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November 1, 2014 / 8 Heshvan, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Yamim Noraim’

My Machberes

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

Chief Rabbi Of Israel At
14th Igud Siyum HaShas

Chief Rabbi Yonah Metzger

On Wednesday, September 5, more than 150 congregational rabbis, roshei yeshiva, chassidishe rebbes and leaders of Jewish religious and social organizations gathered to celebrate and glorify the study of Torah at the 5772 Siyum HaShas Convocation of the Rabbinical Alliance of America-Igud Horabbonim. The event was graced with the presence of Israeli Chief Rabbi Yonah Metzger, who was the keynote speaker.

Rabbi Avraham Amar

The Siyum HaShas took place at the Sephardic Home on Cropsey Avenue in Brooklyn, the unique glatt kosher facility that serves the Jewish community in superlative fashion with Rabbi Avraham Amar as mara d’asra and Michael New as executive director.

Rabbi Saul Eisner, zt”l

The first session of the convocation opened in the synagogue sanctuary with Chomer L’Drush Homiletics – homiletics for the Yamim Noraim, dedicated to the memory of Rabbi Saul Eisner, zt”l(1932-2011), Igud executive vice president. The dedication was made possible by the generous contribution of Motty and Shoshy Vegh of Staten Island. Motty is chairman of Yeshiva Reishit Yerushalayim, where Rabbi Jay Marcus is chancellor. The dedication was shared by Rabbi Yaakov Lehrfield, rav of the Young Israel of Staten Island.

Rabbi Yaakov Spivak

Rabbi Yaakov Lehrfield

Rabbi Yaakov Klass, Torah editor of The Jewish Press and rav of Khal Bnei Matisyahu, served as chairman. Speakers included Rabbi Yaakov Lehrfield; Rabbi Aaron L. Raskin, rav of Congregation B’nai Abraham of Brooklyn Heights; Rabbi Eli Greenwald, rav of the Ohel David and Shlomo Congregation Torat Israel; and Rabbi Michoel Chazan, rav of the Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center in Brooklyn, each of whom delivered an emotional address in preparation for the Yamim Noraim.

Rabbi Yaakov Klass

Rabbi Yonason Y. Lustig

As Rabbi Abraham B. Hecht, Igud president, was escorted into the shul to hear the speakers. Rabbi Hecht was flanked by his son Rabbi Eli Hecht, rav of the South Bay Congregation in Lomita, California. Moments later, Rabbi Shaul Kassin, chief rabbi of the Syrian community, entered, accompanied by his son Jack Kassin and greatly respected community activist Jack Avital.

Rabbi Abraham B. Hecht

As the first session came to a close, Minchah was announced and led by Rabbi Pesach Lerner, executive vice president emeritus of the National Council of Young Israel. Meir Levy, beloved longtime chazzan of the Syrian community, added his melodious voice to chazaras hashatz.

Rabbi Yehoshua S. Hecht

After Minchah, the Siyum HaShas and dinner banquet began in the large social hall, catered by Grunwald Caterers of Pavilion 39. The Siyum HaShas and dinner were dedicated to the memory of Rabbi Meir Shapiro, zt”l (1920-1998), chief rabbi of Buenos Aries and chairman of the Igud Horabbonim, who launched the yearly Siyum HaShas by members of a national rabbinic organization. Regrettably, Rabbi Shapiro did not live to share in the joy of the Igud’s first Siyum HaShas. Rabbi Shapiro passed away on Shiva Assar B’Tammuz, 1998, the very year of the siyum’sestablishment.

Rabbi Eli Greenwald

Rabbi Herschel Kurzrock

The Siyum HaShas and dinner was made possible by the generous donation of the Shapiro family, led by Rebbetzin Pearl Shapiro and her son, R’ Pinchas Shapiro.

As the assembled washed for bread and sat in their seats, joyous song erupted as Chief Rabbi Metzger entered. The singing continued until the chief rabbi was seated on the dais.

Rabbi Yehoshua Hecht, rav of Beth Israel Synagogue, Norwalk-Westport, Connecticut, and son of the Igud president, served as dinner chairman. He called on Rabbi Yaakov Spivak to make a special presentation. Rabbi Spivak is rav and rosh kollel of Ashyel Avraham in Monsey, New York. On June 24, Kollel Ashyel Avraham held its sixth ordination celebration. Chief Rabbi Metzger was scheduled to participate but was called abroad for emergency rabbinic intervention. At the Siyum HaShas Rabbi Spivak presented the chief rabbi with a plaque in recognition of his blessings conveyed to the kollel’s new musmachim. In addition, Rabbi Avraham Hecht was given a presentation in honor of his decades of rabbinic dedication and heroic leadership. Chief Rabbi Kassin then gave his blessings to all who participated in the Siyum HaShas.

Rabbi Michoel Chazan

Rabbi Pinchas Shapiro

Rabbi Herschel Kurzrock, Igud rosh beis din, was called to be mesayem haShas, formally closing the study cycle. Rabbi Kurzrock made some introductory remarks, saying that he wished to defer the honor to the chief rabbi. In turn, the chief rabbi warmly thanked Rabbi Kurzrock and praised Rabbi Kurzrock’s leadership of the Igud’s universally respected beis din.

Why Me…Why Not me?

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

Just a few short days ago we were in summer mode, vacationing in the mountains, at the cottage, or on the road visiting family, friends or sightseeing. But with the start of September and school, we become all to aware that the Yamim Noraim – the Days of Awe – are upon us, that sobering period of time when a year’s worth of our actions and activities will be evaluated by our Creator. His ultimate assessment and judgement will affect the quality and quantity of the days of our lives.

For the Jewish people, it is a time to look inward and contemplate with equal parts of hope and dread what kind of year awaits us.

For some, the prayers and requests offered up last year did not have the outcome they so fervently asked for. Sadly, there are individuals, families and communities that have suffered life-shattering events. Many are still reeling from horrific news or events which occurred years before. They or those they love suffered unexpected serious injury or loss of life through accidents, violence or disease.

Others are dealing with more recent devastating news – that they or a loved one has a serious illness or affliction; lost their parnassah; some have had their hopes cruelly dashed by yet another miscarriage or mourn month after month for a pregnancy that never happens.

As is natural, their first reaction after they catch their breath from the blow they received is, “Why me? Why me?

The only way to perhaps answer this question – one that has been asked for thousands of years by slave and king alike – is to take yourself out of the situation and ask yourself, “Why not me?

Is there something that separates you from your friend, neighbor, fellow Jew or from the rest of humanity?

Do you have a greater number of good deeds than everyone else? Are you so much more special or outstanding or more needed than the rest of the klal that you should be immune from misfortune?

You know the answer. No, you are not better, nor more elevated than other human beings. You are just another noodle in the pot – indiscernible from the others.

The reality is that man is totally clueless as to why G-d allows unbearable tragedy to strike.

Some people may have be arrogant enough to assign a reason for why Hashem does not stop an unspeakable misfortune from occurring, but the truth is how could any mortal know Hashem’s will and be able to say that things happen for this or that “sin?”

Some who are more modest in their self-assessment have theorized (not insisted) that suffering may be a tikun, a rectification for actions done in a past life, however, at the end of the day, Hashem’s ways are inscrutable.

While it is very human, if you or someone you love is in pain, to try to understand why, ask yourself this question – if you were to win a multi-million dollar lottery, would you also scream out, “Why me?” Would you question why Hashem singled you out from all others? And when it is someone else’s face smiling as he holds the check with the one and the endless zeros following it, would you not sigh, “Why not me?”

Many great minds have wondered why bad things happen to good (read ordinary) people, undistinguishable both in deeds and lifestyle from millions of others. There is no answer. Only the Master of the Universe knows the “why” of what happens to His creations. After all he is the Celestial Architect and Judaism teaches that He orchestrates every detail of our existence. The only free will we have in this matter is how we react to our good and bad fortune.

Obsessing over “why me?” is futile, and takes away from your ability to handle (survive) whatever it is you are dealing with.

I have come to the conclusion that those afflicted with great misfortune have been given the rare opportunity to perform perhaps the hardest and most sacred mitzvah there is – the one found in Shema. The Shema is the ultimate affirmation of a Jew’s faith. Throughout our tragic history of persecution and brutalization, the last words gasped by our dying martyrs has been, “Hear O Israel, Hashem, our G-d, is One.” The pasuk that follows describes the hardest mitzvah to obey – “And you will love Hashem your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength.”

Mass Early Morning ‘Sack and Ashes’ Rally Against Haredi Draft

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Media reports on the decision being reached in the Knesset committee examining alternatives to the Tel law, have brought about an unexpected collaboration between the Lithuanians moderates and the more extremist HaEdah HaHaredit to fight drafting young Haredi men into the IDF. At 4:45 Monday morning, thousands demonstrated in Jerusalem’s “Shabbat Square” in protest against curbing draft exemptions for Yeshiva students.

The assembly of at least 2000 began by saying Slichot, led by Rabbi Yaakov Chanun, who is the baal tefilah at the Munkatch beit Midrash on the High Holidays.

The assembled repeated chapters of Psalms, verse by verse, and sat down on the ground in mourning just as Jews do on the day of Tisha B’Av.

In recent days it appeared that the planned demonstration would remain within the sector of the Edah HaHaredit, which is considered the most extreme and conservative in the ultra-Orthodox community. But on Sunday it was announced that Rabbis Shmuel Halevi Wosner, an esteemed Hassidic posek, and Lithuanian Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky had signed a Call to join the protest.

Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach and other rabbis have joined the call to demonstrate.

Haredi party newspaper “Hamodia”, “Yated Ne’eman” and “Hamevaser” gave major headlines to stories about the Monday morning prayer rally, which indicates its wide support among the Haredi leaders.

The original ad published by Haeda HaHaredit stated that “we are prepared with the utmost devotion to fight for the integrity of our holy Torah and not sacrifice any one from Israel to the military Molech.”

The Molech was a biblical idol in front of which parents burned their children.

 

For a response to this event, see Felafel on Rye.

Reb Elimelech M’Lizhensk (Part V)

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Baruch, from the village of Radovitz, was a sharecropper who barely eked out a living. His income was at the mercy of the infamously cruel Poritz, who owned the Radovitz environs. This Poritz had a repertoire of ways to afflict the area’s Jews, and he never eased in his torturous exploitation.

Reb Baruch was not a talmid chacham, but he was a fearer of Heaven and he accepted his lot without complaint. He would travel as often as possible to Lizhensk, where he would bask in the aura of Reb Elimelech’s holiness.

Baruch’s pitiful financial situation did nothing to ease the predicament of his daughters, who were of marriageable age and no fish were biting. The years rolled on and the girls were becoming spinsters worthy of concern. Baruch’s wife was in a constant state of panic over their plight.

“Have faith,” Baruch assured her, but his assurance was of no solace. In fact, his nonchalance inflamed her.

It would never occur to Baruch to disturb Reb Elimelech, who dealt with lofty spiritual matters, over his mundane, petty issue of matches for his daughters. His wife, however, looked at matters differently.

One year, as the Yamim Noraim were approaching, she forbade her husband from traveling to Lizhensk for the holidays, unless he promised he would present his daughters’ situation to the rebbe. As she was well aware of her husband’s soft nature, she threatened that if this request was not faithfully fulfilled he would never see Lizhensk again!

Despite his thorough distaste for his mission, Baruch upheld his word and articulated his daughters’ plight when he greeted Reb Elimelech. He handed the rebbe a kvittel detailing the situation, and Reb Elimelech’s only response was, “For the time being, remain with us here.”

Reb Baruch did as the rebbe instructed and stayed in Lizhensk from Rosh Hashanah through Sukkos. Finally, when he hadn’t even a penny left, he bade farewell from Reb Elimelech on Motzaei Shabbos Bereishis. At that occasion, Reb Elimelech pressed three copper coins into Reb Baruch’s hand and wished him blessings and prosperity.

Reb Baruch was confused. Since when does a rebbe distribute money? But Reb Elimelech had already extended his hand in farewell and Baruch was pushed in the direction of the door by the people swarm of chassidim taking leave of the rebbe.

Reb Baruch headed back to Radovitz and was just approaching the turn to his village when he heard his name beckoned from behind. Baruch turned around and saw a young man who was a regular at Reb Elimelech’s court. “The rebbe has requested that you return,” he said, making the Radovitzer more perplexed than ever.

But even this paled when Reb Elimelech requested Baruch to return one of the coins. “I can only afford to give you two,” Reb Elimelech explained.

Baruch could not – nor would he ever attempt to – fathom what Reb Elimelech had intended. With perfect faith he set off again on his journey with two coins in his pocket, a gift from the rebbe to acquire success.

As he neared Radovitz he encountered three peasant youth wishing to sell him a handsome leather case with a silver, ornate frame. It was the kind of case that the Poritzes used to transport their money. Baruch opened up the case to discover that it was full of multicolored ruble notes of various denominations.

The illiterate youth were willing to sell the case for a song: just three coins, so that there would be an even distribution among them. Reb Baruch frantically searched his pockets, but all he could find were the two coins that Reb Elimelech had given him. What to do?

Reb Baruch proposed that since he only had two coins he would buy the contents of the quality case, that is the colored paper, and they could hold on to the case. The ignorant boys winked at each other regarding the killing they were about to make. Only the case had value in their eyes, and this foolish wayfarer was willing to pay two-thirds of its worth for mere colored paper!

The deal was consummated and the boys walked off with their empty case with the ornate silver trim. They made themselves a warming bonfire and sat down to celebrate their queer business success. However, their celebration did not last for long. They could not work out how to divide two coins and one elaborate case among three individuals.

Their disagreement escalated and they came to blows. The biggest of the ruffians decided to institute a policy of “all or nothing,” and he tossed the leather case into the fire.

Just then the Radovitz Poritz galloped over. The very sight of this evil man was enough to make Baruch’s blood freeze, and the same could be said for all of Radovitzian Jewry. The Poritz got down from his horse and turned to the youth and asked, “Did any of you come across a leather case I lost in this area?”

Title: The Spirit of the Seasons: Insights into the Yomim Tovim

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

Title: The Spirit of the Seasons: Insights into the Yomim Tovim

Author: Rabbi Jonathan Shooter

Publisher: Feldheim

 

 

   Jews around the world are reflecting on the Jewish New Year season that recently passed. It seems that everybody is struggling with their resolutions to be better and to do better. All of us are worrying about the daunting lead-up to life’s next chapter: Thanksgiving season. Xmas parties. Awkward situations, she’elot that make you blush to ask them. Bills. More bills. Tempers. Fourth quarter reports. Bosses cut losses by firing staff. Fear. Panic. You wonder what was gained by going through the Yamim Noraim. I have good news for you: The Spirit of the Seasons by Rabbi Jonathan Shooter can show you insights into the Yamim Tovim to soothe your soul and psyche.

 

   The 287-page hardcover graciously takes you through the Jewish year with thoughtful reflections and information. Shooter lets us listen in on the Chafetz Chaim’s resonating remark about self-sacrifice in the Kislev chapter. Ponder the tragedy of Asarah B’Tevet when you read what Reb Nachum Chernobler said about tikkun chatzot and its deeper meaning (page 138). Add all that to the rest of this fascinating read to become a more informed Jew who keeps up with the class that HaKadosh Baruch Hu began 5771 years ago.

 

   The Spirit of the Seasons: Insights into the Yomim Tovim belongs in your hands and on your reading table.

 

   Yocheved Golani is the author of the highly acclaimed E-book, “It’s MY Crisis! And I’ll Cry If I Need To: EMPOWER Yourself to Cope with a Medical Challenge”  (www.booklocker.com/books/4244.html).

‘Playing’ It Safe For Your Children

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

A few years ago I wrote in this column that at the bris of my oldest son – held in a shul whose members were for the most part elderly – a wizened old man approached me, peered into my face and muttered in a raspy voice with a Yiddish accent, “May your children sit shiva for you.” I was too stunned to say anything to him and just shook my head as he walked away. I thought, “nebach, he must be demented.”

 

Two more sons and several frantic runs to the ER later, it became all too clear to me that this alter Yid was in fact in full control of his faculties, and that he had actually given me a wonderful brachah. When he had expressed his hope that my children sit shiva for me, he wasn’t cursing me to “drop dead” as was my initial impression, but rather he was voicing the ultimate blessing – that my children outlive me. That they survive; that they not succumb to sickness or be victims of accidents or violence in their infancy, childhood or adulthood; that they bury and mourn for me and not, chas v’shalom, the reverse.

 

As we read during the recent Yamim Noraim in the Nesaneh Tokef prayer, there are so many ways the Angel of Death can snatch our souls. As I write this, there is news of huge death tolls due to a massive earthquake and the ensuing massive tidal wave known as a tsunami, as well as the all-too-common news concerning homicides, car crashes, flu and cancer deaths, etc.

 

While ultimately it is Hashem who decides whether we live or die, we are nonetheless commanded to watch over ourselves and, by extension, our children and those both young and old who cannot care for themselves. They are our responsibility.

 

Being a wandering bubby (especially over Yom Tov) happy to roll up my sleeves and do what bubbys do – namely help with the babies and toddlers – I became aware of some methods to keep kids safe that I want to share.

 

Kids are explorers. Once they discover that moving their knees and hands can get them anywhere – the sky’s the limit. Somehow bathrooms seem to have a special appeal.  But bathrooms are dangerous. Curious kids can grip the toilet seat and pull themselves up. Once up, they may stand on their tippy toes and bend over in an attempt to reach the water below. They can, G-d forbid, fall in headfirst and drown. Ditto for the bathtub – if there is water in it.

 

Older kids may get up on the bathtub ledge and try swinging from the shower curtain. As a five-year-old I did that – and fell headlong onto the tile floor. My mother must have been very concerned because she promised me a rare treat – an ice cream if I stopped crying. It worked. We were both lucky that it did.

 

It is crucial to put the toilet lid down after using it, empty the bathtub immediately after usage – before you take the child(ren) out – and keep the bathroom door shut. In fact, all doors should be closed behind you when exiting the room.

 

Speaking of bathtubs, when I bathe the little ones, I put an old pillow on the floor beside me. Newly-bathed, squirming babies are slippery and can wiggle out of your arms when you lift them out of the tub and start straightening yourself up. If somehow they fall out of my arms, they will hit the pillow instead of the hard floor.

 

It’s important to keep all pills and medications where children cannot reach them. (They look like candy.) I take a thyroid pill daily that is a lilac color and is sweet. If I were a kid, I’d likely eat all the pills in the bottle. When you put medications or other dangerous edible items away, be aware that kids are smart and they can push a chair, climb on it and reach a kitchen counter or cupboards. Kids can also reach up and possibly tip over heavy items that can fall on them. Metal or wooden knicknacks and chotchkes, should not be on any shelf – even the lowest one – because if pulled they can fall and crush little toes and fingers.

 

Young children can also climb on couches and chairs, and grab dangling window blind cords and wrap them (as a fun thing to do) around their (or those of younger siblings they are playing with) arms, legs and necks. An adult need only be out of the room for a minute when tragedy can strike. Also hazardous are the cords of cell phone chargers left in low-lying outlets, as well as computer power cords on the floor.

 

If possible, adults (even visitors) in homes with babies should try to see the world from a baby’s point of view. If you can, get on your hands and knees and crawl around. It’s a real eye-opener – and a possible lifesaver.

Sweating Over The Small Stuff (Conclusion)

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

In preparation for the Yamim Noraim, last week I focused on Mitzvos bein Adam L’Chavero – interpersonal relationships that are often overlooked, such as the escalation of chutzpah, that has become emblematic of our society.

We all know that our First Temple was destroyed because of the three cardinal sins, yet 70 short years later Hashem forgave us and allowed us to return to Eretz Yisrael and rebuild the Beit HaMikdash. The Second Temple was also destroyed, but this time it was because of Sinas Chinam – unwarranted hatred between Jew and Jew. It’s been almost 2,000 years since that catastrophe, but we have yet to be forgiven and redeemed from our long, dark galus. Why? Why doesn’t G-d redeem us?

Tragically, the sin that cast us into Exile still plagues us. We have yet to do teshuvah and free ourselves of the ugly shackles of jealousy and hatred. Even after that unspeakable evil – the Holocaust – we continued our animosity and bickering. Our communities and families continued to be splintered, and instead of love and good will, factionalism and mean-spiritedness prevail. G-d keeps sending us wake-up calls, but we remain obdurate. With each passing day, our national predicament becomes more and more perilous.

We are witness to an escalation of anti-Semitism throughout the world, but instead of unifying in love, instead of forgiving one another, we become more and more fragmented.

You might protest, saying, “We know all this, but there is nothing much we can do about it. Each of us is just one little “I” incapable of changing the course of history.”

As I write these words, it is Parshas Re’eh, in which Moshe Rabbeinu assures us that we can make a difference; that our little “I” is not so little after all – that by choosing blessing – by embracing our Torah, we not only impact on ourselves, but on all our people…even the world. Allow me to illustrate through a story.

A good man who was on a mission to foster chesed – loving-kindness went to a Rebbe for a brachah. “Give me a brachah, he pleaded so that I might bring about real changes among our people.” The Rebbe was delighted to comply and readily gave his blessing, but after a few weeks, the man returned, frustrated and upset.

“Rebbe,” he complained. “No one listens to me, so I came to the conclusion that I may have been too ambitious – that I should limit my outreach to my own community.”

The Rebbe agreed and wished him well, but once again, the man failed, and returned to his mentor. This time, he decided to focus only on his own family. Sadly however, here too, he failed. Ready to give up on his mission, he returned to the Rebbe, disappointed and dejected.

“Has it ever occurred to you,” the Rebbe asked, “that the best way to change the world is to start with yourself? Taken by surprise, the man didn’t understand the meaning of his teacher’s words.

“Each and every one of us,” the Rebbe explained, “has been charged with a unique mission – to ‘cling unto our G-d’ (Parshas Re’eh, Deut. 13:5). But, you might ask, ‘How can we finite beings cling unto the Infinite?’

“Our sages teach us that we cling unto G-d by emulating Him – ‘Even as He is compassionate, we must be compassionate – Even as He imparts chesed, we must impart chesed…even as He is forgiving, we must be forgiving.’ If we do that, we will not only succeed in changing ourselves, but in changing the dynamics of our families, our synagogues, our communities – yes, even the world.”

The moral of this story should guide us in this High Holy Day season. The time has come for all of us to change, to become the people that our Creator meant us to be. Instead of working on others, let us work on ourselves, and if we do that, we will transform the world and create the environment in which Mashiach can come.

Last week’s column focused on the unmitigated chutzpah of the young toward their elders. Subsequently, I received a large volume of e-mail and letters. Sadly, many families identified with the problem. Chutzpah is not just a social phenomenon, but a disease, which leads to family breakdown, and ultimately community breakdown. So as we approach Rosh Hashanah, let’s take a good look at ourselves, our relationships and see what we can rectify.

In addition to chutzpah, there are many other areas where we are shamefully lacking. Instead of warmth, kindness and compassion, the hallmark of our people, too often we relate to one another with lack of consideration.

Allow me to share an e-mail I received that illustrates how people unwittingly inflict hurt upon one another. I say “unwittingly” because by nature we are “compassionate ones and the children of compassionate ones.” Maliciousness and ignoble behavior are aberrations, rather than endemic to the character of our people.

If we were to stop for just one moment and honestly reflect upon our actions, we would immediately change our ways. We would be horrified at our own behavior and immediately make the necessary changes.

A Letter from a Reader:

Dear Rebbetzin Jungreis:

I have a close friend who is a devoted fan of yours. She reads your article every week. When she is out of the country I cut out your columns and send them to her. She doesn’t know that I am writing to you, but when she reads this letter in The Jewish Press, she will surely recognize herself and I think it will give her chizuk to know that her pain is being aired in a public forum and, hopefully, will inspire change.

My friend and I do not live in the same community, but we try to keep up with one another. At our last meeting, I noticed that she was very depressed. When I questioned her she just shrugged her shoulders and pretended that everything `was fine. But I know my friend… I sense when something is wrong, so I pressed her and was appalled to learn the reason for her sadness.

Almost a year ago, my friend moved to a new community – she and her husband chose the location carefully, thinking that it would be a good, friendly environment for them – but she was sorely disappointed. No one ever came to welcome her. When she went to shul, no one greeted her. She tried to make friends, but they would just not respond. The most she could get out of them was a “Good Shabbos” and sometimes, “How are you?” She told me that no one ever invites or calls her. While there are many shiurim that take place in the community, she is never included, nor is she invited for a Shabbos meal.

I know my friend for many years, and I can tell you that she is a great person – well- read, creative, artistic, and above all, kind. Additionally, she is very outgoing, friendly, and well put-together. Her children are grown and married and live in different cities across the U.S. She does visit them from time-to time and they visit her, but these infrequent visits do not compensate for her loneliness or fill the vacuum in her life. Her situation is compounded by the fact that her husband travels a great deal and she is alone for weeks on end, so if no one ever knocks on her door, she really feels the loneliness

I am accustomed to hearing such stories regarding children: a little girl is new in the neighborhood…Her classmates have cliques and do not allow her to enter. The pain of such a child is devastating, but for adults to behave in such a manner is unconscionable, but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. If children behave this way, it is because they follow the example of their parents.

So what is wrong with our generation? My friend told me that one day, a cousin visited her for Shabbos and went to shul with her. Her cousin told her that the women resented her because she dressed too “fancy,” which I thought was outrageous. My friend does not wear designer labels – there is nothing “fancy” or snobbish about her. Admittedly, she does take care of herself, and why not? Every woman should look as good as she can. Could these women be guilty of jealousy or are they just outright mean? Neither option is very attractive.

You might suggest that she invite the women to her home. Well, she did, but after that, “Nada!” Nothing! I realize that in light of what is happening in the world, all this may appear insignificant, but as you wrote in previous columns, “small” things that inflict hurt, that leave deep scars on the neshamah, are not so small after all.

While we may not be able to change policies in Washington, Jerusalem, or the UN, we can change our own behavior. I believe it’s time for all of us to grow up and, if I may once again quote you, it’s time for us to remember who we really are, compassionate ones and the children of compassionate ones. Let us live up to our legacy. It’s in our genes.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/rebbetzins-viewpointrebbetzin-jungreis/sweating-over-the-small-stuff-conclusion/2009/08/19/

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