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November 28, 2014 / 6 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Moshiach Tzidkeinu’

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

The Power Of Faith – The Readers Respond

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

Win Or Lose

Special Note: I have received many inquiries as to where I will be speaking this Pesach. I am pleased to share with you that I will be at the Fairmont Banff Springs in the Banff National Park, in Alberta, Canada.

In last week’s column, I published a letter from a woman who successfully overcame enormous challenges in her life through the power of faith. At the same time, I invited our readers to share with us their own personal difficulties so that others might benefit and be strengthened. The following is one of the responses. If you, dear reader, have story to relate, please e-mail it to me at, rebbetzin@hineni.com so that I may share it with others through this column.

Dear Rebbetzin Jungreis

Thank you as always for your amazing columns and inspiration. Usually I am content to let others respond. I’m sure you are inundated, but I have been struggling greatly on this one and you so generously asked for experiences to share.

You meet so many people all over the world, I doubt you might remember me – I live in _________, and always attend your lectures whenever you are in town (or when I am in N.Y.). I married three years ago today, and two weeks after the wedding I attended your lecture at the women’s learning day.

Now I am 26 and sadly, discovered more than a year ago that my husband was addicted to porn and very involved in some sort of ring and networked online with like-minded others. When after many gut-wrenching months of lies and betrayal, and with great rabbis behind me I decided to leave. What had been purely emotional and “minor” physical abuse became much worse. The “kind” “gentle” “sweet” man everyone knows and I thought I married, terrorized me every time he was home.

I moved to a different basement every week for about two months before being forced by various circumstances to return to the house I was still paying for. One night, I had no recourse but to call the police, and he was arrested for domestic battery.

B”H by the great nissim (miracles) of Hashem I now have a Get, although the civil divorce continues to drag on, despite my attempts and offers to settle this amicably and move on with our lives. But, B”H I have a criminal order of protection and live in relative safety.

When I left, he vowed to make me pay, and indeed I have paid dearly. Most of the people I once called friends and community are no longer in those roles, believing that I made up the abuse to benefit the civil divorce. Some even went to court to testify against me with lies. The slander war against me is very real. I had been supporting both of us (he is also chronically out of work, as many of these types are). Everything my family had given me including large sums towards various purchases including my home was at risk or lost. I even paid his debts from before our marriage.

The man is walking away with tens of thousands for which he did nothing, and I am walking away with virtually nothing (we are still fighting because he wants significant amounts more). I am struggling to keep pace with the bills, mortgage and credit cards. The magnitude of the injustice even just in monetary terms is overwhelming.

And yet, and this is my point – I realized at the beginning of this process that I had only two choices – win, or lose. I could choose to be angry and vindictive, fight him back with words and lawyers, become cynical and crass and stoop to his level. But I realize that if I choose to follow that path, no matter what I won in this world, I would nevertheless emerge the loser.

On the other hand, if I chose to fight this battle with my head high, my Tehillim at my side and emunah in my heart, and daven not that Hashem should rain His justice down on this man, but only that I should be protected from him.

If I chose to keep my mouth shut even though it would make me look guilty to the community, I could look in the mirror with dignity. If I would get up in the morning with a smile on my face, and gratitude rather than bitterness in my heart; if I did nothing to be ashamed of – then no matter what I lost in this world, I won.

This is the choice every person is faced with when confronted by adversity. Recognizing this choice has enabled me to go on and cope with the pain. Whatever the crisis in our lives may be, we have a chance to be either angry or depressed or to bless G-d and be grateful for our lives – and that’s the difference between winners and losers. I realized that I could focus on how difficult it is to pay my bills and bemoan the past, when I used to be able to buy what I needed without worrying about the bill at the end of the month, on how much tzedakah I used to give and now cannot, etc.

Similarly, the woman who wrote the letter could focus on the extravagant mishloach manos that are no more, on her inability to give large amounts of money to her children, etc. Or she can focus on how to win, count her blessings and make the best of her situation. I myself focus on the fact that Hashem did not allow me to have children with him and said “not now” despite my fervent prayers. Hence, I am free to move on with my life and not be chained to him for the rest of it. I focus on the fact that although I almost lost my job due to this entire mess, B”H I still have it when many people are unemployed.

I focus on the fact that I am basically healthy and have been more or less healed from what I suffered at his hands. I picture myself the way it is for many, many women like me – small children, living in a shelter, with no income and no friends, lawyer’s bills they can’t pay and a divorce dragging on for years – or being an agunah, G-d forbid. I think to myself what it must be like for many people in this economic downturn – many children, a house in foreclosure and massive amounts of debt – and suddenly, I am sitting pretty!

I am not done with this divorce, and I can say I’ve made some mistakes and had moments where I was depressed and didn’t know if I would recover. But I can tell you now, even before it is officially over, that with Hashem’s help and blessings, I have won! Despite many injustices, I still have my emunah. Despite financial losses, Hashem continues to support me and I am making it, if barely. I have a job, new friends, a new community that suits me even better. I still have my rabbanim and my own rebbetzin behind me, who continue to guide me, and tremendous hope for the future.

Despite those who would lie in court, I have an Order of Protection. Let me repeat again that I have a Get! I am safe, I am free to be my true self without his constant criticism and degradation, and I even have moments when I am happy! Everything I truly need – I have. Sadly, he is still in the gutter – I hear through friends that he is angry and cynical, with a chip on his shoulder, no job and significant debt and wavering in whatever frumkeit had kept.

Yes, he has made me pay dearly – but I do not gloat in his downfall. I do not wish ill for him. I believe that there is a measure of justice even in this world, and there is a G-d who knows all and ensures justice in the end. With everything he has won, he has lost – and even with everything I have lost, “Hodu L’Hashem ki tov, ki l’olam Chasdo – Thank G-d for His many kindnesses,” and I know that as long as I bear this in mind, I have won.

I’m sorry this has become so long, but I want others to know that we are so much more than our money. Our challenges may be excruciatingly painful but winning or losing is the only real choice we have. Everything is in G-d’s Hands, and it is you, Rebbetzin, who taught me that. This concept has brought strength to many others and me. I have quoted you many times – your words are always with me. “Never look back and ask why, but look forward and ask where to go from here, and ask Hashem what may be learned from this experience.”

Making the right choice sometimes seems to have negative consequences. In my case, I have gotten nailed for continuously choosing not to fight dirty or take revenge, but in the end, the rewards are gargantuan.

To quote your article, “We can choose to accept this challenge we did not want with honesty and humility, we can choose to be a role model to our children; we can choose to focus on what we do have rather than what we do not have; we can choose to open ourselves up to Hashem and ask Him to solve our problems and guide us through the darkness, we can look back and know that we are now richer in spirit because we won the most challenging battle of all – the battle of the spirit, and in the world of truth – that is all that really matters.”

Thank you for reading, listening and giving such strength to so many. Feel free to share my letter on an individual or public level. May G-d speedily redeem us from all of this suffering and bring us Moshiach Tzidkeinu bimheirah b’yameinu.

The Mikveh For Men

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

I attend a Tanya shiur (lesson) every Sunday evening at the Chabad House of Queens. At 9:30 p.m., we daven Maariv.

A few weeks ago, as I was leaving to go home, I happened to notice the many volumes of the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s Igrot Kodesh (letters written by the Lubavitcher Rebbe). I picked out a volume at random and opened it. I asked an elderly Lubavitcher man there to read to me the Rebbe’s letter.

The letter was dated June 5, 1984. It was written to a Chassid regarding the importance building mikvehs for every community. The Rebbe explained the measurements of the mikveh and spoke about how one should concentrate on the mitzvah of mikveh while immersing.

The elderly Lubavitcher looked at me and asked, “What do you have to do with mikvehs?”

I told him that I usually do not immerse in a mikveh. I closed the book, put it back on the shelf, and went home.

On Friday mornings, I usually daven at the 7:30 a.m. minyan at the Young Israel of Hillcrest. On my way out, my wife asked me not to forget to buy the challahs for Shabbat. That morning, I happened to take a different route to buy the challahs. As I drove past the community mikveh, I suddenly remembered that about five months before, my wife had given me several new dishes to tovel (immerse) in the mikveh. They had been in the trunk of the car all this time.

I parked the car, took the dishes and proceeded to the dish mikveh. I said the blessing, immersed the dishes, and packed up, preparing to leave. As I was leaving, I happened to glance at the men’s mikveh on the other side of the building. The water was crystal clear and I could smell the freshness of the towels near the wall.

I suddenly felt the urge to stay and immerse in the mikveh. The experience was exhilarating, holy, and uplifting.

Afterwards, I went on to shop for the challahs and drove home.

Since then, I frequent the mikvah at every opportunity I get – thanks to that evening when I picked up the Rebbe’s Igros and my soul became bound up with the mitzvah of mikveh!

May we all continue to learn Torah and observe mitzvot till the arrival of Moshiach Tzidkeinu.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/jewish-columns/lessons-in-emunah/the-mikveh-for-men/2009/02/18/

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