By Sherrie B. Miller

“Behold, I give to him my covenant of peace.” (shalom) (Bamidbar25:12)

Rabbeinu Tovia B’Psikta Zutra wrote: so great is the blessing of Shalom received by Pinchas from Hashem, that one ought to follow suit and feel compelled to greet one another with Shalom, Shacharit and Maariv. The implication is that we should try to initiate the greeting of Shalom as often as possible.

Jewish Dating ShalomThis “tip” may seem simple, but it has embedded within it a very profound message.

There is a Chassidic story related about Rav Yaakov Yosef, the Baal HaToldot, who warmly greeted a young new student who was studying in the Beit Midrash. The student who was engrossed in his thoughts replied curtly to the Rav who attempted to engage him in conversation in order to get acquainted. Exceedingly irritated the pre-occupied student burst out abruptly and asked the Rav what difference it made to the Rav to know who he was and where he came from.

The Rav explained: it is an accepted Jewish custom that when a new person comes to town, one must greet him with Shalom and ask his name, his place of origin and what he does. The Rav continued: when we say Shalom to someone, we make peace with that individual. You connect to them by learning a bit about them. Two Jews that know a bit about one another will be inclined to help each other and often times grow to love each other, which in turn makes them each joyous for the other’s success. It’s a beginning.

As below, so too above: when Jews are joyous below it is reflected above in the joy of Hashem which yields added bracha and joy not only to the two Jews who invested a few minutes to get acquainted, but the entire Land and its inhabitants reap the benefits as well. “Remember,” said the Rav to the student, “how much nachas Hashem receives from a “shalom aleichem” between two Jews, when they show each other the respect and concern and especially are “makdimim,” initiating this relationship! And remember! Shalom is one of Hashem’s names-this is one of the ways that He is defined!

To apply this anecdote to the world of dating, we can ask ourselves: “how much time to do I spend trying to know my date vs. what amount of the time am I invested in promoting myself?” “How much time am self-absorbed and I am investing in trying to figure out WHY I should date this person again, instead of WHY NOT? I have unfortunately counseled too many people who now look back of a number of the dates that they went on and regret not having pursued it further. They got caught up in the Madison Ave. advertising world of: why settle? Wait for tomorrow’s NEW & IMPROVED product.

Surely, we arrive with a list of questions that are reminiscent of the pressure and anxiety felt at a job interview.

But what if we went on a date with a natural curiosity for discovering another treasure of Hashem’s handiwork? What if I put aside the usual list of questions pertaining to education, career choice, number of kids I plan on, and rather got to find out what makes this person tick, what makes them want to wake up in the morning? What are they passionate about?

To be present when talking to someone about his or her passion is to watch a person radiate enthusiasm and to shine! I guarantee that they will be seen in a totally different light as a result.

In their book First Impressions: What You Don’t Know About How Others See You, Demarais and White discuss 4 ways of focusing on a date.

1. How you feel about yourself
2. How you feel about the other person
3. How the other person feels about you
4. How the other person feels about himself or herself

I put #4 in bold letters because it is probably the factor leased paid attention to and yet the most critical in developing a caring relationship.

Prior to a first date, instead of asking the usual mundane and technical stats of a person, try to reveal an accomplishment or a hobby of that person in order to show your (sincere) admiration and esteem for their accomplishment or talent. This highlights your ability to give and put someone else’s needs before your own, a pre-requisite to a loving and lasting relationship.

People naturally enjoy being around people who make them feel good and especially people who make them feel good about themselves. You may be wondering, “what’s in it for me?” “Paradoxically,” say Damarais and White, the shortest route to getting what you want is to give to others first.” This lays the groundwork for the “boomerang” effect embodied in Chazal’s adage: “As with water, we see our reflection when gazing at it, so too does a heart reflect back what is in the other’s heart!” (Mishlei)

Just as Rav Yaakov Yosef emphasized the importance of initiating the Shalom by learning about everyone we meet, how much more so when seeking our soul mate?

Invest the time to dig beneath the surface; focus on your date and most often you will leave with a sense of wonderment!


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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