Photo Credit: Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Two weeks ago I shared a letter from a 22-year-old woman who wrote about her family’s tragedy. She related how her zaidie built a very successful business and all his sons and daughters benefited from it. But when he passed away a terrible battle ensued. 

All the siblings began jockeying for position and money. The warm family gatherings were just a memory. Siblings, aunts, and uncles who’d always been united stopped talking to each other and cousins were no longer friends.


Last week, in part one of my response, I indicated that, b’ezrat Hashem, I would offer some practical advice that might bring some healing to this shameful situation.

Tragically, the evil came from within and therefore the healing must come from within as well – it is only the family members themselves who can put out the fire.

The following is the continuation of my response.

My dear friend,

You must call a meeting of the younger generation – your siblings and cousins. Charge them with the responsibility of reuniting and recreating your once loving mishpachah.

At Mt. Sinai, prior to Hashem giving us the Torah, He asked for some “guarantors” to ensure that the Torah would not be forgotten. Many suggestions were offered: our Patriarchs, our Matriarchs, our Prophets. But Hashem would not accept these giants.

And then someone said, “Let the children be our guarantors” – and Hashem accepted immediately.

And, indeed, our children have been the guarantors of Torah throughout the generations.

In the days of the Beis HaMikdash, the high priest would stay up the entire night praying on behalf of the nation. Staying awake for such a long stretch meant the high priest might become sleepy. So pirchei kehunah – young priests – would stand at his side and when they saw his eyes growing heavy they would snap their fingers and the high priest would immediately awaken and continue with the service.

In every generation young people are charged to follow in the footsteps of the young priests and snap their fingers in the eventuality of their elders losing sight of our holy mission.

Sadly, that has changed for many of our youth. Today we see self-destruction in the mad pursuit of material wealth. This greed has become the toxic air we breathe. But we are a generation that has also been privileged to witness the birth of the ba’al teshuvah movement. Young people rose like lions snapping their fingers loud and clear, calling for a return to Torah, the guarantors of Sinai fulfilling their mission.

We Jews were born not of a monarchy or conquering warriors but of Patriarchs and Matriarchs – fathers and mothers. We are a nation of families. Our most important celebrations are not held in public places but within the confines of the home.

In order to heal your own family, you and your siblings and cousins must “snap your fingers” by writing a collective letter to your parents, aunts, and uncles. You need to tell them how much you love the family, how much the family means to you, and how you would like to continue that relationship for future generations.

Remind them of something they surely know in their hearts: Zaidie must be weeping at this horrific devastation he sees. There could be nothing more painful for his neshamah than to behold everything he loved, everything he sacrificed for, turn to rubble.

Surely for his sake if not for ours, you must tell your elders, we have to bring an end to this madness. One day, please G-d, we will have our own children and we hope that you will become the zaidies and bubbies of our little ones and will keep the family cemented in love and harmony.


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