Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Dear Dating Coach,

My brother got married six months ago. We are very close in age, so I am already in shidduchim and eager to find my bashert. I worry however, that shadchanim, references, and family, will inevitably compare me to my brother when asked as he is still fresh in their minds. My brother is a star. He has always been the smartest, the most diligent, the most popular, and the most respected in our peer group. He works and he is in school, his dedication to his learning is admirable, and everyone loves him within five minutes of meeting him. I admire and look up to my brother – but while he shines bright, I am at best, average. I am worried that I will not be considered for great girls when compared to him. Do I even stand a chance?


Better Brother


Dear Outshined,

Here in Florida we have Hurricane season. We don’t really have the typical seasons of the north, like Autumn, or Winter, so perhaps Mr. Weather thought we would feel left out and gifted us with our own special season. (Thanks Mr. Weather.) During hurricane season, Floridians try to remember to replenish their hurricane supplies with water bottles, flashlights, batteries, and canned food. Yet, we are busy with all that suntanning we do (not) and we often forget until a hurricane is at our doorstep. One year, we had a baby hurricane (Yes, that is certainly a meteorological term. Maybe), right before Shabbos, and we found ourselves without power through the night. We gathered every flashlight that we could find before sundown, and realized that our strongest beams did not have new batteries. As the weather raged outside, the candles slowly burned out, and our lanterns and large flashlights sputtered and died. All that we had left, was one tiny flashlight, a small beam of light in the darkness of the storm. In our home, in our world, that flashlight represented true power. Illuminating our hearts, its light vital – as it pierced through the darkness.


Better to Illuminate…

It is so exciting to begin dating, opening up possibilities that will lead you toward your future. You are certainly lucky to have had a brother go through shidduchim before you so that you could better understand how the process works. It is wonderful to have a sibling with so many stellar qualities and characteristics. When you were young, you must have felt so proud to be attached to someone that people spoke so highly of. But as you grew, it may have become difficult to be judged through that same shiny lens. To feel less than, to feel as if you can’t measure up to a sibling is always difficult for self-esteem, and self-perception. I’m sure he has been your benchmark, and you have used him as a role model; someone to emulate, and someone that pushed you to do more and better. At the end of the day however, Hashem has given us all different gifts and talents, and some shine brighter than others. Perhaps he does get more recognition for his abilities, while you simply have talents that are not as universally admired.


Then to Simply Shine

Every light matters. Every single speck of light is needed to illuminate our world. We need the bright lights, the smaller beams, and even those tiny flickering specks in order to bring life and light to others. The backup singers, backstage hands, and the second-string players all matter, even if their applause is dimmer than those who light up the stage. The best way to remember this is to focus on your gifts, to focus on your unique strengths, and what you can contribute to others. The brightest star doesn’t have a guarantee of success through the shidduch process, but rather the star who believes in its own light. Self confidence is everything. Focus on who you are, celebrate who you are, and others will be attracted to your light. Your self-assurance, your inner peace, and outright confidence is the key to finding your true match. Project light and light will find you, allowing you to illuminate your bashert and your future.


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Henni Halberstam is a Dating and Marriage Coach whose expert advice will help you navigate dating and relationships in order to ensure a successful marriage. You can contact her at to schedule a phone session.