Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Dear Mrs. Bluth,

Just recently you published a letter written by a young woman who defied her parents and married the man of her dreams thinking she had made the right choice for herself. Sadly, it turned out to be nothing that she had envisioned for herself. During this time she had cut ties with her family and became the person so very different from the lifestyle she had grown up in. To please her husband, who also professed to want the vision she had, they both gave up much of their religion along with their families. After some time, she learned her husband was a partner in a club of ill repute and had started divorce proceedings against her. This left her with her two children and barely anything else. She realized what she had given up and wanted to know how she could recoup her relationship with her parents, brothers and family. I also read your reply, encouraging her to use every strength she had to try and rebuild that relationship for herself and for her two children who did not know their grandparents or extended family. For the most part I agree with your direction and encouragement and that is why I am writing, to address the other side of the coin, which, perhaps, you did not consider.


Almost 23 years ago I, too, did the same thing. I was always butting heads with my mother and father, always wanted stuff I didn’t need or shouldn’t have in my teen years and resented being told “NO” most of the time when my friends all had so much more. I didn’t want to hear that my parents couldn’t afford this or that I didn’t need that at my age, so I started dreaming of the day when I would be old enough to leave home and be my own man. At eighteen, I cleaned out my bank account, bought a ticket to Israel and went to live on kibbutz, eventually joined the army, and not too long after, met the ‘girl of my dreams.’

It took me many years to understand that teenage dreams are made of fairy tales. The things that are real are the ones you have to work for, along with all the people you thought made life hard for you, when, in fact, their opposition was because they loved you and wanted to spare you from making huge mistakes in life. After leaving home, I did not let anyone know where I went. I cut all ties with my family, brothers and sisters and it was only after I ended my own bitter marriage that I realized I had sold myself to the devil for twenty pieces of silver.

It was then that I decided to try to reach out to my parents, but each time I picked up the phone, I remember that last fight I had with my father before I cut them out of my life. There was so much yelling and screaming, so much cursing and physical altercation. When my father blocked me from running out by standing in front of the door, I remember grabbing him by the collar of his shirt and throwing him with all my might against the china cabinet which shattered, the glass cutting his hands and his chest. Not looking back, I ran into my other life with a piece of his torn collar clenched in my fist and swearing never to return.

I kept in touch with my oldest brother through a friend in the states who knew how badly I wanted to reunite with my family but terrified of the reception or the refusal I would get if I tried. My friend recently informed me that my brother was marrying off his oldest daughter and wanted me to come to the wedding. He felt this was the perfect time to do this. When I heard, I was overjoyed and ready to book a ticket home, then my memory kicked in and I could never imagine my father forgiving me for what I had done or said to him. But my friend reassured me that my brother felt it would all be forgiven. So, here I am asking you whether you thought a father could ever forgive such a recalcitrant son, when the Torah demands the worst form of punishment for such a son. I look forward to reading your reply, as time is of the essence.

The Sorrer U’Morrer son


Dear Friend,

Every time I wonder why HaKodosh Boruch Hu decided to gift wisdom to the ‘mature’ generation and not bestow it on the youth, I can only come to one observation. Perhaps it is because, as the Eternal Father of His children, the Bnei Yisrael, He knows what a waste such a wonderful gift of wisdom would be to youth who tend to listen only to wants and desires of the moment.

You are right on one score though, some youthful mistakes can be beneficial in the long run and give parents the smug pleasure of saying “See….I told you so, ….next time listen when I tell you something.” The truth of the matter is, what you did is about as different from the young woman who wrote in as strawberries are from coconuts. But, take heart, there may yet be a second simcha at your niece’s wedding……a reunion!

What you did was indefensible to be sure. And you are correct, the Torah delegates a whole parsha to the horrible sins against parents perpetrated by a son who is chayav missa. However, Meforshim say that no such son was ever judged and executed for such a crime. Perhaps this is because even if parents had such a son, no parent would want to see their child suffer such an end. Much like Hashem Himself, who tolerates the sins of His children while waiting for them to do teshuva and return to Him.

You were a foolish son, all through your young years and well beyond, into your adulthood, when you wasted all this time speculating, agonizing and in the end giving up on ending the pain and the sadness all the way around. Don’t think your parents have ever stopped thinking about you, caring about you, wishing for you to come back. I would be willing to bet the farm (even though I don’t own one) that there isn’t a day that goes by that they don’t wish to have their child back with them. Don’t even finish reading this, go and book a ticket! And, when you see them, fall on your knees and beg your father and mother to forgive you and tell them that you have been asking them, in your heart, for forgiveness every day of those many years. I want to hear from you after this meeting and I’m sure my readership does, as well. Hatzlacha!

P.S. To my readers, I wish to clarify that there are many parents out there with broken hearts, shattered by the words of angry, callous and unfeeling children who shoot verbal arrows at them when they are wrapped up in their own pain, not caring how destroyed they leave their parents. I can tell you this, your parents forgave you a long time ago, their love may be somewhat different and not as over the moon as before, because the wounds may run very deep. However, if you own up to your sins and realize the hurt you’ve caused, forgiveness, in a newer and different relationship has the chance to occur. If you do nothing, nothing changes. You know who you are. Go out and make change happen, so that healing can follow!

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