car.

As you can tell, the story really stuck with me, even though it’s been a long time since I read it. And your recent columns on the meaning of tzedakah only served to reinforce the message. But as I mentioned above, my parents are no longer living, so I am unable to set an example for my children by exhibiting the love and respect toward them that the Torah expects us to give our parents (and all elderly persons in our orbit, for that matter).

Please don’t misunderstand. My children are good kids but just the same they are influenced by our vacuous culture. Our society lacks role models who reflect kindness, morality, honesty and integrity.

What I would like to know from you, Rebbetzin, is how I can overcome this cultural corruption and implement Torah values in my home. My husband and I come from traditional backgrounds. We were raised to respect our parents, our grandparents, our teachers, our rabbis. But today everything is different. So how do I get my children to give with a full heart and not begrudge anyone? How do I prevail upon them not to be jealous?

I realize some people reading my letter will think, “Why doesn’t this woman just do what she has to do as a Jewish mother? Just follow the course and everything will fall into place.” I am familiar with such glib responses. I am aware that too many people think they know it all.

But those who would shrug off my concerns as exaggerated or even groundless are being myopic about the world today. It’s not the world we grew up in. Everything is hazardous to one’s spiritual health – music, movies, TV, smart phones, the Internet, etc.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Putting Ideals Into Action”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Israeli soldiers seen praying in the compound of Joseph's Tomb in the Samaria city of Nablus early in November 2009.  Believed to be the final resting place of the Biblical patriach, Joseph's Tomb has seen fierce Israeli-Palestinian. (FILE)
Arab Terrorists Attempt to Torch Joseph’s Tomb
Latest Judaism Stories
Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

By internalizing the Exodus, it is as if we ourselves were redeemed from Egypt.

Neihaus-073115

Each Shabbos we add the tefilla of “Ritzei” to Birchas HaMazon. In it we ask Hashem that on this day of Shabbos He should be pleased with us and save us. What exactly do we want to be saved from? Before we answer this question, let’s talk about this Friday, the 15th of Av. Many […]

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

Amongst the greatest disagreements in Judaism is the understanding of the 1st of the 10 Commandments

Daf-Yomi-logo

The Day He Heard
‘One May Seek Revocation Of A Confimation’
(Nedarim 69a)

The director picked up the phone to Rabbi Dayan. “One of our counselors lost his check,” he said. “Do we have to issue a new one or is it his loss?”

Six events occurred on Tu B’Av, the 15th of Av, making it a festive day in the Jewish calendar.

Why would Moshe Rabbeinu have thought that the vow that disallowed him to enter Eretz Yisrael was annulled simply because he was allowed to conquer and enter the land of Sichon and Og?

Question: When a stranger approaches a congregant in shul asking for tzedakah, should the congregant verify that the person’s need is genuine? Furthermore, what constitutes tzedakah? Is a donation to a synagogue, yeshiva, or hospital considered tzedakah?

Zvi Kirschner
(Via E-Mail)

Snow in Jerusalem! For many New Englanders like me, snow pulls at our nostalgic heartstrings like nothing else can.

Man has conflicting wishes and desires. Man has forces pulling him in competing directions.

Perhaps the admonition here is that we should not trivialize the events of the past by saying that they are irrelevant to the modern Jew.

One must view the settlement of Israel in a positive light. Thinking otherwise is a grievous sin.

Reaching a stronger understanding of what Moses actually did to prevent him from entering the land

Anti-Zionism, today’s anti-Semitism, has gone viral, tragically supported globally & by many Jews

More Articles from Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Money comes and goes but its love, commitment, warmth, and kindness that make a family a family.

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

To my dismay, I’ve seen that shidduch candidates with money become ALL desirable traits for marriage

Zaidie’s legacy of smiles and loving words was all but buried with him, now the family fights over $

Jewish survival in a dysfunctional world requires women assuming the role Hashem gave them at Sinai

In every generation is the challenge to purge the culture of our exile from our minds and our hearts

His mother called “Yoni, Yoni!” Her eyes, a moment earlier dark with pain, shone with joy and hope

Pesach bonds families and generations: “So that you may relate it to your son and your son’s son.

Amalek’s hate never dies; its descendants are eternal & omnipresent; Hashem is our only protection

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/rebbetzins-viewpointrebbetzin-jungreis/putting-ideals-into-action/2013/10/10/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: