web analytics
July 23, 2014 / 25 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



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.

I think you’ve written on more than occasion about the question a TV station started running many years ago as a lead-in to its local news program: “It’s 10 p.m. Do you know where your children are?” It used to be, as you noted, that parents could confidently respond, “Yes, I know where my children are; they are in their rooms.” But today a parent no longer has that confidence. Today, even children who are in their rooms can be visiting the most decadent places in the world on their computers. So how do we overcome it? What is our silver bullet?

Rebbetzin, please guide and teach me like you did my parents who built their home around your writings in The Jewish Press. I so appreciate your work, the way you touch untold numbers of Jewish souls throughout the world and help people through life’s many challenges. I hope you will do the same for me and I look forward to your response.

To Be Continued

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.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Newly completed control tower at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. June 2, 2014
US and European Flights to Israel Cancelled Due to Rockets
Latest Judaism Stories
PTI-071814

Perhaps, just perhaps, we can relate to this: whenever we feel distant from Hashem, that is the Churban.

Parshat Matot

Over the next 2 weeks covering portion Matot and Maasei, Rabbi Fohrman will bring order to confusion.

Lessons-Emunah-logo

Our home is in the center of the Holy Land, surrounded by (what else?) green hills and valleys.

Business-Halacha-logo

“Sound fine,” said Mrs. Schwartz. “In the middle, paint their names, Shoshana and Yehonasan. He spells his name Yehonasan with a hei and is very particular about it!”

Question: I recently returned from a trip abroad and wanted to say HaGomel. When I mentioned this to the officers of my synagogue, however, they told me – as per the instructions of the synagogue’s rabbi – that I would have to wait until Shabbos to do so. I was not given any reason for this and did not wish to display my ignorance, so I quietly acquiesced. Can you please explain why I had to wait?

Name Withheld
(Via E-Mail)

We may not recognize the adverse affect of eating forbidden foods, but they leave an indelible imprint.

There are several rules that one must adhere to when making a neder.

Important message for Jews in the Diaspora: In times of need run to Israel rather than from Israel.

The negotiation between Moses and the tribes of Reuven and Gad is a model of conflict resolution.

Once again we find ourselves alone – a little lamb among wolves.

When we return to our routines, things don’t have to go back to exactly the way they were.

The Three Weeks determines the “who we are and how we live” as Jews.

Sometimes when Chazal say that two different people are really one, they do not mean it literally, but rather figuratively.

The midrash says that Pinchas, (this parsha), and Eliyahu, prophet of Kings, are one and the same.

More Articles from Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Gratitude=Great Attitude. Appreciation is always appropriate.

The two words “thank you” have no time expiration; even if spoken after many years they’re as potent as ever.

Let us shake the heavens. Let us not stop until our boys and all our people are liberated from bondage.

Loving-kindness can cure the anger and bitterness in our poisonous world.

The Hebrew word for coincidence is mikreh, which comes from “karah min Hashem – it happened from G-d.”

Saying “thank you” to people to whom we are indebted is humbling – especially if we’ve been raised in a culture of entitlement.

To his very last day he struggled to transcend his pain so that he might impart Torah to all who visited him.

    Latest Poll

    Israel's Iron Dome Anti-Missile System:





    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

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: