The Consequences of Decisions

Commentary by Dr. Ursula A. Falk


King Solomon, Ruth, & Naomi:  Choices!


The story of King Solomon and the story of Ruth and Naomi are narratives involving  two women, and both are very well known. In the first story, Solomon had to assist the two women in making a choice about how to handle the death of one of their newborn infants and who should be able to keep and raise the child who survived.  The compassionate one who was willing to give up the live child to the other woman was the true mother, since she did not want her infant to be cut in two.

The book of Ruth speaks of a young woman whose husband died.  She found solace in helping her mother-in-law Naomi recover by leaving her familiar home and accompanying Naomi wherever the older woman needed to go. Ruth  made a choice.  She was a loving, giving human being who thought of her mother-in-law instead of lamenting her own life, her loss, her fate, her own hardships, her own grief. She was able to love, to give.

In both situations we see compassion, understanding, the love of family, the ties that bind - the attachment that human beings, especially kin, have to one another.  These are unlike the criticism and negative responses that we see so often in our everyday lives today.  Families are broken, siblings do not speak to one another, the divorce rate is nearly fifty percent, criticisms are common, the good is often forgotten.  Mothers-in-law are blindly hated regardless of who they are and what they have given of themselves.   Mothers and fathers are disregarded and treated with disdain.  The loving care and sacrifices that they have made are forgotten and self centeredness appears to be the order of the day.  The true value of the human being, the individual person, is disregarded and thrown away.  Material goods and their attainment and possession is in the forefront and the immediate desire of the responder is the “in thing”.

There are two very fine examples here to illustrate the above.  There is an adolescent who demands that the parent “stay out of his life”.  He screams that at the parent.  The next sentence follows without remorse without a second thought: “I need a ride to the mall; my friends are waiting”.

There is the forty-year-old man, Norman, three times divorced, who visits a psychotherapist and relates the following:  None of his wives were the “right” one.  He had five children by his second and third wife.  He wanted very much to have his youngest two sons with him permanently and deprive the very adequate mother of her two young ones.  The paternal grandmother loved her adult son very much, but she thought of the welfare of her two little grandsons and refused to testify against their mother. She knew that Norman was living with a woman who strongly disliked children as well as the mother of these little ones.  Because of the grandma’s refusal to concoct a lie in court and deprive the children of a healthy life, Norman has not spoken to his mother for three years.

Choices have to be made frequently in all lives.  What we choose is up to us.  We must live with the consequences of our decisions, as did the two mothers in King Solomon’s day.  We must all remember that we as Jews and as people must follow the good path - the Derach Eretz!


Dr. Ursula A. Falk is a psychotherapist in private practice and the co-author, with Dr. Gerhard Falk, of  Deviant Nurses & Improper Patient Care (2006).

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