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July 28, 2014 / 1 Av, 5774
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Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities

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Healing Our Broken Spirits By Mending Our Broken Souls

 

Dear Rachel,

For the parents of Eyal, Gilad and Naftali, there will be no more birthday wishes from them, no more family celebrations and holidays with them – and no grandchildren born from them to cherish. There will be no more pictures of them in their family albums. There will be no more hugs and kisses or laughter shared between them.

We are all so grief-stricken that resha’im took all this – and so much more – away from these parents. We are not sure what to do with our feelings of sorrow and pain. Due to our sinas chinam (causeless hatred), these sons are forever separated from their parents in this world – a separation not of their choosing.

Here is one way to perpetuate the memory of Eyal, Gilad and Naftali… Unfortunately we live in a world today where there are grown children who have separated themselves from their parents, of their own choosing. They do not call, they do not visit, they do not share family celebrations or holidays… There are no hugs, no kisses, and no laughter shared between them.

There are usually two sides in every story of family discord; nothing is black and white. Sometimes a minor misunderstanding gets blown out of proportion. Sometimes words are exchanged in the heat of the moment. Sometimes personalities just don’t mesh. Sometimes forgiveness is hard to come by for mistakes of the past, done either intentionally or due to circumstances beyond one’s control.

In memory of Eyal, Gilad and Naftali, perhaps those who find themselves in this situation can attempt reconciliation with their parents – if for no other reason than ahavas chinam (causeless love). Not only would it be a zechus for the neshamos of these young boys, but the ahavas chinam might serve as an antidote for the sinas chinam in this world and will help hasten the arrival of Moshiach, b’mhaira b’yameinu, amein.

Countering evil with good

 

Dear Countering,

Your beautiful sentiment is truly a heart-warmer. If only those to whom your words apply would absorb the message and open their hearts and minds to allow senseless rifts to heal. If only your words would penetrate the stubborn natures of those who foolishly deprive themselves of the deep gratification of giving and receiving that priceless and precious gift of love unique to parent-child relationships. If only they didn’t delay a minute more, for who can know about tomorrow…?

The other day there was a small news item about a lost letter, one that had been sent out in 1931 and was just found by a postal worker. The envelope had a 2-cent stamp on it and all these years later both the writer and the intended recipient are no longer among the living.

The family of the writer was tracked down and the letter returned to a niece – who says her aunt ironically expresses regret for “not writing sooner” in her 9-page letter.

Some people live as though they have all the time in the world. They rationalize that if they don’t get in touch, make that call or visit today, there is always tomorrow.

Then of course there’s that foolish pride so frequently getting in the way of doing what’s right. Sadly, some wake up only when they are forced to sit shiva for the loved one whom they snubbed, ignored, avoided or pushed off bonding with until the opportunity was lost to them.

Your advice is excellent. Thank you. And though we may now enjoy more sophisticated modes of communication than were available to us back in 1931, it must be said that there really is nothing comparable to the written letter. An abbreviated email or cold, condensed text will never convey a message quite like a letter written with heart and soul, while a phone call will often place one in an awkward situation. Hence, writing a letter can serve as the best means for unburdening one’s heart and expressing one’s innermost thoughts and feelings (and can be delivered personally or by messenger to avoid a postal delay).

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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