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A Caring Wife

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Dear Caring,

As a wife, you feel for your husband and deem it unfair for him to be burdened with the care of his parents beyond what you perceive as necessary. You especially resent the shoddy way they treat him.

Many things in life would seem to be unfair. That said, the Torah is very explicit in commanding us to be respectful of our parents, regardless of whether we feel they deserve our respect or not. The fact is they partnered with Hashem in giving us life, and we therefore owe them big time. While we are not exhorted to love them, the Torah leaves no wiggle room when it comes to bestowing honor and respect on our parents.

“Honor your father and mother so that your days will be lengthened.” Tit for tat, one might say. When we honor our parents in appreciation and recognition of our debt to them for giving us life, we are in turn rewarded with longer life.

You, my dear lady, are indeed fortunate to have a husband who fulfills the mitzvah of kibud av v’eim so wholeheartedly and refuses to allow inconvenience or hurt feelings to get in the way of his duty to his parents. You might moreover want to bear in mind that by encouraging him and soothing him with words of succor, by comforting and supporting him, you are your husband’s partner in this great mitzvah, for which we reap reward both in this world and the next.

Your children can be taught to politely turn down their grandparents’ offers of food. To assuage your frustrations, you and your husband might wish to seek the counsel of a rav whom you trust and who may give you some pointers in how best to deal with your sticky dilemma.

Witnessing their father go the extra mile to see to his own parents’ well being can serve as a powerful lesson to your children. Why would you want to deprive them, or for that matter, deprive yourself? Take advantage of this window of opportunity while it is available to you. Time moves on all too quickly.

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