A Wonderful Non Frum Father…And Shidduchim
by Mrs. Chana Silver
I’m writing you this question knowing that there are many girls in situations similar to mine, and hopefully you can give us some insight. The question is – how does one not resent the fact that where they come from affects the kind of shidduch they get?
You see, my situation isn’t so bad , but I feel resentment, and need help.
I am a baalas teshuva, daughter of two happily married parents. Most of the family became religious over 7 years ago , but my father chose to stay the same. Not to say that he’s not religious at all. He goes to shul almost every shabbos (but drives-its too long of a walk), and gives plenty of tzdakah to those in need. He also learns in his spare time because it’s interesting, not because of religious reasons. My mom covers her hair, keeps all the laws and accepts the fact that my dad is the way he is. But I feel perhaps he is ruining my shidduchim. He is an amazing father and showers me with love and everything I need. However, I feel in the shidduch world those things don’t matter. It’s about who you come from and what great Rabbi’s you’re related to. No one seems to care about the person they may be getting matched up with. It’s all about how the dishes are taken away from the table, or what kind of yarmukah does the father wear?? (none!) I love my father, but I feel that the society we’re in makes me resent him for not being as religious as I want him to be. I came a very long way, and love everything about being Orthodox – except this!
How do I accept it all? How can I appreciate all the good I have ,and not focus on the level my father is at?
Name and Seminary withheld upon request
Dear JemSem Reader,
It sounds like you have worked very hard to be the type of person that you are today. To change your entire life is a magnificent accomplishment! I have the highest admiration for you! This also tells me that you are a very strong person and that you have overcome many hurdles in your life. So here’s yet another one, but I am confident that with some effort and thought put into this, you will weather this one as well.
First of all, let me point out a few positive aspects of your situation. Your parents are happily married and most of your family, aside from your father, is frum. There are not so many ba’alei teshuva that even have that. There are so many different and difficult situations out there that are part of peoples lives, really vast and varied, illness in the family, [or with the dating person themselves] crazy dysfunctional family situations, divorce, and money issues.
But, never no matter, the key to all of this is to remember that your chassan has already been hand picked by Hashem! There are certainly some things in the shidduch world of today that don’t appear to make so much sense or frankly, don’t even matter very much at all, [as per your example of the dishes!] and then there are the issues of family and lineage etc. and many people get all caught up in so much of this. A person can truly think that this or that thing will make such a difference in who they will eventually marry. It does seem this way. But, that is only when you look at the tevah side of things. We are leaving out one super important factor. Hashem is running the show. You have been placed in a gem of a situation to help you enhance your Emunah. Everything is all about choice and attitude. How you choose to see this episode in your life will make all the difference in how you feel about it. You can work through this and develop your relationship with Hashem in a more deep and meaningful way. You can use this as a special opportunity to daven with heightened kavanah and rely on Hashem.You can choose a positive attitude and outlook on things. Or, you can be upset and feel like you are in a no win situation and resent the dating process. It really is all up to you. Hashem has tailor made this situation specifically for your Neshama. So how are you going to handle it?
Every person gets the bashert that is really right for them, no matter how the circumstances appear. The person that Hashem has already chosen for you will not mind that your father is not frum.
A former student of mine came from a very strange and odd background. Her mother had been adopted by a Christian family, raised as a Christian, and married one. [this was my student’s father] This girl was going through her life as it was, until the mother found out that she was really Jewish. A whole long story unfolded after that, but the end of it was that my students parents are still married and this girl became really very frum. She is a wonderful emesdik young woman, and it did ‘seem’ that she would have major trouble getting a shidduch. But, Hashem had it all worked out and the terrific guy that she married was himself a ba’al teshuva, and he really didn’t care one bit about the interesting make up of her family. They have 2 kids now and are busily building a very beautiful Bayis Ne’eman.
It sounds like your father is a wonderful person and that you have a great relationship with him. This is certainly something to value and build on. So right now he isn’t really frum, but I often hear that things change after the grandchildren come along……… so you never know!
Also, don’t be afraid to open up and not be too narrow about the type of guys that you will date. Many ba’alei teshuva bring a depth and freshness to their marriages and homes.
So don’t get caught up in the tevah of what things ‘seem’ to be, but turn it all back to Hashem, daven, and intensify your Emunah and relationship with Him.
With Warmest Wishes,