Insights and Inspiration
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz
"Your friend in Karmiel"
November 14th 2014 -Volume 5, Issue 4 -7th of Cheshvan 5775
Parshat Chayei Sarah
Dating Habits of the Yeshiva World
One of the most interesting things about young “yeshiva world” daters is their choice of venue
for that first “meet”. I remember one of my sister’s friends sharing her experience with her co-worker who was fascinated by our dating habits. You know the usual questions. Did you have a match maker? (Yes, generally one who is a good friend, not the fiddler on the roof like yenta), do you really not touch or kiss (nope and can barely fathom how and why people who first meet do!). Do you go out to eat? (Not usually on the first couple of dates, too shy to eat in front of each other, so why pay when you can’t enjoy it). So where do you go? “Oh, to a hotel” she so innocently responded.
Well you can imagine the reaction from her not so innocent interrogator. Very quickly her friend clarified that the typical date took place in a nice Hotel lounge (Marriot Marquis, my personal favorite) where drinks are shared and the evening is spent schmoozing and getting to know one another. I know this process of dating probably sounds so “old worldly” to many of you and foreign to the modern- movie- dinner –dance- peck on the cheek (being kind) daters. Yet the process of courtship in yeshiva circles can arguably be one of the primary reasons behind why the marriages that follow have one of the highest satisfaction rates and the lowest divorce rates in the modern world. With its traditions and outlook dating back to biblical times it is perhaps those secrets that assist in the process of successfully finding the Bashert; the true soul mate.
This week’s Parsha of Chayei Sarah introduces us to the first Biblical Jewish match making process. The Talmud points out that there are more verses in the Torah describing Eliezer, the servant/matchmaker of Avraham’s process in finding a spouse for Yitzchak than most other significant Mitzvot and story lines in the Torah. In fact the Torah describes the dating habits of our forefather Yaakov and our teacher Moshe as well. One common theme they all shared was their choice of locale for their first date. No it wasn’t a hotel lounge or a movie rather it was a seemingly simple meeting at the local well. This seemingly innocuous detail is however noted by the Medrash
as the motivation of Moshe for going to the well to find his spouse
“He learned from the ways forefathers. Three people found their spouses at a well: Yitzchak, Yaakov and Moshe. Concerning Yitzchak it is written, 'And Yitzchak came from the way of the well of Le’Chai-Roi.' Furthermore, Rivka had met Eliezer at a well. Concerning Yaakov: 'And he saw, behold, a well in the field.' Concerning Moshe: 'And he sat at the well.” (Medrash Shemos Rabah 1:32)
What is it that Moshe learned about the well that motivated him to go there? And what is this connection between wells and successfully finding your spouse?
Rav Nachman of Breslav, that great Chasidic master, suggests a rather deep idea (excuse the pun). The well is the symbol of water, the simplest life giving force, which draws from the essence of creation when the world was first created and there was only water in the world. In fact water is the first thing created from nothing providing the raw material of all that was to come. By tapping into its power one can obtain the ability to experience pure unadulterated belief. It is for this reason that when one encounters a sense of Tumah; impurity related to an absence of life force one is mandated to go to a Mikvah a ritual bath, whose water comes from an unadulterated source. It is interesting to note that the word in Hebrew the word for well is Be’er which is also the word for clarity. Once again the idea being that to obtain absolute clarity in anything one must go back to the life giving source of all that exists.
It is perhaps that motivation that guided Moshe, Yaakov and Eliezer on their search for the spouse that would be their partner in the most incredible task of their lives; the building of the Jewish family. Rather than going to the local singles club or the ancient equivalent of J-Date they recognized that the process of finding a fitting partner must first begin by strengthening the most important value that would make their marriage and relationship successful. For to build the foundation of what would be an Eternal People and family, the purity of its essence must derive from the recognition of the Creator upon whose world we ultimately aim to sanctify. That Be’er /well founded clarity is what will be the ultimate guarantor of the true harmony in the building blocks of the Jewish home.
Many in America celebrate Thanksgiving annually. I personally am a big fan of holidays that entail turkey and stuffing. Yet as Jews we tap into the beauty and sanctity of thanksgiving daily to our loving Father in our heaven. Yet another beautiful custom of married Yeshiva students (as well as many others) is that once a week as we sit down to our Shabbat meal we turn to our wives and mothers whom we may not have had the opportunity to express our appreciation for all week, and we sing that beautiful composition by King Solomon, Aishet Chayil a woman of Valor. As we read the concluding words “Beauty and charm are but false and vain, a God fearing women is one that is praiseworthy” we echo the millennia of our ancestors who have always known that the beauty and vibrancy of our home has its source in that life giving force that our spiritual partners give us. May they always be blessed with the fruits of their achievements and may their actions praise her at their gates.
Have a positively grand Shabbos,
Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz
RABBI SCHWARTZ'S FAVORITE QUOTE OF THE WEEK
““If you want to meet a princess, make yourself into a prince"-Yiddish Proverb
RABBI SCHWARTZ'S TOUR GUIDE EXAM QUESTION OF THE WEEK
(answer below at end of Email)
Q. Which immigration wave was termed the “mass immigration” (ha-aliyah hahamonit)?
A. The Fifth Aliyah
B. The Ha’apalah (illegal immigration)
C. The immigration immediately following the establishment of the State of Israel
D. The immigration from Ethiopia
RABBI SCHWARTZ'S COOL MIDRASH OF THE WEEK
Rabbi Shimon Ben Elazar once said that he once met a woman that had better wits than him. Once while he was walking down the road he came to a well and met a girl who was filling up her pitcher with water.
"Please my daughter" he requested "can I have a drink?"
"Drink" She responded "and I will also give your donkey to drink"
I drank and upon leaving I said to her," Thank you my daughter. You have acted as Rivkah did to Eliezer (who upon meeting him gave water to him and his camels)"
"But you" she retorted "did not behave as Eliezer did to Rivkah!"(who offered her a hand in marriage to Yitzchak after she had done soJ)
RABBI SCHWARTZ'S COOL YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK
Funny and adorable Shadchan video in honor of the Torah portion of first jewish match this week!!
RABBI SCHWARTZ'S COOL THINGS TO DO IN ISRAEL OF THE WEEK
War Watching – Yeah, I know this doesn’t sound so cool. But after spending an afternoon up in the Golan Heights and listening and watching these Isis rebels and Syrian armed forces fighting and killing each other literally just a few miles from where your standing, you have to ask yourself is this really real. Over 200,000 people have been killed and 1 point something million have been turned into refugees and the world doesn't seem to be saying boo… the only thing that seems to concern anyone is if some guy in Jerusalem is adding and addition on to his home or a new neighborhood his starting. Meantime this Assad guy is using chemical weapons and you literally just hear the artileray and machine gun fire non-stop over there…It's definitely an experience that is a tragedy for all the innocent men women and children that are suffering over there. But on the other hand one thanks god that both warring sides over there that wish for the destruction of Israel are too busy killing each other to join together and attack us. May all of our enemies kill each other.
RABBI SCHWARTZ'S JOKES OF OF THE WEEK
In the year 2000 Joe Lieberman ran for president, being that he was the first potential Jew in high office he was given a lot of attention. After a disappointing loss Joe walked into his house. “Don’t worry” said his wife “in this house you’ll always be vice president!
“Mom, Dad, sit down. I have something very important to tell you,” said Sarah, upon her return home from college after graduation. “I met a guy who lives near the college that I really like and we decided we are going to get married!”
“Oh Sarah! I am so happy for you!” Gushed her Mom giving her a big hug, “I hope you two will be really happy together! I can’t wait to meet him!”
“Tell us more about him” said her Dad, “does he have any money?”
“Oh Dad! Is that all you men ever think about? That was the first question he asked me about you too!!!”
Answer is C: The "Mass Immigration" is the term used for the three years after the establishment of the State of Israel when the population of this fledgling country doubled from 600,000-1.2 million.WOW! we haven't gotten close to that since that time. The first ones over which were mostly the Ashkenazic holocaust survivors did not bad fro themselves grabbing up the homes abandoned when they fled the country (with the intent of coming back again and killing us with the arab legion…hashem had a different plan) The Sefardim that came afterwards from yemen and other African and Asian countries Iraq, morocco Tunis and the like did not as good being placed in temporary housing camps and the like…and thus began Israeli politics…