Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

4 Sivan 5766 - May 31, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family

Time to Forgive

by Sara Gutfreund

The truth is that they never really got along. It was strange, because not only did they resemble each other with their striking blue eyes and straight black hair, but they also had the same intense personality. But Rose had never noticed that. In fact, she had never understood why Kayla irritated her so easily. Her other daughters, with their honey-colored hair and hazel eyes, could do almost nothing wrong in her eyes. They were so undemanding and helpful. She forgave them easily for any of their minor mishaps. But Kayla had been difficult since the beginning.

She remembered how hard she was to please even as a baby. And she was the most difficult toddler that Rose could ever imagine. With some of her tantrums, she could easily make Rose cry. Of course, Rose never did actually cry. But she came close to it, and she resented the two-and-a-half-year- old tyrant who seemed to be able to push every button she had.

To be fair, Kayla was the firstborn. She was the one who suffered from all of her inexperience and enormous expectations. But the tension between them had never abated from those toddler years. It seemed to grow more complicated as Kayla grew. And not once did Rose realize that almost everything that Kayla did that annoyed her was just a mirror image of her own faults.

When Kayla became engaged, Rose tried to ease the hostility between them. She tried to give Kayla a lot of space and even let her make a lot of the decisions about the wedding that Rose desperately wanted to make herself. But Kayla didn't seem to notice her effort. Instead she found fault with almost everything that Rose did during that time period. If she was wearing a sheitel, it was styled all wrong. If she showed up for a shopping expedition with a scarf, she looked too sloppy. Eventually, it got to be too much for Rose and a week before the wedding they were embroiled in one of their screaming matches that only subsided when Tatte came between them and gave them one of his disappointed, tired glances. It was amazing how Tatte just had to look at Kayla in order to placate her. Why couldn't Rose do that?

When Rose stood under that chuppah with the star- studded, Jerusalem sky arching above them, she could not stop crying. And she wasn't crying for the reasons that everyone probably thought that she was crying. She wasn't going to miss her little girl. In fact, with a pang of guilt, she realized that she was indeed relieved to have Kayla finally out of the house.

She was crying because she had failed with this child. She had never found a way to create love and warmth between them. They had tolerated each other but barely even that. And as she watched Kayla encircle her chosson, her heart- shaped face framed by wisps of lace, Rose was startled.

For the first time, she saw it! This kallah in front of her, with the stubborn walk and intense eyes, was almost an exact replica of herself as a kallah. All this time that she had been resenting Kayla, she had really been angry with herself!

But in the months following the wedding, Rose could not seem to break through the barriers in their relationship. The bitterness had grown for too long. Nevertheless, Rose began to see Kayla differently as she watched her set up her own home. She understood her insecurities and silently took pride in her ambitious home making. Then, a year later, her first granddaughter was born.

Nechama was a miniature replica of her mother and grandmother. A few weeks after her birth, Nechama looked up at her grandmother with her piercing, blue eyes and smiled. Rose clasped her hands in delight as the rest of the family insisted that it couldn't have been a real smile yet. But Kayla, sitting next to her mother and newborn daughter, looked up at Rose and said:

"Ima, she smiled at you. I saw. It was real." And those words were the first of many words to be spoken between them without a trace of past resentment. In fact, Rose thought she even saw a hint of a smile in Kayla's ice-blue eyes. The time had come for them to forgive each other. And as the baby grasped one of Rose's fingers in her tiny hand, Rose realized it was also time to forgive someone else. The baby let go of her finger, and Rose let go of her anger. She was ready to forgive herself.


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