Dear Mrs. Bluth,
I am writing to you as I am tired of people telling me that me that I am too picky or choosey when it comes to shidduchim. They tell me that I am fixated on the same things a person much younger than me could be fixated on, but at my age, it’s wrong.
Yet, I am none of these things. I am a man who is both blessed and cursed to have been born a kohein, which limits me to only two types of women to choose from for a wife.
At this writing, I am 48 and have accepted that I will probably not marry or gather children of my own. When I started dating at age twenty, there were many girls for me to consider, however, the two I had the misfortune to fall for were both divorced. One had never been intimate with her husband and had actually had her marriage annulled and the other had been married for only two weeks – neither thought this was something they had to inform the shadchan of.
After many frustrating years, I have become frustrated.
But, what about the widow, you ask? Isn’t she a consideration? Mrs. Bluth, why should I have to settle for someone who will always be comparing me to the husband she lost, or come with children who are not my own?
There are so many men like myself who have been mislead and let down by these restrictions, so many of us who are doomed to die lonely and unfulfilled because we are kohanim. Today, when so many rabbanim look for ways to free chained women, is it not possible to find some way to free us from this life of silence and loneliness? I know of a good number of kohanim who went through medical school where they had to practice on cadavers, something forbidden to a kohein. They found rabbanim who were able to give them a heter. Why can’t a heter be found for me?
Is there a rav who can provide a pathway of hope in which a woman who has been married for a few days or who has an annulment can be permitted to me? I hope you will publish my letter so that there may be a chance for me and some of the men I know a chance to marry and have children.
I feel your frustration and your misery, truly I do. I agree with you that being a kohein is both a privileged honor acquired through birth and, as in your case, an inhibitor to a productive marital life. It also comes with a strict and unyielding set of laws for what is permitted to you and what is denied. Thus, your complaint is sorely misdirected. It is not the rabbanim who are at fault for your plight, nor is it that shadchanim who are not always given the full picture. The fault lies squarely on the shoulders of the ladies who withhold this information, whether intentionally or out of ignorance. I implore those of you who are dating to always be honest with a shadchan and save the men from falling into situations that are not for them.
You want a rav who will give you a heter? I am sure it is possible to find someone who will do so for the right amount of money. As in all factions of life, if one searches low enough, one can dig up a charlatan who will permit one to do or have whatever one wants, but is that really what YOU want?
I think not. What I think is that you probably over thought your options in the past and you might not have pursued some women who might have been good matches for you. Put away your list of requirements that you have been holding onto for years. I am sure there is a lovely woman waiting for you to stop mopping and seek her out.
As in all things by which we live, the Torah is very definitive and clear on what we may and may not do. In your case, that means being pure and unblemished, so that when the geulah arrives you will be ready to serve.
For now, go out and find your bashert and stop wasting another second of your life on what you can’t change.