Tammuz 5761 – Finding A Derech

1 Tammuz 5761

Dear Chana,

I have been having a lot of hashkafic issues lately, this goes back well into high school, about the time I stopped being active in NCSY, sometime in 11th grade. I have had a lot of different religious influences in my life ranging from NCSY to Bais Yaakov, to my vast array of teachers in high school to Breslov chasidim, to Bnei Akiva to Lakewood. Trying to find the medium of all of these is very difficult and very confusing – do I wear socks or stockings? Do I even wear socks at all?? Do I marry a guy who wears a kippah sruga or a black hat even though it shouldn’t make a difference as long as his head is covered? How much longer should I wait before I start dating? I change my mind every day! Today I’m ready to start dating, tomorrow I may not be. I am a very confused individual. Any advice would be extremely helpful.

Thank you,

Name & seminary withheld upon request

Firstly, I would like to welcome home all of the seminary graduates of 5761! We at Jemsem certainly hope that you had a successful and growth filled year in the HolyLand! We welcome you to Jemsem and look forward to your correspondence. I would also like to inform everyone that you will find a wealth of information on the actual website. In each of the columns you can look up the archives which are labeled by topic. Look there first before sending a question in to see if this question has already been answered. Jemsem has addressed many issues that you might find yourself facing upon your return, as well as many hashkafic ideas and Halachic questions. The archives of the Chizuk letters are always a treat and a boost! So spend some time looking up what interests you – it’s well worth the effort!

To the writer of this letter, I feel for you. It is a confusing world that we live in and a person must get a derech. Things can certainly seem very blurred and murky and it can be hard to know what to do. You certainly have been influenced by many different types of people, this one telling you one thing and that one telling you another. You need to talk to a Rav that you feel you can really communicate with. As we have stressed in the past – it is so very vitally important to have a Rav that you feel comfortable with, and whom you can go to for Halachic questions as well as Hashkafic ideas and Eitzos. Again, specifically a Rav for the Halacha, but it may be a Rebbetzin or family that you are close with for the other things. It sounds like you have a lot of issues which need to be worked out and resolved and it may take several meetings to help you map things out. Another idea that I would give you is, if it would be feasible to come back to Eretz Yisroel for a period of time to learn. This may help you a lot. [As to where for your specific case, I’ll email you privately]. The main thing to keep in mind as you are going on your quest for answers and hadracha is this: What is the way that I can be the best Eved Hashem? What does Hashem want and expect from me. We each need to be a kli for HKB”H, for that is what we are doing here in this world. Everything that I do, all my decisions, all of the d’rachim that I take, need to incorporate this question. If that is the focus of your life, then the information that you will glean in speaking things over with someone will truly help you clarify where you need to be going.

I would tell you that it would not be wise to date just yet until you know which way you are headed. Before a person dates, they need to understand the route that they are choosing and feel confident in it. This will also help you to know what sort of a guy you should go out with. So you may want to put that off for a time and get things straight in your mind first.

Don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask the questions you need to ask and make sure you get answers that you understand and have meaning for you. Each of us has intrinsic value and things to accomplish, but, we must understand about Hashem and His Torah as we get to know ourselves and our abilities and potentials. This is all tied together.

I wish you the vision of clarity.