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When human relationships can save your life

הרבנית ימימה מזרחי עם נשות "משפחה אחת"

Translaton by Yehoshua Siskin

Rabbanit Yemima Mizrachi spoke yesterday at the annual convention of Mishpacha Achat (One Family), an Israeli non-profit organization that supports the families of terror victims. Hundreds of bereaved women were in the audience. Mothers who lost sons, wives who lost husbands, as well as women who were themselves wounded in terrorist attacks. Fittingly, as we approach Tisha B'Av that commemorates the destruction of the Holy Temple, Rabbanit Mizrachi read something that Chani Weinroth, z"l, wrote that spoke directly to the personal destruction these women have known so well in their own lives. Chani Weinroth was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 25. She was told she had only six months to live but persevered for eight more years, leaving behind a husband and three children. During her illness, she wrote voluminously about her struggles and revelations and became an inspirational figure throughout Israel. In my view, her words express a profound truth that we can apply to every sort of challenge and struggle that we face:

"I discovered a phenomenon that amazed me. Whenever someone shares with me a story of Job-like personal suffering, during most of the conversation they speak only about how they have been treated by the people around them. People might say: 'The doctor is so insensitive, I blow up at him over how he relates to me,' or 'I don't believe how helpful and devoted my husband has been during this difficult time,' or 'Even now that I am sick, my mother-in-law still does not call.'

Someone tells you that their entire life is crumbling and in the same breath emphasizes how others have responded to their plight, hopefully through loyalty, friendship, and empathy. Is this an escape from reality? Absolutely not. In their suffering, this is what mainly interests people. Even in the book of Job, we can see the importance of the protagonist's friends. Most people, immediately after the sky falls on them, will define what has happened to them, more or less, in terms of the behavior of those who are in the room with them at that moment.

Human relationships can save your life.


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