Thursday, June 05, 2008

While we live in Galut, we will always be oppressed

Another letter from Yated (attn Sephardi Lady)

Dear Editor,
Why do I have to feel like I am being farhered every time I go to my shver’s house in Brooklyn? I understand that he gives us money each month and we appreciate that very much. But does that mean that I have to be subject to questions about what I’m learning and pressured to say vertlach on the parsha every time we visit?
My in-laws are very nice people. They shower my wife, 5 children and me with gifts, they bought us a car, among other things, and graciously give us a monthly check to keep us afloat. Is that the reason that my father-in-law feels compelled to quiz me every time I come to his house? I mentioned this issue to a friend of mine who said that he experiences the same exact thing. This friend encouraged me to write this letter to the Yated. Actually, he’s pushed me for months to write something, but I never got around to it.
Perhaps there is a father-in-law out there who can explain it to us. Why do you have to bombard us with your questions on our limudim and with your vertlach on this inyan or that inyan? It is not that we aren’t interested. It is just that we somehow are made to feel that we have to constantly be ready for our next “exam” when we meet you.
(This is surely not as bad as a different friend’s shver who actually makes him fax a shtickel Torah to him once a month. This friend lives in Yerushalayim, while his father-in-law lives in New York.)
There are other issues about in-laws that my friend wanted me to share, but for now I think this one will suffice.
Answers, anyone?


Leora said...

Um, see a therapist? Or is this like suggesting a trip to Mars.

One is not going to change one's father-in-law or anyone else for that matter. All you can do is change what you say and how you say it or what you do in reaction to one's father-in-law. And deal with one's own feelings.

Personally, if it were my father-in-law, I would try to learn how to humor the guy and give him what he wants without getting myself bent out of shape. I try to give respect to my elders, even if we don't see things in the same way. This is how the father-in-law knows how to connect; he doesn't know any other way.

Larry Lennhoff said...

When I was in college, and my parents paid my tuition, they wanted to see my report card. As far as I am concerned if he doesn't want to be quizzed, he should stop taking money from his father in law and start supporting himself. The sense of entitlement in this letter drives me absolutely wild.

Leora said...

But your parents probably raised you to be self-sufficient. These parents purposely raise their children so they can keep one string attached. Breaking away may not be so easy for the "kids".

"While we live in Galut, we will always be oppressed"
What does this mean?

Larry Lennhoff said...

When Moshiach comes, full time Torah study will be supported without any need (other than halacha) to be nice to fathers-in-law. Until then, he who pays the piper calls the tune.

Anonymous said...

It's not clear to me at all that the expectation is based on the financial contribution. Your father-in-law may share Torah with you and expect you to share Torah with him because that's just part of how he lives a Jewish life. I know it's how I was raised, and I look forward to meeting people who choose to live that way as well.

Lion of Zion said...


"These parents purposely raise their children so they can keep one string attached."

that's an interesting perspective

Orthonomics said...

I have to make sure to check into your blog more often.
My parents also wanted to know my grades in college, as did the parents of nearly ever other student I know.
I'm not sure the blame lies so much with the children as those who raised them to see their parents as nothing more than an ATM.

Leora said...

Larry, I commend you on your ability to know others, at least Sephardi Lady. I was amazed that she posted her post without ever seeing yours first.

I feel bad that I seem to be the only person who has a little bit of rachmonas (compassion) for this guy for being entangled with a father-in-law who unwittingly pulls strings on his children. Separation wasn't easy for me, so I relate to others who have a hard time separating.

Orthonomics said...

Larry, If you received your Yated email already, please forward me a copy.

Leora-I feel bad for young families who are on the dole, so to speak. They don't have a chance to experience independence and build the esteem and dignity that comes with doing-it-yourself.