Latest update: April 2nd, 2012
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I am sitting in the parking lot of a local shopping center in my community, and it’s all I can do not to break down in tears. I have just seen yet another young mother with a baby in tow, and another young couple shopping together for their groceries, and it tears me apart.
You see, I am the mother of young single daughters who are two of the many caught up in the so-called “shidduch crisis.”
I know very well that I am far from the first person to write a letter venting about the agony I feel as a mother of girls (and I am certain of boys as well) in their mid-20s who somehow missed the boat when their younger counterparts were fortunate enough to find their basherts early on.
So I guess that the main focus of my letter is to appeal to all those involved trying to be instrumental in making a shidduch to follow up a lot more than I feel they have been doing.
When I say this, I am referring to everyone, from professional shadchanim to those involved in local synagogue committees, to even well intentioned friends. Please understand that it is not enough to say, “Oh, I have an idea for a shidduch,” or even to make the initial telephone call proposing it. The single girl cannot or should not have to make the follow-up or check-in calls to see if the boy is still “busy.”
Obviously everyone is caught up with the obligations of their own daily lives. But please remember that every day is another day these singles are left without hope and in limbo, and a potential shidduch may not be made.
If it is not your intent to follow the process through in its entirety, and that includes making whatever phone calls are necessary, don’t suggest the shidduch in the first place. It’s not fair to say, “I didn’t have time to make the call,” or “things were too hectic.” How long does a call take anyway? Especially when it’s just a follow-up to find out if the boy had a chance to look into the girl yet, or if he is still “busy,” or if he is at all interested?
This is an issue I have had the need to get off my chest, and I can only hope the message will reach everyone it applies to.
Please remember, you have the opportunity to do a huge mitzvah or really hurt someone’s neshamah.
Dear Frustrated Mother,
Unfortunately, there will always be good-intentioned individuals who are not on the ball. The truth is that many of these “forgetful” souls are disorganized in their own lives and just can’t get it “together.” Though this ends up hurting you, you should not take it personally.
Your focus should instead be concentrated inward – to reinforce your trust and belief in a Higher Power capable of delivering your daughters’ zivugim to your doorstep in a heartbeat. This does not translate to your sitting back and waiting for that fateful knock on the door. But once you have done your part (unreasonable or unrealistic expectations aside), the rest should be left to the Master Matchmaker.
The stronger your faith in your Creator, the quicker your yeshuah will be orchestrated above – for we are taught that Hashem awaits us to rely on Him, to depend on Him, to beseech Him for all our needs, and to not fool ourselves into believing that “man” is in charge.
Frankly, I must submit that I was quite taken aback in reading that your daughters, who you bemoan as having “missed the boat,” are in their twenties. Already obsessing over their “still single” status is only serving to stress you out mentally and physically and is likely to impact negatively on the harmony and peace in your home.
Consider, if you will, that many girls (and boys) have found their mates in their late 20s and even 30s, some discovering that they simply had to wait for their intended to become “of age” or for the time to be right. Take, for instance, the wedding I recently attended, where the bride was 10 years older than the groom! Baruch Hashem this couple is deliriously happy, but the reality is that when she was 25 and on the lookout for Mr. Right, he was a mere 15!!
Hopefully, the habitual procrastinators who claim to be working for your benefit will heed your message. In the meanwhile, I humbly suggest that you lighten up and encourage your girls to make the most of their unencumbered single-hood. Plenty of young wives/mothers (whom you envy – a dangerous waste of emotional energy) are feeling overwhelmed and bogged down by their myriad responsibilities and can only fantasize of the freedom they once had and may not have taken advantage of.
In due time, you will wonder how you could have driven yourself to be ridden with such needless anxiety. Remember that each new day brings new hope and is a step closer to fulfillment of your heart’s desire.
We have just concluded celebrating the miracle of Chanukah. For eight consecutive days, we sang the praises of the One Who performs miracles for us Bayamim Haheim B’zman Hazeh – in those days and in these times.
Praying for guidance, believing in yourself and in the worthiness of your children, and most of all in G-d, will take you much further than all this futile hand-wringing.
May you and your family merit to dance at your own simchas very soon.
About the Author: We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories via email to email@example.com or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 4915 16th Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11204. If you wish to make a contribution and help agunot, your tax-deductible donation should be sent to The Jewish Press Foundation. Please make sure to specify that it is to help agunot, as the foundation supports many worthwhile causes.
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