If you or a loved one have experienced the delicate emotional situation of a family member off the derech, this father’s compassionate letter to his daughter will move you.
My dearest Suri,
As I fasted today, I sat and reflected on what our fast is all about. Why was our beautiful home in Yerushalayim destroyed? Why did the presence of hHashem leave us? What did we do to drive ourselves into this long bitter golus?
I always knew the answer, but I don’t think I understood it as well as I do right now. It was destroyed because we were judgmental of those who did not ACT the way we wanted them to act. We were embarrassed of those who did not DRESS the way that we wanted them to dress. We looked down at those that did not TALK the way we wanted them to talk. And our misplaced ego caused us to think that we are better then they are. This is what caused us to destroy ourselves completely. Without having a ayin tovah, a favorable and understanding eye on those around us, we are not deserving of having the divine presence of Hashem live among us. We threw ourselves out with our self-righteous mindset.
Which group of us caused the destruction? The ones “on the derech” or the ones “off the derech”?
On this I sit and cry… my eyes fill with tears… the epiphany just hit me like a ton of bricks: It was not the ones wearing the jeans (as an example) that caused the destruction, rather, it was the ones not wearing jeans who then looked down upon those who wore the jeans! WE are the ones who destroyed the beis Hamikdosh and we have not yet corrected our sin! In fact, with Torah and mitzvos being so strong… we have perhaps even strengthened our sin… we have taken it to a higher level.
I look at myself… am I not part of the group who uses our beautiful religion to look down at others? And if so, am I not the one responsible for our current exile? What good is my fasting and sitting on a floor if I cannot face the truth that “I” am currently responsible for this tragedy?!
I now fully realize that it is not you and your friends who are preventing Moshiach from coming… it is me and my friends!
I wrote my own kinniss: Woe is to me for I have repeated and repeated the original sin that caused the churban! Woe is to me for I have stabbed my own flesh and blood! Woe is to me for I took the holy Torah that is supposed to be sweet and peaceful “dirachehuh darchei NOAM vichal nesivosehuh SHALOM” and I used it to form a dagger which I then used to stab you – and others – over and over again!!
And so after a long day of fasting and contemplation, I look back at the way that I treated you and for this I now sit and cry. My dear sweet beloved Suri !! How can I ever take back the pain that I caused you? How can I ever repay you for the smiles and hugs that you so deserved… but didn’t get from me because I was too busy justifying to myself why it is OK for me to look down at you… to judge you harshly… and to actively destroy the Bais Hamikdosh? How can I give you back the lost years?
My dear Suri, a long long long time ago, I looked into the future and dreamed about the day that you would grow up, mature, learn right from wrong, wake up from your selfishness and finally come ask me for forgiveness… but after alot of inner searching… “I” grew up, and “I” matured, and “I” learned right from wrong, and now “I” finally finally woke up from MY selfish, haughty, egotistical, judgmental attitude! And now on this painful day I turn to you and I ask you – no, I BEG you – for forgiveness!!
I accept upon myself to shower you with love and affection, with hugs and kisses, and to do everything in my power to always be there for you through thick and thin! I pledge to work so so hard to make up for all of the pain that I caused you. I pledge to never look down at you, your friends, or on ANY JEW ever again. I am DONE with the negative attitude! I am DONE with being the judge and jury to another Yid! I am DONE with thinking that I am BETTER than ANY other Jew in Klal Yisrael. I am DONE being a part of the problem… and I pledge that as of right this moment… I will become a part of the SOLUTION!!
My Suri, please open your heart to me… please open your arms to me… hug me, hold my hand and let us build the beis Hamikdosh together…
What do you say?
Your loving Totty
letter is from a chassidic dad