We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories by e-mail to email@example.com or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 338 Third Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11215.
To all women, men or children who feel that they are at the end of their ropes, please consider joining a support group, or forming one.
Anyone wishing to make a contribution to help agunot, please send your tax deductible contribution to The Jewish Press Foundation.
Checks must be clearly specified to help agunot. Please make sure to include that information if that is the purpose of your contribution, because this is just one of the many worthwhile causes helped by this foundation.
* * * * * * * * * *
It would come as no surprise were anyone to suggest that your letter is a concoction of one’s vivid imagination. But I for one do believe it takes all kinds and, besides, it is almost too far-fetched to be contrived fiction. Furthermore, you come across as quite sincere, and so I will attempt to address your thoughts to the best of my ability, based on the details you divulged in your letter.
The first thing that comes to mind is the old cliché − “youth is wasted on the young”. I am quite certain that you and I are in accord, judging by your remorsefulness over your foolishness of bygone days. And I assure you that you are far from alone with that sentiment. One’s rate of maturity is dependant on many factors that range from genes to the kind of atmosphere one is brought up in. The “easy life” − born into wealth, is admittedly not of much help. Once again, you would agree. But that is about as far as we probably go in seeing eye-to-eye.
For 23 years you have been beating your heart over having supposedly missed a golden opportunity to live a fairy-tale like existence with the love of your life at your side. Your reasoning is so deeply embedded in your psyche that it would probably take another 23 to convince you otherwise.
But since you’ve gone to the trouble of confiding your heartache to this column, perhaps you are open to hearing what others have to say. No, I won’t lay the “bashert” concept on you, because a zivug meant to be can unfortunately be pushed away, by the act of exercising one’s ability to choose and doing so, unwisely.
In your letter you more than once refer to having taken this young man’s life. My dear, this individual died when his time was up. I hate to break it to you, but you don’t yield such power. Moreover, this young man had no business writing to you when he obviously already knew that you were married to another.
And apart from that, if it were that simple to die from a broken heart, people (especially among the young) would be dropping like fleas all over the place. In all likelihood, the young man who was so enamored of you suffered from some ailment, and had you agreed to marry him, you’d have lost him shortly thereafter.
The “insult” that you still obsess over is in the past. We all make mistakes and – not to diminish the magnitude of hurting and/or embarrassing another – we hopefully learn from them, do teshuvah and move on. One of the ways to achieve atonement is by asking forgiveness of the aggrieved party. I am quite certain you more than did that when you attended the young man’s funeral. And judging from the way he acted towards you in life, you can be assured that he has completely forgiven you.
What remains in essence is for you to forgive yourself and allow your heart and mind to heal. Even if, for argument’s sake, you are right and you blew the opportunity of a lifetime, you are not allowed to carry on in this manner. Hashem mandated mourning periods to be brief and warns against over-obsessing with continuous grieving, as this would demonstrate a lack of belief in Him and His workings.
You are relatively young yet and owe it to yourself and to your Maker to dust off the cobwebs that have been confining you in an unhealthy state of being. There are things to accomplish, missions to fulfill, and satisfaction to be gained by living up to your potential. Each and every day is a gift from G-d; there is a multitude of ways to make them count and you will be handsomely rewarded for your sincere efforts.
No, the bigger tragedy in all of this is not your loss of Aaron but the loss of your own two children. Instead of wasting your time in mourning over something that was never meant to be, you should be leaving no stone unturned in your effort to find and make contact with your flesh and blood to whom you unfortunately turned out to be a deep disappointment.
Leave the other world in the capable hands of Hashem. Besides, you have plenty of time to delve into that part of your existence when you get there, after 120. Your responsibility is to deal with the here and now, the reality of life in this world. I can’t for a moment believe that an intelligent lady like you sits around and mopes 24/7, wasting her time on something that is past and cannot be undone.
There is so much that you can achieve if you would only set your mind to it. Only you know where your strengths and talents lie and what you are imminently capable of. But one thing’s for sure − you need to go out there and reach as high as you can and to arrive at your niche.
Twenty-three years is 23 too long. Enough! Now go make a difference in someone’s life. There are many hurting souls out there and at least one whose pain you were meant to soothe.
Thank you for writing and baring your soul. Hopefully the act of doing so has afforded you the emotional release that can now allow your to move on in a positive direction.