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I write this column during the week of Parshas Vayechi, in which our father Yaakov imparts his blessing to his descendants. The Torah teaches that as he was about to give the brachah to Ephraim and Menasheh, the sons of Yosef, he suddenly posed a very strange and troubling question. "Mi eileh? - Who are these?"
Special Note: It appears that my articles on the pain of a family torn apart touched sensitive nerves. Sadly, too many of our families have become fragmented; too many are suffering from a lack of shalom bayis. The e-mails and letters that I received are all painful testimony to this breakdown of traditional family life. The following is just one of these letters.
Dear Rebbetzin Jungreis: I feel embarrassed to write to you about the conflicts that are tearing our family apart, but I have no recourse. I have tried many avenues; however none have worked and I am hoping that, if you publish my letter, the people involved will recognize themselves and perhaps get the message.
I needed Zaidy's scissors for another chore. It's a heavy, garment scissor that Zaidy Meir used when he worked as a shnaider (tailor) in the City. When he came to America with his family in 1951, he was able to get steady work although he did not speak English. It's a heavy, garment scissor that Zaidy Meir used when he worked as a shnaider (tailor) in the City. When he came to America with his family in 1951, he was able to get steady work although he did not speak English.
In last week's column I published a letter from a young woman who was raised in an assimilated, Reform home, but something in her soul always yearned to make a connection with Hashem and her Jewish roots. Unfortunately however, despite the fact that she grew up in a predominantly Orthodox community in New York, no one reached out to her. None of her neighbors ever thought of inviting her for a Shabbos meal, to shul, or their sukkah, and the yearning in her heart remained unfulfilled. And so it was that she became easy prey for an evangelical missionary who enticed her into being baptized and joining a Messianic Christian sect.
Special Note: The author of the following letter is well- known to me. He is a trustworthy young man who had an impressive secular education in the States and gave it all up when he became a ba'al teshuvah and decided to pursue a life of Torah learning in Jerusalem. His wife, who comes from a fine American family that made aliyah many years ago, is equally committed. I know them and can vouch for them. I also know for a fact that this young man is a serious, sincere "learner" whose parents experienced tremendous financial reversals and are not in a position to help in any way, shape or form.
Due to the overwhelming amount of e-mail I have received about domestic abuse, this week's column focuses on the services of Shalom Task Force. (Names...
In my last column, I published a tragic letter from a young woman who, after a painful bout with terminal illness, departed from this world. She attributed her plight to her abandonment of the Torah way of life, specifically to the laws of tznius. Her letter evoked much response. One of the writers wrote that she had a similar experience, but Baruch Hashem, with a positive ending. She too, had been rebellious, she too, had turned a deaf ear to the pleas of her family, but she never had to struggle with illness. Her sister however (an embodiment of everything that a yeshiva girl should be), was in a very serious car accident and had to undergo several surgical procedures and rehab, which plagued her with feelings of guilt and made her feel somehow responsible.
Special Note: In last week's column I published a tragic letter from a young Israeli girl who was at death's door. Subsequently, I received much e-mail in response to her painful cry, and I will share one of them with you. Next week I will respond to the letters.
Three years ago, I fell down a flight of stairs while holding my 16-month-old granddaughter. While she, Baruch Hashem, did not have a scratch, I unfortunately became totally paralyzed. After three weeks of physical therapy in the hospital and six months of outpatient therapy, I was able to recover about 75 percent of my mobility. I had some residual damage, but I learned to live a normal life - driving, working and doing whatever was necessary. I never complained because I was thankful that Hashem had saved my granddaughter and me.
Last week I shared a letter from a concerned well spouse whose daughter is having problems getting dates because of her husband's illness (Multiple Sclerosis). She indicated that there is an assumption that her house is depressed because of the illness. I asked for comments and suggestions from those who have experience with this situation. Below are responses that every shadchan and parent without experience with chronic illness should read.
I have always felt that Hashem's Will was my will. I always accepted everything, telling myself that everything was for the best. I trusted that it was Hashem's Will. It was and still is. I always accepted everything, telling myself that everything was for the best. I trusted that it was Hashem's Will.
There are no coincidences in life. We know that everything that befalls us is basherte - to the point that even if a man stubs his toe that too is orchestrated from Above. It was not by coincidence that, on Parshas Tazria Metzora, I received an amazing letter from an amazing young man. Some 10 odd years ago, I had the privilege of launching him on his Jewish journey.
Of all the various disorders and syndromes that affect children in our community, I wonder if any is as misunderstood or puzzling as "selective mutism." Until very recently, professionals and educators just assumed that children with selective mutism were actually being silent "on purpose." It is only within the last year or two that we have discovered that it's really not under the child's control.
Dear Rabbi Horowitz: We find ourselves faced with an increasingly challenging experience each year when midwinter break comes around. Some of our children's friends go on expensive vacations with their families, and our kids are asking us to send them on similar trips. Our children are respectful whenever they discuss this with us, but there is a clear sense that they feel "left out" because they don't go to the exotic location like some of their friends.