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

How Refusing To Be Ruth-less Led To Moshiach

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

By now just about all of us are in summer mode, and Yom Tov cheesecake and blintzes are out of our minds – though not necessarily off our bodies. Nonetheless, the topic I am addressing is tied to the festival of Shavuot, as I wrote it just after the holiday had ended. (This time warp often occurs when addressing deadlines ahead of time, a necessity when I know that visiting a near minyan of pre-school grandchildren in three cities will make writing a coherent column rather challenging).

Now that the time discrepancy has been explained, while I was in shul on the second day of Shavuot, (no staying at home when Yizkor is recited, no matter how many little ones are clamoring for attention) I took a few moments to glance at the English translation of Megillat Rut. The story itself is quite engaging in any language, but reading it in your “mamaloshen” adds to the enjoyment and appreciation of the drama inherent in the drastic and unpredictable reversal of fortune of the two women chronicled in the book.

The aristocratic Jewess, Naomi and the Moabite princess, Rut, go from riches to rags and happily, back to riches.

Besides being a compelling story of how life can be a roller coaster, Megillat Rut is replete with invaluable lessons on how to behave in the way the Torah instructs us. Through Rut’s relationship to her dead husband’s mother, we see what unwavering loyalty and devotion is all about, (and that mothers and daughters-in law can get along) and we are shown the virtue and reward of “stepping up to the plate” and accepting your halachic obligations with grace and an open mind, as Boaz did. (His honorable act resulted in his being the ancestor of the royal house of David and Moshiach. It doesn’t get better than that!)

We also see the importance of hakarat hatov. Naomi did not have an “es kimt mir” attitude regarding the multi-faceted sacrifice and mesirat nefesh that Rut unflinchingly suffered in order to ensure her mother-in-law’s well-being. Naomi is fully aware and appreciative of Rut’s heroic and selfless efforts on her behalf, and she frets over Rut’s future. In perek gimmel, Naomi declares, “My daughter, shall I not seek rest for you, that it may be well with you?” It is through Naomi’s cleverness – fueled by her unselfish willingness to let go of her only “pillar” – that Rut connects with Boaz. Naomi’s hakarat hatov launches the process that leads to the future birth of Moshiach.

But there is yet a bigger message to absorb and internalize from the trials and tribulations of the megilla‘s namesake, revealed in three statements uttered by Boaz. In Chapter 2, Verse 9, Boaz lets Rut know that he has instructed his men to not touch her. But he is not done. For in Verse 15, it is written, “Boaz commanded his young men, saying: ‘Let her (referring to Rut) glean even among the sheaves, and put her not to shame.’” As if his message of protection was not enough, in the next verse he orders his men “not to rebuke her.”

The question that begs to be asked is why Boaz thought it was necessary to warn his staff/workers not to shame Rut, and to refrain from any physical or verbal assault that would result in hurting and humiliating her, or making her feel worthless, inadequate or inferior. Why did he feel it necessary to forbid them to harass or bully Rut or cause her any physical or emotional distress?

It would appear that Boaz surrounded himself with pious men, and that he hired people who were G-d fearing and shomer mitzvot. They obviously knew the halacha regarding gleanings as commanded in the Torah. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to conclude that they were also fully cognizant of the biblical commandment to be kind to widows, and to welcome the ger in their midst – of which Rut was both.

So why did Boaz feel it was necessary to admonish his men not to not touch Ruth, nor rebuke her or “put her to shame”? Why did he feel compelled to remind his men to be menschlich?

My guess is that he knew human nature all too well. He knew that being raised in a Torah environment does not guarantee a person will act with derech eretz - with respect and consideration. One need only look at the sefira period that precedes Shavuot to realize how true that is. We mourn the premature deaths of thousands of talmidei chachamim – the pious, brilliant students of Rabi Akiva, who perished because of a lack of respect for one another. If these incredible scholars, so saturated with Torah, were able to act in a manner that was deemed disrespectful or inappropriate, how much greater the likelihood that a regular Yid could indulge in bad behavior?

Craving A Wife’s Emotions

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Dear Dr. Yael:

My wife, who takes good, loving care of our children and is very generous with her time, has a closed nature. It is not in her character to pay compliments or show appreciation. While she tries valiantly to never raise her voice to the children or me and works hard to always speak with derech eretz, I yearn to hear her tell me that she loves me – although I know that she does. I keep trying to be giving and warm her, exhibiting what I want in return, but I am usually disappointed. After seven years of marriage, I see some changes – but they are very slight. I crave more openness and warmth from my wife.

Her family is less expressive than mine. My family is emotionally open and we often express how much we care for one another. My in-laws never really say, “I love you,” and so I know that is what she grew up with, but I want my wife to be more like my family and me. I want our children to be warm and expressive, and although they definitely bring out my wife’s limited warmth I still feel that she has a long way to go in this area. I am not trying to be critical because I love my wife and am very happily married, Baruch Hashem. However, her lack of openness sometimes frustrates me. I don’t always want to be the one who starts loving conversations, I want her to learn to trust me with her vulnerabilities by telling me more often how she feels. How can I help her overcome this closed nature?

A Loving Husband

Dear Loving Husband:

Family nature is significant and often contagious. Thus if your wife grew up in a family that was not expressive with their feelings, sharing her feelings with others will likely make her uncomfortable. Over the years it has become clear to me that people tend to subconsciously emulate the way they were raised. I applaud your continuous giving and warmth, but although modeling the behavior is very helpful, it would also be valuable for you to have an honest conversation with your wife about your feelings. In a warm and loving manner, consider saying the following to her:

“I really love you and treasure our relationship. I appreciate all the time and effort that you put into bringing up our children and caring our home, and the way you support and take care of me – as well as the derech eretz you have always shown me. I know that in your own way you try to be there for me. But you cannot imagine how much I crave your warmth and loving words. I know it is hard for you, but maybe you can try to initiate speaking to me in a loving and warm manner. It would mean so much to me.”

It is important that you try to be patient, as this is not something that can be changed easily. You may have to bring this up a number of times, always in a gentle and caring way – and never in a manner that is accusatory or nagging. It may even be a good idea to give your wife some examples of things she could say that would make you feel good.

You both may feel uncomfortable the first few times she says what you suggested, but it will become more ingrained in you both as time goes on. Think of the famous lesson, mitoch she’lo lishma, ba lishma – from doing something habitually, you may come to do it for Hashem’s sake. Even if your wife initially speaks more lovingly to you because you requested that she do so, she will become more comfortable speaking in this manner over time. And in due course it will become like second nature to her – as well as more meaningful.

Focus on the positive qualities that you acknowledge your wife displays. Be patient with her while continuing to be loving and warm, even if she is not initiating the types of conversations you are craving. You mentioned that there your wife has already demonstrated some change, so what you are doing is working, and she is really trying.

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Sympathetic to A Sympathetic Bubby
(Chronicles June 8 )

Dear Rachel,

I just finished reading your response to the worried bubby and was very disappointed with your answer. This bubby is right on. We are seeing an alarming increase in childhood anxiety. We also have kids being diagnosed with ADHD and all kinds of learning disabilities. Medication is given out like candy, without any thought of the immediate side effects and long-term effects it can have.

Today, in addition to the tremendous financial demands of sending a child (or numerous children) to yeshiva, most families are spending money on tutors and therapists as well. And yet with all of this, we are at a loss as to why our kids are having so many behavioral issues (kids off the derech, mood disorders, bullying, OCD, etc.).

It’s time to take our heads out of the sand. Our children are being deprived of normal childhood activities because of the demands of the yeshiva system. Our children should be coming home from school and taking their bikes out for a ride or playing ball, but there’s almost no time for anything, not even sleep.

We all grew up in a different era where the demands were not as great. Kids at risk or many of the issues we are seeing today, such as bullying, etc., were almost unheard of. We are making unrealistic demands of young children, and much of the time they aren’t given a constructive outlet for their stress. These demands transmit to the parents as well; we are unable to have positive communication with our children, since we are frantically trying to help them complete all their homework instead of spending quality time with them after their long day at school.

Recently a friend told me that half of her son’s high school class – he is now in college – was on medication. We are asking our kids to sit for 10-hour days with almost no movement, and then to come home for hours more of studying and homework. That’s a ridiculous expectation. Where do they turn? Social media, computers and phones are being used as a means of distraction from the day-to-day pressures.

In some cases, kids are displaying real at-risk behaviors in trying to cope with the pressures that face them. My girls are having bekius tests as early as third grade. This is stressing kids out and for what? They don’t need to be rebbetzins; they need to develop into happy, well-adjusted adults. There are girls in my daughter’s class who are exhibiting real behavioral issues, such as bullying, and are displaying a real lack of middos.

Why is our focus so off? We need to make school fun and give our children constructive positive ways to enjoy themselves minus the Internet, cell phones and TV. We would not need an asifa to fix the problem if we start using some basic common sense. I’ve spent a lot of time in the Midwest because some of my kids compete on a professional level in certain sports. I have been so impressed with these non-Jewish kids. They have tremendous focus, discipline and respect. They are seriously involved in wholesome sports that they love. I speak to their coaches and I see that they have almost no drug issues and very little behavioral issues. They have found a way to give their kids positive outlets for their energy and stress.

Why can’t we learn from them? If we are able to reduce the demands made on our kids and make more time to communicate with them positively, teaching them basic derech eretz, kavod habriosand positive forms of enjoyment, we will see happy well-adjusted adults who will not have to resort to deviant distorted behaviors to find themselves.

We can do better!

Dear Can Do,

Your points are well taken, however your letter addresses multiple issues that are not necessarily linked. For instance, can we really pin the blame for children’s learning disabilities on the burden of homework overload? Does a demanding itinerary inevitably result in a sedentary lifestyle? Do kids act out in unhealthy ways because of a lack of physical recreation that some of our schools fail to provide for their student body?

The Tal Law and Jewish Law – In Conflict?

Monday, June 11th, 2012

In February, Israel’s Supreme Court voted the Tal Law discriminatory and unconstitutional in a vote of six to three. The law, which provides exemptions for young men studying in yeshiva full-time, has been the subject of much criticism and controversy.

Advocates of maintaining the status quo, argue that those studying Torah provide a spiritual protection to the State of Israel. They also believe that Jewish Law requires exemptions for yeshiva students.

But what does Jewish Law really require?

The Mishnah (Sotah 8:7) states: “…In a Milchemet Mitzvah, all go out [to war], even a groom from his room and a bride from her wedding canopy.” While many explain that women are exempt from combat, they are to assist by “providing food and fixing roads” (Tiferet Yisrael, ad loc.), for example. By including bride and groom, based on Yoel 2:16, the Mishnah emphasizes that all are required to participate in the war effort, without exception.

Rambam defines a Milchemet Mitzvah as, “war [against] the Seven Nations, war [against] Amalek, and assisting Israel from the hand of the enemy who comes up against them” (Hil. Melachim 5:1). This last definition informs our discussion. With a nuclear threat from Iran looming, enemy States on our borders, and the constant threat of terrorism within, anyone who is intellectually honest must admit that we find ourselves today embroiled in a Milchemet Mitzvah, a national security situation that demands the help of all.

Those who advocate exemptions for students studying Torah full-time also find support in the Rambam’s Mishneh Torah. Rambam writes at the end of Hilchot Shemitta v’Yovel, that the Tribe of Levi is exempt from going to war as they are the ‘Army of Hashem,’ so to speak. They are to fulfill their role as spiritual leaders of the Jewish People. They do not inherit a portion of he Land and their material needs are provided for. Rambam then continues and writes:

And not only the Tribe of Levi, but also each and every individual whose spirit moves him and whose knowledge gives him understanding to set himself apart in order to stand before the Lord, to serve Him, to worship Him and to know Him, and releases his neck from the yoke of the many considerations that men are wont to pursue – such an individual is consecrated as the Holy of Holies, and his portion and inheritance shall be in the Lord forever and ever. The Lord will grant him in this world whatsoever is sufficient for him, as He has granted the Kohanim and Levi’im (Hil. Shemitta v’Yovel 13:13).

With this addendum, Rambam allows for anyone “whose spirit moves him” to devote himself solely to Torah study, free from the burden of army service and divorced of all material concerns.

But this passage is problematic. Later commentaries struggle to find a Talmudic source for Rambam’s ruling. Some suggest that this passage is based on Nedarim 32a, where our patriarch Avraham is criticized for drafting Torah scholars in the War of the Four Kings against the Five. Others point to Sotah 10a, which describes how King Asa was punished for mobilizing talmidei chachamim.

Rambam himself rules that even a bride and groom must assist in the war effort (Hil. Melachim 7:4). If bride and groom are not exempted, how can a yeshivah student, “whose spirit moves him,” escape the draft? And by suggesting that Torah scholars can look to their brethren for financial support, Rambam also appears to contradict what he writes in his commentary to Avot 4:5 and in Hilchot Talmud Torah 3:10-11, where he decries the practice of relying upon others and emphasizes the importance of balancing Torah study with a livelihood.

What is clear is that Rambam’s ruling here is not the rule, but the exception. His allowance is made for the elite, the select few individuals that are able to devote themselves wholly to avodat Hashem. Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein asks,

To how large a segment of the Torah community – or, a fortiori, of any community – does this lofty typology apply? To two percent? Five percent? Can anyone who negotiates the terms of salary, perhaps even naden or kest or both, confront a mirror and tell himself that he ought not go to the army because he is kodesh kodashim, sanctum sanctorum in the Rambam’s terms? (“The Ideology of Hesder,” Tradition, Fall 1981).

Exempting entire sectors of the Jewish Community from army service and from pursuing a parnassah, is not what the Rambam intended.

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

Reflection, Rebuke and Reverberations…

An open letter to Deborah Feldman

Dearest Deborah,

Today I witnessed a beautiful event. One of my neighbors had yahrtzeit for his mother and got together with all seven of his siblings, some who had come from as far as Israel, not to mention other states in America.

My memory takes me back some years to when I paid a shiva call to this same neighbor upon the loss of his mother. All of her eight children sat shiva together, all shomer Torah and mitzvos, most of them at the time married with children of their own. It was then that my friend had recalled how his mom would come home from work early on Shabbos day, light a cigarette and relax on the couch before getting up to prepare shalosh seudos for them.

Had I heard correctly? I had, my friend assured me. His parents had been non-observant. I was astounded. How had a non-religious couple manage to raise all eight of their children to be shomer Torah u’mitzvos?

Turned out that his mother had been a rebellious girl from Satmar who had gone off the derech. She left home and went to college where she met a secular Israeli whom she wed.

After their marriage, the couple moved to a remote southern town, where they could blend in and be plain American folk. It was after the arrival of their first child that the idea of Jewish identity began to bother my friend’s mother. This concern grew until she persuaded her husband to move to a more “Jewish” city where they could give their children a Jewish education. All eight children received a yeshiva education, half of them going on to Kollel.

Each child would come home expressing a longing for shmiras hamitzvos. Their mother acquiesced to keeping a kosher home, with all that it entailed — on condition that she and their father be counted out. They had no desire to become observant, even as they were willing to facilitate their children’s spiritual journeys.

This woman left her roots just as you did, Deborah. She had her doubts and issues, just like you. The crucial difference between you and her is that she brought holiness into this world — by allowing her beautiful legacy from previous millennia to continue to survive and to shine through her children.

Unlike you, Deborah, she didn’t malign millions of holy women who love their role as Eim b’Yisroel and didn’t sell out their private and tzniusdik way of life for coffee table talk.

Tonight no less than forty-two B’nei Torah will make a seudah for the neshama of their heilige mama — a woman who scorned her roots, yet brought forth fruit.

Deborah, you can be holy too. There’s no escaping your Jewish soul.

 

Dear Rachel,

A dysfunctional, self-absorbed schnook gets up to make fun of our beautiful holy laws and tradition like we’re some backwards people, and Barbara Walters – along with her staff and audience – applauds and cheers. How appalling!

I humbly suggest that BW interview one of the thousands of baalei teshuvah who have abandoned their secular lifestyle, or one of the many frum professionals – yes, chassids among them – who pursue careers in law, medicine, etc., while adhering to the Torah laws.

We can fill not one book but multiple volumes detailing the accomplishments of our own. Let her visit the hospital’s stocked Bikur Cholim room to start with, and in the process she may even run into one of us mothers of large families, who manage to carve time out of our busy schedules to personally distribute fresh home-cooked meals to patients and their visitors — an ongoing daily practice initiated by none other than Satmar.

My heart aches for Deborah and I hope she wakes up before she wastes her life away. Her disadvantaged background serves as no excuse — a person has bechira and is responsible for his or her actions.

A Proud Bas Yisroel

 

Dear Rachel,

As an avid Jewish Press reader for the past fifty years, and a lifetime resident and member of the Williamsburg Satmar community, I feel the need to clarify that despite Deborah’s unstable parentage, her paternal grandparents are wonderful and very intelligent people.

In our warm, caring and close-knit community we help one another out during difficult times, be they happy or G-d forbid sad, be it with money, time or whatever is needed. How ironic that the widely circulated picture of Deborah, alongside her husband and baby, shows her glowing with chein and happiness! Today she may be giving the impression of being happy with her new lifestyle, but on the inside she knows the truth.

I advise people not to take her book for face value — a lot of it must be verified.

Weighing Our Words Carefully

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Dear Dr. Respler: I am, Baruch Hashem, a healthy mother and grandmother who was recently trying to be helpful to my married daughter. After Shabbos my daughter, who has a large family, had many dishes piled in the sink. I planned on rinsing the dishes and placing them in the dishwasher, and then straightening up downstairs while she put her younger children to sleep. Aware of my plans my daughter, who loves me and means well, said, “Ma, please don’t work so hard. I will put the children to sleep, and then I can clean up and load the dishwasher quickly. I will do it quicker than you, and I want you to relax.”

I was hurt. I know that she really wanted me to take it easy, but suddenly I felt like an old, useless woman. Do you think my daughter was right? How can I tell her how I feel without hurting her?

My husband and I are planning to move in with my daughter, son-in-law and their children for Pesach. We always enjoy going there, but I do not feel good when I cannot be useful. I would like to help my daughter over Pesach, and would feel better if she allowed me to help her. Please advise me. A Healthy Grandmother

Dear Healthy Grandmother: Although your daughter’s words were said with derech eretz, her words were, in fact, considered ona’as devarim (hurtful speech). She appears to have meant no harm, while not understanding that what she said constitutes a type of ona’as devarim. For the record, an example of ona’as devarim is when one makes someone feel incompetent and undermines the person’s ability to be helpful. As it is written in the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation’s Positive Word Power: “Under the surface [of the given situation] was a message that cast doubt on your competence.”

This may sound mind-boggling to my readers, as I was astonished the first time I learned this.

Your daughter clearly meant to give you kavod and wanted to spare you from stacking the dishwasher and cleaning the house, which in her mind was overworking you. But this made you feel incompetent and caused you pain, even though you were obviously trying to be helpful. (As we age but still try to help others, we are aggrieved when rebuffed in our efforts.)

Since your daughter’s hurtful words were entirely unintentional, it is important that you not cause her pain in return. She may feel slighted if you tell her that you were hurt by her comment, especially since she apparently wants to treat you with derech eretz and be a good daughter. Set aside a mutually convenient, stress-free time for the two of you to discuss your feelings. A relaxing lunch in a restaurant when the children are in school would be a nice setting. Remember that a tranquil atmosphere is important, lessening the likelihood that any misunderstanding or misconstruing of words takes place.

During this proposed conversation, please be careful not to hurt your daughter and make sure to support her wish to protect and love you. Consider saying something like, “I know that you did not mean to be hurtful and that you love me, but I felt badly when you told me that I shouldn’t help you because you can do it faster.” Express clearly that you love her very much and that you do not want to upset her. Tell her that helping her is actually therapeutic for you. Explain that even though you may do things slower than her, you get immense satisfaction in being able to ease her burdens by assisting her with the chores.

An honest conversation will help make your daughter aware of your feelings and sensitize her to your wishes to be of help. This conversation should take place before Pesach, so that you can attempt to help her during the Yom Tov. Perhaps you can also aid her in preparing for Pesach by offering to purchase needed items. And if she and her family can use financial help during these challenging economic times, you might conclude that this might be a road you should travel. If she doesn’t need your monetary help, possibly just doing some of the food or children’s clothes shopping will be of help to her.

I am certain that you, as a sensitive, caring mother, will know the correct things to do to help your daughter before and during Pesach. What’s important is to keep the lines of communication open and to assure your daughter that you treasure your relationship with her, and that you appreciate her and her husband’s immense kavod for you and your husband.

Thank you for raising such an important topic before Pesach. Ona’as devarim is an action that many people transgress unintentionally. We all must try to think before we speak, and make an effort to only say things that will not be painful to others. As Pesach is a time when we are with family, it is sometimes difficult to be careful with our speech when in their company. I hope that we can all learn from your daughter’s innocuous comment and realize that even when we mean well, we must make sure that we do not say anything that offends or hurts others.

Encouraging Without Pushing

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Dear Dr. Respler:

I recently lost my husband of 51 years, and I am very depressed. He was a true talmid chacham and a loving husband. Every morning when he was well, he went to shul early. He never missed a minyan and he learned every day. All his life he ran a business and, baruch Hashem, he worked hard and took excellent care of our children and me. I look at my grandsons and my grandsons-in-law and they don’t hold a candle to my husband. Even the children who learn in kollel are not as careful as my husband was about being on time for minyan.

Everyone seems too busy for me, and I feel very lonely. My daughter says that I am pushing the children and grandchildren away since I am too critical. Has anyone ever heard of constructive criticism? I want to help my children and grandchildren become better people. My friends’ children and grandchildren are always calling and visiting her. Mine come to see me, but they seem anxious to leave. My friend, who is really great to me, also tells me that I am too critical. She says I push my loved ones away with my remarks. What do you think?

Lonely Widow

Dear Lonely Widow:

Years ago I spoke in a Lubavitch community, where the rav at the time, Rabbi Sachs, expressed the brilliant thought that constructive criticism is an oxymoron. We all love to hear positive, loving things, but unfortunately some people tend to give more criticism than compliments.

Most people gravitate to those with a positive outlook. When I do marriage counseling I attempt to begin breaking the negative cycle by assigning this task to the couple: they must give each other at least three sincere compliments a day. This is generally difficult for them, but it begins to change the negative marital cycle. We can then evaluate more deeply the negative marital patterns that are destroying the relationship. Similarly, I advise generally critical people to be more positive and complimentary in an effort to break a negative cycle in their lives.

Your letter appears to reflect that you may be overly critical of your loved ones. Perhaps your daughter is correct, and you are distancing them from you by being critical. I am certain that your intentions are honorable, but think about this: Would you want to be around someone who is disapproving and critical of you, or would you rather be with someone who is positive and loving? Is it possible for you to share some of your concerns with your children and grandchildren in a more affectionate manner and with a soft, gentle tone? Remember that if we are generally loving and occasionally critical, our words have more validity.

It would be helpful if you asked yourself the following questions, as they may help in your self-examination: Do you criticize others, possibly subconsciously, in order to gain control in the relationship? Are you more critical when feeling insecure? Did your parents criticize you when you were a child? Do you feel that you show your love to those you care about?

Complimenting people is the easiest way to build someone’s confidence. Doing this makes you closer to the person and makes the person want to be closer to you. We can always find something good to say about someone. So the next time you see your children and grandchildren think about a compliment you can pay them, not necessarily one that can improve them. Of course we all want to improve our loved ones and ourselves, but people generally do not take well to criticism. True improvement comes from much love and statements phrased in a positive manner. As it is always hard for individuals to accept criticism, people are more likely to accept it if it comes from someone that they feel loves them and thinks highly of them.

You will not be able to help your children and grandchildren improve unless you build a positive relationship with them and they feel emotionally safe with you. They must understand that you have a high regard for them and that you only say something negative when it is important. Being consistently critical will get you nowhere because it is likely that no one will listen to your words. Most individuals in this kind of predicament generally tune out the negativity and become defensive when anything critical comes up. Thus the only way to have a good relationship with others is to work on being more positive and complimentary.

People cannot improve everything at once, so if something happens that you feel is important to mention, use a positive and loving manner to help the person improve. Give the person a compliment and then offer your opinion as to how this improvement can take place. For example, if one of your grandchildren is not speaking with derech eretz to his or her parents, you might say something like, “Honey, you are such an amazing child and I often see you go out of your way to do mitzvos. I am so proud of you. I am sure that you do not realize that the things you sometimes say or the way that you say it is not with the proper derech eretz. I know that you want to be respectful, so maybe this is something we can work on together. What do you think, my special grandchild?” This makes you sensitive to your grandchild’s feelings, while still getting your point across. This may still be difficult for your grandchild to accept, but at least he or she will not feel like staying away.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/marriage-relationships/encouraging-without-pushing/2012/03/23/

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