By Sherrie B. Miller

Jewish Dating FireNadav and Avihu, sons of Aharon HaCohen were cut down in the prime of their lives while engaged in the most Holy task of sacrificing the Holy sacrifices to Hashem.

What was their unforgivable “crime?”

They brought an “aish zara,” a strange or foreign fire that they were not commanded to bring.

According to the commentators this “strange fire” was the their extreme passion in their Service of Hashem. One can sense their elation and ecstasy in the performance of this sublime mitzvah! They were “high” on Torah, “high” on Hashem, thrilled and excited beyond description.

It sounds like the perfect scenario; what more could the Almighty desire from His constituents than total rapture and adulation?

The fact is that G-d was unhappy and unimpressed by this elusive show of emotions and disregard for the seriousness and gravity of this moment of connection with the Almighty. Hashem took severe measures to inculcate in the People for all eternity to learn the essence and the fundamental nature of serving Hashem.

Unfortunately, we have been programmed in the TV and Hollywood era to look for “pizzaz,” fireworks, passion and excitement in our relationships. We have been thrust into a world of momentary pleasure, externality and amusement.

The “sacrifices” so central in our worship, are called karbanot, from the word kirvah, closeness. The general terminology that is used for such offerings is called Avoda, work!

This is no mere coincidence between the notion of closeness and work, because in the Hebrew language each word’s meaning and its root are intentional. The dictionary is the only place where “success” comes before “work.”

To serve the Almighty properly, we are required to work! (a four letter word nowadays) The work is done through the performance of 613 mitzvot. Although it may seem at first glance to be difficult and tedious, making some feel like robots, its purpose is to keep us engaged in a continuous relationship with the |Almighty. The effort of the actions and the exertion in the Service is what ultimately binds us and connects us to G-d.

Similarly, dating should be viewed as a trial period to uncover a prospective partner’s ability to persist in actions that show caring and considerate manners over the long haul.

Just as the spectacle of fireworks dazzle and astound us for a matter of seconds, so too they leave us empty and drained as they are rapidly extinguished.

Hashem is imparting to us the secret of a loving and lasting relationship; it is not the short-lived high, or the overwhelming “wow” of a “turned on moment,” but rather the long term and deliberate “sacrifices” that are not mere concessions, but rather compassionate acts of love that draw us close to our partner. These efforts do not always come effortlessly and naturally, but are investments of energy and oomph to do things for him/her when it is not so convenient or advantageous for me at that particular moment in time.

If all it takes to create real bonds is “fireworks” and great looking guys and gals, then most of Hollywood’s cast of characters would be happily married, rather than on their third and fourth marriages.

Let’s get back to basics and learn from the inappropriate and transitory rapture of Nadav and Avihu, that lasting relationships must be paced and grounded in internal considerations, such as wholesome character traits and the genuine ability to make sacrifices, so that they can pass the test of 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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