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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Dear Keep’

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 10/28/10

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Dear Rachel,

These days we often hear the lament of the younger generation being obsessed with a sense of entitlement and of children who want, want, and want some more. Well, maybe we ought to take a second look at the adults raising them. Why should children be any different from their parents and want less?

I know a “grown-up” who is never happy with what she has, regardless of how loaded she is (and believe me, she’s got plenty). Just as soon as someone else has “it,” she wants “it” too. Her constant cravings, I might add, make her one unhappy person.

Some people are simply never satisfied and are constantly striving to attain more and more worldly goods. If only their cravings would be of a spiritual kind, they’d possibly end up gaining something of value.

We need to impress upon our children, while they are still young, that being envious of others is a trait that will leave them embittered and miserable all of their lives. Though I didn’t know this woman in her younger years, I am quite sure that her envious streak manifested itself in her childhood.

The irony is that we never really know what troubles lurk on the other side of the opulent entranceway to our neighbor’s mansion. Instead of focusing on another’s good fortune, let’s revel in our own! We’ll all be better off for it.

I’ll keep mine; you can keep yours

Dear Keep,

A man once approached Reb Meir Premishlaner to bemoan the fact that someone was threatening his livelihood. The Rebbe responded by asking him if he ever saw a horse drinking water from a lake. All the while the horse drinks it stomps the ground with his feet, the reason being that he sees another horse there that wants to drink (its reflection) and it is fearful that the other horse will drink up all the water. We all know that there is enough water in the lake for many horses, continued Reb Meir, and no one can touch that which belongs to you.

As the Rebbe told his worried visitor, the one who has faith in Hashem and believes that everything comes from Him, knows there’s no purpose to envying anyone else.

Envy (being desirous of what another has) and jealousy (additionally not farginning the other to have) not only create a state of unhappiness but threaten the wellbeing of both the person being coveted and the one doing the coveting – so much so that the Shemonei Esrei prayer (among others) includes an entreaty that we be safeguarded from being consumed by envy and from being exposed to the flawed trait in another, directed at us.

The Korlitzer Rebbe, in the sefer Chazon Ish, writes that contemplating another’s success with an evil eye can completely disrupt that success and Shlomo HaMelech (in Mishlei) puts it this way: “The life of the body is a heart at peace, while envy rots the bones.”

So what steps can we take to protect our children from the scourge of begrudging others their due? Teaching by example is number one. A calm and serene home environment will imbue our children with a healthy sense of self. (Children readily perceive a parent’s discontentedness.)

We can further instill self-confidence in our young ones by loving them unconditionally. Siblings are not created equal; their personalities differ, as do their natural talents and intellectual capabilities – which can unfortunately lead some parents to openly favor one child over the other. The overlooked child will inevitably develop feelings of inadequacy and the bitter seed of envy will take root.

Every neshama is special and has something special to offer. The big bonus of helping each individual child reach his/her potential: a satisfied and self-confident adult who is less likely to chase elusive dreams and long for what everybody else seems to have.

According to the Baal Shem Tov, a craving, a desire, in a human being is like salty water for a thirsty person. Not only does it fail to quench his thirst, it makes him even thirstier. The same applies to a desire a person gives in to; indulging the craving will only intensify it until it will do him in.

Hashem provides each of us with our specific needs. If you had your eye on a house and it was sold to someone else before you had a chance to act on your desire, then it wasn’t meant for you. If you got to the sale way past the time you had planned on getting there and still found the robe you had set your heart on, it wasn’t sheer luck – it was meant for you to own.

Appreciate what comes your way and fargin (be happy for) your friend’s acquisitions. You, my dear reader, have the right attitude. Thank you for sharing your invaluable insight.

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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, 338 Third Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11215. 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.

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 10/10/08

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

Dear Rachel,

I love your column, though I was surprised by one comment in your response to Hurting for my children (Chronicles 8-22). It says, “There is no rocky marriage that leaves children unaffected, lending credence to the belief that it is far better to come from a broken home than to live in one.” We can perhaps have much different examples of what constitutes a broken home, but the many studies I’ve read say that children are better off in a home with a mother and father under one roof, even when there’s fighting (though not abuse), than when the parents divorce.

Keep up the good work.

Dear Keep,

Yes, what does indeed constitute a broken home? Certainly there’s no perfect match, even as good marriages go. Every couple has its spats, differences and disagreements. “Broken,” I venture to say, is when a husband and wife have lost all respect for one another and an air of hostility permeates the atmosphere. Better a well-adjusted single parent than exposing children to the pollution of such noxious fumes.

Dear Rachel,

This letter is in response to the subject matter of To leave or not to leave (Chronicles 6-27) as continued in the August 15 issue.

The specialist in the field of therapy seems in shock that his client’s small circle of frum friends have several in the process of breaking up. His comments don’t suggest any experience at all!

Breaking up is very easy when it’s not informed and done without any responsibility and some people observe the single status as being one of glamorous independence, when it is never glamorous or independent.

If the marriage didn’t immediately cement itself into a fairy tale partnership of Torah, shared responsibilities and actualization of one’s “theories,” it’s time to go. IF anyone took the time, they would understand, that except for cases of abuse (physical, emotional or other), one should leave no stone unturned before the divorce option is exercised.

It can be likened to a surgical amputation of a vital organ. If one was at risk, would they run to the first surgery to remove it, or would they go for one or more consultations and try a combination of actions and remedies that held out the hope to save the organ and the health of the person, in good time?

In today’s age of disposability and entitlement, the cautious approach of effort would hold no appeal. However, know the amputation does not only affect the spouses. The children are haunted, torn and “changed” in myriad ways by the rent in their lives.

The pain, frustration, worry, exhaustion and loneliness of single parenthood, should be the choice of last resort.

Sorry to say this, but ask any young bereaved wife/husband, what they wouldn’t do to have the partner taken from them in such untimely circumstances?

Two people who chose to stand under a chuppah should know what the commitment entails, the time and diligence and syatta d’Shmaya it requires and not be allowed to chuck it all when the first curves present themselves. Avail yourself of pre-marital counseling to highlight areas that might be more challenging to the two of you, or speak to trusted friends who are caring for their marriages, and gain insight. No one promised you daily happiness and adoration. Marriage and children are investments of effort and work!

If you do separate, make it mandatory for a full year; experience every day, every Shabbos, Yom Tov, vacation and camp times solo. Watch what this does to you and to your children despite your best efforts to remain civil. And if you can try to be civil during a separation/divorce (which looks a lot easier than it is on the long haul), swallow pride and apply that good will to your marriage first. There’s always time for radical invasive surgery!

As a last thought, if you go for professional counseling, choose one with excellent credentials and recommendations. In today’s time, it’s not an embarrassment to get this help, but it has to be properly vetted!

A single parent

Dear Single,

Great advice! It’s tempting to give up when things don’t go our way, but the wise and mature will recognize that marriage is a serious undertaking that won’t survive or do well without being worked on. And like wine, it is with the passing years that the marital relationship takes on that mellow sweetness and rich taste.

But like I indicated above, when gangrene sets in, the only option is surgery. Better to walk away whole and sane than to live a tormented, loveless existence.

This is a wonderful time of year to make amends, start anew, appreciate what we have, and to show that appreciation by giving, sharing and enjoying all of G-d’s bounties with loved ones and friends. Wishing all our readers a delightful Sukkos holiday!

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/chronicles-of-crises/chronicles-of-crises-in-our-communities-120/2008/10/08/

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