MAILBAG: To Our Dear Parents In America, From Your Couple In Eretz Yisroel

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We can’t thank you enough for all that you always do for us. Living here in Eretz Yisroel has given us the most amazing opportunities and we can never be makir tov enough for you allowing this to happen. Both physically and emotionally, the support you give us is always appreciated. We know it’s not always easy and we most definitely never take it for granted.

Baruch HaShem in today’s day and age, we are able to stay in touch so easily. We are able to speak to you daily and show you pictures and videos of our children within minutes after they’re taken. We are so excited to be able to stay connected to you even from here.

However, these opportunities come with a serious risk which is why we are writing this. You see, along with the ability to always be accessible comes the feeling that we must therefore always be that accessible. The difference between a convenience and inconvenience can just be how often you feel the need to use that convenience.

For example, we love being able to send you pictures and videos of our family, because as a parent we want to keep you updated on our lives. However, if when we meet your friends they tell us how much they loved seeing those things that we sent to you (and you in turn sent to them) we get the feeling that you don’t view these pictures with the sense of privacy and sentimental value with which we send them, but rather as just another thing to forward as you would to with a good joke or recipe. But after therefore sending you fewer things, you get insulted why we didn’t send you certain pictures.

We love that we get to see you face to face daily. But did you ever think what feeling you give your son or son in law when he comes from Shachris, Seder, and Mariv and each time his wife quickly hangs up the phone because he came home? Must you call first thing in the morning so you can see to your child before you go to bed even though you know they are probably still in bed? How will our child learn to not feel the need to be on the screen often as we are trying to teach him if he spends a minimum of a few hours a day on the screen so you can see the new word he learnt? And if supper is the only time we actually get to spend alone time together, is the fact that you’re in the store and see a skirt I might like that much of an emergency that you feel the need to call three times until I answer?

Allow us to clarify – we love you more than anything and we realize and feel the love behind all of these things. But we want to feel respected as a couple as well. If I didn’t get a chance to call you today yet, do you think it was on purpose as a sign of hatred? Maybe is it possible that today was just a crazy day and between school, errands, being a mother/father, husband/wife, I just didn’t get a chance yet? Must you send me a text “how come you didn’t call me – I miss the baby so much I didn’t see him today”? We value your advice so much and cherish it more than anything else. But what makes wisdom as valuable as pearls is that they have to be as rare as them. If you give your opinion on whether my side dish goes with my main, if my child’s (or mine) clothing matches, and why I didn’t call my friend yet today, your well meant advice for the things that matter become meaningless.

I once heard a shalom bayis expert say at a shiur that most issues these days is because the two sets of parents have very different beliefs. Is that really what we’ve come to? That a couples issues are defined by how the parents are affected by it? Think back to all the couples of yesteryear you know with good shalom bayis. Are we expected to believe that the common denominator between them all is that there parents were on the same page? Even if that was a true statement, do we really think that’s what caused it?

We write this now because I the coming weeks we will have to make a decision what to do for Yom Tov. Do we take on the challenges of doing it on our own here without parents, kashering an apartment and not getting to get the long awaited family warmth that we’ve been waiting so long for? Or do we go back and face the possibility of a different challenge – to rotate in different basements for a few months with independence and privacy almost non existent? Both require sacrifices and challenges but can be carried out if we as a couple decide to weather the storm and be there for each other as a couple and grow from it. We beg you, please allow us the sensitivity and confidence to make this decision without making us feel guilty if you disagree. Maybe the decision will be a mistake , but that will be our mistake to make together and grow from together.

We love you so much and want you to only have nachas and joy from us. We want to make you proud as a couple but also want to have the ability to be a couple and travel the road that we build for ourselves with the bricks we have gotten for you. Please know that we want you to be so apart of our lives but that we can have the confidence to make decisions and that you trust us to do it.

With all our love,
Your couple in Eretz Yisroel

NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of YWN.

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28 COMMENTS

  1. Right now thousands of parents are reading this, internalizing it, thinking back, and wondering?

    Is this my kid? Because if it is… what in the WORLD did we do wrong?

  2. Just wondering are your parents footing your living expenses and your not Willing to have a daily FaceTime with their grandchildren?

  3. So your parents raised you from diapers , you are 30 with a few kids & your parents are still supporting you besimcha, and you want to be mechanech them in what they can do with YOUR pics. Otherwise you will punish them that not only the dont see the grandkids but they wont get pics
    Tattele or mamele you need some petch

  4. To qualify for an Op-Ed, the contents must be relevant to many and on others minds. It seems this couple went to extremes here trying to get there own parents (who must be YWN readers) to not be insulted that they are not coming for Pesach and make other changes they are unhappy about in their relationship. I think its important that this writer shares this with there parents directly, maybe with the help of a therapist as direct communication and boundary setting seems to be difficult. However this is a unique issue, not a klal issue like children not getting accepted into schools, or couples stuck inside or outside Eretz Yisroel. This is not the right medium for personal relationship issues, unless a new column for such is being opened on YWN. I think the writer should also consider that many young married woman living in Eretz Yisroel wish that their mother looked for skirts for them, many feel forgotten and the calls you are so bothered by, rarely come and they wait for the calls eagerly. As you are now a parent, it would make sense you would understand your parents importance in your lives and their desire to stay connected regularly from a far. There is also a mitzvah of Kibud Av Viaim and I have heard of problems of a different magnitude that people put up with from their parents in the Mitzvas merit. It seems at the Kollel or Kehilla your family is a part of that it is perhaps not a mitzvah learnt in its depth. If you want a VERY practical instant solution to the issues you outline it may be worth actually living a kollel lifestyle and getting rid of your “convienent” device that you describe that allows for instant and constant connection as you outlined. If that is not possible another idea would be how you mentioned that you appreciate the “physical and emotional support” your parents give you so you can live in EY. Lets be frank, the emotional side seems to be a burden for ylu as you describe in this article. It might be worth looking at this as all the hard work of staying in touch, as part of your Histadlus for the “physical” support you mention and for the ability to be in a holy land that many dream of the zchus of living in. That should make the hard relationship work you describe easier.

  5. The grandparents who are paying for everything want to see their grandkids occasionally and that becomes meaningless if it’s too frequent? What kind of neo psychological garbage is this??

  6. Sounds like spoiled kids to me.
    On one hand, appreciate what you have. Your living a life of luxury on another person’s cheshbon

    On the other hand, if this is a real issue, it’s to be discussed privately. Why post on YWN?

    This will just hurt way to many people. And that goes both ways.

    Think about how many parents will now start second guessing and how many children will just feel more guilty.

    This is a foolish immature letter all around.

  7. Is this for real??? The author obviously has issue either with his/her parents and/or in-laws. Most people don’t care if their parents fwd their grandchildren’s pix to their friends. That’s their nachas. If YOU don’t like it, say something…. (ie: we would appreciate it if you don’t fwd these pox to your friends…)
    Most parents will shep such nachas if you told them “I’m so sorry I have to go now….. my husband/wife/child just got home…”
    Seriously???

  8. The son who sits on his Father’s shoulders and asks where is my Father. This letter personifies it. Wait till the children have to get a job. Will they talk this way to their boss??? These children have now threatened the very lifestyle the Rabbanim have endorsed. Using the word “However” negates all that is written before it. Wrapping poisonous words in compliments ruins and mocks the whole message. THIS IS NOT TORAS ERETZ YISROEL!!!

  9. Wow. I cannot believe how many people are calling this couple spoiled.
    Whole this article may be slightly to the extreme, the message is true.

    Parents should not be trying to control everything in a young couples life. They should be giving them space to make decisions, and mistakes by themselves. How else are they supposed to grow into self sufficient adults?

    Especially this decision of making yom tov, is no easy decision to make, and especially this year. Traveling these days is brutal.

    And in regards to sending pictures, maybe they don’t want their pictures players everywhere. Everyone is entitled to privacy. If they want to share something with their parents, it doesn’t mean they want the world to see it too.

    Couples are not children anymore. The distance of going to Eretz Yisroel helps a couple grow into self sufficienct adults.

    So please give them the space to do that

  10. looks like lots of parents need help with this issue of giving space just look at all these comments. yes they might be going a drop overboard in how they write it but they are bringing out a very true point. stop the controlling (and covering up)

  11. Wow!!! Ouch!!!! This hurt!!!!
    My mother never really calls to check in on my family…I. Wish that sometimes my mother would care more and call . …There is a mitzvah. Of kibbud av and I would estimate that I do 95percent of the calls ( the remaining 5 percent initiated by my. Mother is usually when s/t is needed. On her end….)
    It’ would be my dream come true if my mother would attempt to buy me a skirt ( or maybe just a pair of socks ….) . And yes, my mother is ba’h a lady of means and yes, I definitely can use the little extras in life….And no, I am not on my parents payroll ever since two years after my chassuna… actually I’m on hashems payroll….
    There’s One point we all seemed to have forgotten here. Since when do us yidden show off our wares????? Be it the house, car, vacation,clothing…or our most prized possessions, our adorable grandchildren????
    Young couple you have it so good and you don’t even realize…Trust me, my situation is very painful…
    My user name is AOM
    Ain Od Melvado. Everything is good and everything is from hashem.Thank you Hashem

  12. yes married couples are entitled to their own privacy and even if the parents think its a drop odd that they rather not have there personal pictures get sent around. this is a right of children as human beings and anyone who brings in kibud av is just doinig so to cover up there own issues

  13. As parents, we trust our children to get married and embark on their own lives. They have their own children, and we should trust them to raise them as well.
    The fact that parents may be supporting their children is not reason enough to micromanage their lives.

  14. mom in jerusalem; , most of the commenters are not ok with parents controlling every move , and overbearing or too involved parents / inlaws can wreak havoc .
    yet the tone , length & examples of the letter accompanied by too many adjectives…. gave them away .

  15. We have a young couple living in EY. They send us pictures on the phone and webask if we can share them with others. Usually the answer is yes but if it’s no we don’t share them. We speak a few times a week and except for Erev Shabbos we dont have a set time for calls. We look at the clock then add 7 hours and decide if its a good time to call. My daughter works on the American clock from 4PM to 11PM. So we know we can reach out until 11:00PM unless they tell us to call at a later time (such a Thursday nights during the winter). Derech eretz goes both ways.

  16. There is a yiddishe expression: האַלטן דיין מויל און בייַטל אָפֿן
    In english: “Keep your mouth shut and wallet open” What it means is supporting your child doesnt mean you can control their every ‘decision.’
    I get the letter writer really well. When my wife and I made the decision after living in Lakewood for 5 years to move out of town my wife was ecstatic. But than we were bombarded by the shvigger day in and out trying to convince my wife that she wont be happy out of town and how egregious our decision is. We ended up having to get a Rov involved to calm the situation. And yes, when we moved out of town, it took a long time for my wife to get to acclimate. Not bec she didnt love the kind neighbors her job or our kollel. But because of the lingering second thoughts the shvigger instilled in her head. Pls dont throw in the kibud av veim bone to say this letter writer is lacking. She may have written a little extreme but the point is so true. And yes, when we send pictures it always comes with a note not to forward.

  17. the psak – and what does a parent do when they truly believe moving out of town is NOT A GOOD IDEA for their son/ daughter? at the end of the day mistakes of young couples end up on tatty’s or momies lap.
    many of those teen girls who screamed ” TA ITS MY LIFE…he really cares & connects w/ me ..” ended up crawling back home separated & sometimes with a baby , or young men who blew chasuna mony in the market ” MA, i’m 20 and i know what i’m doing”

  18. Sorry your parents are inconvenient. For many years you were inconvenient for them: morning sickness, all-nighters, childhood illnesses, the resources, time, money they expended on you that could have been used for other purposes. Just some perspective.

  19. The Psak,
    There is a yiddishe expression: האַלטן דיין מויל און בייַטל אָפֿן
    In english: “Keep your mouth shut and wallet open” What it means is supporting your child doesnt mean you can control their every ‘decision.’
    I don’t know if you had the benefit of a frum upbringing, but the Torah hashkafa is the opposite of you Yiddish expression.
    The children should keep their hands shut and their ears open.
    Where did this disgusting idea come from, to take money from parents and also tell them to keep their mouths shut?
    Pure unadulterated chutzpah!

  20. just a thought meir g what happens if parents get involved and that causes more rift for the couple???? there is a way to say stuff non controlling and there is a way that its controlling but dont forget this is there life to live and parents are (important) outsiders. usually it is better for the couple to make mistakes and learn lessons from it….

  21. 2929- your comment says it all. The writer needs (as my parents would say) a good frask und a potch in punim.

    It’s actually quite an eye-opener, because WE are the ones living the dream in Eretz Yisrael while all our kids and grandchildren are in Chutz. Thank G-d we raised our children to be self-sufficient but with derech eretz – we hear from them (some more than others), get photos, face time “visits” & cute videos, and our grandchildren know us, even the little ones. Yes, we send them gifts, or things they can’t afford/get over there (like cans of Materna for the babies.) Once travel is freed up we will go to the different countries where they live and see the grandchildren we haven’t met yet – their parents want us to visit, B”H!

    I feel so sorry for the parents of these spoiled, entitled brats. As 2929 says: what did they do wrong in raising such selfish, disrespectful children. If their parents recognize their kids as authors, may I suggest you tell them to stay in Israel, and don’t send them a darn thing to make Pesach: certainly no more money!

    BTW… where are their Rabbonim in this? Did these “adults” consult Daas Torah before writing this pompous, self-serving piece of drivel? I’ll bet they didn’t.

  22. Too many armchair pschologists, social workers etc. trying to get into the heads of this young couple. With all the issues over the past year, I can fully understand the stress on a young couple living in EY whose parents are either directly or indirectly pressuring them to come home for the sedorim. The letter may not be the most effective mode of communication but they are entitled to make their own decisions.

  23. I’m a parent and child aswell and feel compelled to write one thought. Everyone says children are a gift from Hashem. True. But it’s different than most other gifts that you receive for the purpose of pleasure. Rather it’s a gift of opportunity and mission, to raise them properly to ultimately bring out their potential. Once we toiled to raise them, we want to enjoy the fruits a.k.a nachas of our labor. But here is the caveat: you may enjoy it but only with the sensitivity and focus similar to other projects we may complete that are lifelong missions i.e building an institution that hopefully the focus remains the honor and opportunity of the mission not to retrieve nachas or benefits. The contention of all the above, I feel, is a lack of focus of the above, which results in parents using the cover of kibud av vaem to project guilt in adult children to fulfill their needs to enjoy them like when they were a cute toddler. To conquer this mistaken approach is in fact the basis for self growth in being a parent and in the long run pays off way more than the chaos seen above. to the struggling couple if i may say i feel for you.

  24. The Circle and Others,

    The Yiddish expression quoted above comes from a lot of life experience.

    Yes, there certainly is a requirement of Kibud Av V’Em but there are limitations to that requirement, such as when a father insists his son go to a specific yeshiva that the son would rather not attend. Likewise, even though the parents are providing monetary support (which they are not obligated to do when the child reaches the age at which he could provide for himself), it is not a wise decision to believe that parent’s support buys them the right to control their children’s lives.

    While children do desire to make their own decisions, when they feel they need more advice in an area they have little familiarity with they will consult with the parents to get their feedback. That is called solicited advice.

    However, parents providing continuous unsolicited advice will drive a wedge into what was once a good relationship. I’ve personally seen that when parents keep some distance in letting their children make their own decision, invariably the children feel a sense of comfort and they will come back to seek their parents’ advice.

    Given the words of many of the commenters listed above, I’m not really surprised anymore when I hear about machlokes within families between married children and their parents.

  25. Anyone who commented that they’re spoiled has never been on the other side. All they’re asking for is space and respect. Married children and adults and should be treated as such.
    Yes, parents have done so much for their children but that doesn’t entitle them to control their children’s lives. Just like the parents didn’t want their in-laws interfering.

  26. To all those defending this letter, please know it is AGAINST TORAH VALUES. Publicizing this letter is a chillul Hashem. If they wanted a solution to their problem,they should have written a letter for advice to one of the Rabbaim in frum magazines who address these kind of issues with Torah based solution. Did they ask Daas Torah before writing. They could have set limits within the framework of Torah values and in a pleasant manner. This letter is a grand example of how American culture has influenced Jewish life. The Torah teaches Al Ken Yaazov Eesh et Aviv ve Et Emo, doesnt mean you complain in public. As long as they are bankrolling your lifestyle, you havent left your parents ‘home’. While you need to have a private discussion with your parents explaining your abilities and limitations without criticizing. I suspect you are afraid that they may explain their own abilities and limitations financially. You may be more dependent on your third parent, Hashem than you think , and trust me, he had FaceTime on 24/7, he demands conversations at least 3 times a day, at times that are not always “convenient”, and a lot more than your letter describes.