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The Lament Of The Unborn Children

I wrote a version of the poem below many years ago, before the term “shidduch crisis” came into vogue. Even then, there were many unmarried men and women in the community who were getting older, with no relief from their unwanted single status.

 

What motivated me to present the poem again was a rather loud conversation I overheard while having breakfast at a popular eatery. A woman who apparently had just married off her last child told her friend how thrilled she was that she was no longer in the “shidduch parsha.”

 

I found myself hoping that what she meant was that she no longer was “entrenched” in the parsha now, but would still be associated with it. I think that everyone who is not a hermit and living isolated in a cave should be actively involved in networking on behalf of the singles in their communities, and helping someone else’s child get under a chuppah. No one should feel that they can “retire” from fulfilling the mitzvah of creating batim ne’emanim b’Yisrael.


 


The Lament Of The Unborn Children


 


We are the souls of the children who were never born,


The would-have-been-offspring of the lonely and forlorn,


We never came into being, our chance at life denied,


Never becoming a kaddish, or a community’s source of pride.


 


Our never-married potential parents, on the outside looking in,


Wished mazel tovs to others – but silently wept within.


 “May it be my turn soon,” each would daily pray,


But in vain did they wait for that magical day.


 


As the years accumulated, so did our “parents’ ” distress,


Wondering in the darkness if they would ever find happiness.


Dealing daily with despair, they continued with their lives,


Yet fearing in their hearts that they would remain deprived.


 


If only those who knew them had gotten more involved,


So many wrenching worries could have been resolved,


With a bit more effort, so much depression would have dissolved,


For it is around the family that Yiddishkeit revolves.


 


They allowed themselves to hope that they would get relief,


They looked to their community with optimistic belief,


That someone would say something, someone would have a thought,


Fortified by interest, whether a suggestion worked or not.


 


You knew they were among you, singles wanting to meet,


They hoped that your input would rescue them from defeat.


But many of you gave up early, many never tried at all,


So apathetic to their plight, you never bothered to call.


 


These unfulfilled non-marrieds continued living on their own,


Never finding one another, they spent their lives alone.


So close, yet so far, their paths never crossed,


For them and for all of us – an immeasurable loss.


 


And we, the non-born children of unions that could have been,


We remain nameless, our faces never seen.


Not having a beginning, we are no one’s continuation,


A timeless chain interrupted, missing links of our nation.


 


As the offspring of men and women, warm, talented and bright,


To our parents and Am Yisrael, we would have been a light.


We had so much potential, we had so much to give,


But we are just wishful dreams, never given a chance to live.


 


We are the generations that never came to be,


We will never make a difference in our people’s destiny.


We will never learn Torah, nor have children of our own,


We were the seeds that should have blossomed,


But were never sown.

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