Ask Wendy

Jewish World Review / Sept. 5, 2000 / 4 Elul, 5760

Righteous anger, 'dissed' daughter --- and how not to make a match

By Wendy Belzberg -- Is there such a thing as righteous anger? If someone has hurt you, your children or your reputation, does G-d say we can be righteously angry? Can you think of scripture that discusses this?
--- Angry and Confused

If you want to know if there is justification in the Torah, you will have to write to an "Ask The Rabbi" column for chapter and verse.

Even if G-d allows for righteous anger, however, is that the feeling you want to cart around? Anger distorts, colors and consumes. Moreover, while you seethe, the target of your anger dances --- or some such saying that connotes the other person is probably oblivious. Confront and move on --- in a different direction from the person who so wronged you.

* * *

The night before my wedding, my mother called to say that she could not afford to come (she lives 5 hours away and does not have a car). I was very upset, naturally, and decided to wire her the money to make the trip. She did not come to our wedding. The excuse she used was that she slept in. She still has not paid me back and is quite indignant that I was hurt. This is not the first, or even the worst thing, that she's done. I am very angry and I'm not even sure I want to continue our relationship.
--- Dissed Daughter

Probably you are the only person who reads your letter and thinks you may in some fashion be at fault. If your mother has always been as narcissistic and abusive as she is in this wedding episode, you have paid a high price for being her daughter.

You should be applauded for hanging in there as long as you have but, for your own survival, it is time to call it quits. There is no relationship to continue. A real mother not only gives birth to her offspring, but also feeds, sustains and nurtures her child. Adults do not sleep in on the days their children are married. The woman you have described is not able to give you what you need and have every right to expect. Stay away from her until you feel she will no longer be able to disappoint and hurt you. If one day you choose to have a relationship with her, do so on your terms.

* * *

I have been meaning to write you to let you know how much I enjoy your column. You appear to be so young and so wise. I hope that you don't think I'm nosey, but I have a single son and am curious to know more about you--like how old you are and are you married?
                       --- Future-In-Law?

I am flattered that you would even consider me for your son. A few words of advice, however, since that's my line: One way to guarantee that your son won't like me is to tell him that you do. Ditto for any of your other matchmaking attempts. I don't know how old your son is, but I do know that he is more than capable of finding his own mate. A Jewish mother myself (yes, I'm taken), I am perfectly well aware that mothers know best. But until our children figure that out, do your son--and your future daughter-in-law--a favor, and stop meddling. Your relationship with your children will better off for it.

By the way, I'm not as young as you think. But I am very wise.

Ask Wendy a question -- any question --- by clicking here.

08/21/00: When one spouse becomes more religious than the other; "But the cleaning lady is part of the family!"; Why He invented 9-month gestation periods
08/21/00: 'Fessing up to granny about abandoning one's people, non-kosher sis-in-law, and 'my niece is marrying a loser'
08/14/00: Marrying 'in' for questionable motivations; Should a do-gooder be reimbursed?
08/07/00: Communing with the clouds, betrothal, and banishing bosses
07/28/00: Small-city guys, self-centered siblings
07/21/00: When a child takes religion seriously, marriage obsession, and guests who just don't get it
07/14/00: Divorcing brother-in-law, uncampy kids, and a dot.comer who makes it big time
07/07/00: Hypocrites, reality checks, and the 'real estate challenged'


© 2000, Wendy Belzberg