A Diary Dillema

Question

Recently my son read my diary and found a negative comment about his wife. He told his wife what I wrote and she became very upset. How do I make amends to my daughter-in-law? It was never intended for anyone to see, and therefore I don’t think I did anything wrong, but I still want harmony in the family very much. Thank you.

, 3 years

Answers

  1. Family harmony is a fundamental precept of Judaism. It is of such great importance that it overrides other commands and prohibitions in many cases.

    I agree that you didn’t do anything wrong except perhaps being careless with leaving the diary in a place where others could read it – although it is certainly extremely wrong for someone else to read your personal diary.

    At this point the only thing to do is attempt “damage control”. There is no point denying what you wrote and that you felt as you did. If it was written a while ago you can say that you once felt that way but those feelings are long past. If the entry is recent you can say that you were wrong to record such judgmental words without trying to understand everything in a positive light. You must have been “having a bad day”.

    In any event, I think that it is important that you apologize. It is very important to apologize even though your son was doubly irresponsible to both read your private diary and to tell his wife what was written there. The result, however, is that your daughter-in-law has been hurt by what you wrote. Therefore, it is important that you make sincere and great efforts to make amends with her. Perhaps buy her a personal gift, take her out someplace she enjoys or send her a bouquet of flowers to show how sorry you are that you offended her. Tell her clearly that you want a warm and loving familial relationship with her and the entire family and you really hope she forgives you and puts the past in the past.

    May God bless you with the insight to say the right words at the right time.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team