Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

22 Av 5766 - August 16, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family

by Rebbetzin Naomi Travis

(Based on a true story)

Libby was one of those girls who had everything going for her. Her family was respected and well established. Her siblings had made excellent shidduchim. She was known to be a fine teacher. She had presence, attractive features, and a charming personality. Her character traits were refined and she had, above all, a good reputation. [And even some respectable savings in the bank.] No one was more surprised then she was when time passed by and she was still single.

She didn't allow her feelings to show. So at least on the outside, Libby kept smiling, still looking like happy, successful Libby. But deep down she was in pain. She cried out her heart to Hashem.

Finally, after six long years of shidduchim, a wonderful offer came along that eventually changed her life. The shadchan, her own aunt, didn't spare adjectives to describe Dov. Her uncle's student, he was everything Libby ever dreamed of, the aunt assertively expressed.

She was not short of praises. But this time, the phone calls seemed to confirm the superlatives used. The more she heard, the more interested she was in the offer. She felt privileged to have been suggested such a gem of a boy.

Following very positive inquiries, she went out with Dov. She was so tired of all the years of disappointments that this time she decided to push herself to ignore any second thoughts that might ruin her future, especially in case "he was the one" . . .

The meetings were not disappointing. She enjoyed his company and noticed admirable qualities. After all, Dov really had a reputation and a charismatic presence. He seemed to be a serious ben Torah. She was thrilled when things progressed, elated to get engaged.

Libby's parents were very taken not only with the chosson, but with his family as well. They had a lot in common and got along well. They were particularly impressed with the mechutonim's sincerity. They seemed to be very straight, genuine people.

The engagement was unforgettable. After all those years of search -- she had finally found her other half. Libby's eyes were shining and the joy was contagious. Her parents couldn't stop smiling. They were just perfect for each other!

The wedding and sheva brachos were even more blissful. Everything worked out as planned. The simcha of the year. An outstanding wedding for an outstanding couple . . .

She was in the clouds, couldn't believe it was not a dream. Everything seemed so wonderful.

Eventually she settled in her routine and so did Dov. She was back to teaching her class with the excited young girls, while he was learning in kollel. But months after the glass was broken, so, eventually, was her peaceful serenity and joy shattered . . .

Once, while sweeping under the couch, she noticed a small box. She almost automatically threw it in the garbage, but a last minute reflex made her pick it up and examine it. Libby had never seen those pills before and assumed they must be Dov's. When asked about it, he dismissed Libby with an embarrassed smile and artificial gestures: "Nothing really. Just for colds."


"Yes and no."

Libby couldn't help but wonder why he suddenly looked so nervous and unsettled, stuttering:

"So-so-so what? What do you want?"

"You sound so defensive. Why?"

"Well, you know . . . What difference does it make? What do you want from me? Can't I even have some cold medicine around without you getting all worried???" Dov then slammed the door angrily and walked out of the house.

Libby didn't really want to doubt her partner in life, but something about his tone of voice and concerned expression made her suspect that the pills were not plain old aspirin . . . So she opened the box and . . . She was shocked at what she read. Maybe it was just a nightmare and she would soon wake up and it was only a dream?

No, there was no escape from reality. Libby felt dizzy and nauseated. She held onto the table for balance and struggled to keep the tears away. They burst anyway into sobs. A million questions zoomed through her mind: "What is this all about? Is the diagnosis really that serious? How does it affect his life? How will it affect my future? How come I never noticed or suspected anything?"

Suddenly she remembered the few times when slight aspects of his behavior had caught her attention. But she had rejected such impressions because they didn't make sense . . . Everything overall seemed OK . . . Really, she even got angry with herself for when those "silly" questions had popped into her head. No, as a kallah, she had pushed away any judgments that could possibly interfere with the grand happiness.

And today, when she found the medicine and confronted him, he dared lie to her face! "What do I do now? Ask him again? What excuse will he make up this time? Will he lie that the drug is really for allergies and the company that produced it mistakenly labeled as something else? Can I willingly possibly find a way to come to terms with this?

"My imagination is running wild; I can picture so many agonizing scenarios. I can't believe no one told me . . . Why??? So that he could get married? But what about me? Didn't that matter? Could it really be that no one knew about the condition?

"How far can people go to bury secrets? Shouldn't I have been given the right to know what kind of a relationship I was getting into? What about my husband? How can I trust this person again if such vital information was hidden from me?

"What did he gain by hiding it? Distrust, anger, hurt??"

[Editor's note: The author has purposely left this article open-ended. I challenged her and said that if the young woman had been living with it up till then, whatever it was, couldn't she continue, and make the best of the situation as her husband's helpmate, considering all the positive sides that had made it a good marriage up until then?

Perhaps this was her destiny life, as it was the choice of the kallah of Hagaon R' Isser Zalman Meltzer zt'l to marry a sickly Godol who would live a long but very sickly life, rather than turn down this shidduch?

We heartily encourage readers to give us their input on this important matter, either through the author or the editor: Weinbach, Panim Meirot 1, Jerusalem / FAX 02-5387998 or email to ]

Rebbetzin Travis has many years of experience and success in helping people through shiduchim. Please note that all names have been changed unless specified with the exception of well-known public figures like Gedolim and educators. Any comments, questions and stories can be sent to: or at (02) 656- 3111


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