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Is there a Spiritual role for a Childless, Single Middle-Aged Woman?

Is there a Spiritual role for a Childless, Single Middle-Aged Woman?

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Question:

As a childless, single, middle-aged, totally non-observant woman, am I considered a failure as a Jew? Is there any other spiritual role for a woman other than wife, mother or religious virgin? Will I end my life as a genetic dud?

Answer:

Someone once said that birth is G‑d's way of showing you that you matter. Of course you are not a failure! Every person has his or her own mission and role of what he/she is meant to accomplish in this world.

The Baal Shem Tov explained that a person can live in this world for seventy or eighty years for the sole purpose of doing a good deed for his fellow. So powerful is every positive act that we do. Every good deed and every mitzvah that you do has infinite value for all eternity.

You ask what is the spiritual role for a woman other than wife or mother. The answer is that she has the same spiritual role that every person has here in this world--to develop and strengthen our relationship with G‑d by making our world a better place, a "home" for G‑d, a place where He can feel comfortable. This is the purpose, role and mission for every one of us.

How we go about doing so is as individualized as our faces. None of us is a carbon copy of each other and we each have our own unique talents and contributions to make to this world. This is true whether we are man or woman, married or single, have children or are childless, are young or old, disabled or abled. It makes no difference. We all are here to contribute!

Have you considered what contributions you would like to make to those around you? What are your special talents that you can use to increase goodness in our world? How have you strengthened your connection to G‑d today?

See here for some more food for thought on this topic.

Chana Weisberg is the editor of TheJewishWoman.org. She lectures internationally on issues relating to women, relationships, meaning, self-esteem and the Jewish soul. She is the author of five popular books.
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Discussion (5)
May 26, 2009
single middle aged
it looks like us singles have got to appreciate the love we give freely without conditions,i notice children change people to selfish except in exceptional circumstances,so yes its lonely yet with social life and family life almost finished we have to make the best of individual strength
jeff bawden
limoges, france
March 30, 2008
It's not too late
So, if you can, have children! For the middle aged girls, its not too late! Women are having children into their 60s. My non-Jewish wife and I have two grown children who barely think they are even half Jewish. I am Bal TShuvah after 45 years...now what. I'll live and die as a Jew but my Jewish lineage ends with me after 4000 years? It stinks and I'm very sad. I'm sorry for not marrying a Jew and raising Jewish children (at least 8) but what now? I encourage any Jewish women who can...go get a man and have children.
Anonymous
Nampa, Idaho
March 28, 2008
Childless, single middle-aged woman...
Dear Chana, thanks. This is already a very good contribution. I have read your correspondence and it helped me a lot to understand what I need to accomplish in this world.
Sorry for my English, I am a french living in Tel Aviv and English is not my mother tongue. Just keep on helping other people being better Jews. It is a huge contribution!
Estel
Tel Aviv, Israel
March 27, 2008
I can relate
I am not totally single, I was widowed almost 29 years ago when my beloved husband took his own life. I am a convert of 40 years, and after my husband died, I decided I wanted to have a formal Jewish education. I attended Gratz College, and received a degree in Jewish Studies in '85. I have become more observant over the years, although not a Hasid. For several years after my husband died, I spent holidays with his family, or going to friends homes. Around 1986 I began inviting other singles, a friend who had recently converted to Judaism, and then other people, college students, couples in interfaith marriages with no where to spend the holidays, and recently senior citizens, who's family were deceased. Some guests I've kept in touch with over the years, others I've seen only once or twice, but it has been a rewarding experience to hostess so many people over the years. And despite the lack of husband and children, I do really look forward to the 25 hrs of Shabbat, no tv, no phone. a lovely day, just for me. It would be nice to have someone to share my life with, but I try to make the best of the life that G-d has ordained for me.
Rachel Garber
Phila, PA USA
March 27, 2008
Childless, single middle-aged woman...
Dear Chana, Your response deeply touched me. It was all at once beautiful, sensitive, eloquent, wise and simple.
Anonymous
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