I’ve been dating for a number of years now and have met all kinds of people from different walks of life. It seems to me that some of the young men I happened to meet are so eager to marry and build a family that they get caught in their blinding desire and don’t realize that they actually have to build a relationship with me in order for us to connect and become husband and wife. They see their dream, but they don’t seeme.
Other men simply have bad social skills, come late consistently, or have paralyzing anxietythat gets in theway of them connecting or being reasonably flexible. These people go on to date other girls, assuming they just haven’t found the right one.
My question is, after I date such a fellow, will I be doing him a service if I reach out to his rabbi or reference and let them know that this man, who wants to get marriedsobadly, needshadracha? Or do I go about my way and hope he gets what he needs somehow? If I do say something, how would I best go about it?
It is told that the rebbe Reb Elimelech of Lizhensk, zechuso yagein aleinu, once said, “When I was young, I sought to change the world. As I grew a little older, I saw that I could not change the world, so I determined to change my city. As I grew older still, and ascertained that even that I could not do, I then resolved to change my family. And now, I strive only to change myself.”
In explaining the deeper message behind the rebbe’s seemingly straightforward statement, HaRav B.C. Shloime Twerski ztz’l commented that he does not think the rebbe ever veered from his original intent. On the contrary, he simply appreciated that the true path for any individual Jew to change the world is to change themselves, and trust that the light brought into the world through their personal transformation will inevitably shine outward and inspire others to do the same.
When speaking with those who have been dating for a sustained period of time – be they male or female – I find it not entirely uncommon to be plied with a hearty menu of deficiencies which they earnestly believe to have so very astutely identified in their opposite of gender. Indeed, and as the above insight illustrates, it is easy to suppose that if only we could just do everyone else the eternal favor of helping them to recognize, reconsider, and repair their inadequacies and oddities, the world’s problems would surely be fixed in short order.
However, whether or not the concerns which one dater has unveiled in their compeers are valid or not, I find it hard to ignore the possibility that these discoveries are in large part tergiversations, projections, or deflections, ultimately expressed as a defense mechanism which affords one the space and peace of mind that is a corollary and adjunct to being provided with the opportunity to paste over one’s own frailties or idiosyncrasies. After all, self-introspection and self-diagnosis are far more challenging tasks than would be issuing verdicts and proposing recommendations related to the growth, development, and improvement of others.
Consequently, rather than delving into the somewhat tiresome inquiry of what exactly is the most propitious manner by which one can help expose another person’s weaknesses or irregularities, and bring them to the fore for that person to address, perhaps the more poignant point to ponder and reflect upon is what revelations one might be avoiding or escaping acknowledging about themselves, when they cannot help but to endlessly expound upon the faults, flaws, foibles, and failures of their counterparts.
May the Yosheiv Keruvim, before Whom all is laid bare, suffuse each of us with inner clarity, and strengthen us with the composure needed to rectify our own limitations, imperfections, and shortcomings.