web analytics
January 31, 2015 / 11 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Shidduch Challenges – How To Find The Right One


Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Several weeks ago, in response to a letter from by a young woman in her thirties who wrote of the painful plight of singles, I wrote a column that has since mushroomed into a series of articles.

Originally I had planned to devote one or two columns to the subject, but the response from readers has been so overwhelming that it’s necessitated a more involved response.

In my last column I explained that making a shidduch has never been easy and that there always have been obstacles. Nevertheless, each period is different, and this week I will focus on our generation.

These difficulties apply equally to every segment of the Jewish population, and while Orthodox singles are more insulated from cultural influences, the rippling effects have impacted all of us. So the questions remain: Why can’t singles get married? What went wrong?

There are no pat answers. Many contributing factors come into play. Years ago, singles lived at home until they married. Parents were actively involved in helping their children find mates. At the very least, they pressed them to get on with it and establish their own homes. Today, however, things are different. No sooner have young people graduated from high school than they are on their way, and even if they should at some point move back home, parents often adopt a “laissez-faire” attitude when it comes to their children marrying.

Moreover, our culture encourages young people to focus on their careers while marriage is placed on the back burner. This has taken a devastating toll. Immersed in their professions, young women see their biological clocks tick on and on. They have been misled into believing they have all the time in the world, only to realize one day that years have passed and can never be retrieved. Though this is a tragedy that affects both genders, women are hit harder, not only because of their biological clocks but because by nature they are nest builders.

While it’s become fashionable for women to believe they can have children even into their forties – and, yes, there are some wonderful stories that make great copy – in real life things are quite different. Even if by some stroke of luck a woman in her forties finds her soul mate, the road to childbearing can be filled with much heartache and painful and expensive medical treatment.

A successful young woman in the corporate world came to consult with me about finding a mate. “Rebbetzin,” she said, “I have an elderly, widowed mother. I call her every day and visit her at least once a week, but I am haunted by a terrible thought. Who will visit me when I am her age? I always thought you could have it all – a successful career, marriage, children – but the truth is that men, even if they are on in years, can combine marriage and parenthood with a successful career, but this is not so simple for women. We’ve lost the best years of our lives. We’ve been misled.”

Whose fault is it? It doesn’t matter. An entire generation has been led down the garden path. Though it may be true that that men fare better in the singles world, experience has taught me that they are also suffering. Many sincerely desire to marry but can’t – they suffer from “commitment phobia.”

To be sure, there are many factors that render them phobic (these sometimes apply to women as well). Many men no longer feel they have to get married. They can just as easily have “relationships.” But these relationships not only are a negation of our Torah way of life, they come with a high price and leave indelible marks on one’s soul. You cannot be intimate with someone and then cancel that person out without consequences. Even if one is in denial, the heart, the mind, and the soul have long memories.

Little wonder, then, that today’s singles carry heavy baggage and with each passing year pick up even more, all of which mitigates against committing to marriage.

Additionally, the active social lives many singles lead serve to mask their feelings of loneliness. There is always a plethora of activities to keep them believing they are doing their all to pursue a match – whereas in reality they are just going from date to date, gathering to gathering, singles event to singles event.

I met a young man while I was speaking at a convention. I had seen him some years ago at our Hineni organization, and I asked how he was doing.

“I’m still single” he said. “Any recommendations?”

I thought for a moment and suggested a lovely young woman who had been coming to my classes. “I know her,” he said. “We are friends. She is not for me, and to be honest with you, Rebbetzin, I didn’t wait all this time to settle now!”

I felt sorry for him – not only for the years wasted, but also for his mixed-up priorities. The poor guy was unaware of the crassness of his words. He didn’t realize he was consigning himself to a life of loneliness. With his attitude, even if by some stroke of luck he finally did marry, he would always carry an albatross of past relationships around his neck – “maybe I should have married her, or her or her.”

Second guessing is always easy to indulge in during times of stress or conflict. Marriage, like life, is not a smooth ride. There are many bumps along the way and if you come upon a particularly rough stretch it becomes tempting to blame the vehicle and fantasize that had you only chosen a different model or make, you would have been OK.

Such rationalization is anathema to marriage – it deludes you into believing the problem is not with you but with your mate, and if you could only exchange him or her, all would be well.

More than ever I have come to realize the wisdom of the blessing we pronounce under the marriage canopy – that bride and groom find the joy and happiness Adam and Eve experienced in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve knew with certainty they were meant for each other – there was no one else to choose from! Similarly, we wish for every bride and groom to enjoy the same clarity and be free of the burdens that many singles of our generation carry – always comparing, always second-guessing themselves and never being able to make a lasting commitment.

While we must do our part in pursuing a match, if in the process we encounter disappointments, we try not to despair. We put it down to something not having been basherte (Yiddish for predestined).

I once met an attractive woman in her thirties who told me she’d been on more dates than she cared to count. She was tired, she said, and had one question: “If everyone has a basherte, why is it taking me so long to find mine?”

(To Be Continued)

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.

One Response to “Shidduch Challenges – How To Find The Right One”

  1. Avraham says:

    Let’s put a good portion of the blame on the rebbeim. In their desire to stop inappropriate behavior, they have made it more difficult for young singles to meet. When I was single, back in the 70′s, there were many opportunities for young people to socialize informally and make connections. There were mixers, Brooklyn College house parties and other ways to meet. Virtually everybody in my age bracket got married.

    Today, these are all gone. Even at weddings, there is separate seating. A couple at the “singles’s table” met at our wedding. In today’s world, they would have sat at single sex tables and probably never would have met.

    Until the rebbeim wake up and realize that they are part of the problem, there will never be a solution.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Jeremy Bird, working for Israeli campaign outfit V15, shown at Ted Talk, May 20, 2014.
V15 US Political Operative Marinated in Hate-Israel Activism
Latest Judaism Stories
Staum-013015

People often think that all they are missing is “just a little more” and then they can be truly happy.

Torah-Hakehillah-121914

The Midrash is teaching a fundamental message of what it means to be a religious person.

Rabbi Sacks

Torah opposes slavery; G-d desires the free worship of free human beings, yet slavery’s permitted-?!

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

France allowed Islamists to flourish despite their loyalty to Islamic sharia law not French values

Approximately 18 years ago, my uncle called me into his office saying he had an urgent matter to discuss. I didn’t know what he had in mind.

“Where is God?” asked the Kotzker Rebbe “God is not everywhere but only where you let Him enter”

An Explosion In The Trench
‘With A Glowing Hot Knife’
(Yevamos 120b)

Her first tactic was tefillah; she immediately began to recite one perek after another of Tehillim.

When a miracle occurs that transcends nature, Hashem has broken the laws of nature to create the miracle.

“How could you have expected my glasses to be there?” argued Mr. Weiss. “You shouldn’t have to pay.”

Rather than submit to this fate and suffer torture and humiliation, Shaul decided to fall on his sword.

How can the Da’as Zekeinim say this was Hashem’s plan to allow them to become the Torah Nation? We know it was actually a punishment.

A strange midrash of fruit trees surrounding the Nation of Israel as they walked to freedom

Leading by example must be visible, regarding where, when and how-like Nachshon entering the Red Sea

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.

More Articles from Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

France allowed Islamists to flourish despite their loyalty to Islamic sharia law not French values

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

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

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?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/rebbetzins-viewpointrebbetzin-jungreis/shidduch-challenges-how-to-find-the-right-one/2012/02/08/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: