Prepent Day 25: How to Handle Conflict

Wednesday 9/28/16

Elul 25 5776

Dear Conflict,

There are ways to debate our different needs and ways of life and there are ways in which debates become, so often needlessly, a conflict.

On this 25th day of Elul and Prepent, the day on which, it’s said, the the world was created (humans come on day #6, Rosh Hashana), I want to focus on setting the stage for less conflicts in my life and more heartfelt way to deal with them when rising.

S. took me aside today to talk about our ongoing communications and the way I sometimes trigger her reaction and vice versa. How can we be present for each other with full heart especially when conflicts, even tiny ones, show up so that we can nip em in the bud and deepen our friendship. It took me a few minutes, I confess, to open my heart to the mere request to process feelings halfway through a busy work day but I am so grateful for this conflict resolution pro-active approach — with S. and with others in my life. Some easier than others.

My mother is celebrating today, in Jerusalem, along with many of our family, and me on Skype, her recovery from some recent illness and also the yahrtzeit of her late father, grandpa Hugo. She has always quoted him to us - ‘Try your hardest not go to bed without making peace with whomever you have fought with today.’ Sometimes easier than other times.

And just today another friend told me how, inspired by this blog, she chose to walk over to a shop she frequents and got mad at, and instead of sending them a ‘Dear John’ letter that will end her relationship with them, she sat to talk, explain and ended up hugging. Conflict resolved.

Dear conflict - you will show up, again and again, as life grinds on with so many competing visions and needs and time crunch and choices. I intend to take you seriously and proactively minimize your painful impact as much as possible.

I commit to safe words with my closest friends and colleagues to help stop us in our tracks when we begin to steer away from civilized and kind communication. Funny safe words are the best.

Thank you for showing up to help us clarify our values and choices and may we end up dealing with each other lovingly and patiently and with an eye on bigger picture of love and life, partners in the creation of a better world, today and every day for all.


PREPENT: Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie’s annual journey to the new year, with 40 ways in 40 days to reflect, refocus, recharge and restart life. This year features daily love letters inspired by Lab/Shul’s theme for the High Holy Days, “וְאָהַבְתָּ re:love.”

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.

Prepent Day 25: How to Handle Conflict

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