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April 21, 2014 / 21 Nisan, 5774
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The Challenge Of Remarrying

Respler-Yael

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Dear Dr. Respler:

I am a 65-year-old woman who, two years ago, lost her husband of 43 years. We had a loving and giving relationship and I so enjoyed being with him.

My husband died in the middle of the night from what appeared to be a heart attack. It came as a total shock to me when he passed away. I have not been able to forget him, but my children encouraged me to date and set me up with a very special man. This wonderful man treats me like a diamond. He asked me to marry him a few times, but I just don’t feel like I am ready for a commitment.

My children are upset and have told me that I will never feel ready to get married. They’ve urged me to not forgo this opportunity because of my feelings toward my husband. It’s easy for them to feel this way because, Baruch Hashem, they are all happily married. I hope they never experience my pain, but I just feel so guilty getting involved in a relationship when I still feel loyal to my husband. I am also scared to let myself love again and then suffer the terrible pain of losing another husband.

Am I wrong to push this new man out of my life? Please help me make a decision. I don’t want to regret my actions.

C.S.

Dear C.S.:

You appear to be a caring and devoted person; I can’t begin to imagine how difficult this is for you.

Let me say that statistically, people who have healthy and productive first marriages generally have excellent second marriages. There is an art to being married, and apparently you have the talent to sustain a loving relationship. As your husband, a”h, loved you, he would probably want you to remarry and not live alone. “Lo tov heyot ha’adam levado – it is not good for a person to be alone.”

As for your fear of loving another man and losing him, that is a risk that you may want to take. The joy one experiences by being in a relationship is unparalleled. Whenever we engage in a relationship, we risk loving and losing that love. But remember that there is much truth to the old adage, “it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” Companionship and love increase life expectancy, along with physical and psychological health. While it is definitely hard for someone to go through the risk of potential pain, it may be worthwhile for you to take the risk, as we do not know what Hashem has in store for us or how life will play out.

I agree with your children, who appear to be very special and caring and who have your best interests in mind. I am sure that arranging a shidduch for their mother with someone who is not their father was very difficult for them. However, they seem to want you to be happy and feel that you will be happier if you’re involved a loving relationship.

Take the risk and don’t miss this opportunity. It may be difficult to let go of your husband’s memory, but please realize that marrying again will not mean that you must forget your late husband or your beautiful marriage with him. You can always love him, as human beings have the capacity to love more than one person.

Also, it would not be fair to a second husband to compare him with your first husband, though most people understand that he will always have a special place in your heart. It may be a good idea to share your fears with this new man in your life and hear his views on the matter. But you must first be prudent in thinking about how to introduce your fear to him, so that you do not hurt or insult him. When you’re ready to address the issue with him, remember to be sensitive and careful.

Whatever you decide to do, be brave and always remember that we do not run the world. Although it would surely be very difficult for you to endure the loss of another loved one, you must understand that you may not have to undergo that experience again. After all, Hashem has a plan for you. So if you are confident that you can build a bayis ne’eman b’Yisrael with this man, it may be worth the try. Hatzlachah!

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One Response to “The Challenge Of Remarrying”

  1. RABBI DR, BERNHARD ROSENBERG.

    KINGS AND QUEENS, PAWNS AND KNIGHTS: THE ‘GLATT GAME’.

    “THE SHIDDUCH CRISES”.

    The Jewish populace seems too busy confronting themselves to realize that there is a shidduch, the tragedy before them. All of us are engaged in the “I am Frumer (more religious) Than Thou Game.”.

    Yes, the chess game of the Jewish people does exist and it consists of numerous players including Kings, Queens, Pawns and Knights. Let us analyze these players. The Kings and Queens are found everywhere. They are better known as the “Better Than Thou” contingency representing, with nose held high, the so-called “ultra ultra”, whose main function in life is to supervise and interpret the motives of others.

    The J.A.P., a term which applies equally to both sexes, reigns supreme. A true J.A.P. is one whose true emotions and feelings of dedication and idealism are hidden under the heavy burden of appeasing self-righteous motives. Is it any wonder that some young Jewish singles seek elsewhere?

    AND YES, let us not forget the elite, the “Yechis (status) Seekers”. “Remember my son, you belong to a righteous family; avoid the Baal Tshuvah (a non-observant Jew who became religious), after all they may change their ways. Remember who you are and where you came from.”.

    And if these were not sufficient, the Kings and Queens engage themselves in the “I AM GLATTER THAN THOU PAGENTRY.’ This requires the ability to openly criticize others regarding their mode of dress, their eating patterns, recognized certified Kosher products are not acceptable, the fictitious Glatt pickle is preferred, and, of course, an open attach against religious leaders, their ammunition being the infamous non-existent 14th century Chumrah (strict legal view) entitles one to acquire membership in this select group. The only problem is that no one wants to be a follower and thus the leaders continue quoting profound statements found in the tractate “Buba Meisah (fairy tales).”.

    Now, the heroic Knight enters the arena. This individual, male or female, traditionally minded and filled with the love of Torah, wages an heroic campaign. The Knights are represented by clergy and lay leadership who open their hearts to Jewish young people communicating the love and harmony of the Torah. Numerous Rabbis are fighting on the front lines to create a vibrant Jewish community. Young people are engaged in Shabbatonim, retreats and seminars in an active attempt to spread Yiddishkeit; yet, too often, Jewish organizations seem more interested in the establishment of plush swimming pools than in financing such religious projects a community mikvah (ritual bath).

    THESE KNIGHTS, however are confronted by numerous foes. Rabbis are challenged by the Glatt contingent whose battle cry seems to be “The Mechitzah (separation between men and women in the synagogue sanctuary) is not high enough.” Some musmochim (rabbinical school graduates) forget that they are not the leaders of the congregation and consider Shabbat and Yom Tov a day to play “Challenge the Spiritual Leader.” Others are more compassionate; instead of aiding the Rabbi, they just lean back awaiting the opportunity to privately render their illustrious Psak Din (Legal decree). This is the prelude to the “Let’s create another Shtibbel (synagogue) game”, starring these above mentioned unassuming geniuses of Jewish Law.

    Forgetting the great “Tuna Fish and Bubble Gum Controversy” of yesteryear, let us turn to other significant and crucial issues. The agunah, divorce and conversion procedures, together with the existing problems of Mamzeres require our immediate attention. Yet, they too cannot escape the “I am glatter than thou game.” We are informed that a sanhedrin (universal Rabbinical Court) is needed in order to solve many of our numerous halachic difficulties. The only problem, of course, is that we cannot agree on membership to the Sanhedrin.

    Why is there a Shidduch crises? Perhaps it is because in the chess game of life, it is the PAWN who suffers the most.

    THE TORAH holds the answers to all our questions; however, human beings, with G-d’s help, are needed to overcome so called obstacles.

    If only we, the pursuers of Torah knowledge, would realize that the battle is immense and the time is short. Instead of playing the Glatt Game called “Frumer than Thou,” let us communicate love and knowledge , let us act in the image of G-d; only then will we be worthy to be called Frum Yidden who walk in the “Glatt path”. In the words of Rav Kook, “Just at the Second Temple was destroyed by acts of brotherly hatred, the third Temple will be built by acts of brotherly Love.”.

    >

    Subject: : "Dating in the Yeshiva World" OR ANY OTHER WORLD BY DR. ROSENBERG

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My heart is breaking; my husband’s friend has gotten divorced. While this type of situation is always sad, here I do believe it could have been avoided.

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Dear Anonymous:

Thank you for your amazing letter. I wish you hatzlachah in your new marriage, and may your letter bring more sensitivity to others regarding this issue.

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