web analytics
May 28, 2015 / 10 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Natural Meetings


Yankie and Rochie were in a car together, and were attempting to make conversation. “Attempting” is the appropriate way to describe it, because conversation between them was difficult and awkward. This made for an uncomfortable car ride.

Further complicating matters was the fact that Yankie and Rochie were expected to converse with one another despite being complete strangers; in fact, they really had no other reason to be there. Despite being coached on what to talk about and how to express themselves, and despite having gone through many similar experiences with other people, there were many gaps and dead-ends in the conversation, which only further heightened the discomfort.

Needless to say, neither Yankie nor Rochie enjoyed the experience, despite the way they smiled and pretended otherwise. It was clear that they had little chemistry, and whatever they were told they had in common was surely exaggerated. Maybe they would be persuaded to give each other “another chance,” though they would look forward to it with dread or indifference at best; maybe they would go through this unpleasant experience all over again with hopes of developing a rapport; maybe they would eventually become comfortable in each other’s company; maybe they would become capable of talking naturally to one another as they could with everyone else; maybe they would even wish to get married.

But probably not.

Yaakov and Rachel also had their first conversation during a car ride. However, the circumstances surrounding this meeting were entirely different. They had each spent Shabbos in the same neighborhood and were sharing a ride back home. They had never previously met, and knew nothing about one another, yet they conversed freely and without strain. When there was a lull in the conversation there was no palpable tension in the air. They were both comfortable presenting themselves without subterfuge and acting naturally, since there was no pressure and no expectations. After all, they were just two strangers sharing a ride.

When they parted at the end of the ride they still hardly knew one another. After this one chance meeting they definitely had more questions about one another than answers – but that’s always the case. They discovered that they had a lot in common. They also discovered that they were not entirely alike in terms of background, personality, and even religious outlook. But after this lengthy, engaging, enjoyable conversation, these differences seemed trivial to both of them. In fact, rather than cause tension and anxiety, these differences actually contributed to the conversation.

Yaakov and Rachel found each other to be interesting, similar enough to understand each other yet different enough that their time together was never dull and monotonous. They even discovered qualities in one another that they had never before thought of in a potential date, yet appreciated now that they had stumbled on these qualities. Not only that, they discovered that some of the trivial, tangential “requirements” they fussed over when being set up just didn’t matter. This real person was so much more than a generic list of qualifications. Needless to say, they made it their business to meet again, and they both looked forward to it.

After two weeks of nerve-wracking negotiations and deliberations, Yankie and Rochie agreed to meet a second time as well. They went out for dinner at one of the usual restaurants. They found a few things to talk about, but again it petered out before too long, and they found themselves grasping to fill the empty spaces. They didn’t really care how many siblings the other one had and what they all did, but they feigned polite interest as they exchanged monologues. Rochie kept glancing around the room, hoping no one she knew would see her. Yankie almost gritted his teeth when he saw the bill, and reminded himself that this was hishtadlus. They were also not very attracted to one another, and did not find that spending more time together helped matters.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Natural Meetings”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
J-Street
J Street: The Jewish Enemy Within
Latest Indepth Stories
J-Street

Jewish Voices for Peace’s 2015 Haggadah is a blatant anti-Israel screed crying, “L’chayim to BDS!”

Rabbi Lichtenstein (z"l).

On his shloshim, I want to discuss a term I’ve heard countless times about Rav Aharon: Gedol HaDor

Abbas and Obama

After obsequious claims of devotion to Israel, Obama took to criticizing Israel on peace process

Ronal Shoval Voting

Mr. Obama, Israeli voters have democratically chosen to apply Israeli sovereignty over Judea&Samaria

Netanyahu so disdains Shaked’s appointment he completely ignored her after the swearing-in ceremony

Ronen Shamir’s just the latest tenured Leftist convicted of sexual misconduct with his own student

NY Times precious front page ink is only reserved for portrayals of Israel as the aggressor.

Although I loved law school, I doubted myself: Who would come to me, a chassidish woman lawyer?

American Jews who go gaga for Obama are first and foremost “Liberals of the Mosaic Persuasion”

“Illinois is the first state to take concrete, legally binding action against the BDS campaign”

Many books have supported the preferability- not to be confused with desirability- of the status quo

Consider the Pope’s desperation, reading daily reports of the slaughter of Christians by Muslims

The contrast between a Dem pretending to love Israel & a Dem who truly loves Israel is CRYSTAL CLEAR

Pentecost, derived from the Greek word for 50, is celebrated 50 days after Easter.

U.S and European demands for the creation of a Palestinian State in the West Bank is world hypocrisy.

We take a whole person approach, giving our people assistance with whatever they need.

More Articles from Chananya Weissman

A great human tragedy is taking place before our eyes, yet few can see it.

A singles event in Jerusalem, co-sponsored by no fewer than five groups or organizations, advertised the following:

“Ask yourself this question: Do you really want to get married? If the answer is NO, then carry on having a good time going to all those parties, Shabbat meals, lectures, supermarket aisles . If the answer is YES, then we’ll see you at the MEGA EVENT.”

Since creating EndTheMadness seven years ago I have received all manner of correspondence, and it should come as no surprise that for every gratifying e-mail I receive there are plenty more that are disturbing in one way or another. But what if I asked you to guess which e-mails disturb me the most, even momentarily shaking my optimism that there really is hope for our society?

I’ve long maintained that the large number of people having a difficult time getting and staying happily married is only a symptom of deeper problems in the community. Consequently, efforts to get more singles to go out on more dates will be largely unsuccessful unless the deeper problems are addressed. This thesis has been validated in recent years, as more attention to the “crisis” and various schemes to create shidduchim have yet to result in meaningful change or much cause for optimism.

Moshe was looking for employment (he wasn’t cut out to learn full-time), and was having a difficult time finding the right fit. Sometimes he went weeks without even landing an interview, and he rarely made it past the first round. People began to speculate that there was something wrong with Moshe, and his self-esteem took a blow every time he heard of someone else who found a job.

It’s all too common nowadays for people to defend the widespread method of shidduchim by pointing to the biblical story of Eliezer finding a wife for Yitzchak. Apparently the Torah mandates this method as proper, and therefore there is little else to discuss beyond perhaps fine-tuning the way singles are set up by shadchanim and further shielding them from outside influences and one another.

I find the Orthodox Jewish approach to problem-solving fascinating, in a dark sort of way. It consists of a series of steps that looks something like this:

“And you shall rejoice in your festival” says the pasuk at the end of Parshas Re’ei (16:14), and this is actually a mitzvah. I suspect this is not intended to be one of the more difficult mitzvot for us to fulfill, yet for many hard-working Jews the Yomim Tovim are far greater sources of stress than joy.

Nothing is more elusive than perfection, yet perfection is a notion that frequently surfaces in the realm of shidduchim. For example, singles are often told by people on the outermost fringes of their lives, “I know someone perfect for you.” How preposterous, how presumptuous! Yet singles permit themselves to be excited by this declaration so that they may be further disillusioned when the shidduch invariably turns out to be anything but perfect.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/natural-meetings/2006/06/07/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: