Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Many notes and an apology

I have read all the comments to my latest post. I thank all those who are supportive of me, each in his own way. I want to emphasize that most of the people who are expressing sadness that I have broken halacha do not offend me in any way. I agree with them. It is very sad that I have remained single and could no longer wait to feel some basic human tenderness. It is sad that my loneliness finally became stronger than my faith. It is sad that after all I could not live up to the ideal that I have had ever since I was an 18-year-old seminary girl of experiencing my first kiss in the yichud room. There are many things in life that do not always turn out the way we dreamed but we must deal with the circumstances as best we can when they arise. I never asked to be still single and lonely when I am 35. I have kept the halachos of S.N. as long as I possibly could and forever that will be something to be proud of, especially since it seems that there are very very few others my age who can say the same. It is true that in all the months of keeping this blog I have only received one or maybe two comments or emails as far as I remember from someone who was at least 35 and had never broken the laws of S.N. Everyone else is either married, or still single and S.N. but younger than I am. I have much to be proud of, but breaking halacha is never one of them. I am happy for myself that at last I have experienced something so basic to the human condition but pride would not be the right adjective for how I feel. Relieved and excited and hopeful for the future. But not proud.

I am aghast however at the vitriol from those few people who cannot seem to feel both compassion for me and faith in halacha at the same time. They seem to be experiencing some cognitive dissonance over the fact that on the one hand we are obligated to keep mitzvos and that as Orthodox people we do not feel there are any excuses for ever breaking a halacha, ever, except in cases of sickness or other danger to life . . . and yet all over the place are Orthodox people who break halachos all the time because keeping all the halachos all the time is very very challenging. Much too challenging for most people. Are there not any halachos that they, too, break in secret? Do not they, too, have something for which to repent this week? And is not our job to continue to do our best, though only angels are perfect in their service of Hashem?

And yet they have a point in the fact that I have not kept my failing a secret, I have posted it on the internet for all to see. And I have stated publicly that I do not feel guilty about this failing at this time because I know that I have reached the end of my own potential to keep this law anymore. I kept it and kept it and kept it . . . and honestly I am glad I kept it, especially when I was young and impressionable and less sure of myself, and there was the potential to be hurt and violated as so many of my non-S.N. readers tell me they were when they were younger.

And they also have a point that it is callous to break the law and write about it during the Aseres Yimei Teshuva. I will not attempt to justify or apologize for my having kissed for the first time, without being married, just before Yom Kippur. But I do agree that it was wrong of me to write a blog about it before Yom Kippur. My post obviously dredged up a lot of issues for a lot of people, perhaps about their own sins, their own sexual history, or their own guilt for whatever they are repenting this week, and by posting when I did I complicated their thoughts and made their own process a little more confusing, or depressing, or filled with anger.

So I apologize to my readers for not at least having the sensitivity to my audience to wait until after Yom Kippur to post what I did.

Also I want to say very clearly to all the S.N. people who are reading my blog: Keep it up as long as you can! It is a good and holy and pure and beautiful way to live even though it is very very very hard. Like some of my readers I do fear that there are people who read my blog and will use it as an excuse not to be S.N. anymore. Especially young people in their teenage years, when not being S.N. can really lead to things that people regret later. I have gotten so many emails and comments from people who said that their experiences of kissing (or sex, depending on how Orthodox they were or how dedicated to S.N. they were) when they were younger left them with many emotional scars because they did things before they were ready, or with people who were very bad choices for them. I pray that none of my readers will do anything as a result of reading my blog that will give them any regrets later in their lives. Please have faith in yourself and in the Torah as long as you can.

But a point of my blog is that “can” is not an easy term to define. It is impossible to live without food or air, but possible to live without kissing and hugging, and so some people seem to think that of course any single person “can” be Shomer Negiah if only their faith and self-control are strong enough. But I remind those people that there is a big problem in our society of people getting married later and later, and relationships that do not work out for one reason or another, and in particular it is a well-known problem that there are many more frum women looking seriously for marriage than men who are compatible for them. Therefore the task of remaining S.N. goes on for years and years for some people. And so I reiterate that unless you, too, are at least 35 and have never been married, you cannot possibly determine for me whether I “can” be Shomer Negiah anymore. And even if you are my age and still S.N., if you have never been inside my brain and my body and my life you also cannot know if I “can.” Only Hashem knows. Hashem will not judge me based on whether I am as pious as you, but rather on whether I am as pious as I, Nice Jewish Girl, have the potential to be. And I know, I KNOW, with my whole heart, that when it comes to S.N. I have reached my potential. Over-extended it, even. And that is why I do not feel guilty. Because I am completely, utterly shalem that in this area I did absolutely everything that is expected of me and more. My only regret like I said is in writing about it before Yom Kippur and any chillul Hashem I have committed, or any michshol I have placed before others who are similarly weak, by writing about it on this blog. For any sins committed by others as a result of my blog I am deeply ashamed and hope that both Hashem and the people involved will forgive me somehow.

A few more things before I disappear for a little while:

First, the man I have kissed is absolutely not pushing me to go any further. In fact he told me that the next few times we meet he wants to go back to being S.N. at least for a little while so that the physical pleasure does not “get ahead” of the emotional bond we are trying to build. He is a very intelligent and kind man.

Second, the people who are encouraging me to try to get a marriage proposal "out of him" in order to “test” whether he is really serious are not considering that perhaps I myself am not quite ready to get engaged to him. Yes it is true that my goal was never just to be kissed but to get married so that I will have companionship and a family. Yes it is true that I would not be dating him unless I thought that he has strong potential to be Mr. Nice Jewish Boy. And he also is taking a long view and only dates people who have the potential to be a lifelong partner for him. Neither of us considers this a game, or casual dating, or just for fun. We both have serious goals. However that does not mean that either of us has enough information to know whether getting married to each other is for sure a good idea. The point of dating is to get to know each other well enough to see if we would make good marriage partners. It has been only a month. It is a long-distance relationship. There are many situations in which I have not seen him. I have never seen him get angry for example. I have never met his family or seen how he is with them. And of course there are many differences between us because of differences in how we were raised that we need to talk about and make sure that we can work them out. There are many important things to consider before getting married and while in my circles people do get engaged faster than in general American society (usually after 3 or 4 months), I cannot be 100 percent sure that he is compatible for me until we know each other better. At this point I am maybe 80 percent sure that I could marry him but the other 20 percent will take a little longer to come. I am though 100 percent sure that he is a nice man with good values who is good to me, and if this all leads to marriage with him I will certainly not mind! I am 100 percent sure that this is the best relationship I have had for many many years. I am 100 percent sure that he is a good enough man, whom I know well enough, that kissing him does not make me feel cheap. I know him well enough to know that he is worth the risk of making myself vulnerable. There are decisions that one can make at 35 that one could not have made as intelligently when they were much younger. But one month is too fast for me to get engaged.

Third, I am definitely not blogging about my actions anymore until something major happens, like an engagement or a breakup (I hope very very much it is the former but know in my mind there is the possibility for the latter until there is a ring on my finger.) Relationships are confusing and emotional enough without 70 strangers leaving comments about their opinions on what I am doing! I am not blaming people for leaving comments since if I am writing a blog I have to expect comments, but I definitely will not do it anymore. Maybe I will write another post or two answering reader’s questions, but there will not be any updates about whether we are S.N. or not or any other details about my relationship. If something truly dramatic happens I will post it since I know that there are many people who have come to care about me and will be wondering how I am doing – thank you! But no details!

Finally, in the future please everyone make up some name for yourself in the comments section. If everyone calls themself “anonymous” then there is no way to distinguish between the commenters. It is also helpful but not required if you could write whether you are Orthodox or not so that we will better be able to understand where everyone else is coming from in their opinions. But only if you want to. But definitely make up a name for yourself. Thank you.

I hope everyone has a gmar v’chasimah tova, and to everyone who is feeling guilty about their wrongdoings in the past: Do not despair! Hashem gave us Yom Kippur specifically because He wants us to return to Him! He always takes us back with open arms. We are His children. Though we may sometimes forsake Him, he does not forsake us.

78 Comments:

Blogger respondingtojblogs said...

Well written and said. G'mar chasima tova.

10/11/2005 05:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Caveman said...

NJG,
You go away for months and then boom! You hit us with this and generate a great deal of buzz and now you want to go away again. Wow! In any case, I'm not even sure where to start to comment and whether I can even add something new. However, I feel very strongly that if you feel that your blog is a good outlet for you, you should continue to write and vent your feelings no matter when. We all know that one of the constant struggles of man (and woman) is the constant confrontation between good and bad, right and wrong. We are also given tests in life some we pass and some we don't. In the big picture, we really don't know what the Master Plan for us is. In the end, I believe that everything happens for a reason. You are of course correct, when you wonder out loud whether these other people have done anything wrong, of course they have! After 120 years we will all go upstairs and see that big score board in the sky. We have no idea how many "points" we get for what mitzvot and how many "points" we lose for an aveira. In the end, it is important to focus on being the best person that you can be, particularly when it comes to your middot. Should we all strive for perfection, maybe, but that's impossible. Tanach is filled with the stories of the struggles of our anscestors. The bottom line is that no one is perfect. The question for you is whether you can be happy with your un-perfect self as you continue to strive to be the best you can be knowing what you know. What I know is that I might be rambling, but you have turned a corner in a journey of self discovery that is very important for you. You must be happy with yourself and try to meet your own expectations and not that of others who have not walked in your shoes (as you point out). I am by no means a Rabbi, but it would be interesting to see how kissing a guy weighs versus something like stealing. I too, hope that everything works out for the very best and that this difficult chapter in your life will end and you will be able to move forward and begin a new one. Take care, best wishes and have a meaningful Gmar,Kativa, V'Chatima Tova.

10/11/2005 05:40:00 PM  
Anonymous annabel lee said...

NJG, may you go from strength to strength. Best of luck and best wishes for a beautiful year.

10/11/2005 05:43:00 PM  
Anonymous wellwisher said...

May you have a wonderful Yom Kippur and a wonderful year.

g'mar chasima tova

10/11/2005 05:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Chantyshira said...

Bravo - you respond to some of these comments much more gracefully than I would have.

For the record, I'm a secular Jewish girl, age 22, and see absolutely nothing wrong with a 35-year-old single woman kissing her boyfriend (and potential husband) for the first time, even if they are both Orthodox. Especially when you have been SN for so long already, and your actions are as rational and well-thought-out as they have been. I know that puts me in the minority in this group, heh, but that's where I'm coming from.

Also ... I completely agree with your decision to stop blogging details of your relationship, until something major happens. If we all had our romantic lives (or lack thereof) dissected as closely as yours has been so far, dating and getting married would be much less enjoyable, to say the least.

Best of luck with potential Mr. Nice Jewish Boy, he sounds like a keeper. :) Shana tova again, and have a sweet and happy new year.

10/11/2005 05:52:00 PM  
Blogger Rivka said...

Good luck, NJG. Wishing you nothing but happiness and good tidings.

10/11/2005 06:00:00 PM  
Anonymous shanna said...

A bit of unsolicited advice, feel free to ignore it: keep updating the blog anyway, even if you don't make any of the entries public. Keep them in draft form, or write it all up in a Word document, or send an email to yourself once a week. I promise you that, years from now, you will appreciate that you did.

10/11/2005 06:13:00 PM  
Anonymous marriedwoman said...

(I should say firstly that i came to this blog late... so I have missed the build-up etc to this kiss, and since you want to know about the comments bio - I am also 35, married, frum/not frum enough depending on who is tutting over my shoulder.)

My husband and I were, as you put it, 'SN' before we were married. Having the first kiss in the yichud room may have worked for some people, but for us it was very pressurized and strange. Part of me wishes that we hadn't been so hung-up on the 'SN' stuff and relaxed with each other. believe me, I think it would have improved our married sex-life.

I don't think it is healthy for an identity for an individual to define themselves as SN or not. Like it is similar to smoking or not-smoking. Negia is a communication between 2 people, and is an aspect of relationship - not a item on a resume.

This is what I have learnt - intimate sexual relationships are not always easy all the time and it takes a while to learn to relax and know that aspect of yourself and another.

So, b'hatzlach... shana tova and gmar tov.

10/11/2005 07:10:00 PM  
Anonymous atam said...

between makeup and photographers, how much kissing goes on in the yichud room?

10/11/2005 07:18:00 PM  
Anonymous me said...

a g'mar chasima tova, v'yimale hashem et kol mishalot libcha l'tova.

10/11/2005 07:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Chana said...

NJG, I am 30-something modern Orthodox, and "semi-SN". What this means is that I do what I can, when I can, and do not get worked up otherwise, because none of us is perfect.

Also, I work in a profession with clients of all backgrounds, and they do not have time for a lesson in Jewish law as to why I will not shake their hand. And, it is not worth the possible offense or embarrassment to them. So I touch at the office (though go out of my way to not invite touch), but all other venues I am more reserved. For me, personally, this is a healthy balance.

I want to comment on your statement that you agree this was not the best time to post. I can understand the concern for your readers. However, I would like to say that perhaps this was the best time to post.Too many of us will let these days of introspection pass, and then go back to religious-business-as-usual, ending up in the same sad state we were in the year before.

Perhaps the timing of your post is exactly what is needed to get us REALLY thinking, making sure of where we stand with HaShem, asking the hard questions. For sure to be more sensitive to others who struggle (with any issue), and not think of ourselves as above it all.

Some do not like what has been written. What can we say? When any given reader is dealing with "stuff," naturally he or she will respond through his own feelings. But rather than entertain the thought that you are part of another's problem when he is upset at your posts, consider that just as likely your public soul searching is causing us all to look into our own lives more deeply. Sometimes that can be a painful thing, but worth it when we overcome and make progress, rather than sit in the place of status quo.

Just my humble opinion.

With all that said...
G'mar Chatima Tova

10/11/2005 07:54:00 PM  
Blogger Needsabetterjob said...

We are all praying for the good news to come in the coming weeks and months. It absolutely makes sense to take a break from posting every little detail about your dates and conversations.

You are indeed very wise. I look forward to your continuing to develop your excellent writing skills, on a whole variety of topics.

Gmar Tov, Tzom Kal, Am Yisrael Chai,
Jobber

10/11/2005 08:22:00 PM  
Anonymous dati and married said...

Erev yom kippur I want to wish you a meaninful fast, and the bracha of having your tefillot answered this year. i will be thinking of you during the day and hoping that hashem has brought you to the end of this part of your life and the beginning of the next part - with all the struggles and joys that come with that. your story has touched me greatly and I admire your courage.
A dati woman, who tried to remain SN till marriage and ultimatly failed - with the person she ended up marrying (may this be your story soon)

10/11/2005 08:44:00 PM  
Blogger AnySara said...

A friend recommended your blog to me tonight, so I read the whole thing.

I hear you. As someone who became frum later and has not had non-SN "affection" for almost six years, the pain and loneliness of waiting is almost unbearable.

I wish you the best of everything.
- anysara

10/11/2005 09:15:00 PM  
Blogger Josh said...

NJG -

I'm 25, single, frum (SN). I'm new to your blog, but from what little I've read, all I can say is that I've learned a lot about how as a guy I can't judge what you as a girl experience.

May your eyes always look up, and may everyone else's eyes stop looking at you.

Gmar Chasima Tova

10/11/2005 09:18:00 PM  
Anonymous friend said...

Dear NJG-
I just want to thank you for your beautiful blog. You express yourself so eloquently and intelligently. You have actually helped me think through issues in my life. May the coming year be filled with everything you desire and deserve.
From a friend...age 39, married at 34, female, modern orthodox/conservadox

10/11/2005 09:46:00 PM  
Blogger Yochaved said...

First of all, thank you for updating your blog. You really do write beautifully. I wish I could express myself as well as you do, but as someone else (not so eloquently) pointed out, writing is not my strong suite. ;-)

I know I came across pretty strident, but I assure you that I would be the same with my daughter or my best friend. I care about you, and I care about halacha at the same time. Sometimes those things clash, obviously. It's kind of like spanking your kids when they try to run across the street without looking, even though you've told them a thousand times. You make them cry, but it's better than seeing them get run over. (calm down, I'm not calling you a child, I'm trying to make a point)

I have broken halacha probably a million times myself this year. I feel horrible about each and every one. I never wanted anyone to think that I was being holier than anyone else. Believe me, I'm going to be praying and crying my heart out for forgiveness tomorrow. Every day I pray for strength to keep halacha.

You are right, what other people do is none of anyone's business. That means that I can't compare you to me, and you can't justify youself by saying "lots of other Orthodox people do it too".

Have a meaningful fast, and a good life. I won't bother you any more.

10/12/2005 12:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Another Nice Jewish Boy said...

Congratulations - not on the kiss, but on thinking so rationally about it. He may be the one you marry or he may not; you and he seem to be doing an amazing job of feeling it out without rashly jumping into it.

As we say, "Aneinu yode'a yetzer, aneinu!"

Gmar Chatimah Tovah

10/12/2005 01:33:00 AM  
Blogger Drew_Kaplan said...

NJG,
I wanted to congratulate you on the very good posting. Also, I don't think it should be any worry to you regarding the timing of all of this, not even the posting. If people are having certain thoughts or memories of theirs being dredged up, what better time is there than right before YK to be thinking about them and how to better themselves?
גמר חתימה טובה,
Drew Kaplan

10/12/2005 01:47:00 AM  
Blogger MC Aryeh said...

A beautiful, sensitive and sensible post. He sounds like a wonderful man, and wish you only the best in discovering if he is the "one" for you. Gmar Chatima Tova.

10/12/2005 02:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Just wondering said...

Not being SN (Orthodox and non single) I still wonder about the *kiss*

You yearning for the *kiss* all these years, I was expecting that it should have taken place under more optimal circumstances.

i.e. that the *kiss* should be "delivered" by someone about whom you are much more willing and expecting to spend your life with.(not necessarily only after havin married him)

After all, the *kiss* as a physical act, is not so hard to get.

The significance of it for person raised in our environment is to get it ftom a person which is quite important to us.

From what you express in the present post, it doesn't seem to be the case yet.

Was it really the *kiss* you were really craving for?

Is it so "out of context?

10/12/2005 05:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yochaved: Nice post. So when are you going to clean up your own back yard... I mean the filthy language on your website? Your words would have at least a little more meaning then, I think.

10/12/2005 08:11:00 AM  
Blogger Esther Kustanowitz said...

May your Yom Kippur be a meaningful one, full of reflection and introspection that help you greet the new year with optimism and enthusiasm.

G'mar chatimah tovah.

10/12/2005 09:37:00 AM  
Anonymous unworthyoflove said...

I apologize if this has already been covered in Monday's comments, but I wonder if NJG would comment now on whether, having finally succumbed (and I do not mean that pejoratively at all, merely descriptively), she feels that SN is still a worthy endeavor or whether she would not have been happier, more fulfilled, perhaps even married, now if she had "succumbed" back when she was 25 or so? That is, sure, you say you are proud to have kept this halacha, but is the halacha qua halacha a realistic one to observe and feel so strongly about now in the 21st century? Back in the 15th or whenever, when ppl got married at 20, and were considered old maids at 24, SN could be realistic maintained, but nowadays when that reality does not obtain, as has been painfully described here, perhaps the halacha must be reconsidered. (I will state here I am unabashedly male, Modern O and unmarried, and "up there"). So, again, I ask whether NJG feels that such succumbing back when she was 25 might not have led her to a quicker marriage-- there being fewer "unknowns" and pressures re that issue -- and healthier, happier life? Would not the same God you feel has NOW provided you a gift have provided it back then as well?
With best wishes for a healthy, happy and emotionally fulfilling new year and chatima tova

10/12/2005 11:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

from another nice jewish girl -

a couple of points:
first of all, there are many girls your age or more who are still SN. they happen not to post on blogs. i know them. and i know many who were older and waited until they were married. so it's possible and it's feasible.

secondly - regardless of whether it's before or after yom kipur - from what i understand it's assur for you to publicly state that you transgressed this issur. it's one thing to sin or transgress privately (and i want to make clear that i'm not judging you on this issue), but another to proclaim it publicly. if it has an adverse effect on even one person, that's a grave thing to be responsible for.

10/12/2005 11:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Halacha is worthless if it is not done in genuine love of G-d. You love G-d and you are a wonderful person. Thank you for sharing this beautiful blog with us.

Chaviva

10/12/2005 11:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Chris said...

You must remember this
A kiss is just a kiss.........



Good for you!

Although we have virtually nothing in common, I sure enjoy your blog, and your struggle to live up to the demands of your beliefs.

I'm a Nice Catholic Boy, ( or I used to be). The anti-sexual messages I got from the nuns in school were enough to turn my stomach, and I never believed or followed them for a second. Consequently, I think a kiss has pretty much no meaning at all--so it amazes me to see it invested with so much importance.

Perhaps, though, you have arrived at (slightly) the same attitude I have. The important thing is the relationship, the bond between the two of you. A little lip pressure is fun, but not really important in the scope of your life or your religion.

There was a movie, Hardore, about a super conservative Christian Dutch Reformed man {George C Scott} who teams up with an LA prostitute {Season Hubley} to find his runaway daughter.

In one scene, the hooker says she her attitude towards sex is much like his--he thinks it is so unimportant that he doesn't do it, she thinks it is so unimportant that she doesn't care who she does it with.

Which is a long way of getting back to the point. You have a relationship. It sounds good, it's going in the right direction, and I wish you all the best.

Don't fret or stew over the kissing part. We're supposed to be kissing, that's why we have lips. What else are they good for, except Bronx cheers?

Mazel Tov

(and will somebody tell me what "frum" means?)

Chris

10/12/2005 12:58:00 PM  
Blogger Needsabetterjob said...

"it's one thing to sin or transgress privately (and i want to make clear that i'm not judging you on this issue), but another to proclaim it publicly. if it has an adverse effect on even one person, that's a grave thing to be responsible for. "

Rubbish, absolute nonsense. Don't lay a guilt trip on her. If you are not mature enough to appreciate the light that NJG has brought to so many, then move on.

This is some warped mussar that you made up. Rav Yisrael Salanter, on one Kol Nidre night was not in shule. He was not davening w/ a minyan, on Yom Kippur, his choice, his decision. Why? Because he was comforting a crying baby that he passed along the way, whose mother had left it to go to Shule.

You should stop playing these stupid games, really.

Let me put it better. If she causes one woman to stop suffering needlessly then she has done another important mitzvah.

10/12/2005 01:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

needs - i beg to differ. what exactly are your qualifications for saying that i made up this halacha?

10/12/2005 01:24:00 PM  
Blogger Daphna said...

NJG-

I have been having a debate in the comment section of another blog regarding your blog and whether or not you should be writing about the kiss etc, and of course you said everything I have been trying to say much more eloquently! I think I will just tell her to check out your latest post....

Actually, one thing you may have accomplished is to educate people on what it is like being an older single, and how difficult and painful it is. I know that the issue of shomer negiah is central here, but even so, a lot of the feelings you write about in your blog are universal to singles.

If even one reader, on the basis of your blog, decides to redouble his/her efforts on behalf of his/her single friends-and does so....

There can be a purpose in everything.

10/13/2005 07:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Thinking Jew said...

NJG, please clarify:

Is your email shomernegiah@yahoo.com?

When you comment as Nice Jewish Girl, it's without a link. This leads me to believe it might not be you. If it were you, you would have signed in with a link by your name.

I ask because I'd like to know if this is you commenting or someone else pretending to be you, who, incidentally, left that email address in a comment. Meanwhile your profile shows no address.

10/14/2005 01:55:00 AM  
Blogger Pragmatician said...

As you said, people do worse things than what you did, if he’s an unmarried man I don't think it's even a deoraitha.
You just felt the need to be touched in a romantic manner, an experience everyone has a right to come across.
It’s not your fault the Shidduchim situation is so messed up.

Speaking Lashon Harha and stealing (both rampant!!)and insulting a Jew(!!!) is much much worse.

10/14/2005 05:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Nice Jewish Girl said...

thinking Jew:

Yes it is me. If you look a few months ago in my archives you will see that I set up shomernegiah at yahoo dot com as my email address. If I saw someone else posting here as me I would delete their comment. Thank you for checking. Gmar chasimah tova.

10/14/2005 08:33:00 AM  
Blogger normal1 said...

njg, As many have been saying( not enough- in my opinion) although no ones perfect- The fact that your sort of bragging about finally losing your struggle is the sad part here. yes lashon horah is bad, stealing is bad- but you dont see any blogs out there of people saying "ive been holding back from stealing from my neighbor- but I really think I am going to steal from him tomorrow", and then the next day the person describes how he actually stole. To top it off, 80% of the people would congratulate you on stealing because "g-d loves you and you needed it". Lets cut to the chase and say what really going on.

YOU ARE A FRUM JEW WHO MESSED UP, DID SOMETHING THAT WHILE IT FEELS GOOD(WHICH AVEIRA DOESN'T- IF IT WAS EASY...) AND BY BLOGGING ABOUT- ITS TAKING AWAY SOME OF THE GUILT.

Let me be clear- people do things wrong and their not horrible people- but lets stop fooling ourselves, ok?

10/14/2005 08:57:00 AM  
Blogger Needsabetterjob said...

Anon, She is no where bragging. She said very clearly that she is taking this step for reason that are clear. It's not stealing at all, it is a human need, why can't you get that?

You have to look at the context of this particular Halacha. You refuse to do so. You are rigid, HERE in THIS example. But you have no right to choose for NJG, what she should be rigid in or not. For example, the Chofetz Chaim said that while we are in golus, we should not live extravagantly in an external manner, our houses should not be large showy luxury homes. This is not followed at all. Show me where in Flatbush, Boro Park, Lawrence, etc... this is followed. Nor do we really question where the money comes from, when large donations are made. Many Yeshivos will take large donations from families who worked their business on Shabbos, Yom Tov, and even RH & YK. Not a problem, no one even goes tsk tsk... There are many many other areas where there is flexibility based on Human factors. Even Reb Moshe once commented that there are so many Halachos and traditions that we no longer keep. BTW, no where did she say that she is so to speak proud of breaking her SN. I would think that she would encourage people to continue like that even at that age, and even older. But it is not for us to judge one who cannot hold out any longer. it makes Judaism look ridiculous, this cold, unsympathetic attitude that you have.

Here she explained very well that she didn't want to miss what might be her once chance for this experience. She was concerned, that given her track record w/ men, this might be the only time for her to experience a little warmth, tenderness, closeness, and yes excitement. Who the hell are you to admonish her. I am sure, if this man had been presented by his Rosh Yeshiva as a Shidduch, and she felt that there could be marriage very soon, she would not have broached the subject. But she explained, she is not sure there are some issues, it could be a flash in the pan, and she wanted to have this.

So why do you focus on this tiny incident, and torment her w/ guilt, after she has been lonely as heck for over 15 years?

The halacha was given in a context of 18 to the Chuppa. I have no problem w/ 18 to the chuppa. But this context is over for her. She could have had almost an 18 yo child herself. She is not a girl, she is a woman who has waited patiently to no avail. The system that you defend, it failed her. It should have given her a husband long ago. But it did not, and she wants to have some enjoyment in this world. You will not succeed in ruining her happiness. I only hope that she continues w/ this man, and that they will soon become an engaged couple, A'H.

Your attempt to hurt her is loathsome, vindictive, and utterly w/out any real frumkeit.

To NJG, I think you should consider that if things progress further, it may be wise to stop this blog altogether, or perhaps ask his permission, as he is now public in some way. The fact that you mention long distance, if he stumbled on this blog, he would know right away. He may not like it. I am not saying that it would be a problem, but he might have wanted you to run this by him that is all. Wishing you all the best, now and forever, Jobber

10/14/2005 09:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Nice Jewish Girl said...

normal:

I do not have a lot of time to respond right now. All I have to say is this, that something I am trying to explain to people is that the laws governing Negiah and premarital sex are not the same as others. Yes of course we have to keep them all. But other mitzvos are easier to keep either because they do not prevent us from fulfilling basic physical needs, or most normal people do not crave to break them. If someone has a compulsive need to steal, they have a sickness. If a person eats a healthy nutritious kosher diet and yet still craves ham to the point that he thinks about nothing else all day and cries himself to sleep every night because of the lack of it, that is very unusual.

But to be unmarried in ones thirties and to crave being held and being made love to is simply being human. Until a few days ago I never did anything wrong. I searched hard for a husband but he did not arrive. I have never hurt another person in my desire to be held and hugged. Perhaps you do not understand what it is to live with a clawing, bitter craving in your heart every second of every day. And it is not a craving that indicates I have a social problem. It is a craving that results simply from being human and being alive. I am not sick, just single. Hashem put me in a normal body and then did not make me get married. I do not understand why but I have fulfilled all the tests that come with that for many years and now I cannot anymore. It is not like stealing. It is like eating the food without a hechsher that is available after I have not eaten a thing for years and years. It is like shivering in the cold for years and years and then putting on the first available coat even though it has shatnez in it.

WOuld you tell the person to continue shivering? It is possible to live and be cold you know. A person COULD live in the cold just as I COULD live for the rest of my life without touching a man. I hope that if a person blogged about finally getting a shatnez coat and how grateful they are not to be cold anymore that you would have some compassion. The lack of compassion among some of the Orthodox people who have been commenting here is a chillul Hashem even to me. It does not mean you have to say that wearing shatnez is OK, just to recognize that shivering and suffering for decades when a coat is available is beyond the reach of most people except the biggest tzaddikim.

Also to the commenter who wondered how I will keep Taharas Hamishpacha, to paraphrase the words of another commenter that is like asking me "if you cannot even go without food or water for months and months, how do you think you will fast on Yom Kippur?"

I have to go to work now. I am late as it is.

10/14/2005 10:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

test

10/14/2005 03:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Elisheva said...

I just read your blog for the first time. I'm female, 40s, married, and conservadox.

I wanted to comment on something that you discussed awhile back re: penetration with objects--sorry if this is a bit out of context.

I'm an MD in primary care and do a lot of routine gynecology. I have had a number of female patients from traditional cultures (some Jewish, many not) who have been married in their thirties and have not been sexually active prior to this and have not done penetration with themselves. After marriage, there is often a problem with pain with penetration and difficulty with intercourse which sometimes takes a long time to sort out.

From the point of view of your sexual functioning, I think it is a good thing that you have done as you have done. I wish you blessings for a wedding night as lovely as your first kiss.

10/14/2005 03:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Thinking Jew said...

NJG, In your last comment above (addressed to normal) it seems that for the first time, rather than explaining your behavior as understandable under the circumstances, you are defending it. Interesting.

Also, I think many if not most of your Orthodox commenters are sypathetic to your plight and share your pain (some of them do so literally!), but nonetheless wish to take a stand for halachah, which—perhaps understandably, perhaps inevitably, but nonetheless techincally—you violated. No one is judging you as a person, or here to tell you what Hashem is thinking. Only that the Halachah says X, and you did Y.

I think all of your readers, religious or otherwise, recognize that they don't come to your ankles in terms of your strength and devotion. But unless you want an audience made up strictly of fawning secularists, who do not respect the premise of why you were shomer negiah in the first place, you should not shut down the voices of those who share your faith and your passion.

10/14/2005 05:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Curious Jew said...

I wonder about your analogy to the coat. A person is allowed to eat pig on Yom Kippur if it will save his life. Are you saying that your "illness" is "life threatening"?

Someone wrote that depression is also a form of death and that escaping it should be grounds for violating the mitzvos. This may be true, but wouldn't one need to ask a qualified halakhist that question?

What about a homosexual? What about a pedophile? Can they get exemptions as well?

10/14/2005 05:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, lovely. Now we have people comparing what NJG did to pedophelia, and BOTH to homosexuality. Real nice.

Hey, I know! Let's blame Hurricane Katrina on NJG! God's judgment and all that!

Sicko.

10/14/2005 05:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Caveman said...

We used to have a saying back in the day "it might lead to mixed dancing" we used this phrase to imply that if "I held hands with a girl then...." it would lead to mixed dancing and mixed dancing leads to....sex. Correct me if I'm wrong, but being shomer negiah is similar to a "charka" in which we refrain from doing one thing so as not to do the "real" sin, which in this case, would be pre-marital sex. As NJG points out there are people who are sinning all the time. How about people who speed? Aren't they violating D'ina D'malchusa D'ina? So, people like Normal who are castigating her for this are probably failing to be consistent. Sure, people don't write blogs about speeding, stealing, or wearing shatnez coats. These issues don't even bother most people even though they might rank up there as well. So, Normal get "normal" and give the woman a break.

10/15/2005 04:29:00 PM  
Anonymous katrina said...

Non-jewish, lapsed catholic, but nonetheless interested in this story.

NJG I just want to wish you all the luck in the world with this relationship, whether or not you continue to tell us all about it! You deserve it all - a loving husband, a wonderful wedding, and many kids.

10/15/2005 07:51:00 PM  
Blogger Needsabetterjob said...

People who say they are standing for Halacha don't get the point here. The issue is not Halacha. The issue is where do we make excuses and exceptions in one type of behavior, and where the posters decide is the boundary for behavior w/ out exceptions and circumstances. Who gets to decide this?
We have given many examples, where the people, decide en masse, by foot, that certain Rabbanice edits do not apply, arenot applicable because of such and such.
I take offense at being called a secularist by thinkingJews last post.
The halacha that he talks about, does not provide an acceptable format for NJG and others who have been let aside by TJ's grand communities. The real issue, is do these arch conservatives wish to acknowledge that there is a very new phenomenon of behavior by people from the mainstream frum community, over and beyond what existed in the Diaspora of Galicia, Lithuanies, and the Ashkenaz communites, and the Spherad, specially, that in our times, many young frum men and women, do not take the getting married edict that seriously, and are ready, willing, and able to live as elongated singes during their 20-30's and beyond, whereas when these SN behaviors were enacted, you did not have this. People made it their business to get married. This we know.
So the issue is, how to you look at this new behavior ( this includes the questions of if the family uses plastic plates and Shabbos and so worth). So w. all this non End-the-madness, we have people falling through the cracks.
It is stupifying, to insist that every nook and cranny of every person by checked because we don't act this way. But here w/ NJG, these frum cops, feel the need to shine their flashlight on her happy face, and be grumpy, rather than happy, that a human being, finally felt and got some of what she has been yearning and desiring for too many years.
It is judgemental in its extreme. It is akin to those who get to shule on time and note when others are late. It is w/out any redeemable quality at all.

People who persist in being so grouchy, are at risk imo, of delaying their own happiness.

10/15/2005 09:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Curious Jew said...

Anon above,

So cowardly to be throwing out names while posting anonymously.

No one is G-d forbid comparing what NJG did to pedophelia. It's called an "analogy" and it's a method of argumentation used to make a point.

The point being: Just because we WANT to do something does not give us license to DO it, even if we want to do it REAL BADLY.

So come out from behind your cloak of anonymity, put your name-calling daggers down, and make a logical argument. But put some thought into it first, and a bit less emotion.

Then we can have a conversation.

10/15/2005 10:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since when was "Thou shalt not give someone a guilt trip" included in the Commandments??

10/15/2005 10:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Thinking Jew said...

Needs,

I never called you a secularist. However, since you brought it up, your comment that one ought to be "happy that a human being finally felt and got some of what she has been yearning and desiring for too many years" is de facto a secularist position, not an halakhic one based on these circumstances.

Don't get me wrong. I feel no joy in another's pain, and even if I was secretly happy for NJG, I wouldn't go on the web and high-five her for violating Jewish law, as understandable as that may be.

The "pursuit of happiness" is not a Jewish ideal it is a secular ideal.

10/15/2005 10:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Schmuel said...

You were S.N. for as long as you could be and you have served as an example to all - both orthodox and non-orthodox alike. Going even beyond that, you have served as an example to gentiles as well.

There has been a longing in my heart for many years to be able to experience the Judaic faith and way of life, but at my age that simply cannot occur given that being Jewish is as much if not moreso a lifetime of experiences as much as it is a faith.

Without a doubt, Hashem has forgiven. When one considers how much one loves one's own children, Hashem loves His children many times more than any human can comprehend.

Thank you for being an example to everyone who has ever known or seen you.

Shalom!

10/15/2005 10:34:00 PM  
Anonymous ephraim said...

I am orthodox, FFB. I just want to add my wishes that you have a wonderful year. You write beautifully.

10/16/2005 12:41:00 AM  
Anonymous chanie said...

orthodox, ffb, following your blog from the beginning. 31, married with kids.
thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. while painful and difficult, i think you have raised many important issues in a thoughtful and complex way.

10/16/2005 05:52:00 AM  
Blogger Needsabetterjob said...

Thinking Jew, show me where all the frum people who spend every Yuntif, in a different exotic hotel and location, are not an embodiment of pursuit of happiness. If you don't know what I am talking about open the "Jewish Press" and look. Show me where those frum people who spend fortunes to go to professional sports games all year round, funds that would help reduce the costs of Yeshiva tuitions, are not into pursuit of happiness. And the clothes, and the cars, and the homes.
I have seen homes in Monsey, they literally do not know what to do next, so they build an indoor botanical garden atrium. This is not pursuit of happiness? This is a Torah idea?
Let us please look at reality, not theortical. Please do not be Koveah for someone else, what their comfort level in life is.
Wishing all an enjoyable and meaninful Sukkot Chag.

10/16/2005 09:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Nice Jewish Girl said...

Hello, everyone. Good morning.

I am fascinated by the discussion happening here. People sure do see religion differently, and have different personalities, don't they?

A little comment for NeedsABetterJob: I appreciate your desire to defend me, and all your good wishes (in other words, your posts have been pretty OK lately), but I do find it strange that after I explicitly asked you not to comment any more, you would return -- not just to wish me well, but to leave post after post! It is very strange of you. Please do not feel the need to jump in every time someone "attacks" me. I am nervous that your posts are going to start getting intolerable again, as they did before. It seems to me that unless and until I post again, you should not feel the need to add anymore. Your contributions to the last two posts were OK, but it is enough now.

Best wishes to all for a chag sameach- happy sukkos!

10/16/2005 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger Semgirl said...

NJG, Just wanted to add that, maybe you are causing yourself a lot of needless grief and anxiety, because you view it as all or nothing. Just because you slip once or twice, and kiss or whatever. doesnt mean you lose the "SN" title (if you absolutely must view it in such a way), forever. Today, you kissed or couldn't pass a nesoyin. So, big deal.. The yetzer hara wants you to be totally devastated and depressed.

Resoleve to always be b'Simcha no matter what.

I realize that I am a lot younger then you and maybe its silly for me to even attempt to give advice. However, I do have a lot of experience, good and bad.
My feeling, is yes, in HS, I did somethings with boys that was wrong. And in Sem in Israel, I certainly had my share of good times, more out of adolescent rebelliousness then depression, but at the end of the day its the same thing. BH, I am growing up now, and have more positive influences and Role Models
(and yes, I definitely STILL include you in that list). so I am trying real hard to be SN. It is VERY VERY difficult. But, I take it day by day. Today, I was good, I may not be able to control myself for the next week, I may be get overwhelmed by feelings of frustration over Shidduchim, or meet a boy I really like or just lust for, and totally lose myself (IYH, it wont go further then feeling and kissing). But I will never give up, and say Im not SN anymore or, Im not frum or good, or not an "eidl" BY girl, no matter how many jerks call me "bummy". Every day is a new opportunity for Avodas Hashem with new challenges. Just say to yourself, I will try and keep Halacha TODAY..

I really hope and pray that this Shidduch works out for you. But whatever, Hashem has in store for you, just know that you are very, very beloved to him and Klall Yisroel, and keep going regardless.

10/16/2005 01:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i just wanted to say that i have never known any non SN marriage to work
please, let me explain
if a couple dating are of the SN type but mess up and are not SN then, if they marry, the union never (to my very limited knowledge) works,
as far as i can tell it somehow causes a certain lack of respect, that is crucial in a marriage


oh yah my friend and all agree, the the yichud room is ok, just ok, if ya stick around for more it only get better

10/16/2005 01:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope you at least used your tongue

10/16/2005 03:35:00 PM  
Blogger With Love said...

Yes, I'm Orthodox, and I'm married with children (mostly grown).

I am very, very glad for you that you have done what you needed to do, and refuse to feel guilty. You do know yourself better than anyone else, and know that you can trust yourself - as well as when you can trust a partner. Kol HaKavod.

This relationship sounds like it has real potential. Because good men are harder and harder to find as we get older, my wish for you is that this really will turn out to be "it." Whether this is the one or not, though, may you realize in the coming year your wish of a good marriage, and experience much happiness from it.

Sara

10/16/2005 03:43:00 PM  
Anonymous zsj said...

i just wanted to say that i have never known any non SN marriage to work please, let me explain if a couple dating are of the SN type but mess up and are not SN then, if they marry, the union never (to my very limited knowledge) works, as far as i can tell it somehow causes a certain lack of respect, that is crucial in a marriage

Dear Anonymous- you need to get out more. That is an 100% incorrect statement which sounds straight out of "The Magic Touch". It is based on fear alone, and a very damaging claim to state in a discussion like this. Thankfully, most people are aware of that. To place such crucial emphasis on an occasional kiss or any perceived "slip" during dating is totally misunderstanding the Jewish view on relationships and marriage.

Good Yomtov to all.
ZSJ

10/17/2005 05:49:00 AM  
Blogger normal1 said...

Id like to make another point here, because it seems very strange to me that as frum and as spiritual njg seems to be, she seems to think she is the only one that really really wants to do an aveira. you had an urge- while maybe longer than some other people have had it but certainly not the longest- that you could not control. WE ALL CAN RELATE. WEVE ALL BEEN THERE. MOST OF US HAVE FAILED AT SOME POINT OR ANOTHER. YOUR PAIN IS NOT MORE SPECIAL THAN SOMEONE ELSES.

You can talk about shivering and starving all you want , but in the end your fooling yourself, and no one else. At least now I am hearing some support.

As for you SEMGIRL, "Today, you kissed or couldn't pass a nesoyin. So, big deal.. The yetzer hara wants you to be totally devastated and depressed."

With that attitude , youll never change- if you follow halacha, it is a big deal. dont get depressed- become more resolved. Even the real BY girls have feelings of lust. Its not just you. They just control it better, and although you might noyt like what I am about to say- too bad its the truth. AT THIS POINT THEY ARE BETTER JEWS THAN YOU ARE. deal with it. dont make excuses.

Have a Good yom tov everyone.

10/17/2005 12:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with ZSJ. The anonymous who wrote that non SN engaged couples who fool around doomed for failure needs to get out more.
Who are you kidding? I know plenty of people from the most frum families and neighborhoods who JUMP to experiment with the ones they are engaged to.
And, they are still married. Including myself.

10/17/2005 01:24:00 PM  
Blogger lollylag4 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/17/2005 01:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me clarify.
When I wrote non SN couples, I meant they were SN until the time of their engagement.
A lot of my Beis Yaakov friends fooled around with their fiances.
They are all still happily married, with children and nachas, and may they have more! I am not agreeing with what they did, but making a statement that marriages that begin with touching end with failure is ignorant.

10/17/2005 01:27:00 PM  
Blogger te-te said...

God made us imperfect. God knows that we stray from the covenants we make - and that our continuing choice to turn back to God is what makes us Jews.

If we didn't wrestle with God's commandments and with our faith - we wouldn't be Jewish.

May God bless you for your honest and heartfelt consideration of your behavior. It's my sincere belief that this is what God truly wants from us.

10/18/2005 05:42:00 AM  
Anonymous wessel said...

Mazel tov! Good for you. I'm so glad you did it. And as someone else pointed out, a state of shomer negiah needn't be considered synonomous with virginity, that once you "lose" it, it's gone forever. No, you can always resume your attempts to be shomer negiah, and now, you will probably have renewed strength to go on.

I am Orthodox, and my husband and I tried very hard to be completely shomer negiah. We mostly succeeded, but not 100%. We have an extremely happy marriage, Baruch Hashem, so I don't know why anyone would try to claim that couples who fail at SN all end up doomed. Sounds like just another religious fanatic scare tactic to me. I hope you don't take such "prophecies" seriously.

Anyway, I am happy for you, and I DO think that Hashem understands. You held out for a long time. No one could expect more. I can't even believe that Hashem would expect more--I believe these laws were intended for teenagers who had only a few years of hormonal activation prior to marriage. I can't believe Hashem intended for mature adult singles to suffer this way for 20 or more years. I'm not saying it should be a sexual free-for-all after you pass a certain age limit, only that I think compassion is in order for people in such situations.

Wishing you a new year full of brachot!

10/18/2005 03:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Nice Jewish Girl,

I am a divorced woman in my 40's who is also frum and S.N. and I understand the difficulties you face (believe me I do!!). I left my abusive husband 2 years ago and have not even dated so I don't even have an opportunity to kiss anyone. When a friend hugs me, I sometimes realize that it's been a long time since I felt anyone close.

I am the last person to judge you for kissing a man that you think has potential. However, please get to know him well before you get married and have children. Date for a year, longer if it is long distance. See what he is like when he is angry. Ask people about his ability to handle anger. See how he treats his parents. Our rabbi knew about the problems we were having in our marraige. He did tell me that he knew that my ex had anger management problems but he assumed that once he was married, he wouldn't be so angry (as if having sex relieves anger - it just gave him someone else to be angry at). As for the loneliness and horniness, my ex witheld sex a lot as a way to try to control me.

10/23/2005 11:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Nice Jewish Girl,

I am a divorced woman in my 40's who is also frum and S.N. and I understand the difficulties you face (believe me I do!!). I left my abusive husband 2 years ago and have not even dated so I don't even have an opportunity to kiss anyone. When a friend hugs me, I sometimes realize that it's been a long time since I felt anyone close.

I am the last person to judge you for kissing a man that you think has potential. However, please get to know him well before you get married and have children. Date for a year, longer if it is long distance. See what he is like when he is angry. Ask people about his ability to handle anger. See how he treats his parents. Our rabbi knew about the problems we were having in our marraige. He did tell me that he knew that my ex had anger management problems but he assumed that once he was married, he wouldn't be so angry (as if having sex relieves anger - it just gave him someone else to be angry at). As for the loneliness and horniness, my ex witheld sex a lot as a way to try to control me.

10/23/2005 11:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are a very special lady, and an inspiration.

10/24/2005 01:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Ben F said...

[Per your request that posters identify themselves, late 40s, divorced, male, Jewish, apikoros but with great respect for our traditions and those who keep them, and for the faithful of all streams, and personally having a strong belief in kol Yisrael arevim ze l'ze and avoidance of lashon hara, presently S.N. more by circumstance than conviction.]

To coin a phrase, WOW. This being the internet, the whole site could be a hoax, but I'm taking it at face value, and am in awe. Modest exhibitionism. What a world.

Your writing opens many eyes. There is so much love here; I hope that you are able to draw strength and comfort from it.

I'm certainly not in position to judge you, and not in position to advise you either, but allow me offer a thought or two.

As others note, there is a difference between deciding that one can no longer go through life "never having been kissed," and deciding to forsake the commandment altogether. Perhaps your partner in "crime" is proposing S.N. for your next few dates in order to allow you the space to sort this out for yourself. A fine man, I'd say.

I also agree with the comment above that defining oneself in terms of S.N. is unhealthy. You keep kosher, you keep the Sabbath, but you don't define yourself in terms of a specific mitzvah. I understand your argument that S.N. is unique (though you concede that gay men are in even more difficult straits than you), but in a sense that doesn't matter. if you cannot stop obsessing over it you will be harmed, though the harm of obsessively keeping S.N. is different from the harm of obsessively transgressing.

We were instructed at Sinai not to covet. I've heard it taught that this commandment was given last because all other transgressions derive from violating it. it is, of course, impossible to fulfill, but we must learn to recognize it before we can try to muster the resources to resist.

is your struggle really with N.S. per se, or is it about wanting what others have, and which you feel (deservedly!!!) that you deserve as well? Only you can answer that question. May Hashem gives you the strength and the wisdom to find balance.

Chag sameach, shana tova umetuka, and, as the Romans didn't say, Illegitimi Non Carborundum.

10/26/2005 05:48:00 AM  
Blogger Jew Speak said...

First I must say that I am disappointed in you from a Torah point of view but on the same hand can not imagine the test. I feel that you should not have posted this at all. Do we really have the measuring device to see what the ripple effects of our words are? What about the people that were counting on you as a Jewish Orthodox role model? What if this post is what finally pushed a person over the edge and decided to break S.N.?

As for you and Mr. Non-committed older man... I am very worried. I am sure you have read or heard of Gila Manolson. I highly recommend her article/ tape on this subject called The Magic Touch. Once you get intimate you are now severely handicap as far as making a rational decision. If this guy was serious about you he would have waited a few more dates to get to know you and then as mature adults decide to get married.

Then again this is easy for me to say not having had this test for so many years...

10/27/2005 05:07:00 AM  
Anonymous ben f said...

to jew speak:

I'm not going to address your second point. NJG can take your advice/observation for what she considers it to be worth, same as she can mine.

But as to the rebuke that is your first point, I think that NJG's website is less likely to foster transgression of S.N. than it is to educate about S.N. and, perhaps, by raising both individual and community awareness of the issue, spotlight the need to address it by, e.g., more focus on fostering matches.

You see lifnei iver, and who can say that you would not be correct in some individual case, but look at the bigger picture. Keep the focus where it belongs--on tikkun olam.

You say that NJG should be a role model. Well, maybe one day she will drop her mask and become an activist, a spokesperson on this point. Maybe that is why Hashem put her through her tribulations while blessing her with her marvelous writing skills, and why He did so in the age of the blog.

Or maybe not. In either case, the responsibility for moving ahead is not NJG's alone. Cf. the Agunah issue. Is it not a scandal that, among the dati, there are so few in number--apart from the agunot of course--who press for a solution?

Likewise, to those posters who objected to the fact that NJG posted about her having been kissed (interesting use of the passive voice there, but I digress) during the Days of Awe: anyone who had been following the site knew what was likely to be coming. If you chose to visit during that time, looking for something objectionable (by your lights), you gave in to your voyeurism or worse. Maybe lifnei iver does apply in that context, because in a sense NJG tempted you, but I didn't detect any note of self-criticism in those posts. People living in glass houses . . . .

disclaimer: IANAP

10/27/2005 10:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"and yet all over the place are Orthodox people who break halachos all the time because keeping all the halachos all the time is very very challenging. Much too challenging for most people. Are there not any halachos that they, too, break in secret? Do not they, too, have something for which to repent this week?"

My question to you is, do you feel the need to repent? Yes, it's difficult to keep the halachos, and everyone fails once in a while, but when we fail, we see it as a failure.

If you had posted a blog entry called "Nice Jewish Girl Eats a Cheeseburger," would the reacation be different then it has been to what you really posted?

10/27/2005 02:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

good grief mr cheeseberger. get a life u r not getting njg's point at all.

10/27/2005 05:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11/02/2005 02:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Eliyahu said...

It's unfortunate that you've gotten such criticism from people who've never had to stand in your shoes. One of the most basic needs all of us have is human contact. It's easy for those who are married or who are young and haven't had to endure your loneliness to say "just wait" or "just do without." The reality is that we each need the touch of another human being, a hug, an embrace, a caress or a kiss. I'm reminded of the advice I received from a Chabad rabbi during my early days as a BT. He told me, do the best you can with what you have, and G-d will understand.

11/03/2005 06:59:00 PM  
Blogger Schroeder said...

To wait until you are 35 and still feel guilty? Are you kidding? There could be no more profound gesture of adherence to the dictates of your faith. That's a long time. It's almost twice the age you were when you in seminary. Think about it. You have proven your commitment. Now you must move on. I truly believe that God would not frown upon a girl wanting to experience love with another man. To want to have a family is the most profound earthly experience, and it is what we are created to do.

11/19/2005 02:21:00 AM  
Blogger pesematology said...

"So I apologize to my readers for not at least having the sensitivity to my audience to wait until after Yom Kippur to post what I did."

I think you were right to post before Yom Kippur. If it dredged up issues for people then perhaps they were able to let go of or deal with something this Yom Kippur that they couldn't have before. In any case you are not responsible for their problems. We are told to each act as though the entire world was created for her/him.

As for breaking SN, everything happens for a reason. And I know from personal experience that lonelienss can sometimes be a sickness, and even a danger to life.

I think you are very brave for keeping SN so long and for being understanding with yourself when you couldn't keep it any longer, and also for sharing these thoughts with the world. This unwillingness to shy away from controversey is what made the prophets special and it's what makes your writing special.

12/07/2005 05:59:00 AM  
Blogger pesematology said...

Also, in response to the cheeseburger comment, if the title of this post were, "Nice Jewish Girl is on a desert island and is weak from hunger and G-d sends her a cheeseburger and she eats it and feels her strength return" yes then the reaction might be the same to this post.

12/07/2005 06:02:00 AM  
Blogger Ayelet said...

I do realize I'm over two months late with this comment, but I must say how much I admire you. You truly do have a way with words and are so unbelievably frum. I aspire to be as pure as you in my avodah. Your struggle inspired me many months back but I took you off my blogroll during your blogging semi-retirement. I'm so glad I checked back just to be sure.

I think Shanna's suggestion was a very good one. Blogging (or any other kind of journal-writing) is so therapeutic. Also, just letting you know, you could turn off comments if you do decide to publish a post but don't want feedback.

1/02/2006 11:00:00 PM  
Blogger Sweettooth120 said...

I think you have expressed this very beautifully and very well.

1/04/2006 03:21:00 PM  

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