We’ve read about them. The shidduch crisis, children OTD, tuition crisis, and the abuse crisis. But there is a 5th crisis, the phenomenon of which has come to be accepted as normal.
Those of us who grew up in earlier times, when the multitude of heimishe publications had yet to appear, may recall a writer named Arnold Fine and his full-page column “I Remember When.” As the title indicates, he would wax nostalgic about the time period of his youth (the ’30s) and note how certain cultural norms had disappeared.
Well, for most readers, the following can be categorized under “We Remember When” … Zeides and bubbies were people we looked up to with reverence. They raised numerous children under difficult circumstances, yet emunah, bitachon and simchas hachaim permeated their essence.
Vayakam dor chadash asher lo yada; this generation does not have that reverence. Zeides and bubbies are ignored or, at best, receive an obligatory call before Yom Tov. From the Torah perspective, this is clearly elder abuse, the fifth crisis.
Over Chanukah, many families will have Chanukah parties, often deemed sacrosanct. Failure to attend is deemed a major breach of protocol. At the party, the younger children will be doted over, being the center of attention and discussion. Zeide and Bubby will be off to the side, having given the expected Chanukah gelt or present. The passuk “yirhavu hanaar bazakein” comes to mind.
The fifth kos is known as the kos shel Eliyahu. The Navi Malachi envisioned this social malady in our time: “Hinei anochi sholei’ach es Eliyahu Hanavi lifnei bo yom hagadol … v’heishiv lev banim al avosam.”
In Al Hanissim, we don’t say “biyemei haChashmona’im” but, rather, “biyemei Matisyahu … uvanav.” At this time, it is most appropriate that we take note of this matter and start by placing our zeides and bubbies at the center of the Chanukah mesibah.
Ben Mechabedav, Miami, Florida