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Heartbreak Eraser

13 Apr

 

There are some instances in our lives that we just want to forget, but would you voluntarily wipe them from you memory?

According to  neuroscience  professor and savant, Andre Fenton, there is a good chance that this will be possible in the future. He and a team of neuroscientists at SUNY Downstate  have been conducting research on this topic for several years, involving rats, shocking them, erasing that specific memory with a drug called ZIP and then seeing if the rats would remember how to avoid being shocked.

I really don’t want to be a rat in my next lifetime.

But here lies the question: are memories, as bad as some might be, worth erasing? In the case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,  in which specific memories cause debilitating anxiety, it might not be such a bad idea. However, is having such a drug available to society en masse a  good prospect?

I’m going to take this a step further. Below are two individuals who are “in the parsha.” Both have had a less than optimal experience in the dating field and are coping with it as best they can . However…with ZIP on the market, maybe their problems could simply erased. All it takes in one dose and poof…goodbye bad memories.

 Rafi: Like most singles, Rafi endured more awkward first dates and disappointing breakups than he cares to remember, but unlike all singles, he also experienced the searing devastation of a broken engagement. His former kallah broke the wedding off a mere three weeks before the Big Day. It’s taken time to accept that his dream of building a life with her will never be, but he no longer fights reality. He’s even gone out a few times. Still, he struggles to make a solid connection with any of the women he courts. He feels like he did this already and doesn’t have the ability to do it again. In short, he feels like his lost his one chance. If only he could forget about his former kallah, maybe he wouldn’t struggle.

Frayda:  Faced with the challenge of dating as a young divorcee, Frayda has it particularly challenging. At the age of 22, she is back in the position she thought left at the chupa a year and a half ago. Moving on has been extremely hard for her now that she is automatically excluded from marrying certain men (i.e. a Kohen). Though the marriage ended on account of viable reasons, she misses the safety and security she felt while being married. When class gets boring or work becomes slow, she drifts back to the memories of a relationship lost. She sighs over the memory of packing his lunches and the tenderness in his eyes when he brought her flowers for shabbat. There were good aspects…but they couldn’t overcome the differences. She needs medication to sleep through the night; to forget the anxieties she has since accumulated.

What would you tell these people in a society that has access to take ZIP? Would you be in favor of giving them the drug or would you persuade them not to?

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A New Kind of Profile

31 Mar

World, meet Chas. This 40-year old creative ad exec from San Fransisco is looking for a leading lady, and if you so happen to introduce him to her, he’ll give you 10 K.

His site’s stark yet storybook-esque layout got me thinking…what would my personal “Hook Coral Up” website look like? What facts about myself would I include? This is what I’ve thought of so far:

HOOK CORAL UP

As you can tell from my portrait, I’m a smiley, positive girl who has the high school senior photo pose down cold. But there is a lot more to me than my charming girl-next-door appeal.


For me, fun doesn’t involve a lot of money. I like to enjoy the simpler things in life, like finding artful representations of the universe in ceiling tiles and blowing bubbles.



My culinary repertoire is modest yet playful to the palate. I make everything from fluffy french toast to various forms of pasta. “Just add salt” is my secret to success.


Libraries are my personal black holes. Once I’m in,  I’m sucked in…but in a good way. Reading by myself is fun, but reading aloud with someone else (especially Shakespeare) is funner. I really get a kick out of filling up my head with heaps of random knowledge…

…which is why I’m so good at Disney Trivial Pursuit. You up to the challenge?



But I’m not all fun and games. I take Torah, mitzvot and halacha very seriously. My deeply sincere emunah and bitachon can easily be observed while I am steeped in prayer.

Watching football is fun!  Since I was unable to find a photo of a young woman positively engaged in a football game, this picture will just have to do.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is very important to me. However, there is no denying that donuts make the world just a littler bit brighter. That’s what I believe, anyway.

CORAL STATS

Alrighty. I was born in an Eastern-American city and have lived in a few more since. I attended a Jewish all-girls high school in the Tri-State area and then continued to an all-women seminary in Jerusalem. I now go to college. Am I being slightly vague? Hmmm.  Maybe if you look at how cute I was as a baby, you won’t care!

MY TYPE

What am I looking for? Good question. Kind, giving, honest, modest and responsible. Someone positive, optimistic about life and on fire about Judaism. A strong appreciation for Dr. Seuss books and the Staten Island Ferry would be amazing but aren’t mandatory.


101 Reasons Not to Get Married

24 Feb

Sterngrad did an interesting post of 101 reasons why she wants to get married. I must say, that’s quite an accomplishment. Thinking of 101 of anything (besides Dalmatians) is asking a lot of the human mind. That’s why we stick to Top 10 lists (and even those are hard to work with sometimes).

Yet I, the fearless Coral Cap, have decided to put my own spin on the 101 Reasons list. You see, there are plenty of happy dappy reasons to get married, but there are also reasons NOT to get married. I am making this list because as a young woman “in the parsha,” I know the pressures put on young, Orthodox singles to get married.  Many of these pressures are not forced upon us, they are ones we have accepted upon ourselves. For example, there is a subliminal belief that part of a Stern girl’s  duties as a Yeshiva University student is to find a husband by the end of her senior year. Yes, I know there are plenty of Stern girls who don’t fall into this category, but let’s be honest, the ideal exists. There is no denying that at a certain point, it feels like all your friends are finding the Real Deal while you’re kinda just scratching your head wondering how this is happening so fast. This can apply outside the Stern world as well. I don’t see Touro or TI  girls going any slower. You’ll find young-marrieds at Queens, Brooklyn, and various other colleges and programs in New York. The bottom line is, marriage can start looking like a fashionable trend rather than a life altering decision even if you know the truth. I’m writing this post NOT because I am cynical about marriage (I’m not), but rather to remind myself and my readers that:

a) There is what to appreciate about being single and

b) marriage is serious business, even though you’re floating on the wings of love, happier than you’ve ever been before, so much so you find yourself smiling at completely inappropriate times.

101 Reasons Not to Get Married

1. Weddings are hard to plan

2. Weddings require lots of money

3. You have to make a guest list

4. Making a guest list means choosing who to invite and who not to invite

5. Choosing who to invite and who not to invite means unintentionally insulting people

6. Married life requires money

7. Undergraduate students don’t usually have much of that

8. Not everyone has parents who can fund a newly married couple

9. You have to make your own meals

10. You have to mop your own floors

11. You have to vacuum every week instead of never (oh you dormers know what I’m talking about)

12. You really do have to change the sheets every other week

13.  Dorm life can’t last forever, so why not enjoy it while you have it

14. The toilet seat will resume an upward position

15.  No more sneakily drinking out of the OJ carton-  it’s just not honest

16. If I end up marrying someone just because I want to fit in, I could end up miserable a few years down the line

17. I’m not sure what will happen to my health insurance

18. I’ll have to move my Hadaya ring to another finger since I wear it on my left middle finger and it just won’t look good next to a diamond ring and a band.

19. I won’t be able to PMS freely since doing so might scare my husband away

20. PMS is not a valid excuse for not wanting to do dishes or laundry like it was with my mother

21. PMS just isn’t a good excuse for anything. I’m a grownup now, deal with it

22. No more spontaneous trips to faraway cities

23. Doing homework becomes a privilege not the priority

24. No more sleep over parties with the girls

25. You can’t bring your husband to karaoke night

26. No time for fun extracurriculars like Model UN, Mock Trial and the shuffleboard club

27.  No more being a counselor at camp

28. I might expect to feel whole and thus, always happy

29. No more killing roaches

30. No more taking out the garbage

31. No more de-plunging the toilet

32. No more doing the man-jobs I’ve proudly mastered because it’s his job to be the man

33.  Because I don’t want to do it just because everyone else is

34. Being an ezer kinegdo is real work, not just some fluffy idea and I want to actually be responsible enough to take on that privilege before I take it

35. I am naturally stubborn and thus go at my own pace (sometimes to my detriment)

36. My body is not my own anymore

37. I’ll have that huge lump in the back of my sheitel if I want to keep my hair long

38. People will start looking at my stomach expectantly

39. No more bunking with NCSYers on shabbatons

40.  I might allow myself to believe that I don’t have to look my best anymore since I’m already “taken”

41. I hate having all attention on me – and that’s what a wedding is

42. Taharat HaMishpacha aint the walk in the park they make it sound like in seminary

43. To heck with social pressures!

44. Because marriage isn’t the be-all-and-end-all: Finding the right person is

45. People expect you to know how to cook

46. Fruit Loops are no longer a viable dinner option

47. Just because I will gladly eat leftover chicken and potato kugel until Wednesday night doesn’t mean my husband will

48. I’ll forget  how to be empathetic toward singles

49. I’ll have to start cutting my nails really short

50. Everyone will know whether I’m a niddah or not depending on whether I can put my arm around my husband in pictures or not

51. I might start posting photos of what I made for dinner on Facebook

52.  First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes morning sickness

53.  Kids means forgoing sleep for the next 20 or so years

54. People will start grabbing my left hand to get a look at my ring, as if it’s public property

55. I’ll have to break the news to my husband that jewelry doesn’t make everything better in his case because I don’t like jewelry

56. I’ll have to pretend I like jewelry (my Savti says I have to so he won’t feel bad)

57. I’ll have to stop watching football so he can while I watch the kiddos

58. I’ll have the yetzer hara to compare my marriage/life to my friend’s

59. If I marry for the sake of marrying I’ll always wonder “what if”

60. No more staying in the library til midnight, getting lost in a sea of literature

61. Solitude is harder to come by

62. Marriage isn’t a cure for loneliness. Even married people can feel lonely

63. I’m not looking to join a club, I’m looking for true friendship and partnership

64. I shouldn’t need just this to see Hashem in my life

65. Truth be told, sometimes I like sitting by myself at an ice cream parlor

66. I might be untrue to myself and compromise things I really care about just to be like everyone else

67. I’m shy about my singing voice and would rather not have to share it

68. Because I don’t need to prove myself to anyone

69. Most men don’t know what a DMC is and would rather not engage in one after a long day of work

70. I set people up now. I don’t need an MRS to make me a valid shadchan

71. B”H I can eat whatever I want now.

72.  I’d rather not fall off the face of the planet, thank you very much.

73.  Love doesn’t solve problems, actually, if you look in Tanach, it only causes more

74. That is why love isn’t a good enough reason to marry someone

75. Because you have a really cute story of how you met someone

76. What I think I need in a partner and what Hashem knows I need in a partner might be different. I’d rather marry what Hashem knows is best for me than be a “cute married person”

77. The wait makes that which you want so much even dearer

78.  Because Mom and Dad say so

79. Because everyone is asking you why you haven’t met anyone yet

80. Because being called picky is better than having a miserable marriage

81. Because you are in love with love

82. Because all your sisters got married by 21 so you have to also

83. Because everyone pegged you to be the first to go

84. Wanting a wedding is not a good enough reason to want to get married. If you want a big party, make one for your birthday

85.  Keeping up with the Jones’ is what puts people in debt who don’t have to be

86. So people tell you how “well” you did

87. Just because you’re the world’s best wife doesn’t mean he’ll make it any easier for you to wake him up for shachris

88. My secret stash of chocolate will be at risk of being discovered

89. Because he’s sooooo cuuuuttteeee

90. Because being a married lady is soooo cuuuutttteee

91. Because our kids would be soooo cuuuuttteee

92. If I don’t marry him then someone else will

93.  Spending all day in bed is not reality

94. Paying the bills is

95. Going on couples vacations- are those really fun or do people just like to take pictures so it just appears fun?

96. Thinking you’ll get more respect just because you cook, clean and take care of a man

97. Because you don’t want to be the last one single

98. Because you don’t believe Hashem has someone who truly compliments you

99. Because you have half your Onlysimchas page filled out and are impatient to fill out the other half

100. Because the mitpachot you bought in seminary X years ago have been sitting in your closet long enough

101. Because you sure as heck don’t want to be blogging about singlehood any longer

The Will of G-d

13 Dec

It was never meant to be. They knew it from the beginning, but oh, how they hoped it wouldn’t be true. She pulled out her Louis Vuitton hanky from her Dooney and Bourke handbag and dabbed a trickling ebony tear from her MAC outfitted eyes.

“I don’t know what to say, Roni” she wept. “How can we fight reality? How can we go against the will of G-d?”

Roni’s head hung low. Every now and then he lifted his eyes to the sky, hoping that the bitter gusts of the wind tunnel would evaporate the warm, welling flecks within his eyes. He had prayed that this day wouldn’t come; that their similarities would outweigh the differences. That fate would trump all odds and obstacles.  “But why can’t we invent a new reality? Our reality. Why would that be against the will of G-d? He wants us to be happy; to serve Him in happiness.”

“But the differences are too big,” she insisted. Her voice quivered with the pain that bloated her heavy heart. How could she let this happen? How could she let herself fall for a boy who was so different from herself? Practically from another world. She could never bring him home to her parents. They would never accept him and treat him as family.

“How can you be so sure?” Roni asked. “You never told them about me, never brought me over for dinner to let them meet me. I’m not the guy they think you’d be happy with,but don’t you think that will change when they see how well we suit each other?.”

Ita could hardly bare the limp trembling in his words.  How could he read her mind so well? How did he know exactly what she was thinking? How could she give up the one person who wrote her silly poems about the cell cycle during her bio labs and made Snoopy sculptures out of cantaloupe? How could she deny that the last month of her life had been the happiest yet? How could she say goodbye? “You don’t understand, Roni, they won’t get it.”

“What won’t they get? That I treat you well? That I’m on my way to becoming a dentist? That we have a solid relationship? I’m not understanding what they will disapprove of.”

“I told you from the beginning that there is one glaring problem about this relationship.” She dabbed away tear from her petite nose. “Israel.”

“I told you it’s not a deal breaker for me. Finding the right girl comes first, we’ll figure out where we live later.”

“No,” she sighed expectantly, “I mean the Year in Israel.”

Roni’s confusion continued to frame his brow.

“Yeshiva and seminary. We just don’t match up.”

“We discussed this a long time ago and in the end you said you were more open-minded.”

“Yeah because I thought this wouldn’t go anywhere. Darchei Binah and Gush? Whoever heard of such a mix?”

“But if we don’t care why should they?” Roni insisted, his tone pleading for reconsideration. “Look I never imagined I’d end up with a girl from Bayit V’gan but once I met you I realized how irrelevant it is where you went to seminary. I thought you came to the same conclusion.”

Ita tucked her handkerchief back into her purse and gently whisked her bubbly brown curls behind her shoulder. “Look, I know I’m 21 already and the good guys are going fast…but there’s only so much I can compromise on. Can’t you imagine how awkward our Onlysimchas page is going to look?”

He couldn’t deny the truth. What would people think when they saw them together, out in the open, in real life? Ita was right, they couldn’t fight the will of G-d. How could He will two people from such different paths and different molds to be together? So they both wanted to make Aliyah. So they both wanted to have a home open to guests. So they both believed in the importance of kovea itim. So what? Darchei Binah and Gush had set their fate. There was no working around it, and with this realization, Roni let his head face the pavement. The wind wasn’t blowing away those flecks. Nothing would.

Roni and Ita parted as friends that night, dedicated to helping each other find their true basherts. For five years they would call each other from time to time, seeing what the other was up to, setting each other up with whoever they could think of. It took five years for Ita to find her bashert, only a month for Roni to find his…but in the end they both agreed that they couldn’t fight the will of G-d. The Real Deal is the Real Deal, no matter the material of his kippah or the number of pleats in her skirt.

Pull! Yourself! Together!

26 Nov

Every guy wants to be Mr. Incredible. Some become Mr. Incredible by braving the bar exam, others by tackling year upon year of medical school and others by conquering tax season. All in all, they all share the common desire – to be viewed as strong, respectable and able to support.

Every girl wants to be Elastigirl. She wants to be admired for her wit and humor, her binah, sehcel and da’at. She wants to give love and empower those she cares about. She wants to feel special. Beautiful. She may successfully disguise herself as the self-sufficient woman with no need for anymore, particularly a man…but take away her fancy degrees and impressive job and she is like those who are less “accomplished” as she is, in want of companionship and love.

With G-d’s guidance and generosity, we find that person who makes us feel like Mr. Incredible or Elastigirl. They see us like G-d sees us; imperfect yet so capable and precious. They understand what we are capable of and what our potential is more so than we can see in ourselves. They believe we can save the world. They believe we have a purpose, and the most incredible thing is, we see the same potential in them. Put the two together and you get a flagrant force, ready to take on the challenges of life.

But sometimes, this understanding and clarity of vision fades. Life is hard. Our superpowers become dull and blunt. The bills have to be paid, the roof to get fixed, the shopping lists grow and tuition…oh don’t even get me started about tuition. The superhero within is trying to break out of the slumberous routine but it cannot. The ominous words of Shlomo HaMelech ring too true as we slowly become drowsier to the direction of our lives, yet our hearts never forget our true identity.

What is the answer to such a tragedy? What tool has G-d given us to snap out of the slumberous routine?

Kol Dodi Dofek

Through the voice of your beloved Hashem calls out. Being someone’s spouse is not just a means of giving each other companionship and pleasure, being a spouse means accepting responsibility for this person; making sure they don’t forget their capabilities. See the truth as is is- when you choose someone to be your lifelong sidekick, Hashem is choosing you to be His agent in making sure your spouse’s tafkid (purpose in life) is fulfilled. You are their designated chizuk-leader. You are the one who can always remind them they have superpowers. That he is Mr. Incredible and she is Elastigirl – always was, always is and always will be, not matter what life throws our way.

My tefilah to Hashem is that all of us, whether married at this point or still in search of the RD will have the gevurah and sechel to pull ourselves together; to view both members of the relationship as one self. We shouldn’t get to a point where we see our sidekick as an ordinary Joe(ette) with ordinary abilities. We should always view them as Mr. Incredible/ Elastigirl and be able to make them feel that way with every passing day, as they should do for us, b’ezrat Hashem. That’s how it works when you are part of a team – your goals merge. You pull yourself together and become The Unstoppable. The Incredibles.

You will show him  you remember he is Mr. Incredible and you will remind him who you are!

Edna Mode

How You Met the Real Deal

27 Oct

Calm down, calm down, I’m not engaged. As far as I know I haven’t met my RD yet, though if you know who he is, please, feel free to let me know.

Really, this post is a question asking how did you meet your RD and how did you know that indeed s/he the Real Deal.

If you, like I, have not yet solidified who the RD is, then tell a story of how someone else met their RD (perhaps your parents, a sibling, a friend, etc).

Please try to include the following points:

1) Did you know from the start or did you begin to know gradually?

2) Were there sparks at first sight or did you steadily build a connection?

3) How long did you know your RD before going out with them?

4) What was your first impression of your RD?

5) When the idea of going out with them was brought to you/came to mind did you think, “nice idea”, “no way”, or did it kinda just roll out the backdoor of your brain like what you learned in Stat class?

Looking forward to your comments!!

Carlebach On Soul Mates

31 Jul

There’s a teaching from the Ishebitzer Rebbe in the name of The Seer of Lublin in the name of Eliayhu HaNavi that says: When you really want to ask someone for forgiveness with all your heart, you can bring them back from The Other World…But if works for love as well. If you know with all your heart that your soul mate is in this world, then your great love will bring you together from the far corners of the globe.

This is the miracle of how soul mates meet. I bless us all that we should find our soul mates. LeHaim!

Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach (from “Shlomo’s Stories” p. 95)

What makes two people bashert? How is it possible for two people to “just know” that they are meant to be one? Because when two people want to make a relationship work with every ounce of their life’s breath, when two people put in all their heart, all their soul and everything they’ve got, then time and space become mere pebbles along the way . What once might have appeared to be tremendous boulders are easily trampled by the steadfast pact these two souls have made. Is it G-d’s will that makes a couple bashert?  The only way to get a proper answer for this question is to bolster it with another question– what is the definition of bashert? Is it simply bringing two people together or is it creating a lifelong relationship?

If the answer is simply bringing two people together, then of course Hashem is totally in control of our bashert. He is in control of everything, this aspect are of our lives included. However, there is one area in our lives that He does not take the reins, and that is in whether we become tzaddikim or…not tzaddikim. Whether we choose work on ourselves every day of our lives, or whether we choose to proclaim– “this is who I am, and that is final.” The only way for two to become one is for each individual to shed his identity as an individual and join as one entity. It takes more than the Divine will of G-d. It takes passionate yet bridled strength of the heart; two people who want to be together with every ounce of their life’s breath. Two people who will not allow the nisyonot of the world to come between them. As much as I praise and applaud rationality and practicality, I do not underestimate the power of love. I am well aware of its immense power; how it inspires one to overcome every obstacle with vigor and might. When you want something badly enough, when you know unwaveringly that it is real and true, Hashem bends the laws of His world in ways we never before fathomed. Hashem brings us to our basherts, but it is us who keeps our marriages bashert for the rest of our lives.