Dear Rabbi – Why Can’t I Find Love?

People Love You

People Love You.

Look Around. Your Father. Your Mother.

You Should Love Yourself.

Hash-m / G-d Loves You.

He Love’s You More than You Can Imagine.

Why Can’t I Find My Soul Mate?

But Apparently the Question is – Let me Rephrase it –  “Why Can’t I Find My Soul Mate?”

I hear once that a man has 7 potential mates that are his soulmate. One is called his Bashert – the one that will help him the most to reach his potential in his Torah and Mitzvot and Avodat Hash-m/ Service of G-d.

Personally, it took me about 10 years to find my soul mate. I started in a home with a traditional lifestyle. Observing Shabbat, Kashrut / Keeping Kosher, going to Orthodox Shul on Shabbat. Torah was good to learn. I had my period of movies, discoteque, bars, dancing and the like – while I was traditional. Slowly I became more Shabbat Observant. I became more Kosher and started placing more emphasis on learning Torah – meaning making it a regular part of my daily life.

When I decided to go to a Yeshiva to learn Torah – I met my soul mate.

Reinforcing Yourself in Torah Spirituality

Apparently, Hash-m waited for me to reach a certain level of Torah observance for me to meet my bashert. That was my path. Others follow different paths.

But I do recommend a person strengthen their Torah Judaism before getting married – to get a mate that has their main focus on family growth through Torah – than going to ball games and fancy vacations.

Why Torah?

Torah is the word of Hash-m.

Torah will Bring You What You want to Be – Yourself.

Torah will Bring You Where You want to Be – Your Potential.

That act of Torah growth might be the clincher that Hash-m awaits.

But then again there are many people who have achieved significant growth and are still looking for love.

Not Finding – What to Look For – the Proper Criteria

What is their solution?

Apparently is to have proper criteria – to search someone from a good family, that has good character traits / middot, that will raise a family in Torah & mitzvot, that will send their children to a Torah day school, that will appreciate growth in Torah.

But once that is in order – now what?

Find someone that you can get along with. That you can talk to. Someone that you feel shares your values, goals and interests spiritually and materially.

I know of people who were on the verge of getting married – wedding invitations sent – and broke up last minute. Why? They realized that they had different goals. G-d sometimes allows a person to meets someone to learn something from them – but they are not in their ballpark of getting married. Perhaps the mate is too materialistic – but has a positive outlook in life. Or they act kindly – but have bad character traits.

Don’t Be Surprised

Do your research before you get married. Don’t be surprised after marriage.

I heard the divorce rate in the Jewish Torah community is around 10% as opposed to 50% in the secular world. Why? Apparently one reason is their method – they do research on the potential mate before meeting them. They treat dating as seriously as one would search for a key employee in their company. They get resumes, call references, call friends, family rabbis, school teachers – the works. Then if all is in order they decide to date. More research – less surprises latter on.

What is Love? Defining Love

Before finding love or anything for that matter – define what is love. Love is appreciation of the other for what they are and not for what you can get from them. The love of “this guy or girl can get me a diamond ring” or “will impress my friends” and the like is not love it is “self-interest” which can quickly come to an end when the significant other doesn’t produce. See Pirke Avot – or search for “fish love” on this site.

Robust Design – Good Middot

I studied quality assurance in university. One aspect of quality in product quality is called “Robust Design”. A long time ago – for my consulting company called mc2 – (mc squared) – I wrote a paper explaining 114 ways for a company to improve its quality. Number 53 sates:

53) Use Robust Designs – this is a method of designing products that allow for variations in parts without decreasing performance.

Many quality concepts can be used to improve an individual. We use Mussar / ethical works – like Pirkei Avot – but apparently you can also learn from quality assurance to become a better quality individual. A person with good middot will let things pass. They won’t demand control, materialism, respect, or other things. They will yield / be mevater. That is similar to robust design. Take shock absorbers they function to allow a car to hit a pothole without breaking the wheel. A person could take example – allowing slights to themselves without breaking the relationship.

Searching for worked on People

Meaning search for good middot.

Finding a person that you can appreciate helps you to find love. If what you discover from the partner turns you off – it might mean that your initial choice was not a best choice. Or maybe it was and G-d gave you a challenging mate to help you become a better person.

How to Write – the Right Answer

Some write and give you the answer to your question in the first paragraph. Some will give you an intro to allow you to absorb concepts before you get your answer. Here is one answer to the question:

Why Can’t I Find Love?

I was recently at a Jewish wedding – where we make Seven blessings for the newlywed couple. The rabbi said a beautiful Dvar Torah / Torah word on Marriage. He said in the Sheva Berachot / Seven blessings we make – the fifth and sixth blessing (In Talmud Tractate : Ketuvot 8a) are:

The fifth blessing is: Bring great joy to these loving friends, as You gave joy to Your creations in Eden in ancient times. Blessed are You, Lord, Who brings joy to the groom and bride.

 

The sixth blessing is: Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, Who has created joy and gladness, groom and bride, delight, exultation, happiness, jubilation, love and brotherhood, and peace and friendship. Soon, Lord our God, may there be heard in the cities of Judea and in the streets of Jerusalem the sound of joy and the sound of gladness, the sound of the groom and the sound of the bride, the joyous sound of grooms from their wedding canopy and of young people from their feast of song (see Jeremiah 33:11). Blessed are You, Lord, Who makes the groom rejoice with the bride.

Friendship in Marriage

He said that the fifth blessing starts with friendship and the sixth ends with friendship. He mentioned that the blessings express a progression in the relationship of the couple. First It calls their relationship – “loving friends.” The relationship progresses from being loving friends to joy and gladness, then to groom and bride, on to delight, exultation, happiness, jubilation, love and brotherhood, and peace and reaches its peak at friendship.

The Torah that expresses the essence of a thing – calls the pinnacle of a couple – friendship.

So? It teaches us that one’s spouse – to be a successful marriage – is also to be their best friend. If their is no friendship – apparently more work needs to be done to achieve the proper attitude in marriage.

Another major point is – sometimes I suggest a potential mate to a person. Some answer – “No – I can’t marry them – they are my friend.” Perhaps they are giving me a nice answer to say they are not interested. But if their lack of interest is really because “they are friends” – that is exactly what the Torah considers as the foundation for a successful marriage. I then express that “I think that good friends make good marriage partners.” Unfortunately – it usually falls on deaf ears. Unfortunately many remain single till today.

I criticize not. I just think that a person should widen the scope of their considerations once the basics are met – as mentioned above.

Hash-m Guides the World

To help a person find the right mate – one should pour out their heart to Hash-m expressing their desire to build a beautiful Jewish home. And beseech Him to help you find the right mate to achieve your goal.

G-d’s salvation comes in the blink of an eye. Believe and G-d will help you achieve.

In the synagogue today – I found a pamphlet named “NO LONGER ALONE” from Breslev – that mentioned several things a person can do (accompanied by sincere prayer) if they are having difficulty in finding a mate:

 

1. Recite the Torah reading of the Nessiim / Jewish princes (Numbers 7:1 through 7:89) and then pray with your heart to find a proper mate in Hash-m’s Eyes.

Take to heart the advice of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, “A person who finds it difficult to get married should recite regularly the passage of the offerings of the princes of Israel.”

and/or

2. Read The paragraphs on the splitting of the sea / Az Yashir Moshe (Exodus 15:1-15:19.)  daily and then pray with your heart to find a proper mate in Hash-m’s Eyes. It mentions:

Every morning in the Shacharit prayer, we recite “Az Yashir,” the song that the Jews sang at the Splitting of the Red Sea. When you say this
poem, read it with intense feeling. Rabbi Nachman of Breslov said, “A person who is having trouble finding his marriage partner should recite ‘Az Yashir’ with great feeling.”
When you recite this song, imagine that you
are standing at the Red Sea at the time of the
splitting, and that in gratitude to G-d for this
miracle you begin to sing to Him.

The Zohar praises this song, saying, “Az Yashir
is greater than all other songs. The Zohar also
points out the mystical depth of “Az Yashir” in its
statement, “This song was woven of the twenty-
two letters of the Hebrew alphabet, corresponds
to the Ten Commandments, and expresses G-d’s
holy Names.”
Therefore, sing this song to G-d daily as though
you are standing among all the Jews at the Splitting
of the Red Sea. At that time, our Rabbis: say, “G-d’s
presence was revealed in the aspect of a young
man, so to speak. Then, “the righteous women
were the first to become aware of His presence.”
Recite this song exactly as though you are
now standing at the Red Sea shore. Then
you will merit to find your marriage partner.

and/or

3. Sincere Prayer -pray with an outpouring and sicnere heart to Hashem.

My dear sons and daughters! Please be
strict with yourself and pray to G-d every
day. The worth which prayer is accorded in
heaven is unsurpassed, and beyond human
comprehension.
In particular, when a person cries, his
penetrates all veils and shatters all walls. Our
Rabbis say, “The Gates of Tears are never locked.”60
The Tanach testifies that Hannah “prayed at
length’ “( I Samuel 1:10.) for a son, whom she was granted. Our Rabbis conclude, “From here we see that whoever prays extensively is answered.”
Again, our Rabbis state, “The prayer of
righteous people is comparable to a hind. Just as
a hind’s horns continue to split as long as the
hind is alive, so also, as long as righteous people
pray, their prayers are heard.”(. Yoma 29a.)

A couple more points – a person should not pray for a particular person to marry. He or she should pray that Hash-m finds them the best mate for them in Hash-ms eyes that will help them to reach their potential in serving Hash-m.

Once we were about to buy a house. I agreed on the price with the seller. I signed all the papers. I delivered the papers to the seller’s lawyer. My lawyer and his lawyer had a disagreement – and the deal was off. Shortly afterwards we found a much better house for a similar price.

Have faith in Hash-m, pray, make your effort and He will help you.

What a Single Person Needs to Know to Get and (a married person to) Stay Married

I know many singles . Some Older. Some Younger.

I am sure they went on dates.

Why didn’t it work out? I don’t know.

The Dating Purpose

Firstly, When I would date – it would be strictly to determine if the person before me would be suitable to spend my life and raise my kids with. My intention was not to have a good time, pass some enjoyable moments together and then somewhere down the line see if we could tie the knot or not.

No the date is not like a job interview. It is a date to find out about the person who is in front of you. It is a platonic date to see if you share similar attitudes, Torah values, hashkafot / outlook, mentalities and more. Obviously it is not an intellectual exercise – but a pleasant way to honestly know if you are fit for one another.

The Dating Attitude

I’ll tell you my attitude – I don’t know if it is right or wrong.

When matched with a potential mate for marriage I would take the proposition seriously. I wouldn’t brush it off. Sometimes G-d introduces you to a person not for you to get marriage – but to learn how to better yourself. Obviously G-d doesn’t want to waste your time – provided if you yourself don’t want to waste your time either by dead end relationships.

G-d wants you married – so the people who are proposed to me are probably in the ballpark of marriage material.

I did have certain criteria. The girl would have to be from a similar cultural & Jewish  background – because similar mentalities make for a better marriage in general – so I think. In my case I wanted a Moroccan, Torah Observant Jewish Girl , that came from a good family and has good character traits (Middot) that would appreciate someone who learns Torah regularly.

So this is the attitude that I am unsure about. In general, I would try to go out with the girl until she would reject me. Unless I saw that it was totally off, I would try to continue dating until it became obvious to one of us it would not work out for marriage.

Even though in the back of my mind I thought “Who would ever reject me!?” It did happen more frequently than I would have imagined. Once I was about to marry a girl. I gave her a ring. She called me that evening and said can we see each other tomorrow. I said sure. When we met – she explained nicely that she didn’t think it would work out and gave me back the ring. No. I wasn’t devastated.

My reason for the attitude was that I knew that it is Hash-m is in control and He will help me marry the right one. The rejection was not a devastation – but G-d telling me – there is someone more suitable for me.

Obviously you have to have the proper criteria in place and discuss those criteria with a competent Orthodox Rabbi to get Daat / Guidance of Torah. But once those are in place an the person is in the ballpark – so go ahead.

In Judaism we have this concept that brings the validity to the term Soul mates. There is a soul. It is split in two – a male part and a female part. They enter two separate bodies – a male and a female. Marriage is the bringing back together of these souls that are in 2 different bodies. One reason the Torah forbids intermarriage between a Jew & a Gentile is because a marriage of souls that don’t match don’t achieve their purpose in life. Another reason is that a gentile mate might turn the children away from Hash-m / G-d and the Torah. Also it causes confusion in the children.

Recently I read that the Divorce rate among Orthodox Jews is about 10% while the Divorce rate of Intermarried couples is over 40%.

But back to the subject.

Improve Yourself Get a Better Mate

I give this advice to Jewish singles. Before you get married – reinforce yourself in Torah & Mitzvot. The more your raise yourself spiritually and in terms of middot / character traits the better mate you will merit. A man may want to chose a woman that is higher level in Torah than himself. Although men can influence woman to raise their spiritual strivings – usually a woman influences a man more than vice versa. A woman can bring up or down.

There is a story about a pious man who was married to a pious woman. They had no children. They divorced. He went and married a wicked woman. She made him wicked. She went and married a wicked man and made him righteous. To teach you that a woman influences the spirituality of the spouse more than vice versa.

Staying married

If a person has a particular attitude it may lead to an unsuccessful marriage. The attitude is “You are here to serve me.” It might reveal itself in several forms. I want you to clean the house. I want you to make the money. I am the one you should please. You are here as an object for my happiness. The attitude to marital problems.

So what is the proper attitude – Let’s serve Hash-m together. Let’s bring up a healthy family following Torah & Mitzvot. Let me do all that I can to make my wife or husband happy. I want to do things that make my mate happy. I want to spend time with them. I want to connect. I want to have peace. I must be humble.

Here are some messages I heard from Rabbis:

Attraction is Not Primary

Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, zt”l – has a book on Shidduchim / matchmaking. They asked him how important is attraction. He said something to the effect – that it is secondary. I would add that as long as the person is not repulsive to you – or their looks pushes you away – it is not a reason to reject someone.

Rabbi Kanievsky wrote about Shalom Bayit / Peace at Home:

ובספר “אורחות יושר” (למרן הגאון רבי חיים קניבסקי שליט”א) כתב: “…ובאמת כל המריבות בבתים ושאין שלום בית שמצוי מאד בזמנינו רובן ככולן באין ע”י גאוה ואם כל אחד היה מחזיק בענוה ולא היה איכפת לו על כבודו ועל גאותו היה רוב המחלוקות מסתדרים בשלום דוק ותשכח שהענוה אמיתית היא רפואה בדוקה ואמיתי לרוב הבעיות שיש בזמנינו והשי”ת יערה עלינו רוח טהרה ממרום שנזכה לענוה אמיתית”.

And in the book “Orchot Yosher” (by Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky Shlita) he wrote: “… and really all The quarrels in the houses and the lack of peace in a house that is very common in our time, most of them are due to Pride. and if everyone held humility and did not care about his dignity and pride, he would settle Most disputes with peace. and forgotten is that true humility is proven medicine to most of the problems that exist in our time and Hash-mת May He be Blessed, shine upon us a spirit of purity from on High that we will merit to achieve true humility. “

Rabbi Zecharia Wallerstein – on torahanytime.com he mentions that most times when couples come to see him – they say the same thing. The wife complains the husband doesn’t love her. The husband thinks that love is bringing the money home. She says “My father pays my bills also.” Love is establishing a true connection together.

The basis of the Torah is to help a person establish a connection between family, friends, oneself and Hash-m. Like R. Akiva said “VeAhavta LeReacha Kamocha” – You shall love your fellow like yourself is a foundation of the Torah.

Rabbi Yosef Palacchi on torahanytime.com brings the Pele Yoetz – a sefer book on great Torah advice – talks about having a strong love for one’s mate.

Here is a quote from the Yanuka – Rabbi Shlomo Yehuda Be’eri in a Recent issue of Ami Magazine (ISSUE 564, AMI MAGAZINE, APRIL 13, 2022, 12 NISAN 5782)

MESSAGES FOR BNEI CHUTZ LAARETZ
Again, Reb Yanky taps me on the shoulder, so I finish by asking the Yenuka for a message for the Jews in America. Throughout our conversation, Rav Shlomo Yehudah has emphasized the importance of achdus (unity) and harmony. This is something that comes through in his learning, too: he is fluent in a wide variety of limudim (Torah learning), from the writings of the Gaon through the Tanya and even Rebbe Nachman, and often tries to harmonize their teachings. The Yenuka continues now with his message of shalom (peace) and unity, saying, “People should try to look out for each other. People should help each other in business as well as in other areas.

I stress this more for bnei chutz laaretz because they live among non-Jews. The main thing is to lift your eyes toward the heavens and connect to Hashem.” Rav Shlomo Yehudah is quiet for a moment and then adds another message.

“There is a problem with shidduchim (matchmaking) today. I don’t think the hashkafah (Jewish outlook) of a boy and a girl have to be exactly lined up. For example, I am a grandchild of the Arizal and my wife is a granddaughter of the Kedushat Levi. Of course, there are gedarim (boundaries) if he wants to live a certain lifestyle and she doesn’t, then it won’t work-but it shouldn’t matter if a girl is a little more chasidic than a bachur, (young man) or if he adheres
to teachings of the Gaon and she enjoys Tanya,” the Yenuka says with a smile.
“The important thing in shidduchim is that they get along and have free-flowing conversations. If two people don’t have an easy time conversing, there is no future. An easy and comfortable feeling and flowing conversation are the things that
count.”

The Yenuka was married at 20 years of age and today has a son and three daughters. “Bachurim should get married at 18,” he says. “Waiting around creates an unnecessary nisayon (ethical trial). Some say that a bachur should get married later, that he should first learn for several years without distractions. This is only correct in a few select cas-
es. I have read the same from Ray Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg. Most boys learn just
as well when they are married. There are those matmidim who learn yomam valay-
lah, and for them, learning for longer as a bachur is beneficial. For all others, it can
cause harm.”

Rav Chaim Kanievsky on Shidduchim / Matchmaking

This Sefer from Artscroll Publishers clarifies Daat Torah / the Torah Opinion on Shidduchim / Matchmaking. A person who has questions about a whether accepting a shidduch / potential match suggestion or not may be better off consulting Daat Torah from a Gadol / great Rabbi than relying on one’s own preferences. I heard many stories of people who listened to Daat Torah – over their own preferences – and they ended up in a happy marriage. May it be the will of Hash-m to help all those searching for their Bashert / destined one or Zivug / match find the right mate soon. Amen.

==

We mourn the loss of Gadol HaDor / Great Rabbi of the Generation Rav Chaim Kanievsky. We are at a loss of the words for the tremendous loss to the Jewish people as a whole and the individual families of Klal Yisrael. He was a source of Daat Torah, Wisdom, Beauty & Kindness. We will surely miss him.

The Separate Wedding – Do Good for Yourself & the Dead

A Kosher phone. Kosher food. Kosher thoughts.

In Torah we – are careful what we ingest. Vegans & Vegetarians are careful because they don’t want to hurt animals. We eat Kosher – that is careful not to hurt animals – in the sense that animals are slaughtered without feeling pain. But in Kosher food – we also refrain from hurting our souls.

We do not eat non-kosher not because it is not healthy. Non kosher food may be very healthy. We do not eat it because we are concerned with our souls. Non-kosher food is detrimental to our souls. The Torah wants us to be refined. Eating an unrefined animal may cause us to acquire some of the unrefined characteristics of that animal.

When we have a wedding we make sure the food is Kosher for the guests. But more than that we are careful to not to cause things detrimental to the soul of others. In Torah-observant weddings there is music, dancing, food and holiness.

The bride and groom are entering into holy matrimony. One of the ways we keep this wedding holy is to separate the men and the women. We hold dancing separately as to not cause promiscuity and incite improper thoughts among the guests.

The sages say that having a separate-dancing wedding helps the couple. It brings holiness to the couple’s relationship. It prevents them from having problems later in life.

If you think of it it makes sense having separate dancing at a wedding & Bar Mitzvah. For the bar mitzvah – we celebrate the boy becoming a man – being responsible to observe the Mitzvot of Hash-m. Yes dance. But to dance mixed is to turn a meaningful event into a disco. That’s inappropriate. The same applies to the wedding. Why turn a holy event into a cheap discotheque?

Torah says that the departed relatives of the bride and the groom attend a kosher wedding. Let them enjoy the wedding.

His Soul is Bound with His Soul – How to Connect with People in Judaism

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Yehuda was pleading before the ruler of Egypt (Parasha Vayigash). Tzafenat Paneach (who was actually Yehuda’s Brother Yosef) wanted to take Yehuda’s brother, Binyamin, as a slave. Yehuda, son of Leah, was ready to give his life in this world and the next to save his brother from same father – Yaakov / Jacob – but another mother – Rachel. He told the ruler – you cannot take my brother. If you do so his elderly father will be brought down to the grave – he says:

And now, when I come to your servant, my father, and the lad is not with us; . (Bereshit 44:30)

The Torah tells you the essence of all. Here the Torah teaches the definition of Love. The text says in Hebrew “Ve Nafsho Keshura BeNafsho” – “and his soul is connected with his soul.” Targum Yonathan (the Aramaic translation of the Torah) translates Keshura – bound or connected as haviva – beloved. Meaning he translates that “And His Soul is Beloved like His Soul”

Thus Love is equated to connection.

Rabbi Nechemia Grama spoke about the subject of Connecting with children entitled – Ve Nafsho Keshura BeNafsho.

He asked for a one word definition of love. The response was “Connection.” He made a distinction between fulfilling a child’s physical needs – and the child’s soul’s needs.

He asked children What is the difference between their mother and their live in cleaning lady?

One child said “The cleaning lady gets paid to clean the house. My mother doesn’t”

Another “You can fire the cleaning lady – you can’t fire my mother.”

The point is that – children need to feel the relationship.

If a child that thinks his mother is an alternate cleaning lady – it may mean that his mother (or father) may be lacking in the connection department. A child should know and feel that their parents love them.

Soul Connection

When we make a physical connection between objects there are two parts. When we connect with another person – what are we connecting with? We are connecting one soul with another soul.

One Question he asked was “Why does a child do nothing significant in the first 5 years of life?” You feed them, you carry them, you play with them – but they accomplish little or nothing. He explained that one reason is to give a parent opportunities to connect with the child those 5 years.

Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe says a 3 month child can distinguish between a smiling look and angry look. Who knows what is more important to a child – is it the food that you give to them or the orat hapanim (illumination of the face) – connection that you give to them. it is clear a child that grows without the orot hapanim – is like a plant without sunlight.

Is Connection more important than food?

He told a story of children survivors after Holocaust. In the freedom camps there were many starving children standing on a long line. One American soldier was giving out chocolate to children. Kids waited patiently in line for their portion of chocolate.
Another soldier saw a kid passing, called him over to him and gave them a hug. The entire line of children went off the chocolate line and went on the hugging line.

How to connect

The rabbi mentioned that it is not the activity that causes connection. There are some activities that are more apt to cause connections – but it is not the activity – it is the interaction. Thus any activity can be used to create a connection.

He mentioned that a woman used to put the coat on her child just like she would put it on a coat rack. Then she started using the opportunity to connect with her child.

Suffering Loneliness

A person can be surrounded by people but still feel lonely or empty. The lack of connection causes loneliness or emptiness.

Certain problems can be caused by this lack of connection. He mentioned fear, lack of self esteem, lack of self-value, lack of sense of security, lack of calmness, and other concerns.

Connection Benefits

A child that is connected will want to be an eved hashem / Servant of G-d. How do we develop a ratzon / will to be an eved hashem? Rabbi Chaim Friedlander explains how to achieve it – Only if we can make a kesher hanafshi / Soul Connection. The kesher hanafshi with rebbi – will make a person want to learn. The parent who has a connection – the child will naturally want to make parent happy.

What is Love? Just Look at the Hebrew Word – 3 Simple Points

I was reading a book on Marriage – Choosing to Love: Building a Deep Relationship with the Right Person–and with Yourself. The Author – Gila Manolson – tells the story of how – before marrying – her husband to be took her to meet his Rosh HaYeshiva – the Head of His Yeshiva (Torah Learning Institution). After some pleasantries, he asked her – “What is your definition of Love?” Although usually articulate – she fumbled to find a definition.

In the book – she explains the Jewish concept of love. She explains about what is real love and – fish love – love of personal pleasure or infatuation.

Love – the Foundation of Judaism

Love is one of the foundations of Judaism. Once a gentile asked Hillel – a great Torah sage – to teach him the entire Torah while standing on one foot (ie, the one rule that summarizes the Torah – foundation of the whole Torah) He said “Whatever is hateful to you don’t do to another person. That is the entire Torah – the rest are [relevant] details. [based upon that foundation]. ” Rabbi Akiva says “Veahavta Lereacha Kamocha – ze Klal Gadol batorah.” Rabbi Akiva Says – “You shall love your felllw as yourself – this is a Major Principal [Foundation] of the Torah”.

Love is central to Judaism. Judaism is all about Connections. The Human connection – between man and his fellow. The Self-Connection – between man and himself. The Spiritual connection – Between man and G-d / Hash-m.

Halacha / Jewish law is central to maximizing those connections. Loving oneself is also central – for if you love yourself – you can love others more.

The Essence of an Object – Look at Hebrew Words

If you want to know the essence of a person, place or thing – look at their Hebrew word or name. We call a Dog – Dog. Dog doesn’t seem like it means much. Meaning it seems like an arbitrary group of letters – for this animal.* In Hebrew we call a Dog – Kelev. The Hebrew letters are Kaf, Lamed and Vet. Kaf and Lamed – spells Kol in Hebrew – meaning “All.” Lamed and Vet in Hebrew is “Lev” meaning “Heart.” Dog lovers will understand that the Dog is “All Heart.” It wants to do the will of its master.

Ahava – The Hebrew word for Love – The Secret to True Love

Now let’s take the Hebrew word for Love. It has an Alef, Hei, Vet, and Hei.

Learning & Loving

Alef – means “to learn” – like in the word “Ulpan” Love must be a learning experience. Three aspects of learning are learning about the other’s or spouse’s good qualities. Learning to improve oneself. Learning Torah – to guide a person to act properly. One reason for marriage is for a person to improve their Middot – character traits. Really Marriage is a great self-improvement opportunity. Doing so also fuels the success of the relationship.

Give & Give Again

Hei & Vet – spells “Hav” – to give. Giving attention. Giving Appreciation. Giving gifts. Giving help. Giving Empathy. Empathy means understanding the other’s joys and pains and feeling for them.  Listening to the other and speaking words of comfort will help a person better their relationship together. If a friend says “I had a hard day at work. The computer acted up – the software crashed…” Don’t immediately give them a solution – give them empathy. You can say – “Oh – I understand how it is frustrating when the computer crashes…”

Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler says giving creates love. When we give to another – we develop love for another. That’s one reason why parents love children more than children love parents – the parents give so much to children – it is natural for their love to develop.

Hash-m / G-d in the Relationship

Hei is the last letter of the word Ahava. Hei represents the Hei in G-d’s name. Hei represents Hash-m. Having awe of Hash-m tremendously helps the relationship.

A Man is called Ish – Alef – Yud – Shin. A Woman is called Ishah – Alef – Shin – Hei. If you take away the letters of the name of G-d – Yud and Hei – the man and the woman become Esh and Esh – Fire & Fire.Knowing that Hash-m is present – calms the relationship. One will not lose all restraints – because they will know that Hash-m is watching. The respect for the other remains more in-check.

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  • *In a previous article – we explained that the origin of English and other Latin languages – was composed by Jews. They composed many English words from the Hebrew – There is another article on that subject as well. My hypothesis is – it is possible that the word Dog – comes from the Hebrew word – “Da-ag” meaning – to worry. The Dog worries about its master and itself.

 

Making & Breaking Family Connections

The Chinuch Lessons from Expert Educators

Recently Rabbi Nehemia Gramma spoke at our school’s Chinuch Melave Malka / education Saturday night dinner. The Title or the talk was “Raising Children with Tranquility”. He spoke of what is making kids unmotivated to advance.

He gave three ingredients necessary for a proper chinuch. Chinuch is different than education. Education comprises of teaching kids knowledge. Chinuch means we are also teaching children to be good people as well. Most schools teach knowledge. Torah schools also teach kids how to become better people.

Is Only Love Necessary?

He mentioned that many a time parents think that you just “have to love them” That’s the cure-all for all teenage problems. He said two other ingredients are necessary. Setting clear boundaries of what is right and wrong – what is acceptable and not. And thirdly a motivation for personal growth.

Examples of How Setting Boundaries Improved  Motivation

He gave examples of how he helped kids who were uninterested in school into motivated achievers. One kid was given all he wanted – but he was failing in proper proper people skilled. The study partner of the teenager was called by the director. He told him to avoid interaction with the kid for he was a bad influence. The teen was to hurt – he decided to shape up – instead of feeling bad for himself. He became a top student.

Education is More than Love

It is true that love is a necessary component in helping the child to grow – but it is not the only one. The other two are necessary.

Building the Child

Love is not giving a child every thing they want. It is giving them the tools to deal with life in a positive fashion. There will be ups and downs – but the child will be built up – not spoon fed.

This is applicable to relationships. Giving without expecting requiring responsibility  spoils the child. Giving them all the gadgets is not healthy for their emotional and relationship development.

Torah is a Venue for Developing Real Relationships

Torah Judaism is all about interaction and relationships. We eat together. We pray together. We learn together. We do mitzvot together. We rejoice together and comfort one another. Together as a family. Together as Friends. Together as congregants.

Establishing connections – like spending quality time together is a healthy part of growth and emotional maturity.

The interactions – allows for building people and relationships.

Technology vs. Relationships

Today’s generation is in a bind. On one hand they crave family ties. On the other hand they are addicted to media and technology.

I once gave a presentation in class. I mentioned that about 94% of households have a TV. I cracked a joke about the 6% of people who did not have one. People laughed.

Now the joke is on me. I am among the 6% without a TV.

In 2017, an average U.S. consumer spent 238 minutes (3h 58min) daily watching TV.[1]

Introduce a new media – the smart phone – and it becomes a pocket TV.

The Bad Baby Sitter

Let’s put aside the negative aspects and influence of the media these days. Let’s talk about the effect of the media on the family connections. The smart phone has become today’s new baby sitter. The kids are acting up – let me give them the smart phone. Kids are bored – let me put them in front of the TV.

Wise?

On an immediate convenience perspective – it is a simple way to shut children up or shut them out of your life for a few moments. Yes you have more important things to do. Really? That’s not usually parent’s intention – to shut them out – but kids are smart and understand the message. Parent’s convenience – has sent this message to children. Now parents ask – why are children so distant or acting up? You gave them a machine that teaches them how to act in the street. What do you expect.

The Media Dividing Wall

On a purely relationship / personal connection perspective when a family watches TV together – it is akin to putting a wall between them. Instead of interacting together – they have a device between them that separates them. Call it a cell phone or a TV – but it separates families. I’d rather interact with my parent than to watch a video – even if the parent put that smart phone in my hands.

Kids crave real relationships. Meaningful relationships – much more than a screen to help them pass the time – without reason or rhyme.

The Transitory Marriage – Judaism Trains for Marriage, Society Trains for Divorce – 16 Lessons for Peaceful Marriage

Marriage is a challenge. Two people from totally different backgrounds, mentalities, ideals share a house together. How can it work?

Responsibility

Torah sanctions responsibilities of each partner. It is upon each partner to make the marriage work.

Similarity

Torah sanctions that people from same religion marry – Jews marry Jews. Thus people start off with similar mentalities. They have similar material and spiritual goals in life. Their family is guided by Torah.

Marrying for the right reasons – good character traits

In Torah we try to choose a mate with good middot – good character traits. This helps us to get someone with a personable personality. A  person with a kind heart, a giving person, someone with Torah values. This prevents much marital stress. Choosing a mate from a good family also can help the long term of the marriage.

Youthful Marriage

Torah says that a person should marry young – thus people are more flexible and less set in their ways. The Torah tells men of the the Mitzvah / commandment to get married.

Procreation & Children

Torah says people are to “be fruitful & multiply.” – thus people share a common goal of bringing up children in the path of the Torah. (Talmud: Yevamot 63b).

Torah as a Guide

As the Torah is a guide of the couples – the couple looks to fulfill it’s halachot / laws – thus reducing further stress. If there is a disagreement – they go ask a competant Orthodox rabbi.

Mutual Respect

The Torah tells us of the responsibility of the man to honor his wife. It tells how to act properly with all people.

Trust & Faithfulness

The Torah will tell it like it is. It sanctions the importance of trust, faithfulness, and respect of each mate.

Yielding to the Other

Torah instructs the individual of Yielding to the other party. Some things we hold firmly upon – like observing Torah laws – yet even that must be done in a tactful way.

Peace at Home / Shalom Bayit

Torah teaches lessons of importance of and how to have peace at home.

Tolerance

Torah sanctions respect for each individual – regardless of what they did. It sanctions for a person to refrain from speaking badly of others (Laws of Lashon Hara) even if that person actually did the bad deed.

Building a Family

The Torah gives individuals the Tools to build a beautiful family. The family is built through participating in Shabbat & festival meals together. In praying together. In learning Torah together. In sharing opinions and open-minded discussions together. In singing together. In vacationing together. A person’s life is intermingled with that of their family in positive interactions together.

Building Relationships

I overheard Rabbi Benjamin Yochanan speaking with a young man at a Group Shiur / Learning session. The Rabbi talked of the beauty of a Torah lifestyle. The young man replied “You have to enjoy life. I want to enjoy life.” The rabbi asked “What do you like to do?” He said “I Like skydiving.” The rabbi said – “When you do skydiving – you are living only for yourself. When you practice Torah you live thousand’s of lives.” “How so?” he asked. “When you live a Torah life – you live the lives of others. You hear people’s chalenges. You rejoice in their joys. You help people with their problems. You support others emotionally. You are participating in all their lives.”

Building a Spiritual Fulfilling Existence

Marriage helps a person achieve their potential. A man is not complete without a wife. She helps him to become the best he can be. Together they build a beautiful home in this world and the next world. They live a spiritually fulfilling existence together through the Torah.

Prayer to Hash-m

Hash-m / G-d helps a person to have peace at home. We pray for all that we need spiritually and physically.

Answering to a Higher Authority – Pleasing G-d and Man

In Torah we answer to a higher authority – Hash-m. This fact helps us to have boundaries that limit our negative reaction and encourage positivism. Thus a person who is angry – remembers that their spouse may just be an agent of G-d responding to their past imperfection in action. Thus reactions are tempered.

Ideals of Society

Now let’s take the ideals of society.

Rights vs Responsibility

Society – talks of Rights – woman’s rights, minority rights, animal rights and so on. So people live with certain expectations – “I have my right to demand what I want – it is may right.”

Now each person is demanding that their rights be met. Not a good mentality for a marriage.

Marry Whoever You Meet

Nowadays – many marry without thought of compatibility in Torah values, personality, religion, mentalities. The closer one is in mentality to the mate – the less stress. Intermarriage – not sanctioned by Torah – causes great stress between mates. One wants to observe this holiday – the other another. This one believes in one G-d this one believes in idolatry. Each thing causing stress.

Hutzpa Yazge – Arrogance

The Torah says in time before Mashiach / Messiah – Arrogance will increase. It is very apparent – in the News media – of how people who trash others are more respected. They will stop at nothing to break another individual – if he or she has done good or bad. The US court – went against a Texas state court – that made a law to protect fetus rights. People regularly destroy each friends and family members in cafes and restaurants.

Single Life vs. Married Life

Society condones personal, fleeting pleasure.If it gives a person pleasure – society says it is good. They sanction living the “Life of Riley.” Big cars – beautiful houses – the pursuit of pleasure.Distracting them from getting married.

Pleasure without purpose vs Pleasure for Purpose

More people are saying single than ever before. Why? Because they are following pleasure without purpose. The Torah tells people to enjoy life – but the pleasures should have purpose. Pleasures for Purpose – build. Pleasures without purpose – destroy, waste time or at the least accomplish nothing for the betterment of the world.

The Torah sanctions pleasures for purpose.

Family Life is Put as Secondary Ideal

People want independence. Having a family introduces responsibility. Some people refrain from birthing children – because they want to enjoy life.

Homosexuality vs. Being Straight

Society accepts and condones homosexuality. The Torah says homosexuality is forbidden. Although the Torah says to respect all people – it forbids same gender marriage and homosexuality. Homosexuality leads to great reduction in population growth, goes against the commandment to procreate and causes a person to live a life devoid of children. A person who chooses their life as such – will end up alone at the end of their life. They will not have a legacy to continue their genes – for they will have chosen this lifestyle.

A person who chooses marriage to the opposite gender – brings life into the world. This helps them to keep the marriage going because they are involved in a great Mitzvah to build the world together.

Ideals of society as a Guide – You are What You Read

A rabbi I was learning with said – if a person reads newspapers – their mentality will be based upon that newspaper. Newspapers and media usually project ideals contrary to faithfulness and morality. Immorality sells newspapers. In marketing they use the term “appealing to the lowest common denominator” – meaning to values and feelings of even the most immoral portions of society. I don’t think that that is a preferable way to bring up a family or lead a married life.

Promiscuity vs. Faithfulness

The more you see a certain thing – the more you find it to be acceptable behavior. Promiscuity is sanctioned by society, movies, media. Yet it is a total marriage breaker.

I could go on on both lists of How Torah strengthens marriage and society has the opposite effect – but enough said.

Materialism vs. Spirituality

Materialism is a very important aspect of society’s values. Keep up with the Joness it says. Thus Having the latest gadgets puts stree on the marriage when one of the spouse doesn’t deliver materially. Material issues, I believe I read once is one of the Top reasons for marital discord.

Glamor vs. Reality

The world lives on glamor, entertainment, games and sports. If used sparingly – it is ok. But if a person bases their life on these ideals – it could cost them their marriage.

For instance a person may want to marry a glamorous woman or a rich man. Ok – he is rich or she is glamorous – but will she be so spoiled to beat the husband when angry? Or will the rich person be stingy? Will she teach Torah values to children or go shopping on Shabbat or sit and have a Shabbat party together with the kids. Will he watch sports all day or have a conduct a beautiful Shabbat meal with songs and words of Torah?

Will the mate be stuck to their telephone or be concerned about maintaining a healthy, fruitful relationship with others?

The Me Generation

It’s all about me.

Your Mentality Choice

You choose your lifestyle. I chose many years ago. It took effort, fortitude and persistence. It was a gradual, long-term process. In the end I am so happy for my choice.

How to Improve Your Marriage

A good starting point to following Torah as a guide is by reading Torah books on the subjects of your interest. When I was starting out I liked to read stories and aggadah. Going to Shiurim / Lectures of Orthodox rabbis or listening to them online is also a good starting or continuing point.

Listening to Torah Lectures

See our links section for more info. TorahAnytime.com is a great source to find out the Torah view or learn Torah lessons on any subject of interest – for instance marriage. I searched it – and they have over 640 lectures on the topic of marriage from a Torah perspective. Find the rabbi that speaks to you. If one does – listen to their lectures. If one does not try another rabbi on the same subject.

Politics Ruining Your Life? Use Time More Productively

My friend is a traveling salesperson. He sells yarn to retail stores. He told me that one Knitting Club had a sign posted: “No Political Discussions Here.” I heard many offices and schools apply the same creed.

We applied the same message in our synagogue.

Once people started discussing politics at a friendly breakfast in the dining hall. One was a Republican – the other a Democrat. Each was touting their candidate. One became offended and left the synagogue and never returned.

It was too bad. He was a nice man. He had much to gain from Judaism.

Now – no more politics in our shul. Yes we limit “Freedom of Speech” in order to have peace in the synagogue. Want to discuss politics? Go outside – go to a restaurant – but not in our Synagogue. A synagogue is a place for peace – not quarrel. A place to grow – not a place to stagnate with ideas that bring people no where. You will rarely convince the other party that you are right. What will you be left with – bad feelings.

Rabbi Brandt from France told a joke:

The Evil inclination / Yetzer haRa came to Noach / Noah before the flood and wanted to enter the ark. “I’ m sorry you can’t enter the ark. You have to enter as a couple. Where  is your mate?” he told him. The Evil Inclination searched around and decided to marry Quarrel Mongering. Noah let them in. Eventually – they had a baby. They called it Politics.

Vote – very good. Write to your congressman. But political discussions are rarely lucrative. I met a person who refused to marry a person with different political views. I asked what if the person you meet is kind, sensitive and has the right Torah values but would vote for the other candidate – would you refuse matrimony? He explained he wouldn’t think it would be a good match.

“Lev Melech BiYad Hash-m” (Mishlei / Proverbs 21:1) King Solomon – the wisest of all men – said “Like Channeled waters, the heart a king is in the hands of Hash-m / G-d – He directs it to whatever he wishes.” G-d directs the heart of the rulers to achieve His own purpose. (See Commentaries on the verse.)

So in actuality – our comments will make no difference in how the politician will act. Our actions of kindness towards others may influence the politician. Because when G-d sees us doing His will – He will influence the politician decide to do things that benefit people – like we helped people benefit with our kindness. Prayer to Hashem also makes a difference.

Many a time a parent is very adamant upon their views. What do they teach children – to hate people with views different from theirs. To argue. To adopt the views and “morality” of society.

They spend their time trashing others – so the children learn its alright to insult others – like their friends and family.

Being too much into politics also detracts from one’s Torah learning. If one is constantly involved in political discussion – the opportunity cost is losing time to learn Torah. The Torah what it means to be Jewish. It teaches:

Learning to respect others. Learning to do acts of Kindness. Learning to respect parents and grandparents. Learning to be a peaceful person. Learning to establish a positive relation with friends and family. Learning to establish a relationship with our Creator.  Learning the True morality of Hash-m. Learning to be respectful with all people – regardless of their race or face or occupation.

Political discussions is sometimes anti-ethical to the Torah. The Torah promotes gratuitous love between our fellow Jews. Political discussion may cause gratuitous hatred.

Political discussions may turn off people – like potential friends, old friends or potential marriage mates. It may get a person so involved that people lose sight of the priorities in life – getting married with a Torah-minded mate, doing kindness with others that may not share your political views, establishing a Torah family, etc.

My recommendation to any politically opinionated person : Spend at least as much time studying Torah as you do expressing your political views. Many sites exist. You will live a more serene life – a life full of peace, love and understanding. See our links section for a list of sites. Gentiles can take time to learn about the Torah’s 7 Noahide laws for all humanity.

The Torah tells us in the time of Mashiach people will be polarized. Some on one side of the fence. Others on the other side of the fence. I hope to be among those on the Side of the Torah and Hash-m. Amen.

Improving Your Dating Resume and Should a Matched Date be Picture-less

Jewish Orthodox singles have the dating process down pat.

Firstly – the reason they date is to find a suitable marriage partner. That is their main goal. This allows for more focused dating. It’s not a matter of courting – like in the general society – but a matter of searching for real answers to questions that you are searching for in a marriage partner. Are they reliable, can they provide for a family, are they mentally stable, do they have Torah values, etc.

This is much different than today’s society. In society – they court the person and then find out if they are a suitable mate for marriage. In Torah Judaism we first determine if they are a suitable mate for marriage – then once all the requirements or preferences fall into place – then it sets up a foundation that the marriage will last. Once common points are found – it is easier for the marriage to last. Similar goals, similar backgrounds, similar mentalities, similar Jewish outlook, similar values make for a better chance of a solid marriage.

We search for a mate that has the criteria we are looking for – Learning Torah all Day or Part time, Open minded, From a particular cultural background, that is a growing individual, that has a good Hashkafa / Jewish Outlook  – the list goes on. So we ask around – friends, rabbis, acquaintances and/or Shachanim / Matchmakers – to find prospects with these critera.

Once a person sounds in the ballpark -the “matchmaker” or intermediary asks both parties if they are interested in exchanging resumes. If yes, they exchange dating resumes.

It is good to have a good intermediary – because they can help make or break the potential couple’s success.

A dating resume is similar to a career resume – it lists schools, employment, goals and references with phone numbers. It also lists siblings & Members of family and to whom they are married or what they are doing in the present.

Should You Include a Picture?

Several points are up to discussion. Should the matchmaker include a picture to send to the potential dating prospect? I am of the opinion that one should not include a picture. A picture tells 1000 words. But it doesn’t necessarily tell the complete picture. Pictures may put a person in a negative light. The portrait may be old or of the person on a bad hair day or in a bad mood or before he or she got braces to straighten their teeth. So I feel if the person is in the ballpark – it is good to give a date a try.

Obviously this is after all the references were called, the pointed questions were asked to references and non-references – like What good character traits / Middot does the person have? What problems or issues does the person have? How is their temper? Can you give me a particular incident or situation that can give me a clearer picture of who this person is? Can you describe their Yireat Shamayim / Fear of Hash-m? their Chesed? Better to ask open questions than for yes or no answers.

Caveats for Your Own Bio or Resume or Self

Know your audience that you are trying to attract – is one of the most important points in making a resume. A woman wants an appealing man and vice versa. It is a Torah recommendation that a person not get married without seeing their mate. This means a person should not get married without seeing their mate. It does not mean they should see a picture before they go out on a date.

If one is including a picture – it should show the person in the best light. With a kind, positive smile. A picture that brings out their positive points. If they have crooked teeth – it might be better to close their mouth or get braces. If they are a bit too casual – perhaps they should consider wearing more elegant or conservative attire – especially on a date. One should look good at every moment – meaning they shouldn’t walk around with a ring of keys on their belt or with their shirts unbuttoned or with spots on their clothes.

You resume should put you in a positive light. It might be good to be romantic – but to include “I am Romantic” on a resume may turn people off – especially if the other person is looking for a Ben Torah / a Torah Learner.

It is good to inform others of your family’s occupations, but some occupations may turn other people off. Not because they look down on the occupation – but because they think what you put as a positive point may be negative in their eyes. An example – Someone put on their resume – My Brother is a Sharp-Shooter for the Israeli Army. It is commendable to be defending your country. But to go into detail that his brother targets people might turn others off.

Get a Dating Resume Critique from a person who has Daat Torah – like a dating Coach that is a Ben Torah. Show your resume to a good friend to see if they have any recommendations for improvement.

Your Acts Generate Attitudes Towards You

People are on the lookout for deficiencies. Although that might not be the best attitude – it is an attitude out there. So if they see you eating a Felafel walking down the street with a beer in your hand – that will most likely portray a certain attitude.

Look at the Entire Picture

No one is perfect – Except Hash-m – so expect that there may be things about a date prospect that may not please you . Perhaps they are a bit heavy – people can lose weight. They have spaces in their teeth – a person can get braces. Know what is a primary requirement and secondary priority. See what can be changed and what is hard wired. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. Evaluate the entire person – not just the things that you find unfavourable. Look at the good in others – it’s a positive trait for life.