In last week’s column, a reader signed “Hope you understand me ” laments the lack of ahavas Yisrael and expresses disgruntlement with the yeshiva system that indiscriminately rejects children who don’t measure up to its standard of the “acceptable” student.
Due to this column’s space limitation and Yom Tov deadlines, our response was relatively brief, considering the magnitude of the problem the letter addresses. Many readers no doubt identify with the author of the letter, and we welcome feedback from those who have experienced similar dilemmas.
On a positive note: Back in May, this column featured a letter from “Money talks” – written by a distraught woman whose husband had lost his livelihood and was subsequently subjected to scathing criticism and humiliation by their son’s Rosh Yeshiva over an objectionable incident involving one of the yeshiva’s benefactors.
This column is gratified to update readers regarding that particular situation. The well-known educator who had caused this family so much emotional anguish initiated a sit-down with the man whom he had derided.
At the end of a civilized heart-to-heart, the Rosh Yeshiva humbled himself by declaring, “I may have the beard, wear the hat and carry the title, but that doesn’t mean I don’t make mistakes.” He then expressed his regrets and sincerely apologized. Kol Hakavod!
At this propitious time of year, we take a cue from this individual and ask the reader’s pardon for any slights that may have made it into this column via letters and especially our responses.
Yes, we are aware that as you read this, the days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur have passed us by, and we are in the process of readying ourselves for the beautiful and uplifting holiday of Sukkos. But on Hoshana Rabba, the seventh day of Sukkos, we are afforded another chance to clear the air and to ask for pardon for our wrongdoings – whether deliberate or inadvertent.
Some readers have bashed us for being too harsh; others have admonished us for not being harsh enough. Either way, please forgive us for when the column may not have met your expectations.
To those who occasionally write asking us to take a hard line when it comes to halachic guidelines, we reiterate that we leave that up to the rabbinic authorities. The role of this column is to lend an ear and shoulder and to guide the lost or broken soul along a healing path, to act as a forum for healthy debate and to bring to the fore delicate issues that need to be dealt with rather than ignored.
Our message would be incomplete if we failed to convey our gratitude to the readers who patiently take the time to communicate their thoughts and opinions to this column; whether we see eye-to-eye is irrelevant – we welcome your views, divergent or not. They foster healthy debate and serve to educate those we do not hear from but who pay close attention all the same.
We look forward to a better year and fervently pray that Hashem grant us all good health, good children, good sense and peace in our lifetime. May real achdus and ahavas Yisrael reign supreme in our midst and bring the reign of Moshiach in our day!
I wonder if you might have any suggestions for me. I am a middle-aged single, never-married well-educated, professional, observant woman on my own. Unfortunately, this past year I had aggressive lymphoma, a cancer that is highly curable and seems to now be in remission. I shall still be continuing with chemotherapy treatments for a little while, but am much better and have a superb prognosis. I am completely self-sufficient, walk every day, am completely independent and take care of myself. No one would ever suspect that I had cancer recently.
In the past I had lived alone and worked for many years at prestigious organizations. However, at this time I would really like to live with a family for 6-8 months. This whole year I had been staying with wonderful friends and their family, but at this time they unfortunately no longer have room as their oldest daughter has come home.
I would much prefer to rent a room with a kind, warm family, ideally with children – rather than board with another single lady. Brooklyn, if possible, would be my choice location. I would describe myself as very responsible, quiet, mature, neat, pleasant and easy to get along with.
My hope is to get back to work in six months or so, but in the meantime I am certainly able to pay a moderate rent on time every month. It would really cheer me up to be with a family and to not be alone at this time.
I speak English and Ivrit, am out of the house most days and am often away for Shabbos, although I would like to be able to spend the occasional Shabbos with the family.
You are welcome to publish this letter. If you have any ideas or suggestions, please do let me know.
Hopeful about things to come
Hopefully, with the help of Hashem, someone reading this will be moved to make you an offer that will sweeten your life and give you the physical and emotional boost that will accelerate your healing.
Wishing you a speedy and complete refuah shelaima. May we all merit to be sealed in the book of life!
* * * * *
We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories via email to email@example.com or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 338 Third Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11215. If you wish to make a contribution and help agunot, your tax-deductible donation should be sent to The Jewish Press Foundation. Please make sure to specify that it is to help agunot, as the foundation supports many worthwhile causes.Rachel