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Johannesburg Blues

By Tzvi Fishman
4/2/2008, 12:00 AM

Let's say this letter comes from Johannesburg, but it could be from LA, or Monsey, or Paris, or Melbourne. There are tens and tens of thousands of young Jewish males with the very same problem, living this Catch 22 purgatory all over the globe. True, there are many things in Israel that need fixing, but there is an underlying spiritual, cultural, and physical impurity in the Diaspora that has warped Torah values and corrupted the Jewish soul with the immoral and profane aspirations of the nations. Like a deadly, invisible gas, the Diaspora has poisoned our holy values, threatening to wipe out the young generation of Jews. It is a spiritual Tsunami. Like it or not, only the lucky ones who reach the shores of Israel can hoped to be saved.

At least here in the Holy Land, a guy can find a wonderful wife without having to own a Mercedez, a penthouse, a stock portfolio, and a boat. When you go out on a shiduch, the girl doesn't even ask what you do. She wants to know who you are. What you drive in, and what you live in don't matter. What you believe in is what really counts.

Here is the letter:

Dear Tzvi,
I am a young minded 35 year old Jewish guy in Johannesburg South Africa.
While Africa is a crappy continent and South Africa has issues,
the Jewish community of Johannesburg is generally well-off.
There are 100's of poor Jewish families but also 1000's of wealthy ones.
It is a very materialistic place to be with everyone trying to outdo each other,
who can go to Thailand or Bali- who can drive the newest Merc or BMW etc.
This is really how it is. Very material.

one for Abba, one for Emma, one for the kids

My point is that to fit in anywhere, you need to walk the talk.
Which where I live, means money. Cold hard cash.
I'm nearly 36 so it's time I looked for a wife etc.
But honestly- the Jewish girls here are brought up spoilt by their parents,
and they always want "better" for their children.
So if you are brought up with money- you want a guy with money-
so you can continue the upmarket luxurious lifestyle you are living.
And if you're a girl with no money- you still want a guy with money-
so you can live the luxurious lifestyle your friends are living.
I am not generalizing- this is how it is here.

Sure there are enough rooms for the kid and the dog?

I am not a very material person. So I feel out of place here.
Yes I have a degree but not in business.
I'd love to live in Israel if I could find a job there but I have no money to get there.
I simply cannot afford overseas air tickets.
Now here is why I email you-

The TORAH says a man (I am a man) must marry a woman and have children.
How can I possibly do that? Girls here ask "what do you do?",
and "what car do you drive?". I say a "Toyota" and well it does not work.
A girl here does not wish to date a guy with no money.

SO I am STUCK in a catch-22.
I need to get married and start living but I need money to do that, fact.
But I have no money. The Torah says to get a wife and then the money will come.
But here to get a wife- you need the money first.
SO I am stuck.

What makes it a terrible catch-22 is that I have spilled lots of seed.
I know this can damage making a living and other things as well.

I have slept with Jewish girls
• I have slept with non Jewish girls
• I have done naughty things
• I have spilt seed
• I have masturbated
• I have watched porn
• etc

If I have a wife, then I can sleep with only her.
And be with only her.
Don't need to spill seed anymore.
Or watch porn. etc.
So it's really best if Heaven gives me a wife-
and the MONEY to afford her-
but no- I am kept in a stuck state.

And being single with no money is depressing.
And Hashem gave me hormones.
At 35 must I be celibate?

So I masturbate. Is it not better than sleeping with non Jews?
Or sleeping with Jewish girls? 
If not,
then one watches porn.
Really what else is there to do?

SHOULD I rather study Torah?
There I will learn that a man to be complete-
must marry a woman and have sex with her-
and build a family with children and Torah.
Great..... I'll also learn that when I get married-
the Ketubah tells me I am obligated to support my wife- I'll learn that I must get married-
with money to support a wife-
so where is my wife? where is my decent livelihood = parnasah?
I don't wanna be rich. I want to be average.

So how will studying Torah help me actually?
It will just reinforce my stuck position.
I want a wife and want to only be with her.
But I have no parnasah to afford this.

Catch 22.

I believe in Hashem and the Torah.
But I am battling in keeping faith in light of all the above.
I can't talk to any Rabbi here about this.
They're all too busy. And don't properly answer questions anyway.
They also can't relate- they live in nice houses-
get paid good salaries- have wives 
and so they just cannot relate.
Also I don't know any Rabbi very well- and to go to one and say,
"I'd like to talk to you about sex and masturbation..", just won't happen.

So that's why I am emailing you and maybe you can shed some light on this matter for me,
who knows?