I really enjoy your column. I look forward to meeting you at this years GA.
Perhaps you can help me with the following dilemma. I am not as religious as my husband. For our 10th anniversary, we are planning a cruise. I would love to visit the Fuji Islands. I am quite adventurous.
My husband is concerned about kosher food and Shabbos. He wants us to take a different trip which will accommodate his religious needs.
I really want to see the world.
What do you suggest?
Gigi (by e-mail)
Mazel Tov on your 10th anniversary. We wish you many years of excitement and adventure.
Consider the following story:
Many years ago there lived a girl who was born blind. She grew up lacking the ability to see life, something which naturally caused her great anguish. Perhaps due to her personal tragedy she was also self-centered and narcissistic. (Can you blame her?) She grew up and it was almost impossible for her to get married.
She would always inquire about a complete eye transplant, with the hope that maybe some day she can be given the gift of vision. But at the time this was rare and complicated, and she was told she was on a 20-year waiting list.
One day a young man met her. He appreciated her on a deeper level. He saw beyond her closed eyes, and beyond her bitterness. Deep inside of her he found a very gentle, refined and deep soul, hurting badly. He took a very deep liking to her. Their love grew from day to day. This was a special and quite abnormal relationship. He finally proposed. She did not have to think twice. She said yes. And they got married.
She was the happiest woman on earth. You can only imagine how she appreciated what he has done for her; their closeness grew from day to day. He loved her deeply and did whatever he could for her.
One day, he came home and informed her that he was notified she would not have to wait 20 years for an eye transplant. Rather, in a few months she would be able to get a pair of eyes. She was overjoyed beyond words. How lucky she felt! Indeed some time later she was placed on the operating table.
Before she went into the surgery, though, he shared a deep secret.
My dear wife, I must tell you something. I dont want you to be shocked when you wake up seeing, so I am telling this to you now. I am a blind man, too. I cant see . . .
She began weeping. And with that he gave her off to the surgeons performing the transplant. The transplant had begun and ended with success. She recovered. After several weeks she removed the band aids. And . . . for the first time in her life, she opened her eyes and she saw the world around her.
She saw the heavens, she saw sunrises, sunsets. She saw children playing; she saw rain, snow, trees, streams, rivers, gardens and animals. She saw the world. Her joy knew no bounds. Her thrill was limitless. Finally, she could begin to.
In the beginning, she tended to her husband with tireless dedication and love. After all, he was the man who chose to marry her, the blind woman, and she knew how much he loved her and cared for her.
Moreover, she thought to herself, this man allowed her to receive the transplant instead of him. She led him wherever he had to do go; she provided for all his needs. She did all his errands. She was extremely dedicated to the love of her life.
But as time went on her life became more and more difficult. She was feeling frustrated. For the first time she could finally travel and see the world; yet her husbands impediment would limit her every move and her every step.
As time went on she began resenting her marriage. It was just unfair to her, she felt. She lost out on her childhood, on her teenage years, on her college years; she never got to see the world. She never got to travel freely and just have fun. She never got to live in the fast lane for at least a few months.
She wanted to go live it up, but her blind husband just needed too much. She needed to care for him day and night. He was, after all, a blind man. She spoke to her therapist. The therapist said that she could not make such a decision for her. This was up to her. The woman decided to end the marriage.
Not having the courage to tell it to him in his face, she called him on the phone from work. My dear, she said: I appreciate you and I love you and I care for you. But I am really growing resentful. I feel that our marriage is not allowing me to live a good life, a free life, an exciting life. I want to see the world; I want to explore myself, and I am encumbered because of your unfortunate blindness. So I think that the best thing for me is to end this marriage. Because I dont see the point in being married to you while I resent it. He listened silently; he did not say a word.
When she returned home, he told her that if this is what she wanted he would go along. He gave her a divorce. The day of the divorce, when she returned home, she found a letter under her pillow. This is what it said:
My dear beloved wife,
As you know, I always loved you and cherished you. After your request for a divorce, I immediately complied. After all, love cant be forced. And if you felt that this marriage was stressing you out and causing you to resent me, I cannot change that by force. I understood that it was time to let you go. I will miss you dearly, and I wish you the most beautiful, exciting and fun life you wish for yourself.
In conclusion, I will just ask you one favor: Those eyes of yours, treat them well. Take care of them. For not too long ago, those eyes were mine.
I loved you too much and could not bear to see you blind; so I gave you my eyes. That is why you did not have to wait 20 years. Please take care of them.
You see, G-d created us. He designed our body and gave us a soul. G-d asks us to live a life filled with justice and compassion, to be loving and kind, to be charitable and giving, to be holy and pure. He asks us to live a life dedicated to meaning and purpose, to be connected and observe His mitzvos. But we often say:
G-d, I have no time for You, I need to work to pay my bills, I need some time for fun; G-d, I am not the religious type. G-d, I have to see the world.
Great! But who gave you those eyes to be able to see the world?
SEND your questions to DearTzviling@ijn.com to be answered with wit, wisdom and humor by identical twins Rabbis Yisroel Engel (Denver) and Shloime Engel (Montreal) who share their combined 100 years of experience.
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