web analytics
April 27, 2015 / 8 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Speaking Appropriately

Respler-062113

Dear Dr. Yael:

I admired your very appropriate reply to Anonymous about being careful what you say to others (Nishmah Vena’aseh: Think Before Speaking – 6-7).

I painfully lost a son more than 15 years ago due to a drug overdose.

We are a chassidish family. My son got into the wrong crowd, and some of his friends (both girls and boys) also died from drug overdoses. Others, though, were fortunate to get help and are now frum and married with families. But many of the married friends have serious medical problems, e.g. heart conditions, due to the quantity of their drug consumption as teenagers.

When I read your column, I recalled how painful it was to sit shiva for this child. Not only did he destroy our family in so many ways, he also stole many things from us in order to pay for his drug addiction. Unfortunately, he was introduced to drugs by an older “frum” chassidish man who destroyed so many children just to make a buck.

Nevertheless, he was my child and I loved him. The pain of sitting shiva for a child that I loved was compounded by the insensitive remarks that people made to my husband and me during the shiva period. Some told us that we should have gotten him better professional help.

What were these people thinking? Do they have any idea how many professionals we sought help from? Do they know how much money we spent in our quest to save him? Did they ever think that he was simply unreachable? I am not blaming the professionals, for some tried very hard to help him. But a drug addiction is an awful, poisonous disease. It is all too often virtually impossible to beat.

I will never forget the people who supposedly came to comfort us while we were sitting shiva, but who in fact did the exact opposite.

How could these people judge us when they were never faced with such nisyonos in their lives? The hurtful remarks still sting my heart. I still ponder this question: What were they thinking when they criticized us during the most vulnerable period in our lives?

Baruch Hashem, the rest of our children turned out amazing. We have several married children and beautiful grandchildren. Some are great bnei Torah, and the world views us in a different light today. But we will never forget the child that left us far too soon – and far too tragically.

I cheered as I read your answer. I hope that people will listen to your important message – if they have nothing positive or helpful to say – say nothing and just listen! It is the best advice one can follow.

You are halachically correct when you point out that a visitor should not initiate a conversation with an aveil sitting shiva. Instead, the person sitting shiva should commence the conversation if he or she wishes. And if the aveil does not want to talk, the visitor should just sit there and attempt to express comfort by silently exhibiting care. The visitor should always remember that no advice is required or appropriate in such a situation – since it is too late for any advice to be helpful.

While it is now many years later, our pain will never be healed. Yes, both time and the nachas we have certainly helped, but a family never forgets their child, a child they tried to raise in a Toradik manner.

Dr. Yael, thank you for your amazing column that appears in my favorite newspaper. May Hashem guide your efforts to help klal Yisrael. To use your signature ending, hatzlachah to you and your daughter, Dr. Orit.

A Fan

Dear Fan:

Thank you for your words of chizuk and beautiful message. You certainly appear to be a very positive person, and the fact that you raised such a beautiful family is proof enough that your children have wonderful parents.

Unfortunately, I know people who lost children to the drug epidemic, and your story sounds the same as theirs. Any human being who can destroy the lives of so many innocent children by selling drugs due to his financial greed is beyond horrible.

Regarding your experience while sitting shiva, it is integral for Klal Yisrael to be sensitive toward others who are in great pain for various reasons.

Whether it is someone sitting shiva for a son who was killed while driving (I mentioned in the original column that the grieving parents were told, insensitively and ridiculously, that “your son should not have been driving”); or someone sitting shiva for a child who was the victim of a drug overdose; or a woman struggling with fertility who is subjected to staring by people who erroneously conclude that she is pregnant because of her obvious weight gain (as opposed to the reality that she gained weight as a result of the fertility treatment she is undergoing) – the universal message is this: think before you speak!

My heart goes out to you for the pain you’ve endured. I hope that your well-written letter will propel people to think before they consider saying hurtful or inappropriate things to others. Hatzlachah as you raise your beautiful family, and may Hashem continue to shower you with only simcha and nachas!

About the Author: Letters may be emailed to deardryael@aol.com. To schedule an appointment, please call 917-751-4887.


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 “Speaking Appropriately”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), co-sponsor of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act.
Iran Legislative Compromises may Cause Nuclear Explosion in Washington
Latest Sections Stories
Teens-Twenties-logo

“I was so inspired by the beautiful lessons I learned and by the holiness around me that I just couldn’t stop writing songs!” she says.

Reidel-042415

Several thousand Eastern European Jews had escaped Nazi death and Soviet persecution by fleeing to Shanghai, China.

Respler-logo-NEW

My mother-in-law and I have had our problems since the beginning of my marriage.

Food-Talk---Eller-logo

“People who never buy cookbooks are getting this one,” said Victoria. “They read it cover to cover and find it so interesting.”

We have recently witnessed how other minorities deal with even perceived danger aimed at their brothers and sisters. They respond in great numbers.

The Hebrew Academy students took part in all categories and used successful and innovative techniques to achieve their goals.

“The objective behind establishing small communities as places for relocation was a remedy for the excessive cost of housing and education in the large New York metropolitan market,” Mr. Savitsky explained.

Jewish Democrats did not entirely trust the son of Joseph Kennedy, a man broadly considered to be both anti-Semitic and pro-Nazi.

The teenage years are not about surviving. They are about thriving.

Every moment was a gift. I held each one, savoring.

We arrived in Auschwitz on Thursday, January 30, 2014. My seminary was taking us to see where the prisoners were kept. When we got there, I stepped off the bus in complete and total silence. I was in the back, and when we got to the gate I hesitated and started shaking uncontrollably. I couldn’t […]

From the moment Israel was declared a Jewish state, it has been the subject of controversy and struggle.

Now that Pesach is over, we return you to your regularly-scheduled pressing questions:   Dear Mordechai, Can I use a nose hair trimmer during Sefirah? Harry Lipman   Dear Harry, Yes, as long as your nose hairs are so bad that they’re affecting your job. Like if you have a desk job, and they interfere […]

More Articles from Dr. Yael Respler
Respler-logo-NEW

My mother-in-law and I have had our problems since the beginning of my marriage.

Respler-041715

It is very natural for kids to want attention and to be jealous of each other, especially when there is a new baby.

How can you expect people who go through such gehenom to even know how to give warmth and love?

Isn’t therapy about being yourself; aren’t there different ways for people to communicate with each other?

I believe that Hashem will only bring Moshiach when we finally achieve achdus.

I love my husband dearly and I do everything to make him happy.

Men and women have different roles to play in marriages and as parents.

The husband needs to make some changes!

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/marriage-relationships/speaking-appropriately/2013/06/20/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: