Dear Dr. Yael:
I was quite impressed with your February 14 column, “The Frustrating Search For A Shidduch.” Here is my story.
I was your client about 25 years ago. I was a 26-year-old frum woman who was getting rejected after every date. We talked about my amazing parents, who had a great marriage. I was seemingly confident with many friends and a good career.
You couldn’t find any psychological reason for these rejections, which were definitely beginning to destroy my self-confidence. Then, after two sessions, you told me something that you acknowledged was hard for you to say: I had a great figure and dressed well, but the only thing wrong with me was that I had a very long nose with a huge bump. You asked me if I would consider plastic surgery, and said that you would first have to speak to my rav.
I was appalled, thinking that someone young and very pretty with a great nose had the chutzpah to tell me – who came for therapy in order to deal with the pain of all my rejections – that you wanted to speak to my rav about the possibility of my getting a nose job. I left crying, thinking I would never see you again. My problem, though, was that I really liked you. I had gone to other therapists, and found that you really seemed to care.
I thought this was a crazy solution to my dilemma, and knew that my rav would agree with me since plastic surgery was against halacha. I didn’t tell my parents, since I was able to afford the therapy sessions and surgery (if I chose that route) on my own. I did, however, tell my rav about what had transpired and that you wished to speak to him. My very caring rav, impressed with your reputation for helping singles get married and helping others save their marriages, told me that he wanted to speak to you directly. For my part, I told him that I never wanted to go back to you even though you seemed very caring, uplifting, and smart. After all, I thought that having a nose job was a crazy idea.
After my rav called you and despite having no more scheduled appointments with you, I returned to your office to sign a release form. While there, I explained that my intention all along was to seek your advice on how to best deal with constant rejection, not to be told to have plastic surgery. You asked me to consider focusing on getting rid of my feelings of rejection and concentrating on finding an amazing chassan. I simply nodded, and signed the form.
Following our conversation, my rav asked to meet with me and my parents. He told us that after speaking with you for a while and following a consultation with his rav, he agreed with you and gave me a p’sak to have the surgery performed by the best surgeon available. He instructed me to again receive therapy from you until I found my chassan.
My parents, having been guided by this chashuvah rav throughout their life, insisted I follow his advice. Within a month I had the surgery and returned to you for therapy. A few months later I married an amazing man who, to this day, is my true lifelong zivug. (I sometimes ask my husband if he would have gone out with me a second time had I not had a nose job. To be honest, he says, he would not have.) I have a very large mishpachah and so much nachas.
Dr. Yael, you saved my life! After the nose job the phone did not stop ringing; after all, I dressed very well, and came from a well to do home with a good reputation.
My mother, after checking out and rejecting many shidduch suggestions, realized that you were right to suggest that I get a nose job. She chastised herself for not doing this for me when I was younger. And my rav said that this was the right thing for me to do, and even his rav – a gadol hador – paskened that your advice was sound.
My husband has a great nose, but two of my daughters were born with my original nose. So, after consulting with da’as Torah, they both had plastic surgery when they turned 16. Now they will never have to experience years of rejection in shidduchim, and their self-esteem will be so much better than mine since, deep down, I still do not feel as beautiful as people say I am.
Here’s my advice to others: if you are single and overweight, you must lose weight and dress as nicely as possible. And all the while, work on your spiritual and psychological issues.
This advice is meant for men and women alike, although I think a bad nose in a man is not as important as in a woman. This is so as long as he is slim, well dressed, clean, and works on all the important issues in his frum life.
Thank you again for all of your help. May Hashem give you the koach to continue all of your amazing work. Hatzlachah!
A truly indebted Old Client
Dear Truly Indebted Old Client:
Thank you for your amazing letter, which truly touched my heart. And to make you feel better, I have helped many now happily married girls get nose jobs with the consent of their rabbanim. May you have much hatzlachah!Dr. Yael Respler
About the Author: Dr. Yael Respler is a psychotherapist in private practice who provides marital, dating and family counseling. Dr. Respler also deals with problems relating to marital intimacy. Letters may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. To schedule an appointment, please call 917-751-4887. Dr. Orit Respler-Herman, a child psychologist, co-authors this column and is now in private practice providing complete pychological evaluations as well as child and adolescent therapy. She can be reached at 917-679-1612. Previous columns can be viewed at www.jewishpress.com and archives of Dr. Respler’s radio shows can be found at www.dryaelrespler.com.
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