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  Chapter 95 from
It's Not As Tough At Home As You Think
Making Family Life Smoother and Better

By Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski 


Other Available Chapters
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Would You Have Come To My Funeral?

Feuding, both interfamilial and intrafamilial, is silly and destructive. In the Appalachian Mountains there had once been a fight between a man named Hatfield and another man named McCoy. This turned into a battle for the family honor. Not only did the entire Hatfield family hate everyone in the McCoy family, but also for generations the Hatfields and McCoys were sworn enemies. They were literally out to kill one another, although the reason for the original dispute had long since been forgotten. For people to hate each other for no reason at all is absolutely ridiculous.

It is no less ridiculous when disputes within the family are perpetuated. Two brothers have a disagreement. Some of the siblings and cousins become allies with one of the brothers, while others go to the other side. Not only do the two brothers not resolve their differences, but they also split the family asunder. Relatives are not invited to the weddings of the opposite side.

The only time the two factions may come together is when one of the family dies. Everyone is “invited” to the funeral. How tragic.

Many years ago my cousin invited me to his wedding. As much as I wished to attend, it was just impossible for me to go at that time. My cousin was very upset with me. “Tell me the truth,” he said. “If I had died would you have come to my funeral?”

“What kind of silly talk is that?” I asked.

“Just tell me,” he said. “Wouldn’t you have set aside all the important things and come to the funeral? Just say yes or no.”

I couldn’t deny it. “O.K.,” I said. “I would have come.”

“Then does it really bother you that I’m alive? If you could manage to come to my funeral, you can manage to come to my wedding.”

He was right. I recall a family which had split into two factions. The father grieved because when there was a wedding in one faction, the other would not attend. He did not have the pleasure of enjoying all his children together.

Then the father died. Yes, both factions attended the funeral. He had finally succeeded in having all his children together at one event.

Unfortunately, he was unable to enjoy it. Could they not have made the same concession while he was alive and able to enjoy it?

The participants in a feud have children of their own. How would they feel if their children would develop animosity toward each other? People should be aware that if they feud, they may be setting an example for their children to behave similarly.

There may be disputes within a family. But they should never be permitted to degenerate into a feud.

 
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