Category Archives: Archives 5771


Iyar 5771 – A Wonderful Non Frum Father…And Shidduchim

A Wonderful Non Frum Father...And Shidduchim Iyar 5771
A Wonderful Non Frum Father…And Shidduchim
by Mrs. Chana Silver


Dear Chana

I’m writing you this question knowing that there are many girls in situations similar to mine, and hopefully you can give us some insight. The question is – how does one not resent the fact that where they come from affects the kind of shidduch they get?

You see, my situation isn’t so bad , but I feel resentment, and need help.

I am a baalas teshuva, daughter of two happily married parents. Most of the family became religious over 7 years ago , but my father chose to stay the same. Not to say that he’s not religious at all. He goes to shul almost every shabbos (but drives-its too long of a walk), and gives plenty of tzdakah to those in need. He also learns in his spare time because it’s interesting, not because of religious reasons. My mom covers her hair, keeps all the laws and accepts the fact that my dad is the way he is. But I feel perhaps he is ruining my shidduchim. He is an amazing father and showers me with love and everything I need. However, I feel in the shidduch world those things don’t matter. It’s about who you come from and what great Rabbi’s you’re related to. No one seems to care about the person they may be getting matched up with. It’s all about how the dishes are taken away from the table, or what kind of yarmukah does the father wear?? (none!) I love my father, but I feel that the society we’re in makes me resent him for not being as religious as I want him to be. I came a very long way, and love everything about being Orthodox – except this!

How do I accept it all? How can I appreciate all the good I have ,and not focus on the level my father is at?

Thank You

Name and Seminary withheld upon request

Dear JemSem Reader,

It sounds like you have worked very hard to be the type of person that you are today. To change your entire life is a magnificent accomplishment! I have the highest admiration for you! This also tells me that you are a very strong person and that you have overcome many hurdles in your life. So here’s yet another one, but I am confident that with some effort and thought put into this, you will weather this one as well.

First of all, let me point out a few positive aspects of your situation. Your parents are happily married and most of your family, aside from your father, is frum. There are not so many ba’alei teshuva that even have that. There are so many different and difficult situations out there that are part of peoples lives, really vast and varied, illness in the family, [or with the dating person themselves] crazy dysfunctional family situations, divorce, and money issues.

But, never no matter, the key to all of this is to remember that your chassan has already been hand picked by Hashem! There are certainly some things in the shidduch world of today that don’t appear to make so much sense or frankly, don’t even matter very much at all, [as per your example of the dishes!] and then there are the issues of family and lineage etc. and many people get all caught up in so much of this. A person can truly think that this or that thing will make such a difference in who they will eventually marry. It does seem this way. But, that is only when you look at the tevah side of things. We are leaving out one super important factor. Hashem is running the show. You have been placed in a gem of a situation to help you enhance your Emunah. Everything is all about choice and attitude. How you choose to see this episode in your life will make all the difference in how you feel about it. You can work through this and develop your relationship with Hashem in a more deep and meaningful way. You can use this as a special opportunity to daven with heightened kavanah and rely on Hashem.You can choose a positive attitude and outlook on things. Or, you can be upset and feel like you are in a no win situation and resent the dating process. It really is all up to you. Hashem has tailor made this situation specifically for your Neshama. So how are you going to handle it?

Every person gets the bashert that is really right for them, no matter how the circumstances appear. The person that Hashem has already chosen for you will not mind that your father is not frum.

A former student of mine came from a very strange and odd background. Her mother had been adopted by a Christian family, raised as a Christian, and married one. [this was my student’s father] This girl was going through her life as it was, until the mother found out that she was really Jewish. A whole long story unfolded after that, but the end of it was that my students parents are still married and this girl became really very frum. She is a wonderful emesdik young woman, and it did ‘seem’ that she would have major trouble getting a shidduch. But, Hashem had it all worked out and the terrific guy that she married was himself a ba’al teshuva, and he really didn’t care one bit about the interesting make up of her family. They have 2 kids now and are busily building a very beautiful Bayis Ne’eman.

It sounds like your father is a wonderful person and that you have a great relationship with him. This is certainly something to value and build on. So right now he isn’t really frum, but I often hear that things change after the grandchildren come along……… so you never know!

Also, don’t be afraid to open up and not be too narrow about the type of guys that you will date. Many ba’alei teshuva bring a depth and freshness to their marriages and homes.

So don’t get caught up in the tevah of what things ‘seem’ to be, but turn it all back to Hashem, daven, and intensify your Emunah and relationship with Him.

With Warmest Wishes,



Sivan 5771 – Trust Your Instincts – Abusive Relationships

Trust Your Instincts - Abusive Relationships Sivan 5771
Trust Your Instincts – Abusive Relationships
by Mrs. Chana Silver


Dear Chana

What I am about to share with you is probably the most bizarre experience that I have ever encountered.

Close to two years ago, I started going out with a boy who learns in Lakewood. Before going out, I had a very good impression of him. My mother knows his brother and likes him. From the way my cousin and others described him, he sounded like a sincerely frum, growing, nonmaterialistic guy with really good middos. I also knew that he’s very bright and tops in his learning, and nice looking too ( which never hurts!)

The truth is, it sounded a little too good to be true, and I admit I was a little dazzled by what I heard. I was also amazed to find the first few dates fun and interesting. He also seemed very honest, sincere and bright, and had a great sense of humor. (I do remember feeling that he seemed a little rough around the edges, but wasn’t overly concerned about that.) After the fourth date I was feeling very positive. But somehow things started changing by the fifth and sixth. I started getting mixed messages (at certain points he seemed interested, other times he spoke in ways that gave the impression he wasn’t interested) and at the sixth date he said a few things that astounded me. The only one I can remember was that we were sitting in some mall and he had just said something that disturbed me (cuz he was making fun of a guy he accidentally discovered I had gone out with.) When he saw my expression, apparently to stop me from saying something, he told me to get him a drink.

I can’t remember everything that was said, but I can remember at the end of this date feeling very confused and then coming up with a funny feeling that this guy wants some kind of dysfunctional relationship. I called the shadchan and said I didn’t think he was interested, and it was over. Then a couple days later she calls me back and tells me he was floored that I felt that way, he was very interested and she was quite pushy herself. So I told her I’d call someone. I decided to call a mechaneches who is also a social worker. (Unfortunately she didn’t know me.) But I figured if I told her the worst things that were said, she’d surely tell me to stay away and then the shadchan would leave me alone.

After each thing I described to the mechaneches, she practically attacked me. I was made to feel that I was being judgmental and That I should work on that. She felt that him telling me to get him a drink was being refreshingly playful, something she would personally appreciate. She didn’t acknowledge that his behavior was unusual, and didn’t seem interested in hearing more details or taking my concerns seriously. She said maybe I was too sensitive for him but she didn’t seem to have any problem with the things he said.

I was so surprised by her reaction that I started to doubt my own feelings. Maybe I was too sensitive and there was really nothing wrong with him. So I would try again. Maybe I can get used to the way he speaks like I have with other people when I get to know them, and if not, so I’ll end it. From this point and on, my parents were basically divided about this, (my father thought I should end it and my mother wasn’t sure.)

I went out some more and again, I had fun, it was interesting, but there was always at least one or two things that he said on the date that troubled me. It actually felt a little verbally abusive. We’d make a little progress but it would be 2 steps forward and then 3 steps back.

I didn’t feel comfortable or feel that I could trust him. On the other hand, there was a lot I could appreciate and respect, which is something that usually deteriorates as I continue going out with guys. But I was feeling that time was going by and we weren’t getting anywhere. Around this time, I was a tutor in a kiruv program for girls. So I took advantage of some of the frum staff that was there. After speaking with the younger less experienced one, she didn’t like what she was hearing, she asked me if he was kind and caring and when I couldn’t answer “yes”, that clinched it for her. And I was very ready to take her advice. But then when I spoke to an older person who was much more experienced with giving advice to girls about shidduchim, she encouraged it. She said guys are very immature, especially when in yeshiva and older, and that he is an unfinished product. She also gave me an excellent piece of advice. She said I should speak to a rebbe who knows him well and speaks with him about his shidduchim. She felt it would be a good idea especially at this time, that a rebbe could give very valuable information and shed some light on things. After that, I went out once more and there was something he said that was extremely disrespectful and not tsniusdik, and I told him so. His reaction was the same as usual when I let him know something he said bothered me, which was to laugh. (Letting him know something bothered me didn’t stop him from repeating the behavior soon after.) After that date, I told him I would need a number of a rebbe he speaks to about shidduchim, and he gave me the number of a rav from one of his yeshivas in Eretz Yisroel. This rebbe spent a half-hour on the phone with me, telling me he could tell this guy likes me more than the others and that he has a problem with dating but that he was a really good boy and would make a wonderful husband. He urged me to help him get through his problem.

What this rav said definitely put his puzzling behavior into focus for me but I still didn’t want to go out with him again. (I didn’t exactly relish the idea or consider it normal to become the guy’s therapist and take such a chance with a guy who treated me this way.) Finally my mother spoke to our rav. He didn’t even have a chance to hear about some of the craziness, because after hearing how long we were going out he felt strongly that I should end it. And I did. The day after I ended it, the shadchan called asking me to reconsider because the boy had called her and was very upset. I have to say that being conscious of shmiras halashon particularly with shidduchim made things extremely difficult. She wouldn’t let me off the hook, and wanted detailed explanations. Then when I finally gave into the pressure a little, she said we probably shouldn’t speak lashon hara, and I agreed,but she refused to give up on this shidduch. She called again about 5 or 6 times during the following months. I kept insisting that it’s over each time, but she wouldn’t let it go. She would call my mother and try to convince her how nice he is. This past summer after I came back from Neve, I received a call from my cousin’s wife on the boy’s behalf, trying to convince me to go out again. As if that wasn’t embarrassing and annoying enough, right after that he had the wife of a good friend of his call my mother. This wife grew up on my block She likes him a lot, said he eats by her all the time and she feels he’s such a good person etc. My mother became convinced that maybe I SHOULD reconsider and go out again. She couldn’t understand that even if he’s very interested, it won’t change his behavior, no matter how many times I tried to explain it to her. (I also argued that people don’t just change so easily with such problems.) This unfortunately created a lot of stress and arguing. I can’t totally blame her, it’s not a normal way to behave. (And she is emotionally involved in getting me married.) This kind of thing is hard to believe or understand unless one has personally experienced it. When our former neighbor started calling it made matters worse, since we know her and she was pretty convincing with my mother. I’m convinced that he acts like a really nice good solid person when he’s not on a date. I’m only grateful that Hashem spared me from getting engaged or Chas V’shalom married before becoming aware of this serious problem.

After several more calls from his friend’s wife and the shadchan, my mother mentioned that he said he was sorry for things he shouldn’t have said. This was the first apology I ever heard from him. But I still wouldn’t consider it. However, I was so sick of this constant calling and pressuring, I figured maybe there’s a reason I’m constantly harassed about this. Maybe there’s some unfinished business that I didn’t take care of. So I made an appointment with a woman who I trust who’s shiurim I’ve been going to this year. I felt she got to know me a bit and she might have some ideas.

I spent 2 hours describing everything, and at the end of it she told me she thinks I should try going out with him again. I could tell she really seemed to understand, she acknowledged the strange behaviors but felt there might be something to work with. I figured at this point that it can’t hurt to go out on one or two dates and see if anything changed. At least then he won’t harass me anymore. So we went out and he acted even more crazy than before! I think his problem has become worse, if anything.

This time, he didn’t even hide his issues from the shadchan. After it was over the shadchan told me he left some crazy message on her machine, complaining about some stupid thing about me and claiming that I was responsible for what happened. She finally decided that she’s not setting him up anymore. His friend’s wife spoke to my mother after that, and she said the same thing. From what he said to her, she realized he had sabotaged things. She told my mother she felt bad that I had to go through all of that. Also, the mentor I had spoken to told me she felt bad for advising me the way she had. She had spoken to someone else about this recently and that woman had said these problems tend to repeat themselves. The main reason I wrote you about this is that I think it’s crucial that girls, especially younger ones, be made aware that while it’s very important to speak with people for aitzah about their shidduchim, they MUST trust their own instincts. Shidduchim can be VERY confusing, and during this vulnerable time, people’s well-meaning opinions and pushing have a way of messing with your brain. Ignoring your own feelings can sometimes be dangerous. Even if the mentor knows you extremely well, they can’t possibly have a complete picture of what is going on during the dates. Only the person going out does. Also, dating is a very individual thing, it’s important for the person and the mentor to remember that every feeling is valid and should be taken seriously. It’s also important to articulate specifically what is making you uncomfortable about the person and perhaps if the feeling persists to make notes of these things after each date while the details are fresh in your mind. I’m not saying it’s not important to ask aitzah, or that people shouldn’t pay attention to pushing. I can think of at least 2 examples of girls who needed to be pushed and they are B’H very happy. On the other hand, I can think of at least 2 examples of girls who were pushed and ended up with very messy divorces. Interestingly, the girls who were pushed and are happy were 25 and 35, and the girls who were pushed and got divorced were both 19. But I think a girl’s personality plays a role as well. Another reason I wrote about this parsha is because it brought up something that I think everyone in shidduchim struggles with, and that is Shmiras Halashon. It’s a very tough thing to know how to deal with the sensitive issues that come up. Before a shidduch, but especially during a parsha. Many people in shidduchim, shadchanim and others involved aren’t knowledgeable about halachos of shmiras halashon, which makes it that much tougher. (For example, through my own shaalos I’ve discovered that the only time a person can say anything at all negative about a person they went out with to a shadchan is if they are convinced that anyone this person marries will end up getting divorced. As a rav said to me, if Hashem makes one like that, he can make another! ) I think it would be a great subject for discussion on JemSem.

Thanks so much for reading this… I know it’s lengthy, but it is such an important topic.

Kol Tuv,
Name and Seminary withheld

Dear JemSem Reader,

WOW!!!!!!! A frightening situation indeed. Thanks so much for sharing it, there’s alot here to learn from.

Much of what I would say, you summed up beautifully in the paragraph ” The main reason I wrote you”.

It is very good that you did seek out advice from people, a person can’t do it alone, but what is interesting in this case is that you really did ask several qualified people and they came up with different answers. At the end of the day, they are not on the dates with you and may misinterpret information. It doesn’t mean not to ask but one must give over info as clearly as possible. It is also very important to have some time in between the dates to have time to process what is really going on – Think!!!!

Most importantly – trust yourself and your own gut feelings. Do aspects of the date leave you with a ‘choking feeling’ or a knot in your stomach? Is something going on that is making you uncomfortable? Do you feel safe to be able to bring it up? When you are having a discussion, do you feel validated or put down? Is he hearing you? If you do have a feeling of discomfort- how often does it come up? Analyze this feeling – are there patterns? If there was conflict between the 2 of you [which certainly is normal at times], how did the conflict feel? How did he react to your not agreeing? How was it resolved? Did you feel safe? A woman’s home is supposed to be THE safest place for her.

You mentioned that you were pulled in 2 different directions – on the one hand you didn’t feel comfortable or feel that you could trust him, but you did respect him in certain ways. Yes, it can be very confusing! But, the 1st sentence here is a bit of a red flag to me. If after several dates and the natural process of opening up and trust can truly begin to take root – and you have feelings of discomfort .. well, that certainly needs to be figured out. By talking it out with that mentor or 2, thinking things through on your own and looking for patterns.

You can take an active role in the dating and decision making process! There’s not any ONE thing that will necessarily tip you off, again you are looking for patterns, and also really trying to get in touch with your inner self – about how he makes you feel. Communication plays a big role in dating [and in marriage for that matter!] and there are of course many times when there is a misunderstanding and he didn’t mean what you thought, and you totally took it in the wrong way – or you misinterpreted his reasoning for doing something etc. That is why over a bit of time you can see if certain things repeat themselves.

There a many types of abusive patterns and some may be quite subtle. It would be nice if we could say it doesn’t exist in the frum world – but we can’t say that. If anyone is going through a situation and wants a great listening ear, advice or perhaps to be put intouch with a counselor, therapist, or Rav, The Shalom Taskforce Hotline is the place to call. 1888-883-2323 or in the NY area 718-337-3700.

As far as the Lashon Horah aspect in shiddchim- we will try to do a future column on Jemsem.

Hashem should allow to you find your bashert Zman B’karov and I hope he will be a caring, sensitive and warm Ben Torah.

With Warmest Wishes,



Tammuz 5771 – Annoying Friends

Annoying Friends Tammuz 5771
Annoying Friends
by Mrs. Chana Silver


Dear Chana,

I am writing to you about what I think is a common problem. I have several friends who are good friends to me. We have known each other since grade school, and been through alot together. So there is alot of commonality and history that we have. So the friendships are there and solidified – but when you have situations like this – that you are already ‘in’ – different things just become ‘patterns’ and it is hard to deal with them. Here is one issue that happens fairly often.

One of these girls – though she is, in fact, a caring person, really in general isn’t a good listener. When we touch base – she will talk a lot about what is doing in with her – and she will ask me – some things about what is doing with me – but then she really doesn’t hear me – and will usually turn the conversation back to something I just said – but… in connection to her. She doesn’t do this all the time – but enough that it has just gotten on my nerves! I find it so annoying – and somewhat callous – though, as I said, she is a caring person and has a lot to her – but this has just been on my mind.

Thanks so much for your column and for the site in general – it is such great chizuk – and I do spend time in the archives – as you suggest – there is just so much info there!

Name withheld
Midreshet Tehillah

Dear JemSem Reader,

The issue you bring up is unfortunately very widespread and is an outgrowth of a larger picture. The world in general continues to very much up hold the ‘ME generation’. It’s all about ‘ME, MYSELF, AND I’ and I don’t really have time or interest to deal with YOU. As usual, the ‘ripple effects’ of the world impact upon the Jewish world. [Sometime this will change and be the opposite!! :-) – we just have to keep trying harder!]

I am so happy to answer this question especially now as the 3 weeks will be starting soon – and we need to see how we can fix up bein adam l’chaveiro things a bit.

The unfortunate joke about the issue that you bring up is when someone says to you “Hi, How are you?” and you answer – ‘Oh, not so good, I’ve been sick for the past 2 days” and they answer “How nice!! That’s great! Let me tell you what just happened……”

It makes us smirk – but it isn’t really funny at all.

Firstly, understand that the Rambam in Hilchos Da’os writes that the way to fulfill the mitzvah of V’ahavta L’rei’acha Kamocha is by three things.

* To find ways to praise a person

* To be concerned for their money like you are concerned for your own money

* To find ways to honor them

We actually have these kind of opportunities all of the time in our day. Whenever we are speaking with someone we can look for ways to praise and compliment them [things that are real – not flattery] which can make a person feel so good. Try it – you’ll what a wonderful effect it has on people!

As far as honoring another person – there are just a myriad of ways! One of them is in the area that you mentioned. To actually train yourself to care more about them – to be genuinely interested in them and what is going on in their lives and to be a really good listener – to the things that they are saying and to react and comment to what they are saying. Not only is this the actual Mitzvas Asei – of Loving Your Friend As Yourself, by giving them a bolstering of a sense of chashivus, But you will be developing more true growth within yourself by extending yourself in these middos – and you will also be working on your interpersonal skills. And you will be making this world a better place!! It’s a win – win situation!!

By demonstrating more and more these particular middos – you will become a role model for others – as to how to be a good friend and what it really means to honor another person.

So that is how YOU can be overtly proactive with others – and work on the positive side of things.

But what to do about your friend?

In general – one must always work to be dan l’kaf zechus. Tell yourself that she has a million things going on in her life and she is just overwhelmed – and it’s just all taking up her head space. She doesn’t mean to be callous or unfeeling to you – she doesn’t have it in her to be able to listen to you. After you tell yourself that several times – put yourself aside, continue to listen to her, and see how you can help her and honor her. Realize, as you said, that she is a wonderful person in many other areas, and that the friendship is worth it to you – still – and lower your expectations for interactions with her. Consciously, interact with other friends who are better at the give and take of a friendship – and cherish those friendships – while still valuing what you have with her – but understanding that it is a bit different with her. Your attitude here about it will make all of the difference.

If you feel like you would like to try to talk with her and point it out in an open, non threatening, and down to earth way – certainly, go for it. Perhaps, it is something she can work on and you helping her be aware of it is good. Straight talk in relationships is usually a good thing. But, each situation is individual and takes thought of exactly what to do and how to go about it. So tread carefully here and really think it through if you decide to speak with her.

So to sum up: Be proactive and role model the proper behavior in your friendships, work on giving others the benefit of the doubt [and really mean it in your mind] and deal with your attitude towards others, and finally if you feel it’s appropriate to point it out to her, do so in a carefully worded and thought out way.

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to bring out this important issue!

With Warmest Wishes,



Av 5771 – Repairing the Breach

Repairing the Breach Av 5771
Repairing the Breach
by Mrs. Chana Silver


As we go through the 3 weeks, the 9 days, and we get closer and closer to the day that will eventually be a Chag – we must think deeply about why it is just so long that we are in galus and how we must try to fix the current situation that we are in.

There are, of course, many many things that we could focus on and work on. I want to point out one very important idea – that can effect and impact all of our daily interactions with others and can very much help repair bein adam l’chaveiro situations.

The Imrei Emes [one of the great Gerrer Rebbes] describes the scenario of a person who is suspected of having tzara’as. If the Kohen is not sure – the person must be secluded away for a week to be checked again to see if it is in fact tzara’as or not. Let’s say that in the end it wasn’t tzara’as. So the Imrei Emes asks, what is going on? There is no happenstance or coincidence and this person went through a lot of inui – a lot of pain, being by themselves for the week, basically in solitary confinement. and in the end, it wasn’t tzara’as – so why did all of that happen?

His answer is astounding! He says that he had all of that affliction for words not spoken. Things that he should have said to someone ……..and didn’t. Words of encouragement and care, a compliment, a thank you, something that could help a person, give them some kavod, build them up in some way, or something that would be meaningful for them. These things went unsaid.

For this he was meant to sit for a week by himself and contemplate life and what could have happened and what he could have said.

We are talking about the concept of Lashon Tov. We always speak about the seriousness of lashon harah – but what about the flip side??

Words can indeed be soooo powerful!! Don’t underestimate how your spoken words can help a person! You must ask yourself how many times have you thought to say something nice to a person…. And just didn’t? Or – of course, they know how much I appreciate what they have done for me – I don’t have to actually thank them – right?

Speak up!! Lashon Tov is is the fiber of Ahavas Yisroel!! Don’t hold back on the words that you should be saying to another. Use the incredible gift of speech that Hashem has given us to make connections, praise others, give honor to others, and thank those who have helped you in any way.

Not only are you fulfilling the mitzvas asei of v’ahavta l’rai’acha kamocha – but you will be helping to repair the breach that we have within our communities and helping to bring the geula shelaima! May it be b’zman b’karov!


Elul 5771 – Being Engaged!!??

Being Engaged!!?? Elul 5771
Being Engaged!!??
by Mrs. Chana Silver


Dear Chana,

I am finally engaged! But it is quite a long engagement, altogether it will be 6 months.(we did try to make it shorter but it wasn’t possible) My choson and I are finding it difficult and stressful do you have any tips for us?

Plus is it normal to have doubts during engagement? (and like not be in ‘the clouds’ all the time)

Thank-you so much for your time.

p.s. I really like your chizuk, its great!

Dear JemSem Reader,

Mazal Tov!!! That is terrifically wonderful news that you are engaged!! All of our dating readership should be in that same boat bizman karov!!!

As wonderful as that is, as you are finding out first hand,the engagement time period can be a difficult one. The main reason for all the difficulty boils down to one thing, you are connected to each other in a certain way at this point, but you aren’t fully there yet. There are all the plans for the wedding and setting up what will be your shared life together, so many people and factors to keep in mind and deal with and emotions and thoughts that you have not had before. Put that all together and add a healthy dose of nerves as to how everything will come out, and you get a tremendous amount of stress!! [for all you still unattached girls out there – sounds great – doesn’t it!!] A long engagement certainly doesn’t make it any easier, but as you said, you tried to make it shorter and it just wasn’t in the cards.

Here are some pointers for weathering the engagement time:

1] You must get some advise from a Rav as to how to set gedarim. The time that you see each other should be limited, as well as how often and how long you speak on the phone. This is really very important. On the one hand, you can now mesh your relationship in a deeper way than you could while you were dating, because you have made the commitment of marriage and a few more of those “walls” can come down between the two of you, and you can get to know each other better. On the other hand, you are just as much of an ervah to your chossen as you were to him when you were dating. Engagement doesn’t change that status at all, and some say that the halachos of yichud are even more stringent one you are engaged, as you can well understand why. An engaged couple has to be careful not to say things that are intensely derech chibah to each other, and they do have to be cautious of how they act in each others company, because at the end of the day, the couple is not yet married. All this is fraught with spiritual dangers and you most definitely need hadracha in this area. It is important to remember that you want to start your new home in kedushah and taharah, your future and everything that that entails will be coming from this union.

2] Concerning all the plans for the wedding: Your job is to not be at odds with either your family or his. Even more than that, to forge a closer relationship with your family, and to start a healthy one with his. When things come up about the plans, really ask yourself how much this particular thing matters to you. You will discover that there are actually many things that don’t matter that much to you and you can let them slide. Of course, if something is vitally important to you, tactifully and respectfully let those that are involved know how important it is for you. There is so much hype about wedding plans today. Granted, it is a red letter day in a life, and it should be designed with some care and thought. But if one understands the reality that in five hours it will be over, This helps one gain the proper perspective for the attention of what the rest of life will need. This is an amazing opportunity to work on your skills of compromising – with your chosson, and your respective families. Rememer, now that you are a kallah, it doesn’t mean that your middos can go down the drain! If anything they can become more honed and refined.

If there are halachic issues about the wedding that come up between any of the parties, find a Rav that all agree to abide by and follow what he tells you.

3] Refering back to ‘the walls’ . Many of the walls come down between the two of you during the dating, some more after the commitment of marriage, but it is important to realize that the rest won’t come down until after you have been married awhile. This is the normal way of things and it cannot be forced. It is a process. So when it feels particularly frustrating and stressful between the two of you, understand that it is somewhat normal. You haven’t really started that shared life together yet. Living in the same house and really being that dynamic duo is yet to come. [Which has its vicissitudes as well, but that is for another time!]

4] Do read some books on marriage and shalom bayis. You will have to reread them once you are married and it is no longer in theory, but getting familiar with it all now will help you alot, and will allow you to go into all of this with the correct outlook.

5] A not so oft spoken of topic is that of getting on a great footing with your future mother in law when you are engaged. Ask her advise, invite her to come with you for gown fittings, go shopping with her for the many things that you need to set up your house, etc. You get the idea. Let her know that you aren’t taking her son away, but that she is gaining another child. This will go far in your future relationship.

6] Don’t forget about your single friends!!! Try to find the balance of bringing them into your life and your plans, but remembering and being sensitive to them that they haven’t yet found their bashert. They want to be included in your life and not forgotten about. I have unfortunately heard from many of them when this happens. It is sad and painful for them. Keep this in mind.

Concerning your question of having doubts while you are engaged. It is quite normal. I think that even those girls who seem ‘in the clouds’ and constantly squeal how everything is soooo perrrrrfect, also have some doubts from time to time. I have heard from many girls that the morning after the engagement they wake up with the thought of “what have I done!?”

The bottom line is that this is a huge decision, one that will shape the rest of your future. I believe that it is impossible to be 100% sure that this is the right person for you. That is why the dating process should be taken so seriously, a person should have one or two key people who are older and married that they are talking everything through with every step of the way, and the dating girl should be constantly thinking, working things through, and listening to herself and her feelings.

So doubts from time to time would be natural, given the magnitude of the situation. But if things really aren’t going well between the two of you on a regular basis, or you are constantly finding fault with him, or you are much of the time wondering if this is right, or you find yourself thinking that there are other young men out there that would be better for you – you should certainly speak to someone about it, and see what is really going on with you. Perhaps you should then speak to him and work things out directly, or go together to a Rav or therapist for pre-marital counseling, or rethink your decision altogether. There is a commitment here, but it is not etched in stone, and as embarrassing as you may feel it is to end it now, sometimes it is the right thing to do. On the flip side, maybe this is just a case of pre- wedding jitters, and by talking it through with someone, you will clarify things that were going on in your head, and it can be okay. Real life, isn’t ‘in the clouds’ – we get those ideas from fairy tales, movies and books. Remember that life is full of challenging opportunities and encounters that help us grow!

The most enthusiastic of Mazal Tovs to you!!!!!!

With Warmest Wishes,