We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories by e-mail to [email protected] 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.
* * * * * * * * * *
The grandmother who wrote to you regarding her regret at having forfeited her young love (ForEver Mine, Chronicles 6-1) is missing some crucial points and is causing herself much unnecessary pain.
If her young suitor, who professed his undying love for her, was really sincere about his feelings, he would have waited the year or two it would have taken her to feel ready for marriage. But he didn’t. Also, if he were really sincere about his feelings for her, when she wrote to him repeatedly he would have jumped at the chance to renew their relationship. But he didn’t. Her letters were returned unopened! He did not like being rebuffed. His love for her was clearly narcissistic; he loved being loved and adored, and if he wasn’t getting it from her, he had no more use for her. I am sure that he found greener pastures elsewhere and forgot her forthwith.
Since she has not had any contact with him from the time she was so young and naive, she has created in her mind a perfect man, someone who never existed, except in the fantasy which she created. Had she met him again when she was more mature, she likely would have been more discerning in her judgment of him.
She has been flagellating herself all these years for nothing. Everything that is causing her so much pain for so many years is a figment of a very creative imagination and has no bearing on reality.
He won’t be there to cry over her grave; he has, in all likelihood, forgotten that she ever existed.
This woman is so fortunate in having made the right choice all those many years ago. She is B”H in a very loving marriage and has a beautiful family. She should thank HaKadosh Baruch Hu every day of her life for having guided her on the right path and for having given her the wisdom to recognize that she was not ready for the relationship that she was offered at that time, and to reject it. Something much better for her was waiting in the wings, and she should be grateful for the special Siyata D’Shmaya that led her to make the right choice and find herself in a solid, happy marriage.
Reality needn’t be harsh
While you echo my own sentiments in my original response to ForEver Mine (see Chronicles 6-8), your no-nonsense approach gets straight to the heart of the matter. Sometimes a forthright message reaches its mark more effectively than one that is laced with sympathetic overtones.
Last week this column highlighted the responses from readers who empathized with the heartsick grandma, all who spoke of being virtually in the same boat. You are a welcome voice of reason in a whirlpool of emotion.
As we recite each day in Krias Shema, “Lo sasuru acharei levavchem” – Do not stray by following your hearts
We as humans are a susceptible lot – Heaven help us and guide us, as we navigate our way through the turbulent sea of life.
One way to overcome the “turbulence” encountered in the area of shidduchim is highlighted in a story about R. Chaim of Volozhin, who was bent on acquiring a certain bachur as a son-in-law. Hillel, the illustrious son of a R. Simcha, was a “prize catch” in every respect. However, the young man rejected the shidduch, and to R. Chaim’s consternation, no amount of pressure from the shadchanim could impel R. Hillel to change his mind.
One day, R. Chaim’s Rebbetzin encountered R. Simcha’s Rebbetzin, and the two wives discussed how to go about effectuating a union between their children. At that time, R. Chaim Volozhin was in the company of a friend when he suddenly lit up and declared that he gets a Mazel Tov – R. Hillel had just become his chassan. Asked whether this was revealed to him via Ruach HaKodesh (Divine Inspiration), R. Chaim answered simply that he knew it to be so.
He further elucidated that our Sages advise us to relinquish our will to the Will of Hashem, and He in turn will make another’s will yield to ours. “As much as I hankered after this shidduch, I decided to subdue this longing from within my heart and mind, and to subjugate my will to that of the Almighty’s. As soon as I succeeded in vanquishing my yearning in its entirety, Hashem deferred another’s will to mine.”
At the same time that R. Chaim had pronounced the good news, the two mothers who had set out on their joint venture received word from R. Hillel about his change of heart, and true to R. Chaim’s intuit, the shidduch was forthwith concluded.
The moral of this story is applicable to all who drive themselves crazy wanting this, that or the other. Hashem has from long ago paired the right zivugim – the less we push and the more we rely on Him to get us to where we are supposed to be, the easier and more pain-free it is to arrive at our destined place. Though it may seem to us that we are in charge, we are in point of fact very far from it.
Thank you for taking the time to write and express your views.