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Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 12/15/06



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Dear Rachel,

I seek your sage wisdom and advice. Maybe you can provide the answer to a very important question I must ask you.

How can one ease the pain of losing one’s one and only true love? I find myself still mourning the loss of a man who abruptly broke off our courtship in a hurtful phone call on a cold December third day of Chanukah, almost three years ago.

Heartless people tell me, “Just get over him. He is not worth the time that you spend missing him if he can break up over the phone soon after making promises to cement your relationship with an engagement in a couple of weeks!”

I have received counseling from sage rebbeim, rebbetzins, counselors, mentors, friends, family, human service experts, etc., and none of it has helped ease the pain of a broken heart, of losing the only man whom I felt real love for and total acceptance, with whom I was able to be myself and open with my feelings.

We first met in our college years. He resurfaced in my life after he lost his wife. I sometimes wish he had never placed that first call to tell me that I did not give him a chance during our college days, because I was too involved in my studies and other issues at the time. He insisted that I give us another chance, that Hashem brought us together now, and that there had to be a reason why we lost our spouses after long marriages.

He was a widower while I was divorced for four years. When he pulled out of our relationship without a decent explanation, I felt like someone had ripped my heart out. He never even attempted an apology, and it was in this very newspaper, a few months after our break-up, that I discovered he was marrying another! What a fool I’d been.

But all this is “water under the bridge.” The fact remains that I have gone on with my life. Yet I can’t seem to forget the pain that this man caused me, and every time well-meaning people suggest a shidduch, I am fearful that the same thing will occur.

Hearing people say, “He was no mentch to do what he did to you, and you are better off having had an informal engagement broken rather than a formal marriage” does not take the pain away from missing him and wishing things had turned out differently. I don’t question Hashem’s ways but am truly at a loss as to why this relationship did not work.

So, Rachel, how do I heal my broken heart and go about trusting another man – and finding my bashert with a peaceful mind? How do I move on to accept love again, with a clear head and heart?

With all the self help books and counseling, I still miss that special guy who turned into a monster on the night he broke off our relationship.

Please help me see the light at the end of the tunnel that will lead to some happiness in my life.

Thanks for listening and for giving me a “shoulder to lean on.”

Wanting to Mend My Broken Heart!

Dear Broken,

The pain of betrayal, especially by one in whom you have placed your trust and with whom you made plans for the future, can be very distressing, to say the least. However, by your own admission, you have made strides toward mending your wounded heart. “Water under the bridge . . . Gone on with my life . . . Don’t question Hashem’s ways” – and yet for every step forward, you seem to be taking three steps back. Your past should serve but one purpose: to learn from.

Your dream was shattered, but it was only a dream – and one based on infatuation. You were in love not with the man, but with the way he made you feel and with the intensity of admiration that you felt for the person you wished him to be. And as your friends sensibly point out, he was not that person at all – all the more reason for you to be grateful of the outcome.

You hungered for his attentiveness and for male chivalry, and though he was capable of making you swoon, he would have turned out to be another disappointment in your life. Truly believing in Hashem’s ways means accepting His ruling and ceasing to dwell in fantasy.

The reality is that true and lasting love cannot be realized through a courtship that has two people poised and prepared to look and act their best whenever they are in each other’s company. The attraction to one another may be real (and crucial as a steppingstone), but the real deal (genuine love) develops only as two lives merge in the process of building a life together.

To help dispel any lingering despair, you may want to contemplate the following: In the first line of the Tenoyim (engagement contract) we read, “HaMagid mi’raishis acharis” – He Who said the start (outset) determines the end (conclusion)” R’ Yecheskel of Kozmir would say that a favorable outcome of a shidduch is reflective of its good beginning. Had your relationship been meant to be everlasting, it would have worked out to begin with.

Whenever approached for a brachah for a good shidduch, the Ahavas Yisroel of Vizhnitz would oblige with, “May Hashem help that the undesirable not want you.” Thank Him for His ultimate kindness (in saving you from committing to a man with undesirable character traits) and let your Chanukah lights kindle new hope in your heart – to illuminate your way to a bright and fulfilling tomorrow.

Happy Chanukah to you and all of our readers!

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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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