Rav Avigdor Miller on Dealing With Your Mother-in-law

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Q:
How should I react to my mother-in-law who said about my chasunah gown, which I made myself, that it’s junky material? 


A:
A man told me, a poor man, that he printed out wedding invitations. He told me that his son-in-law, his future son-in-law, remarked, “It’s not raised lettering. It’s cheap. It’s not raised lettering; it’s just black ink.” And this poor man, it hurt him very much. A nice son-in-law said it to his future father-in-law. The father-in-law called me on the telephone: “How should I react?” he asked me. You know how to react? By not reacting! It’s a glorious opportunity. We say it every day in shemonei esrei: ולמקללי – those who make light of me, נפשי תידום – let my soul be silent.  ונפשי כעפר לכל תהיה – let my soul be like dust to everybody.

You know what a glorious opportunity it is when somebody hurts you and you don’t react? You swallow it down. Hakadosh Baruch Hu is going to give you such perfection of character. He’ll give you happiness in this world. There’s a great reward for people who keep their mouths shut. The gemara says: תולה ארץ על בלימה – Hashem hangs the world on the man or woman who keeps their mouth close. Hashem hangs the world in the merit of the one who is בולם פיו בשעת מריבה, one who keeps his mouth shut at the time when there’s a quarrel. He doesn’t answer back.

It’s good for your health too by the way. Many times you suddenly hear that this and this man passed away. Is that so? Was he sick? Wasn’t he healthy? No; people don’t that realize he died because of the fight with his wife. That’s not in the obituary; it’s not mentioned. In the fight with his wife he died. Most cases of excitement that causes strokes are caused by domestic fights. He said something and his wife couldn’t take it. He had a fit and his wife couldn’t take it. I know a man who on purpose used to torment his wife. And she passed away. On her deathbed he came to her and asked her for forgiveness. She said she can’t forgive him. And I don’t blame her. He was a devil. A frum devil; an orthodox devil. And there are women who have killed their husbands; not with a gun, not with weapons; with her mouth. Of course when she comes to collect the insurance nothing is said about that. She’s dressed in black, and she’s weeping. She killed him; what’s she weeping about?! He didn’t take out a big enough insurance for me! That’s why she’s weeping.

The people who keep quiet are wise people. I mentioned it last week. A bank manager, even if he’s insulted, he keeps quiet. But if you walk outside the manager’s office and see the janitor, he gets angry even if you look at him funny. That’s why he’s a janitor. You have to learn how to take it. And therefore, what should you say to your mother-in-law. Listen to me. Erase it – not only from your mouth, from your memory! And that’s being smart! If you’re going to keep on thinking about it, it’s chas v’shalom a sore; a sore on the lungs, a sore on the liver, a sore on the stomach. Chas v’shalom. And someday it could erupt suddenly and make a big tragedy, chas v’shalom. And therefore you are wise, not only spiritually wise, but even in gashmiyos – you are a wise and prudent person if you’ll erase it entirely from your mind.
TAPE # 555 (July 1985)