Dear Rebbetzin Feige,
I'm a single Jewish 30-something woman looking for my soul mate and for the life of me I cannot find a solid Jewish mensch who, I hate to say it, is emotionally mature, ambitious, ready to settle down and commit to building a loving marriage. Someone who can handle a smart, Jewish woman like me. I'm beginning to give up and am thinking of dating outside the Jewish pool.
Rebbetzin Feige Responds
Your pain and frustration are totally understandable. It appears you have a great deal to offer. Your longing to find an appropriate mate is a legitimate desire and a worthy pursuit. For whatever it is worth, not that it is of any consolation, there are many women out there who find themselves in the same situation. I understand your feelings of desperation.
I would like to offer several points for your consideration.
As important and vital as marriage is, the primary relationship in our lives is the one with the Master of the Universe, the Creator of all life, including our own. We are never alone. To the extent that we develop a meaningful relationship with God, we are less vulnerable as singles.
All of our disappointments in life, notwithstanding, we owe God a debt of gratitude for the privilege of waking up in the morning to greet the dawning of a new day and all of its blessings. We count our blessings and appreciate them, despite our awareness that neither our life nor anyone else’s is ideal or perfect. Indeed, all of us face tests and challenges to our faith, and we understand that we are measured predominantly, not by our valor in the midst of tranquility, but by our courage in the face of adversity.
Many of us harbor the misconception that our relationship to God is like a soda machine; we put in our nickel, i.e., our deference to His will (dating Jewish in your case), and out pops the soda of our choice. Clearly, life is not so simple. If there would be a direct, crystal-clear correlation between what we do and its reward or its punishment, there would be no room for free choice. If every time I would visit my mother-in-law in the nursing home I would win the lottery, I would perforce visit her daily. It would not only be a no-brainer, more importantly it would become an act devoid of my choosing. It would become thoughtless and robotic.
In God’s scheme of running His world, the reward for visiting my mother-in-law, or for observing any good deed, is guaranteed, but when and how we don’t know. Moreover, we are taught that the more difficult the challenge, the greater will be the reward. God’s ways are ultimately hidden from us, the eyes of man cannot plumb their depths. Therefore, it requires an act of faith in the interim. We need to “hang in there” sustained by the knowledge that as painful as the situation may be at this moment, God knows our suffering, that He loves us, and that everything that happens to us is a product of His loving choreography and is, in the long run, for our best interest.
The greatest beneficiary of doing what is right, despite the often heart-wrenching difficulties, is ourselves. We are the winners. Beyond the rewards, doing the right thing resonates with the integrity of our souls. There can be no greater gratification than being in sync with the eternal dimension of one’s person. Having said that, on a day-to-day practical level, my dear reader, intensify your prayers, “storm the heavens” so to speak. Express your pain and frustration to the Almighty. Enlist His assistance. Make Him your ally.
Additionally, many people I know have found their mates online on Jewish dating services. You do have to be careful and thoroughly check out any given candidate. Get references and do your due diligence. It is an arduous and time consuming process but can lead to successful results. Visibility and networking is another avenue to explore. I suspect you have tried these ideas and find them unproductive, but don’t give up. Go to synagogue events and meet people. Seek out invitations for Shabbat and holiday meals in people’s homes where they or their guests might think of a possible match for you. Stranger things have happened.
Don’t hesitate to call your rabbi, spiritual advisor or friends on a regular basis to touch base and ask them if they have come up with any suggestions for you, even at the risk of feeling like a nudge. Remember the adage, “It is the squeaky wheel that gets the oil.” Uncomfortable as it might be, there are times when we have to be the “squeaky wheel.” We call it due diligence, putting forth our best effort.
And finally, my dear reader, maintaining a positive attitude, a cheerful and upbeat demeanor, is critical. A sunny disposition is a magnet for good things.
At the end of each day, all of us, no matter what the circumstances of our lives, need to say that our day was fruitful, that our deeds were worthwhile, and that we used our precious time wisely.
Good luck to you and may God bless you!