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September 2, 2014 / 7 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Dear Readers’

Matana’s Gift

Friday, July 6th, 2012

Dear Readers: The long, lazy days of summer are upon us and it’s time to sit back with a cold drink and good book. The following is a reprint of a fictional story I wrote a long time ago. Though it is made up, there are parts that are all too real. Long lost objects have miraculously turned up under the most unlikely circumstances. This story is in memory of a second cousin, David, who was blown up in his tank during the Yom Kippur War. His wife had their first child, a girl, eight months later.

* * * * *

It was the Thursday before her daughter’s wedding and Chana Bendiner had so much to do, so many minute details to attend to. Yet here she was in her attic, blowing the dust off a photo album that had remained buried, but not forgotten, for over 20 years. She stared at the leather-bound cover, gently caressing the embossed gold lettering, unable to open it, yet unable to put it down.

For Chana Bendiner knew that the photos that lay within, unseen for two decades, would unleash a torrent of bittersweet memories, releasing intense emotions from the deeply buried vault in her heart in which she had locked them – an soul-numbing process that had taken years of effort and a deluge of tears.

Inhaling deeply, prepared to have her breath taken away by a tsunami of memories that would flood her inner core, she opened the album book.

Looking up at her with a smile as radiant as snow bathed in sunlight was her 22-year-old self, her blue eyes as bright as the skies over the Kinneret; her hair a honey-blond cascade of curls spilling out from her bridal veil. Chana wryly touched her light brown sheitel, grateful that it covered the grey strands that had stealthily infiltrated her hair.

Her smile trembled and her face contorted as she looked at the young man at her side, her chatan, her golden-voiced Dov, Berel to the older generation. His puppy-brown eyes glowed with life, framed by thick auburn eyelashes that matched his thatch of auburn hair. A subtle brown sheen barely saved him from being labeled a gingi – a redhead.

Both native New Yorkers, Chana Rotgerber and Dov Walbrom had met at a kumsitz melavah malka at the home of a mutual friend in Jerusalem. Chana had been enchanted by his mellow tenor voice as he sat on the floor, strumming his guitar and singing Israeli folk-songs. He in turn could not take his eyes off her. He would later describe her as human sunshine. To their mutual relief and delight, they discovered that both had made aliyah, determined to give of their talents and skills to enhance their ancestral homeland.

The two and a half years of their marriage were of fairy-tale caliber: both delighted in the existence of the other. The “icing on their cake” had been the birth of their redheaded, milk chocolate-eyed baby girl.

“Go figure,” Chana had exclaimed to her ecstatic, peacock-proud husband as she scrutinized her newborn daughter. “For nine months I grow this human being inside me, my waist explodes and may ankles swell – and she’s the spitting image of you! It’s like I had no part in all this!”

“Well at least we know she’ll be good-looking,” Dov teased as he dodged the pillow Chana had thrown at him.

They had named their child Matana. Chana had had her heart set on naming her baby after her mother’s sister, who had perished in the Holocaust. She knew however that the name “Matel” was not quite appropriate for a sabra, and she was delighted when Dov, a bio-engineer with a creative bend, had come up with the name Matana, which was Hebrew for gift. It was perfect, sounding enough like Matel to satisfy the thrilled grandparents, yet preventing the teasing that would have been the inevitable fate of an Israeli child called Matel. Almost immediately after her naming, Matana was nicknamed Mati, and that was what she was called from that moment on.

For 10 months after Mati’s birth, her father would croon her to sleep, composing different tunes and changing the words to suit the baby’s mood. Often her doting daddy would spend hours playing his guitar, tape-recording the music that flowed from his hands. When Chana had asked him what he was so busy with, he told her he was working on Mati’s wedding march. It would be played as they walked her to her chuppah and her waiting chatan.

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communites

Friday, July 6th, 2012

Dear Readers,

Last week we read a powerful letter written by an anonymous young man who suffered hell as a result of being sexually abused in his youth. Tragically, his story is not unique. Unfortunately, the general population of Yidden still cannot bear to face reality – that this sickness exists in our midst – and by choosing to close their eyes they become deaf and blind to the contortions of pain and the cries of innocent victims.

It stands to reason that the abuser was most likely subjected to abuse when he was younger, but that doesn’t give him license to inflict that horror on another child. Unless he is mentally challenged and thereby unable to grasp the gravity of his actions, there is absolutely no excuse for perpetrating this evil on anyone.

A thinking and discerning adult recognizes that he has an addiction and needs help, and is perfectly aware of the damage he inflicts on another human being whom he sets up for a lifetime of pain and shame. Victim or not, the abuser who allows his base instincts to overrule his common sense deserves our wrath and should be made to pay dearly for his unspeakable crime against humanity.

Whether the abuser will eventually be apprehended or not, he will not get away unscathed — for his neshama will bear the weight of his transgressions as well as of those whom he has caused to sin.

Kudos to “Anonymous” – the author of the letter of last week’s column – for pulling himself out of the dark abyss he had sunk into and for discovering that life can be beautiful and has lots to offer the person who reaches out for that lifeline that will give him a new lease on life.

A rash rush to judgment…

Dear Rachel,

I would like to bring to your attention a certain problem that I noticed. I work with a guy who married a girl from a not frum house – meaning chilul Shabbos and the like. She herself was not frum till high school, and her parents are divorced. The girl was sent to prominent yeshivas and seminaries.

Her husband was always frum and though she became observant way before they married, she knocks many of our laws that are important to him. Her non-observant family also has an impact on this couple’s relationship; the religious aspect of their children’s upbringing is always challenged when this girl’s family is involved, setting the stage for husband-wife confrontation.

Thereby I suggest to the public frum community not to marry someone who is not frumfrom birth or has divorced parents.

Worried

Dear Worried,

You can’t be serious. Please allow me to straighten you out on some of your faulty thinking. Number one, whereas your co-worker may be having a rough time of it, I can assure you that you don’t have the full picture of the goings-on in his life, even if he may be sharing some tidbits with you.

Secondly, meddling in-laws come in all denominations. Some are frum, some are secular, and some may happen to be divorced.

Your insinuation that only the “frum from birth” can make the ideal mate is preposterous, as is your suggestion to stay clear of those who come from divorced homes. We all know wonderful young people who are products of divorced homes and who are happily married and raising beautiful families.

Moreover, has it occurred to you that there are married people who lead miserable lives, whose home environment is more toxic than the atmosphere in a divorced man’s or woman’s home? For that matter, have you an inkling of how many marriages between FFBs and BTs are healthy and thriving?

Each situation is unique. It is also up to each individual looking to tie the knot to do his or her homework and assess the viability of a long-term relationship with that certain someone. And even then there will be no guarantee; a person can find that he or she erred in judgment after the fact.

While your co-worker’s problems may be very real and he may indeed be suffering in-law problems, which may in actuality be exacerbated by their non-observant status, your hypothesis is flawed. Before offering your opinions and suggestions, you’d be best advised to get in touch with the real world.

More comments regarding A Sympathetic Bubby
(Chronicles 6-8)

Dear Rachel,

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

Dear Readers,

Pesach is here and the heady scent of spring is in the air. As tulip bulbs push their beautiful blossoms to the earth’s surface in a burst of color, a sense of optimism takes hold of single men and women who await that special call they fervently hope will culminate in a Chol Hamoed date with their predestined mates.

In the following letter, one young woman bares her soul with regard to her own springtime experiences with promising dates. As she gives voice to her innermost thoughts and emotions, we are made to reflect on the plight of singles whose pain we have the power to assuage in so many ways.

Besides trying our hand at matchmaking, we can offer a listening ear, a shoulder to lean on, an invitation for Shabbos or Yom Tov or just because… in short, our heartfelt friendship.

 

Dear Rachel,

As only the many singles in my age bracket may understand, I hate the holidays. Especially Pesach. Spring is a time of rebirth and awakening, anticipations and what ifs… or do I harbor romantic notions, erroneously perhaps? I hope not. Yet I fear that I’ve hit the inescapable, overpowering, towering, merciless wall.

I’m a single woman in my mid 30s who began dating many moons ago, but this year’s dating experience has been outright appalling. You may be surprised to know that I am one of those positive, energetic, “young” single females who enjoys and appreciates life as is. Well, at least until now. Of the many men I’ve dated this past year, I was involved in a few serious relationships that I’d been under the impression were quite promising.

I’ve characterized the men I’ve dated into two separate categories, albeit both of the disingenuous kind. The first are those who possess an actual DSM-IV [mental disorder] diagnosis. The second are shrewd, non-committal cowards. Would you believe me if I were to tell you that the latter kind is worse to experience than the first? Over the past six months or so, I’ve experienced the two types in their purest forms. The first was a true sociopath, a master of deceit to the ultimate level. (For the record, we “met” on a frum dating site.) He falsified everything — from his age, marital status, occupations, family and friends, rabbis, excuses for lateness and absence, to what he ate for lunch, and with such simple and believable detail.

But to some degree I blame myself, as I only checked references at a later stage in the game. Nonetheless, the relationship that I thought had occurred never really existed; I dated a man who was a true phantom, more like a Jekyll and Hyde, if you will. He lived a double life, appearing to be the most ideal type of man: kind, intelligent, sensitive and sweet, while maintaining a discrete identity and leading an entirely different “reality” — an idyllic masquerade I wasn’t aware of, but boy did I play my part well, without the script.

I’m being kind withholding specifics from your readers. To put it mildly, truth is indeed stranger than fiction. What’s more alarming is that I met another single woman through a mutual friend, one who had suffered the same encounter with this unwell man. She had checked his references during the initial dating phase, but was nevertheless misled to the point where they were making wedding plans!

Yes, a chilling, bloodcurdling kind of ordeal. After I ended my involvement with him, I was hurt, upset and somewhat traumatized, but not distraught because it is easier to get over someone with a disturbing mental deficiency. After all, how much control can he have over his behavior and actions? I just feel for his other victims and fear for those he’s about to cunningly pounce on.

The second relationship only recently ended and has left me heartbroken. The wound is still raw and I haven’t completely made sense of it all. We’re both not young, he approaching his 40s, and I, calculating how many children G-d can mercifully grant me. After close to two months of dating, he broke down and admitted that he was, “as of yet,” not ready to be in a serious relationship.

Apparently we weren’t on the same page, as neither I, nor the relationship, was a priority for him. He let me know he had matters of more importance to attend to, and, in passing, he managed to acknowledge his fear of change. (Don’t we all fear the unknown?) I delicately alluded to Shakespeare’s cowards die many times before their deaths. All the same, he decided he could not add more stress to his already demanding itinerary and needed to take a break. (What in the world does that mean?!)

Please understand, I sincerely like this man and believe him to be a good, solid individual, albeit “unprepared” to settle down. (In another 20 years from now, maybe…?) I just wish I had trusted my intuition when at the onset I felt the topics being evaded by him to be some sort of warning sign. No wonder I am ridiculed for being too trusting, and believing in giving people and experiences a more than fair chance. Was he consciously aware of his unreadiness, or that he’d leave me devastated? I think not.

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Dear Readers,

This column has received a number of letters regarding the young wife and mother who penned a so-called memoir supposedly based on her relatively short-lived existence as a member of the Satmar community. While most of these letters express sentiments already aired in this column over the last several weeks, readers seem particularly effected by the scene as depicted in last week’s letter to Deborah by A Willy Mom:

“And then I saw the interview you had with Barbara Walters. I sat in stunned disbelief as your new friends, with the help of their audience and their guest – you – poked fun at a magnified screen picture of you walking to the chuppa with your face ‘badecked.’ I was most distressed.”

As a means of defining the raw emotion that has gripped A Willy Mom and so many others like her, I take the liberty of addressing Ms. Feldman directly on their behalf:

Deborah, we don’t suppose that behind the scenes you bothered letting your new friends in on the significance of our beautiful longtime tradition of “badeken” that was initiated by our Matriarch Rivkah who covered her face when she saw her future husband Yitzchak approaching.

Then again, we don’t imagine your new friends as capable of grasping the concept of a kallah’s purity, let alone appreciating the symbolism conveyed by the veil with which the groom gently covers his bride’s face before proceeding to the wedding canopy where they will stand together to be sanctified as husband and wife.

Oh, yes, about the veil… symbolic of the inner beauty of the bride, which is not to be overshadowed by her external, physical beauty, it also signals the groom’s commitment to protect his bride, as well as the bride’s commitment to reserve her beauty for his eyes only.

Above all, Deborah, in that brief intrusion into your walk to the chuppa that your new friends seemed to find so hilarious, we don’t suppose any of you caught sight of the tears welling in your grandmother’s eyes, or heard her whispered prayers to G-d beseeching Him to shield you from harm and pain and to bless you with endless Yiddish nachas and a happy life alongside your life partner.

But, Deborah, after all is said and done, we still hold out hope — for a righteous woman’s tears are never in vain, as the following story (told by Rabbi Price of Neve Zion in Jerusalem) illustrates.

A family man in Northern Israel ran a produce distribution business. When his son Yair Eitan was old enough to help out, he’d drive the company’s delivery truck. One of his regular stops was at Yeshiva Lev V’Nefesh, where attendees are mostly baalei teshuvah.

Having been raised in a secular home environment, Yair’s curiosity was piqued by the lively energy that pulsated within the yeshiva walls. He gradually began conversing with some of the students and before long was actually sitting down and sampling some Torah study.

His parents were none too pleased about their son’s discovery and new friends, and his enraged father prohibited him from ever stepping foot in that yeshiva – or any yeshiva – again. In his words, there was no way any son of his would become a “backward, bearded chareidi.”

Yair would not be deterred and continued to visit the yeshiva without his parents’ knowledge. Eventually, however, they found out and his father’s violent reaction led to Yair leaving home. In a note he left behind, he wished his parents well but did not disclose his destination. By this time he was aware that there’s a line drawn in the commandment to obey a parent when that parent would have his child disobeying the Torah.

Nonetheless, the father searched for his son until he found him and forced him to return home. He moreover filed a lawsuit against Lev V’Nefesh, claiming that the yeshiva had brainwashed their 18-year old son.

A trial was held and Yair testified that no one coerced him to attend the yeshiva and that he did so of his own volition. The elderly judge who presided over the case seemed somewhat distracted as Yair spoke; he kept eyeing the father. When Yair stepped down having completed his testimony, the judge asked the father to approach and take the witness stand.

The judge first asked him if he was of Eastern European descent and if his name back in Europe had been “Stark.” When Mr. Eitan answered in the affirmative, the judge asked him if he was originally from Pinsk. Again, the answer was yes.

“I remember you very well,” the judge continued. “You come from one of the finest homes in pre-war Pinsk. Your father was a deeply religious and highly respected man. Your mother was renowned for her kindness. She would cook meals for the poor and the sick regularly. I remember well when, as an 18-year-old, you openly departed from your parents’ ways.

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Dear Readers,

In the last few weeks just about all of us have become familiar with the name Deborah Feldman. Actually, unless we were hiding out in a cave with no human contact, no access to electricity nor to electronic devices of any kind, it would have been next to impossible to avoid hearing or reading about the woman in her mid twenties who left her (Chassidic) family and community, her heritage and her young husband behind in quest of the freedom she, seemingly, desperately sought since emerging from the confines of her mother’s womb.

Here and there we hear an exasperated voice that tries to be heard above the din, arguing, “The more we criticize, take issue with or rant … the more popular she and her book become.” No doubt there’s truth to that sentiment, yet in view of the magnitude of her exposure to begin with (by her own handlers), we are more than justified in defending ourselves against the untruths, mad insinuations and outrageous gossip her memoir contains.

One sure thing the book manages to achieve is to highlight Deborah’s sad lack of comprehension of Judaism. Her ignorance (likely fostered by an unstable family structure in her early years) is stunning. Her observations are clearly those of one who may have been there in the flesh but was absent in heart or spirit. Tragically, all of the effort expended by her magnanimous close kin to imbue her with a love and appreciation for her heritage in her adolescent years, failed.

Deborah was an act. And she continues to pretend, to make believe that she’s in the know.

Pity the confused small child who never grew up. Pity her lost soul.

Indeed, many of us find ourselves torn between feelings of pity and anger, as the following letter from a reader affirms.

Dear Deborah,

Before I begin this letter, I need to ask forgiveness if my style of writing will offend you. Not because of its content, but simply because of my educational shortcomings. You see, I graduated Satmar high school purportedly with a fourth grade level of English, and so my writing may not meet your standard of sophistication. But I can assure you that my message is, at least, far from simple and comes straight from my heart.

When I first heard your story, I was shocked and appalled. That you threw your Yiddishkeit away saddened me, of course, but it was your personal story that got to me.

And then I saw the interview you had with Barbara Walters. I sat in stunned disbelief as your new friends, with the help of their audience and their guest – you – poked fun at a magnified screen picture of you walking to the chuppa with your face ‘badecked.’ I was most distressed.

For a split-second I took a step back to reexamine my own Satmar chassidish lifestyle that I lead here in Williamsburg. Not that I had any doubts, but the nature of our humanity makes us vulnerable.

And then a funny thing happened. I thought back to my engagement. I met my husband once before we got engaged; yet the memory of how excited I was as a kallah still brings a smile to my face. I could hardly wait to get married and to create my own bayis ne’eman.

Walking to the chuppa with my face veiled – a tradition rooted in the Torah from the days of our forefathers – was one of the most exhilarating moments in my life. I recall fervently praying to G-d to grant us a good and purposeful life.

Boruch Hashem, my prayers were answered. It has been a good life. We have raised beautiful children who have grown both in spiritual and worldly ways into fine human beings! B”H, they have successfully met up with their own life partners and have made us very proud grandparents as well!

And B”H, in no small part due to taharas hamishpacha, (the laws of purity that govern our married way of life), the sanctity of our marriage is intact and our bond as strong as ever.

Thank you, Deborah, for reminding me that I live with Hashem ever present at my side, and that our lives are so beautiful, fulfilling and enriched because of all the Torah laws we follow.

You are proud to still have your whole life ahead of you. What will you try to accomplish? With what will you fill your days and what will make you feel fulfilled one day?

I feel so sorry for you.

This past Friday night when peace descended on our homes, with the lighting of the Shabbos licht I said a little prayer for you. I prayed that you should see the beauty in Yiddishkeit again.

Respectfully yours, A Willy Mom

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Re: “A Bais Yaakov Education” – as defined by I’m not a sexist; I’m a realist (Chronicles, December 23 2011)

Dear Rachel,

The woman who wrote about her grueling high-school agenda evoked memories of when I would be up nights memorizing stuff (that I’ve long since forgotten), only to find out later that other girls in my class, who knew far less than I, managed to achieve higher grades.

How? By breaking into the office and making copies of all the Hebrew finals. (I kid you not!) All they then had to do was study the answers to the questions they knew would be asked – and they were home free. They told me only afterwards since they feared that after all the studying I’d done I might be tempted to turn them in. They were wrong on that one, however, I was plenty peeved at having been left to do all the hard work when I could have just breezed through the exams as they did.

I picked up other ways of cheating the system along the way, but I’ll refrain from revealing more in order not to spoil it for current students, who surely have some of the same tricks up their sleeves. Seriously, administrators and principals of these schools are fooling themselves. These classes are a waste of a girl’s time. Why not utilize our precious growing years by teaching us things that would be far more useful to us down the line? How about communication and organizational skills to start with?

By no means am I trying to minimize the importance of learning Torah. I just take issue with the method and the extreme. Talk to us in our language. Make us live and breathe the stories that comprise the weekly parsha instead of confusing us with complicated inyanim and making us sweat before finals. Entice us with the beauty of our history so that we thirst for more – rather than dread being quizzed.

I concur; could have done without… Dear Rachel,

Looking back, I have to say that I am not unhappy about the heavy-duty studying we were made to do in high school. To begin with, I feel it was a powerful mind-trainer.

Furthermore, in my married life there’ve been times when I’d have found myself lost had it not been for the considerable learning I did back then. For instance, many of my friends and I feel that men are not as well versed in halachos as they should be, especially in those that deal with the home and kitchen. Besides, they are not always available during the day when questions may arise.

All in all, it’s made me a more confident individual and homemaker. If you ask me, I could have done without biology, chemistry and geometry class.

A satisfied BY Grad Dear Rachel,

The letter written by a Bais Yaakov graduate reminded me of the time I used to work the night shift at a local Boro Park bakery that was in the vicinity of a popular BY high school. In their frustration, girls cramming for exams would come by desperate for help in deciphering some of the “deep meforshim” that were obviously over their heads.

My being chassidish may have had some bearing on their confidence in my ability to assist them. Frankly, I found it unbelievable that girls were being made to learn things that would be totally useless to them in their future lives. What a waste of time! I can only guess that the main reason this happens is to provide teachers with an income.

Still shaking my head Dear Rachel,

Regarding the letter in your column of Dec. 23, I would like to ask the writer if she has parents. I think she should be very grateful for the excellent education she received, while the items she feels were missing are things that I would expect her to have learned from her mother and/or her grandmother.

No school can teach a girl how to cook, bake and care for children and a home better than her own mother. Creating a Jewish home is learned at home. These are some of the things that mothers pass on to their daughters, whereas the things that were taught in school give them a fine foundation to be true mothers in Israel.

A proud husband of a BY graduate Dear Rachel,

As a grandmother who went to high school in Europe and missed out on the privilege of obtaining a Bais Yaakov education/chinuch, I must disagree with the young mother who considers it as having been a waste of her time.

With the type of secular stimulus out there today, it’s a good thing our girls are being intellectually nourished in such a wonderful way. If they weren’t, they’d be more likely to seek out mental stimulation from unorthodox sources.

More On A Lack Of Hakaras Hatov

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

Readers respond to the letter from Wounded In-Laws (Magazine 12-2-2011)

 

Dear Dr. Yael: While our situation is different from the daughter-in-law who did not express hakaras hatov to her husband’s family, I would like to share our story.

Our son and daughter-in-law are both physicians. Anyone who knows what doctors experience during training can empathize with us. We supported them financially and emotionally through their training (they met and married in medical school). While her parents are together and not dysfunctional, we would call them selfish. They never seem to have any money to help the children, but do seem to have money to go on lavish vacations. After years of schooling, we helped our children buy a house in the tri-state area near us. But they sold their home, bought a house out of town near her parents and got new professional positions (also out of town). Despite sending us a thank-you letter with a dozen roses upon moving, maintaining contact with us, and inviting us to their new mini-mansion, we are hurt. Their actions were so sudden.

While we babysat for their children and supervised their babysitters, a full-time housekeeper who hardly speaks English is now raising our grandchildren. Knowing her parents, we are sure that they are not as involved as we were with our grandchildren. It is true that they were able to sell their home near us and purchase a much larger home out of town, and at the same time able to secure good positions. But why couldn’t they even discuss their plans with us beforehand? Where is the hakaras hatov for all we did for them? We feel for Wounded In-Laws and understand their pain. Anonymous

Dear Anonymous: Sometimes people do things that are very hurtful, but their intention was never to cause anyone pain. While you have a very valid point and I understand your pain, it is likely that your children did not mean to hurt you in any way when deciding to move out of town. It could be that this was just something that they were looking into, and that everything moved very quickly. Try to be dan lecaf zechus, and make the best of your trying situation. Hatzlachah with your circumstances!

 

Dear Dr. Respler: We understand the deep pain those in-laws feel, as we are in their shoes. Basically, their son did not choose wisely. Our daughter-in-law was also raised by dysfunctional parents who did not (and still don’t) give her love, warmth and affection. They probably never will. Both their daughter-in-law and ours need to grow up. While the daughter-in-law is allowed to be angry with her parents, she needs to accept the situation and should thank Hashem every day for blessing her with wonderful, loving, and generous in-laws. She should never take out her bitterness on her terrific in-laws. Instead, the only feeling she should have toward them is love, kindness and gratefulness for everything they do. She should have the utmost derech eretz and hakaras hatov to her in-laws.

I most definitely disagree with your solution. They do not need to act with such despicable behavior toward in-laws who have always been there for them. They need to accept the reality that they will never have a loving relationship with them. Dr. Respler, unless the daughters-in-law have numerous sessions with you, their relationships will not develop into healthy ones. Contrary to your reply, these in-laws willingly made their daughter-in-law very comfortable and lovingly welcomed her into their home.

Many children today constantly want more and more, feeling that everything is coming to them. I say, “dayeinu – enough is enough.”

The in-laws should continue to act wonderfully toward their children, always keeping their doors and hearts open to them. But they should never go beyond their means for the relationship to work. If there is little or no communication with the daughter-in-law’s in-laws, it is most definitely a great loss for the son and daughter-in-law. Fondly, Baby Boomer Mother-in-Law

 

Dear Baby Boomer Mother-in-Law: I hear your anger and frustration. Although your assertions may be correct, my ideas were intended to make shalom in a challenging situation. It can be very wise in some situations to swallow your pride in order to make shalom. Yours is not the only letter that I received that thought that the daughter-in-law needed therapy. While this is hard to assess in a column, I respect your feelings and appreciate your letter.

 

Dear Dr. Yael: Many of our friends are suffering in similar fashion to the in-laws in question. I think it is many of the parents’ own fault. It starts with all the “yeshiva boys” who expect full support from their parents, and even the younger, more modern crowd that expects financial and emotional support from their parents. The young generation is a needy one – and we created it. Did we ever dare expect from our parents what our married children expect from us? I would venture to say that the younger generation struggles with expressing hakaras hatov in general. I understand that your answer was an effort to deal with this difficult situation, but I know how much pain these parents must be feeling. I believe we are all to blame for giving our children this feeling of entitlement. Thank you for raising this difficult issue. Frustrated Parents

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/marriage-relationships/more-on-a-lack-of-hakaras-hatov/2011/12/29/

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