Close your eyes, breathe in deeply, now exhale slowly… That was easy, wasn’t it? Not for everyone…
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.
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Jonathan remember, as long as you’re denied your right to come home to Israel you’re still in prison
Reports of a dead baby, a devastated family, and indications of a gloating attacker.
“Yesha” and Binyamin Regional Council leaders said the attack “is not the path of Jews in Judea and Samaria.”
American leftists have a pathological self-inflicted blindness to the dangers of political Islam
Hillary should THANK Trump; By dominating the news he’s overshadowed the implosion of her campaign
Hard to remember when Jewish youth were so hostile to their heritage as they are on campuses today.
Names of the enablers of Iran’s Nuclear weapons will be added next to Hitler’s on the list of infamy
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The next day, in a speech in New York to the Council on Foreign Relations, Mr. Kerry substantially upped the ante.
In Israel, the judiciary has established itself as superior to ALL other branches of the government.
The Fifteenth Day of the month of Av became a day of national rejoicing. The moment that had seemed hopeless became the moment of Redemption.
I think the melodies in our religious services have a haunting sound to them that just permeates your guts and gets into your soul. If you have any musical inclination, I think they inspire you to compose.
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.
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