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Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 4/04/07

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Dear Rachel,

You’re the first column I turn to every week. Saying that I “enjoy” reading it would be an insensitive remark as the issues you present are truly “crises in our communities.” They also prove that the frum world is still prone to awful situations, albeit pushed under the rug. After reading the letter from Been There, Too (Chronicle 1-26), my heart sank. She summed up the whole divorce situation so accurately and beautifully, especially the part “And the kids are the ones who end up losing out!”

Rachel, I experienced something that I wish for no one to ever experience: My parents divorced when I was in 8th grade (I am the oldest of six). At an age when one’s parents equal the world, I was unfortunately exposed to their “mean and heartless” sides. My siblings and I took part in their tug of war, each parent openly demonstrating their hatred for the other during a drawn out process.

My father gave my mother a Get, but the aftermath is still with us as they continue to play the “blame game.” My mother, who remarried, teams up with her husband to escalate the hatred of my father.

Some typical after-effects in children of divorce: lack of concentration, anger, depression, etc. What about the “later on” in life? I have been in the shidduch parshah for almost three years now and am beginning to worry. This is the part where Been There, Too’s last sentence really hit home. Is it fair to me, an innocent 20-year old, to be overlooked by potential shidduchim because my parents decided to divorce, a situation that was beyond my control? Is it fair to consider me a bad candidate because of what happened to my parents?

This letter is not meant as a sob story for people to discuss at their Shabbos table – it is a wake-up call for those who contemplate divorce and were zoche to become parents of Hashem’s precious child(ren). Please don’t put your kids through what I (and other children of divorce) have gone through and continue to go through, even years later! If you must separate (following all the therapies, vacations and consultations), be sensitive to your children’s needs as “[they] are the ones who end up losing out!”

A young adult of a sad divorce

Dear Sad,

If only your heartbreaking message would penetrate the hearts of those who call themselves parents yet are so self-absorbed in their battles that they fail their own flesh and blood miserably. But let’s focus on reality rather than on wishful thinking.

Divorce is not an uncommon phenomenon in our day. And it is your own midos and personality that define your suitability as a shidduch candidate. Your attitude in life and level of self-assurance are far more revealing than your “broken home” status.

Better than stressing yourself out worrying about being rejected because of your parents’ breakup, have faith that nothing will stand in the way of your pairing with your rightful zivug.

When Shlomo HaMelech’s beautiful and virtuous daughter, the apple of his eye, was approaching the age of maturity, her father – curious to know who would win her hand in marriage – consulted the Urim V’Tumim and searched her mazal.

To his chagrin, he discovered that his smart and sensitive daughter, a descendent of shevet Yehudah, was destined to become the wife of a pauper’s son, a descendent of Dan, the smallest of the shevatim.

The king had a tower built on a lone island, its one entrance bolted and sealed. A skylight served as the tower’s only source of illumination. The king’s daughter was instructed to gather her essentials and prepare to be sequestered in the tower until her father would summon her back to Yerushalayim.

Meals were delivered by select members of the Sanhedrin, drawn up by a pulley through the tower’s only window.

Shlomo HaMelech’s objective was to see Hashem’s plan in action – how He would arrange for the king’s daughter to meet her rightful zivug. She in the meanwhile prayed to G-d daily to bring her bashert to her.

Not far away, the eldest child of an impoverished household could no longer endure his family’s suffering and set out in tattered clothing to seek parnassah. Reuven, blessed with wisdom and good looks, wandered from town to town. Exhausted and hungry by nightfall, he sought shelter among the trees in the forest, wrapping himself against the wind with the pelt of a dead ox.

A large eagle attracted to the scent of the carcass scooped up the pelt along with the sleeping form and flew off – to land on the rooftop of the tower inhabited by Shlomo HaMelech’s daughter. When the eagle began to feast on the animal’s skin, Reuven awoke and the startled eagle took flight.

On her customary morning walk on the roof, the king’s daughter had the surprise of her life. A disheveled young man detailed the events that led him to her. The tower’s lone occupant took pity on her hapless visitor and shared her meals with him.

Neither could exit the tower and she gradually came to admire the young man’s middos and intellect. She asked him if he would marry her, and he agreed. They used her ring, and the kesubah was written with blood drawn from his hand. Sticking their heads out the window to acknowledge Hashem’s omnipresence, they called on Michoel and Gavriel as witnesses – and thus declared themselves husband and wife.

Eventually a member of the Sanhedrin spied the two at the window and notified the king of his astonishing find. Shlomo HaMelech came to verify the “impossible,” joyously reuniting with his beloved daughter. Validating G-d’s wondrous personal mission in pairing his daughter with her zivug, Shlomo HaMelech proclaimed, “Baruch HaMakom she’nosein ishah l’ish.”

Take heart, young lady – He Who enacted the miracle of Krias Yam Suf is the Arranger of all matches.

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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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