web analytics
August 29, 2014 / 3 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



Weighing Our Words Carefully

Respler-033012

Dear Dr. Respler: I am, Baruch Hashem, a healthy mother and grandmother who was recently trying to be helpful to my married daughter. After Shabbos my daughter, who has a large family, had many dishes piled in the sink. I planned on rinsing the dishes and placing them in the dishwasher, and then straightening up downstairs while she put her younger children to sleep. Aware of my plans my daughter, who loves me and means well, said, “Ma, please don’t work so hard. I will put the children to sleep, and then I can clean up and load the dishwasher quickly. I will do it quicker than you, and I want you to relax.”

I was hurt. I know that she really wanted me to take it easy, but suddenly I felt like an old, useless woman. Do you think my daughter was right? How can I tell her how I feel without hurting her?

My husband and I are planning to move in with my daughter, son-in-law and their children for Pesach. We always enjoy going there, but I do not feel good when I cannot be useful. I would like to help my daughter over Pesach, and would feel better if she allowed me to help her. Please advise me. A Healthy Grandmother

Dear Healthy Grandmother: Although your daughter’s words were said with derech eretz, her words were, in fact, considered ona’as devarim (hurtful speech). She appears to have meant no harm, while not understanding that what she said constitutes a type of ona’as devarim. For the record, an example of ona’as devarim is when one makes someone feel incompetent and undermines the person’s ability to be helpful. As it is written in the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation’s Positive Word Power: “Under the surface [of the given situation] was a message that cast doubt on your competence.”

This may sound mind-boggling to my readers, as I was astonished the first time I learned this.

Your daughter clearly meant to give you kavod and wanted to spare you from stacking the dishwasher and cleaning the house, which in her mind was overworking you. But this made you feel incompetent and caused you pain, even though you were obviously trying to be helpful. (As we age but still try to help others, we are aggrieved when rebuffed in our efforts.)

Since your daughter’s hurtful words were entirely unintentional, it is important that you not cause her pain in return. She may feel slighted if you tell her that you were hurt by her comment, especially since she apparently wants to treat you with derech eretz and be a good daughter. Set aside a mutually convenient, stress-free time for the two of you to discuss your feelings. A relaxing lunch in a restaurant when the children are in school would be a nice setting. Remember that a tranquil atmosphere is important, lessening the likelihood that any misunderstanding or misconstruing of words takes place.

During this proposed conversation, please be careful not to hurt your daughter and make sure to support her wish to protect and love you. Consider saying something like, “I know that you did not mean to be hurtful and that you love me, but I felt badly when you told me that I shouldn’t help you because you can do it faster.” Express clearly that you love her very much and that you do not want to upset her. Tell her that helping her is actually therapeutic for you. Explain that even though you may do things slower than her, you get immense satisfaction in being able to ease her burdens by assisting her with the chores.

An honest conversation will help make your daughter aware of your feelings and sensitize her to your wishes to be of help. This conversation should take place before Pesach, so that you can attempt to help her during the Yom Tov. Perhaps you can also aid her in preparing for Pesach by offering to purchase needed items. And if she and her family can use financial help during these challenging economic times, you might conclude that this might be a road you should travel. If she doesn’t need your monetary help, possibly just doing some of the food or children’s clothes shopping will be of help to her.

I am certain that you, as a sensitive, caring mother, will know the correct things to do to help your daughter before and during Pesach. What’s important is to keep the lines of communication open and to assure your daughter that you treasure your relationship with her, and that you appreciate her and her husband’s immense kavod for you and your husband.

Thank you for raising such an important topic before Pesach. Ona’as devarim is an action that many people transgress unintentionally. We all must try to think before we speak, and make an effort to only say things that will not be painful to others. As Pesach is a time when we are with family, it is sometimes difficult to be careful with our speech when in their company. I hope that we can all learn from your daughter’s innocuous comment and realize that even when we mean well, we must make sure that we do not say anything that offends or hurts others.

We should all strive to compliment others, and to try our best to not speak ona’as devarim. Hatzlachah in your conversation with your daughter, and try to get your point across in a loving manner.

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 “Weighing Our Words Carefully”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal in Gaza
Mashaal Vows Cease-Fire a Step to New ‘Resistance’ War against Israel
Latest Sections Stories
Itzhak Perlman and Cantor Yitzchak Meir Helfgot together in concert.

Almost immediately the audience began singing and clapping and continued almost without stop throughout the rest of the concert.

Mordechai-082214-Armoire

As of late, vintage has definitely been in vogue in the Orthodox community.

Einhorn-082214-Water

Stroll through formal gardens, ride mountain bikes, or go rock climbing.

As they fall upon us we go
To the WALL.

One minute you’re shaving shwarma off a pit, then the shwarma guy tells you he read a (fake) WhatsApp that the boys are dead.

I probe a little deeper and Shula takes me into the world of phantom pains and prosthetic limbs.

This went on until she had immersed eighty times, and then Hashem at last took pity upon her.

Because Menachem lives in Israel, he can feel the ruach in the air.

Perhaps you can reach a compromise during this news frenzy, whereby you will feel more comfortable while he can still follow the latest events.

Leon experienced the War of Independence from a soldier’s perspective, while remaining true to his Jewish ideals and beliefs.

Chabad of Arizona centers recently hosted an evening of remembrance to mark the 20th yahrzeit of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

More Articles from Dr. Yael Respler
Respler-Yael

Perhaps you can reach a compromise during this news frenzy, whereby you will feel more comfortable while he can still follow the latest events.

Respler-081514

There could be no Jewish-themed books and, as such, the lack of knowledge these boys displayed in regards to many of the topics we read about was clear.

Upon hearing that he did, the owner sent him the atarah – all shiny and new – to be returned to me. I was reunited with my father’s precious gift.

A prominent shadchan recently articulated a dilemma she’s facing.

The real solution to bullying is to empower the bullied child.

My teachers like me and they tell my parents that I am a great girl with good middos.

Some yeshivish couples do not believe in going out with other couples, but that does not mean that the women cannot have social lives.

In my experience, modern schools tend to be more open-minded toward other flavors of Judaism.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/marriage-relationships/weighing-our-words-carefully/2012/03/29/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: