Single, Jewish & Cynical?
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Single, Jewish & Cynical?

Single, Jewish & Cynical?

Reflections of a Jewish single.

by

I've been looking for my soul mate for a number of years and the pain of loneliness is something I would not wish on anyone.

To come home to your apartment alone; to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, day after day alone; to spend more than half your day in total silence because there is no one to talk to; to have no real safety net—no one to be there for you in totality when you’re in a jam.

Our Torah teaches us that we cannot judge someone until we walk in their shoes. I think few people in this world can judge the pervasive loneliness and pain that a Jewish single must face on a daily basis.

To walk into a synagogue and be the only one there without a prayer shawl (the custom is that only married men wear them). To be a young woman at a wedding who is bombarded with a litany of pretentious blessings, “I hope you are next.’ To hear comments from people saying, “He’s too picky. She’s too picky. He doesn’t really want to get married. . .”

It stings, but yet we trudge along. We do our best to serve our employers, serve our community, our families, and serve our Creator. Often our hope and motivation is dim and gloomy yet we try to push forward hoping for another tomorrow.

There are times when you get so down that all you see is the potential nightmare of being single forever.

So we go on dates we know are not good for us. Go on vacations and trips around the world, alone, to escape from the loneliness we endure on a regular basis. Or we move to a community of other singles to hopefully increase our chances of meeting someone. Anything to get through the pain. Anything to feel like we are doing our part to get closer to finding that other person.

There are times when you are single long enough that you become so depressed, so down that you lose the ability to dream. You lose the ability to have a vision of marriage or a family at all. Everything looks bleak and your future looks like it is going nowhere. All you see is the potential nightmare of being single forever. Of becoming that social outcast in the community you have dreaded and feared becoming your entire life.

But we must never give up on our dreams.

In life you have two choices. You can be negative, what some people call “realistic,” and think that nothing will ever go well and that life will never be good. Or you can look at the glass as half full and realize that no matter what, if you can remain objective and positive, your life will be that much more fulfilled and enriched no matter the outcome.

HOW TO STAY POSITIVE

1. Start to appreciate all the things in your life that going well for you. Take solace in the fact that you have a good job, a nice place to live, close friends and family that loves you. Focus and take joy in the 90% of things going well in your life, instead of the 10% that are not.

2. Setup a personal goal for yourself to focus your time and energy on. Whether it be exercise, education, or some other aspect of personal growth. Focus on improving some aspect in your life so that you are working on accomplishing something tangible, and so that you will be creating positive change out of a negative situation. For me through diet and exercise I have lost close to 15 pounds and I not only feel healthier, but I can take pride in what I have accomplished, instead of focusing on not having found someone yet.

3. Realize that in the end of the day that God loves us, no matter what difficult time we are going through. As hard as it is in the moment, we need to strive to see how everything that happens to us is inevitably for the best. We may only realize this after the fact, once we have perspective, and that's where the challenge of living with trusting God enters the picture. We can be spiteful about it and live a miserable life, or we can realize that God is doing this for our own benefit and appreciate that we will come out that much better and stronger. Our challenge is to stay positive.

Related Article: Advice for Older Single Guys

IT’S ALL ABOUT PERSPECTIVE

Conan O’Brien said something very profound on his last night hosting the Tonight Show. Working at NBC for almost 20 years, he had an iron clad agreement with the company to be the successor once Jay Leno would step aside from the show. After hosting the show for only seven months, Conan was forced to abandon the Tonight Show, a dream he had held his entire life.

"Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen."

In his closing remarks he said: “To all the people watching, I can never thank you enough for your kindness to me and I'll think about it for the rest of my life. All I ask of you is one thing: please don't be cynical. I hate cynicism – it's my least favorite quality and it doesn't lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen."

So no matter how bad it gets, please don’t ever give into cynicism, negativity, and doubt. We may feel beaten down by life and by our circumstances. We may feel like we can’t go on for one moment longer, but we owe it to ourselves to bounce back and give it another chance.

Because I promise you if you stick it out and remain positive, good things will happen. And besides, who wants to marry someone cynical?

Published: May 14, 2011


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Visitor Comments: 66

(54) Inna, December 19, 2013 4:27 PM

Thanks

Chaim, thank you for the excellent article. I also like to think that even when things don't look too positive for a stretch, it can all change in one "single" moment, either by meeting that someone special or by something else great that can happen to us. G-d willing, you should find your bashert soon in that one moment of destiny.

(53) Alex, December 19, 2013 3:53 PM

How to Stay Positive applies to all - single or married

Your advice about staying positive applies to all...appreciate what you have, have goals (some for yourself, some with others) and remember God loves you. You must be happy with yourself before you can be happy with others. Because even in marriage, for better or worse, once the honeymoon is over you must keep the romance with yourself and your spouse alive. You never know what life's plan is for you, and life can change things for you. My spouse, who has been my partner and friend, had a nervous breakdown 3 yrs ago and has suffered from severe depression. I can not talk to him the way I used to, and the way I see him is forever changed no matter how hard I try. On the outside we appear to have it all, but on the inside I am more lonely than when I was single and my heart is empty. Yes, no one in life gets exactly what they thought they would get. So be content with what you have and stay positive.

(52) Eclipse, September 29, 2013 11:21 PM

Outrage

Why is it okay for a community to treat single people as "social outcasts?" Maybe if you learned to accept that marriage isn't for everyone, that different people choose different lifestyles, and that is okay, your communities wouldn't create an environment that makes single people miserable.

(51) daniel, June 4, 2012 4:20 PM

when the times right:)

What I just read felt like you were talking about me and my feelings. I've been out on many dates and dated quite a few ppl but not anyone right its also so hard because I'm a kohain and we have many outher requirement from the girl if she's ok for us to marry. I think I met my beshert before I was going to propose but then found out late in the relationship that there was a something with her that a kohain is forbiddin to marry the pain was terrible not just on me but on all my familey it took me a while to feel gOod again because I wasn't just trying to get over the person but that I felt real love and happiness with someone something that I've been searching for and I had to give that all up but I knw it was right wat I did I'm proud of my heritage and I wouldn't give it up for anything. GOD tests us all the time and its so hard at the time but at the end u relise everything is for a reason. I took a while to work throu the pain it was very hard I even tried to push myself out there before I was ready then I relised I need to give myself time witch I did. I also relised that every experiance is a learning one every date or relationship is teaching u thing about ur self and teaching u to be the right person for ur soulmate. I got into my work witch I did well in and I got stuck into exersise and dieting I've lost 9kg and looking better than ever. I'm feeling great nw and more confident. Its still hard at times but u just got to knw there's a plan for everyone and when u ready ull meet that special person and ull knw it was all worth the wait.

(50) Anonymous, July 7, 2011 1:23 AM

Tears

Many years ago my soulmate passed away. Everything you have written, I have been through and have invested my time into. Loneliness from missing the one I loved and still love so deeply. The anniversary of his death is always the hardest to endure. Our suffering is the same, you waiting for your soulmate, and mine that is gone. The empty place in our hearts wanting to be healed with the missing piece of another's. After his fatal car crash that took his life, there's been many tears shed. His mother and I became super close till her death, for we felt close to him when we were together, reminding us of him. It brought his friends and I close and spent many hours together, helping each other through our own personal pain of loss, and we still do. We didn't grieve alone, and that has helped tremendously not only myself, but them also. Strangely it brought two girls he dated in high school and I together also, for we all had loved him and shared that common bond together. I have dated much since then, but I haven't found another to take the place of the love I have in my heart and always will for him. My assignments from God keeps me going, delving into with the love that was for one, has gone forth to many people. God's love is experienced when we pass it on, for love is not love till you give that love away. Charity is for the poor, but love is for the poor, middle and the rich, for all people. You are not alone Chaim, and when one of us is down, thank God there is another that can lift us up, to keep on keeping on. I can also hope someday God has another soulmate for me, one where our hearts will beat together. God has had many people cross my path, where we have encouraged each other over shared pain of loss. From death of their children, spouses, and even pets, for loss is loss. God bottles up our tears in heaven, they are precious to him and shared tears that fall together is a true friend. Love comes in many packages I have learned.

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