by Chaim Walder
Hearts of the Fathers, Hearts of Sons
The parents of great talmidei chachomim sometimes tell
us about the problems and struggles of their children during
childhood and adolescence. Thirty years later, things appear
different. One finds himself proud of the difficulties he
endured with his child, and of the fears with which he coped.
The way to look at life is by seeing it in general, and not
from fleeting vantage point. We mustn't look at the weak
moments of a child and because of them brand him as weak. The
opposite is true. We must equate his behavior during the
entire year, to his behavior during bein hazmanim.
These days are days of probation -- the end of the vacation,
when all are tired of the comments, of the criticism and
quite often of the fights. In time for Elul, it is preferable
for the son to return to his father, the mother to her son,
and to call a halt to the anger, the criticism and to clear
the air, so that the child will be able to return during Elul
with the knowledge that his parents think highly of him and
have expectations from him.
Let us conclude with the idea which I heard from Reb Usher
Porush, the rosh yeshiva of Nesivos Hatalmud.
It is written, "as water face to face, so is the heart of man
to man." If such is the case, why are there situations in
which the father loves his son while the son doesn't
reciprocate that love, but rather causes him sorrow.
He explained: Water is essentially a mirror which reflects
reality. A person can see reality only if the mirror faces
him. If he is standing at a different angle, he won't see a
thing. Sometimes, the mirror will even blind him and bother
"A son and a father," says Rav Porush, "love each other, but
since they are not standing on the same level, they may not
see each other. The may mirror blind the father or the son.
In order for the mirror to reflect reality and the feelings
that exist between father and son, one of them has to adjust
himself on the other's level. Because we are speaking about
differences in height, it is usually the taller one who
should square himself, because the shorter one simply can't
do raise himself as easily.
Parents should lower themselves a bit, not from a spiritual
standpoint, but rather they should lower the point from which
they observe their child, in order to stand face to face with
him from a conceptual point of view. If they do that, the
rule of "as water face to face, so the heart of man to man"
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