Marriage Matters: Dearest Yaakov // Letters to my husband who abandoned us

As told to Yehudis Hart

Dear Yaakov,
Do you remember the first year of our marriage? Do you recall the first time you told me about your dreams and aspirations, how you wanted to raise holy children in a home that was safe from the negative influences of the outside world?
I remember the first time you mentioned your brother Moish. I could see the pain in your eyes, especially when you told me how his behavior was causing such suffering for your parents. You said that you promised yourself each time you saw your parents’ tears that you would be a source of pride to them, and never cause them any pain. I said that I would be at your side helping to make it happen. Together we would build a beautiful home and give them nachas to make up for their heartache. I felt like the luckiest girl in the world. Do you still cherish those moments? Do you also think about them when you can’t fall asleep at night?

I’m angry. You have spoiled every moment of joy. The nights are the hardest and the loneliest. A few nights ago my mind wandered back to the day our Brachaleh was born. She took her time making her appearance, not unusual for a firstborn, but I remember how you were so concerned about me. I heard you on the phone with the rav asking him for a brachah, explaining that there were complications. When the rebbetzin came to visit and asked about my difficult delivery I laughed. But it was a good feeling, because I knew you cared about me.
I remember how you would sit by the baby’s crib and watch her as she slept. You were so proud! I couldn’t help but smile. I used to hear you talking to her when you thought I wasn’t listening. You were sure that she understood every word—a child prodigy, no doubt.
Whatever. It’s pointless going back. But what am I supposed to do with all these beautiful memories? I hate the way you keep surfacing in my mind all the time. Well, maybe I like it a little bit. No! I absolutely hate it. I absolutely hate it and you for everything you’ve done to us. I’m so confused.

When Shua was born I felt as if our life was perfect. It was sheer bliss, just like in the storybooks. A boy and girl and a loving set of parents. How dare you ruin the fairy tale we created together! How dare you destroy our happily ever after!
Brachaleh doesn’t even notice that you’re gone. She thinks that life without a father is normal. She’s too young to know anything else. That’s the only life our Brachaleh knows, the same child you wanted to keep safe from the outside world.

Why didn’t you listen to me? I warned you that Moish was a bad influence. I told you it wasn’t a mitzvah to help him if you knew that he wasn’t good for you. I begged you to speak to the rav, but you insisted that he wouldn’t understand. You saw yourself as some kind of superhero who was going to make things right again with your brother. How I wish I could have stopped you before it was too late.

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