web analytics
July 29, 2014 / 2 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
Sections
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



Your Choice, Your Life

        I recently received an e-mail from a woman who, based on her skillful command of English, is surely a North American living in Israel. She took issue with a statement I made in an earlier column (June 23) in which I wrote, “In many households when a child, especially a daughter, enters the shidduch parsha, apprehension and a gnawing anxiety fill the household – a situation that can almost be likened to the just-below-the surface angst an Israeli family experiences when their son is drafted.” The writer let me know in no uncertain terms that the worry Israelis feel is not below the surface – it’s real and palpable and as far as she knew, “No American parent needed to care for an injured chassan or kallah as a result of the shidduch parsha or bury their children because of it.” She concluded with what she felt was a lack of appreciation for “our children’s sacrifices – that Americans could go shopping, get manicures and surround themselves with gashmius because “our children” were risking their lives to protect the Jewish state.

 

         There are two issues here that I want to address – validation, and taking responsibility for one’s choices.

 

         The writer was aghast how I could compare the anxiety experienced by parents over their children’s shidduch experiences to the anxiety racking Israeli parents whose children are in the army. Of course the situations are not on the same level in terms of being life-threatening, but the worry and concern is just as real and heart- wrenching for both sets of parents. It is extremely important for people to validate a person’s feelings – even if they think the situation is trivial and the feelings or reactions unjustified.

 

         For example, a two-year-old child has a favorite blanket that falls off the stroller one day and he is inconsolable. His mother pooh poohs the loss saying, ” It was only an old rag of a blanket, frayed, torn and faded. Yet to the child his loss and grief is just as strong and consuming as the grief and loss experienced by a widow who lost the engagement ring her late husband gave to her decades ago.

 

         On a casual level the situations don’t compare, but in terms of the emotions that surface, they are on the same level. And it is crucial to validate these feelings. The wise mother will commiserate with her child and console him for his loss. If she doesn’t, and this lack of validation continues as he grows up, he will get two ego-crippling messages – his feelings don’t count; therefore, he is not of any value. Ultimately he may grow up not trusting his judgment, very likely rendering him unable to make a decision, and tragically make him ripe to one day fall into the clutches of controlling, possibly abusive persons. People need validation for their emotional well-being. Couples who don’t validate each other’s feelings often have a severe lack of shalom bayis.

 

         To the woman in Israel I say that, of course, there is a big difference between sending a child to the army (although I remember when it was once an extreme source of pride for the parents, something to brag about if he got into an elite unit) and having a child in the shidduch parsha, but the anxiety, fear and despair is just as potent. Many may feel it is not justified, but like a boy whose beloved dog is killed, his heartbreak and loss is as strong as someone who (G-d forbid) loses a child. Everyone’s reality is relative, but one should not diminish or minimize the other person’s view of his/her world.

 

         I also want to address what I feel is her anger and resentment towards North Americans Jews who she feels, ” don’t appreciate our children’s sacrifice.” Firstly, I want to reassure her that Jews everywhere totally are aware of and deeply appreciate and admire the misirat nefesh of the Jews of Israel, and every loss of life is deeply felt and mourned.

 

         But part of making choices is taking responsibility for the outcome of these choices and not resenting those who made different ones or feel that anything is owed to them by virtue of their choices. For example, a girl who chooses a kollel life style, and has to work and make do with less, has no right to resent her sister who married an “earner” who can afford a more affluent lifestyle. Likewise, the wife of the earner should not envy her sister for having a husband who is more learned and respected in the community as a talmid chacham.

 

         My guess, based on the letter writer’s mastery of English is that she or her parents were North Americans who made aliyah, and as such she has American or Canadian citizenship. She chose to either move to or stay in Israel. She must take responsibility for the outcome of her choices – the good and the bad – for with all choices, there are pros and cons. By choosing to live in Israel, her children will eventually serve in the Israeli military and must deal with the risks of doing so. At the same time, she and her family are living a life that on a daily basis is imbued with spirituality and meaningfulness that is beyond the experience of Diaspora Jews.

 

         One should enjoy the benefits of one’s choices and deal with the drawbacks, but not resent those who took a different path for they too must deal with the good and the bad that is the outcome of their choice. To do otherwise leads to sinat chinam – to everyone’s detriment.

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 “Your Choice, Your Life”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Some of the missile fire comes from launchers planted in cemeteries, mosques, schools and hospitals. This is an aerial photo of one such launch in Beit Lahiya earlier this week.
Sleepless in Rishon Lezion, IDF Attacks in Gaza Continue
Latest Sections Stories
Teens-Twenties-logo

What Hashem desires most is that we learn to connect with each other as children in the same family.

Jerusalem to Jericho Road: photograph by Chanan Getraide
“Chanan Getraide Photographs”: 2004 exhibition at Hebrew Union College Museum

“We are living in a Golden Age of Jewish Art, but don’t know it.”

Respler-072514

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

Time outs increases compliance and positive behavior far more than other forms of discipline

Interestingly, sometimes people who have a very high self-awareness may experience intense reactions to circumstances that others might respond to more mildly.

“You Touro graduates are automatically soldiers in [Israel’s] struggle, and we count on you,” Rothstein told the graduates.

The lemonana was something else. Never had we seen a green drink look so enticing.

On his marriage, he wrote: “This is what I believe: something of the core, of the essence of this meaningful and life-affirming Judaism will not be absent from our home” (1882).

With the recent kidnapping by the Hamas and the barbaric murder of three children – Gilad Shaar, Eyal Yifrach and Naftali Frankel, we believe that the best answer to honor the memory of those murdered is to continue building those very communities – large and small – that our enemies are trying to destroy.

Written entirely through Frayda’s eyes, the reader is drawn by her unassuming personality.

Adopting an ancient exegetical approach that is based on midrashic readings of the text, thematic connections that span between various books of the Bible are revealed.

While Lipman comes from an ultra-Orthodox background and is an Orthodox rabbi, he offers a breath of fresh air when he suggests that “polarization caused by extremism and isolationism in the religious community may be the greatest internal threat to the future of the Jewish people”

More Articles from Cheryl Kupfer
Kupfer-032814

A young lady in her early 20’s, “Sarah” was redt to “Shlomie” a boy from her home town who learned in an out-of-town yeshiva. The families know each other well, which in today’s shidduch scene is a big plus – since it was therefore unlikely the kids would “fall in” due to misinformation and misinterpretations.

Kupfer-031414

I came to the conclusion a long time ago that I have to do what is right for me – as long as it’s “ halachically kosher” and doesn’t negatively impact on others – and not worry too much about what others think.

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and that is precisely what almost always happens in situations where a reference knew someone had serious but hidden emotional issues, but did not reveal the information to the person making inquiries.

Time never stood still for anyone – why would I be the exception? In my hubris, I thought that somehow I would live forever – and I suspect we all have secretly felt that way, even though we know it’s a fantasy.

One can argue that forgetting something on a regular basis is a sign of advancing age and it’s time to for a neurological evaluation, but based on the number of young people who need to replace a lost smart phone (too bad it’s not smart enough to warn its owner that that they have become separated – or is there an app for that too?), I safely can say that losing “stuff” cuts across the generations.

For quite a few days in late December, Toronto was transformed into a breathtaking – literally and figuratively – frigid winter wonderland, where every twig, leaf, car door, and outdoor wire and cable was totally encased in ice. When the sun shone the landscape was blindingly brilliant as if billions of diamonds had been glued to everything the eye could see.

Outside is a winter-white wonderland replete with dazzling trees, wires, and sidewalks seemingly wrapped in glittery silver foil. It’s quite lovely to look at, which is about all I can do since I’m stuck indoors. Icicle-laden tree branches are bent and hunch-backed by the frozen heaviness of their popsicle-like burden, and the voices squawking from the battery-operated transistor radio I am listening to are warning people not to go out since walkways and roads are extremely slippery, and there is real danger from falling trees.

The necessity of speaking up when you “have a hunch” applies even more when it comes to shidduchim. One little girl did just that – she said something – and I was fortunate enough to be in town for the very joyful, lively wedding that resulted from her speaking up.

    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/magazine/your-choice-your-life/2006/09/06/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: