A time to be silent.....and a Shabbos guest and holiness...

  • 15 June 2018
  • jewishfamily

The Torah says there is a time for silence and a time to speak…..I never contemplated that idea very deeply until now….
I always thought I had a good and close relationship with my younger sister. We both are the “frum”ones in the family. I always felt we should be close. We grew up together, shared a room together and were close in age. But to my shock, over the past several years I have come to realize that my sister is not there for me the way I was for her.  Not that she never did anything for me: she has done a lot and so have I done for her and her family. But I always sense from her a feeling that I am a burden, a bother, that she really does not want to be that busy with me or my famly but she sometimes feels obligated. 
I have always felt that I wanted to do everything for her, she is my sister, I feel I have to do my best for her and her family and I was so happy to help her. I guess I cant understand why she does not feel the same way about me. She has sort of reduced contact to a large degree and diminished our relationship. It took me time, and a lot of denial, to finally come to realize and accept this fact….as hard as pill as it was to swallow.
I admit this situation has caused me some degree of of hurt. I feel left out of her life. Part of me feels ashamed. I want to explain that I am a good person, I am the big sister…I would like to open communication, sit down and discuss things openly and truly be sisters the way I think sisters should be. But she does not give me that opportunity. I know it is silly. At my age these things should not bother me. But I think deeper than that it is a feeling that she triggers in me of being rejected for no reason,something maybe going back to childhood. And I guess my deeper question is why. Why did she turn against me and reject me for no real reason??  I only did goodness to her. I guess the reality is she does not mean it a bad way but because of her lack of adequate communication, I end up feeling really hurt.  
And I imagine this scenario could probably occur not only with sisters, but with other family members or with friends. 
And suddenly I find myself thinking about the  wisdom of Torah. So true. There is a time to be silent , and one has to be sensitive and know when to be silent. But there is a time to speak, a time to communicate. If you are silent when you should speak up it causes a lot of pain and suffering to others and that is something difficult to remedy.  Sometimes you don’t even realize that your silence is hurting someone. It is harder to realize that than to realize the hurt you cause through arguing or loshon hara or anger….at least the speech in those areas is clearly unkind and one can be aware and rectify it.  Silence at the wrong time is harder to fix or even to realize. (and that applies to many things where we should make our voices heard and we may feel apathetic and not bother: politically, when there is some injustice in the world, concerning eretz Yisroel etc.etc.)
I do try to judge my sister l’kav zechus…I try to realize she is not doing this especially to me, she has her own stresses and problems and pressures and she just cannot relate to me now and probably to many people. But after all, I am her sister. I guess I felt maybe we should have a closer relationship. There is always an element of hurt there.  We tend to define ourselves in terms of how others relate to us, approve of us etc. It is silly but it is a habit from childhood….isnt that how children are? They base their self image on how we relate to them, on how much they are loved and approved of. I suppose we do the same with Hashem…..but anyway, I am working on getting past this challenge in my life. It is really not a big issue. But it has caused a wound that needs time to heal. But luckily time truly does heal: with time we develop a different perspective on things, our emotions calm down, and we also forget the hurt at least to some degree. Time is a blessing….everything Hashem created is a blessing.  But I do understand why the Torah says if you have one real friend consider yourself lucky….and the Torah also says that sometimes a friend can be better than a brother or sister….ay, the wisdom of Torah never ceases to amaze me. 

A SHABBOS GUEST AND INHERITING HOLINESS
Last week we had a guest on Shabbos: someone who wants to convert. She is still in the learning and preparation stage. But with literally tears in her eyes, she told us how much she wants to be part of the Jewish people, that all the blessings are for the Jews and she gets so emotional and distraught when she thinks that Moshiach will come and all the Jews will go to Israel and she will be left behind is she did not convert yet! 
This made me think to myself that it is a contrast when you meet someone who wants to convert and is feeling so emotional about the idea of missing out on geulah….and then you have Jews who are so ignorant of their heritage (through no fault of their own) that they do not even realize they should be wanting that much to go to Israel and be part of the redemption. 
But of course the difference is that when Moshiach comes, no Jew will be left behind, no matter who they are or what their background.
And then I started to think how fortunate we are to have our Jewish heritage, an inheritance to us from our patriarchs, Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaacov. So many Jews do not even realize or understand what a wonderful heritage we have.
I imagined to myself what if a father worked so hard all his life, with true self sacrifice, to build up a business and leave over for his children a great inheritance, would it make sense for any child to shrug and turn away and refuse to even look at that inheritance?? Of course not. 
Well, that is what every Jew has: a wonderful inheritance from our forefathers, a gift filled with spiritual blessings….we cannot turn away from that and reject such an inheritance. We have to look into our heritage, get to know what it is all about, experience the spiritual blessings and appreciate the hard work and mesiras nefesh that our forefathers went through in order to give us all of this on a silver platter.
Ashreinu, ma tov chelkenu….