Question:

My brother was divorced and now his children will not have any contact with him. I do not know all the reasons of the divorce. What they also did was cut their grandmother who just turned 89, and their aunts, uncles and cousins out of their lives too. None of us did anything against them or their mother. In fact the divorce was a total surprise to us. My mother is very hurt by their lack of connection with her. She has helped them so much over the years, both monetarily, and emotionally. She would spend many Shabbat and holidays with them as they grew up. She had a very good relationship with their mother. 2 of the children did not even let her know when they were pregnant, nor invite her to the bris. I found out through Facebook, and hounded my nephew to call his grandmother as the right thing to do. He never answered my calls, but at least he called her about a week after the bris. My niece called her about 2 weeks after her baby and then sent my mom a photo. I have tried reaching out to see them when I am in ny, as I live out of town.
With the high holidays approaching, I thought I would try a letter. All the children are very orthodox. I was trying to write the letter to appeal to their Judaism. I am most concerned about my mom. She is so goodhearted, generous, and nonconfrontational. But I know this situation really hurts her. Only Hashem knows how much longer she will be around (she should live to 120) I am reaching out to them for her sake. I need some rulings to appeal to them. From what I read, there’s not much in judaism about honoring your grandparents. It seems to just fall into the categories of elders. Shalom basis seems to be all about husband and wife, and therefore won’t work because of the divorce.
I was going to say how my mom or us had nothing to do with the divorce and should not be cut out of their lives, and that the divorce should be between their parents. Actually, I know my sister-in-law was hurt by the divorce, but she has always been level headed and in fact is a psychologist and in my opinion, should have kept the issues between the two of them and not involve the children..
Secondly. I was trying to get them to make amends with their father, although I know there’s anger there. I do know the divorce had to do with my brother not holding down a regular job, (he likes working on “deals”, and getting money from my parents( my dad died about 18 years ago) to support the family. He was also using pot over the last couple years and drinking more than he should. He has stopped both
I know the kids were upset because he wouldn’t grant a Get to their mother, since he was using it as leverage. Finally did. While they were separated and the divorce was in progress, he started dating which my niece was upset over since he was still legally married. My sister-in-law had originally used the idea of divorce to hopefully get my brother to straighten out, which he then said yes to the divorce. According to my brother, my sister-in-law would constantly nag and had issues herself. I know she went into a business account behind his back and took out my brother’s share of the money. Another brother was on this account which was a result of a business deal they did.
So like any divorce, I’m sure there’s 3 sides. His, hers, and the truth.
I would like to see forgiveness all around, but most of all, I want them to reach out to my mother.
Please give me some guidance and what to say in regards to their behavior and judaism.
Thank you!

Answer:

I am very sorry to hear about all the pain and sorrow that everybody is going through. I suggest you try and find someone who is knowledgeable and respected, and discuss the problem with him. He might also be willing to speak to the children and have a positive influence on them. He will also give you guidelines as far as how you should react. May you be blessed with a New Year of health and success and that serenity should return to the family.

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