To My Dear Children| February 14, 2023
I can’t invite only some of you. I can’t invite all of you. Instead, Tatty and I invite none of you
To My Dear Children,
Tone of us expected it to play out this way. Yes, communities disagree. Sometimes a chassidus splits, each member choosing to follow a different leader.
But families? Families don’t separate.
Families are there for each other through thick and thin. Even when an entire kehillah falls apart, a family stays together.
They don’t scream at each other in their childhood kitchen as their parents sit in the next room and try to block out the noise. Families don’t miss each other’s simchahs and then excuse themselves, saying, “She doesn’t want me there anyway.”
I raised you better. I spent years of my life instilling good chinuch and good values within you. But I look at you now and wonder where all that went. Even if you disagree, can’t you still treat each other well?
It’s been years, but I still wake up every morning and hope things have changed. This travesty has mushroomed into a monster.
I daven to Hashem every day, “Please, can today be the day when my children start talking to each other again?” There have been thousands of such mornings, though, and He still hasn’t sent the answer I’m waiting for.
I never imagined it would still be going on. At first, I thought it would pass. I continued to invite you both for Yom Tov and kidded myself into believing you’d both show up.
Then I’d get the calls. “Is he coming?”
“Yes,” I’d confirm.
“Then we’re not.”
I can’t invite only some of you. I can’t invite all of you. Instead, Tatty and I invite none of you.
At first, we had sad Yom Tov seudos on our own. The silence mocked me. The empty chairs seemed to stare me down and say, “You failed! You wanted to raise an erliche family but look what you have instead.”
After the short meal, Tatty and I would sit on the porch, and watch young families walk home from their parents. It was too much, too hard.
We couldn’t do it anymore. So after a few years, we started to run away. I called my cousin out of town and asked if we could join them for Yom Tov. “No, none of our children are coming with us,” I said. She didn’t ask any more questions.
I know so many of my friends are dealing with the same, but that doesn’t make it any easier. I’m not comforted to know I’m not alone — it just means I’m pained to know that hundreds of other parents are also suffering.
My friends cry to me every night. It’s so stressful to watch your family fall apart. You raise your kids. You give them everything you can — and then they turn on each other. They decide there are things more important than family.
I don’t think that’s true.
All I’m asking you, my dear children, is to listen when I say this: Certain things are uncompromisable. This is one of them.
You don’t have to follow the same rebbe, but you do have to have the same family. Your siblings are a gift from Hashem. When Tatty and I are gone, after 120 years, they will be your everything. Don’t throw that away.
There’s no greater nachas for a parent than when their children love each other. I know better than to ask for so much, but I am asking you to at least get along. Be cordial. Be there for each other.
Allow Tatty and me to host everyone without any angry conversations or slammed doors.
You can disagree. You can be mad.
But you’re still my children. You’re still family. Family is the most important thing.
And I’m begging you today:
Please, remember that.
(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 831)
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