| Words Unspoken |

Dear Neighbor

You may not have made my shidduch, but you gave me hope


Dear Neighbor, 

AT the ripe old age of 19, I eagerly stepped into the world of shidduchim, curious as to what lay ahead. I knew nothing of the journey awaiting me, the twists and turns that would take me to places I never knew existed.

Soon, though, I learned. I learned what it felt like to hurtle by so fast I could barely think, holding on with my last bit of strength, trying to make decisions that would shape my entire future. I learned what it felt like to crawl by so slowly, watching everyone else zoom by as I waited, hopefully, painfully.

I learned what it felt like to want, to want something so badly, but to be unable to acquire it because my hands were tied behind my back.

I learned what it felt like to hope, and then for that hope to come crashing down so hard and so fast that all I could do was turn my face to Heaven and cry.

I learned how to laugh, how to see the humor in the hardest of circumstances, to find meaning in the simple joys of life.

I learned how to believe. To believe in Hashem and His infinite kindness, to feel assured He has a plan that is so, so perfect for me.

I learned how to ask, how to put my thoughts and feelings into words, how to follow the guidance of those older and wiser than I am.

And I learned just how incredible Hashem’s children are.

Dear neighbor, I don’t really know you. You don’t know me so well, either. We pass each other on strolls around the block, we wave hello, and sometimes we schmooze for a minute or two. You’re always friendly, always smiling, and you always ask me how I am. You know I’m in shidduchim, you know the bare sketch of what I’m looking for, and you’re well-connected in the community.

When you called me one Sunday morning, your words warmed my heart. You asked me to send you my résumé, explaining that a woman who davened in your shul had a son you thought would be perfect for me. I sent my résumé off into cyberspace, shrugging, because though you’re a very kind woman, you don’t know me well enough to suggest someone in the ballpark.

But I was wrong.

Though that shidduch didn’t pan out, I found out who you had in mind, and I was pleasantly surprised. It was very on-target, a good friend’s mother had thought of it as well. That bochur got engaged, and you could have shrugged your shoulders, smiled, and said, “I did my duty!” but instead you sent my résumé to another mother you knew, and that idea, too, was very much on-target.

Thank you.

Dear neighbor, thank you. You may think all you did was send an email, suggest a shidduch or two that resulted in nothing, but really, you accomplished so much more. You may not have made my shidduch, but you gave me hope; you showed me that people care.

Many loud voices fill the world of shidduchim, shouting opinions and hoping for change. Some say to redt everyone to everyone, send out résumés right and left, flooding inboxes with a sea of suggestions. Some say to stop redting, to only suggest a name if you know with utmost certainty that your idea has merit; that’s what will prevent girls’ résumés from getting buried under a pile of papers of neat paragraphs and gushing accolades, words that sound strangely similar.

Everyone and his cousin has a solution, an idea, an initiative, something to get the ball rolling and prevent the shidduch world from imploding.              I don’t have any solutions. I’m just one of the many girls out there, traveling with tefillah and tears, along the path Hashem has laid out for me.

Dear neighbor, you don’t have any grand solutions either. But I think that you, with your small gesture of ahavas Yisrael, are the one who will turn the shidduch crisis into a blessing. Because you care, and you dared to pick up the phone and show me that you care.

Dear neighbor, I can’t say I love being in the world of shidduchim, but I can say that I’ve learned a lot through this journey. You taught me something so precious, so crucial to our survival as a nation: I matter. You care about me. And it’s so easy to pay that forward and show someone else that I, too, truly care.

With much gratitude,

Your Neighbor


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 844)

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