Tuesday, November 07, 2006

"IY"H By You"--When is it okay?

I have a cousin who just got back from seminary, and was "next in line"after me to get engaged, but beat me to it.
So I've been demoted to hanging with the 15 year-olds, commiserating about braces. Not like I enjoy hearing childbirth stories.

At the L'Chaim, I was politely accepting "IY"H by you"s and thanking them, and smiling.

There have been letters to Yated about this whole deal. All these drama queens getting all offended when people tell them IY"H by you, and how insensitive it is, and all that. So, what I've come to conclude is, when it's someone my age or thereabouts, it's appropriate. But when you're three years older than the Kallah, it kinda makes you wanna crawl into a hole. (Also, if the person saying it is normal, not one of those yentas who get a sick pleasure out of these things, and they're sincere, then I don't mind.)

Perhaps it's because it's my first cousin, whose age difference with me was significant until recently. I know the kid as a five year old in pigtails, and here she is, engaged before I am.

I show up the L'Chaim and one woman tells me, "Don't worry. Your time will come." It's like when my friend's younger brother got his driver's license before she did. She didn't choose to fail the road test. Ya think she was happy about it? She was 19, and her brother was 17. That's not what she wanted to hear! Anyway, slightly offended, I replied, "Thank G-d I'm alive and well." Sounds cheesy. But I mean it. Thank G-d. So she tells me, "Oh, that's such a good attitude." LADY! She made it sound like I told her a crazy tragic story Chas V'Shalom.

Then again, maybe I did.

P.S. My sister blog has officially re-opened, so keep your eyes peeled for intriguing pieces like the one you just read.

41 Comments:

At 11/06/2006 7:38 PM, Blogger Isaac Kaplan said...

As you've discussed before, in some communities, marriage is everything. What do you expect?

 
At 11/07/2006 12:36 AM, Anonymous hayim said...

People think they are being nice and simply do not realize how the "older" single feels when hearing their good wishes.

I had a broken engagement, and my ex-kallah got married before me. When she got engaged again, to the boy who was destined to be her husband, a well-meaning "friend" gave me the following line : "I wish you to go the same way as your ex-kallah just did".

I generally try to be polite. That time, I think I failed :))

 
At 11/07/2006 2:13 AM, Blogger almost_frei said...

I think you are bang on. Why is it that girls 20 and over become open season for those iy"h givers?

Being married or not is a personal thing and should not make a single girl (or boy) open season to the yentas, especially those who don't know you, or never lifted a phone to try and make a shidduch.

I think it is only ok if the person saying iy"h is close to you and will not be invading your privacy.

great post btw

 
At 11/07/2006 7:17 AM, Blogger JBL the first said...

The problem is there is never black and white. What's offending to one is a compliment to another and vice versa. Everyone has a different personality and feeling of sensitivity etc. I always take what the other person said as a compliment thinking s/he probably meant it in a different way than I understood it. The problem is I am always so nervous when I have to do the wishing etc etc.

 
At 11/07/2006 8:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a firm believer that most of the stupid things people say are the product of the social awkwardness and the remarkable human need to be saying something, anything, when meeting people. Hence the mirtzashembyyous, the howwasthedriveins and similar comments. On balance people are more likely to be foolish than mean, and usually mean well.

 
At 11/07/2006 8:59 AM, Blogger jewish philosopher said...

Tell these well wishers "Stop with the brochos! I need a man! NOW!"

 
At 11/07/2006 10:34 AM, Anonymous Gavi said...

For me, it's all about context... I was the first boy to get married from my high school class (one more, and one just got engaged, in the three years since), and I often debate what to say to a still-single person. My personal gauge for giving someone the bracha "In Yirzeh Hashem by you" depends on whether they would be happy to hear it from me, at that time. A beracha takes into account two people - the blesser, and the blessed. In the end, it is a prayer from both.

 
At 11/07/2006 12:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very simply - it's a blessing. If the recipient feels offended by that, it's a sign of low self esteem, and that's his/her problem, not the giver's.

 
At 11/07/2006 2:58 PM, Anonymous Dasha said...

This attitude blows my mind, being a gentile. For me the pressure to marry from family and community didn't come until I was in my late, seriously, late 20s. I happily married in my 30s. It saddens me that you're already beginning to feel like an old maid and you're only 21.

(Please don't take this post as a dig on the Jewish community, particularly the Othodox community. It isn't at all. It's a dig on those who believe that a young woman who is only 21 years old is already getting past her sell-by date.)

 
At 11/07/2006 4:01 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

Anon #1-point well taken. You're right. That would be a fun post---thinking of all these dumb things people say to avoid awkwardness. LOL.
Anon #2-Umm, Thanks?
Dasha--No worries--didnt take it that way. I agree.

 
At 11/07/2006 4:20 PM, Blogger Cellar Door said...

Well I have heard many times that on Rosh hashana it is a big zechus to hear the customary greeting that people say on the first night. In fact it is so important that you should shorten your shemona esrie so you can recieve and give the greetings. The reason is that those brachos you receive from your peers are very very powerful.

I feel the same way about well wishers at vorts, Lchaims etc.

It bothers me sometimes, but when i get an IM"H by you I say amen, and I mean it.

 
At 11/07/2006 6:34 PM, Blogger Semgirl said...

Michelle, I will tell you the same thing I have been telling all my friends on and off line the last few years. If it is a friend and you can sense, its sincere, say thank you, I appreciate it.

Otherwise, just look at them coldly and say in a snobby tone of voice, Im enjoying my freedom and my life, and just walk away. Some ppl are just clueless..

 
At 11/08/2006 2:32 AM, Blogger The Tzionisher Rebbe said...

Anything that is said remains. It can only be heard by people at that moment, but the words do not disappear.

If a bracha is given, it will exist forever, and you should be greatful that you were blessed.

We learned that Avraham prayed for Avshalom to be healed (after he abducted Sarah), and all of the Plishtim had children. We are taught that that was when Avraham and Sarah had Yitzchak. Since Avraham prayed that the Plishtim should have children, and he was in need of the same thing, he was answered first.

Pray for others in your situation, and may Hashem answer your prayers first.

The Rebbe

 
At 11/08/2006 10:18 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

I agree that IY"H is a Bracha. I guess I was just a little sensitive because that really left me isolated.

On the other side of the family, my cousin who is a little less than a year younger than I am got married a few months ago. I didn't feel this way because 1) she was 20
2) I have 4 other female cousins within 2 years of me, one older, the rest younger. So I'm not a "nebuch case."

 
At 11/08/2006 2:37 PM, Blogger Lost said...

I don't see anything inappriopiate about the IY'H comment.

I can't imagine adults haven't realized that everyone gets married at their appropiate time. If you're that self conscious about it, that's really your issue Michelle, not theirs.

Sorry buba.

 
At 11/08/2006 3:28 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

Lost--don't be sorry. You have a right to disagree with me. And you even did it nicely :-)

 
At 11/08/2006 6:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

try telling them that at a funeral >: )

 
At 11/08/2006 8:08 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

Or how 'bout someone scheduling a manicure appointment during a funeral? i remember realizing how dumb that was and i was like 9.

 
At 11/09/2006 6:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, what's insulting is that girls upto the age of about 21 get a huge 'Mazal Tov' when they get engaged, but once they're over that they get a huge 'Boruch Hashem'!

 
At 11/09/2006 7:37 AM, Blogger schnitzelfritz said...

people make inappropriate comments. it's the way of the world, so get used to it. when i got engaged at the ripe young age of 19, strangers would ask me my age and my chosson's age. when i told them that he was 26, they all said something about him robbing the cradle, and that "he's marrying a nice young girl, what are you getting out of it?" chalk it up to idiocy and a lack of basic comprehension skills. It's not worth being insulted over such stupid statements.

 
At 11/09/2006 9:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got married when I was 36 and my wife was 30. We're quite happy, and have an astonishingly handsome baby.

As far as I'm concerned, you shouldn't be in such a rush. Go to college and learn some of the things other than what the Bais Yaakov people think you ought to be allowed to know. Get married when you feel you're ready, and not when everybody else decides you need to be ready.

 
At 11/09/2006 2:28 PM, Anonymous Eli said...

Reminds me of that old joke.. There was this aunt who would always tell her niece "soon by you by soon by you by" at every engagement party. The niece got very fed and the next time she met the aunt at a levaya (funeral), she went over to the aunt and said very politely "soon by you soon by you".. It was the last time she heard those words from the aunt.

 
At 11/09/2006 5:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What bothers you is that when someone says IYH they are defining your state as one in which something is missing. IYH= your state is not complete like your cousins. It is like saying IYH your life should get better.

 
At 11/09/2006 11:43 PM, Blogger anonym00kie said...

anonyomous, something is missing.. a spouse.

michelle, i think it's all in your attitude. i used to also get bothered - cuz it sounded like they were rubbing it in. someone reminding me - as if i needed reminding. pointing to my fault..
but then i realized that i DID want it to be soon by me, so why get annoyed when someone wished it too - i WANTED the bracha..
at this point when someone says it, im flattered.. they havent given up on me getting married.. they're still hoping it will be soon by me.. i'm not above any brachas.. ill take wat i can get :)

do you ever say it to anyone? i know i do, cuz i WANt them to get married - and when i do, i do it from the bottom of my heart, so i see no reason to beleive that they dont.

 
At 11/10/2006 8:35 AM, Anonymous Allie said...

To answer your question - when it is ok? Never. Unless the person's over 65 - and then the only reason its ok it because they probably went through the war, and well, survivors are really allowed to say whatever they want :)

 
At 11/10/2006 12:36 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

Anon who said the Baruch Hashem line---YES!!! That point COMPLETELY slipped my mind when I said it, but 100% I agree. EXCELLENT POINT!! THANKS !!

 
At 11/11/2006 4:13 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

anonomoookie---you forget the most important aspect of it all--attitude. If my best friend, or my teacher with whom I confide everything, whispers it to me with a sincere smile, I'm a happy camper. Even a stranger-looks at me sincerely and smiles and says it, Okay.

But someone who says it just to be a yenta...I hate to break it to yu, some people DO say it to rub it in. I can spot those. And I HATE them.

 
At 11/12/2006 5:38 PM, Blogger reluctant rebel said...

I always get those IY'H by you's (yes by simchas of younger cousins), I never really thought to take it as an insult just as a considerate comment that they want me to get married. I never thought it as a demeaning comment simply because I did not want to be in the Kallah's place - I want to find someone who's right for me, and that's what I always felt like they were blessing me. It's all about how you take it.

 
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