PARSHAT VAYIGASH: CREATING RAPPORT
By Sherrie B. Miller
Yehuda approached Yosef. According to the Ohr HaChaim Hakadosh, Yehuda not only
tried to get closer to Yosef physically, but also emotionally by creating rapport
between them. How did moving closer help to achieve this end?
The closer the proximity, the more Yehuda was able to "mirror” (copy) Yosef's facial
expressions, body language, gestures, tone of voice and feelings. This technique
is often like a communication dance.
Mirroring is a powerful and valuable tool to gain mutual understanding because it
helps you to feel what the other person is feeling!
When meeting people, if you mimic their expressions, they will generally be friendlier
towards you. This relates to the way people accept their own images when looking
in the mirror; it is often observed between parents and infants, with the parent
displaying the same expressions as the baby which gives him/her a sense of self-worth.
Rabbi Simcha Zissel Ziv states that "feelings of closeness and love for another
person come from a feeling of similarity with him. That is why a person's close
friends are an indication of what he himself is like." (Consulting the Wise by Rav
We learn this concept from Shlomo HaMelech in Mishlei as well:
"Kamayim hapanim l'panim, ken lev ha'adam l'adam:" "As water reflects a face back
to a face, so one's heart is reflected back to him by another." When we feel positively
toward another they will reciprocate.
This is an important skill to learn and avail oneself of, when dating.
By focusing on the other and allowing oneself to be absorbed in their partner's
way of presenting themselves, one automatically draws closer, feels the similarity
and develops an affinity for them before too long.
We can learn from Yehuda that drawing close entails a lot more than being in a particular
physical space; it is being in a place of commonality that is a result of mirroring
my friend, through attempting to internalize their feelings and attempting to understand
them more deeply.
Sherrie B. Miller is a Jewish Matchmaker
on SawYouAtSinai.com 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
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.