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TorahAnytimes Newsletter Chayei Sarah

Parshat Chayei Sarah

Compiled and Edited by Elan Perchik


"The TorahAnyTimes" Newsletter

Parashat Chayei Sarah                                                                    Print Version
25th of Cheshvan, 5779 | November 3, 2018                                Spanish Print Version

Compiled and Edited by Elan Perchik

Rabbi Ephraim Shapiro 
Waiting For You

It was a beautiful day in Jerusalem as the legendary Rav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld zt”l strolled down the street for a walk. The day was filled with the beauty of life and the beauty of G-d’s world. But such a mesmerizing reality came to a halt as soon as Rav Sonnenfeld noticed a little four-year-old girl crying in front of a school. Seeing that she was clearly perturbed, he approached her. “Is everything alright?” Rav Sonnenfeld gently whispered to the girl. As it turned out, today was the first day of school, and the little girl’s mother was critically ill in the hospital. The doctors’ prognosis was dismal. With no one to therefore pick up the girl from school, she was left alone in tears.

But Rav Sonnenfeld did not waste any time. He proceeded to obtain the girl’s home address and walk her home. 
The story could have ended here and it would have been a beautiful demonstration of Rav Sonnenfeld’s care and concern for others. But it didn’t.

When Rav Sonnenfeld shortly thereafter entered the little girl’s home, he was met by total disarray. The house was not exactly organized and put together, but there was good reason for it. Yet, as Rav Sonnenfeld stepped further inside and extended his warm greetings to the family members, he said, “I just want you all to know two things. Firstly, the mother is going to have a complete recovery. Secondly, the mother is going to walk this four-year-old girl down to her chuppa.”

And so it was. In an inexplicable change of circumstances, the mother underwent a total recovery. It came as an incredulous shock to all the medical staff, yet everyone graciously accepted such news. Now it came time for fulfillment of the second part of Rav Sonnenfeld’s blessing.

The four-year-old girl had grown up and she was now seventeen. Although young, names of prospective shidduchim were coming her way. Yet, one after another, she turned them down.

She was now twenty, and her younger siblings began getting of age to marry. Although still unmarried herself, she encouragingly and happily let them go ahead. And indeed, it happened. Three years later, her younger brother got married. And another three years later, two more of her siblings had gotten married. All the while, she received names of some wonderful boys who seemed quite suitable for her. But she just didn’t go along with any of them. It seemed as if she was extremely picky.

By her 32nd birthday, the last of her siblings finally married. It was an unbelievably joyous occasion for all of the family. 
Within a number of months, the four-year-old girl who was now 32, finally got engaged and then married. And like Rav Sonnenfeld had said, her mother walked her down to the chuppa.

As the next morning rolled around and everyone began to get up for another day, the mother did not. And that was not because she was tired. Rather, in fact, she had passed away in her sleep. The newly-married girl of 32 would be going to her mother’s funeral.

As is the custom in Jerusalem, children ask forgiveness from their parents before they are lowered down to the earth for their repose. The kallah of just barely 12 hours had difficulty speaking, but went on to say:

“Ma, I want to ask mechillah (forgiveness) from you. For fifteen years, I appeared to be overly picky in the many shidduch offers I received, and it brought much heartache to you. I am sorry, and I am asking for mechillah. But I just want you to know why I was so picky. It was because I wanted all of my younger siblings to also benefit from Rav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld’s blessing to have you at their chuppa. Only after every one of them had gotten married and you walked them down to their chuppas was I ready… Please be mochel me…”

All along, it may have seemed like the girl was being picky for herself. It was about her finding the perfect boy. But, in reality, nothing could have been further from the truth. It was all about her siblings and her beloved mother. It was about affording her brothers and sisters the opportunity to have their mother dance at their weddings, and about her mother having the chance to reap the nachas of seeing her children’s most joyous moments where they would begin building the family’s future and legacy. That is what it means to lead a selfless existence. That is what it means to care for others outside of yourself.

Dr. Jack Cohen 
Important Dating Etiquette

Planning and ensuring that a date runs smoothly does not come without its fair share of thought and consideration. Most significantly, dating etiquette on the date itself creates an indelible impression and can potentially make or break a shidduch. While the exterior facade created on a date can often be misleading, whether for better or worse, and it does not always accurately depict an individual, it will invariably leave an impact and image in the date’s mind. Here are some suggestions and reminders to help you bring your best self to each date:

For women:

1 – Do not chase the boy. Promising relationships can be cut short if a woman makes the man she is dating uncomfortable by pursuing him or prematurely expressing her feelings for him. It is imperative to maintain your modesty. When it comes to dating, men are wired to feel the need to be the pursuer (see Kiddushin2b) and not the reverse.

2 – Avoid bringing desperation or bitterness into your date. If you are angry or disappointed for whatever reason the day you are going on a date, you could inadvertently project these feelings and send a negative message. Try to unwind and relax before the date, and come into it with a positive and upbeat attitude. If the dejection has anything to do with a previous relationship, then aside from the consideration that it is unwise to date any further before sorting out your feelings, do not speak of those experiences in the early stages of dating someone else. It will not lead to anything constructive and is irrelevant to the person you are meeting with now.

3 – Do not think of the date as being over before it even started. You may have had a long and hard day and are not in the mood of putting on a happy face and going out. But, aside from extenuating circumstances, once you agree to a date, do not back out. You have surely been able to pull yourself together in bothersome situations in the past, and do your best now too. Take a quick rest and freshen yourself up. The person you will meet may be a great match for you.

4 – Know how to end a date that is getting too long. When a date seems to be going well, the man you are with may lose track of time or worry that if he ends the evening the wrong way, you will take offense and not want to go out again. Alternatively, he may be enjoying himself and find you to be pleasant, but the feelings are not mutual. If this is the case, it is wise to diplomatically let him know that it is time to wrap things up because you need to get home. You can say, “I’m having a nice time, but it’s getting a bit late, and I have to be up early tomorrow…” Most men will understand the hint and appreciate your subtle comment.

For men:

1 – Make sure the girl is more or less informed as to the venue of the date. Generally speaking, it is the man’s decision and responsibility to plan the date. It is appropriate and considerate to double check with the girl if she will feel comfortable going to whatever venue you choose (and therefore have a second venue in the event she is not), but it is your decision to begin with. Informing – depending on which date, via the shadchan or directly – the girl ahead of time, allows her to dress accordingly and ensure that she is comfortable. If she is wearing high heels and you plan to walk for quite a bit, such poor planning may potentially derail the flow of the date.

2- Food is important. It isn’t advised to take the girl out for a three-course meal on the first date, but it is important to include some type of refreshment on every date. And in the event that you would like to take her out to a formal dinner, make sure she knows not to eat beforehand. If you are otherwise sitting in a lounge and she declined something to drink earlier, check in with her again a bit later to see if she would like something.

3 – Grooming is important. After a long day of school or work, shower, shave and wear fresh clothing. Your date will notice, even if you do not.

4 – Plan in advance. You will make a good impression if you have covered all your bases. Know where you would like to go and how to get there, and have a second venue in mind in case your first option has had an early or unexpected closing. In addition, make sure you have enough money on you, in case you need to pay for parking or something to eat or drink. As well, it is not polite to keep a young woman in your car while you rush to daven Mincha. Make sure to daven ahead of time. If you are taking a taxi during the date, it is also a good idea to have the taxi wait at the curb while you go inside to meet her and pick her up.

5 – Always be a gentleman. Even if she is not what you expected or whatever you have been told about her is totally off, it is still important to be courteous and finish the date appropriately.

6 – Make sure the girl gets home safely. If you picked her up, you are responsible to bring her home, or at the very least, get her into a taxi and pay the fare. If you have arranged to meet somewhere, ask her how she is getting home. Take her to the train or bus stop and wait until it arrives. If it is late or public transportation is infrequent or distant, it is appropriate for you to drive her home or get her a cab.

7 – Follow up after the date. Even if you do not think you will go out with her again, make sure to nevertheless tell her that it was nice to meet her. Do not promise you will see her again if you have no intention of doing so. And whether you would like to go out again or not, get back to the shadchan as soon as possible. Let the shadchan know that you went out, and will get back to him or her within twenty-four hours. The girl may be anxiously waiting to hear if you would like to go out again.

All in all, it is important to be yourself and represent who you truly are on dates, but it is likewise important to think ahead and plan all parts of the date accordingly. It will only serve you and your shidduch well when these components are duly taken into consideration.

Rabbi Benzion Klatzko 
Remembering You Are Relevant

Years ago, a certain Rabbi Green was teaching a class to his students in Israel about having an ayin tovah, a good eye, and looking at others favorably. He went on to highlight the impact and importance of seeing the good in other people, despite the first or further impressions they may give off. But then he took the students through an interesting exercise.

“Everyone please take out a piece of paper and write down the name of every boy in this class.” After this had been completed by all the students, Rabbi Green continued. “Now write down something nice about each boy next to their name.” And so they did. He has a nice smile; he is a baal chessed (kind); he davens so well. So the boys wrote on and on.

At the conclusion of the class, Rabbi Green gathered together all the pieces of paper from each of the boys and put them in his briefcase. Later that day, he headed home and wrote nicely on a new piece of paper everything each boy had written about all the other boys. Reuven thus had fifteen nice statements about himself from all fifteen other boys in the class; Shimon also had fifteen statements about himself, and so on. Rabbi Green then took the nicely collated papers and laminated them.

The following day in school, each boy was handed a new paper with all the kind and uplifting words and statements their fellow students had written about them. It was a beautiful project.

Many years later, one of the students named Ovadiah had joined the Israeli army. As a young boy in school, he stood out as sweet, charming and dignified. A real mentch, people would say. 
But then, one day, Rabbi Green received a phone call. Sadly, he was informed that his previous student, Ovadiah, had been killed in combat. Heartbroken, he headed to the shiva home to lend care and comfort to Ovadiah’s parents and siblings.

The parents readily noticed Rabbi Green from years before. He had been a special and remembered teacher by Ovadiah. But Ovadiah’s parents had more to tell Rabbi Green than merely thank him for stopping by. “Come with us,” they pleaded.

The parents led Rabbi Green to Ovadiah’s room, where his uniform stood, nicely cleaned and pressed. “Look what we found in his army uniform,” they said, reaching into Ovadiah’s shirt pocket. “It’s the list that was written about him by your students years ago,” his mother said with tears in her eyes. “He took it with him into battle. Wherever he went, he was comforted by the fact that he was loved and supported by his old schoolmates. Whenever he felt low and lost and irrelevant, it was his reminder that he mattered and was relevant. Just imagine. He would look at this and think to himself, ‘Wow! Yehuda thinks I’m a true friend… Yaakov thinks I have an infectious smile… Moshe thinks I sing beautifully…’”

But that was not all.

Over the next few days, some of Ovadiah’s old classmates in fact came to pay a shiva call. And guess what? Many of them also still had, folded and stored away in their wallets, that piece of paper they were given in school years ago. It was their reminder that they were beloved and relevant. You can imagine that it brought tears to their eyes as they looked at it. It was a memento that brought close to their hearts and minds the sentiment that they meant something to their family, friends and the world. Beautiful. Just beautiful.

A Short Message From 
Rabbi Gavriel Friedman

We all tend to worry about things in life. It is almost innate to human nature and to the human condition, we would say. But, in reality, there are two things in life that we should never worry about: 1) what we can change and 2) what we cannot change. And that, just about, includes every possible area in our lives. 

Why is this? Because if you can change it, then change it. Why spend your time worrying if there is something you can do to make it better? And on the contrary, if there is something you cannot change, then worrying about it will not help in any way. 

And so, there you have it. A worry-free life. We’ve all been dreaming about it, and it is all right at our fingertips. We don’t need to attend any special workshop or seminar; we have all the tools we need right with us.

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