Q: During the Expulsion of the Jews from Gush Katif, my brother served as an officer in the army and was part of planning and coordination between the army units. I was appalled that he could be part of such a horrible crime. After the Expulsion, I notified my family that I will no longer speak with him. I won’t invite him to our family occasions and will not come to his. The rest of the family did not adopt my stand. Recently, I have become more involved with Chassidut. I feel that these teachings give me the strength to view my brother from a different perspective. I understand that I must change my ways. This is particularly true because peace in the family will help to strengthen my mother, who needs it at this point. Should I continue with my ‘boycott’ of my brother? Or should I opt for ‘peace?’
A: The boyott (cherem) is over. You have to transform the cherem into rechem, the womb. Just as we beseech God “B’rogez, rachem tizkor, “When You are angry, remember compassion” (Havakuk 3:2). This verse turns to God, saying, “Remember that You are our Father, the compassionate Father, and on a deep, internal level, You have compassion on us, like a father for his son.”
God directs us to emulate Him in all His attributes. The word rachem (compassion) alludes to honoring your mother, as well – for you both came from one womb (rechem). Generally brothers have compassion for each other. Try to telepathically send him your thoughts. Explain to him that recently you are studying more and more Chassidut and that it is influencing your way of thinking. Tell him how important peace is and that it can evoke miracles and wonders for individual and the Nation, with God’s help.
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