subscribe: Posts | Comments

leader

A single trapped in a religion of married people

242 comments

For some reason any article I post by Rabbi Rabbs elicits insane responses. Our dear friend Rabbs is going to be interviewed by Luke Ford tomorrow via live stream which means you can watch it and send your questions for him which he will answer live. Might as well check out his craziness. I will be at work during the event.

A Single Trapped In a Religion of Married People: by Rabbi Rabbs

The Midrash tells us, “Man does not fulfill his destiny without woman, nor woman without man, nor the two together without the Divine Presence amongst them” (Beraishis Rabbah 8:9). According to the Talmud, “Any man that has no wife, dwells without joy, without blessing, without good” (Yevamos 62). The Ram’a elaborates that a single is “void of Torah … and considered to be only half a person” (Evan Ha’Ezer 1:1).

From those excerpts and many more similar to them throughout the Torah, we see that the foundation of Judaism is built upon the concept of marriage, with married couples working together to get closer to G-d. As I grow older, I see that our Sages were correct in that those of us who remain single do not fulfill our destiny, suffer without a partner and without joy and without blessings, and find ourselves trapped as outsiders in a religion designed for married people.

I already pointed out in an earlier blog entry how painful it is to be alone and that remaining single can cause people to lose their motivation to learn Torah and perform mitzvahs. Now, we will delve deeper and discover that marriage is so central to Judaism that many of the most common commandments themselves were created specifically for couples. We will learn that the Torah-observant community only celebrates those who are married. And, we will see that anyone remaining single becomes an outcast and is treated as the Ram’a said, “only half a person”. I will explain.

Let us begin by examining Shabbos, one of the backbones of Judaism that contains many commandments in the Torah. Shabbos is a beautiful and amazing day for married people and close families. It is a time for enjoying yummy family meals and intimacy with one’s spouse. It is the day families look forward to all week long. The day that no one in the family is at work or at school, and everyone can enjoy each other’s company in a relaxed atmosphere.

That all works for married people. Now, let us look at how Shabbos is for me and for the many singles that have told me over the years why they dislike the day. Despite all of our efforts to conform and to put our energies into celebrating the Sabbath in the best ways possible, we have become disenfranchised from the day. Although the specifics within the complaints from each one of us might differ, all of us share similar feelings of alienation on Shabbos.

For me, I don’t have a wife to enjoy intimacy with, nor am I part of a close family. I am completely on my own every week. Almost all of my friends from yeshivah days are now married with children, and most of them moved out of town years ago. When I was younger, I spent Shabbos as a guest of various families, but that became old real fast. First of all, I got tired of being the only single person seated at a table full of married people. That always felt awkward. Second, I don’t like being around babies and small children, and frum families usually have boatloads of them, and so do their other invited guests. I recall once hearing a hostess with her hands full and looking for somewhere to dish her child off to say, “I am sure Hershel wants to hold the baby” and moving towards me with her kid, hoping to put it in my arms. Well, guess what? Did she ever ask Hershel? Because I know him pretty well and feel quite comfortable providing this news flash: Hershel doesn’t want to hold the baby! And, if that hostess never sees him back in her house again, she will know why.

So, I stopped going to married people for Shabbos meals a long time ago. That forces me to eat by myself at home every week, and I don’t know how to cook. This is going to sound selfish, lazy, and perhaps even sexist, but I assumed all along that I would be married by now and I was hoping my wife would bring her culinary skills into the marriage. Hence, I never bothered to learn how to prepare meals for myself. I guess I didn’t realize that I would be on my own forever. So, whereas I go to eat from a wide variety of gourmet cuisines at a plethora of fine kosher restaurants here in Jewtown all week long, they are all closed on Shabbos, leaving me with only canned tuna sandwiches for the Sabbath. Hence, my worst meals of each week are on Shabbos.

But, wait there’s more. I also stopped going to shul years ago. Why? For numerous reasons, one of which is that I can’t deal with standing out as single while surrounded by married men my age and younger, nor can I deal with being in a room full of singles, but being twice as old as everyone else. It seems no matter where I go to pray, one of those two uncomfortable situations awaits me. My rabbi suggested that I should buy a tallis and wear it to shul just so I can feel and look married like all of the other men close to my age. The problem with that plan is that people will ask me when I got married, forcing me to not only lie, but explain why I didn’t invite anyone to my wedding.

Side point: I am extremely tired of being asked the rude question, “where do you daven?” by so many Jews that I meet. No one should ever ask that to a stranger, because doing so inquires into one’s private life. What could be more personal to an individual than how and where one chooses to pray? I should not be put into the awkward and humiliating position where I must confess to total strangers where I pray or whether I pray at all. Those subjects are strictly between G-d and me.

Unfortunately, most Jews I meet can’t deal with the answers I give to them when they ask that question to me, whether I reply by saying that I daven at home or whether I tell them it is none of their nosey yenta business. Either way, they can’t deal with the truth. They fully expect me to reveal which shul I attend regularly, and any other answer I provide will not meet their requirement. That almost forces me to lie just to get those terrorist Jews off of my back.

Similarly, there are other popular rude questions that frummies frequently ask total strangers, such as:

“Why aren’t you married already?” (I answer that with, “because you never found anyone for me”)

“When are you getting married?” (I reply with, “a week from Tuesday”)

“When are you going to have kids already?” (that one gets asked to couples the day after their wedding)

“Which kind of Chasid are you?” (that question assumes I’m Chasidic, so it would make more sense to first verify if I am in fact Chasidic before determining to which group I belong. Just because I learned in Chasidic yeshivahs and still wear the Chasidic battle gear doesn’t make me a Chasid. If you can understand the difference, then you’re way ahead of most Jews that ask me that question, because they often can’t accept my simple answer of “I’m not”)

“Are you ba’al tschuvah?” (big sigh … if the answer is “yes”, then the person that asked the question violated the Mishnah (Baba Metzia 4) that says we are not permitted to remind a ba’al tschuvah of his past, because by asking the question, a ba’al tschuvah would be reminded of his past. Therefore, that question should never be asked to anyone)

Yet, I would gladly welcome all of those annoying questions if the same people asking them would finally learn how to drive and not let their kids scream their Jewy lungs out from the restaurant table next to me while I’m trying to eat my chicken strips.

Getting back to the point, because it is too awkward for me to go to shul, and because I will not eat by families, I spend almost every Shabbos by myself. Because I am not allowed to drive a car nor ride a bike, I spend almost the entire Shabbos at home. Because I am not permitted to watch TV, nor listen to music, nor use a computer or phone, nor write, nor work out on my Nordic Track, I spend almost the entire time going out of my mind, bored to death, with nothing to do, no one to communicate with, and nothing but canned tuna to eat. For me, it is 25 hours of pure hell spent in solitary confinement in which I climb the walls thinking about how much I hate my life and how much I look forward to being dead already. Occasionally, I use the time to learn Torah – usually looking up answers to questions posed to me on MySpace – but more often, I just end up talking to myself.

Sometimes I venture outside of my jail cell to go on a walk for an hour, but doing so often leads to more mental anguish as I see frum Jews in my neighborhood. Almost all of them walk with their spouse, their family, or in a group of friends. When I see them, I am reminded of how alone I am. It ends up that I can’t decide which is worse, staying inside and living like a prisoner in isolation or going outside and feeling the loneliness of not having a wife nor friends and the alienation of not fitting into the community. It is in situations such as those that I need to break away and go surfing – the only times I ever enjoyed true peace of mind was when I was in the ocean.

Keep on rockin it

But of course, surfing is forbidden on the Sabbath. I suppose if I never marry, I will never experience peace on Shabbos until after I die.

I have absolutely hated Shabbos for a very long time. It is a family day and a mitzvah that was clearly not designed for singles at my very late age. But, I can see that if I had a wife, the day would be awesome and I would look forward to it. Until then, it is by far the worst day of each week for me. I especially disliked that when I was working full time, one of my two days off each week was wasted on just sitting around doing nothing. Plus, all of my vacation days issued to me were always eaten up by Jewish holidays, which are even worse than Shabbos. Why is Yom Tov worse than Shabbos? I will explain.

Yom Tov is just like Shabbos except that it usually comes in pairs, meaning that it lasts for two straight days. So, I am forced into seclusion for 49 hours instead of just 25. The worst is when Shabbos either falls directly before or after a Yom Tov, forcing me into a whopping 73 straight hours of solitary confinement. I am usually completely suicidal by the end of that torturous period. It also bothers me that I must go that long without exercising. Meanwhile, I am expected to chow down on big meals. What are we supposed to be, the religion of out of shape people? It is no wonder so many frummies are overweight. In addition, each Yom Tov brings with it unique features that sadly remind me that the holiday is designed for married people and families, and that those of us who are still single find ourselves as outcasts. The classic example is Passover.

Passover Seders can be wonderful experiences when shared with close family members. I imagine that Seders might even be nice when shared with friends. But, sitting by oneself, reading the Hagaddah alone, and looking forward to a kosher for Passover can of tuna absolutely sucks. That describes my Seders for the past few years. I hate Passover, but I know Seders would totally rock if they were shared with my wife.

Sukkos, which has timely significance because we celebrate it next month, is another Yom Tov that doesn’t work for those living alone. Sukkos is when families build huts on their property and then eat their meals inside of them for a week. I can see how Sukkos could be a great experience for entire families. But, that holiday especially blows for me, because I cannot build a sukkah where I live, forcing me to eat elsewhere for a week. More precisely, forcing me to eat by families every meal of every day for an entire week! I don’t like to eat by families even once in a Jubilee, and Sukkos comes and forces me to eat by them all week long! As a result, I dread Sukkos. But, again, if I had a wife, I know it would be great, because even if we were forced to eat elsewhere, at least we would do so together and have each other’s support. And, I would no longer suffer as the only single in a room full of married people. Hopefully, though, she and I would move into a place together that would allow us to build our own sukkah, and then we could enjoy the holiday on our own terms without the invasion of any little kids or babies in our hut. That would be awesome!

For a long time, my favorite day of the year was the holiday of Purim. I loved it because I would dance up a storm at the band parties in my neighborhood, dress up in costume,

Poor im

exchange shloch manos gifts with friends, and enjoy a festive meal by a young married couple I was close with. Plus, Purim doesn’t carry the restrictions of Shabbos and Yom Tov, so I could still drive and listen to music during it. Purim was a holiday to which being single didn’t pose problems.

But times have changed. My neighborhood stopped providing band parties, I have no friends nearby to exchange shloch manos with (this year, I did not receive a single Purim gift – not one), and that young couple I was close with two decades ago now has a house full of 10 kids. Worse, they invite other families with a zillion kids each to their festive meals. I stopped going over there because it becomes like kids central, with all of the other adults up to their head coverings in parenting, and I become the one older single loser guy in the room. No thank you. I would rather stay home and flirt with women on MySpace. So, now I hate Purim, because it has become nothing more than a reminder of how being single sucks in this religion. I stopped going to sheva brachahs ceremonies for similar reasons.

Basically, I try to avoid any situation where I will feel like the older single loser guy, and in this community where it seems no one else my age is still single, such situations happen quite often. So, to maintain my sanity, I tend to remove myself from the community. However, all of that would change if I was married, because I would no longer be “the single guy”, and my rebbitzen and me would gladly open our home and our sukkah to host our own Shabbos and Sukkos meals, Passover Seders, sheva brachahs ceremonies, and Purim parties for singles of all ages. Married people would also be welcome to attend, provided they leave their little kids elsewhere. If that seems harsh, well, fortunately for those parents, there are countless frum families they can go to instead. Whereas, us non-kids people have few choices. I can see how Purim, Shabbos, and all of the other holidays would be great if I was married. But until then, wake me up when they’re finished.

My lack of enthusiasm is even more pronounced when it comes to simchahs. Us Jews, we have three big celebrations, and each one of them alienates singles: brisses, bar mitzvahs, and weddings. People who get married and have multiple kids never stop being celebrated by the community. Meanwhile, the last thing I did that was worthy of celebrating, according to the community, was way back in the dinosaur era when I turned 13. Most of you reading this weren’t even born yet back then. If you don’t know the difference between UHF and VHF, trust me, you weren’t alive when I had my bar mitzvah. And, as how my life appears to be headed, that may be the last time I will have a simchah. I would love to get married and have a wedding, but that wish has become nothing more than a fantasy, and I know I will never have kids, so brisses and bar mitzvahs are completely not relevant to my future.

I cannot express enough how deeply upsetting it is for me to constantly celebrate everyone else’s joyous occasions while knowing that I will never have my own. I am the world’s greatest Chasidic dancer and I have danced my brains out at weddings, and I have been the life of parties for the past quarter century.

The rabbster

Meanwhile, despite my efforts to celebrate everyone else, the community couldn’t give a flying hoot about my own accomplishments made during that time, such as abstaining from alcohol and drugs for more than 23 years and cigarettes for five years (I will celebrate six years, G-d willing, on Rosh Hashanah). Trust me, in the frum world, no one cares.

It is a much greater achievement in my mind to avoid the temptations of alcohol, drugs, ciggies, and even sex (as I have done) than it is to create a baby boy. In fact, the latter is the complete opposite of avoiding temptations. Think about it. What are we celebrating at a briss ceremony? What did the couple accomplish? In my mind, all they needed to do together to qualify for the celebration was to act on uncontrollable sex urges while being too lazy to use contraceptives. And, for that I need to inconvenience myself to be part of their big shindig each year? No thanks! I’m not waking up early for that. I stopped going to brisses years ago.

Bar mitzvahs are even worse. Every boy who turns 13 gets a big party, and I’m supposed to attend? What did the kid accomplish to deserve that party other than stay alive during those 13 years? Nothing. Meanwhile, I worked my buns off for the community during much of that time, but no one even says thank you. But, some kid did nothing more than stay alive – he could’ve been the bully on the block, stolen kids’ lunch money, and beaten up all of the other little boys his entire life — and I’m supposed to give up my Sunday and buy him a gift? No thank you. I will stay home and watch football on TV. I stopped going to bar mitzvahs a long time ago.

I will still go to weddings, though. I love dancing and being the life of the parties, and at weddings I don’t have “the joy of kids” theme shoved in my face as I do at other simchahs. I just pray that one day G-d will allow me to celebrate my own wedding, and everyone who I entertained for the past quarter century will return the favor by dancing their hearts out for my one and only simchah that will ever be recognized by the community.

Judaism would be so awesome for me if I was married. However, right now the reality for me is that this religion has become a huge burden. Once again, it is a modern miracle that I am still frum today considering everything I have dealt with in my own lifetime. If not for my knowing that the Torah is the absolute Truth, as I proved in a prior blog, “Rabbi Rabbs offers 200 Proof that the Torah is True”, I would be out of here like a bat out of Gehinom. Perhaps I serve as greater evidence that the Torah is the Truth — it must be true, otherwise why in the world would I stay with it?

Because the Torah is the Truth, I can never leave it. But as a result of my commitment to the Torah, I don’t exactly live the most glamorous of celebrity lifestyles that one might otherwise imagine, nor am I living like other rabbis. And despite all of my efforts, I am not even fulfilling my destiny, nor am I as close to G-d as I should be. Instead, I am decaying in a pool of isolation, alienation, and loneliness. Although my experiences and viewpoints that I shared in this essay are a bit extreme and unusual, I believe that the many frum singles that have complained to me over the years will relate to the feelings I described of not fitting into the community, feeling second-class, and being treated like half of a person.

When it comes to dealing with singles, the Torah community spends a lot of energy preparing us for marriage and has published millions of words on how to become a good spouse. Unfortunately, the community offers next to nothing for singles that will never be married and there aren’t a whole lot of words written on how to face a lifetime of being alone. As marriage may not be in my future, clearly, I have become a single trapped in a religion for married people.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry about your situation. It seems like you are not just isolated, but isolating yourself. It might not be great fun to go to shul or simchas, but it provides opportunity to meet others. If you really want to meet someone, it won’t happen staying in your apartment alone.

    • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

      Thank you for reading my essay and for your input. I’m a pretty shy person so even in a room full of people, I am alone. I could go to shuls twice a day and never meet anyone. In fact, I know I would, because my social anxieties would prevent me from getting to know any strangers there.

  • anonymous

    Rabbs,

    First of all, your post on being single was far more valuable than your offensive videos, and you did not drop the f-bomb once.

    Secondly, there are a few people who are simply not destined for marriage, because of physical and mental conditions, the same way that there are certain people who are destined never to have children because their body will not allow it.

    Thirdly, at 24 I feared that I would end up as a singleton. In my shul, we have quite a few professional men in their 30s, 40s, and 50s who are still single. It is not my business to ask whether they’re gay, impotent, or simply not interested anymore in marriage. Why are there more single older men than single older women?

    Anyway, back to my story. I did not want to become a serial dater. I married the first person I dated. She was not pretty, nor healthy, nor hardworking. But I was happy to be married, out of my parents’ house, and in bed with a woman. I was happy to sing Aishet Hayil to her. I was happy to say that I was fighting the “singles crisis” by my marriage.

    Well, things broke down very quickly. Her physical and mental state could not handle marriage. We tried marital counseling, visits to rabbis, everything in our power to save this miserable marriage.

    We had a bitter divorce, full of legal threats and maneuvers. Now, I am a divorcee, which carries a stigma of its own. Is this stigma worse than that of a middle-aged singleton? I’m not sure.

    But I am happy to have experienced marriage, and while I will be a bit more picky this time around, I have no regrets about marriage, and encourage it for everyone who is able to handle it.

    Larry King married 7 times. Clearly he believes in marriage enough to risk losing half of his fortune if it fails.

    One final note. Before my divorce, I bitterly opposed gay marriage. But after the stress of representing myself in court, facing off against my ex’s hostile lawyer, I can appreciate the legal battle that gays are waging. Let them have their secular marriage.

    It’s already legal in Massachusetts, and as far as I know, the local Orthodox community is still firmly planted in that state. Gay marriage is a far lesser threat to us than Hamas, etc. While you wouldn’t see me rallying in support of “marriage equality,” I wouldn’t oppose it either.

    • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

      Thank you for taking the time to compose such a lengthy response to my essay and for sharing your own story. Unfortunately, I learned the hard way that you are correct that there are some people that are not destined to be married, and I am one of them. It F*king sucks. Oops, just dropped an F-bomb.

      • Mahla

        Rabbi Rabbs, I cannot agree with you. I had to kiss a lot of REALLY toady toads before I found my prince. As you seek so shall ye find is my comment to that.

        Please don’t despair. Maybe think outside the box and consider meeting a mate in a different way, or consider a mate who is not 100% on the same page as you are in terms of religiosity or derech?

        I am a secular person but can assure you that only when I had resolved in my own mind to be happily, permanently single did the man I deserved materialize.

        Thank you for responding to everyone’s comments here, by the way. I already said this to Heshy when I thought he was the one posting from his own point of view, and I’ll say the same to you if you’re reading this … you deserve a really cool girl. :^)

        • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

          Mahla, thank you for your insights and for your wonderful compliments. :-)

          To respond to your question, I am open to Jewish women that may not be 100% on the same page as I am but they must be willing to do the three biggie mitzvahs: Shabbos, kosher, and family purity. That’s my bottom line.

  • http://abandoningeden.blogspot.com abandoning eden

    are you farking kidding me, you’re waiting around for a wife so you’ve been single for years and never taught yourself to cook? Wow. First of all, get a cookbook, and follow the directions- it’s really really easy to cook, and to still be eating tuna sandwiches after years is pure laziness. Second of all, you are isolating yourself and you seem to have a major chip on your shoulder about married people- which probably makes you more isolated. Perhaps people aren’t as friendly to you as you would want them to be cause that large chip is showing and you are pushing people away? Just a thought. Third of all, you’re sitting around all weekend bored out of your mind? Go to the library. Take out a book and read it. Maybe even a book about cooking. :)

    • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

      Thank you for your input. I should mention that the essay was first published in 2006, and since that time, I have learned to cook quite a few things, and my Shabbos meals are now composed mostly of baked chickens.

      It is not for you to judge me and conjecture as to why I am so isolated. As the Torah tells us, do not judge another man until you walked a mile in his mukluks.

  • Phil

    You’ve got a cynical, twisted view of life and Judaism. You need to chill out, people have it way worse than you and still manage to enjoy holidays and simchas.

    • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

      Phil, that is an extremely judgmental statement. Who are you to judge me? And, who are you to say with confidence that others have it way worse than me? Did you ever suffer for 50 years as single, lonely, and shomer negiah? Try doing that first, and then judge.

      • Phil

        R. Rabbs,

        I wasn’t trying to be judgemental, but when you post an article on a blog like this one, you can expect to get some honest feedback.

        I am 100% confident that my grandparents “had it” a lot worse than you did. To begin with, both lost their entire families in the holocaust. Ever think of what it feels like to have your mom, siblings, wife and kids gassed and cremated? I’m sure it’s worse than shomer negia…

        Next, they rebuilt their lives after the war, only to have the communists confiscate their family business as well as their property… Again, probably a lot worse than spending your time surfing and whining about eating tuna on Shabbat.

        Still, they managed to escape Europe, come to North America and start over from scratch at retirement age, only to raise a family with Jewish values and delight in Shabbat, Yom Tov and our simchas. They felt each Yom Tov ritual was an honor to perform, and were happy doing so.

        Without trying to sound too judgemental, you need to get that pipe out of your @ss and lighten up. If you are 50 and still single, either your standards are too high, or you’re a total jack@ass. From the attitude of this post, it’s more than likely that the second option is correct.

        • A. Nuran

          Phil, I don’t know if you were trying to be judgmental. But you certainly succeeded at it.

          • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

            Not only did A. Nuran get it right this time, but Phil’s nasty follow-up response doesn’t even deserve a reply.

            • Anonymous

              ps Phil’s family did all of that together, not single and alone.

              • Phil

                Anon,

                Are you saying they didn’t suffer because they managed to rebuild there families?

                Can you even fathom still believing in God after living through what they did?

                Your comment is even dumber than this post, and you seem to be a bigger Jack@ass than the author (unless you’re him).

                • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

                  I love when the commenters resort to name-calling. It shows that they lost.

                  • Phil

                    R. Rabbs,

                    No, I resort to calling anybody anything because they truly deserve that title. Last I checked, you’re the one that wimped out because you couldn’t give a straight answer to my comment.

                    Anyway, I’m done arguing your silly point. If you want to think that your pathetic whining about your self inflicted situation is worse than what holocaust survivors lived through, you keep doing so. I think you need a serious shrink more than a wife.

                    • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

                      Have a nice day, and I might recommend you go to a shrink to work out your anger.

                    • http://righteousrasha.blogspot.com Tova

                      Phil, I have a serious question for you:

                      Are you capable of writing a comment, ever, that isn’t either about gay sex or bashing the author?

                • Phil is a Jack@ass

                  there’s a Jack@ass here and it isn’t the post’s author

            • Phil

              R. Rabbs,

              I was just being brutally honest as usual.

              • A. Nuran

                Correction, you were being brutal as usual. You are consistently dismissive, insulting, cruel and ignorant when it comes to anyone who doesn’t think and act just like you do. You are always falling over yourself to praise and excuse anyone who is up to your level of bigotry and religiosity.

                • Phil

                  Nuran,

                  Words of wisdom from you as expected. Ever consider a job writing fortune cookies?

                • Anonymous

                  nuran, get over yourself you are as brutal as phil if not more so about religious people

        • lurker

          I like that Phil guy, he’s retarded as in he keeps me entertained with his ridiculous comments that are retarded.
          He gets on there and two second in goes…. ” you don’t have it bad my family was killed in the holocaust ”
          WTF?
          that makes no sense but I found it funny bc there is no logic in it at all

          • Phil

            Lurker,

            I was replying to the author who seemed to have trouble believing that I knew people that had it worse than him.

            No, they weren’t single once they re-married, but my point was that they kept the faith and even managed to enjoy Shabbat, Yom Tov, Simchas and life in general despite the horrors they lived through which haunted them for the rest of their lives.

            • lurker

              you changed your story. you told the authorr “people have it way worse than you” in present tense and you changed it to “people that had it worse than him” in past tense.
              the holocaust is in the past so it didn’t prove your pt
              it’s retarded to bring it up and compare things to it anyway

              • Phil

                Lurker,

                There are still of frum holocaust survivors alive today. Just because they aren’t in Aushwitz anymore, it doesn’t mean that they forgot what happened, many still have constant nightmares and a variety of other issues.

                There are also plenty people that I know that live from check to check and have to literally beg for their Shabbos meals. Still, they manage to put on a smile and do so as best they can.

                There are also people that have various diseases and handicaps, they also manage to smile and live with what they were given.

                Etc, Etc.

                Again, my point is that many people had AND STILL have it way worse than our surfing/myspace flirting/football watching “sob story” of an author, which he had trouble believing.

                • telling it like it is

                  Phil you are right that others have worse problems However you are underestimating this guy’s problems. Check him out on youtube, those videos of him arent an act, he really thinks they are funny. At first I thought he was being ironic, but read his comments on the car video that was posted here a while ago (not to mention the other post of his), he is not all there menataly so of course he has trouble finding a wife, though like everybody else he deserves one

                  • Phil

                    Tell it,

                    I haven’t watched any of his stuff, I only made it about halfway through this post. I’ll take your word about him not dealing a full deck, yet he does deserve to be married and happy. Tova would really make a great match.

                    • http://righteousrasha.blogspot.com Tova

                      Um, no. See my other response.

                    • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

                      “I’ll take your word about him not dealing a full deck”

                      Not only a hater, but listens to terrible lashon hora from others, and believes it. Lovely.

                  • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

                    “he is not all there menataly”

                    If that were true, then that just helps prove that the Torah is correct that it is not good for man to be alone, and that living alone for decades affects people menataly.

                • lurker

                  here’s your twisted logic
                  1) the holocaust happened
                  2) therefor he must not be suffering
                  3) since he’s not suffering
                  4) shut the F up
                  step 1 to step 2 doesn’t follow logically and its funny
                  just bc the halocause happened doesn’t mean other people can’t be suffering
                  thats dumb

                  • Phil

                    Lurker,

                    I never said he wasn’t suffering, just said people had it worse and brought some examples to prove my point. Is that too complicated to understand?

                • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

                  Phil, so much for “I’m done arguing your silly point”. ;-)

                  • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

                    Since you won’t stop arguing it, let me just reiterate my initial question of how do you know with certainty that others have it worse? You cannot satisfy that question by answering that you know survivors of the Holocaust. You never walked in their shoes and you didn’t walk in mine.

                    I’m not saying my situation is worse than theirs, nor am I saying that theirs is worse than mine. I don’t know. I’m not them, and I’m not G-d. Only G-d knows that answer.

                    So again, how do you know with certainty something that only G-d knows?

                    Let’s see if you can answer that question finally, and this time, without resorting to hate-filled personal attacks, character assassination, terrible lashon horah, and name-calling.

  • Abby

    Way too long. I got bored after the first paragraph.

    • http://www.mazeartist.com/2010works.htm Sergey Kadinsky

      I got bored after “way too…”

  • Chuckie D

    Date Heshy that’ll solve both your problems.

    • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

      If Heshy were female, she’d need to take out a restraining order to keep me away.

      • Anonymous

        I saw your video in the seaside restaurant. Love was in the air.

        • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

          LOL! Thanks for watching the video.

  • Mahla

    Oh, Heshy. I know I don’t know you “in real life” but this post was really honest, really heartfelt and made me feel so much empathy and understanding for you.

    First of all, I think the more thoughtful stuff you have been putting up lately has been really beautiful and moving. Plus, your tagline says that it’s not always frum and it’s not always satire — so don’t let the haters make you feel bad for posting this type of thing.

    Second of all, I think you are clearly a really awesome guy, very funny, smart & thoughtful. And adventurous. So it really astonishes me that you are still single, regardless of your religious background. You have lots to offer a girl, and even though it may seem now like you’ll be alone forever, please don’t feel that way.

    Lots of religious communities that focus on the family unit as the most basic social unit produce disaffected, alienated singles. I think it’s just terrible.

    Since I started reading about Orthodox Judaism, I have been thinking that there needs to be something like the Latter Day Saints (the Mormons) have with their Singles Wards. They put all the singles together in service, in the same ‘shul’ you might say, and then not only do they all worship as a community, they also have all these events and dinners and get-togethers so that the singles of the community can observe and meet one another.

    While still interacting in what I guess a Jew would call a “tznius” way, hopefully I am using that lingo correctly.

    Anyway, I don’t know what to say to you. Except to reiterate that I feel for you, and that I think that you deserve a kick-ass girl and I hope you find one really soon.

    • http://www.frumsatire.net Heshy Fried

      I didn’t write this post

      • Your Future

        But don’t you think you deserve a kick-ass girl?

        • Mahla

          Yeah, that part stands, he deserves a kick-ass girl.

    • Anonymous

      You do realize that Heshy didn’t write this post…

      • Mahla

        Now I do. I’m glad because I was fretting about his well-being for a couple of hours before I realized that. :^)

    • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

      “this post was really honest, really heartfelt and made me feel so much empathy and understanding for you”

      Ok, I know you didn’t direct that to me, but as the author, I will gladly take it as a compliment. :D

      Thank you for reading my essay.

      • Anonymous

        Yeah, the comment still stands 100% regardless of who wrote it. This was a great essay, very literate and very moving.

        • Mahla

          Oops, just posted as anonymous somehow, but of course that’s me right above here.

        • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

          Thank you so much for the compliments. You rock! :-)

  • Shira

    I will probably be the weird one here, but I find this essay refreshing. He’s being real, you guys. He’s just speaking his mind and being honest about himself and what others may be feeling as well.

    True, maybe it’d be a good idea to get out a little more and mingle, but I don’t live in his community so I can’t really say wether he’s overreacting or not.

    It also seems to me like Rabbs is just different. He’s definately not your typical Orthodox Jew and much less Rabbi, but that’s not really a bad thing. He’s sincere and has a unique personality. Maybe he just needs to meet someone who doesn’t necessarly fit into the neat mold most frum people expect each other to be.

    My point is that I have a lot more respect for people who dare to be different (and themselves) than those who try to fit into a community because of peer pressure.

    • Mahla

      Totally!

    • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

      Shira, I appreciate your compliments and kind words. I’m glad you enjoyed my essay. You hit the nail on the head in that I’m very different and unique, and I don’t fit the frummy mold nor the rabbi mold. I’m just a dude that happens to be frum and a rabbi, and I don’t fit into the community.

      Thank you for “getting” me, and for your understanding.

      • Shira

        No prob. ;) Your essay was just human, you know. You don’t pretend to have it all together and that’s what’s so refreshing about it. I think that sometimes by admitting we don’t know or that we don’t have it all-together, we actually gain a little bit of wisdom somehow.

        • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

          “Your essay was just human”

          bingo! What makes me different than other rabbis and other frummies is that I am not afraid to be myself, be human, and show my failures and faults openly in public. I am not one of those pretentious folks that holds themselves to be something they aren’t, someone holier than thou.

          It is that trait about me that is very divisive, as some people are drawn to me because of it while others hate me for it.

          • Shira

            I think I use to be like that. I thought I had to have all the answers. And even if I didn’t I would pretend to because everyone else seemed to have it figured out, so I couldn’t let the truth show.
            I eventually learned t’hough, that being sincere and real is a whole lot healthier to me as a person, and a lot more helpful to other people. If I pretend to have it all figured out, how then can I possible help others if I’m up on this pedestal? How can I truly connect with people if I belive I am better than them? Truth is, I don’t have all the answers and I am worry prone sometimes, but that’s me. I’m all Shira, ecclecticness and all. lol

            “The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool”. -Shakespeare :D

            • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

              Amen, sister love. Thanks for posting that.

  • David

    I completely empathize with this post because as a single Jew who made aliyah alone to Jerusalem a few years ago, I experience the same things. I am alone nearly every Shabbat.

    Most of my friends from ulpan are secular (and most moved to Tel Aviv or the Center as well), or they are haredi. (I am modern Orthodox, and I am uncomfortable among haredim.) I would go to the synagogue that I like, but I hate going alone because I end up looking “weird” because I am there alone. No one talks to me because everyone has his own social circle already. The few times that I can get some friends to go, they merely chat with their friends and (rudely) forget to introduce me. So I linger in the background and look even more “weird” as a result. I do not want to go to Chabad because they are haredi and a bit too “cultish” for me. My roommate is never at the apartment on Shabbat because his Chabad rabbi thinks I am not “religious” enough.

    I have some modern Orthodox friends in Jerusalem, but I never get any Shabbat invites. And it would be rude to ask.

    At least I love to cook. So I make a lot of good food for Shabbat and enjoy it alone. I also read — I just finished the “Exodus” novel, for example. The only time I have company for Shabbat is when I cook a lot of food and invite people — but I cannot afford to do it every week, of course.

    So I feel like I’m in the same boat. Shabbat is painful, and it should not be that way. I wish I were in a different place at the age of 30.

    • Mahla

      :^(

    • Invitaton

      Well I live 30 minutes from Jerusalem and while I am totally Haredi I am open minded enough to be very glad to have you over for Shabbos, anytime (however religous one may deem you – how does one even measure that? with a “Yiras Shomaymometer”!).
      If interested post your email.

      • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

        Yesher koach to “Invitation”. That was nice of you to post that invite.

    • Frumsatire Fan

      That must be difficult. Some people are naturally better at meeting new people, and others need to push themselves a little more. So, I’d advise you to step out of your comfort zone and introduce yourself to people, and even invite yourself (you can do it without sounding rude). If you don’t push yourself in that direction you may come across as unfriendly and stand-offish, when from your point of view you’re just being polite and perhaps a bit shy. Just go to the synagogue you like best, and start talking to whoever sits next to you. I think being foreign is an advantage, as people will appreciate you’re making an extra effort. Good luck!

    • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

      David, thank you for taking the time to share your own story. I anticipated that others here would relate to what I’ve experienced, but I’m sad that you personally had to be one of them. Your story makes me sad. :-(

    • Yochanan

      Picky, picky.

  • Mike Hunt

    Who the **** uses Myspace?

    • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

      I should explain that. The essay was first published in 2006, and specifically for my MySpace audience. Four years ago, MySpace was a huge deal, the most popular web site on the Net, and I was quite popular on it with a large following. Today? Yeah, say kaddish for it.

  • Guest 2

    >What did the couple accomplish?

    Well…you aren’t celebrating an accomplishment. You are celebrating a simcha. A covenant being passed down.

    Anyways, I have to agree with Eden here. You seem to have a large chip on your shoulder and due to your frustration, it might actually show. I mean, you DO seem to take offense at a lot of questions. You are the first person that I have heard that considers the simple question of where one prays, to be rude. Obviously, I don’t know what you are going through. I perfectly agree that shul is a family thing, but the only thing I can say is, to TRY to suck it up. If you don’t have wife, don’t punish yourself further with being some hermit.

    A) Going to shul and/or dinner at peoples houses makes you miserable.
    B) Being alone makes you miserable.

    My advice, just go to shul. Don’t take such offense at things and meet some people. Even the ONE person that you might meet will be better than being alone and unhappy every shabbat.

    Try YICC, I hear its the friendliest place in town ;-)

    • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

      Thank you for your input. I will respond to a few of your points:

      “Well…you aren’t celebrating an accomplishment. You are celebrating a simcha. A covenant being passed down. ”

      You missed my point. They earned their “simchah” by doing nothing other than having marital relations. Whereas, I made all kinds of sacrifices and controlled all kinds of urges, but none of that adds up to a simchah. So, they get celebrated, and I can gae kocken.

      Since you agree with Eden, I will tell you the same thing I told Eden: It is not for you to judge me and conjecture as to why I am so isolated. As the Torah tells us, do not judge another man until you walked a mile in his mukluks.

      “You are the first person that I have heard that considers the simple question of where one prays, to be rude. ”

      I wouldn’t be surprised if no one here reading the essay ever heard anyone consider that question to be rude, because the frum world has been conditioned to believe that it’s ok to ask it. Similarly, frummies tend to ask all kinds of rude, personal questions to strangers, such as “where are you from?”, “which yeshivahs did you learn at?”, “where do you live?”, “what do you do?”, “where do you work?”, “what’s your last name?”, and because they all grew up hearing those rude questions asked, they in turn believe it is socially acceptable to ask them themselves.

      But, guess what? There are a few of us frummies who actually think for ourselves, and we realize those questions aren’t appropriate to ask to strangers, and the answers are none of our business. The problem is that frummies tend to suffer from social ineptness.

      Thank you for your suggestion of going to shul. Obviously, if you had walked in my shoes for 50 years, you wouldn’t be so fast to offer that unsolicited advice.

      • Guest 2

        >Since you agree with Eden, I will tell you the same thing I told Eden: It is not for you to judge me and conjecture as to why I am so isolated. As the Torah tells us, do not judge another man until you walked a mile in his mukluks.

        Look, you posted something very important. Your readers are obviously going to comment. I’m not judging you as if you are a bad person here. But at the same time your personality is opening up in this post and you are also discussing your dilema. Sooooooo, your readers are simply tying things together as to perhaps why you might be having this dilema. Now, I can be totally wrong, but in the end, its irrelevant. What is relevant is what you do NOW with the rest of your life. Do you continue being alone and miserable? Obviously not. So, a simple suggestion is you committing to not letting certain things (i.e. being around married people, or people asking you questions) make you unhappy. No, its not easy, but nothing worthwhile is ever easy. In the end, if you get out there and be with people (and again, not letting so many things irritate you) I believe you will meet more people to spend time with.

        >because the frum world has been conditioned to believe that it’s ok to ask it.

        maybe. Or perhaps you are just a bit hyper sensitive??

        >But, guess what? There are a few of us frummies who actually think for ourselves, and we realize those questions aren’t appropriate to ask to strangers, and the answers are none of our business. The problem is that frummies tend to suffer from social ineptness

        Just because you are thinking for yourself doesn’t mean ipso facto they are wrong. It can be simply you are too sensitive.

        >Thank you for your suggestion of going to shul. Obviously, if you had walked in my shoes for 50 years, you wouldn’t be so fast to offer that unsolicited advice.

        Obviously, that was a joke. I was hoping the “YICC” advice for a friendly shul was obvious. Apparently not. But, this comment of yours further proves my point. “Unsolicited advice?” It can be pretty hard to talk to a person when they have such a stick up their tuchus to what people say. In the end, people realize this and may just stay away from you. Again, this is simply something to think about.

        I hope you realize—though you may not care for it— that I am merely trying to help you here….as much as its not easy to hear.

        • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

          Nowhere in my essay did I ever invite readers to offer their advice. Nowhere. The fact that you consider my essay as an invitation to offer your unsolicited advice only proves my point on how Jews think everything about everyone is their business.

          Just as you and others might consider it not rude to ask where someone davens, similarly, you and them will think it’s ok to start telling a total stranger how to live their life. It’s all the same level of yentaness.

          I’m not going to get into the whole rude vs. “hyper-sensitive” thing, because you and those such as yourself will always conclude that we’re hypersensitive and that you’re fine, and we will always conclude that you are all rude, so there is no point to going down that road.

          As for YICC, I hope this isn’t lashon horah, but you pushed the point of how friendly it is, so I’ll just say it — I davened there one time. I got there early, probably the first person in the shul. I was davening with cavanah. The place filled up. Suddenly, some dude comes late, comes up to me and tells me I’m in his seat. I had to leave the room because there was no place left to sit.

          I arrived before everyone else did, and yet, I was booted from the room. Yeah, real friendly.

          • John

            Rabbs you claim ” Nowhere in my essay did I ever invite readers to offer their advice. Nowhere” that isnt true i’ll direct you to the bottom of your essay where it says (at the moment) “156 comments… read them or add one” When you write on a public forum you are kind of asking for advise/critiscim/ snide remarks from trolls/ encouragment etc.. or any other form of comment .
            That being said I thought this essay was very well written (though a tad long) and i hope things look up for you real soon

            • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

              John, thank you for reading my essay, your compliments, and well wishes. Much appreciated.

              As for your point about the “add a comment”, I agree that it allows for trolls and snide remarks, but that doesn’t justify the trolls nor the snide remarks. So, yes, we can expect haters to show up, but that doesn’t excuse their hate.

              So, I absolutely can say to them no one asked for their advice. No one. Nowhere.

              To say otherwise would be tantamount to excusing a thief by saying “the candy was left in the open at the front of the store, so we can assume someone will steal it, so it might as well have been that thief”. No. It doesn’t work like that, my friend.

  • what a busha

    What can be said other than that? Rav nachman said ein shum yeush bolam klal. Mitzvah gedolah lihiyois bsimcha tamid. Wallowing in depression and angst is asur doraisa. That’s right, against the torah. Want another klal? Al tifrosh min ha tzibur. We pasken this l’halacha. And yet we have a rav over issurei kares b farhesiah here being megaleh????

    • foolish

      ‘what a busha’ I do not think you understand the complexities of life. As important and crucial as halacha is, there are other factors involved. Just an example, why do you think orthodox rabbanim have not come to a conclusion in how to include homosexuals into community life? The halacha is simple but rabbanim understand that there are other factors at play here.

      Another halachik saying, dont judge someone until your in their place. Secondly, how can you quote rabi nachman as a halachik source!! besides for the the Lubavitcher Rebbe and the Satmar Rov no other chaddic leaders are halachik authorities. that was not there role in communal life. Show me where it says in the torah that wallowing in depression is assur. Do you think for a second that Rabs purposely acts in this manner, he is in a difficult situation and it takes a physiological and physcological toll on him.

      • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

        “Do you think for a second that Rabs purposely acts in this manner, he is in a difficult situation and it takes a physiological and physcological toll on him.”

        Thank you, foolish. You “get” it.

    • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

      busha, the same Torah you’re quoting also says do not judge another man until you walked a mile in his moccasins. Who are to judge me?

      I challenge you to go 50 years suffering a lifetime sentence of shomer negiah, while lonely and single, YET remaining Shomer Shabbos. I dare you to! After you finish that 50-year sentence, and you’re still frum as I still am, and you’re happy and blah, blah, blah, as you demand from me to be, then you can spout off with your judgmental BS.

      • A. Nuran

        Rabbs, there are plenty of matchmaking and dating services in Israel. You’re frum, at least somewhat employed, not a convict or a sociopath, and your face doesn’t frighten small children. It wouldn’t be an admission of defeat to avail yourself of the professionals out there who would be happy to set you up with someone. With all the widows and divorcees out there there must be one who could put up with you and vice versa.

        Your point about walking a mile in someone’s boots is a good one. By the time he catches on you’ve got his shoes and a six minute head start.

        • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

          A. Nuran, thank you for your suggestions, and of course, for sticking up for me before.

          Having stated that, I would point out that in your comment above, you made a few assumptions about me and I’m not sure where you reached your conclusions. For instance, I have no idea how you determined that I am at least somewhat employed, not a convict or a sociopath. I don’t recall ever providing my employment status or criminal record. In fact, in the essay, I mentioned that I used to work full-time. Meaning, I don’t do that anymore. From that statement, I might believe I’m unemployed. So, I’m curious how you drew your conclusions.

          In any event, you mentioned matchmakers and the State of Israel. I’ve actually published essays explaining in great detail why I will never use matchmakers again and why I will never step foot again in the State of Israel. I realize that you didn’t know that about me, so I’m hoping Heshy will post those essays for you and others.

          But, as I stated elsewhere, for what I’m searching for — a frum woman that doesn’t have kids and doesn’t want them — I might as well search for bigfoot. So there is no reason for me to move to anywhere to find her as she almost certainly doesn’t exist. And, if that unicorn does exist, the greatest likelihood of her finding me is via the Internet. And, I can log onto the Net from any cave in any part of the planet.

          • Mahla

            As an aside, I think that social pressures similar to what you deal with are the reason the type of woman you want is so hard to find, Rabbi.

            It seems that just as a frum man is subtly conditioned to believe his “real life” hasn’t started until he’s married and heading a household, so a frum woman is conditioned to believe she is not really a grown-up with a respected place in the community until she is married AND a mother.

            • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

              Mahla, you hit the nail on the head! Frum women are unfortunately brainwashed by the community to believe they MUST have kids, even though there is no commandment for them to do so, and are even told in some instances outright that a woman’s entire person is to raise kids. That is just despicable.

      • Anonymous

        You act as if you’re a martyr because of your own personal choices. I believe many have suffered a worse fate, and yet always accepted everything with simcha, bitachon. It is interesting to note that in the Gemara we read of many tannaim and amoraim who had horrible sicknesses, ailments, and travails and yet these were among the happiest and most outgoing people in all of Klal Yisruel. But no, being single and in LA is SO MUCH HARDER!

        Give me a break.

        • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

          It amazes me that someone might compare me to our great Sages of the Talmud. To make such a comparison blows my mind.

          Obviously, those giants who lived before us were on a tremendous level of faith, emunah, joy, etc. That’s why they were saints. In our generation today we don’t even reach their blisters under their feet. So, to expect someone today to be on their level makes about as much sense as expecting a five year old to outplay Kobe Bryant 1 on 1, and then scolding the child when he loses.

          I pray that your attitude isn’t indicative of how you parent your kids.

  • Ripley

    Rabbi, it is time to stop the pity party and time to get you laid, after the chuppah , of course. If I were to guess, you are looking for a real babe to be your Rebbitzen who likes to surf, cook, and cater to you. That bus may have left already. You appear to have given up on your quest for the perfect one, or anyone for that matter. Fear not, my dear departed mother assured me that every pot has a cover. Please excuse the cooking reference, It seems that you are looking for the elusive shidduch. If you held the baby at your host’s home with a little enthusiasm, an astute person would want to set you up with someone because you are terrific Abba material. If you felt sameach for the Baal Simcha at a bris or bar mitzvah, someone may surmise that that this person thinks outside of himself, who could be a wonderful shiduch for some one special. Please pardon my blunt approach, but I believe that Hashem gives us some freedom to make choices and you choose to wallow. Who wants to marry someone who isolates and lives in the land of BooHoo. Please go to shul and don’t answer the insensitive yenta questions. and for goodness sake get yourself a crockpot , search the internet for an easy chulent recipe and learn how to make a respectable chulent and invite a few singles over. It is not rocket science. Don’t give up for I have made sheva brachas for people in their 30’s and 40’s.

    • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

      Ripley, thank you for your input. I will respond inline below…

      “If I were to guess, you are looking for a real babe to be your Rebbitzen who likes to surf, cook, and cater to you.”

      BZZZT! You guessed wrong.

      “If you held the baby at your host’s home with a little enthusiasm, an astute person would want to set you up with someone because you are terrific Abba material.”

      And that astute person would be dead wrong, and cause severe damage to any child born with me as their father, G-d forbid, because I would make a TERRIBLE abba. Hence, I should not have kids. Got any other great ideas you’d like to share?

      “If you felt sameach for the Baal Simcha at a bris or bar mitzvah, someone may surmise that that this person thinks outside of himself, who could be a wonderful shiduch for some one special.”

      I would switch that to “You could have just kept quiet, but by sharing your story in this essay with others, someone may surmise that that this person thinks outside of himself, who could be a wonderful shiduch for some one special.”

      “Please pardon my blunt approach, but I believe that Hashem gives us some freedom to make choices and you choose to wallow. Who wants to marry someone who isolates and lives in the land of BooHoo.”

      Answer: a woman that also understands pain, a special nishamah that likewise doesn’t want kids and resolved not to have them, a woman that understands loneliness and perhaps is likewise a hermit and also disenfranchised from the community, a tzedaykus that doesn’t judge me for the negative as you have done, but who will see only good in what I’m doing. That’s who.

  • Rachel

    I too am having difficulty staying frum and being single. However, I KNOW that getting married will not solve my questions or make everything OK. It might just stop the nagging from my family and general frum community. I think you need to put it into a better perspective. What are you really upset about?
    Also, why do you live in a community of all marrieds? I live in a very nice mixed area where I can get that family life if I want it or hang out with other single men and women. Both give me the opportunity to meet new ppl and “network.” If your true end goal is to get married, then you need to work toward that goal and isolating yourself is not going to help. Move. Go away for shabbos or yom tov. Date out of your comfort zone.
    I wish you luck in finding happiness within yourself and not relying on religion and others to dictate your happiness.

    • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

      Rachel, thank you for reading my essay, the kind wishes for finding happiness, and for your questions. I will reply inline below…

      “I too am having difficulty staying frum and being single. However, I KNOW that getting married will not solve my questions or make everything OK.”

      That’s you. That has nothing to do with me.

      “I think you need to put it into a better perspective. What are you really upset about?”

      You are projecting your situation onto me, instead of trying to understand my own situation. Unlike you, I KNOW marriage would solve my problem. I need a woman. I need a wife.

      “Also, why do you live in a community of all marrieds?”

      That question makes no sense. If I moved to a community of all singles, it would soon become a community of all marrieds. That’s how life works in the frum world.

      “If your true end goal is to get married, then you need to work toward that goal and isolating yourself is not going to help. Move. Go away for shabbos or yom tov. Date out of your comfort zone.”

      What you don’t realize is that I’m only open to a very tiny handful of women on the planet as I’m in a very special category. So, moving isn’t going to help me. If there is a basheret for me, my best shot is to find her via the Internet, and for that, I can live in any cave on the planet.

  • anon

    The first thing I’d like to say is “Takeout”.

    Great post. I’m getting older and wonder if this is me in 20 years.

    • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

      Thank you! I appreciate the wonderful compliment. Glad you enjoyed my essay. I pray that my story doesn’t become your story.

  • Michal

    “For some reason…” Hesh do you really not know the reason?

    • http://www.frumsatire.net Heshy Fried

      I didn’t write this darned post

      • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

        Heshy, she was asking about what you wrote in the opening sentence of your blog.

  • Anonymous Woman of 44

    I feel for Rabbi Rabbs. This is the way it feels for some of us to be single in a Jewish community (including me), and the people who dismiss the feelings expressed here don’t quite get it — either because they (by virtue of a different character) never felt this way or because it’s been so long they forgot . The only disagreement I have is that you can’t guarantee that everything would be perfect with a marriage either, and who knows, you might get in a terrible argument on Friday afternoon at 3 p.m. and spend the Shabbos trying to manage a different mood and escape your spouse.

    • Guest 2

      >and the people who dismiss the feelings expressed here don’t quite get it

      Who’s dismissing it? People realize its hard, but at the same time, we realize there is a life to be lived. Now, is the best way to do that by always being alone, or getting out there and making the choice to meet people and not be miserable with your lot?

      • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

        “is the best way to do that by always being alone, or getting out there and making the choice to meet people and not be miserable with your lot?”

        I would counter by asking how do you know with certainty that being alone is a choice? How do you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that not getting out there and meeting people is a choice?

        • Guest 2

          >I would counter by asking how do you know with certainty that being alone is a choice?

          Well, speaking about you specifically….. This is what you said:

          “I stopped going over there because it becomes like kids central, with all of the other adults up to their head coverings in parenting, and I become the one older single loser guy in the room. No thank you. I would rather stay home and flirt with women on MySpace. So, now I hate Purim, because it has become nothing more than a reminder of how being single sucks in this religion. I stopped going to sheva brachahs ceremonies for similar reasons.”

          Now, i am not deligitimzing your feelings. But you DID make the choice yourself here.

          >How do you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that not getting out there and meeting people is a choice?

          Well thats silly. I don’t know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I won’t get into a car wreck today, but I still go out and drive.

          So being around married people makes you miserable, and being alone makes you miserable. So you decided to live the life of some martyr instead?

          Everyone in the world would be miserable alone. Thats just obvious. So since you can’t be happy alone, the next best thing is to fix the first issue which is to try to be happy with people, even married ones, or people that may at times ask rude questions. Hey, I have friends that piss me off too. We are all human. In the end, its a choice. To either lock yourself in or go out there and be the tiger you are (que eye of the tiger song).

          • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

            Thank you for answering my question. I can see where the confusion comes from, so please let me clarify.

            You quoted what I wrote: “I stopped going over there because it becomes like kids central … ”

            That was years ago. When I wrote “how do you know with certainty”, I was asking about the present. Things have changed for me since the time way back when I stopped going to peoples’ homes and stopped going to their celebrations. Back then, yes, it was a choice. But, today? Not so much.

            Similarly, I asked: “How do you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that not getting out there and meeting people is a choice?”

            And you answered: “Well thats silly. I don’t know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I won’t get into a car wreck today, but I still go out and drive. ”

            No, it’s not silly. You don’t have all the facts relevant to today. You don’t even have all the facts relevant to the time that the essay was first published in 2006. You made assumptions based on the past and applied them to the present.

    • http://abandoningeden.blogspot.com abandoning eden

      i was single for years…didn’t get married until I was 27. I lived on my own from the time I was 19, and learned how to cook and take care of myself and how to be by myself and not be bored out of my mind, and how to be happy- which included doing social activities. And if you are having trouble making friends, there are plenty of organized activities out there- join a book club, or better yet in this guy’s case, take a cooking class. If there isn’t something like that organized in your area, organize it yourself . Figure out what you like to do, and find or form a group of people who like to do that same thing. You can be proactive in making your life better, nothing is stopping you (not you in particular, the general “you”).

      Happiness doesn’t come from other people- you can’t just expect to get married and for it to solve all your problems. Doing so would be setting yourself up for failure, because then when you’re the same miserable person after marriage you will just be more miserable because there’s no magical fix anymore that you think you can look forward too, or you’ll make the mistake of thinking your marriage is abnormal. In fact, I firmly believe that you have to be happy on your own before you are in the right mind space to be ready for a relationship- and the right mind set that will actually attract other people. This guy has bought into the idea that marriage solves all your problems, and brings happiness- but that’s not just not the case, and by letting himself wallow in misery, he is never going to get married OR happy.

      • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

        Abandoning Eden, if you would step down from your soap box for a moment, perhaps you might examine closely what you wrote.

        You stated, “You can be proactive in making your life better, nothing is stopping you”

        Nothing? Are you sure? What about if someone is bed-ridden? Blind? Deaf? Otherwise disabled? Wheel-chair bound? Suffers from social anxieties? Agoraphobic? How do you know with certainty what my situation is? Contemplate that for more than just a few moments.

        You wrote: “Happiness doesn’t come from other people- you can’t just expect to get married and for it to solve all your problems. ”

        I just quoted a Rashi that disagrees with you on that. I would tend to side with Rashi against you. But please don’t let that stop you from preaching to everyone how to live our lives.

        • Guest 2

          Even deaf and blind and disabled need to make their lives as proactive as possible. They havn’t stopped being human, and they have the same needs as anyone else. Do you have their disabilities?

          Regarding Rashi, I don’t see how that contradicts what Eden wrote. Rashi is saying somthing simple. A good wife will make for a good marriage, a bad one will make it good but that in no way dissolves you from the responsbility of being happy with yourself first, before you get into a marriage.

          Yes, yes, I know you will say I butted in. and yes, I know I know, I am rude ;)

          • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

            Do I have their disabilities? No. Do I have my own disabilities? Yes.

            The Torah tells us that it is not good to be alone. The Torah is correct. Singles are by definition created to be unhappy. Any longterm single that claims to be happy is either lying to themselves, lying to you, or both. If someone says that singles should become happy on their own before they get married, then according to Torah, no one can ever get married. Simple logic.

            Therefore, happiness ONLY comes through marriage. Thus, marriage causes happiness. Simple logic.

            Rashi would agree with that, and points out that although the marriage could be a bad one, nevertheless, it would seem that even when two random people marry each other, it could just as easily be a good marriage as it could be a bad one. Again, I like those odds. :-)

        • http://abandoningeden.blogspot.com abandoning eden

          don’t just assume you know anything about me either- I had severe social anxiety for years, and worked to overcome that with a therapist. One of my friends was stabbed in the head by a crazy person and is now paralyzed for life and is in a wheel chair. He could give up and stay home and be miserable all the time, but instead he comes out to music shows almost every weekend and still hangs out with our group almost as much as he did before. Things are a bit more difficult for him, but he still does it. A disability isn’t a reason to isolate yourself and not be proactive about improving your own life. The thing that DOES cause you to not be proactive about your life is depression, and at least when you wrote this article you seemed to be suffering from it.

          And Rashi saying that a good wife makes for a good marriage is not the same as saying that a good wife and a good marriage will make you happy. And I have a PhD in sociology, specializing in sociology of the family- In fact one of my classmates in grad school wrote her dissertation about depression and marriage outcomes. So I personally would take my word over a guy who lived and died in a completely different era when society was very different and we didn’t know a lot of things about human psychology and what makes people happy. :)

          • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

            Eden, you lost me when you reduced Rashi to “a guy who lived and died in a completely different era”. Rashi knew 10 times what academic secularists think they know today. And, I have a degree in psychology and a minor in sociology, and I have no problem making that statement.

            I am happy that therapy actually worked for you. My experience with it is that it’s a big crock of poo and not worth a spit. It didn’t do jack squat for me other than suck lots of money from me.

            You’re right in that I can’t make assumptions about you, but at the same time, you don’t know me so you can’t pull diagnoses about me out of your rear end.

        • Mahla

          It is my understanding that Abandoning Eden is an atheist. Therefore, I don’t thinking quoting Rashi will get you far with her, Rabbi. ;^)

    • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

      Anonymous Woman of 44, thank you for reading my essay and for your support. I agree that there are some here that don’t “get” it. I believe that is in part because the concepts I’m talking about are so far removed from mainstream thought within the Jewish community that they are perceived as foreign, and thus, somehow “wrong”. And because what I write is mischaracterized as incorrect, therefore, Jews feel compelled to change me.

      Hence, that’s why we’re seeing so many folks trying to spin me around. Frummies in general can’t handle seeing others walking the opposite direction that they are walking in. Conformity is everything to them. Those of us that don’t conform to conventional thinking, don’t blend, think for ourselves, and stand out as different make frummies nervous. Instead of them trying to understand us, they choose to judge us or convert us. I’ve seen it my entire life. Nothing new here.

      As for what you wrote, “The only disagreement I have is that you can’t guarantee that everything would be perfect with a marriage either, and who knows, you might get in a terrible argument”

      Here is my response: The Torah tells us it is not good for man to be alone, and the Torah is correct. Being single absolutely sucks. The same verse that tells us that also says that G-d made an “ayzer c’negdo” , and Rashi says she is either a help or against him. Either she is a great wife and the marriage will be bliss, or she will be a poor match for him and it will not be a successful marriage.

      So, the beginning of the verse assures us 100 percent that it is not good to be alone, and the end of the verse tells us that we have a 50 percent chance that getting married will make us happy. Thus, we are guaranteed to be unhappy as single and we have a 50-50 chance of finding happiness just by finding a woman. I like those odds.

      • Anonymous

        >Hence, that’s why we’re seeing so many folks trying to spin me around. Frummies in general can’t handle seeing others walking the opposite direction that they are walking in. Conformity is everything to them.

        You do realize Eden is an atheist. She isn’t conforming to any frumkeit. And conformity has nothing to do with anything. Whats relevant is if what we are saying is true or false. Thats it. Any professional or rabbi would tell you, you are making yourself more miserable with your choice to close yourself in.

        Since when is giving advice, akin to judging you? If you are happy with where you are, than great. We will shut up.

        • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

          Thanks for correcting me. As I mentioned repeatedly in the interview yesterday, when it comes to differences between frum and secular Jews, those differences are often minor, as both share certain traits that are passed down to us, and one of those is conformity. So substitute “Many Jews” for the word “frummies” and it comes out the same in the wash.

          “Any professional or rabbi would tell you, you are making yourself more miserable with your choice to close yourself in.”

          Again, it’s not all choice.

          “Since when is giving advice, akin to judging you?”

          Since when is the compulsion to spin me around not judging me?

  • http://www.mazeartist.com/2010works.htm Sergey Kadinsky

    Nu… when will rabbi Rabbs reply to the numerous comments above?

    • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

      Hey, give me a chance! :-p

      It takes a lot of time to respond to all of the comments, and believe it or not, I actually have other things going on in my life other than Heshy’s blog. :-)

      For instance, I have a live interview in an hour. I hope that you watch it.

      • http://www.mazeartist.com/2010works.htm Sergey Kadinsky

        Where’s the interview? Do you have a link? Anyway, you rock for answering every comment, and giving every nitpicker their due.

        • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

          Sergey, thank you so much for the props and support. Glad you approve of my comments.

          Thanks for the interest in the interview. It’s broken into a series of 15 YouTube videos here:

          http://www.youtube.com/user/lukeisback

  • Anonymous

    Have you tried anti-depressants?

    • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

      Have I tried anti-depressants? I filmed a whole video about them:

  • choices

    how would things be any different if you weren’t religious? most people are married or in couples, you would feel the same way at a bar or a dinner party
    i feel for you :) but the truth is, that 99% of what you are having trouble with are due to choices you’ve made.
    you choose not to go to shul
    you choose to eat tuna cans
    you choose not to learn how to cook
    you choose to take offence at what people say
    you choose to be alone and isolated
    you can move, you can learn to cook, you can invite poeple over, you can go to shul and just deal with the questions and get it over with, you can be tolerant of kids even if you dont want any, you can be friendly with poeple, you can go to therapy …. and you might actually start enjoying life. just do it!!

    • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

      “how would things be any different if you weren’t religious?”

      Well, if G-d makes my life suck while I’m serving Him, then I can’t imagine how He would make my life any better by not serving Him.

      “the truth is, that 99% of what you are having trouble with are due to choices you’ve made”

      Well, if you’re correct that everything that happens to me is due to my own choices, then I guess it’s my fault for choosing to be born.

      Oh wait, I was born against my will. So, apparently, I didn’t choose to be born, and yet, according to you, it’s all my fault for choosing all of this. Does not compute. Logic fallacy. You lose.

      • McLawyerson

        Rabbs, you’re choosing to look at isolated portions of the comment without saying anything as it pertains to the whole. He isn’t wrong, in the sense that you’d inevitably be happier to a certain extent if you forced yourself to tolerate situations you are uncomfortable with.

        • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

          McLawyerson, you have it backward. You want me to focus on the details of each isolated portion. Instead, I’m looking at the grand picture.

          G-d creates us against our will. In my case, He caused me to suffer in some terrible situations starting from the day I was born, and continuing throughout my entire life. The brachas have not been there for me.

          Thus, the problems I am dealing with today are not my choice. They are G-d’s choice for me to suffer with. That’s why saying it’s my choice to do x and y and z are silly, because the big picture of a-w was chosen for me by G-d, and whichever way I choose of x y and z isn’t going to change anything.

    • Mahla

      The main way it would be different if he were a secular person is that there would be way more fish in the sea.

      Like with me for example. I’m excruciatingly shy in real life, so I understand where the Rabbi is coming from. It’s very difficult for me to meet new people, to talk to people & get to feel easy with them, etc.

      Six years ago I finally met, if I were Jewish I guess I’d say “my bashert,” and we’re so content and happy. I met him at work, which was a nice, non-threatening venue to get to talk to someone and establish a rapport / find common interests.

      But suppose, after meeting my future mate and starting to fall for him, he ALSO had to meet highly specific, relatively unusual religious criteria.

      I would totally have been screwed.

      • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

        You’re awesome, Mahla! :-) You totally get it. Perhaps it’s because you’re not Jewish that it is so much easier to comprehend what I’m saying. I’m very happy for you that you met you’re bashert.

  • Anonymous

    wat woman is gonna marry a dude with such sour attitude?! Good luck to him finding a wife!

    • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

      Thank you agreeing with my point in that I will never be married.

      • Anonymous Woman of 44

        I would like to meet a dude with a sour attitude. Sometimes in my synagogue I can feel a phoniness: a person adopts a pose “I’m in a religious place so I’m going to keep repeating what a beautiful day it is all the time and how beautiful everything is and never go any deeper into the human experience than that.” Why is that better than expressing pain in an honest way? It even says in the morning prayers “A person should speak truth in his heart and in public.” Sometimes I meet people who are more naturally positive and upbeat, and I respect that, but I don’t respect whitewashing and oversimplification, which has characterized a number of responses to Rabbi Rabb’s essay. The psalms are for me beautiful and consoling expressions of the wide range of up and down emotions a person can experience on a daily basis. I think that Rabbi Rabbs talks like a psalm in his essay and does not whitewash. I think that some of the comments against him are due to people’s discomfort with these kinds of feelings of loneliness and alienation laid out in the open. Marriage could be with a beshert, or marriage could be an effort to escape these feelings of aloneness. To those who say that struggling with loneliness, pain and alienation is wallowing, I respond that Jewish communities were to allow a wider range of honest expression, perhaps individuals wouldn’t be forced into such depths of isolation with then.

        • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

          Great answer, Anonymous Woman of 44. You rock! :D

          You totally nailed it. My essay speaks about how the community alienates those that are single, and then you witnessed first-hand how when a single dares to mention that alienation publicly, they are further condemned for doing so by members of the community.

          I am still waiting for one commenter — just one — to simply post “yes, Rabbs pointed out a serious problem in that Judaism alienates singles. It is really something that we should be aware of when talking to those who are interested in converting to Judaism or who were born Jewish but are not observant yet. We really owe it to them to provide full disclosure before they make a lifetime change by becoming a Jew or frum. They need to be aware that Judaism sucks for lifetime singles, so if they want to be frum, then they need to get married or it isn’t going to be much fun.”

          What makes me different than others is that I’m open and honest about how Judaism can suck for people. Not many frum rabbis will do that, and as you correctly identified, they will sugar coat everything so that newbies will join. I hate that! Rabbi Rabbs will not sugar coat nor water down Torah. I say it like it is.

          As a result, I’m very divisive. Some folks love me for my honesty, while many hate me.

          • anon

            Can we please arrange a meeting between Rabbi Rabs and anonymous woman of 44.

            Heshie, get to it.

  • Anonymous

    I hope you will not mind a comment from a middle-aged Catholic mom who likes to lurk at this site. (I’m married to an Israeli and frequent a lot of sites you might not to expect me to).

    I feel very sorry for you because I too have wasted a lot of my life feeling that I’m an “outsider” and that everybody else is part of some great inside party that I haven’t been invited to. And that’s WITH the fact that I’m married and I have kids. But I have learned a few things and I’d like to share my advice.

    1. Of course my first piece of advice would be to change religions :) because in Catholicism the single state is actually exalted over the married state. (St. P:aul says that a single man thinks first to please God while a married man thinks first to please his wife. He says to marry only if you are unable to endure the single state.) However, I think we can be pretty sure that this is not going to happen, so let’s deal with where you are. Our “rebbe” (the “J” guy) said “the sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.” In other words — the sabbath is not some big sacrifice you offer up to God, it’s a gift FROM God to you. If it’s a torture to you, you are completly perverting it. Which do you think would be more pleasing to God — that you do something joyful on the sabbath or that you sit in solitary confinement being miserable? You are convinced that God doesn’t want you to go ride your bike on the sabbath but he does want you to sit staring at a wall until you want to scream. I think you need to think this through a lot more clearly.

    2. If you honestly feel that life is not going to be worth living without a wife (and please note that the grass is always greener on the other side as one post here as already pointed out) then GO GET A WIFE! I mean, how hard can it be? There are a million matchmaking sites for everybody on the planet out there. In your long article you never mentioned why it was that this seems to be impossible for you. As you get older the tide actually significantly turns in your favor if you are a man. There start being a lot more widowed/divorced women your age (who are too old to have kids — which is obviously a plus for you since you are very unlikely to find a fertile woman who doesn’t want kids) but may have grown kids that you would enjoy being with. If you stay single long enough eventually women are going to start beating down your door! Just move to Florida if you don’t believe me.

    3. If for some reason you feel compelled to continue to “observe” the sabbath and other holidays in the awful and painful way that you have decided for some reason that God wants you to and, for some other reason it is just totally impossible for you to find someone to marry, then here is my most important piece of advice. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and go out and find somebody who is in a WORSE situation than you and help them. You say you are sick of sitting at the tables of happy families as a single invitee. I don’t blame you a bit. But what is stoppping you from going and and finding somebody ELSE who has nobody to be with on the sabbath and inviting them over to YOUR house? Saying you can’t cook is kind of like saying you don’t know how to clean the bathroom. So learn. And if you totally cannot learn (another unexplained thing here) then go and buy some food and put it in your refrigerator and heat it up. Then stopping worrying about how to make yourself happy and concentrate on making others happy. And I suggest this not just for the sabbath. Join an organization that helps the poor or visits the sick and get really involved. Spend your sabbath visiting the lonely or inviting them to your house or planning what you are going to be doing for others. Not only will you be connected to the people you help but you’ll also be connected to the other people in the organization. St. Paul (a nice Jewish boy) says that you are in a special position to be able to “please God” that is denied those who are absorbed in pleasing their wife and raising their children. Don’t throw it away!

    • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

      Thank you for taking the time to compose such a lengthy response. I will address your three points in order:

      1. Interesting that you compared me to a saint. I often say that I am living like a priest, because I am forced to be celibate my entire life. But, here’s where your comparison ends: a huge difference between Judaism and Catholicism is that Judaism cares more about actions than it does about mindset, whereas, Catholicism is the opposite. So, given a choice between fulfilling a commandment unhappily vs. not fulfilling it but being happy, Judaism wants the commandment filled first while Catholicism apparently stresses the opposite. You may not agree with Judaism’s approach, but I would ask you to respect that I follow it.

      2. Finding a wife isn’t like finding a new toy in the store. I can’t just pick one out and take it home. It takes two to tango. All the want in the world won’t bring me a wife, because she has got to be willing to marry me, and that part I cannot control. More importantly, it is G-d who will give to me my other half in the proper time and not before it. Nothing I do can force that hand of His. If He won’t give the blessing for me to marry, it ain’t gonna happen, period. I don’t believe He will ever give that blessing.

      But, even if He would, my pool of potential wives is very tiny, and all the matchmakers and dating sites couldn’t help me. In fact, my situation is tantamount to me searching for a unicorn. There is a greater likelihood of me finding bigfoot than there is of me finding a frummy woman that didn’t have kids and is willing not to have them. And, I’m not open to any woman that already had kids, even if they are grown up. Grown up kids have kids, and bubbie is going to demand that her grandkids invade my home. No thank you.

      3. I mentioned in an earlier comment that the essay is four years old, and since that time, I actually did learn to cook a few things, but thanks for the suggestion. I love your idea to go help others in person, and have contemplated doing so many times. However, there is a reason why I don’t, as I described in other essays. Perhaps Heshy will share them in the near future. Stay tuned!

    • Mahla

      Whoa, those were awesome comments!

      • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

        I’ve read similar comments before from a Catholic friend of mine. I am thinking that the viewpoints expressed reflect mainstream Catholic thought. So, if you consider them awesome, then perhaps it’s because Catholic views seem “familiar” to you?

        • Mahla

          I think ALL of the comments above that weren’t just hating on you have been awesome comments, Rabbi. It’s awesome that people sit down and bother to type out thoughtful responses, both to you and to one another. :^)

          Just because their comments are awesome does not mean their comments will be pertinent to ~you~ of course. But they’re nonetheless interesting to consider. Unless (as I said) they’re just all useless negativity or bashing.

          • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

            Oh, I misunderstood you before. I thought you were responding directly to the Anonymous commenter that said they are Catholic.

  • W

    Dude, seriously, if you eat “gourmet” during the week, you must be aware that there are many establishments that offer takeout food. No one is forcing you to eat a can of tuna for Shabbos – you have done that to yourself. No one is forcing you to be alone – you are depressed and choose to be alone.

    • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

      W, as I mentioned earlier, the essay was published in 2006, and since that time, I did learn to cook, but thanks for the takeout suggestion. As for being alone, that’s not my choice.

  • Conservative apikoris

    I grow older, I see that our Sages were correct in that those of us who remain single . . . suffer without a partner and without joy and without blessings,

    Heh, wait until you get married. Then you’ll see what suffering is really about! :) (Full Disclosure: I’ve been married for over 20 years)

    and find ourselves trapped as outsiders in a religion designed for married people.

    Well, that part is true.

    • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

      Conservative apikoris, I realize you’re joking, but fwiw, I quoted a Rashi earlier that it’s a coin flip which way a marriage will go, but it’s certainty that staying single will suck.

  • J

    My only word of advice is that you gotta continue to put yourself out there, and meet only the friendliest people. They will be the ones who’ll try to help you. It’s tough, but no one said that dating would be easy.

    You should sign up for http://www.seeyouonshabbos.com

    It can really change your life! They even have a shidduch component to the site ;-)

    • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

      J, I know you mean well, and you only want to help, so I thank you. However, that web site uses matchmakers, and I have written an essay on how bad matchmakers are and why I will have nothing to do with them. Perhaps Heshy will post it.

      • Mahla

        I hope he does!

        • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

          Yeah, so we can read more anti-Rabbs comments. :-)

          • Mahla

            Aw, you know that’s totally not how I meant it!

            • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

              Yeah, I know. <3

      • J

        The website DOES NOT use matchmakers!!!!!!!!!

        You see someone you like (there is sometimes an option to see the person’s shidduch info), and you then call or email the person’s references to check his/her availability. If the other party is available and interested in your background, then congrats for taking the initiative and succeeding! Additionally, if you don’t feel comfortable asking the references directly, you can ‘suggest an invitation’ of the person you’re interested in to a host who lives in the area, and then ‘coincidentally’ happen to be present at that same meal. Trust me, this WORKS and is an amazing way to meet people!!!!

        I don’t like matchmakers either. But this website is free to use (unlike all the others that charge a fee) and you can register for it in less than 5 minutes. It’s not good to be so dismissive before checking the site out first- remember the gemorah in masechet sotah? It is just as difficult for Hashem to make matches as kriat yam suf. My rabbi once asked why the gemorah chose kriat yam suf of all possible examples to make that point. After all, wouldn’t creating our entire world (or something else as miraculous) be a better example of greater difficulty than splitting the red sea? The answer is because kriat yam suf needed HUMAN PARTICIPATION- the sea only split after bnei yisrael put their trust/hopes in Hashem decided to start walking into the ocean with full bitachon. That is why shidduchim are so difficult…While Hashem is omnipotent and can do a lot, YOU MUST TAKE THE FIRST STEPS into the stormy sea of shidduchim.

        I wish you and everyone reading this much hatzlacha in finding their future bashert. Hopefully, http://www.seeyouonshabbos.com will be a medium to meeting the right person for you (or maybe the person who knows that person)!

        REGISTER FOR THIS SITE IF YOU WANT TO TAKE THE FIRST STEP TO GETTING MARRIED!!!!!!!!

        • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

          J, thank you so much for responding. I had totally misunderstood you. I apologize. For some reason when I read seeyouonShabbos, my brain read it as sawyouatsinai, and that’s what I reacted to.

          So I checked out seeyouonShabbos, and I can tell that you referred it to singles that need a place to stay for Shabbos. Thanks for posting it.

      • Bert

        The site does not use matchmakers. It is open source shidduchim.

  • Anonymous

    Rabbs, Sorry for your pain. This was very well written and truly heartfelt. I totally misjudged you based on your anti-govt paranoia and that lame youtube video

    • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

      Ignoring the backhanded insults in your final sentence, I will thank you for your support and for your wonderful compliments regarding this essay.

  • Clementine

    Ah, the classic “don’t judge me” defense. You open yourself up like that and show some not so pretty colors, and you open yourself to be judged, my dear. And don’t tell me it’s any different than the numerous judgments you have passed on “frummies” in this post alone. How could you seriously presume to put yourself in *their* minds (when admittedly you stay far enough away from them to not know how complicated their own lives may or may not be) and then have the gall to be irritated when people do the same to you. Oh, right- human nature- something that you are not immune from after all, despite your oh-so-unique character. Also, you only seem to be happy with people telling you “you are right, I feel so bad for you”. Even sympathetic yet constructive is not being accepted by you, so why don’t you stick to writing a diary that only you can see and feel bad about? That way it’s win-win.

    I would agree with some of the posters that not always is spending 25 hours straight staring at the same person conducive to a sane mind either. Variety is the spice of life. You yourself say that only a minute amount of women would fit your needs, so what makes you think that there would be loads of people out there who appreciate being told that their children, no matter how well-behaved, are not welcome? It seems that you still might be setting yourself up for an aloof life because of your intolerance. You don’t have to love or want children, but some tolerance for everyone is always nice.

    Now how you can make it sound like you have such limited options is beyond me. LA, of all places, is brimming over with opportunities and has a large single community (although granted, most singles still do like/want children, so you might be set apart by that) of all different stripes. Not only that, but there are plenty of people who have teenage or married children who shouldn’t be a bother to you. Or all the children have moved out already. Of course you’d still be confronted by the “happy” family image, but that’s something you need to get over because it’s hardly their fault. I’ve seen you in such circumstances on at least a few occasions, and I can’t imagine how you could have been offended then.

    Which brings me to another point. I’ve lost track of the amount of times *I* have been walking down the street alone but wishing I had company, and have seen *you* in the company of a female, engrossed in conversation, so I would say count your blessings, buster. Not everyone is even that lucky.

    Bottom line is, if you go a lifetime of begrudging others (even such things as having been born and having their penises sliced, and having the audacity to have a birthday party), then yes, you will perceive that others begrudge your deeds and your existence, when in fact you are the only one.

    I do believe that some people are meant to remain single (myself being one of them), and seemingly you are one of them. Unless, that is, you are looking for someone with the exact same insecurities as yourself so you can spend your lives happily projecting them upon one another. What a thought!

    • Guest 2

      to Clementine

      “Ouch”

      :)

    • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

      Clementine, it sounds almost as if you have a personal grudge against me that you’ve held for some long length of time. If you’re going to make statements such as you’ve seen me over the years do such and such, and you wish to be taken seriously, then you need to reveal to us who you are. Otherwise, I don’t feel your criticisms are worthy of a response.

      “I’ve seen you in such circumstances on at least a few occasions, and I can’t imagine how you could have been offended then.”

      Good grief, what are you, stalking me? I haven’t been in situations such as that in more than 15 years, probably closer to 20. Sorry, but right now you’re kind of giving me the creeps.

      Your comparison of others judging me to my judging frummies in general doesn’t work, because it is mixing apples and oranges, and I shouldn’t need to explain that to you. I did not name anyone by name or indicate who they are. Instead, I merely made statements about many frummies in general or I judged an anonymous commenter. That is far different than judging me, someone real, an actual named individual.

  • I feel your pain

    I just want to open up this comment by empathizing with Rabbs dilemma having been in that situation myself. Singles are indeed pariahs in frum communities.With the Grace of G-d, I have been blessed with a wonderful marriage to my boyfriend of 2 years. As a single living in a community where the respectable marriageable age was 18, I was thrown under the bus. I didn’t care for matrimony at that age and enjoyed every moment of my single-hood. I pitied people my age who were in a maternity. I suppose once you reach your mid twenties, you start to second guess yourself. I had to put up with the constant reminders of my age and biological clock ( in all honesty, the thought of being pregnant still scares the living crap out of me ) but I didn’t think I was missing out on much. I could put sex on hold for as long as I wanted to ( also one of my fears that took a while to overcome. I’m sure those who haven’t been sexually active before marriage can relate ). I didn’t want to get married so quickly. I was looking for companionship which I was lucky enough to find. There are benefits to enjoy in a marriage that you wouldn’t have in the singles scene but there is much drama to put up with as well. Those who are not meant to get married chose that destiny. I know older singles who were exasperated to the point where they gave up hope in ever finding a soul mate thus permanently loosing interest in getting married. Anyone can get married if they put themselves out there. You just need to find the strength and courage to persevere. I’m sure the lucky woman will come around. Best of luck!!

    • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

      Thanks for empathizing with me and for sharing your own story. I am sad for what you experienced. Obviously, I couldn’t agree more that “Singles are indeed pariahs in frum communities”. However, I cannot agree with your statement that “Anyone can get married if they put themselves out there.”

      Marriage takes three to say yes: the man, woman, and G-d. I learned the hard way that even when the man and woman both agree to get married, it’s still not enough. Without that brachah from G-d, the marriage won’t happen.

      All the searching for partners is futile without G-d directing the steps of man. In my case, He’s made it obvious to me that He will never allow me to marry any of His daughters, so I am forced to deal with the sad reality that it’s over for me in terms of ever enjoying being married.

      • http://abandoningeden.blogspot.com abandoning eden

        how do you know what god wants? Maybe things didn’t work out with those earlier women because they weren’t your true bashert.

        • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

          You just answered your own question. ;-)

      • anon

        I was totally with you up until this last comment of yours.

        Ein yeush be’olam clal. Whilst you’re still breathing things can change, even if it doesn’t feel like it.

  • Gevaldigger

    First of all, bravo. It takes guts to spill out intimate details about yourself in the open, regardless of what is agreeable or not to the general public. While your situation is unfortunate, it is not for no reason. One of the missions of the Jewish Community is to battle assimilation and compensate for the significant proportion of our nation that has perished through the holocaust, and other attacks over history. The pressure to get married, especially in the frum community, is partially, if not wholly, a tactic to maintain and increase the Jewish Population. The more pressure, the faster Jews have babies, the greater the growth. It’s a simple survival tactic of the Jewish ‘Tribe.’ It simply is fact. Granted, it inconvenience many singles, and yes, spending your Shabbosos/Shabbats/Saturdays in isolation really really sucks.
    Ultimately, you are in charge of your own happiness, so do what’s good for you. Waiting for a community, whose interest is seeing the Jewish population flourish, to figure out how to make your life easier will unfortunately lead you to disappointment. You are obviously contributing to the community in other ways, and I am sure your story and persistence will lead to some reform in the frum community, but if you are expecting the societal pressure to get married to disappear, then you may want to reevaluate your greater overall understanding of the facts of life. I’m sorry for not sugar-coating this, but I’ve seen others in your position. You simply need to turn the tables and see what you are up against.

    I’d like to address this quote in particular. :
    “In my mind, all they needed to do together to qualify for the celebration was to act on uncontrollable sex urges while being too lazy to use contraceptives.”

    As a helpful piece of advice, despite your frustration with your current situation (and my blessing to you is that it improves tremendously) you may want to look into finding a less morbid way to describe the miracle of life.

    • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

      Thank you for the kudos. Much appreciated. Everything you wrote above is stuff I’ve already articulated elsewhere, so I absolutely agree with you as to what the reasoning is behind the frummy breeders. Good job on getting them right.

      Now for my rebuttal that I always provide after I explain their POV: the idea that we must drop everything and spit out kids to replenish the Jewish population is not a Torah concept. Nowhere in Judaism does it say that we need to create as many kids as possible. Nowhere. Instead, the Torah tells us that G-d will give the Jews a brachah so that we will grow in numbers, but that isn’t for us to take matters into our own hands.

      The fear of being decimated in numbers in population is an irrational fear and it smacks of lack of emunas Hashem, because G-d promises that He will not allow us to be wiped off the face of the globe. Therefore, worrying about the size of our population, whether it needs to become bigger, or whether we need to make sure it doesn’t get too small, is a matter that needs to be left to G-d and G-d alone. Not us.

      Instead, our job is to produce QUALITY Jews. Quality and not quantity. Each Jew is a world in themselves, and what we’re supposed to do is focus on perfecting each Jewish world. Perfection. Quality. Those are attributes we can control. Quantity? That ‘s for G-d to deal with.

      It sickens me that the focus of the frum velt has been one of abandoning common sense and going into high panic and into fight/flight mode, and becoming compelled with spitting out more kids. Doing so often produces more kids than parents can adequately care for, and it only leads to more abused or neglected children. That is not a Torah value. That is not the Jewish way.

      You are correct that I am fighting a tidal wave of thought in the Jewish world, and what I am saying is so foreign to the majority of the parent-happy frum crowd that they will slam me as being crazy and incorrect. But, the truth is that the Torah agrees with me, and it’s not just me saying that, because one of the Gadolei Hador who I have spoken with on the topic agrees with me.

      My problem is that what I see as obvious — that I should not have kids and neither should anyone that will be a bad parent — is light years away from being accepted as mainstream thought within the Jewish world. I am probably centuries ahead of my time in terms of thinking. And, as a result, there is no one for me to marry during my lifetime.

      As for my joke about brisses, maybe I would find a less morbid way to describe spitting out kids if I actually considered my being born a miracle of life rather than a traumatic tragedy.

      • Anonymous

        >Instead, the Torah tells us that G-d will give the Jews a brachah so that we will grow in numbers, but that isn’t for us to take matters into our own hands.

        You mean….HE’S going to impregnate our women? :)

        • Anonymous

          >It sickens me that the focus of the frum velt has been one of abandoning common sense and going into high panic and into fight/flight mode, and becoming compelled with spitting out more kids. Doing so often produces more kids than parents can adequately care for, and it only leads to more abused or neglected children. That is not a Torah value. That is not the Jewish way.

          Yes, but what about all those families that CAN adequately care for them. You live in Pico/Rob. Sandwhiched between Beverly Hills and Beverlywood, where there are plenty of families that make a conscientious decision that they can care for lots of kids. And good for them.

          • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

            “adequately care for them” wasn’t referring to money. It was referring to time and attention span per child.

        • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

          *rolls eyeballs*

        • Mahla

          Well, Christians insist he’s already done it once …. :)

  • Anonymous

    rabbi rabbs I don’t think you would find a frum girl. but you could date less or non-religious women, you would probably have more in common.

    I like the surfing photo. you’re kind of unusual, girls like that ;)

    • Anonymous

      I meant less religious, not less dates. :/

      I recommend more dates with chicks who are less religious.

    • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

      Thanks for your input, and I’m glad you like my photo. I would say I’m extremely unusual, and yes, chicks dig that. I am not insistent that women be over the top with their frumkeit, but I do insist that they keep the three biggie mitzvahs.

  • Bubba Metzia

    This post seems familiar. You repost it and then all of a sudden you’re married? What’s going on?

    • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

      Ok, come clean. Who are you? Obviously, you are one of my facebook friends who was friends with me on myspace as well. The post seems familiar because I posted it on myspace in 2006. The only way you’d know I was “married” is if you’re one of my facebook friends, because only they can see my relationship status change. LOL!

      And that marriage is a joke! :-D

      So which friend are you? Out with it!

      • Mahla

        Wait a minute wait a minute wait a minute — you’re MARRIED?! :^O I would say “mazel tov” but I wanna make sure you’re really (and contently) married before issuing a congratulation.

        • Mahla

          To qualify, what I mean is the statement “and that marriage is a joke” could be taken two ways. :^O

        • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

          If I told you that I just switched my relationship status to married to a different woman than the one I married the other day, would that help clarify? :-)

          • Mahla

            Hee hee, I just wanna make sure you meant that SAYING YOU’RE MARRIED ON FACEBOOK is a joke and not that you’re ACTUALLY MARRIED but the marriage itself is “a joke.”

            I’m thinking it’s the former, because if you’ve stayed single as long as you have, I doubt you’re the type to have jumped into a miserable marriage since you wrote this in 2006. :^D

            • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

              If you go on my facebook wall, you’ll see I married two women this week. There might be more to come. I’m going for Larry King’s record. It’s all in fun. :-)

              • Mahla

                I’ll change my Facebook pic to the one of me in full Muslim hijab including niqab and you can “marry” me next. ;^D That should really generate some entertainment.

                • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

                  That would be awesome! There is a bit of a waiting list to marry me, though, so it won’t be immediate.

  • Chukie’s Buddy

    Speaking for myself, I have eaten many shabbos meals alone when I was younger. It fukin sucks.

    Takeout shmakeout. Been there done that. Happily married now and ill tell u one thing- I fully appreciate my wife and her cooking much more than guys who lived at home and enjoyed home-cooked meals their whole life. And because I appreciate her cooking so much, she likes to spoil me!

    Also,i can understand how being around married couples is uncomfortable., being that we like to talk about kids alot.

    Anyways, good luck!

    • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

      I love that post. Thanks, Chukie’s Buddy. You totally “get” it, dude. Rock on! :-)

  • http://onthefringe_jewishblog.blogspot.com/ Shira Salamone

    I’ll grant you that being a single in the Orthodox community stinks. But there is one thing you mentioned that has me concerned.

    ““You are the first person that I have heard that considers the simple question of where one prays, to be rude. ”

    I wouldn’t be surprised if no one here reading the essay ever heard anyone consider that question to be rude, because the frum world has been conditioned to believe that it’s ok to ask it. Similarly, frummies tend to ask all kinds of rude, personal questions to strangers, such as “where are you from?”, “which yeshivahs did you learn at?”, “where do you live?”, “what do you do?”, “where do you work?”, “what’s your last name?”, and because they all grew up hearing those rude questions asked, they in turn believe it is socially acceptable to ask them themselves.

    But, guess what? There are a few of us frummies who actually think for ourselves, and we realize those questions aren’t appropriate to ask to strangers, and the answers are none of our business. The problem is that frummies tend to suffer from social ineptness.”

    The only questions listed that are asked mostly by frummies are those asking where you daven and which yeshivas you attended. All of the other questions listed are standard for two people who don’t know each other and are trying to talk about something other than the weather. In all seriousness, do you expect every conversation with a stranger to be about Talmud and/or Tolstoy, or whatever might interest you that they would have no way of knowing about yet? You might wish to consider the possibility that your conversational and/or other social skills need some work, as you seem to have an extreme aversion to what most people would simply consider “small talk.”

    • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

      “In all seriousness, do you expect every conversation with a stranger to be about Talmud and/or Tolstoy, or whatever might interest you that they would have no way of knowing about yet? ”

      Why not? I had a rosh yeshivah that once told us that a major purpose of daf yomi is so that any two Jews who meet in the market place could start a conversation with “hey, what did you think of today’s daf?”

      That’s not an invasive or rude question. And, the worst case scenario is that the other person didn’t learn the daf. But, they could politely respond with, “sorry, I don’t do daf yomi”. And, that’s not so awkward or embarrassing to admit, as it isn’t a requirement for klal Yisroel to learn daf yomi.

      The point is that there are plenty of “small talk” conversation topics that don’t invade our personal, private info.

  • Guest

    Wow… I vaguely remember Rabbi Rabbs from Myspace back in the day. I didn’t know he was actually “observant.” I thought it was all a big joke.

    • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

      Did you think I dress this way only because chicks dig the Chasidic battle gear?

      • Guest

        No, I thought you dressed that way for a shtick, to make money with your comedy act as the “Rabbi,” and to attract attention. From the tone of your essay and responses to the comments, I would say you’ve at least validated the latter inference.

  • anonymous

    hey rabbi rabbs,

    i don’t usually respond to random blog posts, but i felt so upset after reading your article.

    being someone who is also single and getting older i can identify with your fear of ending up alone BUT you are letting that take over you. there were many interesting comments in response to your article, and though some of them were harsh, i think you responded too defensively and maybe you should consider what they said.

    your attitude has a lot to do with your happiness. if u focus on the fact that people are interested in who you are (by asking questions like where you daven, etc) you may find yourself resenting the questions less. no one intends to interrogate you, they just want to get to know you. this same policy of trying to look at things from a more positive angle, can be applied to other issues you brought up that are causing you a lot of anger.

    i don’t want to come off as if i never feel that way, because we all have our moments, but it just seems like you have decided to be angry and resentful and there’s nothing anyone can say or do to get you to reconsider which would ultimately make you a more enjoyable person to be around.

    one last comment- the fact that you don’t want kids is definitely holding you back and maybe you should try to work on your qualities that you believe would make you a bad father and that would open up a lot of doors.

    i seriously wish you the best of luck.

    • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

      Thank you for taking the time to compose such a lengthy response, and for sharing your opinions.

      As for your suggestion that I should try to overcome being a bad father, it doesn’t work like that. A person is either born with the parenting gene or they’re not. I spoke about that in the interview. I was not born with that gene, and all of the working on those qualities won’t fix that. The best thing I should do is not have kids. The unfortunate thing is that women who similarly won’t be good parents are not joining me in the resolve not to reproduce, and hence, I’m left all alone.

      So, I might suggest to you that instead of focusing your energies on trying to spin me around and to change me, focus instead on spreading the word to Jewish women that those that won’t be good mothers SHOULD NOT HAVE KIDS and then two great things will happen:

      1. Less innocent kids will be abused
      2. Rabbi Rabbs will have someone to marry

      • anonymous

        where is your source for this parenting gene? i don’t want to come off as being harsh- really i don’t. please realize that the world of science, psychology, and Torah has never made reference to this gene which you speak of. unless you have a personality disorder, in which case you can work on it with a therapist, you are letting yourself off the hook way too easy.

        try to challenge yourself to become a happier and more refined person.

        • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

          Thank you for your question. Parental gene is a figure of speech.

          “you are letting yourself off the hook way too easy.”

          I thought I posted that I am not the one letting me off the hook, but rather, one of the Gadolei Hador is. That should be convincing enough.

  • BT Old Lady

    Communal solution: Have folks over on Friday night, easy and cheap. Buy: a very big electric crock-pot, ( “slow-cooker”), and, an electric rice cooker. These have timers built in. Then, get some bags of Goya dried beans (just rinse, don’t need to soak) into the crock pot early, with boiling potatoes, a little meat maybe, or not, a bag of little carrots, celery cut up, onion cut up, a fair bit of Osem powder, who knows how much, you will see how you like it, mustard, a jar of Barilla tomato sauce, who knows. Also put rinsed, BROWN, rice into the cooker well before Shabbat. After cooking, all this stuff stays hot nicely over a very long time. Invite too many people over, and give them all plainly to understand that they are expected to bring stuff and chip in. No coming with empty hands! Especially – fresh fruit, apples, seedless grapes, wine, pita breads, Sharon-brand parve sorbets, raisins, dagtes, coffee, tea, paper goods, stuff like that. They should arrive before candle-lighting, and help set the table and all. Now: pull a sheet or screen across the room for a mechitza, and daven, and then have the women light candles. You need to help out the OTHER older singles! They NEED you! Do this so frequently that it is no big deal. Every week. Any motley crew can come, spread the word. BTs, the retired lady down the hall, any wandering Jew. It can be lopsided. All ages and sexes. Give a drosh. Take charge. Get a folding table and some cheap stackable chairs from STAPLES. You can put a white sheet on the table and cover it with a vinyl. Hey. You’re a single man. Take it or leave it. Could be fun.

    • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

      Those are all great ideas. Thanks for the suggestions. I really wish I could do those things, but they are just not within my capabilities. But thanks so much. :-)

  • ipitythefoo

    You know, the Torah says Dan Lkaf Zechut… Hashem knows that as humanbeings we will be judgemental, and gives us parameters.
    So here are my collective thoughts… hopefully not on the wrong side of the judgement line.
    1- The shul question isn’t out of line, the individual likely wants to connect with you (“Oh! You daven at Bais Menachem! Do you know….I love Rabbi Mendy…..”) In contrast, “Why aren’t you married” IS intrusive.
    2- Shabbosim alone are terrible, though I think seeking female company might be beneficial, maybe even male company for meals etc. would improve your emotional state and keep your spirits up.
    3- Though you don’t like interacting with children personally, I hardly think that is a reason to avoid a particular Shabbos table… In fact, seeing as you say you don’t want any, I would presume that would aleviate the awkwardness. However, I have dated many men who simply needed to be taught how to deal with babies and little children.
    4- If your concern about having children is regarding your genetic makeup – theres always adoption.
    5- Is it out of line to ask if your a Cohen? Is that the “status” you refer to? I sense you particularily don’t like intrusions into your private life, though you so willingly share this chunk of your identity… I really only ask this because I know a number of cohanim who feel very limited in their marriage choices and I always feel for them, your essay echoed of some of that.
    6- As for Shalach Manos, perhaps giving to elderly in an old folks home. Clearly you have a deep understanding of loneliness, maybe bring comfort to other sufferers would soothe your pain? I like to do chesed with the elderly for my own selfish reason, they are so thankful.
    7- As a single person with many married friends, I mamish cannot imagine the depth of your pain. In fact, I can’t do much else but give you a bracha. May Hashem give you the koach to search for your soulmate emotionally, spiritually and physically. May you be matzliach in your search in the right time, never losing total emuna in Hakadosh Baruch Hu. She should be everything you need, and worth the wait. They say you will get your Teffilos answered when you daven for another individual who needs the same yeshua as you. I’ll daven for you.

    • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

      Thank you for reading my essay, and for taking the time to compose such a lengthy response. I will address your seven points in order:

      1. “Oh! You daven at Bais Menachem! Do you know….I love Rabbi
      Mendy…..”

      What if the person doesn’t like Rabbi Mendy? Now you are causing them to fight against saying lashon horah. The Chofetz Chaim talks about avoiding name-dropping even with positive props, because it can cause someone to say negative things about that person. Yet, as you demonstrated, it is commonplace amongst the frum community to ignore that halachah.

      Asking where one davens should be a private matter. It is really no one’s business which shul we belong to or whether we don’t belong to a shul. That’s between us and G-d, and that shul. I will share something. Someone this week told me that they once agreed to be interviewed by a reporter on condition that the reporter not ask which shul they daven in. For real. Trust me, it’s not only me that values our privacy.

      2. As I mentioned in the essay, my single friends from yeshivah days are long gone. They almost all either got married, moved away, or both. There really isn’t anyone around anymore to hang with on Shabbos, and it’s not so easy always making new friends. Occasionally, I do make friends with younger people, but it’s only temporary until they get married or move away.

      3. I can’t stand being in the same room as little kids and babies. Sorry, that’s so not happening.

      4. See my answer to no. 3.

      5. I’m not a Kohen. But, you’re on the right track. There are a bunch of us that have special categories, such as the mamzerim can only marry other mamzerim, a sufek mamzer can’t marry anyone EVER! That’s got to be the suck, huh? My category is that I’m only open to women that don’t have and don’t want kids. It should be a slam dunk because all of the women similar to me that know they would not be good parents should flock to me. But guess what? They don’t exist. So, I be left lonely.

      6. That’s a good idea. Thanks.

      7. Amen. Thanks! :-) My name is Hershel ben Rishah Paysel

      • http://abandoningeden.blogspot.com abandoning eden

        believe me, there are PLENTY of women who don’t want to have kids. Something like 20% of women nowadays don’t have children and only 1/4 of those are from infertility- there is a whole “child free” movement in popular culture.

        Now, in the frum community child free women may be harder to find- especially because it’s not socially acceptable to say you don’t want kids, so they probably arn’t going around telling all their friends they don’t want kids. But why not put an ad on frumster or something saying you are firmly 100% child-free and are looking for someone who is also child-free? It can’t hurt, and by being completely honest you may actually find the few women out there who ARE the type who would want to be with someone who doesn’t want kids. Also, I’m not sure how old you are, but as you get older, there are many older single women who are no longer biologically able to have children, and they usually find it very hard to get married because guys want to marry younger women they can have kids with- seems like those types of women are exactly what you are looking for.

        In fact, my ex-fiance married a frum woman who is child-free, so I know for a fact that at least one such woman exists. :)

        • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

          I agree that there are plenty of child-free women out there, but in the frum world? Not so much. Thanks for your advice. I actually have done more than you suggested. I not only had it say explicitly what my reqs are on my frumster profile, but I actually bought full page ads in magazines and newspapers targeting frummy Jewish women.

          Frumster should change its name to Breedster. That entire site is geared towards spitting out kids and it just alienates childfree people. So, the more likely place such a woman would have found me is on myspace where I was a huge deal for years.

          Any frummy woman that doesn’t fit the mold, and doesn’t want kids, quite likely would find me on myspace. I didn’t exactly keep my not wanting kids a secret over there — hence the essays about it that I published there.

  • Single too

    Hi

    Ignore all the nasty comments. People who haven’t experienced what you have gone through/ going through couldn’t possibly understand or begin to for a minute relate to the anguish and heartache that being single brings, and the feeling it leaves you whilst being part of a religious community…No words to describe that feeling.
    I’m not going to write a lengthy message , just take comfort that there are many who feel the same exact way you do, and thanks you for taking the time and courage to write what you did.

    • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

      Awesome comment. Thank you! :-D

  • Anonymous

    We have just invented the Pot Luck Supper. The Christians do this all the time, so why not us? There could be a Shabbos Round-Robin System – one week at my place, next week your place, next week his place, the whole thing organized using Twitter or a Facebook page or something. (Anybody who doesn’t help clean up after dinner is a rotten egg.) The more it’s crowded, the more it’s giggly. People love to be crowded beyond all reason. The focus is NOT on the host! It’s about doing the job for G-d, and for Shabbos! IPITYTHE FOO, you go first. Talk to your friends and get it going. Be very accepting. Your friends will drift in, and out, of the “Round Robin Erev Shabbos Project”, as their schedules and interest wax and wane, but that’s OK. You will remain steadfast and consistent, at its core. As Reb Rabbs explains so well, this is not possible alone, so keep talking and keep cooking.

    You could form a small committee called “The Annoying Unmarried Sisters” – three girlfriends who show up at the poor guy’s house on Thursday night, or quite early Friday, barging in sweetly to set up the crock-pot , for later eating. They leave quickly, bring everything, all cut up already.

    We could found the Copper Mirror Society. This helps women to look better , by getting their hair up off their necks with a nice clip, and putting on plenty of Lancome black eye pencil and Lancome black waterproof mascara. That’s a chick thing though. Not for you, Rabbi Rabb.

    We could discuss Torah Home Schooling, a big thing now (google it). It is for non-elites who can’t afford private school, but still want their children to know how to be Jews. It’s not that hard in this computer age. Could also supplement, not substitute for, a normal institutional school.

    Meanwhile, for Erev Shabbos, or Shabbat, the kitchen gadgets, the folding table, the stackable chairs, can all be ordered online. So can the food!! “Fresh Direct” has a Kosher section, and there is also “Kosher Dot Com”, which delivers. You don’t have to leave the house at all!! It can all be delivered. You just have to open the door and sign for it and The Annoying Unmarried Sisters Committee will do the rest. Bless them. You lie on the couch with Hamodia over your face.

    Keep it cheap. We are talking RAW food here: rice, beans, vegetables. Cheap. Yes, you can boil. You can put up a hot water urn. A shower curtain, on a spring rod, will do for a mechitza. The Bal Shem Tov was a clay digger, with one pair of boots. Why not you? We have to bring back the proud, simple, pious, normal Jew. (The guy the Henry Street Settlement got rid of, by modernizing him, flattening out his accent, Reforming him.) No fanciness needed, except what is FUN.

    Gin mixed with kosher cranberry juice makes a nice kosher aperatif, though not useable for making Kiddush.

    (Oh! As for the awkward, graceless, clueless, stupidly over-enthusiastic BT guy, described on another thread here, who bowed so dramatically at the Kotel, or Kosel, that he actually banged his fool head on it by accident, MARRY HIM. THAT’s a real man. Find him. Track him down. Get his number. That’s the kind of man we want to create. (Maybe with home-schooling?) That’s the kind of son we want to have. )

    • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

      Hey, if three Jewy chicks want to come over and cook here on Thursday nights, you won’t see Rabbi Rabbs stopping them. :-)

  • Avrumy

    Lots of brutal honesty there, RR.
    Sorry if I repeat some earlier comments from other readers.
    For years I have posited that if a man who wants to be married reaches 40 and is not married, it can only be for a few acceptable reasons: gay, (mentally or physically) ill, exteme lack of social skills or really really ugly.
    As a gay guy, I speak from experience. Until I found my bashert, Shabbos was often a slow boring experience. But I did get a lot of reading done. And I invited other singles to lunch when I could. makes a big difference. Still today many of my friends are frum gays and Shabbos is their loneliest day of the week. So we try to host Shabbos meals when we can. Gays love to party on Friday nights, have brunches and dinner parties. For a shomer Shabbos, kosher Jew, being gay can be a tough experience. But we manage. Anyway, you are not gay and far from ugly. You have a career and nice presence. But based on your well-written piece, you do seem to have some mental illnesses – fear of happy people, children, change.
    Try a different shul, go to Chabad – they love to welcome new people and are full of “misfits”.
    Reading your replies to the many who are offering advice is “leave me alone, you don’t understand me, who are you to tell me anything.” You seem to want to wallow in your self-pity. And while your post made me extremely sympathetic, your replies to not.
    Call Jewish social services and ask for a referral for a therapist. Seriously. Because you certainly are never going to get married in this state of mind.
    Have a good Shabbos!

    • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

      Avrumy,

      Thank you for reading my essay, your many wonderful compliments regarding both me and what I wrote, and for the Shabbos greetings. I will respond to some of your points.

      You wrote: “For years I have posited that if a man who wants to be married reaches 40 and is not married, it can only be for a few acceptable reasons: gay, (mentally or physically) ill, exteme lack of social skills or really really ugly.”

      And here I had thought I was the one stereotyping people. ;) I believe you need to restructure that thinking, because there are many possibilities that you neglected to mention. For instance, it could be that he is a mamzer, a sufek mamzer, a Kohen, or in my case, someone that resolved not to have kids. Okay, my case unfortunately is so rare that I may be the only person that fits that category, but with G-d’s help, hopefully many more men in my situation will follow my lead.

      But regardless of who the man is, every person that is still single after 40 is ultimately not married for one reason only — because G-d did not want them to be married. Never blame someone over 40 for not being married. They are still single ONLY because it was not their due time yet to be married, and G-d did not give to them their other half. Or, maybe G-d will never let them get married. And, none of that is due to their lack of social skillz, ugly looks, illnesses, or whatever.

      So, stop judging. Stop conjecturing.

      As for my reaction to the replies, let’s first understand that my essay was not written about me. Rather, it was written about a pitfall in the Jewish community. But, instead of discussing the problem in the Jewish community, some commenters decided to focus on me instead. Look, I didn’t write that essay for people to pity me, offer me advice, or tell me to go to a shrink. Instead, I wrote it for people to be aware of the problems in the community, and to hopefully fix the problems.

      As for me, I’ve heard most of the suggestions a million times before, and that’s some of why you see my frustration coming out, because I already know most of those suggestions don’t work.

      You see it quite differently. You see it as though everyone else is right and therefore, since I’m going the opposite direction, I must be wrong. I would again encourage you to re-wire your thinking from right/wrong to one of mainstream vs. different. And, although I am very different than the herd you see, that doesn’t make me wrong. Moreover, it could be that I’m the only one here who is correct, and because you think like the rest of them, then therefore you are just as incorrect as they are. Remember, the correct approach is not determined by popularity contest.

      As for therapists, I say everything I need to say about them here:

  • Phil

    Avrumy,

    It a miracle, you and I actually agree on something (the therapist part).

    • http://righteousrasha.blogspot.com Tova

      What miracle? You both agree on wanting men.

      • Phil

        Tova,

        I figured you’d post something to that effect, you didn’t disappoint, you were actually quicker than I estimated.

        For what it’s worth, I think you and Rabbs would make a great shidduch ;)

        • http://righteousrasha.blogspot.com Tova

          Nah, it would never work since I’m not frum at all. Plus, he doesn’t get along well with deadheads for some reason.

          • Phil

            Tova,

            Pity… What about braindeads?

            Just kidding :)

            • http://righteousrasha.blogspot.com Tova

              I really think there should be a “Rabbs of Love” reality series (see my comment below). No joke! America would love to see shidduch reality TV.

          • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

            Huh? I get along GREAT with deadheads. Heck, I’m a magnet for Grateful Dead chicks! What I said in the interview is that I don’t want to pursue marriage with them because they won’t commit to marrying me, so I’m just wasting my time, energy, and getting my hopes up for nuttin’ with them.

        • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

          I keep telling her that we’d be a great match but she doesn’t dig facial hair.

  • http://righteousrasha.blogspot.com Tova

    Rabbs,

    I have a shidduch idea for you. How about a reality TV show called “Rabbs of Love”, where you sort out and date potential matches? I think it would be a hit.

    • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

      Tova, it’s funny you wrote that, because about five years ago, a TV producer tossed a similar idea around. He wanted to do a show in the Who Wants To Marry A Millionaire genre in which there would be 25 single Jewish females and me, and call it who wants to marry the rabbi comedian? And, at the very last episode, when there was only one still standing, I’d surprise her by saying I don’t want kids and America would look at the shock in her face. How great is that?

  • Bayshan

    Not funny at all. Are you serious? Or just cruel. Does this explain why no woman will give you the time of day?

    • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

      Bayshan, first of all, get a sense of humor. Second, ROFL at no woman will give me the time of day. :-))

  • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

    FYI, my essay was not written about me. Rather, it was written about a pitfall in the Jewish community. But, instead of discussing the problem in the Jewish community, some commenters decided to focus on me instead. Look, I didn’t write that essay for people to pity me, offer me advice, or tell me to go to a shrink. Instead, I wrote it for people to be aware of the problems in the community, and to hopefully fix the problems.

  • Anonymous

    Nay nay. A guy who says : ” 3. I can’t stand being in the same room as little kids and babies..” is making an extreme statement. He is talking about himself, and his severe and specific problem, not just a general difficulty of being an older single. He has gone beyond saying he doesn’t want his OWN children, ( that’s a little questionable for a Torah-reading rabbi – the first commandment, in Bereshit, is “go forth and multiply”). Yes, we all know rabbis are human, and not perfect. Still, for a rabbi, more than another man, not wanting children should remain a dirty little secret, not a banner to wave. He has a right to his problem, but he should not go so far as to call childlessness “child-free” , as if children were a disease, just because he has a problem. Yes, it’s a problem, not just a personal viewpoint, to be unable to be in the same ROOM with ANY children. People live with lots of difficulties. This one is pretty severe, – the same ROOM!! It should be no worse than putting up with boring adults, who are just as plentiful as children, but it is much worse. So, we should hope he feels better.

    He knows suicide is not allowed, or practical, including group suicide. Not having kids, if we all did it, would obviously amount to group suicide.

    So, feel what you want, and discuss it, but don’t sell it as fine for everybody. It’s not. And yes, we hope you feel better.

    Your essay mixes and entangles two things together, the general problems facing anybody who is an older single, and the personal, unusual problem, of not being able to stand being in the same room with babies and children. So, your essay actually contains two different essays, both interesting and well written. It’s not amazing if people react to both of them. It’s too late to say, “leave my personal stuff out of the conversation”, after putting it out for discussion.

    • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

      First of all, thank you for your input, and for your compliments regarding how my essay is well-written.

      Not everything I personally experienced is necessarily indicative of what other singles experienced. However, my particular details are just that — mine. Similarly, other singles experienced other forms of alienation.

      The fact that each individual single has their own unique bad experiences doesn’t preclude the overall problem — all singles are experiencing alienation. So let’s not get lost in the trees, but instead, focus on the overall forest which in this case is what happens to singles. Remember, we are single for different reasons, but we are all the same in one aspect — we are all alienated.

      That’s the commonality, and that’s what we should be focusing on from my essay.

      Now to address the specifics in regards to me that you criticized:

      There is nothing questionable nor is there anything deficient about my not wanting kids. In my case, it is the admirable and proper thing to do and I have a heter from a Gadol regarding the mitzvah of piru urvu. And, the fact that I am a rabbi makes no difference, and it should NOT remain a secret nor something I should be ashamed of. Rather, it is something that I should be screaming with a loud voice so as to wake up others on the topic, but that’s a whole discussion on its own.

      To make the quantum leap and even suggest the implication that we should commit group suicide is laughable. Nowhere did I give cause to suggest such nonsense.

  • Anonymous

    Screaming to wake others up to what? The benefit of advance training for childbearing, so as to do it well instead of badly, instead of just leaping blindly and ignorantly in? Good suggestion. The need for ongoing support and education, when it gets stressful? Sure. That people should cease such an inadvisable activity, so we are the last generation, with the Torah disappearing when the books and scrolls inevitably turn to dust, and no one has written new ones? Not a good idea. That you, personally, have been formally released from this, is about you alone, and has nothing to do with “others”. No, in this one respect, you are unlikely to get likeminded company, ever, and that is lonesome. But you can still have a nice Shabbat, hosting guests who need your encouragement and rabbinic leadership. You don’t have to like them or ever see them again. It’s not a dinner party. It’s a religious devotional act, and the joy is about G-d, not the guests themselves.

    Stay with the singles issue and leave children out of it – children are not your expertise. That’s fine, but, we don’t “play Rabbi ” when we are not really one, and we don’t play parental expert when we know nothing about it. L’chaim.

    • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

      “That people should cease such an inadvisable activity, so we are the last generation, with the Torah disappearing when the books and scrolls inevitably turn to dust, and no one has written new ones?

      Nope. Never stated that. But nice canard there.

      I NEVER stated all Jews should stop having kids. And, the idea that Jews would disappear is absurd because G-d promises that won’t happen, and if you don’t trust G-d, then that’s your problem.

      Instead, I simply state with a loud voice that all people that will be bad parents should NOT have kids. Plain and simple. All of such people need to follow my lead, and do the right thing, and resolve not to reproduce, instead of what we unfortunately see today in that every frum woman no matter what a horrible mother she will be, feels COMPELLED to spit out kids no matter what. And, that is the sorry state we are in today in this community.

      You are correct that I can’t get likeminded company and that is a terrible statement about the Jewish community in that the frum world is content to perpetuate the cycle of abuse.

      “That you, personally, have been formally released from this, is about you alone”

      False.

      That is what the yetzer horah wants you to conclude. Keep telling yourself that the issue isn’t relevant to you, and you will believe it.

  • Anonymous

    Oh. Okay. But, instead of saying “if you won’t be good at this, don’t do it” we could say “if you do this, PREPARE, THINK, read books before the baby comes, because you won’t have time afterward, and line up experienced people to coach you in your new role, both right after the birth to teach you infant care, and going forward. Fathers as well as mothers need this. Line up a pediatrician you like personally, well before the birth, who will answer questions patiently”.

    That might be more positive. You know people are going to do what they do, so let’s make an inevitable situation better, with intelligent support, instead of just saying,”Don’t!”

    Bonding between new mother and baby is a crucial, complicated, life-affecting process. It is useful to read up on this before the birth, and be very careful not to prevent or damage this mysterious and essential event. It is delicate. It can happen successfully even after a difficult birth. But a woman needs to be aware, and wise enough, to fight for it, ensure it happens. Its not happening is one invisible root of all the dramatic stuff that can come later, the estrangements you are talking about. And post-partum depression too. That can kick you in the ankle, enough to make you cry real tears, three days after birth, merely because your hormones are temporarily out of balance. If you KNOW about this normal phenomenon, you ignore it, and it passes. No big deal. It’s just your hormones talking, not real thoughts, just don’t listen. (There can be a temporary psychological depression at the 10th week of pregnancy also, for some women, also hormonal. That passes, too.)

    It is very useful for you to agitate for more attention to these things!

    • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

      Thank you for your response. If someone is under the influence of alcohol, we don’t permit them to drive, PERIOD. We don’t pussy foot around and tell them, “well, if you drink some coffee first, and then drive really slowly with someone experienced next to you in the front seat, then you’ll be fine”.

      Similarly, if someone is going to be a bad parent, we shouldn’t permit them to have kids, PERIOD.

  • Anonymous

    First-time student drivers, ignorant as posts, do indeed drive slowly with someone experienced in the front seat.

    Leave the social engineering to the leftists. You know as much about it as they know about Gemara. Nothing. (They are so enlightened that their population’s median age is now 50. More of them die than get born. If they were a birds or fish, their extinction would make headlines, but nobody cares, including them. And you can’t get them to talk about this. They get the vapors and call 911 to have you arrested if you even mention it. It’s weird.)

    We Orthodox know better. We speak of “who will live and who will die” during Rosh Hashana week. Who will get born is included in “who will live”. We hope and pray everything goes well, but we can’t “permit,” as you put it. G-d does the permitting.

    • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

      There is a world of difference between a new driver and a drunk driver, just as there is a world of difference between a new parent and a bad parent. You are confusing the two.

      A bad parent is comparable to a drunk driver, and under NO circumstances should that person be allowed to parent. Just as we absolutely must take an active role to prevent drunks from driving, we must take an active role and prevent bad parents from having kids.

      We cannot stand by and hide our eyes. We cannot just say to ourselves, “it’s in G-d’s hands”. The Torah warns against hiding our eyes when we have the opportunity to prevent such things from happening. To stand back and let drunks drive and kill someone, or to let a child be raised by a bad or abusive parent is horrible, and not the Torah way.

  • Anonymous

    Right. When we see a guy is drunk, we don’t let him drive. When we see a parent is abusive, they lose their kids by court order, to be raised by relatives or foster care. But, there is no way to deny a guy a driver’s license in advance of his becoming drunk. We do not know who will drive drunk someday, later on. Unless he is already a drinker from the beginning. The state inspector will indeed deny him a license if he seems impaired at his road test.

    People considering marriage act just like state inspectors! They try very hard not to marry someone who seems impaired or unsuitable for parenting. (That sentence is certainly not meant as a condemnation of singles. There are many wonderful singles who just haven’t met the right one yet, or, will be valuable, nice people without ever marrying.)

    There is a breathalyzer to test for alcohol. Do you propose a psychological test before marriage, like the Wasserman test for syphillis? Could that be subjective and give false results? Could it be abused by the spiteful? A can of worms. Better to offer support and preparation, and vigilance, and reporting, by professionals who see children up close, teachers, doctors, nurses – or anybody. There are such laws.

    You seem to be saying, “take the pressure off people who do not feel they should have children”. OK. Your friends seem to think you should not accomodate this phobia, that it is something to “get over”. But you have a heter!! They should let you alone! As for having a wife in these circumstances, there are infertile, older women, widows or divorcees, who don’t like being alone either. Shop around.

    • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

      Friends don’t let friends drive drunk, and friends don’t let child abusers become parents.

      When a person is drunk, we do not hand them the keys to their car, we do not sit back and watch them drive away. Instead, we prevent them from hurting people. The same must apply for potential abusers. We must prevent them from hurting innocent children.

      I am extreme on the issue, and I believe that the way to stop the cycle of abuse, the recurring pattern of bad parenting, is to eradicate it. That is only accomplished when every person that grew up with bad parenting resolves to never have kids. That is the only way to stop child abuse.

      And, that’s your answer as to how to stop it. Every one of us that grew up with bad parenting must follow my lead and resolve to not have kids, NO MATTER WHAT.

      As for others, the attitude must change institutionally. It must be taught in our homes and in our yeshivahs and in our schools that those who grew up with bad parenting must not have kids. We must champion the idea of killing child abuse. If we do not do that, if we do anything less, then we will only perpetuate the cycle of abuse, and we will be willing participants in keeping that cycle alive.

      Testing for it, and the other ideas you came up with are merely tiny bandages on an exploding problem and will not solve anything. The issue is serious and it’s out of control. The only way to stop it is by taking an extreme action that involves an entire overhaul of mainstream’s accepted thought. So long as we encourage everyone to breed without exception, so long as we say BS such as a woman’s entire purpose is to raise kids, so long as we only champion those who have kids, we are light years away from stopping child abuse.

  • Anonymous

    You might be right about extreme cases of victims deciding not have kids. Except, some victims might be able to face the potential problem, and ask for a lot of help, being determined to do it right this time.

    Defining what is a bad enough childhood to trigger such an extreme decision is not simple.

    “Exploding problem”? It is certainly a grave problem but that does not have to mean it is a common one.

    Are you sure there is no child abuse among the secular population, who like their women to have jobs, secular educations, careers? Don’t be silly. Of course there is.

    We don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. The Orthodox will actually BE HERE in two generations. Don’t mess with that.

  • Anonymous

    You might be right about extreme cases of victims deciding not have kids. Except, some victims might be able to face the potential problem, and ask for a lot of help, being determined to do it right this time.

    Defining what is a bad enough childhood to trigger such an extreme decision is not simple.

    “Exploding problem”? It is certainly a terribly grave problem but that does not have to mean it is a common one.

    Are you sure there is no child abuse among the secular population, who like their women to have jobs, secular educations, careers? Don’t be silly. Of course there is.

    No one could every make a small matter out of what happened. It is very, very bad. We must struggle against this eternally.

    But we don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. The Orthodox will actually BE HERE in two generations. Let us not fix what is not broken. What works.

    • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

      Not broken???? Are you kidding me???

      I am not sure if you’re trying to make me angry or if you’re just plain ignorant, but you need to do some research because it is well documented that child abuse is a worldwide epidemic that crosses practically all nations and peoples, including the Jews.

      Based upon your ignorant statement, it is easy to understand why far too many members of the Jewish community are clueless when it comes to child abuse, and they don’t know the difference between an abuse cycle and a motorcycle. As long as Jews echo ignorant statements such as yours, we can all sadly expect to see child abuse continue within our community for many generations to come.

      The stats show that about 1/3 of all children that grew up abused will later abuse their own children, and that close to 100% of all child abusers were abused themselves as children. Meaning, close to 0% of children who grew up with good parenting will later abuse.

      From those stats, it is clear that abuse is cyclical, and that the way to eradicate it is very simply to stop those that have been abused from reproducing.

      Therapy is a crock, and it doesn’t do jack squat to solve the problem.

      But, go ahead and sit on your hands, and bury your head in the sand, and continue to pretend the problem doesn’t exist, and go tell every single Jew no matter how they were raised to spit out as many kids as possible. It doesn’t matter to you that if the person grew up abused that you could be telling them to abuse children. It doesn’t matter to you that if 10 abused Jews came to you, and you told all 10 to have kids, that THREE of them will very likely be abusive parents. And, if all three spit out 10 kids each, you just created 30 more victims.

      But, go ahead and ruin those 30 lives as mine has been ruined. You have plenty of company in doing so, because millions of Jews share your same unfortunate backward attitude. Us Jews have done a pretty good job of perpetuating the cycle of abuse for hundreds of years, so why stop it now, right? Just label it “unbroken” and keep going. Woohoo!

      And, again, we’re not talking about eradicating the Jews or the frum Jews. Instead, we’re talking about eradicating abuse within our community. It boggles my mind how so many Jews cannot comprehend what I have been shouting for years. It’s pathetic! Perhaps the damage done to their brains that results in their inability to think this through is a result of centuries of inbreeding.

  • Anonymous

    Your idea is interesting. But you are still talking about wasting a lot of lives – the children of the two-thirds of victims who you say would parent acceptably, and who would not be born under your plan.

    Not to be obvious, but this is a link to a frum organization that helps with this:

    https://www.5tjt.com/local-news/7322-to-save-a-life-sovri-helpline-finds-the-path-to-healing

    By unbroken, I didn’t mean problem-free. I meant ours is the only system that is actually producing a demographic future. Everybody else’s future-producing machinery is broken. Completely busted and in pieces. Like pulling a thread out of a sweater – a small change can unravel the whole thing. It only took a few decades to breathe its last. Now that we can see on every streetcorner that reproducing is difficult, that it is a fragile system, requiring specific cultural confidence, support, pressure, and structure to work at all, my concern is quite natural! And the improvements and adjustments all sounded so reasonable and rational in the beginning! But now no gears are moving. Dead silence.

    Your “inbreeding” remark doesn’t sound very Jew-loyal. But yes, Ashkenazim – should marry more Mizrahim and Sephardim. They cook well and are very pretty.

    It is understandable that you have a hard time with all these smiling families while you don’t have that. It is admirable that you stayed in the frum community at all.

    I hope your notion that those who were not abused never abuse is right. If it isn’t your whole theory falls down.

    • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

      Thank you for your response. I will respond to your points in order:

      I’m glad you brought up the 2/3 of victims that will not continue the cycle of abuse. I addressed that issue in the interview that you can watch on video. I explained that the problem is that we don’t know in a room filled with 10 abuse victims which ones will be abusers and which ones won’t. If we did know, we could easily separate the 10 into two groups, dismissing the seven non-abusers and focusing on the three abusers.

      However, we don’t know who is who. So, until the three bad parents step forward and say “I will be a terrible parent, and thus, I will not have kids”, and take themselves out of gene pool, we must treat all 10 as guilty so as to eradicate the problem. Because, it is far worse to create 30 abuse victims than it is to prevent the births of 70 kids. Quality and not quantity.

      Up until now, the Jewish community has unfortunately focused on quantity and not quality. It places far more importance on the number of kids each Jew spits out rather than how well one child is raised. And, there is nothing in Torah that justifies such a travesty.

      The link you posted is an organization that apparently only focuses on sexual abuse. That is merely one form of abuse, and as I stated in my interview, that’s not even one I was victim to. There are other more common forms of abuse that should receive the same type of attention, such as emotional and physical abuse, and perhaps the worst form of abuse, neglect.

      The org seems to focus on caring for the victims, which is nice, but I wouldn’t agree with your assessment that the org “helps with this”, because I highly doubt they preach not to reproduce as I am calling for.

      I am Ashkenazi, and I am a product of some serious inbreeding, so I can make that statement about Ashkies. It might not be a pretty statement, but I tend not to sugar coat the truth.

      You wrote: “It is admirable that you stayed in the frum community at all.”

      Thank you. I appreciate that. The ONLY reason I stay is because I know the Torah is the Truth.

      My notion that those who were not abused never abuse is not my own concoction. I am merely paraphrasing what the statistics reveal.

  • Anonymous

    Upon reflection I think you are right and I concede the argument.

    But it is the victims themselves you should be preaching to not the Jewish community at large.

    The victims are the only ones with final-say power about your drastic but prudent proposal: if you can get them to withhold their own fertility, either socially or surgically, you might indeed stamp out this terrible social infection. At least, greatly reduce its incidence. With, as you conceede, a waste of many unborn Jews who might have had reasonable childhoods.

    I wish you luck.

    • http://Youtube.com/rabbirabbs Rabbi Rabbs

      I respect that you conceded the debate.

      It is imperative that I preach to the Jewish community at large because to affect the kind of radical and dramatic shift in Jewish victims’ thinking requires a complete overhaul of their society’s thinking.

      Unfortunately, most people are unlike me in that they are incapable of thinking for themselves and they are afraid to go against the norm. Therefore, the only way to affect change is to appeal to the mainstream. For most victims to think it is “right” not to have kids will require the overwhelming majority of their community to agree with them.

  • Anonymous

    If you meet with SOVRI, the organization for Orthodox abuse victims, and explained the numbers, as you did above, you could develop a constituency, instead of being a lone guy ranting that the Jews are too family centered or something.

    Your only goal is to eliminate an inherited problem.

    Go where the people who have that problem are, SOVRI, and set to work. Your task is to convince the few people who run SOVRI that infertility is to be recommended to their served population, as a long-term measure against this problem. Expect some hand-wringing and resistence. It’s not a fun idea. Be patient with that, and keep staying with statistics, not feelings.

    https://www.5tjt.com/local-news/7322-to-save-a-life-sovri-helpline-finds-the-path-to-healing

    If there were no abuse you wouldn’t care a bean if the Jews were married or single or had kids or didn’t. You have one issue only.

    I wish you luck.

  • http://jewishdepression.blogspot.com Avi

    @Rabbs
    I feel your pain. You’re not as alone as you think. I don’t know if what I have to say will help, but I hope so.

    I agree with some other people that you need to help yourself by getting out more and socializing. I understand how hard it can be with the social anxiety you are feeling, but there are therapies targeted specifically at that. I know Rabbi AJ Twerski highly promotes and recommends a visualization type of behavioral therapy to deal with social anxiety (see his book “10 steps to being your best”).
    But even if you don’t like the idea of therapy, it’s good to remember that God loves you and everything He does or did is for the good. Like it explains in Iyov, we don’t understand God’s ways. And, “My ways are not your ways”. There is a reason that God made the Holocaust and there is a reason God set up the factors leading to your loneliness and depression. There’s a job we can all do wherever we are.
    We just read in the Haftorah on Shiva Aser Betamuz, “Let not the saris (who is physically unable to have children) say `I am a dried up tree.’ For so saith G-d to the sarisim who keep my Sabbath, who choose what I desire, and who keep my covenant: I shall make them in My house and within My walls a monument, a shrine, superior to sons and daughters. I shall render their (lit., his) name everlasting, one which will never be forgotten.”
    I hope this provides some comfort to you.

  • http://rabbs.com Rabbi Rabbs

    Thanks, Avi. I appreciate your kind words of support. :)

  • Anon

    Reading your post was heartbreaking. My situation is not quite as dire, but I completely relate. I try to balance it out, about twice a month going away for shabbat, and two shabbats at home, sometimes with a friend, or just by myself. Often by the end of the week, I’m so tired, so I prepare some simple food, or if I’m really lazy just buy ready-made food (why don’t you do that, better than canned tuna). I use nice things, kiddush cup, challah cover, plates etc. I like to lie on the couch and learn and say tehillim. When I go away, the whole of shabbat passes and there is much less time for spiritual pursuits. I have become really fussy about where I will go for shabbat, children I like, but sometimes have had problems with a friend’s husband, who either makes unwelcome comments on my singlehood or is giving me inappropriate looks (this issue is never talked about), so that has cut out some options. Also, it has to be spiritual and not a bunch of mixed singles. When I first became frum I said jokingly that being frum is for married people. Little did I realize just how true those words were. These days I call myself the nun and say that I’m married to G-d.

    But much much worse for me are the chagim. I told a shocked married friend that I hate the chagim. I’m not usually alone, but it’s all the accompanying baggage. No family past, no family present. Rosh Hashana is terrible as everyone is saying, “this year, this year” (meaning this year you’ll get married), and Pesach as it is such a family holiday is a nightmare, full of guilt. Yom Kippur is better as a day of alonenss, but it holds its own special misery for me. In addition there is chol hamoed (in Israel) which family time par excellence. So, tere’s no getting away from it.

    There are things that one can do to be pro-active, and I have done them, volunteering on chagim with the underprivileged, etc. But it doesn’t make it better inside.

    Even though everyone thinks it is harder for women to get married, I think that generally it is harder for men to be single, both socially and practically (homemaking).

    I don’t know why you think that you will never get married, forgive me for saying but it is almost a kind of gayva. The most “unlikely” people get married at all ages, so please don’t give up. In the mean time, I hope that you have a nice kiddush cup, challah cover, and at least buy some proper food for shabbat. And get some good books to read.

    Chin up. And good luck.

    • http://Rabbs.com Rabbi Rabbs

      Thanks for reading the essay and for your thoughtful response. Yeah, it sounds as if you can relate. :-)

      I can’t stand hearing people say “Rabbs, don’t say you hate the Yom Tovim… G-d forbid to say that”. Yeah, ok, why don’t they first try doing it single for 100 years, and then they can start preaching to others?

      I know what you mean about being a nun for G-d. I apparently signed up for the priesthood.

      I am allowed to say I will never be married because I’m very close to 50 and always been alone, I haven’t been on a single date in more than a year, and I’m staring down the barrel of a very bad longterm prognosis. I honestly can’t imagine me ever getting married, not in my situation. It’s just not meant to be for me.

  • Anon

    I forgot to say about RH, andPesach that whilst I am usually not alone, I become anxious or depressed at least a month beforehand over where I am going to be. I started early this year, before TBA even. I used to really want to get married to live a married life and all that it entails, but these days, it’s more like a solution to a shabat/chag problem. My weekday life is not bad. I’m just tired of every week figuring out where I’m going to be.

    About never getting married, of course you’re allowed to feel it and say it, but whatever the specifics of your situation, the truth is that you don’t know Hashem’s plan for your life. You know the investment blurb: “Past Results Do Not Guarantee Future Performance.” I’m not denying the unbearable pain of frum singlehood, and I understand if you’ve given up hope, but just because you have and because you’ve suffered so much and been alone for so long, and because it hasn’t happened yet it doesn’t mean that it won’t. (terrible sentence, sorry)

  • Anonymous

    Daniel Sosnowik, Orthodox Jew, captain in New York City Police Department since 1984, is a member of board of directors of Survivors for Justice, an advocacy organization for victims of abuse. He has a fine piece on page 8 of the August 6, 2010 edition of the newspaper The Jewish Press. This is the link for that organization:

    http://www.sfjny.org

    He has a muscular attitude. Supports accountability. Supports reporting abuse to the police. Hates anonymous anger at those who turn in abusers to the police. If they’re so right, why don’t they sign their names, he says.

  • Anonymous

    An interesting fighter about this is Daniel Sosnowik, Orthodox Jew, captain in New York City Police Department since 1984, is a member of board of directors of Survivors for Justice, an advocacy organization for victims of abuse. He has a piece on page 8 of the August 6, 2010 edition of the newspaper The Jewish Press. “Rabbis, Time to Flash Your Badges” is the title.

    This is the link for that organization:

    http://www.sfjny.org

    He has a muscular attitude. He supports reporting abuse to the police, which of course embarasses the community, but he says it’s necessary. He hates the anonymous angry letters condemning those who turn in abusers to the police. “If they’re so right, why don’t they sign their angry letters”, paraphrases what he says. As a cop, he always has to provide his badge number, and he is proud to do so.

  • Anonymous

    Rabbi Simon Jacobson – he’s always worth a read – wrote about this recently:

    http://meaningfullife.com/email/Reeh_2010.php

  • Anonymous

    I’m a secular Jewish single female who accidently stumbled upon this article while I was trying to decide whether to do something in honor of Rosh Hashana for the first time in 25 years. I think it’s really bizarre that I would actually read something on a Chasidic website, but I’ve been reading a lot about Singles being sterotyped and ignored in our society. It’s part of the reason I don’t do anything Jewish at all anymore and only feel guilty about it around the holdiays. It’s a family oriented religion–even for those of us raised in a reform tradition. I feel really bad for you…..and just want to let you know that in regular society singles without kids are statistically happier and better adjusted–despite all the propaganda. Maybe it’s time you joined the rest of the world.

  • Anonymous

    Get your hair a new color and go to Chabad. Wear a nice skirt that covers your kneecap, and a blazer and a scarf at the neck. Or, if you can find a big chunky sweater with some fuzzy angora or mohair in it, cool. Get some black tights onto your legs, and get a chunky black shoe of some kind onto your feet, a cool shoe, with just a little height to it . Peroxide deprivation is a national epidemic, do something. Spend some money. Do you know we are actually required to get new stuff for the holidays? The Orthodox know that. Chabad is the happy place. Judaism is not spinach.

  • Truly wanting to know

    OK maybe this is a naive question? Are single women obligated to get married in judaism? let say i never gotten married never been baptized in any religion… I have a deep devotion to find God but in a true path.. I find that judaism would be the perfect place for me. Just wanting to know is there pressure within judaism to get married at a specific moment?
    I heard the older the women pospone in having babies the higher the the probablity for her to have twins which is a good thing lol.. well truly wanting to know> Maybe you will have multiple babies for waiting that long…

  • Boris

    Well said and well written. As a single Yid I can attest to the truth of everything written in this article. Yiddeshkeit was not made for singles.

  • Pingback: Friday Links()

  • Chava

    Thank you for this post. I thought I was alone (I mean, more alone than being an unmarried Jewish woman.) I have a deep love for Shabbat but it’s becoming incredibly painful. Every week I find myself in the same environment you described and a similar position. It breaks my heart and I’m further saddened and somewhat distraught… (and guilt-ridden) that sometimes I can’t stop myself from crying on Shabbat. I don’t have a solution to offer but I wanted to thank you, empathize with your experience and let you know that you’re not alone.

  • LJ

    As much as I can identify with your bitching and moaning, and as much as I am appreciate your sobriety and recovery, your solution is very simple! Shave your beard and stop looking like the Taliban. You have single handedly alienated 95% of you dating pool because of an outdated be more religious contest that started in Europe and has no place in this world if is costing you so much anger and frustration. The halachah is clear when it says Vchai Behem and it sounds like you don’t have much of a life. I am not religious, but I come from a religious background and it didnt work for me, so I dont torture myself. Make it work for you, find a solution that makes sense. You are not in the community of Satmar where having a beard wont affect you. It sounds like you are more liberal and more secular than them, and the girls you would even be able to hold a conversation with, dont want to make love to a Sasquatch. Take action, and if you go to hell for shaving your beard then there are many in trouble and you will have plenty of company.