By Sherrie B. Miller

Jewish Dating Independence

Free choice is the primary characteristic that makes Man a unique species and is the foundation of our humanity. When we err and view it as having been our only option, then we demean ourselves and reduce our status as creations in the image of G-d.

Man’s desires and yearnings are the expression of his true self, although they are not always compatible with his actions.

The story of Adam and Chava is the Torah paradigm for healthy and lasting relationships, manifested by an unconscious desire to re-unite with other half.

We are told in the first chapter of Bereishit that Adam and Chava were created as a single androgynous being, seemingly in an ideal and unified state. Why was the separation necessary and why didn’t G-d create them that way in the first place?

There was tremendous potential in them that was unable to be actualized as long as they were one and back to back. There was a natural unity in which they were created, but they were not involved in that choice: it was a given! In Chapter 2 of Bereishis, G-d decides to separate the two in order to give us the option and choice to be in that state of complete unity and oneness. While in the previous state of union, neither had the ability to identify their deficiencies nor their inner desire to go beyond the self in order to become a giver. The separation led to an ability to give without limitation, which results in a deep and genuine love.

After their division, they were left with the imprint of unity in their minds and they now had the capacity to yearn for connection through the midah of chessed and desire to be giving beings, rather than just takers (from Hashem) as in the Parent –child relationship. The parent-child relationship creates a state of dependence, and by its nature immature.

Man is told to leave his parents home, become a responsible and giving adult by cleaving to his wife.

After the Nesirah (separation), Adam awoke from his slumber and immediately identified Chava as his missing half, saying: “Etzem mei Atzamai,” (flesh of my flesh). Adam felt his lack and realized her pivotal role in helping him achieve wholeness. (And vice versa) He now freely chooses Chava as his wife!

Interestingly, the root of “etzem” denotes “atzmi” (self) and “atzmaut” (independence).

Choosing Marriage is a vital step in becoming all I can be, yet one must balance togetherness and separateness.

As Khalil Gibran says in his poem on Marriage:

“You were born together, and together you shall be for evermore…Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music… And stand together yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, and the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”

The Western world places a high value on independence and total self-reliance. Yet, the Talmud teaches that Man without Woman, is not Man. (and vice-versa): “He created them male and female-and called them adam.”) Bereishit 5:2

Balancing the two, is a life long endeavor that most enriching and joyful.

Harville Hendrix, founder of the Imago theory, describes the three stages in most relationships: the romantic, the power struggle and the conscious marriage.

In the romantic stage, when all seems rosy, we overlook one another’s shortcomings and there are few if any disagreements. Biologically, a chemical process in the brain makes us feel this way and activates neurotransmitters that produce natural “highs”.

Within a couple of years, in stage two, the couple realizes that they are indeed two separate entities. There are power struggles as each attempts to define himself as a unique individual and simultaneously become a part of a greater whole.They each become annoyed with the repetition of negative traits in their spouse and become critical of one another. They are in pain.

In pain is the seed of healing which leads to the third stage of conscious marriage: hopefully, each spouse chooses their partner anew and accepts each other and love each other for who they are. Each of the partners must continue to build their own whole, healthy and independent selves, while being involved in complementing and completing each other in couplehood.

Rav Kook discussed these stages in our nationhood as well. Israel was founded amid great joy and optimism while its citizens were willing to do anything to create and sustain the Land. (Romantic stage) The time came, when there was a great deal of self-doubt, (“did I choose the right partner?”) and devastating actions are taken like giving up huge parts of the Land. (Power struggle stage) The third stage will manifest itself when we accept and declare our love for our Partner and we remember why we chose Him in the first place.

Our spouse awaits our choice to rejoin with Him and choose His dwelling place as our dwelling place! “Kol Dodi Dofek!”

May we be zoche to choose the right partner at the right time and May we be zoche to welcome Moshiach speedily in our time!

Sherrie Miller M.A.
Sherrie is the SawYouAtSinai ‘Article of the Week’ writer as well as a dedicated SYAS matchmaker. Trained as an educational guidance counselor, group leader, pre-marital coach, matchmaker and Judaic Studies teacher, Sherrie is dedicated to promoting and enhancing emotional intelligence and communication skills in conjunction with Torah values.

Sherrie received her educational counseling degree from the Michlalah in Bayit Vegan and an M.A. in Education and Counseling from Touro College, Jerusalem, Israel. Sherrie also holds a B.A. in Speech Pathology and Audiology from Brooklyn College and a B.Sc. from Yeshiva University in Jewish Education. Sherrie is certified by Midreshet Emunah and is accredited by the Rabbanut of Israel, to be a pre-marital couple’s counselor and Kallah teacher.

Choices of the Heart, a preparation and enrichment program for nearly-wed and newly wed couples, run by Sherrie Miller, focuses on teaching communication skills between couples, using Jewish wisdom and Torah sources. The workshops offer tools to build skills and realistic goals that empower young couples with on their way to establish a Jewish home.

Having counseled singles and made a number of successful matches resulting in marriage, Sherrie volunteers as a matchmaker for SawYouAtSinai.

Sherrie has a private practice in Jerusalem and can be contacted via email at or via phone at both 718-874-0677 (USA) and 054-475-5153 (Israel)

This Jewish Dating Column is brought to you by SawYouAtSinai, the Jewish Matchmaking service. Articles are often written by Jewish matchmakers, to help Jewish singles connect.

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