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Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 6/18/10

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Divorced or widowed: Which makes the better catch?

 

Dear Rachel,

 

My close friend and I are both avid readers of your column and are normally on the same page as far as your opinion goes. We are now at odds regarding the following.

 

My friend says that someone marrying the second time around is better off with a widow/widower since a divorced person carries much more “baggage” than someone who lost a spouse through death.

 

I feel that the second spouse of a previously happily married individual must compete with a ghost that will always hover between them – while an ex-spouse whom your partner didn’t get along with or wasn’t happy with will not pose much competition.

 

What is your opinion?

 

Practical thinker

 

Dear Practical,

 

          Notwithstanding the validity of both your viewpoints, the most potent ingredient of a successful second marriage is a healthy dose of self-esteem – irrespective of the life circumstances that surround the couple.

 

For instance, a woman with a sense of self-worth is less likely to be intimidated by the memory of her husband’s late wife, at the same time recognizing that a man who has already proven to be good husband material is more likely to make a go of a second marriage.

 

Divorced, single or widowed, the reality is that it takes two to tango. Two emotionally mature, serious-minded and committed adults should be able to weather the ups and downs that are part of every marital relationship, let alone a second one.

 


Should matchmakers offer money-back guarantees?

 

Dear Rachel,

 

Many frum people looking to get married rely on a shadchan for introductions. My question, to put it bluntly: If the marriage doesn’t work out, is the shadchan in any way responsible and does he or she get to keep his/her “finder’s fee” regardless?

 

Naturally I do not refer to a marriage going bust after ten or twenty years. But shouldn’t there be some “coverage” for at least a year?

 

One man I know recently got divorced following a two-week marriage in hell, and I happen to know that the so-called matchmaker who recommended the shidduch received a hefty fee.

 

In another case I am familiar with, a young couple divorced after months of counseling (though the marriage was doomed from the start). The girl apparently had mental issues and was on medication -  “minor” details that the boy and his family – as well as the shadchan, it is said – were not made aware of.

 

Shouldn’t a matchmaker be more in the know before assuming such a major undertaking?

 

Marriage is not a joke

 

Dear Marriage,

 

For all practical purposes, and to the best of my knowledge, it is up to the individual being set up to do his/her own investigating. No shadchan worth his weight in shadchanis expects clients to agree to a shidduch out of hand without first conducting their own inquiries.

 

A matchmaker is not expected to act as Sherlock Holmes. Many shadchanim have only a basic profile and it is up to the two individuals being set up to do more extensive research.

 


Infertility: Where do we draw the line ?

 

Dear Rachel,

 

Pictures of a healthy-looking, smiling infant in ads and mailings are everywhere. One can hardly escape them. I refer to the solicitation tactics of an organization that helps hopeful infertile couples realize their desperate goal.

 

Now I’m sure I’m setting myself up for much criticism, but here goes. If one were meant to have children, wouldn’t G-d grant them the natural way? To be frank, I was always under the impression that the method by which to carry out the mitzvah of pru u’rvu is an intensely private one – shared by husband and wife in the privacy of their personal sleeping chamber.

 

What do attempts at producing a life in a lab say for our belief system? How does taking all sorts of extreme measures, while being monitored and supervised by men and women in white coats no less, translate to acceptance of our G-d-given lot?

 

Can it be said that the childless woman today in her sixties and seventies missed the boat (since scientific technology was not as advanced in her younger years)? Wouldn’t we then in essence be denying that our fate rests in the hands of Hashem?

 

Setting the above aside the in-your-face campaign of such organizations – which, in my humble opinion, ought to be run in a much more discreet fashion, with much less hoopla – is bewildering. In all earnestness, how are parents explaining to their wide-eyed, curious children what these ads allude to (or is it only the Chronicles column in the Jewish Press that will “mortify” these same parents)?

 

And can you just imagine the stab of pain in the heart of the childless woman made to confront the larger-than-life depiction of the smiling infant appearing in circulars in her mailbox, in newspaper ads, and on advertising banners?

 

I can.

 Is tznius not the hallmark of our lifestyle?

 

Dear Tznius,

 

          The common line of logic has it that the same G-d who tests us and gives us has also allowed us the scientific strides that enable (some of) His children to overcome their infertile predicament.

 

To your line of thinking, one would need to take issue with the entire medical field. Why strive to attain refuahs (in the way of medical treatment) if Hashem could have prevented the illness to begin with, and, for that matter, cured it without any medical intervention?

 

Those suffering are required to beseech the Ribono Shel Olam for relief. The barren woman takes a cue from our matriarch Rivkah and davens to Hashem for help in overcoming her childless state.

 

Could we then not argue that evolvement of sophisticated science technology has come about as a result – and in answer – to these prayers?

 

Thank you for your sensitive insight of a delicate issue.

 

Our intelligent readers are invited to contribute their perspective and opinion.

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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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