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.

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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.

Doing Good When Others Do You Bad

Sufferance. Does it have a purpose?

Others cause us bad. What can you do?

You have three options. Suffer in Silence. Suffer and use the sufferance to take revenge. Use sufferance for the good.

Talking it Out

You suffer? Talk it out. In the olden days a person who had a heavy heart would talk it out with friends and family.

Psychologists vs. Family

Today, it’s more common than before to go to a psychiatrist. I am from the old school. I think a person should first talk with friends and family to get try to solve the problem or get the problem off their chest – then if they really need more help that cannot be provided by friends or family then a seeing a psychologist might be in order.

Choosing a Psychologist that has a Torah Outlook

Even in selecting a psychiatrist – a person must be concerned about his or her mentality, capabilities, reputation and hashkafa / Jewish philosophy.

A Torah Hashkafa is important because if a psychologist lacks one they might prompt the person do things against the Torah. Like if the psychologist is treating kleptomania (someone who steals) – he might say “steal from places that you won’t get caught.” Or reinforce his negative impulses.

Shock therapy

I met psychiatrist recently that mentioned he was able to help people – like those who wet their beds, young couples with marital concerns, victims of trauma – in a non-traditional manner. Instead of prolonging the therapy by delving into the person’s history and childhood – he goes to the root of the problem and helps them in one or two sessions rather than sessions lasting months or years.

He explained to me his method. Indeed it is very direct. But it is effective. You choose your method of treatment and whether you actually want to be treated.

The first step to solve a problem is to recognize there is a problem.

Unloading Your burden to the Rabbi

I feel that competent, reputable Orthodox Rabbis with a proper Torah Hashkafa are fit to solve relationship problems. Consulting them has four advantages over a psychologist. One is the Rabbi sees the picture according to a Torah perspective. He will give advice that is Correct halachically / according to Jewish Law and Hashkafically / according to Torah philosophy. Secondly He might be able to give spiritual reasons for the suffering. Three He may also take upon himself to pray for the person. Four – if he deems himself unfit – he will refer you to a competent professional – that he approves of.

Good G-d – Believe it is and will be good and it will be good

What we think is coincidence is actually carefully planned by G-d. We call it Hashgacha Pratit – Individual Supervision. Meaning that G-d watches over us particularly. Here are two recent examples:

I am in the middle of writing this article. Before 5 pm – I take a break to mail a package. Someone other than me put a CD in the player. The CD in the car plays. The rabbi – Rabbi Yigal Cohen – is talking exactly what I am writing about. He tells a story: He was giving a Shiur – a lecture to Israelis on coping with difficulties. After the lecture – a psychologist – who was nodding her head in agreement throughout the lecture – came up to him and said “I agreed with what you said during the lecture. I wanted to add a point. That many psychological problems come from a lack of understanding or faith in G-d.”

If we believe that all comes from G-d and all that G-d does is for our good – we can more easily cope with difficulties. Because there is a reason for all our difficulties. Because it is difficult – it doesn’t mean that it is bad. It is difficult to exercise, to climb a mountain – but afterwards your body is in better shape. When we encounter difficulties by believing G-d is doing things for our good and learning from the messages being sent – our attitude in life and personality gets in shape.

There are difficult and easy situations in life. But all are good – if sent by G-d. We just have to be able to see the good in the difficulties.

Example two that happened just recently: I usually leave the synagogue at a certain time.  I set up with a traveling mechanic to fix my brakes that day while I was in the synagogue. He came later than usual delaying my departure. In the interim a woman came to the synagogue – in a time when I would not usually be there – who told us that her maternal grandmother was Jewish. Apparently she did not know that she was Jewish because her mother was Jewish. We invited her to the synagogue and she said she would try to come.

Some would call this coincidence – the Torah calls it Hashgacha pratit / individual supervision.

What Does G-d Want from Me

In my lifetime I have suffered, like everyone. When I was about 13 I changed myself. My sufferings prompted me to improve. When faced with difficulties – I asked – why me? Why was I suffering when all my friends were having a great time. After much introspection, questioning and pain – I figured there must be a reason. I asked myself “What does G-d want from me?”

I figured that it was G-d that was sending the difficulties to prompt me to improve my ways. Yes at 13 I did have much to improve – my lifestyle, my life and Jewish philosophy / hashkafa, my attitude and my deeds. I started studying Torah to see what I could improve.

I started reading Jewish classics – like Pirkei Avot / Ethics of the fathers and learned I had much more to improve than I had thought. I learned Jewish laws. I started attending an orthodox synagogue regularly. I started keeping kosher. I was careful about wearing my tefillin daily and attending prayer services at the local orthodox synagogue. This was a gradual process that took years.

I made a point to grow every day. Learn Torah every day. Now – looking back – I can see the reasons for the difficulties and the suffering and feel that following the path to self-improvement through Torah – was instrumental in me leading a happier life today. I have a more positive attitude and life than I would have had I followed the crowd.

The suffering that prompted me to get better through Torah Judaism – was a springboard to making my life better.

Does a person grow only through adversity?

The first question a person should ask when suffering is – what message is G-d sending me to help me improve? At times it is a message for a very particular isssue or it could be a message that a person should improve in general. A quick and simple way for a Jew to determine what they should improve is to benchmark one’s actions and attitudes with what it says in Pirkei Avot and in Shulchan Aruch. For a Gentile / Non-Jew one should benchmark their actions and attitudes with what the Noahide laws from the Torah says.

Letting Go of the Grudge – Having Faith in G-d & the Woman who Forgave.

I heard of a story of a woman about 35 – who was not married. She said she wasn’t finding any prospective marriage mates. She went to her local Orthodox Rabbi and told him of her concern.

He asked – “Did you date someone and it didn’t work out?” She said “Yes. About a year ago I was going out with a great boy. We both liked each other. We were about to get married – and then his mother got involved and he broke off the wedding.”

The Rabbi asked “Did you forgive him?” She said “Yes. But I cannot forgive the mother. Why did she have to get involved and break off a good relationship.”

The Rabbi asked “Who do you think organizes relationships?”

She replied “Hash-m” / G-d.

“If that is the case why do you hold a grudge against his mother? If you believed that G-d organizes relationships – so he was the One also who helped the relationship to break off. You think it was the mother that broke it off. Hash-m was the One who broke it off. She was just an agent of Hash-m. Since you keep holding on to this grudge it means that you are under the impression that it was the mother that caused the break up. If you believe and accept that it was G-d that really the cause and she was just an agent forgive the mother with a full heart. This will show you put your belief that G-d is in control and does all for the best. And remember to call me when before you get married to invite me to your wedding.”

She then said aloud in front of the Rabbi “I Forgive her completely. I forgive her completely. I forgive her completely.”

Three months later he received the call that she was getting married.

She put her trust in Hash-m. Then Hash-m’s providence was invoked by her trusting in Him. She told the Rabbi then a fact that was pertinent to the story “A year ago my groom to be received a piece of paper with my phone number. He thought I was older than him – so he decided to meet other women for marriage. They didn’t work out. He was free to date again – when he happened to find the piece of paper with my phone number and decided to call me. He “happened” to find the paper after I forgave the mother of my former date.”

= = =

Postcsript:

Suffering For my people

I was prompted to write this article because of my suffering for a young woman – Ori Ansbacher, HYD (may G-d avenge her blood) – that was recently killed savagely by an Arab terrorist. This young woman loved people and peace. This terrorist killed her for the sole reason because she was Jewish.

How can we be consoled?

Anyone killed because they are Jewish – dies sanctifying the name of heaven. They get a high place in heaven. Apparently a Jew can say kaddish for her.

I still suffer. Who is guilty?

Many. Terrorists. People who support terrorists or terrorist organizations financially or by encouragement. People who don’t do enough to assure that these terrorists are punished. The schools and organizations that taught the Terrorists to hate Jews.

And unfortunately we ourselves.

If the Jews were united, If we would listen to the words of the Torah to be kind with one another and banish hatred among Jews – we would be able to deter these terrible acts.

What can we do

When such a crime occurs – apart from petitioning the authorities for new strong reforms take place against these acts of savagery – G-d wants us to correct ourselves on a personal level.

Let us be kinder to our fellow. Let us make peace among Jews. Let us learn more Torah. Let us take upon ourselves new mitzvot. Let us bring our fellow Jews closer to Torah and Mitzvot and at least we will have some kind of consolation.

Let’s propel ourselves in these deeds of goodness and mitzvot so we won’t need any difficult motivators anymore.

10 Quick Concepts to Go From Dating to a Speedy and Good Marriage

The concept of marriage in Judaism is greater than a couple establishing a family together. We start the process by searching for our soul mate – for in reality the partner is part of a similar soul that was separated and reunited in marriage. Through marriage one can reach their potential in doing good for the world – through having the Torah as a life guide.

I suffer for many of my good friends that are good people that haven’t yet found their other half. I don’t know how much my suffering helps them – so I offer here advice to get married for anyone who wants to hear. I might repeat some things I said in previous posts – but a little repetition doesn’t hurt.

1. Make a List of Your Priorities

I once read an article that said a person should make a list of 10 or 20 priorities for a mate. If one has either five or half of them – they are doing well.

Obviously there are “requirements” and “nice to haves”. Know which are which. Also go through these priorities with your dating coach and the people you network with to help you find a date.

2. Make Your Smart Effort

I know people who to to single events every week. They look but they don’t find. I think a person would be better off calling up Orthodox Rabbis of communities or Rosh Yeshivas and sharing what they are searching for in a mate – in order for them to search in their “Rolodex” for someone compatible they might be able to suggest for you. They can also offer you advice. They know more people in their congregation than you can meet at a singles event. And they can narrow down the search.

I think a person looking to marry should make themselves take at least five minutes a day to network to find a person.

Making a Smart Effort

Self & Date assessment can help pinpoint areas to improve. One should ask themselves – what is not working in my dates? Am I not putting enough effort? Am I presenting myself in a good light? Am I talking about wrong subjects? How am I coming across to the potential mate? This can also be discussed with the Dating Coach.

Know the purpose of the Date

The purpose of a date is to see is if the person is a potential mate for marriage. If one sees that their partner is fit for marriage – based upon the criteria we mention in the article – then continue till you determine if the person is a viable marriage partner.

Prayer

A person should pray daily for a good mate that is suitable for them. Pray to Hashem for some of the criteria in a mate for which you are searching.

3. Do Your Homework

Once you do get a name – research that person. Examples of the questions a person would ask about a potential partner are:

1. Are they kind hearted?

2. Do they have the Hashkafa / Jewish Outlook of the Torah.

3. For a Female Searching for a Male: Are they a Ben Torah? Do they have a fixed time to learn torah daily. Are they able to read a Gemara.

4. Are they Truthful.

5. Are they willing to accept observance of the Basics of Judaism – a) Keeping Kosher; b) Shabbat Observance; c) Family Purity – ie, Mikve; d) Placing Children in an Orthodox Torah Day School or Yeshiva

6. Do they Have any psychological, mental or health issues. Do they have a bad temper. Are they able to bear children. I know of people who married only to find out afterwards that the partner had health issues, temper issues, were controlling or tyrants, had psychological issues or were unable to bear children. Ask these questions before marriage.

7. Can you give examples of each.

Ask open ended questions not Yes or No Questions. You can answer yes to any question. If someone asks me “Is a particular person nice.?” I may answer Yes – even if they are mean – if I think in my mind “Yes they are nice when they sleep.”

Ask pointed questions. Don’t ask “are they nice?” That is too vague. Ask them for example of things that you saw them doing that were nice. Did you ever see them get angry? Are they a growing person? Can you cite examples?

People don’t want to say bad things about another person. So they might hide things from you. It is your job to get the correct information. That is through doing your proper effort in researching the person.

Ask their friends, mentors, rabbis, former teachers etc. Better to do the due diligence before the marriage than to regret. Tell them that you are interested in dating the person – so that your discussion will be for a constructive purpose – and will not be considered Lashon HaRah – Derogatory speech – which is forbidden by the Torah.

Some people nowadays have a Shidduch / Dating Resume to simplify the search process. I personally am against asking for pictures – a picture may mislead a person. You are not marrying a picture – you marry a whole person – with their personality. Many people reject based upon a photo. A person has to be attractive to you – i think that the minimum to be acceptable to marry a person is that they are not repulsive to you. They don’t need to be a model.

4. Be willing to Get a Dating / Shidduch Coach

– A Shidduch or Dating Coach will serve as an intermediary to help you work out issues with a potential mate. At times one partner is interested but the other has reservations. Instead of discussing their reservations with the partner – they decide to break it off.

In comes the Dating Coach. He or She will be able to take concerns and tactfully relate them to the other party. They will be able to advise the person what are important issues and what are secondary. Most Preferably – this coach should have Daat Torah – a point of view of the Torah to allow you the Torah perspective of what is important.

I would suggest speaking with a Competent Orthodox Rabbi to ask him to be a Dating Coach. Both partners must be agreeable.

Perhaps the man likes the woman’s personality but finds her overweight. He is embarrassed to mention that to her. Perhaps the woman likes the man’s personality but she finds him not Torah observant enough. (certain cases I encountered). The Shidduch Coach could try to work things out.

5. Growing in Judaism

There is a concept in Judasim called – Maalim BaKodesh. We raise ourselves in Holiness. Meaning that we go from a lower level to a higher one. Like first Jewish men put on the Talit and then the Tefillin daily. Tefillin has a higher level of holiness than the Talit.  Similarly I advise people to try to raise their bar in Torah observance before they get married to be able to get matched from above with a similar mate that will raise their family in Judaism.

G-d will help you find a mate usually on a similar religious level. If you raise your observance G-d will give you a similar mate. An example – if one hangs out in bars every night – G-d will allow them to meet a mate that does the same. If you want a family that are together on Shabbat and holidays and before marriage and you make an effort to observe the Shabbat in its entirety – G-d will help them meet a similar mate.

Growth in Torah and Judaism is an important part of Torah Observance. At times one person is on a particular level of Torah Observance and the other is on a lower level. The one on the lower level would be smart to raise their level of observance and tell that to the potential mate.

6. Demanding the Basics

As mentioned above there are basics that a person should have to be a good partner that will help you and your family grow in Judaism.

5. Are they willing to accept observance of the Basics of Judaism – a) Keeping Kosher; b) Shabbat Observance; c) Family Purity – ie, Mikve; d) Placing Children in an Orthodox Torah Day School or Yeshiva

I know people that chose their mates. Their parent imposed on the mate dating their child – the above requirements. You might have others – that the mate studies Torah daily. That the wife covers her hair. That their be no TV in the house. You decide – but I believe the 4 points (a, b, c & d) mentioned above are the minimum requirements to raise a family in Judaism.

7. Listening to Parents

Parents want the good of the children. Thus it makes sense to look to them for advice. Obviously one can marry against the advice of their parents – but it is good to seek their approval and listen to their ideas.

8. Considering Previous Dates

If a date was 80% and one of you rejected the other party – it might be reasonable to contact them yourself or through an intermediary  to try again. In Judaism if one got divorced – it is praiseworthy to remarry the same mate – if they did not get remarried in the interim.

9. Can You get Along

Some people look for love at first sight. Sometimes it happens that way. Sometimes that is just infatuation and fades quickly after marriage. Love in Marriage may take several years to develop. When you give you start to love. Love comes from appreciating the goodness and qualities of the other. Many a time people mistake love for infatuation. Know the difference.

One of the points of the date is to see if you can get along. Can you appreciate the others personality. If after 2 or 3 dates there is no commonality it might be a sign to stop. On the 3rd date – if the first 2 were successful – a person can tell a bit of personal information to see if they feel comfortable relating to them and to see how they react.

Remember a date is not your psychologist. You don’t have to tell them all of your problems. Your goal is to find out if you can respect one another and have a meeting of the minds.

10. Popping the Question

Some people take much time to pop the question to get married. If the basics are in order asking to get married is the next step. You can give the person a heads up and say what do you think about marriage.

Some are afraid of rejection. Some are afraid of commitment. Some are afraid to make the wrong decision. If they reject – perhaps they were not for you and G-d saved you from an unproductive marriage.

If you are afraid of commitment – you just have to do your best. Some are afraid of financial stability – it is G-d who provides. Some want a degree,a high paying job before they get married  – although one should be realistic – that shouldn’t be a necessary criteria imposed on yourself or the other party – If you or the other party are responsible and trustworthy – you can assume that the other person will find a way to make income.

If you are afraid of making the wrong decision – once the basics are in place and you prayed to Hashem and did your due diligence you can feel more confident in asking the other for their hand.

It happened to me several times that I was interested in marrying a girl, and I even gave a ring and the girl returned the ring to me. G-d saw that the girl was not for me for a reason. He arranged that she reject me. Looking back it was a good thing things happened that way.

That is to tell you – although you should do all your effort, due diligence and pray – G-d / Hash-m will help you marry the right mate.