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Still a Sacrifice  

I was once that girl, ready to sacrifice all that was familiar and comfortable in America to support my husband’s Torah learning

“Wow, you live in Eretz Yisrael! So nice. It’s so special you’re sacrificing so much for your husband’s growth. Where does your husband learn?”

If got a shekel every time I had the above conversation, I’d probably own a 30-meter apartment on the 14th floor of some old building in the Romema area by now.

This question always hits me hard.

Of course, you don’t know this; you’re simply making conversation.

But it hurts.

Because I was once that girl, ready to sacrifice all that was familiar and comfortable in America to support my husband’s Torah learning.

And now?

I still make sacrifices, but of a vastly different type.

Today, I sacrifice by biting my tongue when my husband wakes up at 9:30 in the morning. I sacrifice when I compliment him on his hour-long chavrusa. I sacrifice when I don’t wince when he says a few words on the parshah (although I learned that inyan in seminary, with more mefarshim). I sacrifice when I allow him to take trips to kivrei tzaddikim and holy sites instead of learning or working or helping me at home. I sacrifice when he runs out to daven at the most inconvenient of times, when I know he has no qualms about davening at home when it suits him.

I was so full of dreams, aspirations, hopes. For myself. For my husband. For our future family.

How I wish I could serenely provide the name of his kollel, and say, “Yes, baruch Hashem, he’s so happy to be learning and growing here in Eretz Yisrael.”

Instead, I smile, and I say, “Baruch Hashem, we’re so happy living here.” If you insist on hearing more, I’ll tell you he learns in the Mir. Doesn’t every Jew have a place in the Mir?

Sometimes I say the truth, and people look askance when they hear we aren’t a kollel couple. So why are you still in Israel? they ask. Isn’t it time to return to “real life”?

We’re here since we love His Land. We love the simplicity, the holiness, the purity. Yes, we’re not your quintessential kollel couple. My husband works. He learns sporadically. I work some odd hours, and we hardly make it through the month. Yes, we have our ups and downs in spirituality.

So this isn’t quite what I signed up for. And I won’t pretend it’s easy.

It’s not easy when I see my more frivolous friend married to a serious learner who has the strong hashkafos I wish my husband had.

It’s not easy when we have Shabbos seudah discussions sprinkled with talk about politics, credit card points, and the best airline for business class.

It’s not easy when I see the judgment in my sister’s eyes.

But the same Hashem I so badly wanted to serve through supporting a husband in kollel chose me to serve Him differently. Instead of serving Him through my husband’s learning, I serve Him with my very own self.

Am I unworthy?


Am I less than?


I was placed in a situation beneficial for me. For my story. For my growth.

And I’ll do my best to succeed.

From my own (rented) 30 meters in the Romema area.


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 840)

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