web analytics
April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Broken Hearts


Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Share Button

My previous two columns featured letters from mothers whose daughters experienced the trauma of a wedding being called off just days before the scheduled simcha. How can parents protect their children from such painful experiences? Unfortunately, there is no magic wand, no guarantee. It’s one thing to see your children get engaged but something else again to see them under the chuppah pledging to build a true Jewish home.

I will respond to the second letter-writer first – the woman who overcame her initial skepticism about giving a person a second chance, only to discover to her dismay that the second chance didn’t work.

In biblical times the Jewish people never had a prison system. Instead, a person who broke the law – a thief, for example – was taken in by a family whose task it was to rehabilitate him so that he might reenter the Jewish community with dignity and honor. Such a person was referred to as an eved Ivri, a Hebrew slave.

Citing the Torah example of the eved Ivri, our letter-writer informed me that she wanted to give a second chance to the young man her daughter was planning to marry, despite all the negative reports she’d heard about him and some questionable behavior she herself had witnessed.

But the concept of eved Ivri has no bearing on a shidduch candidate. In one instance we are referring to a man who stole and is taken in by a family who will teach him how to live by Torah and mitzvot. Thus he’s given a second chance to become an honorable member of Am Yisrael.

A young wife, however, cannot be a “foster mother” or a policeman or a rebbe who has to discipline her husband. Husbands and wives are meant to be partners, kings and queens of their families. They trust each other implicitly and they in turn are entrusted by Hashem with the holy task of bringing forth a new generation to become part of the Jewish people.

To give people with flawed character traits and even a criminal history a second chance may work in some areas of life but to do so for potential marriage candidates is potentially suicidal. A wife is not the person to mold and reshape a man whose traits are wanting and reprehensible.

Yes, a wife can and should inspire a man to study Torah, daven with a minyan and give tzedakah, but to attempt to change his personality and character is beyond her purview. Perhaps during the dating period such a man can put up a false front and perhaps through his charisma can sell a bogus story about his past that portrays him as victim rather than a villain. His charm attracts her. She finds him magnetic. She’s in love. Once they are married, however, the truth emerges and the tribulations begin. The tragedy affects not only the young wife but their children and future generations as well.

I have heard variations of this problem from many young women who come to see me. “Rebbetzin, I met this wonderful person. He’s so good. He’s everything I ever dreamed of. There are a few problems, though, that I’d like to talk to you about. He has some nasty habits. He loses his temper easily, though he always apologizes. I discussed this with him and he promised me he will change. And once we’ll be married it will be so much easier for him to be the man I would like him to be.”

These girls are starry eyed and innocent, full of hope and idealism. They really think they can change a man, make him the perfect husband and loving father.

I hate to dash their hopes, but I have to tell them the truth. The words of the Torah speak loud and clear: “Do not place a stumbling block in front of a blind person.” Meaning if someone is blind to the consequences of her actions, it is our responsibility to enlighten her so that she can avoid disaster.

As I recently told a young woman who came to me thinking she would mold her fiancée once they became husband and wife, “Take a good look at him. What you see now is what he is, and after marriage things do not become better. If anything, they become worse. He no longer needs to romance you. He got what he wanted. If a change can be made, it must occur before the marriage. And this change cannot be just for few days or few weeks or even a few months.”

The girl’s eyes filled with tears. “I realize you’re right, Rebbetzin, but it’s so painful. It’s not the answer I wanted to hear.”

“I know,” I gently told her. “Reality is very often painful, but it is better to go through the pain now for a short while than to live a lifetime of pain.”

This young lady had not found her fiancée through the traditional shidduch approach, in which young men and women and their families are vetted and only after careful scrutiny will parents grant their permission to dating and marriage. I must add, however, that even with the most careful research, tragedy can still occur. Of course, this does not in any way absolve parents from doing their due diligence in researching potential mates for their children.

I will respond to the concerns of the first letter-writer next week.

Share Button

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

Leave a comment (Select your commenting platform)

3 Responses to “Broken Hearts”

  1. Moishe Pupik says:

    Rebbetzin Jungreis wrote that "In biblical times the Jewish people never had a prison system." While her emphasis on the Eved Ivri method is highly positive, the above statement is factually inaccurate:

    "And they put him in ward, that it might be declared unto them at the mouth of HaShem." (Leviticus 24:12)

    "And they put him in ward, because it had not been declared what should be done to him." (Numbers 15:34)

    "Now at that time the king of Babylon's army was besieging Jerusalem; and Jeremiah the prophet was jailed in the court of the guard, which was in the king of Judah's house." (Jeremiah 32:2)

    "Who executeth justice for the oppressed; who giveth bread to the hungry. HaShem looseth the prisoners;" (Psalms 146:7)

    And more…

    Selling an offender to serve as a Hebrew slave does not apply to all crimes.

  2. I GREATLY ADMIRE THIS AWESOME WOMAN AND HIGHLY RECOMMEND ALL HER BOOKS.

  3. Wally Right says:

    Very true and beautiful. A true Judaeo-Christian interpretation of the TanaKH and our traditions.
    Ivri means both "Hebrew/Jew" and "one who crosses over", that is, one who crosses over from an old life into a new. it is closely related to the concept of being spiritually re-born or born from above/Heaven.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...
Current Top Story
FBI Wanted poster for Osama bin Laden
Pakistan Library Renamed to Honor bin Laden
Latest Judaism Stories
Reiss-041814-King

Amazingly, each and every blade was green and moist as if it was just freshly cut.

PTI-041814

All the commentaries ask why Hashem focuses on the Exodus as opposed to saying, “I am Hashem who created the entire world.”

Leff-041814

Someone who focuses only on the bones of the Torah makes his bones dry and passionless.

The following is President Obama’s statement on Passover (April 14, 2014). As he has in the past, the President held an official Passover Seder at the White House. Michelle and I send our warmest greetings to all those celebrating Passover in the United States, in Israel, and around the world. On Tuesday, just as we […]

The tendency to rely on human beings rather than G-d has been our curse throughout the centuries.

“Who is wise? One who learns from each person” (Pirkei Avot 4:1)

In Judaism, to be without questions is a sign not of faith, but of lack of depth.

“I’ll try to help as we can,” said Mr. Goodman, “but we already made a special appeal this year. Let me see what other funds we have. I’ll be in touch with you in a day or two.”

Rashi is bothered by the expression Hashem used: “the Jews need only travel.”

Reckoning Time
‘Three Festivals, Even Out Of Order’
(Beizah 19b)

Two husbands were there to instruct us in Texas hold ‘em – and we needed them.

Question: Why do we start counting sefirat ha’omer in chutz la’aretz on the second night of Pesach when the omer in the times of the Beit Hamikdash was cut on Chol HaMoed?

M. Goldman
(Via E-Mail)

A few background principles regarding the prohibitions of chametz mixtures on Pesach may provide some shopping guidance.

According to the Rambam, the k’nas applies to any chametz on Pesach with which one could, in theory, transgress the aveirah – even if no transgression actually occurred.

She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence.

More Articles from Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

The tendency to rely on human beings rather than G-d has been our curse throughout the centuries.

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

We have windows of history, of Yom Tovim, but the dust continues to obscure our vision.

On Shabbos Zachor the Torah commands us to “Remember what Amalek did to you.”

We should invite divorced people into our homes for Shabbas and Yom tov.

I attended the recent Shabboton for frum divorced people and listened to your talk. You gave me hope to go on. I was very despondent when I came and went home considerably more upbeat. It was all due to your focus on “being a blessing.”

One can sigh with relief when the divorce is finalized but the heart is full and it aches with pain. Yes, there were conflicts. Yes, there was a cold war that made for a frigid atmosphere in the home. But loneliness is a very difficult thing to bear.

My ex despises me and is bent on destroying me. He has done everything to torture me.

The Torah tells us that ancient Egypt had 49 levels of contaminating impurities and Hashem wanted us out before the fiftieth would become viral.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/rebbetzins-viewpointrebbetzin-jungreis/broken-hearts/2014/02/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: