We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories by e-mail to email@example.com or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 338 Third Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11215.
To all women, men or children who feel that they are at the end of their ropes, please consider joining a support group, or forming one.
Anyone wishing to make a contribution to help agunot, please send your tax deductible contribution to The Jewish Press Foundation.
Checks must be clearly specified to help agunot. Please make sure to include that information if that is the purpose of your contribution, because this is just one of the many worthwhile causes helped by this foundation.
* * * * * * * * * *
A Reader’s Heartfelt Plea To ‘Esther’ (Chronicles 5-16)
I was and still am shaken to the core, as your words are most searing and painful to read. The hell that you have and continue to go through every waking moment is beyond anything that I or anyone else can comprehend. Indeed, there is not much advice that we can offer you, because this is territory that we have never treaded. Besides, you don’t need advice right now. What you need to know is that the fact that you have been hurting for 23 years, are hurting now and have had the courage to speak openly about this says that you still have a soul that is very sensitive.
“Aaron” must have seen something in you that you yourself may have yet to realize. But you have it in you, and this letter may just be the catalyst that you need. Although my advice is paltry in comparison with the issue raised, I would be neglecting my inner self if I did not at least make a small suggestion. If you truly believe in the power of love and redemption, then you must know that there may be something you can indeed do for “Aaron” and yourself.
It may give you some consolation to know that you can dedicate the rest of your life to making sure that other 20-year olds who are immature, materialistic, and “into themselves” do not make the same mistake you have made.
While you may not consider yourself to be a speaker or writer, your words are heartfelt and “devarim ha’yotzim min ha’lev nichnasim el ha’lev” (words that emanate from the heart enter wholly into another’s heart). There are organizations and even seminaries where your story can be told. You can wake up the misguided youngsters who are about to take the path you did so many years ago.
Instead of waiting to die in oblivion, you can do this for “Aaron” and at the same time validate your own life’s worthiness. If you have been reading this column of late, then you know that this issue of letting loved ones go is out there and can be very destructive if not dealt with properly.
Think about it. If you can save even one girl or boy from making the same mistake you made, you will have saved someone’s life. True, you can never bring back “Aaron” but you can prevent other Aarons and Esthers from making that fatal move. And if you do this, your life will take on some semblance of purpose and meaning, and most of all you will be connecting with “Aaron” in a way that you never allowed yourself to while he was alive − because all this will have resulted from “Aaron.” I know it is a small consolation, but at least then you will be able to greet “Aaron” after 120 and tell him that you spent the rest of your life helping others not to push away their bashert, all because of the beauty you saw in “Aaron” (albeit after his death).
You can still love a person who is no longer here, and you can dedicate your very purpose and essence to the love of G-d and this beautiful soul that He created. Redemption can sometimes take a lifetime, but you have what it takes and can dedicate yourself in the name of the one you let go. In this way, if you get just one person to realize the gravity of his or her situation, you will have vicariously “saved” a relationship from self-destructing. Then your love for “Aaron” will not die, as it will be alive in the relationships that you have helped to bring together and mend.
For the rest of your life, when you go to sleep each night (even after you may learn to love again and remarry), you will sense Aaron’s approval as he looks down on you together with Hashem, and you will feel an inner peace. There are too many young people who have not started dating or have not yet made the wrong decisions, and you can still help them and yourself in the process. You may never fully heal your wound, but you can dull its piercing sharpness.
Please let me know if I can be of any assistance. If you would like to contact my organization which is dedicated to helping people get mechillah and communicate within relationships, I will be happy to share some ideas with you and maybe see if we can get you to start assisting others so that they avoid the pain and heartbreak of this fatal mistake.
Most of all, know that while you breathe and still have a beating heart, you can make things right – at least on some level. Please feel free to contact me.
Jacob Hirsch Esq.
Shalom Mediation Center
917 257 0610
Dear Mr. Hirsch,
Your empathy, insight and kindness are a winning combination that should be of tremendous value both to your organization and in your personal life. May you find success at every turn in your lofty venture and reach great heights in your aspirations.
My fervent hope is that Esther will grasp the hand that you hereby extend so generously and that she will allow herself to face a new day with new hope in her heart for some self-fulfillment and happiness.
May the Almighty’s Hand guide you both.Rachel