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Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 2/17/06

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Dear Rachel,

You may have addressed this issue once, but I am having a problem that I wish to share with you. Twice a year, my husband volunteers for legitimate community functions. This does not mean a few extra hours after work – but a week straight (each function) of zero sleep on his part, and rare sightings of him on our part. I’m sure it is very commendable on his part to be so dedicated to the cause, but is this fair to his family? Is it selfish of us to demand his resignation or at least to cut his volunteer time to normal proportions?

It is my feeling that volunteering be left to teenagers or adults with extra time, energy, or money on their hands – not overworked parents who should use their non-existing spare moments with their family. Volunteering obviously gives something to my husband that I cannot. I feel badly asking him to give it up, but I truly resent him for still holding on to it. What should I do? The next event is coming up soon.

Not volunteering ’till I retire

Dear No Volunteer,

Volunteering means offering one’s personal time and skill to undertake a task – gratis. Usually, a volunteer feels him/herself to be capable of handling the task/project in question and is sincerely motivated to carry through. Of course it can happen that one will take on more than s/he can actually handle. Generally, however, a volunteer reaps tremendous satisfaction in performing a valuable function, sleeplessness notwithstanding. While boredom is a sleep-inducer, the excitement of seeing a project to fruition and the anticipation of a deadline goal have the opposite effect – keeping the adrenaline pumping and naturally reducing sleep requirement.

If the “legitimate community function” would be depriving your husband of several consecutive weeks of quality family time, you’d have a legitimate complaint. However, the interruption of routine for one week (a mere few days) twice a year may for your husband be the beneficial equivalent of a week’s vacation for another.

Unless he himself is griping about falling apart, try not to begrudge him his twice-a-year interlude. Feelings of resentment should give way to feelings of respect and pride – and counting yourself fortunate to have such a motivated baal chessed as husband and father to your children. Additionally, by enabling him to carry out his noble work, you reap the bonus of drawing on his merit – sharing in the mitzvah he earns.

Dear Rachel,

Yesterday I was at a CVS store in my neighborhood and a young non-Jewish girl, about 22 or so, was talking to the cashier whom she had recognized from high school. The girl told the cashier that she was married and had a little boy. I stared at her in amazement, because the girl speaking was overweight. I sadly thought to myself that if this were a Jewish frum girl, she would probably not be married…because of her weight.

Yes, being involved in shidduchim I know that if a girl is over a size 8, she will probably have a paucity of dates in her life, for most boys today do not want to date anyone who is “heavy” – even if they themselves are no slim Jims. Now I want to make it clear that I do not think a girl is heavy if she is more than a size 8, but many boys today have this mistaken notion that girls are supposed to be a size 2, 4 or 6. Personally, I believe that many girls this small are possibly anorexic, unless they have been this thin since they were very young.

There are programs today that attempt to help girls with eating disorders. I believe that until the “powers that be” make the boys understand that they should not be seeking emaciated looking spouses, the programs will not be truly successful…simply because girls are aware that being thin is what will get them dates and marriage. It is ironic that the frum boys of today place so much emphasis on dress sizes instead of focusing on the important things that should count when seeking a spouse. I would like to tell these boys that the very thin girls may have health problems that will not only impact on them both, but also on future children that they may have together – if they are lucky to have them.

If any readers feel I am wrong (that boys do give girls who are “heavy” a fair chance), I would love to hear from them – so that I can help these boys find their mates.

Thin may be in but can be unhealthy

Dear Thin,

From the looks of things – at least from my vantage point – quite a number of “heavy” girls seem happily ensconced in marital relationships. And, anyway, who would want a guy shallow enough to pass a girl up just because she’s not a size 8?

Needless to say, when it comes to “grossly overweight”, the average-sized Joe/Jane cannot be faulted for seeking a more physically suitable mate. And, to be fair, while reflecting on the health problems of the “too thin”, shouldn’t the health hazards associated with being “overly fleshy” receive equal billing?

Most everyone would admit to desiring an attractive life partner. Yet, beauty is undeniably in the eyes of the beholder. Unattractive to one may be beautiful to another. And if the beholder’s zivug will happen to be on the portly side, chances are it will turn out to be a non-issue.

Can one bypass his/her meant-to-be? Absolutely. And vanity in excess can play a role. A general rule of thumb to live by: anything taken to an extreme may prove to be unhealthy.

Readers wishing to take the writer up on her generous offer are welcome to write to this column to be placed in touch….Hatzlacha … and thank you for your important work on behalf of singles.

About the Author: We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories via email to rachel@jewishpress.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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