A Moment of Lucidity

He sits near the hospital bed, aching.

Waiting, watching, and hoping.

It’s been so long since the accident, but he refuses to leave the boy’s side.

“No change,” they always say. “The longer he is like this, the less likely it is that he will emerge from this state.”

They tell him to go home. Change his clothes. Find a hobby. Move on.

But he stays.

His only son smiles – even laughs occasionally – his eyes unfocused and unseeing, but his brain, it’s even further away.

It’s the boy’s obliviousness which hurts him the most. How is he so gleeful, so out-of-it, so unaware of the gravity of the situation?

This child was his tomorrow, his whole world, his reason for existence.

How he wishes he could just gently shake the boy awake, as he used to, so many moons before.

It’s like there is this empty shell, just sitting there foolishly grinning at nothing all day long.

Where is he really? Where is his son, this child he lives for? Is he in pain, does he feel trapped? Is his spirit peacefully floating among the mountaintops somewhere? Does he long to be held, does he hear his father’s voice, does he appreciate the warmth of his father’s constant presence? Or is he gone forever?

There are no answers, yet he stays.

Because every once in a while, there is a hint, a glimpse, of understanding. The boy will look confused, scared even, and briefly meet his father’s worried eyes. Sometimes a tear will even fall. And then it’s back to oblivion.

But those moments, they make his father go on. Because this means there might be something left inside, something real, something alive. A spark that might, just might ignite the pile of ashes and form a bright light once again.

So our Father just keeps on waiting.

This Tisha B’av, let’s give Him a moment of lucidity. Let’s forget about all the nothingness we busy ourselves with day after day after day. Let’s focus on what is really important, on what we lost, and what we should long to have once again.

We owe it to Him, as the child He waits for and watches, the one He lives for.

And maybe, just maybe, we can make it last longer than a day. Maybe this will be the beginning of The End.

Finally.

(This post was partially based on a mashal that I heard from someone, somewhere, once upon a time. If anyone has a source for a similar parable about Am Yisrael being compared to a sick child, please let me know, and I will credit them properly. Also, please excuse the poor editing – I was in a rush to get this up before Tisha B’Av.)


And I Don’t Even Wear Black!

Everyone knows that married people are boring.

For some inexplicable reason, the minute the sheva brachos are over, an individual’s perceived personal intrigue level takes a nosedive.

And I’m OK with that.

Who wants to hear about diapers and Shalom Bayis, anyway?

As you may well know, there are quite a few shidduch related blogs out there.

Many of them are insightful, some are humorous, and most are pretty interesting.

I have learned a lot about the do’s and don’ts of matchmaking, and I like to think I learned a lot about the sensitivity, professionalism, and tact that matchmaking requires.

I have just one honest question.

Why is the shadchan the enemy?

Yes, I said enemy.

You know, the woman we don’t want to see, the one with the creepy stare and malicious intent.

The one who thinks she knows us when she really doesn’t, the one who makes our lives miserable, the one who makes us dress up when we want to dress down, the one who makes us conform when we want to fly free, the one who is deceptive, and judgmental, and greedy.

Even I am horrified to read about Her – let alone meet her! – the Woman in Black.

Until I realized that she might be me. I might be her. (I sure hope she is always middle-aged. I need some time to figure this out!)

Is she, perhaps, a metaphor for all that is wrong with society? Does she represent an idea?

Or is it the fact that her existence makes us all feel vulnerable? You know, singles, parents of singles, parents of potential singles – we’re all victims…

(You’d better toilet train him already! What if the shadchanim find out? He absolutely cannot take Ritalin! What if the shadchanim find out?)

Oh, the things she might find out. The way she always judges. The unsolicited advice. Who does she think she is anyway?

She’s the devil, you know.

Why?

I don’t know. She just is.

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So I’m asking – why DO we hate her so much?

She’s concerned, she’s sharp, she’s thinking of others and actually doing something about it!

There are good ones and bad ones everywhere – doctors, rabbanim, social workers, eitzah gebbers, chessed volunteers – in any field, at any location, and in any society.

How is she different from any other person who is in a helping profession?


Shidduch Blues

You know how they (oh, and in this case, “they” does not include our resident expert) always say that there are more good girls than good boys?

For the first time, I’m starting to believe them.

Lately, there have been a slew of engagements where I knew both the guy and the girl pretty well before they met.

I never would have even thought of setting any of these people up – in my mind they just don’t seem compatible.

And in majority of these cases, I really feel like the guys are getting the better end of the deal.

Case in point:

My sister’s close friend recently married a guy who has spent quite a few Shabbasos in our home. The girl is, according to the “system,” a top-notch girl. She went to all the right schools and is getting all the right degrees, and her family is doing all the right things. (Most of this is being said tongue-in-cheek, BTW.) The guy is nice enough, but shall we say, somewhat less committed to the ideals that she is killing herself for. I know for a fact that her mother is quite obsessed with the whole “shidduch crisis,” and I was not surprised to hear that this was her first guy, and that they met just a couple of months post-seminary.

It’s my lifetime’s work to try not to be cynical, but lately I’ve been really disenchanted with the whole shidduch scene.

Another case:

My husband and I have been debating setting my sister up with a guy we know pretty well, probably too well, and we just can’t decide what to do. All subjectivity aside – my sister is an incredibly fantastic person, f’real people. She is beautiful, smart, put together, sincere, educated, warm, responsible, and kind. And I’m not just saying this because she is my sister – it happens that anyone who meets her agrees with these impressions. This is a girl who will be caught quietly doing the most undesirable kinds of chassadim – the kind where the recipients are ungrateful, demanding, and hard to deal with, and there’s no plaque or honorable mention for her at the end of all of it – my own mother doesn’t even know about most of it. This is a girl who befriends every wallflower, and has everyone thinking these are her true best friends. This is a girl who spends literally hours tutoring high-school kids for no pay, when she is qualified enough to charge a LOT of money for these sessions. I am still working my way up to where she is now. Honestly – I have never really met anyone quite like her before, except maybe my own parents, who have had many more years of practice.

The guy we have in mind is very kind, very sincere, very smart, and very likeable…but somehow he also seems confused, a bit immature, and somewhat insecure. It’s not his fault that my husband is somewhat of a mentor to him, but we are still privy to his struggles. It seems as if he is still “finding himself.”

Somehow, I feel like my sister deserves better.

On the other hand, this guy has tremendous potential, and maybe he’ll settle down with marriage, and they might be really good for each other.

And they both really want to be married.

In general – and I’ve always wondered about this – how much achrayus do you think a shadchan should personally take over a shidduch?

I’m not talking about a more chilled out version of shidduchim, where the couple doesn’t mind being casually set up with random ideas. I’m talking about a situation where both sides will trust our opinion and this couple may very well end up married.

Am I being too bigheaded here?

Can’t I just say that if it works out, Hashem meant it to be this way?

Should I just say that if they’re old enough to date for marriage, they’re old enough to decide who to marry?

Can I say that I am just the shaliach, and any future issues they may have together are basherte for them?

And is the point of the shidduch system to marry people off, or to marry them off well?


Why I Love My Rabbi

Seriously, the man is a giant.

I just called our Rav, a man who is very much considered a right-wing gadol across-the-board today, to ask him some work related questions.

I work in a medically related field, and I had a couple of halachic questions to ask.

Some of these questions involved issurim mi’deoraisa – things that the Yeshivish world that I am (usually) part of consider yehareg ve’al yaavor – things that everyone I know is super-duper machmir on.

Because I work mostly in the therapies (like any nice Jewish girl), and some of the things I was inquiring about were not medically necessary, I was sure that he would say to avoid whatever I can.

Boy, was I wrong.

The only thing he did jokingly warn me about was the fact that my frum colleagues might look at me funny.

I’m all for following the rules – both to the letter of the law, and in the spirit of it – but why is it that so many choose to be frummer than halacha?