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Section:  Avodah   Category: Bnei Bayscha
Be Like Yitzchok, Give Your Parent A Second Chance
I once accompanied a family friend whose wife had recently passed away, to Rav Chaim Kanievsky for a bracha and some words of comfort.  While we were waiting by Rav Chaim's study after Shacharis, the Rebbetzin walked in and went to the kitchen to prepare Rav Chaim's breakfast.  Having been familiar with the Rebbetzin's kind heart and power to comfort and inspire, I slipped into the kitchen and explained to her the plight of my brokenhearted friend and asked her if she can give him some chizzuk.

The Rebbetzin with a terrible sigh jumped out of the kitchen and went to comfort him.  She genuinely shared his pain and added that he must get remarried.  She told him that her late father-in-law the Steipler Gaon said it was very important to remarry.  He himself would have done it, she said, except for the fact that he felt he was already too old.

The biggest stumbling block to remarriage especially for a person with children who have reached the age maturity, is the children.  Often it is very painful for the children to see their surviving parent replace their deceased parent.  They cause all sorts of aggravation and agitation making the whole experience very unappealing to their parent, both before and after the second marriage.  Unfortunately it is not always limited to single children, but often even married children who have their own families but somehow cannot "Fargin" their parent to enjoy the same.

There is an incredible Rashi based on the Medrash in Parshas Chayei Sara.  The pasuk tells us (Bereishis 24:62)  that when Eliezer came back with Rivka, Yitzchok had just come back from Be'er Lachai Ro'i.  What was he doing there?  The Medrash says he went to bring back Hagar so his father Avrohom should not be alone (in the words of the Medrash).  Avrohom was no ordinary person.  He had plenty to do with his time.  He was world famous and a very wealthy man, whom Yitzchok would one day inherit.  Hagar was not only an Egyptian former slave but she was also the mother of Yitzchok's chief rival and she herself was the rival of his mother Sara.  Why did he need her back in the picture after Sara finally got rid of her?  Why did he need problems with Yishmael whom Hagar, as Avrohom's wife, would certainly lobby for on his behalf?  Did he need the seven more siblings that Hagar would eventually bare?

Yitzchok put his issues aside and looked after the best interest of his father.  More so than any of us, he had plenty of legitimate reasons not want Hagar around.  This wouldn't only affect him personally, her presence could cause the course of Am Yisroel to change forever.  Yet not only did he not stand in the way, he made sure to be the Shadchan.  After all why should he be happily married, and his dear parent, alone as a widower?
RELATED ARTICLES:Avrohom & Yitzchok  kibud av v'eim  marriage  Rebbetzin Kanievsky  second marriage  sholom bayis  Steipler Gaon

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Visitor Comments: 1

RS, Gateshead UK, 2008-11-19 09:50:39
Every sentiment in this article is 100% correct, but I feel very strongly that the writer has missed a very crucial point.

Judging from cases with which I have first-hand experience, it is absolutely essential that the remarried couple are counselled thoroughly even before the children (married or single!) are informed about the shidduch., with regard to how to relate to their children.

In my experience, it is much more likely that the remarried couple will offend the (step) children purely out of ignorance of what suffering the bereaved children are enduring, and how they are genuinely trying to adapt to the new reality.

It is the (step)parents responsibility to ensure they act in way that respects the feelings of their children. Without expert experienced advice, even the most well-meaning parents will inevitably cause life-long wounds and scars to their relationship with their children and grandchildren.

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