Archive | April, 2010

Q & A: Second Chances

28 Apr

Being that yesterday was Pesach Sheini, I would like to take this opportunity to speak about second chances. In the times of the Beit HaMikdash, if one was unable to give a Korban Pesach, he was given another chance to do so on the 14th of Iyar. Though in the text, this opportunity is mentioned solely to those who were tamei  (by ways of coming in contact with a corpse) or out of the country, technically, anyone who missed Pesach Rishon can qualify for a make up, Pesach Sheini. Now, it’s understandably benevolent to give a second chance to those who missed round one due to unfortunate, beyond-human-control circumstances, but giving some schmo who just didn’t feel like getting off his tuchus to give a korban the same opportunity…doesn’t that seem a bit too benevolent? Judaism lauds the responsible and dedicated man; the man who uses his head not to think up excuses but to cognitively construct ways to work through life’s obstacles. How is it that Hashem is willing to give a second chance to someone who is punishable by Kareit? Why give a person who has chosen to rescind his share in eternal life the privilege of another chance?

Why? Because G-d is the Benevolent One. He is Kindness, Mercy and Forgiveness. He has nothing to gain- not pride, not reassurance, not dignity- by seeing us fail. Being upstanding, responsible people isn’t our gift to Him, after all; breathing and living is His gift to us. Though mitzva of Pesach Sheini is irrelevant today in practice, it is still relevant in essence. G-d wants to be in a relationship with each of us. He wants us to enjoy His world with Him…but as much as He may want that for us, we cannot attain it unless we want it ourselves and go after it. Sometimes there are roadblocks in the way, and other times, we don’t get our act together. We think, we hypothesize, we ponder and before long, opportunities fly by. But G-d is above the time which sweeps opportunity away with each passing minute. He can pluck a time-bound mitzva out of its slot and place it on a seemingly ordinary day, with merits and all still in tact. He can see beyond time, He can see beyond faults, and most of all, He can see potential where no one else can.

My question to you is, how do we incorporate the idea of second chances into dating? Is there such a thing as giving a second chance to someone who:

-sent a text while you were out with them?

– did not call you to confirm/cancel plans (due to busy schedule, illness, lack of sleep, plain ol’ forgetfulness, etc)?

– made a comment about your appearance (this means a lot more to girls than guys)?

– did something insensitive or thoughtless that I haven’t mentioned above (feel free to add your own example)?

What is the difference between being a patient, understanding person and a pushover? Is it our place to give benevolent second chances akin to Pesach Sheini or do we leave such matters in the hands of G-d?

David HaMelech Syndrome

27 Apr

Though I haven’t been blogging for long, my last post drew more attention than all of my other posts combined. I’d like to attribute it to my excellent word welding, but then again, mentioning a certain musical group might have had something to do with it.

Before I drop this topic, I would like to conclude with an idea which I have formed by reading your responses and Navi.

There is a name for the condition in which a girl is hypnotized by a music man: David HaMelech Syndrome (DHS). As SIS and various other female respondents proved, having two X-chromosomes does not mean one is 100% susceptible to this condition, however, it does run quite rampant in our talent-obsessed  society. It’s not just the Jews. Weren’t there a million or so girls who went unconscious over The Beatles? There is something intrinsically intriguing about musicians; specifically singers. It’s not only statistical, it’s biblical.

Take a look in I Samuel  18:6-8. The women go nuts over David. Alright so the fact that he was a mighty warrior probably had something to do with his sudden popularity with the ladies, but keep in mind, he was also the king’s personal musician. Everyone knew he was an incredible harpist, and as we know, he was also an incredible lyricist. The women were literally singing his praises. Even Michal, the daughter of David’s arch enemy was drawn toward his creative, passionate image.

As critical as musical ability can be to cause of DHS, it is not the sole factor which engenders its symptoms. In truth, it is rooted in attraction to image. Each person appreciates different superficial qualities which to them mean something deeper. For some, it’s dizzyingly blue eyes. For others it might be a wry sense of humor or a certain style of articulation. Whatever it may be, there is nothing wrong with appreciating such qualities. There are problems with:

1) Confusing them with priorities.

2) Allowing one’s self to become enamored with image.

David was the new kid on block; young, fresh, talented with dazzling eyes and  able to maintain the perfect blend of courage and chutzpah. So he was a nothing shepherd boy a few days before; no one cared. He was intriguing at the present and that is what mattered. Shaul, the broad-shouldered, iconic Good Guy (I Samuel 9:2), was now second. David was in. He had status, he had image, and that is what the people “fell” in love with, just like they had when Shaul came to power.

So you see, DHS is nothing new. Some girls would like a guy with a good singing voice because it would be nice; not a necessity, just nice. Today they may fawn over the fluidity of ‘Lecha Dodi”, and the optmistic, upbeat tempo of  “One Day,” but they’ll snap out of it eventually. I personally look forward to being able to go to an event/shabbaton with a Maccabeat present and not hearing someone doltishly screeching “one dayyyy!” It’s just not cool or funny or any form of positive self-representation.

Again, I thank you for your comments and hope to see your participation in future posts! Now onward with our regularly schedule shidduch programming.

Q & A: Kol Ish

20 Apr

So this is how a Q & A segment works on In Search of the Real Deal. I ask a question, rant about it a shtikl bit and then you give me your answers in the comment box below. Hope you enjoy!

There is a prohibition against kol isha for a reason. I get it. I don’t protest it or wonder if it applies in today’s modern age. The Torah has certain gedarim in order to protect us. Fine. Us lucky women do not have to worry about who or what we listen to. Our ears are free to listen to anyone and everyone who showcases his or her voice. Supposedly, it is because we are not “affected” by the melodious magic of an exquisite set of vocal chords.

But I have a kasha with this. It’s called The Maccabeats. Never in my life have I seen girls go so puerilely bonkers over a singing group. It’s not baseless, either. They’re good. They’re exceptionally good. Maybe I am too young to remember the way Blue Fringe inspired spontaneous palpitations in eager-to-marry college girls, but I’m telling you, I have never seen girls act so…girly.

It’s not The Maccabeats fault. The desire to have a husband who sings well is deeply rooted in our extra X-chromosome. Even before Macca-mania, girls longed for the vocally gifted young bachurim. I have met many a girl who put “a good singing voice” up there on their lists alongside “learns well” and “has good middot.” Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate a soft, melodic voice. I really, really do, but it’s not up there with “willing to change diapers.” It would be a bit of  a bummer if I married a tone-deaf man. C’mon, I’m just like any other girl. I want his rendition of Eishes Chayil to put a goofy, love-struck smile on my face. I’m not going to pretend I’m a tzadekes here; I want a guy with a good voice. But I know that if I do end up marrying a vocally challenged gentleman, I’ll find his “special” versions of Shabbos zmirot to be uniquely endearing.

So, girls, do you agree with me? Is there not something enrapturing about a guy with a good voice? What is it about a good voice that makes us turn to complete and utter mush, and in reality, how important is it to you that he sings well?

And to the guys, what is your opinion on girls placing such importance on singing ability?

The Brother Theory

14 Apr

In a discussion that took place on SIS‘s latest post, Solely in Black and White suggested that I write a post on my approach to understanding males. Well, truth be told, it wasn’t my genius idea , I got it from my Savti.  As you might recall from past posts, my Savti is full of good dating advice, but I have to say, this little tweaking of POV is truly enlightening.

The following text is from an e-mail my Savti sent me before Pesach. And yes, she gave me permission.

The one thing I wanted to mention about dating that I want you to think about is how to look  & really see the boy, in a really different & unique way  Overall. he’s just like you. He grew up in a family with mom & dad & siblings (hopefully –let’s just say for now). He went to school, has his friends, did a science fair project, and acted like a dork many times with & without his friends. Think of this boy as you would think of Tim (my brother) —as if Tim was out on a date. How would you think of him? Tim has had awkward moments, is not always the cool kid and gets nervous when it counts. So does the boy you are meeting. He has very little experience, just like you. He’s made & will make mistakes, just like you. He’s nervous & not sure what to say or do, just like you. He is the same as if he was Tim, only he’s not. You would give Tim some slack; you may want to give him a little leeway, just like you need from him.

Here’s an exercise that may help view him objectively: Think of him as a brother, rather than your prince charming; it takes the glam out, reduces the date to reality, doesn’t create the pressure you always feel thinking “Is he the one?” “Is this my zivug“? It Takes the aura of romance out of the date, even for just a few moments. Remove yourself from time & space. Let your mind float above the table and look at him as if he were that cool yet dorky guy you feel comfortable around. Is he someone who could be friends with Tim? What would Tim say about him? Then when you’ve answered those questions, bring yourself back into the reality of the date.

We grow up learning unrealistic expectations of what a date should be from TV and movies. How many princess movies have you seen where the boy is suave, cool, sophisticated and sweeps the innocent princess off her feet with his knowledge, talent, skill and swordsmanship? C’mon, the boy next to you is still that awkward kid whose friends are probably laughing behind his back while he’s out with you. He has to report back to them & is already thinking about how he’ll spin this debacle.

Unless you are going out with an experienced dater, he probably is stumbling along the same unknown, rocky path you are. It’s when you can find your way together & “click” in the best of ways that you know maybe there is potential. That’s being in sync, being in tune with each other but it happens in stages: on 1st date levels, then 2nd date levels, then if all is well, 3rd date levels. By the 3rd date, if there is really potential, if you’re both really thinking about tachlis, the bumbling goes away or at least, becomes endearing & something you look forward to on the next date.

Even Hugo Has a Hard Time Finding a Shidduch

14 Apr

My Savti, who adores Lost, thought that my blog readers would get a kick out of the above line (it’s in reference to last night’s episode). I don’t watch Lost so I probably can’t appreciate the brilliance of this quip, but hey, if you think it’s funny, post a comment!

Cyber Shidduchim

13 Apr

The only times I have looked at  dating websites were:

1) The time I should have been studying for my chem final and decided it would be more interesting to match up (in my head) people based on their profiles (it was entertaining, okay?).

2) Today while I am sick in bed, with little to do.

The first time I looked at Frumster, it was all just a game. I didn’t know the people on the site. I wasn’t looking to get married. It was merely an act of curiosity; being a voyeur in a world quite different from my own. However, when I went on today, it came with dashes of shock:

Hey, I know her!

I was only looking through the girls’ profiles to see how many girls around my age were using the site. Sure enough, there were quite a few. Then I went to see if guys my age were using the site. It is understandable that young 20-something year old girls are taking every possible tachlis trail possible, but 20-year old guys? Probably not. But sure enough…

Hey, I know him too! What? There’s a guy from Nowheresville, USA on this site? My family is from Nowheresville, USA! Who is he?

Like the sun breaking through the obscurity of dusk, the truth dawned on me. People really do use these dating website thingies. I mean, I knew people used them, but people my age? Using a dating website always had that…stigma. Like, if you use a dating website you can’t get a date yourself. Is that the truth or is it just another way of opening up your options? If you open an account, how do you know that your definition of “Modern Orthodox Machmir” and his definition aren’t grossly different? How do you know they’re normal? If he’s interested in you, he just sends you a message? That’s it? No third party intervention? I’m not necessarily opposed to a guy asking a girl out on his own, but meeting a total stranger with no one else involved? Isn’t that…scary?

What are your opinions on dating websites? Should dating newbies be using them or are they geared toward experienced daters?

Back on Track

7 Apr

Though it seems like a good bunch of you have still been hot on the Tachlis Trail, I decided that Pesach was the perfect time to take a break. True, everyone is under different circumstances, but to keep it vague, I’ve been busy enough in the past few months to need serious R&R. Baruch Hashem. Being busy is a good thing (at least it keeps me from wondering if I should start cat shopping), but there are times when doing my hishtadlus means taking a break.

An irrelevant yet thought provoking side-note: West Coasters can be so laid back. Having spent the majority of the chag in one of Western America’s most beautiful cities, I can now state that  I really don’t understand why we cram ourselves into Brooklyn. Can’t we all move west  and let our children play ball in wide, open space?  Well, if we’re all going to up and move then we should be going to Eretz Yisrael, so I guess I’ll stick to Oregon Trail for my Western fix.

Back to our scheduled programming…it’s Tachlis Time. Maybe it’s just me, but having the frame of Sfirat HaOmer mobilizes me. Here we have 49 days laid out for us in order to get our minds in shape for Shavuot. Each day is an opportunity to build upon what we achieved (spiritually and mentally) the day before; each one is richly laden with possibility. Every morning that G-d wakes us up, He is giving us another chance to move that much closer to our goal. The Omer is a disciplinary tool. It teaches us that big change, good change takes time. It takes day-by-day effort, one foot in front of the other. Some days are better than others, but whether it was a smooth sailing day or a bummerish one, we take the lessons of that day, and move forward. We don’t count down, we count up. We focus our energies into what we can be, not what we were.

So my fellow shidduch daters, take it all in. For those of you who have been going without break, kol hakavod. Keep going full-steam ahead, and im Yirtze Hashem, soon enough you’ll be stopping for good. And for those of us who took a break, it’s time to get back in the game. So he dumped you/you dumped him/the relationship died before both your eyes like an airborne goldfish. It stinks. I know. Hopefully you’ve learned a thing or two about yourself. But it’s time to get back on track. Don’t strain your neck by looking over your shoulder. Look up. Count up. Count the opportunities coming your way– shidduch and non-shidduch related. After all, you don’t know where your shidduch will come from. It could come from the manager of that Ohel job you just took up or maggid shiur of the 6 AM Gemara class you decided to attend. Maybe your zivug is studying his/her brains out in the YU library and you’d never know it because you’re both too busy studying. I just made those ones up on the spot. I don’t know how feasible they are but hey, I’m not in control. G-d is, and He’s brought zivugim together from so far out into left-field, most people have to do a 180 to even realize that corner of the field exists. The possibilities are endless, but you have to be open to them (and as I write this, I am directing it toward myself as well). To find The Real Deal you have to be The Real Deal. And that we will expound upon on another day.