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September 22, 2014 / 27 Elul, 5774
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Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities

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How To Awaken Rachamei Shamayim

 

Dear Rachel,

The letter published in your column regarding the alienation from children to parents hit very close to home for our family and our friends’ families (Chronicles, July 18).

We were taught Kibbud Av V’Eimwhich we followed until our parents’ petirot. There were no directives, rules, laws, bylaws and regulations for our parents to be constantly included in our lives and their grandchildren’s lives.

There were no ultimatums or threats. We loved them and they loved us, unconditionally. We would never ever deprive our parents from seeing their loved ones, meaning us and their einiklach.

“Countering Evil with Good” made a very strong, albeit heart-wrenching, point regarding the three tzaddikim who were niftar from sinas chinam. May their families have strength and may the young men’s neshamot have aliyot. The writer of the letter sounds like a spiritual and righteous individual.

We, as well as others, are forbidden from being a part of our children’s and our grandchildren’s lives. Life is short and family needs to be together while the going is good. I personally feel sorry for these children who withhold their children from their grandparents. Whatever influences they have been subjected to have poisoned or brainwashed them.

We have given everything humanely possible to our children. We taught them about ruchniyut and not gashmiyut and to be sameach be’chelko (happy with their lot). Nachat is for now. “Im lo achshav aimatai?”

Baruch Hashem our generation has complete peace of mind for the mitzvah, chesed and true love and respect we had for our extraordinary parents, Aleihem Hashalom.

We hope that one day this second generation will not regret their actions. With the Yomim Noraim upon us, I sign this respectfully,

Dreaming and Hoping for Shalom Mishpacha

 

Dear Dreaming,

Recently we heard from a heartbroken father who lamented his fruitless attempt at making peace with his daughters (Chronicles, July 25). How paradoxical that so many otherwise observant, upstanding and benevolent people find justification for keeping their distance from their parents and treating them like outcasts.

Are these children, many known for their widespread chesed and generosity, ignorant of the commandment that states specifically that one is to honor and confer respect upon one’s parent(s) without condition? Have they never heard that charity begins in one’s home, with one’s own? In fact, sustaining parents happens to be the highest form of tzedakkah one can undertake. Moreover, one is to cater to parents with a cheerful countenance and disposition and all times avoid causing the parent discomfort and shame.

The tzaddik Reb Yehoshua ben Alam was shown in a dream whom he would be sharing his seat with in Gan Eden. The Tanna awoke and wondered why, with his lifetime of meticulous avodas Hashem, it was destined for him to sit near Nanas the butcher.

R’ Yehoshua determined to find out more about this person and set out in search of him. When he finally located the butcher, the tzaddik asked him about his daily activities. Nanas the butcher told the Tanna that his elderly parents were weak and unable to stand on their own two feet. He therefore bathed them, dressed them and fed them on a daily basis.

Upon hearing this, R’ Yehoshua stood and kissed the butcher on the forehead and declared, “Fortunate for you and fortunate is your lot! And how fortunate am I to be worthy of having you as my partner in Gan Eden!”

To those who have children of their own and shun a parent with whatever excuse, for whatever the reason: As you tenderly tuck your children in at bedtime, your hearts swell with love for them. You brought these beings into the world and you fervently pray for world peace, for Hashem to guard them against all evil and mad men, for you cannot fathom your children facing hardship and adversity.

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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