Latest update: April 2nd, 2012
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At the tender age of 18, I walked to the chupa − towards my chossen who was waiting for me − with hope in my heart for a bright future. It was not long thereafter that I came to realize every girl’s nightmare. After enduring an unfulfilling (to say the least) marital relationship of two years duration and constant heartache, I am now hopelessly trapped − as the following letter (that I recently sent to my father-in-law) − will reveal.
My dear Father-in-Law,
It is with a heavy heart that I write this letter, never having dreamed I would get to this point, never thinking I’d end up in this place. But I guess Hashem had other plans for me.
We are now approaching seven months since our separation. It has been a long, arduous time and the pain I feel in my heart is indescribable.
My dear Shver, nobody knows as well as you what I’ve been through and how much I have suffered. The hours of counseling the ‘ups and the downs’ the disappointments, and the months and months of trying to make things work out. Throughout it all, you were there to coach me and guide me. I remember your pain too, and the long hours we spent discussing the situation. I recall how torn apart you were as you contemplated ways that could possibly improve things for both of us. I remember you telling me, ‘Libby, he’s my son. I can’t risk losing him!’ Believe me, I didn’t want to lose him either! I tried everything humanly possible to save our marriage. Yet, unfortunately, we did not succeed.
But now, I am left with a hole in my heart. I am trapped in the chains of a broken marriage − with no end in sight. This is even worse than what I’ve been through till now. I’ve heard it said that the worst kind of suffering is that of an agunah. I never believed it until I experienced it myself. Each day that I spend as an agunah is sheer agony. I feel like a caged bird. I feel suspended in time. After all that I’ve suffered, I did not expect − nor feel that I deserve − this.
All I ask of you is that you help me obtain a get as soon as possible − and to find it in your heart to assist me with the future expense that I will incur in (hopefully) marrying again. I am not insisting on monetary compensation for the anguish that I’ve suffered, for the years I have lost As you yourself told my father, no amount of money would compensate me for my pain. I do not need huge amounts of money to live in luxury. But I cannot bear the thought of my hard-working parents going into debt because of me. They’ve already endured tremendous heartache over what was and is. I cannot and will not add to their worries and burden them with marrying me off a second time.
I would also like to hereby assure you that I never spoke badly of your son to anyone. Any feedback that may come your way would be based on half-baked lies, spread by people who like to talk about others. I have heard unsavory gossip about myself, which I know to be untruth and which I don’t believe to be coming from your family.
I appeal to your rachmanos because I know you are a mentch and a very compassionate person. I beg of you − please unshackle me from these chains. I am still a young person with a whole future ahead of me, yet I am locked up, tied to the past. You are the only person who can help me. Please don’t ruin my life! Please don’t torture me! Please let me be free!
I am writing from my heart, in the hope that it will reach your heart. Please don’t let me down!
I anxiously await a positive response.
The letter you’ve just read was written by a young lady to her father-in-law, who had invested his time, energy and help, in trying to save the marriage of his son and well loved daughter-in-law. Details of their marital woes will not herein be disclosed, as they are irrelevant to the matter at hand, and to protect the identities of the parties involved. Suffice it to say that the young husband sadly turned out to be unready for marriage and commitment − and try as both sides did to have him come to his senses, all efforts on all fronts failed miserably. The young heartbroken wife was left no choice but to separate from her husband, thus plunging her ever deeper into a dark abyss. In line with his immaturity and disagreeable nature, he persisted in holding her captive, in keeping her chained in lifeless wedlock.
The good news: since the time we received the letter, its poignant message reached its mark and penetrated the heart of the father-in-law who had, to his credit, seen fit to give so much of himself in trying to save his children’s marriage and in assuaging his beloved daughter-in-law’s pain.
This shattered, yet concerned and sympathetic father/father-in-law arose from the depths of his own despair and pulled out all stops to procure a Get for his daughter-in-law − freeing her to be another father’s daughter-in-law, another young man’s wife. May this father’s compassion evoke the rachamim of our all-merciful, Father in Heaven. May He hearken to the heart-rending pleas of His children everywhere − and gather us from all corners of the globe to live in love, peace and unity in the holy city of Yerushalayim, bimheira beyameinu, amen.
A Kesiva v’Chasima Tova to our devoted readers and all of Klal Yisroel.Rachel
About the Author: We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories via email to firstname.lastname@example.org 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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