I Have No Expiration Date

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Yesterday someone told me to hurry up and get married before it is too late. Because as a woman I have an expiration date.

At times I become too frozen with shock to have any ability at all to reply with a decent comeback. Even in situations when the person is saying something insane. There are so many things one could say. I find many issues in that one sentence, and to respond, I would not know where to begin.

When I went back home I kept replaying this conversation in my mind – it really bothered me. I was not bothered by the fact that I am single – I trust the journey that has been planned for me. What bothered me most, was the fact that I know that women are told this all the time.

As a community and society we “talk the talk” of GD. How GD is in our lives, how He loves us, how He is taking care of us. Then in the same breath, we go and tell women to hurry up and get married before their eggs dry out.

The question we really need to ask ourselves is: Do we really believe that GD is taking care of us? Do we really believe that He is capable of finding our match at the best time for us?  Can we be happy with whatever we are given, knowing that this is the best path for us and that GD does know what he is doing?

Can we enjoy what we have at this very moment right here right now?

This Shavuot when I read the 10 commandments I read in the translation:

“You were slaves in Egypt, I took you out of slavery, now you are my slaves.”

My first reaction was “wow that is harsh.” I then realized that in reality, GD wants us to be free. Being a slave to GD, in essence, gives us the most freedom. How many of us are slaves to food, social media, drugs, and the most powerful – other people?

When someone hurts us, how many of us take it in and let it ruin our days or weeks? If we are slaves to GD we don’t have to care about what people say. GD loves us always – and other people’s opinions mean nothing.

When we wake up in the morning and pray, some of us wear specific garb, wash our hands a certain way, say a blessing, and more. Many of us try to live according to what we assume GD wants us to do. We do our best to keep kosher and keep Shabbat because that is what we believe GD wants us to do.

Yet how often do we consider the very first – commandment? “I am your GD you shall not have another.”

So who are you a slave to? Is it the Shadchan who will find your match? Is it the society you were raised in, who claims to know when each individual person should marry? Is it all the single events you think you must go to? Is it that guy who tells you to hurry up and get married? Is it all the people out there telling you will never be able to find a guy because you are 22 and still single? Who is your master?

In reality, THAT is the “shidduch crisis”. Not the fact that I am 29 and “STILL single”. It is the fact that our community doesn’t trust the process that is so lovingly catered to each and every one of us. It is the fact that we have a crisis at all – that we talk about it as if some of us are “too old” at 22, 26 or 30.

The fact that we take in these words and allow them to affect us.

The fact that it doesn’t matter that we all have our own wonderful inspiring story, our own experience and amazing journey on this earth.

The fact that I, as a human being have the power to love and respect my life, right now at this moment for whatever that looks like. The fact that, that love, in itself, is enough. The fact that I know that when my time comes, it will be my time – my best time – my only time – and that is enough. I am enough whether I am single, married, divorced or whatever I choose to be.

There is no shidduch crisis. The crisis is that we suffer from lack of belief. We forgot the one thing that is most important of all.

 

Nechama Leitner now lives in Crown Heights Brooklyn New York. Nechama is a headshot portrait and fashion photographer who also loves to sing and chill with people from all ends of the world. You can find her work at https://nechamaphotography.com/