Photo Credit: Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

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.

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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)

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1 COMMENT

  1. 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.

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