Monday, June 22, 2009

How Avram & I Met.....

Well, actually... this picture is not from when we met, but it IS the earliest picture I have of the two of us. That's me - the happy (?) looking child in the lower right corner ;). Avram is pretty easy to pick out. And believe me, the shidduch never entered ANYBODY'S mind until a good 16 years later!

What is interesting to me, is that as Avram and I approach our 25th (!!) wedding anniversary I wonder whether our union would have ever come to fruition had all the "safeguards" in place today been active back then. Avram and I knew each other and our families knew each other our whole lives, but had we not had the opportunity to work together on a Yeshiva project, we would never have realized how compatible we were. If he had simply been "redt" to me (and he was), we would never have dated....

Many of you know that although my children dated in the "acceptable" fashion of today, my daughter actually married a Shabbos guest of ours. How well I remember calling a certain cousin to tell her of the shidduch and upon hearing the story her response was in a loud voice, "You have *boys* at your table with a single daughter?!?!?!?". Ummmm.... yes...... if this is the worst that can happen, bring it on!

Now, don't all start jumping down my throat (I see you Bake Lecho Dodi, dipping your pen into the inkwell....). I am not saying that we need to dispense with the current shidduch system lock stock and barrel. But I am saying that when our children reach an age where we feel they are ready to marry (which in my mind, by the way, means they are ready to answer questions themselves and don't need non-stop coaching as to the "right" answers to questions and CIA-worthy grilling after the dates), they should be afforded the opportunity to mix with the opposite sex in normal, natural ways. This two year old post of mine is still worth a read.... as is ProfK's post entitled The Olden Days of Shidduchim - - Part I. I'm eagerly awaiting Part II.


BLD said...

BLD has no problem with what you said. Perfect. Now please identify the people in the picture.

Ezzie said...

Good post.

a proud Chicago Mom said...

I am so excited to have finally made it on to your blog!!!! Who do you think looked cuter in those white glasses?

Yehuda said...

Because parents don't mind when their kids exceed themselves.... I must say that I think your kids looked cuter than you and your husband did at that age.

(Good post, by the way.)

FBB said...

Interesting thoughts here, especially if you and your husband would be together if you stuck only to the system. I say...YES.

Why? Because G-d is in control, and if it was supposed to happen it was going to happen. You said yourself you had two instances (you and your daughter) where you ended going outside the lines. That was orchestrated, albeit much more easily because you were not horrified at the thought of meeting someone on your own.

My point is really not even about you, but just that too many people have taken G-d out of the equation. Why else would people twist themselves in knots to be things they aren't and lie? Maybe because the term "basheret" is just something they give lip service to, and in reality they believe it's because of their money, job, status, or homes that they will get the shidduch they want for their kids.

I know, I've heard it before "Just wait until your in it." It's always easier to have bitachon when you are not tested. That's when the rubber meets the road, and I would hope that no matter how difficult it gets, I would maintain my faith that G-d is in control, and if something isn't going well, I would try to fix something in my life, and see the possible message G-d is sending me.

G6 said...

You have a point - but only up until a point.
I once heard Rav Gelley shlita speak about the concept of "bashert" and reconciling that with the fact that there are so many older singles and divorcees.
"Why?", he asks....
His answer? Because while yes, Hashem always sends us our bashert, we have to be open to it recognize it and accept it. If we send our bashert packing, that is free will and in our hands, not Hashem's......
So while I certainly never took Hashem out of the equation (and was frankly lucky enough when turning away from both my bashert and my daughter's to be given second and third chances by Hashem), I firmly believe in hishtadlus as well.

ProfK said...

The old story going around when I was younger had a not so young man complaining to Rebbe____ (fill in your desired name) that it was really hard to believe in the idea of bashert when here he was, X years old, and he still hadn't met his bashert. The Rebbe answered: oh you met her alright, but you thought her nose was too long! (Or perhaps modernize that with "her father wasn't rich enough"). I agree with you that it takes some work on our parts, not just God's part, to understand and recognize what is bashert for us.

Thanks for the link!

FBB said...

I did not mean to imply that one should sit back and do nothing to help get themselves married, nor do I think that one should wait for a direct sign from heaven. However, if so much of what people do "for shidduchim" is antithetical to Torah or even G-d himself, then I think they have no faith. If one feels they need to lie or twist the truth in order to get married, or they feel they need to pretend to be something they are not they have crossed a line. G-d is TRUTH and I cannot believe that HE would only facilitate something if it comes about through deceitful ends.

That is not to say he doesn't LET it happen when those means are employed, but I don't believe that "you HAVE to," in order to get married.

I also in no way meant to imply that you, G6, took G-d out of the equation.

BLD said...

On another note - Why is his name Avram and not Avrohom ?

G6 said...


For a guy who won't even hint at his identity (feel free to email ;) ), you sure do ask a lot of personal questions :D

Avram's Hebrew name is, in fact, Avrohom. His parents, if you must know, gave him the English name Avram, b/c they were afraid Abraham would garner him the (dreaded) nickname "Abie".....

Now I believe an email "hint" is in order {grin}

Staying Afloat said...

It can work the other way around, too. My husband and I had several mutual friends (some from different life stages), but none thought to put us together. My aunt was looking around for me, and my husband was by a friend of hers so she set it up based on very little information, some of it wrong. When it worked, we had a lot of people kicking themselves.

In line with it all being bashert, we attribute the timing to a particular zechus. My husband and his roommate took in a fellow student from abroad and did everything possible to help him with his wedding. Within the year, both roommates were married. Without that, maybe we would have waited until out mutual friends had a brainstorm.

efrex said...

I am not saying that we need to dispense with the current shidduch system lock stock and barrel

Oh, I am!

When a system
* allows for people to be judged by what institution they attended 15 years ago
* Can talk about tzniut and yet requires a girl to list her dress size on her "shidduch resume"*
* Considers age of toilet-training, type of white shirt worn, and color of shabbat tablecloth to be reliable indicators of a potential chattan's suitability
* treats ba'alei teshuva and gerim as second-class Jews despite explicit Torah prohibitions

Then that system needs to be dismantled, burnt, blown to smithereens, and the remaining remnants cast into the sea.

(gee, can you tell that this is a topic that gets my blood going?)

Seriously, though: it's entirely appropriate to have some guidelines and rules and it's entirely understandable to want to meet somebody who is hashkafically similar. Past a certain point, though, we have brought upon ourselves this non-historic, non-Jewish, non-halachic, non-sensible idea that somehow we can manage people's married lives by matching up numbers on a piece of paper. There's no shortage of successful marriages, both of the last generation and of this, that would never have gotten off the floor in the contemporary shidduch scene.

I suppose it's possible that The Lovely Wife(tm) and I would have eventually gotten set up with each other: we had approximately 1,345,972 friends in common, but not a single one of them thought to set us up over the six years that passed between when we first met and first started dating. Instead, we wound up running in to each other time and time again, and after a few whacks upside the head with a clue-by-four, I managed to not let her get away. Remarkable, but after graduating college, finding a full-time job and paying my own rent from my own salary, I was capable of finding out what I wanted in a wife without anybody polling me over minutia of how many hours a day I was kovea ittim or what shul my siblings' parents-in-law davened at.

Limiting mixed social events for teenagers is understandable; eliminating them entirely is not, at least for the vast majority of contemporary Orthodox Jews. Not allowing mixed seating at an adult-controlled shabbat table is just, well, *censored* (in deference to your no-doubt well-meaning cousin).
* (the one time in my life when I quoted a possuk in response to a real-life situation: I received a friend's "resume," saw that information, and let out with the three-word response that Shimon & Levi said to Ya'akov when he castigated them for their zealous defense of Dinah)

tnspr569 said...

Well, some of your Shabbos guests are very much amenable to such "mixed" arrangements - they're certainly a welcome change from separate seating at our friends' weddings!

Then again, we would happily come again regardless of the "arrangements"!

Louisa said...

I met my future (iy"H) husband because he is very into hakhnasas orchim and since I was a stranger (in more ways than he realized) in the community where he davens as the baal koreh, he came over to me and said hello and invited me to a meal for Shabbos. He does this FOR EVERYONE. Old men. Young couples. Whatever. He claims he didn't even have an interest in me when he did it - and I believe it. Fortunately, I was not too demure to say yes. I said yes and I've been saying yes ever since. This is what Torah with derekh eretz can get you, kids...

cuzzin buzzin said...

sorry, Louisa, I strongly disagree with you. this meeting at people's houses over dinner happens in many communities and has zero to do with Torah Im Derech Eretz.

I am a little tired of all those champions of the TIDE way of life thinking that everything they do that isn't a current chumrah is TIDE.

let's do a little reading review to really see if we know what Torah Im Derech Eretz stands for. I think I see the words "torah" and "derech eretz" in it, not dating methods

cuzzin buzzin said...

to clarify- I think it is GREAT the way people meet at G6's home.

and I think it is a normal and healthy way for people to meet!

but not a T.I.D.E. theme

daughtersintheparsha said...


do you really consider asking about kovea itim minutia??

I think that is sad

Yehuda said...


Asking if the guy learns or is the type to speak about the parsha at the Shabbos table is one thing. To ask if he is "koveia itim" is cheesy and cringe-inducing.

Which normal adult was "koveia itim" in the last generation? Sure, if you were a good Jew, you probably attended one or more of your shul's shiurim before or after davening, but no one ever thought of it as "koveia itim."

This "koveia itim" nonsence is fairly new I believe. I have a hard time imagining anyone in Europe asking "Is he 'koveia itim'?"

FBB said...

I think the people in Europe were mostly trying not to be killed by the locals.

I don't think we need to compare everything that happens here to what happened in Europe, certainly as a way to win an argument. Our society is different (though we have returned to the 19th century of girls needing a dowry to get married), and how exactly does a person find out if a guy who is working is still interested in learning and will continue to do so if that question isn't asked.

Is it the kovea ittim that's nonsense or learning once you've left yeshiva?

Louisa said...

cuzzin - I am so sorry I didn't mean to jump on the "misusing TIDE" bandwagon. Not AT ALL. I hope it mollifies you slightly to learn that I am young and completely new to everything frum, so for me a lot of stuff is still very mixed up. I do so hate looking like a ill-willed idiot in public!

I think in fact what I meant to say was that my chassan has good manners and a sense of proportion - this meeting did not in fact happen at a Shabbos table but DID happen at shul, and I think most frum men in normal circumstances do not introduce themselves to random young ladies at shul. However, this was in a very isolated, small community (not in NYC - not even close) and he knows very well that there, if he is not providing Shabbos hospitality to newcomers, no one is. The fact that this dedication to making newcomers feel comfortable and looking after a fellow Jew trumped his idea of "normal" behavior shows that he gets that normality or a sense of tzniut does not automatically trump other Torah values like hospitality or making sure that someone is OK.

Maybe there isn't a good catchphrase for that, but it sounds like we are both for it!

With her tail between her legs,

Louisa said...

also, can someone clue me in on what this "kovea ittim" is?

efrex said...

Louisa: kovea ittim = setting aside time for Torah learning. In certain circles, one is allowed to settle for a boy who wants to earn a living, so long as he has an established time for Torah learning.

DITP: I don't necessarily consider it "minutia" to determine how seriously a person takes his Torah learning; I do consider it insulting and meaningless to use a number (hours per day or hours per week) to try to assess that. People express their devotion to Torah learning in a myriad of ways, and not all of them involve spending three hours a day in a beit medrash. It's all the more insulting when this question is asked completely out of context (person's profession, personal obligations, etc.), which I have inevitably found it to be.

FBB said...

Devotion to Torah learning? what is that? why not just learn?

I don't think anyone expects working guys to be spending 3 hours in the Bais Medrash, but you do want to hear that they have a set seder everyday, especially at a youngish age.

Anonymous said...

i think a guy either IS or ISN"T Kovaia Ittim how much or how little is less important

G6 said...

Might I take a moment to reference my previous post which I think is relevant to this kovea ittim discussion.
Whether or not you use/like the word "kovea ittim" we need to recognize that quantity does not necessarily equal quality and that one can be a serious learner who just happens to have a job!

YW said...

Speaking about anniversaries, today is the 48th anniversary of the C.I.A. killing JFK for the way he handled the Cuban Missile Crisis.