“Do not turn away from your own flesh” (Isaiah 58:7)
All of us aspire to have those ideal families which we read about in stories. But all too often our families fall quite short of this ideal. We may disdain our family members, hold grudges against them and dread the thought of family gatherings. We often find that we are there for total strangers before our own family members.
The Talmud of the Land of Israel teaches us of the importance of keeping loyalty and giving priority to one’s kin.
Rabbi Yossi Hagelili’s ex-wife re-married a man who could not make ends meet. As a result of his anger and frustration he would beat and degrade her. Upon learning of this, Rabbi Yossi Hagelili took upon himself to provide for them for the rest of their lives.(Kethuboth 11:3)
Rabbi Yossi HaGelili’s ex-wife, was no longer his wife and the wife’s husband had never even been related to him. Yet Rabbi Yossi HaGelili’s provisions for them are quite lavish and generous.
Familial bonds, whether by prior relation or by mere association cannot easily be dissolved!
May the commandment of “Do not turn away” compel us not just to aspire for ideal families as mere nice-to-have, but to actually attain them as must-haves!
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