The Other Side of the Story - Words Will Sometimes Hurt

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The Other Side of the Story - Giving People the Benefit of the Doubt

Dear Ohrnet Editor,

I am hereby submitting an article for your consideration. If you do decide to publish it, please do not include my name or the city I live in. The people involved are very close to me; my name and location would immediately identify everyone despite the changes in their names. Since the incident described is an important lesson in Shmirat Halashon, I believe it worthwhile for your readers to learn what can happen when words are not measured before they are spoken.

Sincerely, A reader of Ohrnet

Anger is very powerful. It sometimes causes us to say and do things we later regret. Sticks and stones may break our bones but...

Words Will Sometimes Hurt Us

Malka and Shaindle are sisters. Although they live an hour's drive from each other and don't see each other often, they are in constant phone contact. Malka, bli ayin hara, has a large family. Shaindle, however, has had difficulty having children.

Malka had just given birth to another son. Shaindle, married three years and still childless, was receiving fertility treatments. Involved with work, doctor's visits, and medical tests, she was unable to make the trip to visit her sister after she had given birth.

Malka knew her sister's problem and was quite understanding. Shaindle and her husband Feivel would be at the brit, of course.

On the day of the brit, Shaindle and Feivel arrived early, earlier than Malka and her family. Malka's mother-in-law, Yehudit, was already at the hall. "Mazal Tov," said Shaindle cheerfully, never anticipating what was about to happen.

Yehudit turned to her angrily and said, "What a selfish sister you are! Never once did you see fit to visit Malka this entire week! No wonder you have no children! Perhaps if you were more considerate of others, Hashem would reward you!"

Shaindle went into shock at this tirade. She turned away, her eyes brimming with tears. The accusation had cut Shaindle like a knife. She was psychologically bleeding. Poor Shaindle couldn't calm down. It took a while before she could regain her composure. She couldn't look at Yehudit, it was just too painful for her to do so.

The minute the words had escaped Yehudit's mouth, she knew she had crossed a red line. She had stepped on very raw toes and felt remorse for her words - but it was too late. Her feeble attempts to apologize were ineffective. The simcha celebration had suddenly turned sour in just a matter of seconds.

After all these years, the memory of that encounter lingers on...

The Other Side of the Story Archives

Based on "The Other Side of the Story" by Mrs. Yehudis Samet, ArtScroll Series

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