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Posts Tagged ‘Erev Shabbos’

Reb Elimelech M’Lizhensk (Part X)

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

To the misnaged-opponent, chassidus was not perceived as a different strand of normative Judaism, nor as a movement to uplift downtrodden Jews – but as an existential threat to Judaism itself. And the threat was no longer viewed as a futuristic potentiality; it was a real and imminent danger, for the movement was no longer limited to just the commoner but had infiltrated the ranks of scholars.

Accordingly, the opponents and their leadership concluded that the time had no longer come to halt the proliferation of the aberrant chassidic movement – but to annihilate it. If there was anything they had learned from the Sabbetai Zvi and Jacob Frank debacles, it was how important it was to crush false prophets at the very first signs, before affording a chance to influence and spread.

Those that had decided upon issuing a cherem (excommunication) against chassidim meant they had decided upon war. Any other move would be too little and too late.

The first stage occurred in 1771 when letters circulated regarding the heresy of chassidus. By 1772 full-fledged excommunication was in the works under the direction of no less a spiritual giant than the Vilna Gaon. The result was that the chassidim were ostracized and excommunicated in Lithuania and Galicia, and a rift had been wedged into the Jewish community.

The war against the chassidim continued to rage after the death of the maggid on 19 Kislev, 1772. With the master’s passing the chassidim concluded that it was time to formulate a counterstrategy. Until then, the battle had remained isolated enough that a single leader was capable of guiding the situation. But this was no longer the case. The battlefront stretched from Sokolov to Vilna, from Slutzk to Pinsk, and from Brisk to Brodi.

The chassidic camp universally felt that there was a need for leaders that were richly endowed with energy and charisma, those who would know how to guard chassidic interests and even be prepared to engage in battle. The candidate who they felt best filled this description was Reb Elimelech, who was to assume the mantle of leadership in Galicia and Poland.

Reb Elimelech was the son of Reb Eliezer Lipman, a leaseholder in the township of Lapachi, near Tiktin. Tradition maintains that Eliezer Lipman was an individual wholly committed to the sake of G-d and His people, outstanding in his love for all Jews. For this reason, chassidic folklore attributes the “crown of charity” to Reb Eliezer Lipman who was known to work sedulously to redeem the imprisoned and repay the debts of poor tenants incarcerated by their rapacious landowners. Everything he did was performed with complete anonymity.

Eliezer Lipman’s wife, Mirish, was also a holy personality who devoted her days to good deeds. Every Erev Shabbos she would travel to Tiktin to dispense alms. One story relates how a group of poor people came to her home. Among them was a leper covered in boils. Everyone avoided this poor soul, but Mirish did not shy away from the opportunity. She exerted herself on his behalf and cared for his needs. Just before the group’s departure, the leper blessed her by saying, “May your children be like me.”

Mirish was frightened, indeed in no small measure revolted by the blessing. But before she could respond, the entire entourage of poor people disappeared. She then understood that she had been subjected to a Heavenly test to gauge her resolve and commitment. Accordingly, the blessing that she received was G-dly in nature and intended for her good.

Mirish was illiterate and did not even know how to read from a siddur. Yet Reb Zusha would testify that when his mother would recite the blessings (which she obviously knew by heart) the Shechinah would hover there. (Obviously only an angel such as Reb Zusha could make such an assertion.)

This pious couple, who lived initially in destitution, were pained that their children were not learned in Torah. As they agonized over their plight, the Baal Shem Tov came to their town. This unknown itinerant would gather crowds of simple folk and regale them about the value of holy and pure prayer and the value of donating to places of worship. The couple was mesmerized by what this man had to say.

Psalms, Scuds And Shamir

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

Let me tell you how special it is to live in Eretz Yisrael. The other day I decided it was time for me to say the entire Book of Psalms – Tehillim. I’m the father of ten children and fifteen grandchildren (b’li ayin hara), so the power of Tehillim is where I turn, for my family’s needs.

But I decided that before I could start reading the Tehillim I needed to cancel my extra Bezek telephone line, which I no longer needed.

So I called Bezek. I got some recordings, but finally a women came on the line and asked me why I wanted to cancel the line. “Please,” I said, “I need to read the whole book of Tehillim, it’s a six-hour job, so just cancel my line.”

Then I asked her what her name was and she replied, “Tehila.”

“Tehila?” I gasped. “And I just told you that I’m going to say the whole Book of Tehillim!”

“And I was named after the book,” she said.

“So was my oldest daughter,” I told her.

“My wife was having our first child,” I explained, “and we had a mean-looking doctor, from the old school, and he said to her, ‘If the baby doesn’t turn around in a half hour, we’re going to have to cut you open with a caesarian section.’

“My wife started crying, ‘Why me, why me?’ and I said, sternly, ‘It’s not up to the doctor, it’s up to Hashem.’

“Then I opened the Tehillim and insisted that she repeat each verse after me, and she did.

“Ten minutes later the doctor came to check her again and said, ‘She’s ready for a normal birth.’ And that’s why we named her after the book – Tehila.”

“Wow!” the operator said. “What a beautiful story!”

“Now tell me your story,” I asked.

She told me her mother was nine months pregnant during the 1991 Gulf War. Her parents lived in the center of the country, where some 39 Scuds from Iraq were exploding. Their large building was rattled by a direct hit, and an entire wall of the tenement came crashing down, but as with all the Scuds, no one was directly injured.

“But from the shock, my mother immediately started having contractions. She was rushed to the hospital and I was born, and I was named after the Book of Tehillim.”

“What a story!” I said. “But do you know why you were named after the book?”

“I guess my parents read Tehillim then also,” she responded.

“No, it’s more than that,” I told her. “All over Israel there was a popular poster on billboards reading, ‘Say Tehillim [to protect us] against the Tillim [meaning Scuds or missiles].”

And so now, after my conversation with the phone company operator named Tehila, I was ready to read Tehillim. But let me add that this was the morning after our seventh prime minister, Yitzhak Shamir, a tiny but mighty man, died at the ripe old age of 96.

So it’s apropos to tell you it was the Gulf War – with the gas masks and the 39 Scuds and the amazing miracles and the dictate of President Bush and his secretary of state, James Baker, that Israel not react but rather sit back and do nothing while the Scuds came crashing down – that caused our prime minister to really come of age, to change, so to speak.

Let me explain: Shamir was a great lover of Israel but he refused to be a “hostage” to “religious coercion.” So when he won the election in 1988 and had a clear majority of 63, counting the religious parties, he signed an agreement with head of the Agudas Yisrael party, Rav Menachem Porush, zt”l, giving into all of the party’s religious demands.

Then, suddenly, he approached the Labor Party and said, “Let’s form a national unity government, and to heck with these small haredi bench warmers. Who needs them to blackmail us, with their power to bring down the government with one vote?”

Labor accepted the offer. And Rav Porush, seeing how he’d been used and tricked, screamed, “What about the agreement we just signed? You must honor it and have Agudah in the government too!”

A Shampoo Gemach

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

My two delicious daughters were engaged in one of their favorite activities – bathing. Swimsuits and all, they were playing in the water, unaware of all the rushed Erev Shabbos preparations. Every once in a while I would stop by the bathroom to check if they needed anything, but they were quite self-sufficient and very occupied.

After almost an hour of bath-time fun, I told them that it was time to come out. They wrapped themselves in their soft, fluffy bathrobes, their wet hair dripping and their natural curls beginning to spring back to shape.

“Wow, girls, you were in there for so long! What were you playing?” I asked them.

“Shampoo gemach” was the simple and innocent sweet answer.

“Shampoo gemach? How do you play that?” I was intrigued.

“Well,” my older daughter answered, “I was a lady with a shampoo gemach and Shira came to the gemach to borrow shampoo.”

So simple. Shira ran out of shampoo so she went to the gemach to borrow some more. (I hope she had the sense to get dressed before going out!)

Pride washed over my senses. I tried to place the pride. It wasn’t pride in my children, as they were just mimicking the society in which they live. Rather it was pride in our community that stresses gemachs and acts of gemilas chesed. Families that try to find ways to help others. People that go out of their way to search for opportunities to practice kindness.

I thought of my building of 10 families, 10 neighbors sharing a common space. One neighbor lends their car freely to those that need it. Another neighbor runs a simcha-accessory gemach – providing tablecloths, vases, serving platters and the like. A third neighbor has a medicine gemach, another a refrigerator gemach, and yet another a chair-and-stamp gemach. That puts us at six gemachs in a 10-family building.

We knock on each other’s doors to borrow noodles, flour and sugar. Sometimes we even borrow money from one another. Most of us have lists posted in our homes with items that we have borrowed, ensuring that we return them.

Olam Chesed Yibaneh” (Tehillim 89:3). I thank Hashem that I merited to live in this microcosmic world of chesed. I thank Hashem that my daughters play “shampoo gemach.” I thank Hashem for the opportunity of living as a frum Jew, searching for ways to make life easier and more enjoyable for other people. And I daven that Hashem focus on our positive acts toward each other and ignore our shortcomings, thereby being zocheh to the final geulah.

Reb Elimelech M’Lizhensk (Part II)

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

The parents of Reb Elimelech M’Lizhensk, Eliezer Lipman and his pious wife, Mirish, emanated from families that could trace their lineage all the way back to Rashi, Rav Yochanan Hasandlar of Talmudic fame and even King David. They lived in the townlet of Lapachi, not far from Tiktin.

As Mirish was illiterate in the holy tongue, she would recite her blessings by heart. Reb Zusha testified that at the time that his mother prayed, the Divine presence could be found in the home. On Erev Shabbos she would travel to Tiktin to dispense alms.

One story tells of a group of destitute beggars who came to her home, including a leper covered in ghastly boils. While everyone else distanced himself or herself from this wretched discomfiture, Mirish reached out and saw to his needs. Just before the group’s departure the leper blessed her: “May your children be like me.”

Before she could respond to this worrisome blessing, the entire entourage vanished. She then understood that she had been tested from Heaven.

One day, the Baal Shem Tov – who would travel from town to town and address assemblies of the commoners regarding the value of prayer and the sanctity of the synagogue – visited Eliezer and Mirish’s village. This marked a turning point in their lives. From that day on, they faithfully provided candles to the shul and were meticulous in prayer, as they beseeched the Almighty to open the hearts of their four sons and one daughter to the Torah.

On the sad day that Eliezer Lipman passed from this world, his children gathered for the week of mourning. At the conclusion of the shiva the sons divided their father’s inheritance in the following way: Avraham received the cash and the house was given to Nosson. The jewelry and housewares went to Elimelech and the outstanding debts were to be collected by Zusha.

The division had been thus contrived for Zusha, who was very clever at disguising his ways and who appeared to have plenty of time on his hands. It only seemed fitting that he should be the one to go out and collect the debts.

However, Zusha was in no way suited for this mission, and without a penny from the inheritance, was left destitute. Bereft of any means of support, he decided to travel to his uncle who was an assistant to the Maggid of Mezeritch.

Lodging with his uncle meant constant exposure to the Maggid and, in no time, Zusha became an ardent chassid. In the meantime, Elimelech had moved to his wife’s hometown of Shineva.

After his stay with his uncle in Mezeritch, Zusha departed for his brother, Elimelech. The very long and arduous journey took its toll on Zusha’s attire. His worn-out tatters were far shabbier than those that clad the poorest of beggars.

Ever vigilant of the honor of his in-laws, Elimelech was ashamed to allow his dreadfully-appearing brother into his home. He therefore arranged accommodations for him at the home of a local baker.

However, Zusha’s night was not earmarked for mundane sleep. Those precious hours were devoted to learning, prayer and the loud recitation of tikun chatzos. Zusha’s nocturnal agenda effectively brought an end to his tenancy at the baker’s house and Elimelech had no other recourse but to invite his brother into his own home.

It was there that he was able to observe Zusha’s ways first-hand. This sparked within Elimelech the desire to draw close to the Maggid of Mezeritch.

Reb Zusha convinced his older brother to join him in a self-imposed exile that they would devote to elevating the people that they would encounter. Attired in the clothes of exile, they would travel from village to village to persuade, direct and inspire the people to desist from sin and return to their holy roots. The exile would also, as the Talmud teaches, purify their souls.

The Prime Ministers: I Liked The Book So Much, I Had To Speak With The Author

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

I had just finished reading The Prime Ministers (Toby Press) and enjoyed every one of its 700-plus pages.  Yahuda Avner’s “fly on the wall” account spans the governments of Levi Eshkol (Six-Day War), Golda Meir  (Yom Kippur War), Yitzhak Rabin (Entebbe, Oslo), and Menachem Begin (peace treaty with Sadat, attack on Iraqi nuclear reactor, Lebanon invasion), describing sensitive, frightening and sometimes hilarious events, mostly of the kind you will never read in a newspaper.

Avner had served in various capacities – adviser, speechwriter, ambassador, consular diplomat – to all of the above-named prime ministers and as such was present at meetings and privy to conversations between Israeli officials and their counterparts around the world.

I thought it would be instructive to speak with Avner; though aware that The Jewish Press had published a lengthy interview with him shortly after the book was published a little more than a year ago, I was curious as to how the book had been received since its publication.

He agreed to set aside some time to meet with me while on a visit to New York. The ambassador is a genteel man. His demeanor is that of an elegant European diplomat, equally comfortable at an official state function and at a humble beis medrash.

Avner disclosed that he was able to remain as the senior Foreign Service officer on “loan” to the Prime Minister’s Office through four administrations because he had become the “institutional memory” of that office. He was always apolitical, walking out whenever the discussion turned to parochial politics. He recorded every conversation using his own shorthand, and after every meeting dictated the minutes of the proceedings for posterity.

When I asked him about the reaction his book had garnered, he told me he was besieged by demands on his time for speaking engagements all over the world, to the extent that he had to hire a publicist who handles his speaking engagements and schedule.

I wondered whether there had been complaints from any of the individuals mentioned and/or quoted in the book.

“To the contrary,” he replied. “I made it a policy that before I published any incident or quoted any person, I would send a draft manuscript to the protagonist for his or her comments, but only as it related to the accuracy of a particular incident or quote.”

Thus, every story and quotation was “vetted” by those involved, and the reaction has been very favorable.

Avner has heard from readers from every part of the globe who have praised him for his candor and his remarkable ability to quote, verbatim, occurrences of a half a century ago.

I asked Avner how he could quote persons on the other side of a phone call while he was present in the room on the Israeli side. He told me a former U.S. ambassador to Israel, who happens to be a good friend, shared with him notes he had sent to the State Department based on conversations on the other side of these phone calls which had became known to him through his own channels.

We discussed the challenge of Avner’s being strictly shomer Shabbos in an environment that, at least until Menachem Begin became prime minister, was not particularly sensitive to “Shabbos” issues.  Avner noted with a laugh that he found that most political and governmental crises occurred Erev Shabbos. He cited as an example the time Henry Kissinger and Yitzhak Rabin engaged in a rather stormy meeting in Jerusalem late one Friday afternoon.

Kissinger stormed out, slammed the door to the Prime Minister’s Office, and prepared to complain to the world press about Israel’s obstinacy. Rabin immediately ordered Avner to prepare and distribute a press release relating Israel’s version of the collapsed talks. On the grounds that “a press release was not a vital Israeli security matter but only hasbara” – public relations – Avner said he would not desecrate Shabbos by writing one.

Slumbering Through The Wake-Up Calls

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

That which transpired during these past few weeks should have shaken us all. To be sure, traumatic events have been pounding away at American Jewry for years now – as a matter of fact, from 9/11 on. But few of us have taken them to heart. Something was happening and is happening in the world, but we choose not to see or hear. It’s easier to attribute everything to natural causes because then we can go on our merry way and indulge in business as usual.

But the most recent occurrences were different. First, we were witness to the roller-coaster stock market. In particular, for three consecutive wild days the market’s closing numbers differed greatly – but on each day the digits totaled 26, which in Hebrew, the Holy Tongue, equals the Name of G-d. I devoted my August 19 column (“No Coincidences”) to the phenomenon People smiled. They found it curious. Only a very small number considered it might be a message from G-d telling us that at the end of the day, He is in charge. If He wills it, all our speculation, all our best-laid plans, can come to naught, and in a matter of minutes our money is gone.

We blame our financial downturns on this or that, but only to an exceptional few has it occurred that this might be a warning from the Almighty to stop worshipping the Golden Calf and re-examine our lives. We refuse to listen, so the wake-up calls became more intense. New York, the bastion of strength and finance, and Washington, the center of government and the symbol of power, shook as the tremors of an earthquake rocked our very foundations. To be sure, it lasted only a few moments, so the experience made for good conversation. Once again, we failed to heed the call.

But G-d keeps knocking. The calls become louder and louder. Hurricane Irene, in all her fury, comes to visit. We hear the warning – a historic hurricane, the likes of which New York had not witnessed. The mayor warns all citizens to be on guard. Public transportation is shut down; communities in low-lying areas are ordered to evacuate. Once again, many dismiss the warnings and attribute them to overreaction. But then, the warnings become more urgent and can no longer be ignored.

I reside on Long Island, and we were told to evacuate on Erev Shabbos. But we were conflicted. What to do? Where to go? How would we make it before Shabbos?

Frantic calls were made. People tried to get reservations in nearby hotels, only to be told they were all fully booked. Many decided to leave their homes. Along with two of my children who live nearby, I was caught in a dilemma. To be sure, we had many invitations. My children who reside in Brooklyn urged us to come to them. Hineni friends who have studied with us for years and live in areas that were not threatened offered their hospitality.

But what if we encountered a traffic jam and couldn’t make it to our destination before sundown? Every highway had its own perils, so we decided to stay together in the house of my daughter. The knowledge that we would all be together was comforting and strengthening. Baruch Hashem, with all the kinderlach, we are a large mishpachah. My children decided we would all sleep on the same floor so that we might watch over one another and, if the electricity failed or some other crisis erupted, we would all be there to help.

Shabbos was calm, but the announcements became more ominous. The eye of the storm was expected to hit with full force in the middle of the night or at dawn. Once again, we were told to evacuate. This time there was no fear of desecrating the Sabbath, but the possibility of being stuck on the road with babies and small children was frightening, so once again we decided to stay put. The little ones kept everyone busy. One of my grandsons learned the entire night, my daughter recited Tehillim until the break of dawn, and we all davened with full hearts.

As for me, the word “evacuation”evoked ominous memories. It took me back to a different time. I will never forget the sound of their voices – “All Jews must evacuate!” And there were other painful reminders – the questions of what to do and where to go, the dangers we might encounter on the road, etc.

Oh, I know. My thoughts were totally ridiculous; this was totally different. Just the same, please understand that those of us who went through the Holocaust remain forever scarred and can never forget. Even as these recollections crowded my heart, our Torah teaching of the flood in the days of Noah also came to mind. I asked myself a question we must all ask – Are the heinous sins that brought about the flood still a part of us? Over the thousands of years that have since transpired, have we really changed? Of course, we cloak our transgressions in sophisticated 21st-century garb, but the question remains, Have we changed? Are we living by the laws of our G-d?

We Jews have to understand that there are no accidents in this world. Nothing occurs by coincidence, and what’s happened these past few weeks are wake-up calls we dare not ignore or attribute to happenstance.

“Tribulations are not visited on the world but for the Jewish people” is a teaching of the Talmud. Just think of the wake-up calls we’ve had in the past several weeks alone – the passing of three Torah sages in the U.S., Europe and Israel; the barbaric slaughter of little Leiby; the savage murder of a Torah sage in Israel. But as much as we mourned and wept, as much as we united in expressing our sorrow, we have yet to make changes in our lives and banish the jealousies, the mean-spiritedness, the strife and hatred that have become part and parcel of our lives.

As these thoughts dominated my mind, the fierce winds and torrential rain could be heard from outside. Suddenly, it became dark. We had lost power, and in the darkness of the night I said a silent prayer.

“Ribbono Shel Olam, in the parshah we read on Shabbos, You told us we were bonim l’Makom – Your special children. So, Almighty G-d, You are not only the Creator of the Universe, but You are our Father, Who chose us to be His.

“Surely as our Father You will forgive us and spare us from any further tribulations. Let none of Your children come to any harm in the fury of this storm. Protect us, guard us, even if we are not deserving.

“As for me, I give You my word that so long as You allow me, I will not stop but will remind myself and all Your children of who we are – Your special children who have a mandate to live by that awesome calling.”

It is to that end that, B’ezrat Hashem, I will devote my next few columns. It is to that end that I will speak. True, I have always tried to achieve that goal. It was in that spirit that I founded Hineni so many years ago.

So what is different now? Haven’t I been doing this all along? The answer to that is “yes” and “no.”

Yes, Hashem did grant us the privilege of being among the first to start a kiruv/outreach movement. But now, in these pre-messianic times, our thrust cannot be directed to secular Jews alone, for the sin that is at the root of our destruction, the sin that has enveloped us in dense darkness for almost 2,000 years, is not limited to a small segment of our people but is, sadly, very much a part of us all – even our own Torah community.

(To Be Continued)

Communicating Effectively (Part I)

Monday, May 17th, 2010

In today’s world, thankfully, we are blessed with the proliferation of material discussing the importance of effective communication in maintaining healthy and productive relationships. We are inundated with articles, books, lectures and workshops all with the express purpose of making this point clear. And while most of us understand what is meant by communication, how many of us reflect on the actual process involved in getting across the message we are attempting to convey? More importantly, what exact message is the recipient receiving (i.e., hearing, understanding) and how does s/he interpret the information?

The answer to these can be found in certain presuppositions (assumptions/givens) of NLP or Neuro-Linguistic Programming. NLP is a set of principles and strategies that focuses on the details of how we communicate (externally and internally); how we process, store and recall this communication; and how we can change and empower this communication to achieve the results and goals we want.

In this series we will walk through the process of communication, as a means of helping us understand how we affect one another’s current or future behaviors through our verbal communication or our lack of it. This awareness can help us become more adaptable (flexible) in our communication thereby giving us more choice and opportunities to enhance our relationships.

So how does one become a more flexible communicator?

Webster defines communication asa process by which there is an interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing, or signs; something imparted, interchanged, or transmitted. Wikipedia adds: The information is enclosed in a package (message) and is channeled and imparted by a sender to a receiver via some medium (i.e., auditory, such as speech or tone of voice; non-verbal, such as body language or eye contact). The receiver then decodes the message and gives the sender feedback. However – and here is the big however — the receiver’s feedback will be based on how “s/he” perceives the message from the sender. It may not necessarily match the sender’s true intention of the message.

In order to become a more flexible communicator, first we must recognize that each of us perceives the world through our own five senses (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, taste and smell). We use these perceptions, in conjunction with our personal life’s experiences, values, opinions and beliefs, to build an internal representation of the world around us, otherwise known as our “maps” or maps of the world. * Keeping in mind that each person’s map is different (mine differs from yours and vice versa), when we communicate, we do so based on our [own] subjective maps.

Have you ever been at the receiving end of the following expressions, spoken either as a declarative statement, such as: “It’s only a joke!” or in a question format: “Can’t you take a joke?” If the sender’s intention is to make a joke and you respond by starting to cry, the intended meaning (sharing some fun) and your actual perceived meaning (crying) are very different. As a matter of fact, it may not even be what the communicator says, but how s/he says it that triggers your response. Then the question becomes which of the meanings holds more credibility? And the answer is, neither. There is no right or wrong. However, there is the reality: crying is the “real” meaning of the communication.

The meaning of our communication is not what we think it means. Rather, it is in the response we get from the receiver of our communication. This is what is meant by the NLP presupposition: the meaning of the communication is the response it elicits.

Here is an interesting illustration.

Since the beginning of their marriage, Zev had been bringing home a beautiful selection of flowers for his wife, Rebbeca, in honor of Shabbos. In response to his thoughtfulness, Rebecca would express gratitude and communicate a plethora of kind words upon receiving the flower arrangement. As time passed and their family size increased, Erev Shabbos entailed a mad rush, especially in the winter months when Shabbos began early. Along with the hassles and her overwhelming feeling, Rebecca’s usual pleasant words of appreciation for the gift of flowers had begun to wane. Eventually, they were not forthcoming.

At the other end of the relationship, after a few months of noticing Rebecca’s change in behavior, Zev stopped bringing home flowers. And since Rebecca had been intensely consumed with “life” on Erev Shabbos, she had not noticed the absence of the flowers until after candle lighting, when the atmosphere was a bit calmer. Without communicating her thoughts or feelings, Rebecca would just sit on the couch, feeling hurt at not having received her weekly gift. Within a short period of time, her feelings gave rise to a new belief, that her husband had stopped loving her.

The meaning of their communication were the responses they were eliciting.

As soon as Rebecca stopped responding with gratitude, Zev’s interpretation of his wife’s behavior was, “my wife doesn’t appreciate my efforts.” And without communication and clarification by either of them, Zev’s behavior corresponded to his hurt feelings; he stopped bringing flowers to his wife. In turn, his new behavior also elicited feelings on the part of his wife. Rebecca felt slighted and upset that her husband had stopped bringing her flowers. Again, rather than each of them communicating their thoughts and feelings, or gaining clarification as to that which was behind their respective behaviors, both Zev and Rebecca assigned meaning to each other’s behavior, interpretations that were not rooted in any truths. The result was an air of negativity in their relationship.

If we are to become more flexible and effective communicators, it is up to us (the sender of the communication) to take responsibility for how our verbal and non-verbal communication are “perceived” by the receiver, whether the communication is face-to-face, over the phone, by email or in writing. Obviously we cannot “directly” change the way our message is perceived. However, if we pay close attention to the response, we will get feedback on how our well “intended” communication was received. If it was not received as it was intended, we can change our approach.

As this segment comes to a close, I leave you to ponder the following three NLP principles that relate to flexibility in communication and behavior.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/parenting-our-children/communicating-effectively-part-i/2010/05/17/

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