Shalom Bayit / Peace at Home ABCs – 14 Ideas to Help Save Your Marriage

Little things make a big difference in life – especially to a wife. A Nice word. A little smile. A small gift. A note of thanks. A meaningful moment together.

The Purpose of Marriage

The purpose of marriage is to be able to make a relationship between man & woman who will live a meaningful, loving, satisfying life spiritually and materially. This union – through the guidance of the Torah – helps a couple achieve their purpose in life. When this foundation is understood – it is more likely to thrive and survive.

Kindness

One of the foundations of the Torah is doing Kindness. The world stands upon Kindness. Kindness starts at home. According to Torah, A man is to give a gift to his wife before each Jewish holiday and when he finds something to her liking. It is recommended for him to buy flowers for Shabbat. He must talk with her with respect. He must satisfy her, material, emotional, physical and spiritual needs. She is a partner in the marriage. Their couple is one of personal and spiritual growth.

Your own needy & the needy of your city – your needy take precedence. Some are kindly with strangers. Yet, at home they are a tyrant. That is not the Torah way. The Torah way is to give more attention and kindness to those closer to you.

All kind things are recommended by Torah to have at home. Shalom Bayit / peace at home allows a person to live a productive and meaningful life. If peace is at home, children live a more serene, secure, stable and balanced existence – which allows them to have a more balanced personality. If bickering is at home – children are affected negatively. There is no magic cure for Shalom Bayit. Yet there are recommendations.

Learn to Do little Nice things

Help around the house. Take care of fixing something. Say thank you. Say I appreciate all that you do. Appreciation is one of the foundations of Judaism. We are called Yehudim – which comes from the name Yehuda – which comes from the Hebrew word for “giving thanks.” Appreciation can be expressed with word, gifts or action. If you don’t know what to say – leave a note. We – Ohr Binyamin – give out free Judaica cards. Once someone asked me – Do You have a card on Shalom bayit / Peace at Home. I said Yes – “It is called the You are Special Card – read one of the things to show how special you are to your wife every day.”*

Pray to Hash-m for Shalom Bayit

Pray to Hash-m / G-d for Shalom Bayit. He will give you opportunities to have peace. At times divorce may be in order – but discussions with a competent Orthodox rabbi must precede it. Grounds for divorce in Judaism – if a partner is unfaithful or other things. But as mentioned before, a competent Orthodox rabbi should be involved.

Learn About Shalom Bayit

To have Peace at Home one should have a goal to have Peace at Home. Read Jewish books, attend Jewish Classes, see Jewish seminars on the subject of Shalom Bayit. You can do it together or alone. One book I read even before I got married was – the River, the Kettle & The Bird – which is based upon a Gemara / Talmud Tractate in Berakhot. It says that one who dreams of those things will have peace at home. The book explains the entire concept of the 3 different forms of relationships that one can have in marriage. In short 1) a give and take / business-deal relationship, 2) a company employee relationship – you take care of kids – I’ll make the money 3) A single unit relationship – like a bird that soars to the sky and lands on earth – as one unit they soar to spiritual heights.

Learn Torah or Pirkei Avot Together

It is good to have a small learning session together – regularly. It could be 5 minutes daily or bi-weekly. Communication is key to speak together at least 1/2 hour a day.

Send Your Children to an Orthodox Torah Day School

When children are in line – it helps parents to get along. If one parent thinks children should do A – while the other thinks B is more appropriate – it is an tension builder. Torah schools Teach Kivud Av Vaem – Honoring parents, Derech Eretz – proper conduct, Respect of Others, Respect of Elders, Respect of Rabbis. If they are acting properly – it reduces stress & strain.

Be into Self-Improvement

The Torah way is to be better every day. Today I am good. Tomorrow I am better. This is only done through Torah Self improvement works – called Mussar.

Make Torah Your Guide in Life

Orthodox Jews usually have stable marriages. One major reason is they base their life, actions and thoughts on Torah. Torah is a detailed guide of how to live a meaningful, peaceful, productive, purposeful life. Basing one’s life on Torah – will help set foundations for a peaceful home. Shabbat – allows us to enjoy time with the family. The Torah recommends to and commends people to marry. It is a Mitzvah / commandment. The commandment to marry – pushes people to marry and not tarry. The Torah sets peaceful foundations at home.

Don’t Procrastinate

My uncle – a Shachan / Matchmaker – asked an older man why he never got married. He replied “I forgot to.” Statistics show, many Jews outside the Orthodox community are either marrying later or choosing a life of being single. Apparently, one reason is that they view not the importance of marriage as the Torah proposes.

Other reasons may be – they don’t find the right one, they have other priorities, they prefer being single, they don’t want responsibilities involved, they are involved in other things  – like a career, education. When one learns the proper hashkafot / Jewish outlook of marriage – one becomes more interested in tying the knot. Pushing marriage off – without making a serious concerted effort – at least as one would do to find a job – might make it harder later. As a youth – one is more idealistic and set in their ways. There are more opportunities – thus many Orthodox Jews get married younger – to found a family according to the guidance of Torah.

A Compatible Mate

One most important thing in having peace at home is choosing a mate with similar goals, values, mentalities, and aspirations. A statistic that supports  Interracial marriages have a divorce rate of 41% after 10 years while – same race marriage had a divorce rate of 31%.

Choosing the Right Mate – Finding Similarities

We try to choose people as mates that come from a good family and have good character traits. G-d matches people with similar values. If you want a better mate improve yourself. I give that as advice to people. “If you are hanging out at bars, you will likely marry someone who does the same. If you attend Torah Lectures / Shiurim, you will likely marry someone who does the same. If you study Torah and pray daily, , you will likely marry someone who does the same. Thus if you improve your level of Torah observance – you will likely get a mate that also does the same.”

Do Your Due Diligence

Thus many Orthodox Jews do extensive research on a mate prospect before agreeing to a date. They involve Shadchanim / Matchmakers, Rabbis, Friends of the spouse prospect, roommates & more. They do their homework. They ask about if they have good Middot / charachter traits, are they psychologically stable, are they diligent in studying torah, are they responsible, can they support a family, where is their mindset. If they do their homework – there are less surprises once married. It makes sense – you do your research for buying a car – which may last 10 years – then marriage that is a relationship that is supposed to last a lifetime – homework is in order.

Deal Breaker – Judaism & Good Character Traits

A Jew searching for a marriage mate should have several deal breakers. One of them – their potential spouse should be Jewish – for the reasons mentioned in the article. The second is that the spouse should have good personal character traits / middoth. Good middot make the difference between a peaceful marriage and a stressful one. A person who is learning Torah has an advantage in the sense that they usually adhere to the precepts of the Torah in the Pirkei Avot / Ethics of the Fathers. But it is not a guarantee.

Avoiding Intermarriage

Jews who marry Jews have a more peaceful marriages than – mixed marriages. According to Torah it is forbidden for a Jew to intermarry – for it causes the children to leave the Torah faith & follow after foreign worship. Statistics show, Most married Jewish parents say they are raising their children as Jewish by religion. Yet, Statistics also show, Intermarried parents much less likely to be raising their children Jewish.

A Jewish woman in a mixed marriage documentary said: “Our marriage was going smoothly until the birth of our baby boy. I was thrilled and wanted to arrange for a Bris (circumcision). But my husband thought I was crazy and said, ‘I won’t allow that …” Egon Mayer, a professor at Brooklyn College who studies interfaith issues and published a study linking intermarriage with higher divorce rates, Children of intermarried couples frequently suffer an identity crisis. “Where do they go? Who do they Identify with? Which holiday should they observe?” Are questions they ask.

If people are already intermarried – the couple should consult a competent Orthodox Rabbi – see OU.org synagogue finder – to see what is involved in converting the gentile / non-Jewish spouse to Torah Judaism. Usually the spouse must agree to a Torah Study program, to Follow laws of Shabbat / the Sabbath, Kashrut / Keeping Kosher and Family Purity Laws. Practical advice for any person who wishes to convert to Judaism – is to seek an Orthodox Rabbi – that know the laws and can guide you to a Beit Din / Jewish Court of Law who will perform a conversion that is accepted by all Orthodox Rabbis. If you are going to do it – do it right.

Conversion to Judaism

I knew a Ger / convert to Judaism who was converted through one Beit Din that was not so reliable and decided to do another conversion – through a more reliable one. His Name was Charlie.

Gentiles who Marry Gentiles

For gentiles, the way they live also affects their mate. If they learn their 7 Noahide Laws from the Torah – they will more likely marry a mate that will do the same.

Judaism & Self Improvement

If each member of the couple has a goal of self improvement – it makes for a better marriage. I want to make the other person happy. I want to make Hash-m happy. Thus I try to be on my best behavior. My goal is to make a peaceful home – not to show that I am right. The best Self-improvement works you will every find are based upon Torah sources. What the world calls self-improvement – we call Mussar.

Do Kindness at home and you will find kindness.

One of the Pillars the world stands upon is kindness.

The Raison d’Etre of the Universe is mentioned in Pirkei Avot 1:2:

2. Shimo’n the righteous was from the remainder of the men of the Great Assembly. He used to say: Upon three things the world stands [ie, its reason for its continued existence]– On the Torah, on the [Divine] Service [ie, prayer or korbanot / offerings on the altar] & on acts of loving kindness.

Make it your goal to do kindness in your world and kindness will come back.

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*We have many cards that can help Shalom Bayit – Like Derech Eretz / Proper Conduct CardThe Gratitude / the Basket of Compliments card, Prayer for Protection of Children & How to Show Your Love & Appreciation, and the Tehillim / Psalms for Shalom Bayit)

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Caveat – we sometimes link to Sefaria.org. Although it is a valuable resource for providing Jewish sources – the site also has works that are contrary to authentic Torah values. Some translations of authentic Torah sources might be suspect as well. The sources we link to are authentic. To not be misguided by false Torah values masquerading as Torah – be wary – on the site itself – to use the sources there that are authentic Torah values.  Here is a list of some of them. 

If you are unsure it is authentic Torah – ask a competent Orthodox Rabbi. Authentic Torah sages & commentators include Rashi, Ibn Ezra, Ramban, Sforno, Abarbanel, Aderet Eliyahu (Rabbi Yosef Chaim), Alshich , Avi Ezer, Bartenura on Torah, Bekhor Shor, Birkat Asher on Torah, Chatam Sofer, Chizkuni, Chomat Anakh, Daat Zkenim,
Gur Aryeh, HaKtav VeHaKabalah, Haamek Davar, Kitzur Baal Haturim, Kli Yakar,
Malbim, Minchat Shai, Minei Targuma, Mizrachi, Ohev Ger, Or HaChaim, Paaneach Raza, Penei David, Rabbeinu Bahya, Ralbag Beur HaMilot, Ralbag on Torah, Rashbam,
Recanati on the Torah, Riva, Rosh, Shadal, Siftei Chakhamim, Torah Temimah on Torah, Tur HaAroch, Tzafnat Pa’neach, Tzror HaMor)

 

 

 

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.

Don’t Let Your Tears Go to Waste on Others

Babies cry. Adults cry. A baby cries when hungry, thirsty, uncomfortable or in pain. An adult cries more often because of emotional pain.

Although the gates of prayer were locked, the gates of tears remain open (see Talmud :Berachot 32b) . Thus we have another way to get our prayers answered. Tears.

What happens? A person needs a shoulder to cry upon. They relieve their hearts of their burdens by speaking with another individual or to Hash-m. They relieve their burden, but they forget to ask for salvation.

Yes – tell your troubles to Hash-m. But don’t stop there. Cry out & pray to Hash-m for what you need. “Hash-m give me strength, patience & wisdom to deal with this class of rowdy students.” “Hash-m, please help me to find the best job to support my family in a dignified manner that will also let me dedicate time to learning Torah.”

Use your tears to improve your lot. Don’t use them to destroy someone else’s lot. You might be angry at another that brought you to tears. You have a choice to pray for their detriment or for your uplift. Pray for your uplift. G-d will listen.

You gain not by someone’s downfall. You do gain from your uplift. Use your emotional pain to thrust your tefilot / prayers to heaven.

Be specific in your prayers. Don’t just say Hashem – find me a mate. Pray, please Hash-m find me a mate that has good middot / character traits, from a good family, that learns Torah & will be able to support a family by the end of the month. You fill in your requirements.

Even tears of gratitude, or just verbal gratitude to Hash-m, should be accompanied by prayer. Once you say thank you – you insinuate that you are satisfied with the outcome. Ask for more benedictions, even when you say thank you.

G-d will turn your tears of pain into tears of joy. Amen.

Social Media Advice for the Marriage Minded

Social Media Advice for the Marriage Minded

Just like with a simple face to face conversation, you find out good things and where a person’s head is – so is true by social media. Two aspects to consider are your own usage in the eyes of others and the usage of a prospective mate in your eyes.

Relying on Photos – a Caveat

Today it is easy to get information on people. Some people hear of a prospect match and reject dates because of a photo. That may not be prudent because meeting a person gives a much more accurate idea of the person. Also the picture you see may not be a good picture of that person.

Some peruse pictures – searching for a match. It much is more lucrative to call Rabbis to seek someone that has similar hashkafot / Torah outlook and values, good middot / character traits, and aspirations – than to waste time perusing photos. You marry a personality not a picture.

Are You a FB Person

Whether the person uses Facebook or not already gives an indication about the person. Non usage may indicate their refraining from technology to avoid temptation or being involved in things more productive or in more productive relations with actual people – rather than with a computer screen.

It might be better to avoid social media – like it says in Pirkei Avot (1:17):

The Value of Silence & Action

17. Shimo’n, his son, says: All my life I grew among the [Torah] sages & I found nothing better for the body than silence. And that learning is not the priority rather it is the [putting it to] action [that is the priority] & whoever who is excessive in words brings [upon themselves] transgression.

It’s not for nothing that people take the fifth in court.

Be careful what you post.
Usage of social media reveals people’s views and personality.  A person’s home page pictures reveals their interests. I know people who lost Job and shidduch / potential matches opportunities because of what they posted on the social media.  Over-usage of social media also tells about a person.  People might think – doesn’t this person have better things to do than posting constantly their political views, selfies, etc. Be careful what you post. It might come back against the person.

Some have to give their opinions on every news item. If that’s you,  then it might be time to do a self evaluation of your attitude and your posts – and work on improving both. Perhaps in expressing your opinions, people are forming a non-flattering opinion about you. If one has a very critical attitude – people might shy away from introducing you to others. People shy away from critical people. If one’s hashkafot – Torah outlook – are controversial – that also may also be a turn off for prospective mates with a good hashkafa.

Relevance of information.
The time of the post might also help you to decide how relevant is info. For instance if you see a post from a person’s teenage years – it may or may not reveal what their interests are today.

Make a small effort to start the momentum to find a marriage mate.  Each call becomes easier.

When Hashem sees us making a concerted and consistent effort – obviously accompanied by prayer – He sends his blessing.

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Follow this page for Previous Getting Married Advice Posts – Fast Track to Jewish Marriage

Save Your Marriage – 4 things to Do to Save or Improve any Marriage

You have to give credit where credit is due. Thus I must confess that the suggestions to improve any marriage are from a book called “Garden of Peace” by Rabbi Shalom Arusch. He writes one version for Men and one version for women. Each version is geared to teaching what the other spouse needs.

But some advice [that I must also try to apply more often myself] is what I learned over the years from learning Torah.

So yes – if you apply these rules you can save thousands of dollars [of marriage counselling fees]- and possibly your marriage.

First For Men:
To have a successful marriage – understand that your wife wants your appreciation. So the main things that you can do to make her happy are – Say thank you for what she does many times a day. Give gifts to show your appreciation.

Secondly don’t criticize condemn or complain. A woman is called a help mate – know that she can help you become a better person. She is focused on that issue – so what you think is nagging and screaming is an opportunity for you to become better. “Why do you leave your books lying around?!” You can either think – oh no she is criticizing me again or wow this is an opportunity to become better and to be more concerned for my living environment and the others around me. She is attuned to your emotional and spiritual growth.

Don’t treat your wife as your psychologist or therapist. Don’t downgrade yourself in her eyes. She might get the impression that you deserve this lack of respect that you told her that you received from the boss.

Go to Shaharit / Morning prayer services at an orthodox synagogue everyday before you go to work.  A woman who sees her husband lying in bed when she is awake may get a negative impression of her husband. Don’t talk too much with her – that might also lower her esteem for you.

Many men will find fault with the woman. It becomes a shouting match. A big no no! Because you can’t win an argument with a woman. She will either be insulted and you gain nothing. Or she will get you back one day.

A woman wants things to be taken care of. she wants to feel that the husband is responsible and taking care of things. Thus if she asks to do something around the houlse make sure it gets done. If you have to hire someone – fine but get it done.

The idea of a marriage in Torah is to bring up a wholesome family that respects one another, other people and G-d. This is done through following Torah. If a woman can help you be a better person – you should be thankful – not resentful.

For Women
A man wants respect. He needs to feel that you are on the same team – not trying to break or outdo him or use him as your cleaning lady. Obviously he must help around the house – but the things he does should be respectful. Talk with respect – not with anger and condescending remarks or threats.

Mutual respect is what the Torah wants from both from you. Your acting with respect to your husband will prompt him to act with more respect to you.

Part of the idea of marriage in Torah is to have a positive relation where one completes the other. One helps the other. Together they raise children that are beautiful people in the eyes of man and G-d. Thus The wife should encourage her husband to learn Torah. She should also enroll her children in a Torah day schoool . This is how she assures that the next generation will be respectful and serve G-d. He example will also serve as a lesson to children to act with respect.

The Torah is the greatest guide for self-improvement. It teaches a person to act with respect and kindness. Thus encouraging the husband and bringning kids to Orthodox Torah day schools – will engender a more peaceful and loving home. For that – her husband will become greater and appreciate her more for that.

Fast Track to Getting Married – 6 Points to Help You

The Salvation of Hash-m is in a Blink of an Eye. (Mei HaShiloach, Vol. II, Genesis, Miketz 1*) Meaning every moment can be a moment of salvation. Believe it will be good and it will be good. Believe it is good and you change your attitude.

Make an Intelligent Concerted Effort

How can a person get out of their rut? Decide to get out of your rut! How does a person find the right person? Make a concerted effort to get married. In Torah it says “The Finding of a proper marriage mate is challenging like the splitting of the sea of reeds.” Here are some points to make it easier.

Be Positive

That’s the First step – be positive. Have a positive attitude. Don’t criticize, condemn or complain. People like to  complain. I want to tell you my problems. You have a problem?- see a qualified orthodox Jewish psychologist – but your date should not be your shrink.

Think of it. You go on a date and of the first things they tell you is “I have this problem and this concern.” The other person is thinking – I have my own problems why do need to add others.  Be positive. People like positive people.

Even once married – a man should  not divulge his being degraded or insulted. The woman might end up believing that the spouse is deserving of that criticism and end up looking down on the husband. A woman wants to look up to a husband and needs to respect him. She seeks appreciation and respect of her needs.

If a guy comes off as being unusual, too casual, too into himself, too introverted or extroverted – it might be a turn-off. A person should also be cognizant  of how they speak and how they appear. If you’re too into your business, too into politics, into food – that might turn people away. The Rambam says it best – “The middle path is complete.”

Step 2 – Pray to Hashem for yourself and for others to get married. Pray for others and G-d will answer you for what you need.

Step 3 – Know it’s a mitzvah to get married. Some people push off getting married. They say I’m busy today. Just like one can’t push off putting on their Tefillin or lighting Shabbat candles – so the same a applies here. It is a Mitzvah – al tachmitzena / don’t let it become “leavened”. Take the attitude that I have to put my effort in getting married today.

4 – Spend 5 minutes a day making calls to find the right person. You could contact friends with similar values. Orthodox Rabbis of communities. Match-makers. I prefer contacting Rabbis, because they can tell you if someone in their community may be compatible.

5 – Call rabbis of communities and prepare to send resumes. Let’s say one is a Hungarian Jew and wants to marry a Hungarian Jew – get a list of all the orthodox Jewish Hungarian congregations and call the rabbis to ask them for leads. If you are looking for a Yeshiva boy or a seminary girl – call up the yeshivas or Torah seminaries. Ask rabbis or contacts if Perhaps someone in their congregation might be right for you. Ask when you can call them back to follow up. Prepare to send him a “Dating Resume”. After speaking with him – send him a resume.

6 – Due Diligence – Find out as much as you can about them before you go out  – Call references, rabbis and friends. Ask references for references.  Ask pointed questions. Do they have anger, emotional or psychological issues? What is there general mood. How would you rate them in terms of Torah learning on a scale of 1 to 10? Do they have a kind heart. Do they have good character traits? In each ask –  can you provide an example?

Once you do find a prospective mate that fits your comfort zone – reach out to an intermediary – like a community rabbi – that can serve as the “go between” between you and the person. I prefer this intermediary to be a Rabbi or a person with daat Torah / the Torah perspective because they can judge what is proper reasons for continuing or stopping.

Rabbis recommend that 2 dates is the minimum – if there is not something seriously wrong with the person or the first date. At times a person is nervous on a first date – so it might not be completely accurate to judge them with only one date.

The idea of a date is to talk and get to know the person. No physical contact till after marriage. Physical contact clouds the mind of a person and makes it much more difficult for a person to make a non-biased decision. The decision who you marry should be more of a rational decision  than an emotional one.

The first two dates are to find out the other person’s hashkafa / philosophy in life. If a person is talking excessively about the stock market, shopping, Torah, business, making money – you know where their mind is. also you can see if the conversation goes smoothly or not. Do you feel comfortable together. You also want to find out their values – do they want to have kids? Are they interested in learning Torah? Are they willing to grow. There are many questions – but you basically want to find out if this person will be a person that you feel comfortable raising your children in the good & just path of the Torah.

 

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*אבל בעוד שאין האדם מבורר באלו השני לאווין, אם יקבל אז השפעת ישועה חלילה יתפשט בזה וישכח
חלילה שהשי”ת הושיע לו, אבל אחר שבירר עצמו יוכל לקבל ישועת השי”ת כהרף עין.

 

Are Your Ethics Stunting You – Get a Set of New Ones

A person lives a short term in this world.

THE Obligations to Achieve

In this small space of allotted time – one is to learn, observe the commandments partaining to them, learn torah, get a job, get married, have children, determine your purpose in life and accomplish your mission. Not necessarily in that order.

Where Your Ethics Stop Your Growth

People get stuck or stunted by the advertising of ethics of the world.

What Drives Your Ethics?

I am a vegetarian. I have to be slim. I have to eat healthy. I have to accept all people. All people are equal. I have to help the downtrodden people.

Behind all these ideas are a set of values. I am a vegetarian because I love animals. (Did I mention I have a parakeet.) I am into fasting because I want to be slim. I am into BDS because we have to protect the world from Israel. (Not me – but someone might think that way)

Ethics Cannot Be Determined by Feelings but may be investigated by What You Feel

Perhaps the above thoughts are right. Perhaps they are wrong. Who says feelings are necessarily – the proper way to determine ethics. I might feel one way about a matter and someone else might feel another way. So feelings cannot be the way to determine proper ethics.

Abraham determined what what right and wrong based upon his thoughts and feelings – His Kelayot / Liver taught him what was  right and wrong.

נאמר בקורבנות בספר ויקרא: לְעֻמַּת “הֶעָצֶה” יְסִירֶנָּה (ויקרא ג ט) לשון עצה, ובחז”ל נאמר מפורש שהכליות יועצות “לב מבין, כליות יועצות” (ברכות סא)

חז”ל אומרים על אברהם אבינו ע”ה: אב [תרח] לא למדו [לאברהם], ורב לא היה לו, ומהיכן למד את התורה? אלא זימן לו הקדוש ברוך הוא שתי כליותיו כמין שני רבנים והיו נובעות ומלמדות אותו תורה וחכמה, זהו שכתוב: אֲבָרֵךְ–אֶת-יְהוָה, אֲשֶׁר יְעָצָנִי; אַף-לֵילוֹת, יִסְּרוּנִי כִלְיוֹתָי. (תהלים טז ז) (מדרש רבה בראשית פ סא פס’ א)

Ethics, according to Torah, are not man-made – they are G-d made. The Torah tells you what is ethical – because it is G-d given. That is why a person can generally feel what is right or wrong.

Do Your ethics determine your feelings or your feelings determine your ethics?

The problem starts when a person has a strong feeling – their feelings try to convince them that what they are doing is right. People who support BDS – first they have a feeling of Hatred for Israel or Jews – then they convince themselves it is ethical to support BDS. (I Don’t think G-d wants a person to hate His Chosen People.)

A person loves animals. Their loves for animals taints their ethical viewpoint – to sometimes value an animal’s life over the life of a human.

“I love animals.” I once asked a class – if you could spend a million dollars to save an old ladies life – or that same money to save a racehorse that broke it’s leg – what would you do? One student answered – the racehorse.

The Values of Torah – the Value of Human Life

Obviously – that is not the values of the Torah. The Torah places life of a human being above animals and above most commandments.

A Jew who desecrates the Shabbat is liable for a strong punishments. (A gentile is  not commanded to observe the Sabbath – on the contrary it is better that they do not observe it – it is forbidden according to Torah.) Yet if a person is in danger one is allowed to “desecrate” the laws of Shabbat to save their life.

Syncing Our values with Values of the Torah

Ok. That is our Job in life – to synchronize our values with the values of the Torah. G-d / Hash-m is non-biased. We are biased. One day we can be angry at a person – the next day we can love that person. So our ethics can be swayed.

Why Torah? Millions is Greater than One

Why Torah? Ethics & Religions are a dime a dozen. I heard over 80,000 religions exists. So why choose Orthodox Judaism’s Torah Ethics?  Because the Torah is the only Divinely given law in the world that millions of people witnessed and heard its being given – when G-d Gave the Torah to the Jews the Torah at Mt. Sinai. G-d doesn’t change His mind – so the laws are as valid today as they were when G-d gave the Torah.

Why It Makes No Sense that G-d Changed His Law and gave it to Another People

Many offshoot religions that used Judaism as source for their teachings – say two things:

1. The Jews Did not Observe the Torah – so G-d Chose another People besides the Jews

2. G-d Changed His laws to Make it easier for people to observe.

Point One is illogical. The Jews always observed the Laws of the Torah in their entirety. Either some Jews or all Jews observed. There was never a point in history when Jews did not observe the Torah.

Point Two is also illogical. G-d, at Mount Sinai, initially gave laws for Jews – the 613 Commandments and Non-Jews – the 7 Noahide laws from the Torah. The 7 Noahide laws are laws that are incumbent upon all people to observe. Those are the Laws by which a Non-Jew will be judged by after they die and go to the next world.

It makes sense to know these laws to get in sync to maximize one’s potential for reward in this world and the next. (See 10 or 7 Commandments – Which do you Observe?)

The Long Short Path

The Children of Jerusalem are known for their intelligence. Once a person traveling to Jerusalem asked a child how to get to Jerusalem. He said “Do You want to take the short-long path or the long-short path?” The man answered “I’ll take the short-long  path.” The Child told him how to go. Traveling down that road, the man encountered a thicket of thorns and thistles. He could go no  further. he returned to the junction where he met the boy, He complained “How come you sent me on this path – I was stopped in the middle by thorns and thistles? I couldn’t go futher” The boy responded “You asked me to go on the short-long path. It was a short distance to get there but in the end you had to come back making it take a long time. The long-short is longer in distance but you get there in shorter time.”

Judaism the Long-Short Path

Most religions or ethics are the short-long path. Yes you feel good following your feelings for a while. Yes you are promised heaven to do something relatively easy. Just do A and get a place in heaven. That is the Short path. But it is plagued with thorns and thistles at the end. If you discover the truth only once you get to the next world – its too late to change. You made-up who you are in this world and you remain that way.

But if you take the time to investigate Torah Judaism and see all the challenges it entails and the benefits it provides – you will find the truth in this world and have time to change into the better person you want to be according to Torah.

I’m a Vegetarian. I’m a Vegan. I’m for Animal Rights – Focusing on the Priorities

Every person has a goal, purpose and potential to achieve. It’s true that there are many worthy causes out there. Obviously, one should focus on one main goal – before getting involved in a side goal.

It is good to support animal rights – for the purpose of the Torah Mitzvah of not causing pain to animals (Tzaar Ba’alei Haim). It is good to be a vegetarian – because it is healthy – which is also a Mitzvah (Venishmartem MeOd LeNafshotechem).

Maximizing Your Good – Focusing Your Kindness

In themselves they are good – but when dedicating oneself to a cause – one should ask two questions One – is this the best cause I can be involved with according to Torah? Two – is this my priority right now?

Let’s say a person can be saving humans lives and he is involved with saving animals lives instead – he or she is not maximizing their potential in doing good.

Let’s say a person is involved in BDS – but they could be spending their time saving animals. They are not maximizing their potential.

Let’s say a person is missionizing for another religion – but they could be involved in teaching people about the 7 Noahide laws according to Torah – they are not maximizing their potential.

In a book of R. Shalom Arusch – I think it is called “Garden of Peace for Men” he talks about a person who is learning Torah all day. He is busy teaching Torah and Learning.” Learning Torah is one of the greatest Mitzvot. But this person is not married yet. Being Married is an obligation from the Torah. Having children is another obligation. This person he says is not maximizing his potential and will be held accountable for not getting married and having children because he did not focus on one of the priorities of life and obligations of the Torah.

Focus on your obligations in the Torah. Focus on Maximizing your Good. Focus on making yourself great – to become a greater giver – and you are one step closer to achieving your potential and purpose in 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.

The Story of Avraham Searching for a Wife for His Son – Lessons Learned

We encounter several stories of people getting married in the Torah – each teaching a life lesson. In the Torah – we have Yitzhak marrying Rivka.

Shunning Immorality

Avraham, the father of Yitzhak,  told his servant Eliezer – he does not want a girl from Canaan. He told him to go to his family and search for a girl there. He didn’t want a girl from Canaan because apparently they did not have the proper Middot – character traits he was looking for. The Canaanites were known for their immorality.

Searching for and Finding Kindness

Eliezer, when he goes to find a girl for Yitzhak, prays to Hash-m saying – “May the girl that I ask for water – if she not only serves me water but serve my camels – be the girl for Yitzhak.” A simple test. Apparently his test was entered around looking for a wife for his master’s son that loved to do Hesed – Chesed. A foundation of Judaism – to do acts of loving kindness – was one test that she had to pass. At the well of water – he finds a girl that does just that.

Was Eliezer an Animal Lover or searching for someone going beyond the call of duty?

Perhaps you will ask maybe Eliezer wanted a girl that loved animals. Why did he want her to serve his camels as well? Apparently – Eliezer also wanted to find out if she was not only concerned about his thirst – but his tiredness. He was tired after the voyage and Rivka was concerned about his physical condition as well. She didn’t want him to strain himself to also give drink to the animals. She saw that he was thirsty and tired. With one question she discerned his needs and tended to them.

A Person that Follows Halacha & Has a good Hashkafa / Jewish Outlook or Philosophy

You can also say that Eliezer wanted to test her to see if she was following Halacha / Jewish law. There is a law to feed the animals first before eating. Rivka gave enough to drink to Eliezer to satiate his thirst (for he was in a condition to warrant his being given to drink first), then she gave water to the camels to fulfill the law of feeding the animals first.

So he had several tests to find a wife for his master – Did she do kindness, to go over and beyond what was asked of her? Did she follow Jewish law? Did she have the Hashkafa / Outlook of the Torah – that she understood that Eliezer should be given first in this situation?

Finding someone with Similar family traits

I don’t know if we can derive this – but it seems like from the desire of Avraham to find someone from His own family, we see that he recognized the importance of searching for a mate with similar family values and possibly similar land of origin values.

What comes first Love or marriage?

In Yitzhak’s case the Torah says that he married Rivka and then he loved her. In the case of Yaakov marrying Rah’el – it says he loved her and then he married her. Either is possible. Love at first site is not a requirement to get married. Love may take time to develop – sometimes years.

Apparently these criteria apply similarly for a Man searching for a wife or a Woman searching for a Husband.

 

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.