go to: previous page [page 1 (1-7)] [page 2 (8-18)] page 3 (19-26)
[page 4 (27-33)] [page 5 (34-35)] [page 6 (36-42)] next page

-- 19 --

From: Juan
To: Gershon
Date: September 14

How are you, dearest Gershon?

Why was it necessary for me to disconnect a bit from our dialogue, you might ask?

You must understand that after the fluent exchange of ideas between us, a major chaos developed in my head. My doubts regarding why she and I should not be together found their religious as well as logical answer to some degree. My doubts regarding her parents were cleared up, thanks to your words. I agree with you, they do not know how to defend their position. The proper way to deal with this is not the way they are going about it, pretending to ignore my existence. It is quite to the contrary.

Understand this: we have been together for over a year. I love her (more than we can imagine) and she loves me (more than we can possibly imagine). You must realize that in a society such as the one we live in these days, being together leads us to believe that we are fighting for true love, etc., etc. ... To give that up would mean unacceptable failure.

Let's re-capsulate. I am very much in love with her, as much as she is with me and neither of us doubts this. I have had other partners before — as did she — and we have never felt as happy with someone as we do now. The ingredients that contribute to the success of the relationship are: clearly established limits between her daily life and mine. The fact that she has a circle of friends which is totally different than mine helps to prevent intrusion into one another's space. I have never in my life come across such a beautiful and intelligent woman. For me this is the best "game" of my life.

Alright. What then was the reason for my silence? What happened was that I was convinced that we should not be together to the extent that I dropped her without caring about what she thought. Result: constant, uninterrupted suffering for both of us. Confused, I decided to backtrack. We were back together shortly after.

Then, (a little because of her demands) I interrupted my dialogue with you which had filled my head with ideas that led to the right path, but one that she was not ready to tolerate for the time being.

Understand, then, that for the time being we are continuing together and if it were up to me, I would like it to be forever. If I would have to sign something that would commit me to it, I would do so immediately.

My friends tell me: "Drop her... but don't be upset tomorrow when you see her with another non-Jew..." And if that should happen? If I am convinced that Jews and Christians should not be together, but she does not think so? What benefit was there for me to have things so clear?

Another issue that hurts me very much (an issue that somehow you always avoid...) is regarding her parents and their attitude towards me.

I know that your answer has always been that you cannot speak for them. The only thing that I would like to know is what do you think about their attitude. What attitude am I referring to? Well, it's over a year that their daughter loves someone who sees her every day, shares a great amount of time and more... Nevertheless, they do not show any interest in meeting me. During all this time that we have been together, I have been in her house only once. I went into the living room and I knew that the mother was in the house but did not come out to say hello. While my girlfriend was changing in her room, I waited in the living room crying because of the mother's indifference, knowing that her daughter's boyfriend was in the living room but did not merit her greeting. After a while, when there was no alternative, because she was leaving, her mother passed by near me and said "Hi, Juan", and turning her back to me, she left.

When someone asks the mother if her daughter has a boyfriend, what does she answer? Yes, but I don't know him, because I don't want him coming to my home, because he is a goy.

I would like you to tell me what would be the correct approach for the parents to take, in order to reclaim their daughter, if necessary.

Last week, Paulina came to my home, and, as usual, burst out crying. She said that she cannot tolerate her mother's aggressions any longer. She is an excellent student. She has just graduated as an architect. She is responsible, super intelligent and an excellent person. But she wakes up in the morning and goes to sleep at night hearing her mother say that she is destroying the family and that she is the cause of her parents' suffering and that her grandparents are going to die because of her and her goy boyfriend. Is this fair?

I deserve to be left standing at the door, and that the mother should answer the phone as if I were nobody? The end justifies the means? I was taught that this is wrong.

A hug,

Juan

P.S. Please try not to answer me with questions...

P.S.S. Did you show this dialogue to anybody? Did you get any interesting reactions?


-- 20 --

From: Gershon
To: Juan
Date: September 14

Juan:

Thank you very much for your mail.

Regarding your attitude during the time that I know you, I have nothing but admiration for your intelligence, sincerity and strength of character. It is obvious why she likes you so much.

I think that there were two things that were overlooked:

1) My not corresponding with her as well, giving her the tools with which she should be able to reach the same conclusions as you;

2) Not speaking personally with both of you, either together or separately.

Although this means of communication that we are using has its advantages, it also has its limitations. It prevents fluent and personal communication. I did not insist on meeting you personally, because I considered that having already extended the invitation to you, I shouldn't insist, but that you would accept it if and when you felt like it.

We still can correct both mistakes.

Going back to our electronic dialogue, I think that there is something very important to take into consideration:

It would not be a bad idea that the two of you should get married. If only it were possible. The fact is that it is not possible. No matter how many formalities you will go through and no matter how many papers you will sign, the fact does not change. A Jew and a non-Jew cannot marry. I think that once you realize that it is an unalterable fact, the temptation to do so will disappear. I repeat the example that at one point I gave you. Imagine if you were to find out that you are siblings, no matter how much you loved her, would you get married?

Think about it for a while...

You touched upon a very important point. You said that you would consider it a failure if you were to break up. Would you consider it a failure if you were to find out that you are siblings? I think not. You would feel fortunate at having discovered who you really are. Breaking up this relationship does not imply failure, but the contrary. It is the greatest victory there is. I will explain why.

Our sages define as "strong" one who overcomes his instincts (Ethics of the Fathers 4:1). They consider him to be stronger than a conqueror of cities. Why is this so?

One who rules over thousands or millions of people possesses only relative power. He is more powerful than millions of people that are weaker than he. But if he can only dominate those that are weaker than he but cannot control himself, is he truly powerful? He is weak, only not as weak as others.

One who can control himself is the truly powerful one.

I'll bet that during the time that you left her, you felt — within the pain — a feeling of inner peace and personal refinement for having made the right decision. Of course, being that she did not share it with you, it was difficult to resist the sadness and tears of the person whom at this moment you love so much. If she would have shared the decision with you and would have shared this feeling of accomplishment and happiness for having done that which is right, it would have been different. You would both have felt supported in your decision.

A hypothetical question: If she were to come and tell you: "Juan, I realized that you were right. I am willing to support you in this decision to break up, because I came to the same conclusion as you," would you not feel relieved?

Consider: It is much more difficult for her than for you. Your decision was based on personal considerations, while if she chooses to break up, it might be attributable to the pressure of her parents. If you decide to break up, it is a show of strength. Nobody pressured you. If she leaves, she can feel beaten by the pressure. Besides, your decision to break up was based on your conviction that you were doing the right thing; if she chooses to break the relationship, she would never forgive herself for having sacrificed you because of her parents. "What kind of woman and human being am I if I abandon a person who loves me so much and whom I love so much just because my parents don't agree to the relationship...?"

I think that I can understand her.

I think that at this point it would be helpful if she were to intervene in this dialogue, either by mail or personally.

I think that she is doing precisely that which she does not want to do. She did not want to make the decision to break up, because of the pressure of her parents, and she ends up making a decision to continue as a reaction to that pressure.

Obviously she is very intelligent. I think that if she were to be able to free herself of the external pressures and make a decision not in reaction to them, but based on her own discovery of the issues at hand, you will achieve the results that you are really looking for...

As far as my opinion regarding the parents is concerned, I think that they are not behaving this way out of anger or disdain, but out of pain, fear and frustration. Pain because of their daughter's rejection of her heritage, fear for her future, and frustration because of their inability to give her the tools necessary to help her understand them and be able to navigate the labyrinth of life successfully. I think that you should be able to understand them. I'm sure that they have no negative feeling towards non-Jews. But this does not mean that they should therefore accept their daughter marrying someone who is not Jewish, thereby abandoning her identity, her People and her G‑d. Even though they are unable to articulate it, they feel it in their kishkes (gut). It is nothing personal against you. It is all about her and them.

Even animals have the instinct to leave descendants. It is natural to resist losing a child... I do not want to be reiterative, but the children of their daughter, how will they define themselves? With which nation will they feel identified, their father's? Or their mother's?

My answer turned out longer than I intended when I started, but I wanted to fulfill your request to answer without questions. OK? ;)

Yes, I did show the dialogue to others (changing of course the names and identifying details). They all agree with you in many of the things that you say. They agree that many of their friends that are going through similar situations, lack the most basic tools necessary to make informed decisions. Your arguments and comments are very precise and bring out clearly the real situation.

Awaiting your reply.

A hug.

Gershon


-- 21 --

From: Juan
To: Gershon
Date: September 29

SAHANA TOBA! For you and your family (is it written that way?)

My best wishes for you and yours.

Juan


-- 22 --

From: Gershon
To: Juan
Date: October 5

SAHANA TOBA! For you and your family (is it written that way?)

-- We live in a democracy... anybody can write it as they wish.... ;) I would write it as 'Shana Tova'..

My best wishes for you and yours.

-- Thank u. Likewise.

Any news on the 'rollercoaster'?

A hug,

Gershon


-- 23 --

From: Gershon
To: Juan
Date: October 11

Juan:

What's up?

Why the silence? Did you ask her if she wants to participate in our dialogue?

A hug,

Gershon


-- 24 --

From: Juan
To: Gershon
Date: October 11

How are you, Gershon?

I hope that you have been inscribed in the book of the righteous. J

How did you spend the holidays?

Look, Paulina had expressed interest in participating in the dialogue, but she has recently found out that you knew her name, and refuses to participate.

She had been interested in participating anonymously, but not in this way. She has incredible respect for you and I think that she is a little embarrassed to be with me in your judgment.

I will leave you here, because I have much to do. Later on, with more time, I will write you.

Regards

Juan


-- 25 --

From: Gershon
To: Juan
Date: October 11

I hope that you have been inscribed in the book of the righteous. J

-- Thank u. You too.

How did you spend the holidays?

-- Thank G‑d. I am still spending them... ;)

Look, Paulina has expressed interest in participating in the dialogue, but she has recently found out that you knew her name, and refuses to participate.

-- I thought that she had authorized you to reveal the secret to me...

She had been interested to participate anonymously, but not in this way. She has incredible respect for you and I think that she is a little embarrassed to be with me in your judgment.

-- There is no reason for her to be ashamed of my judgment... I am not a judge. All I want to be is a friend that is willing to try and help, sharing my knowledge, feelings and experience, without any intention to judge...


-- 26 --

From: Gershon
To: Juan
Date: October 20

How are you?

Any News?

Gershon

go to: previous page [page 1 (1-7)] [page 2 (8-18)] page 3 (19-26)
[page 4 (27-33)] [page 5 (34-35)] [page 6 (36-42)] next page