A fireman once told me that he was trained not to aim his hose at the top
of the flame because this only puts out the top of the flame. The fire keeps
burning. He is taught to aim his hose at the base of the flame where it meets
the wood that fuels the fire. If the base is put out, the entire fire goes
out as a consequence.
Working with people goes the same way. If one aims his approach at the
surface, one achieves nothing when there is a deeper, underlying cause. If I
aim my efforts at the depth, I can put out the fire at its root, address the
real problem. This can bring to meaningful, lasting solution. When the
underlying root problem is gone (or, at least less intense), much of the real
problem falls away and the surface behaviors can be more effectively and
By sharing some of the underlying representative issues, the public may
develop more awareness, sensitivity and constructive responsiveness when you
see singles avoiding, sabotaging or ill-choosing serious relationships.
It is important never to see people in a condescending light, nor to deal
with them in a contemptuous, judgmental, arrogant or rejecting manner. One
person would categorically deride single people as too picky or selfish.
Another individual would disparage singles who didn't want to choose a spouse
who suited this person's definition of a proper spouse for the single. I know
one person whose approach would be to tell singles, "C'mon, grow up." A
certain very poor man hardly had what to eat. He was afraid that he couldn't
support a family. I know another person who told this poor individual that he
was really just interested in luxuries so he wasn't marrying just so that he
could continue to indulge himself. This man was only stabbed by the
statement. These are examples of what has come to be called, "singles
bashing." This is insulting and disrespectful. All it can do is hurt the
single, discredit the critic and alienate the single away from knowing the
"singles basher." These approaches will not encourage or assist the single to
the wedding canopy.
When the Torah tells of when Miriam died, and that the well which
provided water in her merit dried up, the people came to Moshe complaining
that he brought them into the desert to die of thirst. Midrash Raba notes
that on all other occasions on which the people complained, G-d responded
with anger, punishment and plague. Tens of thousands would be killed. Here,
we scour the verses and there is no anger, no punishment, no plague. The
midrash tells us that when one is guilty of misdeed from will, G-d gets angry
and punishes. When one's misdeed is from PAIN, G-d excuses.
Since we are commanded to model our midos and behavior after G-d's, and
since people on the singles scene are typically burdened with or driven by
massive underlying pain, we are obligated to treat single people with chaine,
chesed, rachamim, kavod habrios (generous graciousness, lovingkindness,
compassion, human dignity) and practical good-natured helpfulness. The Talmud
tells us, "In every place that you see the greatness of G-d, there you will
find His humility." It behooves every Jew to approach every other with
humility. Only then can you accomplish anything great. To be continued.