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July 14, 1995 - Image 40

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1995-07-14

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

FREE

HOME SECURITY
ALARM**

MEL FARR

FREE
MEL FARR
T-SHIRT°

JEWISH GUILT? page 39

LINCOLN
MERCURY

common for a mother's work to
consist of raising the chil-
dren and taking care of an el-
derly parent on a full-time ba-
sis.
"Families used to promise
they wouldn't take an older par-
ent to a nursing home," Ms.
Aaronson says. "Households are
not run the same way, and peo-
ple didn't live as long then as
they do today."
Still, people feel they have let
down a family member and can-
not help feeling ashamed. Sup-
port often comes from others in
the same situation.
Rabbi Wechsler says feelings

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ples and synagogues have to set
up extra chairs and hire security
guards to keep the larger-than-
normal flow of traffic moving in
and out of the buildings' parking
lots.
"I am amazed at the persis-
tence of guilt," Rabbi Wechsler
writes in his book. "Every year on
Kol Nidre, I can't believe my eyes.
That night the synagogue is
filled to capacity, and the entire
theme of Yom Kippur is guilt —
not wallowing in it, but recog-
nizing it and repenting in re-
sponse."
Rabbi Wechsler says the
things people should feel guilty

55

— Comedian Richard Lewis

of guilt are like pain.
"It's very nice to think about
living without pain," he says. "If
an individual cannot feel pain,
that person is in deep trouble
because something can go
wrong with the body and they
will never know. The same is
true with guilt. It's a way of feel-
ing moral pain and it enables a
person to treat the source of a
problem. Some people think you
can cure a disease by taking as-
pirin, but in reality you are cur-
ing the symptoms.
"Some think the way to get
rid of guilt is by not feeling guilty.
It doesn't work that way. A per-
son has to get rid of the source of
pain, and in our moral life we
have to figure out how to make
amends."
Jewish custom sets aside one
day a year specifically for atone-
ment. Every Yom Kippur, tem-

about include: "not loving enough,
not creating moral standards, ac-
cepting poverty and unfairness
in life and wronging others who
don't deserve it."
Guilt isn't just self-inflicted. Of-
ten, people try and impose it on
others. It can be the teacher who
says to a student, "You did do
your homework, didn't you?" or
the parent who says, "What hap-
pens when I'm not around one
day?"
"We were raised to give 101
percent," Rabbi Schwartz says.
"All parents want their kids to be
the best. We have to teach our
kids how to be happy with them-
selves. The Special Olympics has
a wonderful slogan: 'If I cannot
win, let me be the best I can be'
— what a great line. We were not
born as race horses. We have to
be able to say I am good at what
I do." [1]

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