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Dear Rachel,

I am a 75-year-old widow. My husband passed away five years ago and I still miss him very much. We had a very good marriage of over fifty years. Friends suggested that I consider remarriage, but I am not interested.


During the course of our marriage my husband bought me many beautiful pieces of jewelry. I really only wear a few pieces at this time, and I thought of giving some of the very expensive items to each of my four daughters. I have a friend who did this and she gets pleasure every time she sees her girls wearing her jewels.

I called my daughters together at my home and told them what I proposed to do. The pieces I was parting with were spread out on the dining room table. Boy, was I in for a shock. My daughters who always got along began arguing over who should get what. One of them was interested in finding out the value of some of the items and wanted the most expensive ones. Another actually insulted her sister, claiming that what she wanted made her look old and didn’t flatter her in the least, causing tears to flow.

I was so disgusted at the reactions that I asked them all to leave and said that I had changed my mind. At this point no one is talking to the other, and they are all blaming me. I thought I knew my children well and had only wanted to make them happy.



Dear Heartbroken,

The concept of distributing one’s prized jewels in our golden years, while we are still able to reap the joy of giving, is certainly not new – though it has of late seen a resurgence in popularity. Sadly, offering children a choice, especially when items vary in value, can have the opposite of the giver’s intended effect. How disheartening to have had your noble intention and generosity repaid in such a callous way! Life certainly doesn’t prepare us for instances like these, does it.

An alternate, safer bet may have been for you to choose what to give to whom, based on chronological age or individual taste – handed to each daughter in private.

Some families favor a goral, carried out by numbering every piece and having each daughter pick a number. The matching numbered piece would then be hers. If so inclined, they can subsequently agree among themselves to trade with one another.

Other variables, such as sentimental keepsakes, furnishings, etc., can often cause friction among family members as well. These, too, can be distributed personally in one’s lifetime – as when parents in their senior years downsize and no longer have space for their years’ worth of accumulated possessions and heirlooms.

As for your dilemma, things will hopefully simmer down with time. If you are up to it, let each of your daughters know how disappointed you were in their reactions, while encouraging them to make peace and reconcile their petty differences. And if you are loath to give it another go, you can stipulate in your will who should get what.

Hatzlacha in all your ventures, and please rest assured that your heart was in the right place!


Re: “Hoping to be of help” (Chronicles, December 23)

To readers concerned about the Kashrus of Nerve Renew (recommended in a letter to “Seeking a cure” in Chronicles, December 2):

Dear Rachel,

Regarding the kashrus concerns of Nerve Renew, please note that the strictly observant rabbi we consulted ruled that as long as the capsule is swallowed whole and not chewed, it is permitted to be used for a refuah. Sometimes you would be surprised what is allowed.

Hoping to be of help


Readers are advised to seek the approval of their own Rav.


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