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Crazy Is Normal

Dear Rav Alley,

I have been going out with a girl quite seriously for some time. She has Yiras Shomayim, she is pretty, she has a great personality and I really like her family. But the problem is that she has issues. I don't know if I should marry her. What do you think?

Confused Yid

Dear Yid,

I am GLAD that she has issues!!! If she wouldn't have issues you could not possibly marry her - because she would be dead!!!!!!

Only dead people don't have "issues". All living people have issues. No exceptions. Let me put it this way: If a person is a little crazy then he is normal. [I once heard a similar formulation from a giant Torah scholar.] If he is very crazy - then he is crazy. I am the first to admit that I am a little bit crazy. The reason I am not locked up in a psychiatric facility is because my craziness is within limits. But everybody is somewhat crazy. Rabbis, doctors, psychologists, lawyers, politicians, mothers, fathers etc. etc.

Everybody.

A man who is convinced that he is a rooster and cackles every morning at dawn has just stepped over the line. His craziness is beyond the pale. Everytime he sees a knife he starts running away at top speed because he is sure that he is about to be slaughtered. He is terrified of being nothing more than dinner. He has just gone too far. But a little bit of craziness [what is called "mishagossim" in the language of my ancestors], issues, insecurities, irrational fears, hyper-sensitivity, paranoia, low self esteem - these all afflict normal people.

Because to be normal means to be a little bit crazy. The only question is how we deal with our craziness.

Back to the girl. I don't know how serious her issues are, so that must be explored. We can talk about it privately and see if you are right for each other. But in principle, if you don't want to marry someone who makes her permanent residence in a cemetery then you must expect that she will have issues.

Love and blessings,

Always here for you,

Elchanan ben Henna Miriam


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About me

  • I'm Rabbi Ally Ehrman
  • From Old City Jerusalem, Israel
  • I am a Rebbe in Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh.
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