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Why can't my observant sister stay with us for Shabbat?

by Rabbi Shlomo Chein

  

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Question:

My newly Orthodox sister is visiting from out of town. Although we have offered to accomodate her new traditions, she has chosen to spend Shabbat with an orthodox family, not us. Why? 


Answer:

I can understand your frustration.

Let me assure you, from past experience, that this is nothing personal, and she would actually rather spend Shabbat with you.

Possible reasons for why in actuality she is not spending Shabbat with you:

She might feel that she is not yet able to spend Shabbat on her own, and must spend it with people who know how to observe it properly
1) She might not want to inconvenience you and/or impose her lifestyle on you (even though you say you are willing to do it for her).
2) She might not know how her new practices will be viewed by her old family members.
3) She might feel that she is not yet able to spend Shabbat on her own, and must spend it with people who know how to observe it properly.

These are just some of the reasons I can think of. Of course your sister might have totally different reasons. However, I am reasonably certain that her reasoning, whatever it may be, is something along these lines, and is of course nothing personal regarding you or your family.

If you think it is possible, I would suggest having with her a kind, polite and candid discussion about your respective feelings.


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Mitzvot » Repentance
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Shabbat
(pl: Shabbatot). Hebrew word meaning "rest." It is a Biblical commandment to sanctify and rest on Saturday, the seventh day of the week. This commemorates the fact that after creating the world in six days, G-d rested on the seventh.