By Sherrie B. Miller

Jewish Dating Commitment

“You are standing today, all of you, before Hashem…for you to pass into the covenant (brit) of Hashem…and into His promise that Hashem seals with you today.” (Devarim 9-11)

Bnei Yisrael are standing before a most significant cross road in their relationship with G-d. They are preparing to enter the land and despite having already sealed the deal at Har Sinai, Hashem feels the need to reiterate this momentous promise of achieve an everlasting bond between Him and His people.

Why should this repetition be necessary and what is the value of “passing into the covenant?”

The Ba’al HaTanya teaches that the “fireworks” and the “bells” of Matan Torah which the first generations in the desert experienced, was short-lived and transient. The ecstasy and high didn’t take long until it was substituted with a golden calf. These feelings are not feelings of stability and permanence. These fleeting feelings are characteristic of the romantic stage in the evolution of most male-female relationships. As soon as reality set in, and Moshe was thought to have disappeared, the relationship with Hashem was over. These early generations of Jews who were still plagued with the slavery mentality would not be zocheh to enter the Promised Land.

A new breed of Jews was chosen to forge the way into the unknown without the supernatural and extraordinary miracles that Hashem had been providing Bnei Yisrael until now.

The purpose of the current brit was not for the generations who stood at Har Sinai basking in the sensory high of a magnificent sound and light show, but rather for the future generations to remind and awaken them to commit and re-commit to this awesome relationship and cling to Hashem no matter what storms and challenges they must face.

Commitment is the source and secret of lasting, creative and dynamic love.

Commitment induces effort and giving my all in a relationship, which in turn creates feelings of true love.

Thus the Pirkei Avot teach: “Appoint for yourself a Rav and “invest” in a friend.”

We love that which we are invested in, because a part of us has now been transferred into the other. This thought is borne out by noticing the first mention of love between a man and a woman in the Torah. It was regarding the marriage of Yitzchak and Rivka. We read in Breishit 24:67:

“And Isaac brought her into the tent of Sarah his mother; he married Rebecca, she became his wife, and he loved her; and thus was Isaac consoled after his mother.”

Yitzchak had a mission; Yitzchak was determined to carry on the legacy left by his mother’s impact on our people. His search ended when he found that Rifka’s traits of loving kindness and devotion to the Jewish people restored the miracles that took place in Sarah’s tent. (the challot stayed fresh from erev Shabbat until the next erev Shabbat, the candles burned the whole week and the Cloud of Glory was above the Tent.)

Each letter, each word and order of words in the Torah teach profound lessons!

Yitzchak made a commitment of marriage to his wife and THEN he loved her. Being married entails steadfastly re-creating the original wholeness of the soul, which means acting as a unit, working towards a merging of selves.

Often in my counseling practice I hear the following: “she is lovely, bright, intelligent…but too shy. Madison Avenue and the advertising hype tell us, that we can have it all, whatever we want; if it’s not perfect, it’s not worth having. There will always be a “new and improved” version on the shelf tomorrow.

When we realize that most relationships undergo transitions and stages that foster growth and progress, we can take a fresh look at the person who has the core traits that I am looking for, but is a bit shy. After the romantic period when some believe that they are truly perfect for each other, there comes a period of awakening and realization that we have differences and flaws which leads to a stage known as “power struggles.”

Struggle breeds growth and deepening of the relationship.

No one is perfect, nor are they meant to be. We help each other be the best that we can be, both individually and is a couple. Marrying someone who has traits that evoke respect, admiration and the desire that future children will emulate this person, are what solidifies and establishes a strong marriage.

Marriage is not a series of Shabbat lunches, where someone is judged based on how gregarious and social they can be in a group. The current psychological trend would have us believe, contrary to the Torah approach, that dating is about being struck by the arrow of cupid and “falling” inexplicably “in love” and in passion.

If Harville Hendrix can assert that we must strive for a conscious marriage, why then is it so far fetched to strive for a conscious dating experience? Conscious means that I must be reasonably attracted physically and that I understand what traits are at the foundation of an everlasting marriage, a binyan adei ad.

As with Yitzchak, this starts with commitment!

We are told that Avraham actually “passed through” the brit bein habitarim. We have a sense here as well that Bnei Yisrael must move into action by “passing into the covenant.” It takes more than hopes and dreams to accomplish ones vision and aspirations. It is the commitment to the promise and the plan of action that brings the ultimate success and satisfaction. It may require actually and physically drawing a line and crossing it to signify the resolve to be committed to a decision.

Commitment to a relationship determines how we will devote our time, talent, attention and resources. When the shared promise and commitment to marriage is top priority, it will undoubtedly thrive.

Ahava in gematria is equal to “echad,” which equals 13. Two who become one reach 26 which is the name of Hashem, yud, kay, vav, kay! When we approach marriage with this equation, joining forces with Hashem we will make the right choice (bechira) in our investment in a marriage partner (chaver).

May enjoy the blessing of Malachi 2:14, that you enjoy “the companion (of our youth) and the wife of your covenant.”

About author:
Sherrie B. Miller is a Jewish Matchmaker on and works with Jewish Singles all over the world. She is 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.

Before coming to Israel in 1989 from Great Neck, New York, Sherrie taught Judaic Studies at the North Shore Hebrew Academy. Sherrie also educated affiliated and unaffiliated adults through the “Project Identity” outreach program under the directorship of Rabbi Yaakov Lerner. Sherrie trained individuals and couples in the laws of Kashrut, Guidelines of Parenting, Parshat Shavua and Pirkei Avot.

In her work as a Guidance Counselor in the national religious “Mamad” school, "Yehuda Halevi", Sherrie instructed life skill workshops to students, parents and teachers, with a focus on communication, conflict resolution and anger management. She also leads support groups for children of divorce.

Sherrie is certified by the Life Center and leads Parenting workshops based on the Faber/Mazlish workshops on, “How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk”

Sherrie is an executive board member of the Emunah World Zionist Organization, Mibreishit, led by Rav Motti Alon, and Nishmat led my Rabbanit Hanna Henkin.

Sherrie’s diverse background in counseling and teaching, combined with torah principles and values contribute to the depth and quality of her success with clients. Lessons drawn from her own life transitions make her coaching perspective uniquely inspirational. Sherrie helps individuals clarify their goals and take masterful action steps to reach them. Sherrie is professionally known for her guidance in the educational system as well as her outstanding capabilities teaching interpersonal relationship skills to groups and individuals.

Having made a number of successful matches resulting in marriage, Sherrie volunteers as a matchmaker for SawYouAtSinai, an internet matchmaking site.

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