Light Up The Night!
By M’nucha Bialik, shidduch coach
Seemingly inexplicable events occur in the parshios we are currently reading. The Shevatim decide to kill Yosef and ended up selling him to the Yishmaelim. Eventually Yosef is sold to Potiphar in Mitzrayim. There Yosef is wildly successful managing Potiphar’s household until Potiphar’s wife tries and almost succeeds in seducing him. In the meantime, Tamar, dressed up like a zonah (a prostitute), attracts her father-in-law, Yehudah. Yehudah condemns her to death upon learning that she is expecting, only to recant and admit that he is, in fact, the guilty party.
And somehow in the midst of all this, Mashiach ben Yosef and Mashiach ben Dovid
are being formed.
Things are not what they appear to be at all. Even to those living during those times, things were not at all what they appeared. The Shevatim were completely certain that Yosef was unworthy and a “rodef”, thus deserving to be killed. They did not recognize his greatness at all! Yehudah was certain that Tamar deserved the death penalty. Both the Shevatim and Yehudah were wrong. Yosef was very great;
through him Yaakov and all his children were saved. Tamar was a tzadeikes and the worthy forebear of Mashiach.
Sometimes even when we are completely certain that what we are seeing is the truth, we can be wrong. Rav Yerucham Levovitz states in Daas Chochmah Umussar that people generally view happenstances according to the prevalent way of viewing things. It is very hard to change our assumptions, perspective, and worldview. One needs to be very wise and intellectually honest in order to look at the world with
complete objectivity; and reject the commonly held assumptions so as to view things in a different light.
There are things happening in the world now, as you read this. Things that easily can be explained away as pure happenstance and natural.
There is a worldwide pandemic going on. Joe Biden seems to have won the American presidency. Donald Trump and some Republicans feel that these results are fraudulent and are actually taking cases to the Supreme Court. There has been racial unrest and major rioting in America. Antisemitism is escalating world-wide. Vaccines for the coronavirus have been created. Jonathan Pollard has been released and is now completely free. The top Iranian nuclear scientist has been killed. Iran is angry and threatens revenge. New elections in Israel seem pending. And around the world, this strange, new, still largely not understood virus is raging. And the worldwide economy is faltering.
Now, obviously, I have no idea what these things mean, but I do know that we are in the midst of seemingly inexplicable events, just like our parshios. When you’re in the middle of the storm, you can’t see what’s really going on. But, sometimes, we just have to be aware that things are going on – what they are, we may find out soon or may not find out for many years. But it’s important to be aware that something is happening.
There is nothing random in our lives. There are no accidents. There is a reason for the raging pandemic, there is a reason that the American nation is more deeply fragmented than it has been for years and years, each side completely believing the other side is evil and delusional. There is a reason for the escalating antisemitism and there is a reason for the plunging economy.
The Jewish people’s lives are not random. In fact, the entire world’s lives are not random. And, my dear friends, your lives are not random at all!!!!!
There is a time when you are destined to get married. But there is a journey that you must travel first. You may feel like you are lost in a jungle. I know that when you haven’t seen the sun peeking through the leaves of the massive trees for a while, it becomes a bit hard to believe that you will ever make it out of the jungle. But you will! There is a way out of the forest. You will escape. You are almost there. Just keep believing, keep davening, and keep taking appropriate action.
For those of you who have taken so much action – you’ve done tons of hishtadlus, have moved, have networked, have done it all – focus now on your bitachon and davening. For those of you who have focused extensively on your tefillos and bitachon, keep doing so, but decide that now is the time to do major hishtadlus. It’s time to be like the Chashmonaim! Mi LaHashem Eilai! It doesn’t matter if your family has given up on you; if your friends don’t believe that they or you will ever get married; or even if you’re anxious and depressed – it’s time. It’s time to take the strength and light of Chanukah and fight back!
1. By being positive. One of the biggest things that makes a young man or a young woman reject the person that they are dating is when they feel that the person is cynical, bitter, or depressed. It is ironic that the young lady or man who really wants to get married is actually pushing people away with their desperation. A man wants to make his wife happy. If he dates someone who he senses is sad and dejected, he will just veer away from her; if he dates someone who is happy with who she is, he will gravitate to her. A woman wants her husband to take care of her. If she feels that the man is stuck in a rut and isn’t positive and strong, how will he have the strength to take care of her needs and be there for her?
So, how do you stay positive even when you so much want to get married? Make your life enjoyable now. Find and associate with people who are encouraging, fun, and positive! Do things that you enjoy – learn the things you want to learn; go to places that you want to go to; do things that you want to do! Have fun with your life – it’s the only one you’ve got! 🙂
2. By staying passionate! Yes, you’re older, you’re wiser, you’re a bit more practical – but stay passionate about life! Keep your youth! Keep your belief that things are good and will be good! Keep your passion for a spiritually growing spouse! Keep your passion for learning and growth! Realism doesn’t mean being dead! The Chashmonaim were very real – they were passionate about the Torah and didn’t give up their passion for growth! And in the end, we were blessed with a chag that brings light and spiritual passion for all the generations!
How do you stay passionate? By going to shiurim that interest you, that excite you, that get you thinking! Learn with people who are just becoming frum! Give a shiur yourself! Go to homes of people who are spiritually growing – such people do exist! Keep your passion alive!!!!
3. By being yourself! Be authentic and genuine! There is nothing more attractive to the right person than a person being their true self. People enjoy being around other people who truly like themselves and are comfortable with who they are.
How do you do this? Take the time now to develop yourself and to get to know yourself. Make a list of all of your great traits! Recognize them! Appreciate them! How do these gifts that you have bring pleasure to the world? How do you fulfill your particular tafkid in life? Work on accepting yourself for who you truly are. Life is too short to pay attention to all the naysayers and critical people in this world. Believe in yourself, accept yourself, and be the very best you, you can be! There will never be another you – so enjoy your youness and your uniqueness!
4. By taking action! Sometimes you have to act. Yosef had to flee from Potiphar’s wife. Tamar had to encourage Yehudah to come to her. And you have to figure out if and what action you need to take! Perhaps some of these things are relevant to you: Do you have to move? Do you have to meet more people? Do you have to learn some dating skills? Do you have to go to therapy to work out some
relationship issues? Do you have to exercise and eat healthier? Do you have to renew your relationships with some family and friends? Do you need a dating coach to encourage you and empower you and help you successfully navigate the shidduch maze? Take action and do what you have to do! “The distance between dreams and reality is called action.”
5. Through bitachon – Learn Chovos Halevavos, especially the part about bitachon; learn other sifrei mussar on emunah and bitachon; there is even a wonderful sefer written in English called Fine Lines of Faith based on the Malbim’s commentary on Iyov.
Remember – Hashem loves you! He is completely involved in your life and is holding your hands. It will be good! And, truthfully, it is good now! Enjoy your life! Trust Hashem that you will have what is truly, truly best for you at the right time! It’s time to truly believe deeply within your soul that your bashert is out there and you will get married. Tap into the calmness that is deep within you and believe. Hashem has always been there for all the Jews; he is right here next to you. It will be good. Believe in Him!
6. By davening! Of course, this should always be a part of our lives, but especially when you have tried everything else, and there is nothing left for you to do – you always have tefillah (prayer). There is nothing more beautiful and sweet in the world than being close to Hashem. We create that closeness through tefillah. Even the most beautiful husband-wife relationship and the kids who give the most nachas in the world can’t beat the sweetness of the connection that you can have with Hashem. And you can have that connection now! In fact, now is the ideal time to start to have that connection. Find some time to daven (to pray), to really daven, and to reach out and become close to Hashem. In addition to the established tefillos, talk to Hashem in your own words – and connect to Hashem with your heart! Cry out from your broken heart!
And now, take the light of Chanukah, use it to reignite your spiritual passion, your spiritual growth, your desire to come close to Hashem, and your desire to find out who you really are! Become more “you,” stay passionate, and be positive!
Look at the world with this light; and you will see everything shine! Have a wonderful Chanukah!
P.S. The Chassam Sofer says that when your prayers in front of the lit-up menorah brings you to tears, it is a sign that your prayers have been accepted. It’s time to cry to Hashem. In the beginning, middle, and end of the day – there is only Hashem. Only He can help you.
Please think about the ideas presented on these pages, adapt them to your own situation and to your own personal journey. Please be in touch. I’d love to hear your questions, thoughts, feelings, fears, concerns, and ideas. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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