What is the obligation of a person towards his mother-in-law if she has a very angry and shame-inducing personality, and she is usually screaming her whole life at her family? She is constantly getting angry when people around her don’t do things for her. She expresses hatred and bad language at almost everyone around her. Is one obligated to “love” such a person? Is it permissible to speak with one’s children about the danger of being around her? Is there is an obligation to pray for such a person when he\she is ill?
AnswerEven towards her, there is an obligation to love her. We need to make a distinction between the person himself with his negative character traits, and to view the negative character as a “garment” upon the person. We should also daven, out of love, for such a person. As for speaking with the children about this, the matter must be weighed, to see all of the pros and the cons involved. One should then see if he can attain the gains involved, to the extent that he lessens the losses involved, as much as possible. He should then weigh out the options with “holy daas” to see if it is proper to do this or not, and how.