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April 16, 2014 / 16 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Dear Sad’

Chronicles of Crises In Our Communities – 7/24/09

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

Dear Rachel,

I could go on and on, but I will try to make it concise. Reading about moms complaining about their grown children (Just My Perspective/Chronicles 6-26) really hit a nerve. I am tired of hearing it. If these mothers would be truthful and communicate their needs, everyone would be a lot happier.

In my situation, we stopped going to my parents for the chagim a long time ago (I have been married for 25 years), because it was too much for them. Instead, everyone comes to me or to my brother.

However, my husband’s parents insist we all come to them. All five of their children are married with several kids each (some also married, although the married grandchildren usually beg off).

We all bring food to help out, but then my mother-in-law is resentful because the kids like our food better then hers (which is at times almost inedible), and it becomes a power struggle over who eats what. She even gets insulted if someone doesn’t like the bakery cake she bought. My mother-in-law was never a good host, but as she gets older it gets worse.

If we tell her to come to us, she says they will stay home. For Pesach they grudgingly come but prepare their house in case they will need to return there after a fight with one of their children. (They tell this to anyone who will listen.)

Anyway, one thing parents can keep in mind is how all of this affects shalom bayis. For instance, in our extended family it is always tense for the husbands, wives and children before a Yom Tov, what with the negotiating of who will go; when to go; how long to go for; etc.

I, personally, have decided to try never to go for longer than a Shabbos.

Just sign me…

Sad Daughter-in-Law

Dear Rachel,

With all due respect to our elders, I suspect that the kvetchers have other issues that make them unhappy campers. They then vent on a convenient target – their children.

I won’t deny that it is sometimes great to get away, even if only for a change of scenery. But speaking for myself, when we do take the trouble to pack up and go it is mostly for our children (to give them the opportunity to bond with their grandparents), and for our parents (to give them nachas in getting to know their grandchildren).

With our lives Baruch Hashem filled to the hilt, we often find ourselves conflicted in our desire to spend Yom Tov in the comfort of our home versus visiting (or, more accurately, moving in) with our parents/in-laws.

So regardless of the whining that tends to take on a feverish pitch right around Yom Tov time, I concur that a good many of us are selfless, giving and dedicated parents (to our own), as well as devoted children (to our parents).

While bashing the “younger generation” seems to be in vogue, a better idea might be for parents/grandparents with grievances to try to get to the bottom of what is really bothering them, before they awaken to the realization that precious time was squandered on bickering rather than kvelling and enjoying the fruits of their labor.

P.S. In our own families, married children know they are welcome to call on their parents or in-laws for a Shabbos, Yom Tov or anytime. None of us takes advantage of this “open invitation” policy – just as we don’t take offense when the particular time we pick turns out not to be ideal for our parents (for whatever reason).

Happy and Healthy

Dear Daughters and Daughters-in-law,

As a mother and grandmother, I have been in your shoes – but with a difference…

Early on in my marriage, I unfortunately lost a father-in-law and mother. When our children would ask us why we were not going away for a Yom Tov, I would simply answer that we were practicing and learning to be a good bubby and zaidy for when they would one day bring their children home to us.

As grandparents, we now have the zechus to have our children over often, and I pray to Hashem for the strength to care for all those who need my love and help. Some children help more than others, and some days are easier than others. Nevertheless, we should thank Hashem that our families are intact. At the same time, we should be open with our children and let them know where we feel we need help.

To our daughters and daughters-in-law: Many of us do not have the same strength we had just a few years before, but we say nothing in order not to worry you; each side should consider itself lucky to have family to go to. Be upfront with your parents and in-laws if you find it much easier to be in your own home. Instead of “moving in” for Shabbos or Yom Tov, visit during vacation time or send one or two children (as they become old enough to be independent); walk over for a day meal if you live in the same neighborhood.

Just remember that if you do stay home, you might forgo many bonding moments that are well worth the extra effort to be together.

May we all merit much nachas from each other and the ultimate redemption with Moshiach Tzidkeinu.

Grateful to Hashem for all He has bestowed on me

Dear Sad, Happy and Grateful,

Despite contrasting family situations, you all seem to be going about doing what comes naturally: balancing your responsibilities as both parents and children.

Forever the eternal optimist, I believe that we – the dedicated and hard-working parents and grandparents (young and older) – are the silent majority. We recognize that there is “no gain without pain,” conduct ourselves with dignity, and pass our value system on to our children.

Your own words bear out that there are no two people alike and no standard rule to follow. Basically, children need to be mindful that their parents/grandparents have “been there and done that” and have thus earned the entitlement to take it easier (not to mention the toll that advancing years leave on physical adeptness and stamina).

When all is said and done, the key to harmony lies in being tuned in to our close and loved ones, and this works both ways. The perceptive among us will enjoy G-d’s wonderful gifts with minimal fuss, to glean tension-free maximum pleasure.

Please send your personal stories, thoughts and opinions to rachel@jewishpress.com

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 4/04/07

Monday, April 2nd, 2007

We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories by e-mail to rachel@jewishpress.com or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 338 Third Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11215.

To all women, men or children who feel that they are at the end of their ropes, please consider joining a support group, or forming one.

Anyone wishing to make a contribution to help agunot, please send your tax-deductible contribution to The Jewish Press Foundation.

Checks must be clearly specified to help agunot. Please make sure to include that information if that is the purpose of your contribution, because this is just one of the many worthwhile causes helped by this foundation.

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Dear Rachel,

You’re the first column I turn to every week. Saying that I “enjoy” reading it would be an insensitive remark as the issues you present are truly “crises in our communities.” They also prove that the frum world is still prone to awful situations, albeit pushed under the rug. After reading the letter from Been There, Too (Chronicle 1-26), my heart sank. She summed up the whole divorce situation so accurately and beautifully, especially the part “And the kids are the ones who end up losing out!”

Rachel, I experienced something that I wish for no one to ever experience: My parents divorced when I was in 8th grade (I am the oldest of six). At an age when one’s parents equal the world, I was unfortunately exposed to their “mean and heartless” sides. My siblings and I took part in their tug of war, each parent openly demonstrating their hatred for the other during a drawn out process.

My father gave my mother a Get, but the aftermath is still with us as they continue to play the “blame game.” My mother, who remarried, teams up with her husband to escalate the hatred of my father.

Some typical after-effects in children of divorce: lack of concentration, anger, depression, etc. What about the “later on” in life? I have been in the shidduch parshah for almost three years now and am beginning to worry. This is the part where Been There, Too’s last sentence really hit home. Is it fair to me, an innocent 20-year old, to be overlooked by potential shidduchim because my parents decided to divorce, a situation that was beyond my control? Is it fair to consider me a bad candidate because of what happened to my parents?

This letter is not meant as a sob story for people to discuss at their Shabbos table – it is a wake-up call for those who contemplate divorce and were zoche to become parents of Hashem’s precious child(ren). Please don’t put your kids through what I (and other children of divorce) have gone through and continue to go through, even years later! If you must separate (following all the therapies, vacations and consultations), be sensitive to your children’s needs as “[they] are the ones who end up losing out!”

A young adult of a sad divorce

Dear Sad,

If only your heartbreaking message would penetrate the hearts of those who call themselves parents yet are so self-absorbed in their battles that they fail their own flesh and blood miserably. But let’s focus on reality rather than on wishful thinking.

Divorce is not an uncommon phenomenon in our day. And it is your own midos and personality that define your suitability as a shidduch candidate. Your attitude in life and level of self-assurance are far more revealing than your “broken home” status.

Better than stressing yourself out worrying about being rejected because of your parents’ breakup, have faith that nothing will stand in the way of your pairing with your rightful zivug.

When Shlomo HaMelech’s beautiful and virtuous daughter, the apple of his eye, was approaching the age of maturity, her father – curious to know who would win her hand in marriage – consulted the Urim V’Tumim and searched her mazal.

To his chagrin, he discovered that his smart and sensitive daughter, a descendent of shevet Yehudah, was destined to become the wife of a pauper’s son, a descendent of Dan, the smallest of the shevatim.

The king had a tower built on a lone island, its one entrance bolted and sealed. A skylight served as the tower’s only source of illumination. The king’s daughter was instructed to gather her essentials and prepare to be sequestered in the tower until her father would summon her back to Yerushalayim.

Meals were delivered by select members of the Sanhedrin, drawn up by a pulley through the tower’s only window.

Shlomo HaMelech’s objective was to see Hashem’s plan in action – how He would arrange for the king’s daughter to meet her rightful zivug. She in the meanwhile prayed to G-d daily to bring her bashert to her.

Not far away, the eldest child of an impoverished household could no longer endure his family’s suffering and set out in tattered clothing to seek parnassah. Reuven, blessed with wisdom and good looks, wandered from town to town. Exhausted and hungry by nightfall, he sought shelter among the trees in the forest, wrapping himself against the wind with the pelt of a dead ox.

A large eagle attracted to the scent of the carcass scooped up the pelt along with the sleeping form and flew off – to land on the rooftop of the tower inhabited by Shlomo HaMelech’s daughter. When the eagle began to feast on the animal’s skin, Reuven awoke and the startled eagle took flight.

On her customary morning walk on the roof, the king’s daughter had the surprise of her life. A disheveled young man detailed the events that led him to her. The tower’s lone occupant took pity on her hapless visitor and shared her meals with him.

Neither could exit the tower and she gradually came to admire the young man’s middos and intellect. She asked him if he would marry her, and he agreed. They used her ring, and the kesubah was written with blood drawn from his hand. Sticking their heads out the window to acknowledge Hashem’s omnipresence, they called on Michoel and Gavriel as witnesses – and thus declared themselves husband and wife.

Eventually a member of the Sanhedrin spied the two at the window and notified the king of his astonishing find. Shlomo HaMelech came to verify the “impossible,” joyously reuniting with his beloved daughter. Validating G-d’s wondrous personal mission in pairing his daughter with her zivug, Shlomo HaMelech proclaimed, “Baruch HaMakom she’nosein ishah l’ish.”

Take heart, young lady – He Who enacted the miracle of Krias Yam Suf is the Arranger of all matches.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/chronicles-of-crises/chronicles-of-crises-in-our-communities-311/2007/04/02/

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