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Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 2/01/08

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Dear Rachel,

Your column is a pleasure to read each week. It is a safe space for anyone to express her/his heartfelt feelings, and for that I thank you.

Your latest discussion about needing to really be there for your spouse (Been there, done that – Chronicles 12-7) certainly came at an opportune time for me. My husband of 15 years walked out the door, explaining he loved me but was constantly hurt by being last on my “to do” list and was getting burnt by my stinging criticism.

After much self-analysis and help from an insightful Chabad rabbi and a frum therapist, I was able to see how tough I was to live with. There was no safety in our home for my husband, as he never knew what I would come up with next.

Let me clarify that I am a popular and fun person but am used to things done my way. I had no idea that I was upsetting my husband to the extent that he would leave. After promising to continue to work on myself, my husband is back.

I would never have thought that this could happen to me. I now think before I speak and do something kind every few hours. It doesn’t have to be time consuming, just thoughtful. The past few weeks have been great, and I only wish I would have known the importance of creating a safe and kind environment for my husband years ago.

Thank G-d it wasn’t too late for me

Dear Thank,

On behalf of readers who will surely benefit from your experience and your wise and sane approach, I thank you for taking the time to write.

Dear Rachel,

I’m writing this in response to “Frustrated Mother” (Chronicles 12-14).

Dear Mother,

I’m one of those singles of whom you speak. I may even know your daughters (or even be your daughter)! I just wanted to say that I fully sympathize with you. What you said about people suggesting shidduchim and never following up on them is so true. I completely agree that if people won’t follow up on their suggestions, they should never suggest them at all! This cannot be stressed enough.

I think that the reason that people do this is because they are trying to be nice and helpful but they don’t realize that instead they are doing the opposite. They have no idea that the girl/boy to whom they are suggesting the shidduch is standing on tiptoe and holding her/his breath while waiting for a phone call to know what’s happening.

I believe that all these people have never gone through this and don’t know how it feels, for I’m sure that if they did, they would never do this. They were, baruch Hashem, lucky to meet the right one right away and they don’t understand the crisis of which we speak.

If only everyone would read this and understand, but sadly, that’s not how it is. You, I and others who have gone through the same thing will know never to do it to other people, but we must give them the benefit of the doubt.

I also agree with Rachel that girls in their mid-twenties did not “miss the boat,” although unfortunately this is what most of our community has learned to think, so I see where you are coming from. If people would be a little more open minded, and learn to accept that not everyone has to get married at eighteen, there wouldn’t be such a big crisis.

I am sure that this is the nisayon of our generation and that we must be strong and pass this test! It’s sad that it has become a true nes when one finds his/her partner in life. I wish your daughters the best of luck, and I hope that they find their basherts really, really soon!

Dear Rachel,

Frustrated Mother is right on target. As long-time members of a shidduch group, we all know too well the built up frustration, disappointments, anxiety and despair as a result of phone calls that have never been returned, leads that never materialize, of promises that are seldom kept by well-meaning but unsuitable so-called shadchanim.

Shadchanis is not for everyone. That’s right. Not everyone is cut out for this task, which requires in the least: diligence, tact, diplomacy, self-control, maturity, loyalty, and most important – time. If you lack some of the above qualities, please do yourself and the prospective single a favor and stay away.

Channel your well-meant intentions by reciting a perek of Tehilim or working to perfect a midah in the zechus of a certain single, but please, please do not get involved unless you are determined to follow through on phone calls, leads and suggestions. For this job, only the most responsible and mature need apply. Why? Because we are dealing with Jewish neshomos, Jewish lives, future Jewish homes and kinderlech. Can you think of anything more important than that?

And it goes without saying that if your daughter/son/niece/nephew were in the shidduch parshah, you would want quick and up-to-date service. So, we ask, why not for others? Yes, get involved, but only if you bring your time, your efforts and your maturity with you for this truly holy task.

May Hashem send all Jewish singles their basherten b’karov.

Frustrated but still plugging away

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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