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The Groom and the Cup of Water

The Groom and the Cup of Water

How one soon-to-be-intermarried couple’s relationship collapsed

Photo: Carlos Gustavo Curado
Photo: Carlos Gustavo Curado

My husband and I directed an organization in Cleveland, Ohio to help Jewish immigrants from the Former Soviet Union with their physical and spiritual needs. In the 1970’s one of our acquaintances with was facing a crisis: Their child was engaged to a non-Jewish girl.

The parents tried time and again to convince their son to end the relationship. They explained the importance of Jewish continuity and the graveness of ending the Jewish family lineage. They explained that right now his relationship with his fiancé is clouded by fiery love, but with time, when the couple faces real issues and decisions, the Jewish factor will become a problem.

Although the parents spoke passionately, the son would not hear any of it. He had not received a Jewish education when living in communist Russia and this may have been the first time they’d ever discussed their Jewish heritage.

“All people are created equal, we are no better than anyone else,” he dismissed their badgering. The parents explained that while all people are created equal, they also are given their own different and unique missions from G‑d on this world. Every person is created with a particular soul that G‑d destined for that specific person. They also explained to their son that each soul has its own potential and its own needs. For this reason, a Jew, with his or her unique soul, is destined to marry another Jewish person.

The groom paid no attention to the emotional distress of his parents or their logical arguments.

With their son refusing to budge despite their tears, pleading and explanations, the parents travelled to New York for a private audience with the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory.

The meeting was short and the couple left disappointed. The Rebbe told them to encourage their son to come for an audience himself.

The father was not happy, “I came to ask for advice on what to do. Why would my son listen to some rabbi he doesn’t know when he refuses to listen to me?!”

The father adamantly refused to pass on the Rebbe’s message to his son. But as the wedding approached, he became more and more agitated. Their conversations became more and more impassioned until late one night the father finally blurted out that the Lubavitcher Rabbi wanted to meet him.

The son willfully agreed, looking forward to some more debate, and the father arranged an audience with the Rebbe.

Face to face with the Rebbe, the young man passionately argued his position. “All people are created equal. There are no differences between a Jew and a non-Jew so why does my father insist that one day issues will surface just because I am Jewish and she is not?”

The Rebbe listened closely and realized the young man was not open to any further arguments against the marriage. Instead, he instructed him, “The next time you meet your future wife, the first thing you should do is ask her for a glass of water.”

The young man agreed and kept to his word. The next time he visited her apartment, as soon as she opened the door, he asked for a drink of water.

The young woman rushed to the sink and, in her haste, turned on the faucet at maximum strength, causing a large amount of water to spray on her outfit.

Soaked and infuriated, she raged against him, “Here is your water, Kike!”

The Rebbe’s insight showed the bride’s true colors at last, and the young man ended the relationship. He recognized that she held strong anti-semitic feelings, despite the good times they had.

He learnt that when one is blinded by beauty, or other superficial and transient characteristics, to the extent of marginalizing everything of value, one may ultimately face a shocking surprise.

Mrs. Shula Kazen, together with her husband Rabbbi Zalman Kazen, directed a multifaceted organization assisingt immigrants from the Former Soviet Union with their physical and spiritual needs in Cleveland, Ohio.
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Rachael Medellin Dunker Hitchcock, Texas July 30, 2011

Concern It isn't that one religion is better than another people just don't understand G~d's Commandments and a way of Life and many don't want it either, they choose otherwise knowing the facts of G~d ways. There will always be separations, unless one gives up their own beliefs, there is always unhappiness, many broken hearts, tears and arguments, never in complete harmony, They will be on a different pages of beliefs in life in, there will be great pretending, unspoken hurts and much unhappiness, One should look at all the factors and weigh them before a decision. is made. The children will also suffer, torn by parents, and beliefs, not only at home but through out their entire lives, the families will try to convince children of the wrong and rights of religion and creating confusion and even more unhappiness. They both should talk to their religious leaders, and families on both sides to know what is coming their way. Being honest and knowing who one is marring should be a priority. Reply

Anonymous Toronto July 28, 2011

So TRUE This is an absolutely Wonderful story. I payed a VERY heavy price for having been raised a Catholic, though of Jewish Lineage. I had three opportunities to marry , and each time, balked. One very serious relationship with a French prospect whom everyone expected was a sure thing, ended when his parents visited mine, and during which the supper the mother lauded the german soldiers during the second world war as being very nice to her family, and very helpful.
I will never forget my father's face - utter, complete shock, though raised a catholic, he held his eyes totally blank, and just stared. I felt deeply filthy, and something within, shut down permanently.

I knew I would Never wish to associate, privately with such people, even though they considered themselves free thinkers of cathlic stock.

I paid a very price very willingly, as I could not bring myself to share my humble life with just anyone - He had to be Jewish. Reply

Dixie Kennewick, WA July 28, 2011

People The one thing I find in all religion is this better then thou belief. It must hurt G-d unmercifully to see so many of us believe they are better then our brothers and sisters simply because of religion and/or religion. I don't think we can look for the arrival of the time we all long for until we accept every human is G-d's child and who we are hating are our own sisters and brothers. Reply

Raphaela Sorkin Foster City, CA July 28, 2011

same thing happened to another couple My parents told me of a couple who lived in Russia. He was a Jew and she wasn't. They lived together for 30 years, and had children. One day the husband finds a letter that his wife was writing to her mother who lived in another city. The letter read" Dear Mom, everything is wonderful, my husband is a nice man, and a wonderful provider, but when I sit next to him, he still smells like a Jew" He left her after that. There are many stories like that. I guess we should never forget who we are. We are the chosen people that are different than any nation in the world. We need to stick together, help each other, and continue our traditions through the centuries. No other race will ever be able to understand us, and vise versa. Reply

Rus bas Sarah Boca Raton, Fl July 28, 2011

Intermarriage Interferance A rabbi sent me 2 young couples planning intermarriage. They had one thing in common -they were "in love". I pretended to be accepting and just asked 2 simple questions of the non-Jewish woman. "How are you going to feel not having a tree at holiday time? Or not sharing Santa Claus with your children?"" She responded, "What? I'm going to celebrate my holidays like always Of course my children will have those things."" The Jewish man was shocked. ."Jewish people don't have those things!" A furious fued began which continued as they walked out the door. I whispered to him,"Take her home and never see her again!" He did. He returned to the yeshivath he left. I saw him several years later in a store. He was wearing a kapata and black hat. " I have a beautiful Jewish wife and 3 Jewish children!"
Having grown up in the Gentile world, I know that among themselves, the Jew will be referred to in unflattering ways, especially in anger. Reply

Melech July 28, 2011

Intermarriage What a powerful story. The fiance's true feelings came out. Good thing the man listened to his father and went to see the Rebbe! Reply

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