Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

6 Kislev 5766 - December 7, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family

by Tzipie Wolner

It was in the middle of the winter z'man. The Beis Hamedrash was filled with men of all stripes and types hunched over their gemoras and seforim. The noise level was even and pleasant with the occasional excited exclamation of understanding. Mendy sat on the right side of the room, leaning his shoulder against the wall. He, too, sat bent over his gemora, yet the seat beside him was empty. He was waiting for his chavrusa to make his appearance. While he waited, he stroked his beard and looked into his sefer. He was advancing well with Ze'evi, but with him missing so much lately, Mendy was debating if he should look for another chavrusa.

"It's as though he thinks he's the only one who ever had a firstborn," Mendy chuckled to himself.

He waited another hour, then softly closed his gemora. He felt that all he was doing lately was waiting. Waiting for Ze'evi to show up. Waiting for his younger roommates to clean up after themselves. Waiting for the bus that would take him to the Kosel. Waiting and waiting and waiting for his brother Aaron to get himself married or at least engaged. He sighed as he fell into his usual thoughts.

What would become of him? It was three years since he felt ready to go into shidduchim. It was three years since the feeling of loneliness washed over him. He wanted a wife to come home to after a day of learning. He had nothing against his roommates, but they were becoming a little annoying lately. Beside, twenty-year-old Kalman was getting married in two weeks, and two other guys barely out of their teens were engaged. How much longer could a young man wait?

Mendy stood up and made his way outside. It was chilly and wet, which suited him just fine. He huddled into the white bricks of the yeshiva building and wrapped his arms tightly around his chest.

Should he wait around for Aaron or not? Was it right to get married before an older brother? He had asked himself this question for the past year now and he wasn't any closer to an answer. However, he knew that the time had come to make a decision. He felt like he was plotzing already. Either he waited for Aaron to get engaged and went out of his mind or he skipped over Aaron and entered the shidduch scene in a sane mental state.

He knew, of course, that if he did go into shidduchim, he would ask Aaron's permission first and if he found his zivug before his older brother, then he would ask for mechillah. But was it fair to hurt an older sibling's feelings? He knew deep inside that if his younger brother did that to him it would pinch his heart, more than just a bit. He was so unsure and felt so confused.

The wind howled all around him. The cold chilled his bones. If only Hashem would place the answer into his hands. Large droplets of rain came gushing down from the dark skies. Mendy smiled, " . . . but it didn't come with a yes or a no," he whispered as he ran inside the yeshiva.

A few weeks passed in the same confusion and tumult in Mendy's twenty-four-year-old mind. He didn't see any signs pointing him in either direction. One day, when yet another shidduch with Aaron didn't work out, Mendy's patience finally burst.

"It's just not meant for Aaron to get married!" he decided. "And I'm not waiting until I'm old and grey to get started! I'm going to begin NOW!"

He held the decision in his head for a week. He turned it this way and that, looking at it from every side and enjoying the calm and peace that came along with a decision finally reached. At the end of the week, he placed an overseas call to his parents. He could almost hear them nod over the long distance of the telephone.

After a long minute, his father spoke up. "Did you discuss this decision with anybody?"

"No, you two are actually the first ones that I am informing," Mendy replied.

His father was silent, then said. "You mean you reached this decision all on your own?"

With pride in his voice, Mendy answered, "Yes."

His father reacted in surprise. He explained to him that a decision like this needed the guidance of a Rosh Yeshiva, a Rav, a Mashgiach. Why hadn't he thought about this himself?

Mendy couldn't understand his father's reasoning.

"I know what every Rosh Yeshiva and Rav would answer me," he insisted. "They would all say to go ahead. I'm twenty-four already!"

"I know all that," his father stated. "But every major decision needs consultation. You can't take it for granted that you will know what they will answer. Even if they do answer what you expect them to, they see the larger picture. Besides, what they tell you comes with an assurance that you are doing the right thing and the decision will be with their blessing."

Mendy didn't agree. "There's nothing to ask!" he insisted. His father wouldn't take `no' for an answer. Mendy finally agreed and hung up.

That evening, Mendy went to see the Rosh Yeshiva, only to learn that he was attending a wedding out of town and would be home very late. Disappointed, Mendy walked back to Yeshiva and on the way, he passed by a different Yeshiva. On the spur of the moment, he decided to go inside and see if their Rosh Yeshiva was there. He was.

Mendy waited a couple of minutes until the Rosh Yeshiva was able to see him. He looked around the Yeshiva and let his mind wander.

He hoped that he had done the right thing by coming inside and asking a question to a Rosh Yeshiva who didn't know him personally. He wasn't sure this was a wise move at all, but he figured that since he was here already, he might as well ask. The Rosh Yeshiva, with kind eyes and a wide smile, invited him inside his little office. Mendy told him about the situation with Aaron and how he felt that he couldn't wait anymore. The Rosh Yeshiva stroked his beard slowly and asked a couple of questions. Mendy answered them. The Rosh Yeshiva nodded and said that it was definitely permissible to go ahead.

Mendy nodded. He had been right all along. He had known that this is what the Rosh Yeshiva would say. He wondered why his father had insisted that he ask, when the answer was as clear and defined as black and white.

Mendy thanked the Rosh Yeshiva and stood up to leave. When he reached the door, the Rosh Yeshiva suddenly called him back.

"Tell me some details about your brother Aaron," he asked.

Mendy described Aaron and what he was looking for.

After listening carefully, the Rosh Yeshiva said.

"Did you ever hear about the "Z" family from New Jersey? I know the father very well. They have a daughter that might be suitable for Aaron. Look into it."

Mendy thanked the Rosh Yeshiva again and left.

As soon as he came to his dorm, he placed a call to his parents and relayed the conversation that he had with the Rosh Yeshiva.

His parents didn't waste any time and called up some people for information on the "Z" family. They liked what they heard and so did Aaron. They involved a shadchan and three weeks later, Aaron was engaged to Tovoh Z.

When they drank l'chaim, Mendy was sitting in the Beis Medrash saying Tehillim. He was sure that Hashem had made the shidduch happen now so that he wouldn't have a chance to hurt Aaron's feelings. He also knew that Hashem definitely had pointed him in the right direction and taught him a lesson for life. Even if he knows what the Rabbanim will say, his duty is still to ask. And then he has to leave the rest in Hashem's Hands.


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