While I was in Seattle recently, I was approached by a man who shared this story. His family had been very close, always joining together at holidays and other milestones. His two nephews, brothers, were very close. Something occurred which caused estrangement between them. Being very pained by the sudden distance between them, he asked me if he should intercede.
I suggested that he give them some space to work this out by themselves. However, if there would be no progress, I urged him to follow his own inclination to help. In Jewish tradition, “hava-at shalom beyn adam l’chavero”, bringing peace between one person and his fellow, is a treasured value. It is found with some frequency in rabbinic literature. It is even part of the daily liturgy (based on Talmud, Shabbat 127a). Aaron, Moses’ brother, was known to be an irrepressible mediator. So often did he engage in mediation successfully between husband and wife, that three thousand children born into those healed marriages were named after him!!
It is not uncommon that tensions within families and between friends in community harden over time. At times the cause of separation is almost forgotten, With the passage of time, it becomes more difficult for either party to approach the other. The assistance of a third caring person can be the catalyst for a new look at a relationship. The High Holy Day season in Jewish tradition is the ideal time for rebooting a troubled relationship.
ֵאלּוּ ְדָבִרים ֶשֵׁאין ָלֵהם ִשיעור וְֵאֽלוּ ֵהן: ִכּבּוּד אָב וֵָאם, וּגְִּמילוּת ֲחָסִדים, וְַהְשָׁכַּמת ֵבּית ַהִמְּדָרשׁ ַשֲׁחִרית וְַעְרִבית, וְַהְכנַָסת אוְֹרִחים, וִּבקּוּר חוִֹלים, וְַהְכנַָסת ַכָּלּה, וְּלוָיַת ַהֵמּת, וְִעיוּן ְתִּפָלּה, וֲַהָבאַת ָשׁלוֹם ֵבּין אָָדם ַלֲחֵברוֹ, וְַתְלמוּד תּוָֹרה ְכּנֶֽגֶד ֻכָּלּם.
Weekday morning service. Based on Shabbat 127a