"There is a dream, a vision, deep within my heart..."

This morning, a friend tells me that they built a wall in their daughters' room. A real wall. The kids were obviously not getting along. I smiled knowingly. I so remembered my girls sharing a bedroom and not being friends, to put it mildly. "She touched my bed"… "She looked at me"… "She is making noises"… "She is annoying me," etc. I eventually had to put them in different rooms.

Now, thank G‑d, they have grown up and each has her own home. Although geographically far from one other, I'm happy to hear that they chat and exchange recipes every other day on the phone. I am hoping the same for my friend's girls.

How can it be any other way? How can two siblings – adults, be upset with one another?

Isn't it sad that a woman in her seventies told me that her sister's calls so upset her, she needs to take a tranquilizer to calm herself? Isn't it heartbreaking to hear that two grown, supposedly mature, brothers are not on talking terms? And how disturbing is it that a forty-four-year-old man, a father himself, is apathetic when he hears that his mother is upset that he doesn't call her? And why doesn't he call her?

I dream for wrinkles to be smoothed, for relationships to be ironedIt is difficult to breathe when the air is thick. I dream for wrinkles to be smoothed, for relationships to be ironed – before the opportunity is missed. I envision harmonization. And if not now, then when? Tomorrow may be too late.

Which reminds me of Anna. Anna was our neighbor, a sweet little old lady. I usually saw her walking with her small brown dog. We would exchange hellos; she would talk to me about her artwork and tell me about her volunteering. One night, I awoke to the sound of a siren. I quickly ran outside and saw the paramedics attending to Anna; she wasn't breathing well and they took her to the hospital. I thought about visiting her. My mistake was that I only thought about it. The next night as I went to sleep I asked G‑d for a calm night. And it was, for when I called the next morning to see how Anna was doing, they informed me that during the night she had passed on. Calmly.

That was fourteen years ago and I still think about the missed opportunity to visit her, for the last time. When I am inclined to procrastinate on a positive action, I now think - tomorrow may be too late.

When my father was not well, I thought to myself that next time he is hospitalized, I will, with G‑d's help. make the 2,500 mile trip (with my baby) to visit him, to serve him and to take care of him. And true to my word, when I heard he was in the hospital for a ten-day stay, I said to him, "Ta, I'm coming." He tried convincing me otherwise. He probably didn't want me to spend so much time, money and effort because of him. But my mother simply reminded me that there is a mitzvah of "honoring your father." I packed my bags and was on the plane. Two weeks later, not according to our plans, he passed on.

Can I describe to you how grateful I am that I made that trip then? Can you even imagine how I would have felt had I not? Do you realize how lucky I am to have spent that precious time with my father whom I so adored – for the last time?! And I only got this chance because, thank G‑d, I acted, did the proper thing and didn't push it off.

In Ethics of our Fathers, Hillel said, "Do not say, 'When I will have free time I will [study],' for perhaps you will never have free time."

Seeing our kids play peacefully is a delight that is hard to describeBefore we start the morning prayers, it is proper to declare, "I hereby take upon myself to fulfill the mitzvah, 'Love your fellow as yourself.'" It gives G‑d, our Father, great pleasure when we, His children, all love each other and get along nicely. Seeing our kids play with each other peacefully is a delight that is hard to describe. And, G‑d forbid, vice versa, the pain we experience when they quarrel, fight and don't share causes such distress.

So before we even dare to ask our Father in heaven for anything, we must pledge our love to our fellow brothers and sisters... then we may begin our prayers to Him.

"There is a dream a vision deep within my heart..."

Walls of enmity are falling apart... Clearing the air... Genuine care... One for another... Sister and brother. Fellowmen accepting each other with grace. This world, a much friendlier place.

Shalom is Peace. Shalom is G‑d's name. Peace! For G‑d's sake.