By Sherrie B. Miller

Jewish Dating Neighbor

This command seems rather dogmatic and unreasonable at first glance. After all, can someone be ordered to feel any feeling for someone, if they don’t feel it, and more so to command someone to “love” another? Either you love them or you don’t! What if they’ve hurt you or are just so different from you that you cannot muster any feelings let alone those of Love?

The Torah in its Infinite Wisdom is teaching a most profound lesson: the ability to love in a healthy way is predicated on our ability to genuinely and simply love our self. In our frenetic and frantic paced world, children may sometimes grow up feeling that they are not all that important or worthy to their parents who seem to have less and less time to devote to them. From their parents point of view they are working to earn enough to provide their kids with the enticing things that money can buy, some, needless to say, very worthwhile, like a good education, a worthwhile summer camp experience etc.

But, from my experience, young adults despite being very accomplished and successful in their respective career choices, still need to focus on and pay attention to developing a positive and solid sense of self, someone that they are proud to meet when they look in the mirror. This is this basis for a happy and lasting relationship. The Torah is emphasizing the fact that one cannot truly love another, unless he loves himself, not in an arrogant or haughty way, but in a humble fashion reflecting our being created in G-d’s Image. Loving Me, is Loving my Creator and realizing that I have been given a singular and extraordinary role to play here on Earth.

We can extrapolate from this world famous dictum that since we must love another as our self, that we must “cut them slack” when they err or do something that upsets us. Just as we rationalize our own faults and find it rather easy to excuse or own faux-pas, we ought to do the same in our relationship with others. The great Baal Shem Tov first taught the principle: if you spot it, you got it! He explains that in all relationships, the person opposite us is merely mirroring our own self. Something that bothers us about someone else is a signal for us to look inside and uncover the situations in which I behave similarly. If it was not a part of my being, it could have no effect on me.

This is especially true in a close relationship between a man and a woman. The intensity of the relationship is so much greater and therefore creates situations that precisely “step on my sore spots.” This set up was intended by Hashem to aid and abet in our self-development and Tikun. Therefore the Talmud states that a man without a wife is not a Man based on the passuk: “He created them male and female-and called them adam.” (Genesis 5:2) “One has an identity as a whole person only when one is married,” says Rav Avraham Twerski in his book, The First Year of Marriage.

Through the shlichut (G-d given Mission) of marriage, Man and Woman are afforded the unique opportunity of serving as help mates to each other in the Process of self- building and growth, as well as bringing out the best in each other, leading to our ultimate unity and completion coupled with total attachment to Hashem.

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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