The letter below appeared in yesterday’s edition of the alon Giluy Daat in a column called gilui lev (confession or revelation). My children tell me the letter isn’t typical for this column — most are thank-yous and the like. But if it’s at all typical of the way parents in the religious community think, it’s no surprise we have a “shidduch crisis.”
I’ll let the writer speak for herself, but couldn’t resist adding notes at the end.
My wonderful daughter-in-law:
Welcome to our family. I don’t need to tell you that you have joined an amazing and cohesive family,1 nor that you have received a husband like no other (with complete objectivity).2 You’ve received a man that is every wife’s dream: Two feet on the ground, two golden hands, his head on his shoulders, righteous [tzadik], gentle, thoughtful, and a son for whom family is very important.
I know how important you are to him and how much he loves you. I also know that the two of you are not exactly the match that one would expect, but that is so like him. Not to choose the the easy path and not to do the obvious.3
Allow me to give you a few important tips about my child: He is so thoughtful that sometimes he doesn’t think about himself.4 He won’t tell you if something bothers him and you’ll never hear him complain. If you merely think a wish he will be on his way to granting it, and therefore I am asking you: Pay attention, be sensitive, also listen to what he doesn’t say.5
I know I’m not supposed to tell you this, but6 I am sure7 that the fact that you wear pants also8 bothers him, much more than you think (and I’m not talking about the “head covering” that it’s not clear what exactly it covers).9
Your husband grew up in a religious “Torani” society and was educated in mitzvah observance as a way of life.10 God-willing in the future you will have children that you two will also want to educate in the path of Torah and mitzvot,11 what will you say to them then? (And again, I am not talking about your husband’s younger sisters who are strongly influenced by them and, incidentally, by you).12
I am sure that you will have a happy life together.13
Hoping you understand.
[signed] Behatzlacha, Tz.
- We were cohesive until you came along.
- I think it’s good form to joke about objectivity.
- Even his bad choice of wife is a reflection on his wonderful qualities.
- Nor about his mother.
- It’s a good thing I’m around to let you know what he is thinking.
- “But” stands for “bold, unvarnished truth.”
- Not that he ever told me.
- It “also” bothers him—you know it bothers me since I’ve told you a dozen times.
- I want to leave something for my next letter.
- You, on the other hand . . .
- In other words, in exactly the same way your husband was educated. The fact that he chose you for a wife was clearly a blip.
- Another line added for good form. How could you possibly be happy?
I wonder what the writer would say to her own daughters if they started to wear pants. If her daughter-in-law’s influence is so strong she had better start on that letter too. I suspect the tone will be quite different.
Giluy Daat is published by Keren Aviyah, a fund set up by the father of Aviyah Yehoshua Goldberg z”l to promote good driving habits in the religious community.
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