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April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Dear True’

Chronicles of Crises In Our Communities – 10/30/09

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Readers, what would you have said or done?

Dear Rachel,

When my married daughter called to say that her family would be coming for Shabbos, I decided to indulge in taking Friday off from work. I could have managed regardless, but this way I would be less pressured and more relaxed when my “guests” showed up.

At midday I decided to run out to pick up a couple of extra items. As I walked the busy shopping district, I scanned the street vendors’ floral wares to see if any of their arrangements was particularly inviting. Most were just the unexciting usual bunches of carnations. But then I spotted a bouquet that had just the right combination of color and textures. It was as though it had been assembled for my selective taste, and there was just this one-of-a-kind among the many plain bunches. Happily, I paid the $10 cost and made my way to the city bus stop to catch my bus home.

As I walked through the moving bus in search of a seat, I realized to my chagrin that I had left the flowers at the stop where I had laid them down on the bench beside me. Deeply disappointed, I considered getting off at the next stop and going back to retrieve my pretty, hard-to-come-by bundle.

It took me no time to reach a decision. A man who had been walking behind me took a seat across from me, and in his lap he cradled none other than my beautiful Shabbos flowers, looking mighty pleased with himself at that.

I tried looking at the bright side: I was saved the trouble of taking the time to go back to find nothing.

No, I did not speak up to say what I was thinking, “Excuse me, sir, but the bunch of flowers you are holding is mine. You mind ?” This was a prefect stranger and I wasn’t about to create an uncomfortable scene. (Picture me, a petite woman, he big, broad, and leave-the-rest-to-your-imagination.)

As it happens, my daughter and family brought a beautiful arrangement of flowers that graced our Shabbos table.

How would you have handled the situation? Just wondering…

10 bucks short but played it safe

Dear Ten,

I’d give you a ten for your attitude and for the way you handled yourself. And I’ll bet that your daughter’s flowers were all the more appreciated.

Dear Rachel,

There is a woman I have been friends with for years. We both got married at approximately the same time, and both of us subsequently divorced, after discovering that we erred in our choice. (I’m writing this in brief, but – talking for myself – the serious issues I confronted made working things out impossible.)

A couple of years later, now older and wiser, I was introduced to my close friend’s ex and we hit it off right away. I called my friend to seek her advice. We had a lengthy schmooze and she was blunt and upfront with me: he hadn’t been for her but he might be right for me.

After some further inquiry and investigation, we got engaged. (My friend, too, met her second zivug and we are slated to be married just days apart from one another.)

My dilemma? My future husband is uneasy with my relationship and wants me to drop the friendship.

What do you think I should do?

True friendships are hard to come by

Dear True,

The only true friendship that should concern you at this time is the married kind, the one you will hopefully share for the rest of your life with your husband. His demand is reasonable under the circumstances. One can hardly blame him, and it may be healthier for all of you if you cooled it with your girlfriend. She will certainly understand and probably be more comfortable, as well.

Dear Rachel,

I work all week, and when it comes to Shabbos I am pooped. It’s all I can do to get through Friday nights before dropping from exhaustion. On Shabbos afternoons, I don’t go anywhere before I’ve had my nap.

As a divorcee with no family to wait on, the napping and sleeping should be easy for me. However, another single woman down the block keeps popping by for impromptu visits and lingers for hours on end. She is obviously in need of company, yet it is all I can do to keep my eyes open and give her the attention she longs for.

There have been times when I just didn’t answer the door, but then we would meet and she would ask me where I’d been, and I find it difficult to fib and make up stories. And then there’s the guilt

But, Rachel, I’ve heard it all before. She is mired in self-pity and just repeats her frustrations, almost getting me to feel sorry for myself. Aside from our single status, we don’t have much in common. When I tell her that I’m tired and want to catch up on some sleep, she berates me for not being outgoing and social enough.

How do I let this person know that I need my privacy and my rest – without hurting her feelings?

Not getting enough sleep

Dear Sleep,

There is no sense in fostering a relationship that leaves you uninspired, depressed and tired.

You’ve already told her you need your rest. Don’t answer the door, and if confronted at some later time, just say that you must have been sleeping when she came “a- knocking.”

Consider inviting her to share your Shabbos meal; it may serve to assuage your guilt. This way you can play hostess with a smile for the duration of dinner, and afterwards excuse yourself with, “Can’t keep my eyes open You’re welcome to stay on and let yourself out Just lock the door behind you.”

* * * * *

Readers’ opinions and contributions welcome… rachel@jewishpress.com or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 338 Third Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11215

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 02/20/09

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

Dear Thirty-Something,

Your letter (Chronicles 12-5-08) touched many hearts, though I suspect that most readers will not take the time to write to a column. I too admit to having had the urge to write this letter ever since I read yours, and yet it is now weeks later

Though your letter no doubt moved even readers who cannot per se identify with you, no one can feel with you more than one who has walked in your shoes and literally experienced your hardship. It is from such a vantage point that I write to share my personal feelings vis-à-vis your particular dilemma.

Like you, I missed no opportunity to obtain a rebbe’s brachah, to recite Shir HaShirim for 40 consecutive days endlessly, and to give generously to the cause of hachanassas kallah, etc., etc.

When I completed my year in seminary overseas, I came home with great expectations, fully confident that I would soon meet my basherte and settle down to live and love happily ever after.

Well, like they say, man proposes and G-d disposes – He sure had other plans for me. Baruch Hashem that I was blessed with a healthy sense of optimism and have always had the tendency of seeing my cup as half full rather than half empty. And yet, had anyone foretold that it would be another 11 years before I’d find my zivug, I’d have probably lost some of that cheerfulness and bemoaned the long wait. (I guess this is one reason we are not given the wherewithal to see what lies ahead…)

Like you, I made the best of my single years. Thankfully I had no pressure from my parents (from whom I must have inherited my optimistic gene) – we all had no doubt that when the time was right “he” would show. And so none of us ever lost any sleep over the “delay.”

Meanwhile, with the passing years, I grew, matured and primed myself for the future by observing other young couples and their struggles. And with time, I altered my outlook.

By now you may be wondering how all this relates to your dilemma of having met a wonderful, amiable man who is not on the same level as you in Yiddishkeit. You express your fear of aging – not in an aesthetic way but as a valid concern of leaving your fertile years behind. I quote you: “What happens if we wait to the point where we are not capable of having children? I am not going to take that chance.”

I recall another part of your letter, where you say, “I have cultivated myself to be a consciously religious, G-d fearing and loving woman….”

I feel with you. When I first started out, it was with a dogged determination to marry a “learning boy.” And there were plenty out there ready to commit – none, though, to whom I felt even the slightest connection. It was somewhat frustrating, I will grant, but gradually, like I said before, I altered my outlook. (New perspectives develop with time; for instance, what may present itself as desirable and feasible at 19 or 20 can be viewed as totally impractical at a later age.)

Progressively, I widened my horizons to the point of deciding that my zivug might emerge from where I may least expect him to, and so I listened to all suggestions made by friends, acquaintances, relatives or matchmakers. One never knows… I would tell myself. However, character and religion were essential components that I was not going to compromise on – he still had to be a ba’al middos and sincerely frum.

When the call came with the real thing (unbeknownst to me at the time), I almost turned it down because it didn’t “sound” viable. But I reminded myself of my resolve and yielded to the shadchan’s pleas. And, like they say, when you least expect it….

My advice to you, dear friend, is to widen your horizons – without compromising your religious convictions. If you had Modern Orthodox in mind, consider dating someone more to the right. If you’re set on Sefard, take a chance on Ashkenaz. If black hat’s your thing, think kippah serugah, or vice-versa. It’s what’s inside that counts, and religion is very much a part of a person’s “inside.” Regardless of well-meaning advice that may be coming your way, not adhering to Hashem’s commandments is a weakness, a failing and a lack of spiritual backbone. Our religion is the mainstay of our lives.

Remember your own words: “I have cultivated myself to be a consciously religious, G-d fearing and loving woman….”

Be true to yourself…

Dear True,

There is not much to add to your sensible, meaningful and powerful message, which will hopefully register with the many who find themselves at the same crossroads, whether in their 20s, 30s, or 40s.

A maggid once made the following observation regarding one of the blessings recited under the chupa – …k’samechacha yetzircha b’Gan Eden mikedem – Let the loving couple be very happy, just as You made Your creation happy in the Garden of Eden, so long ago:

Almost every chassan and kallah have had other shidduchim proposed before the real one came along. If they are captivated by one another, they quickly forget all their past experiences. But if their attraction to one another leaves something to be desired, they may be prone to regret having missed out on a previously suggested shidduch.

Adam and Chava – having no precedent, no past, no previous anything – were thrilled with each other’s zivug. Therefore the new husband and wife are wished happiness, just like Adam and Chava’s – who had no prior shidduch history except for their significant other!

May all singles presently in search of their mates soon find that special kind of happiness and bonding that will render their past dating experiences but a fleeting memory of bygone days.

Thank you for caring enough to take the time to share.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/chronicles-of-crises/chronicles-of-crises-in-our-communities-142/2009/02/18/

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