Family Love

This post is dedicated in memory of Etya Sarah bat Yitzchak ha-Levi. May it be an aliyah       for her neshama.

-By Elisheva Maline

In Hebrew shalom translates three ways - Salutations (if a simple hello will not suffice), farewell, or peace be with you. The primary meaning of all three, however, is, "We're on good terms." The Talmud has a saying in Gemaras Brachos: "לך לשלום (Go toward peace)," as opposed to "לך בשלום (Go in peace)." While the former is a blessing one gives a friend for continual growth in this world so he can attain peace in the next world the second is a tongue in cheek way of saying "Go to the next world in peace." It seems that both sentiments are so short enough they fit within the time frame it takes one to choose whether he will condemn his fellow man or not.

How does one learn to make peace a constant function in his life? In familial settings, wanting to clobber a sibling for borrowing one's favorite shirt without permission is usually instinct. Also, dinner time is great breeding ground for fighting: "I told you, it's your turn to wash the dinner dishes! Argh." If things don't go the way one wants them to, sometimes it's easy to lash out. One might say things one doesn't mean in the heat of the moment and unfortunately, many families end up airing their dirty laundry in public. How can one avoid bringing talk show hosts like Dr. Phil or Jerry Springer into family civil war?

Shalom bayis (a peaceful home) is about being mitgaber (having self control) and being mivater (compromising, which means letting go of what you want or finding a solution that leaves both parties satisfied). One step toward acquiring these qualities is through humility. Humility allows one to see things from an other's point of view.  You will find that being mivater feels insanely nice. Self control is the valued version of strength, not some 21st century Hercules taking people apart in a bar room brawl. "Who is a strong man? The one with will power." (Ethics of our fathers 4:1).

One of G-d's Thirteen Attributes of Divine Mercy is in a name - kel which means mighty compassion in giving others what they need (as oppose to what one may think is good for them). Sometimes, parents and children can get caught in a mental tug of war. Just don't get trapped in the sentiment that "I must win." Ask yourself, "What does this child need? Bottom line, no matter what the circumstances: the child is throwing a fit in the middle of the supermarket, he refuses to go to bed etc., as long as he/she knows the parents love and care about him/her, the kid will eventually come to an understanding that the parents are doing what's best for him. Also, you can get along with anyone, even your children, if you remain present, and put yourself in the other person's shoes. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is such a gender biased point of view, reeking of estrogen.

Yashar LaChayal

The majesty of the Western Wall

Nefesh B'Nefesh