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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 5, 2004 /14 Nissan, 5764

Meshuganeh relatives are good for you

By Leonard Felder

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This Passover, let those crazy family members help you grow


http://www.jewishworldreview.com | The Passover seder is a wonderful chance to connect with certain relatives that you love, along with hearing again the inspiring account of moving out of enslavement and fear while moving toward freedom and compassion for all who are hungry or mistreated. But for the majority of Jewish families, it's also a stressful time when personality clashes and unresolved conflicts with a few particular relatives spring up once again.

In fact, from the research study of over 1,350 people that I did for my recent book, "When Difficult Relatives Happen To Good People," it was found that more than 70 percent of us have at least one relative who gets on our nerves year after year — a parent, sibling, child or in-law who tends to be judgmental or asks invasive questions such as, "When are you getting married?" "Have you put on some weight?" "When are you going to have children?" or "How come your kids aren't as well-behaved as your sister's kids?"

So you might ask, "Why should this Passover be different from all other Passovers?" Will it be just another long evening of feeling irritated by your most difficult relatives, or is there some other way to handle the situation more effectively?

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A CHANGE IN PERSPECTIVE

One way to deal more effectively this year with your most difficult relatives is to change the way you view them. For example, here are a few hidden benefits from having meshuggeneh relatives who (like the charoses and bitter herbs we eat together in the Hillel sandwich) are a little bit nutty, somewhat sweet at times, and occasionally bitter or hard to take. Please see for yourself if the following perspectives on difficult relatives might assist you in enjoying more fully the upcoming seder.

1) Having Some Kvetches in the Family Can Remind You of What It Was Like for Our Ancestors in the Desert. 

If you study the Book of Exodus, you will notice that there's a lot of complaining. Even within a few days after the miracle of the Sea of Reeds parting, many of our ancestors were complaining about the food, the weather, the lack of structure as compared to how familiar everything was during slavery and the fact that their leader, Moses, kept going off to take meetings without letting them know when he would return.

So when one or more of your relatives start complaining that the seder is too long or too short, or that the matzah balls are too hard or too soft, you can say a prayer of thanks that, "You have blessed us, Holy One, with a chance to remember that we were fearful slaves in Egypt. Please help us overcome our fears so that we no longer will be such kvetches and we will instead trust that You are guiding us in a holy direction."

2) Consider the Possibility that a Difficult Relative Is Like Sand in an Oyster. 

In order to become a pearl, you might need to practice and improve your own skills at combining chesed (lovingkindness) and gevurah (limit-setting or firmness). Our Jewish teachings say it's important to stand up to people who are saying or doing hurtful things, but never to shame, attack or mistreat someone (because each human being contains a spark of holiness — even if it's extremely covered over in your particular family member). A difficult relative is sometimes like a good workout at the gym — you might feel the burn but hopefully you will be successful at treating your most meshugganeh relative with a balance of kindness and firmness.

3) Having Some Disagreements at the Seder Table Can Remind Us That We Jews Are Supposed to Be "Yisrael," the Ones Who Wrestle and Strive With G-d.

Don't worry if your Uncle Harry is a dogmatic nudge, if your sister-in-law is a devout atheist or if your family is constantly arguing about their diverse ways of practicing (or not practicing) their Judaism. The word Yisrael literally means the people who wrestle and strive with the mysteries of the Eternal One. We argue and we discuss, therefore we exist. If we stopped arguing and discussing, we would no longer be on this chosen journey of searching for truth, fairness and the repair of the world.

4) Don't Get Bent Out of Shape If You Have Relatives Who Show Up Late, Have an Attitude or Don't Show Up at All. 

If you look at one of the most fascinating passages in the seder, you will see it says there are four types of people: The one who fully partakes of the tradition; the one who questions and wonders if it applies to him or her; the one who stands off to the side; and the one who is too young or simple to ask questions.

Your task, according to the seder text and Jewish teachings, is to treat each of these four individuals with dignity and love. They each have something to teach the rest of us. They each are a part of our extended family and, possibly, are each a part of our own inner psyche.

Maybe each one of us has a part of our minds that can accept miracles and ancient teachings without question, while another part of us needs to ask difficult questions, a third part of us feels isolated or left out at times and, finally, there is a part of us that is either so very young or so extremely pure in our souls that we don't ask questions at all.

To love and appreciate each of these parts of ourselves and to treat with compassion each guest at the table is one of the great teachings of the Passover seder. Good luck!

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Leonard Felder is a licensed psychologist whose eight books on how Jewish spirituality applies to daily living have sold more than 1 million copies. His most recent book is "When Difficult Relatives Happen To Good People". (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.) For more information, log onto www.difficultrelatives.com Comment by clicking here.

© 2004, Leonard Felder