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Chronicles of Crises In Our Communities – 10/23/09

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Dear Rachel,

I thank you for the guidance and chizuk you provide to so many. You have brought many important issues to public awareness and Hashem should bring you continued success.

You recently printed an extremely poignant letter. “Reformed ” (Chronicles 9-16-09) wrote about an issue that is very relevant to the daily lives of the haredi community, when families are separated by “the country” during the summer.

You quoted the young man’s comment of wonder “How could families like ours fall so low? We’ve gone through Yeshiva, our wives went through Bais Yaakov, and our children are in the best schools.” I found that comment almost comical, albeit tragic.

That is the exact point! Too many of us are disregarding Halacha because “I’m a Yeshivishe guy, I’ll be okay…” and “It’s just once; I’m not going off the derech from one time…” and other such self-talk. The Rosh Yeshiva Harav HaGaon Yisroel Piekarski, z”l, once reflected that what is written in the Shulchan Aruch does not speak to those who are not frum. They who are not frum are not looking at the Shulchan Aruch! It is specifically we, the haredi community, who must follow the halachos and stringencies detailed there. None of us are immune. The “nitty-gritty” zehiros were made for people like us.

We trust ourselves a bit too much. We say, “It won’t be me.” “It won’t be my child.” “One night of fun, one missed minyan, what could happen already?” Before we know it, we have turned to, lo aleinu, addictions of different sorts. Our tzaddikim expound on the verse “V’Sartem v’avad’tem elohim acherim.” V’Sartem, just one small turn away from the proper derech can too often lead to a severe yeridah. Yes, it is we “Yeshivishe guys” who need to carefully follow the guidelines of Halacha.

With the help of Hashem’s guiding hand, may we all continue on the proper derech and see simcha and nachas from our families and each other.

KEEP UP YOUR GOOD WORK!

Dear Rachel,

The letter from “Reformed ” struck a chord with me. Several years ago, when I was a newly divorced single young mother and my children were away at summer camp, I was shocked to have a close friend’s husband call and casually suggest that we “get together” now that his wife and children had gone away to the country for a few weeks.

In hindsight, I should have just slammed the receiver down. But I had known this man as an upstanding member of the community with a prestigious profession, whose family we had socialized with, and so all I could manage was to stammer that I would never stoop so low as to stab a friend in the back.

He was quite persistent. He called several times, obviously reluctant to give up easily. The only thing he managed to accomplish was to kill our friendship. I distanced myself from his wife, a beautiful and wonderful woman, for I could not in good conscience continue our relationship (and find myself in her husband’s presence) as if nothing had occurred.

So to women out there who are shaking their heads and thinking, “This can only happen to someone else ” – Never say never. And don’t be so eager to pack your bags and head off to the country for some fun and leisure. It may not be in your best interest.

Never was a country fan

Dear Rachel,

Several weeks ago you featured a column on hachnasas orchim, which spoke of how to differentiate between socializing and hosting the needy. You stressed the importance of giving one’s own children the attention they need and deserve and of spending quality time with one’s own family.

There is yet another reason to avoid “entertaining” other couples in our home. We are human, after all, and sometimes a physical attraction between a male and a female can lead to no good.

In chassidic circles, even in the home, men and women who are not related to one another do not dine together. Perhaps we should rethink our ways and re-evaluate our priorities.

Women’s tznius can also play a big part in arousing man’s baser instincts. When a woman dresses to kill, she may be doing just that: killing shalom bayis and family serenity. I have often heard a woman say that she dresses “this way” because her husband wants her to. In these instances men are as guilty as their women.

Modesty for a healthy existence…

Dear Rachel,

We keep reading and learning about the importance of inviting guests and of how one should treat them. What about how guests should behave?

There are single women out there who are after married men. They want ready-made men who have money; they do not want to work, only to be wealthy. These are home wreckers.

They get invited for Shabbos lunch and busy the wife so that they can speak to the husbands. They dress immodestly and make rude remarks about their hostess. They expect 100 percent attention when the family has a lot of children.

Isn’t there a book about guests’ behavior? It would be a bestseller.

Appalled and offended

Dear Readers,

You’ve given us your piece of mind and much to digest. Hopefully, the people to whom your messages are directed are within listening range. Unfortunately, sometimes the very person who needs to hear it tends to think, “men meint nisht mich…” (they don’t mean ‘me’).

This is a new year, a great time for self-evaluation. It is never too late to do teshuvah and to alter one’s ways. No one should feel that s/he is too far gone to return. True repentance, in fact, has the power to transform your past sins into merits.

Remember that today is the first day of the rest of your life! Don’t you think you owe it to yourself to make the best of it?

We encourage readers to submit letters and comments to rachel@jewishpress.com

About the Author: We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories via email to rachel@jewishpress.com or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 4915 16th Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11204. If you wish to make a contribution and help agunot, your tax-deductible donation should be sent to The Jewish Press Foundation. Please make sure to specify that it is to help agunot, as the foundation supports many worthwhile causes.


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