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Chronicles of Crises In Our Communities – 10/30/09

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Readers, what would you have said or done?

Dear Rachel,

When my married daughter called to say that her family would be coming for Shabbos, I decided to indulge in taking Friday off from work. I could have managed regardless, but this way I would be less pressured and more relaxed when my “guests” showed up.

At midday I decided to run out to pick up a couple of extra items. As I walked the busy shopping district, I scanned the street vendors’ floral wares to see if any of their arrangements was particularly inviting. Most were just the unexciting usual bunches of carnations. But then I spotted a bouquet that had just the right combination of color and textures. It was as though it had been assembled for my selective taste, and there was just this one-of-a-kind among the many plain bunches. Happily, I paid the $10 cost and made my way to the city bus stop to catch my bus home.

As I walked through the moving bus in search of a seat, I realized to my chagrin that I had left the flowers at the stop where I had laid them down on the bench beside me. Deeply disappointed, I considered getting off at the next stop and going back to retrieve my pretty, hard-to-come-by bundle.

It took me no time to reach a decision. A man who had been walking behind me took a seat across from me, and in his lap he cradled none other than my beautiful Shabbos flowers, looking mighty pleased with himself at that.

I tried looking at the bright side: I was saved the trouble of taking the time to go back to find nothing.

No, I did not speak up to say what I was thinking, “Excuse me, sir, but the bunch of flowers you are holding is mine. You mind ?” This was a prefect stranger and I wasn’t about to create an uncomfortable scene. (Picture me, a petite woman, he big, broad, and leave-the-rest-to-your-imagination.)

As it happens, my daughter and family brought a beautiful arrangement of flowers that graced our Shabbos table.

How would you have handled the situation? Just wondering…

10 bucks short but played it safe

Dear Ten,

I’d give you a ten for your attitude and for the way you handled yourself. And I’ll bet that your daughter’s flowers were all the more appreciated.

Dear Rachel,

There is a woman I have been friends with for years. We both got married at approximately the same time, and both of us subsequently divorced, after discovering that we erred in our choice. (I’m writing this in brief, but – talking for myself – the serious issues I confronted made working things out impossible.)

A couple of years later, now older and wiser, I was introduced to my close friend’s ex and we hit it off right away. I called my friend to seek her advice. We had a lengthy schmooze and she was blunt and upfront with me: he hadn’t been for her but he might be right for me.

After some further inquiry and investigation, we got engaged. (My friend, too, met her second zivug and we are slated to be married just days apart from one another.)

My dilemma? My future husband is uneasy with my relationship and wants me to drop the friendship.

What do you think I should do?

True friendships are hard to come by

Dear True,

The only true friendship that should concern you at this time is the married kind, the one you will hopefully share for the rest of your life with your husband. His demand is reasonable under the circumstances. One can hardly blame him, and it may be healthier for all of you if you cooled it with your girlfriend. She will certainly understand and probably be more comfortable, as well.

Dear Rachel,

I work all week, and when it comes to Shabbos I am pooped. It’s all I can do to get through Friday nights before dropping from exhaustion. On Shabbos afternoons, I don’t go anywhere before I’ve had my nap.

As a divorcee with no family to wait on, the napping and sleeping should be easy for me. However, another single woman down the block keeps popping by for impromptu visits and lingers for hours on end. She is obviously in need of company, yet it is all I can do to keep my eyes open and give her the attention she longs for.

There have been times when I just didn’t answer the door, but then we would meet and she would ask me where I’d been, and I find it difficult to fib and make up stories. And then there’s the guilt

But, Rachel, I’ve heard it all before. She is mired in self-pity and just repeats her frustrations, almost getting me to feel sorry for myself. Aside from our single status, we don’t have much in common. When I tell her that I’m tired and want to catch up on some sleep, she berates me for not being outgoing and social enough.

How do I let this person know that I need my privacy and my rest – without hurting her feelings?

Not getting enough sleep

Dear Sleep,

There is no sense in fostering a relationship that leaves you uninspired, depressed and tired.

You’ve already told her you need your rest. Don’t answer the door, and if confronted at some later time, just say that you must have been sleeping when she came “a- knocking.”

Consider inviting her to share your Shabbos meal; it may serve to assuage your guilt. This way you can play hostess with a smile for the duration of dinner, and afterwards excuse yourself with, “Can’t keep my eyes open You’re welcome to stay on and let yourself out Just lock the door behind you.”

* * * * *

Readers’ opinions and contributions welcome… rachel@jewishpress.com or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 338 Third Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11215

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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