web analytics
January 25, 2015 / 5 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Broken Hearts


Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

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.

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.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

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

Current Top Story
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, with their sons Yair (R) and Avner (2L),  on December 01, 2014.
Iranian News: ‘Teheran Targeted Netanyahu’s Sons’ in Retaliation
Latest Judaism Stories
Torah-Hakehillah-121914

Rabbi Yaakov Nagen, a Ram at Yeshivat Otniel, notes that the verse is suggesting that retelling the story of the Exodus is so important that Hashem is performing ever-greater miracles specifically so that parents can tell their stories to future generations.

Parshat Bo

Before performing the 10th plague God makes a fundamental argument about the ultimate nature of justice.

Daf-Yomi-logo

Life Before The Printed Word
‘A Revi’is Of Blood’
(Yevamos 114a-b)

The-Shmuz

How is it possible that the clothing was more valuable to them than gold or silver?

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

“It means that the disqualification of relatives as witnesses is a procedural issue, not a question of honesty,” explained Rabbi Dayan.

Property ownership is an extremely important and fundamental right and principle according to the Torah.

The tenderest description of the husband/wife relationship is “re’im v’ahuvim/loving, kind friends”

And if a person can take steps to perform the mitzvah, he should do so (even if he won’t be held accountable for not performing it due to circumstances beyond his control).

Suddenly, she turns to me and says, “B’emet, I need to thank you, you made me excited to come back to Israel.”

Pesach is called “zikaron,” a Biblical term used describing an object eliciting a certain memory

Recouping $ and assets from Germans and Swiss for their Holocaust actions is rooted in the Exodus

Pharaoh perverted symbols of life (the Nile and midwives) into agents of death.

I think that we have to follow the approach of the Tannaim and Amoraim. They followed the latest scientific developments of their time.

Three years of war and the loss of one-tenth of Britain’s men is not too great a price to pay.

More Articles from Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

“Surely,” my family insisted, “there must be someone suitable for you. You can’t be so picky.”

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Shouldn’t we Jews, having experienced the barbarism of many societies, speak support the NYPD?

They stammer “I’m not Orthodox,” as if that absolves them from the responsibility of calling to G-d

Prayer is our language: Hakol kol Yaakov – the voice is the voice of Jacob – the voice of prayer.

When art and evil are intermingled, evil is elevated and made acceptable.

In BB, he said “You, my children are the angels of Shabbos and the licht are your beautiful eyes.”

Why does Hebrew refer to mothers-in-law as “sunshine” when society often calls them the opposite?

Boundaries must be set in every home. Parents and children are not pals. They are not equals.

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

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: