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ב"ה

Love & Judaism

We are who we love: self, fellow, and what connects us

Do You Like the People You Love?
My kids will often ask: Which of us (seven children) do you love most?
Love: an Anthology
Thirty two articles and stories on love: filial love, romantic love, friendship, love of self, love of G-d -- so different from each other, yet somehow all the same
What Is Love?
When we are truly engaged in giving and receiving love, we don’t ponder such philosophical questions. It’s only when something is lacking that we begin to analyze and contemplate what that thing actually is . . .
An Intimate View on Intimacy
To be intimate means to go into a place that is private, that is sacred, that is set aside. It means one person entering into the private, sacred part of another human being's existence...
The Merging of Two Souls
A Bride Describes the Experience of an Orthodox Jewish Wedding
I am having my hair done, my nails, my makeup. But within, I am in a completely different world. My focus is on the new life I am about to embark upon. I keep his picture in my mind, his words in my heart, and his being engraved in my soul. It is my wedding day.
A Wild Idea: The Kabbalah of Marriage
Marriage is a pretty bizarre concept. It must have been G-d's idea. Who else could think of such a whacky plan like bringing together two opposites and putting them under one roof to share a life?
Why Do We Fall in Love?
Is the mystique and the romance, the music and the moonlight, just nature's way of hoodwinking men and women to reproduce?
Split Your Sea
If you were given a glimpse of your subconscious personality, what would you find?
Uneven Love
We must focus on appreciating ourselves as we are. If we see ourselves through the eyes of a person who does not like us, we will be devastated. Maturity means that we do not allow others to determine our sense of self-worth...
My Wife's 78 Outfits
“But I have nothing to wear,” she says . . . and she has 78 outfits hanging in the wardrobe right in front of her!
Waiting
Could others see the countless tiny strands of their separate anxieties silently knitting them together? Did anyone notice how, though they sat on separate chairs not touching, they sat as close as two people could without touching?
Bonds
She walked out of the room. Halfway down the hallway she stopped and stood motionless as if confronting an invisible wall
All You Need is Love and a Model Airplane
My friends say the main thing is that you are in love, and everything else will fall into place. Should I believe them?
There's More to Love than Giving
As long as you are always giving without asking for anything in return, you have not allowed any space for her in your life
What's Wrong With Pre-Marital Intimacy?
I feel that intimacy is an important part of a relationship, and would create a very strong bond between us. So what's wrong with pre-marital intimacy?
Are You Lovable?
What makes a person loveable? Being "loveable" is relatively easy to achieve during the dating process but becomes much more difficult a few weeks after the marriage...
The Communication Trap
Use caution when sharing your feelings
Many psychologists are prone to overly optimistic promises about the power of communication to solve all problems. They urge people to, "Share your feelings," and "Talk it out until the problem is resolved." However, this advice can be disastrous! Not everyone values emotional honesty...
A Bouquet of Roses
My favorite is a dozen or more long-stemmed, freshly cut red roses. But a bouquet of any assortment will bring a smile to my face. My husband knows of this weakness of mine, and uses it to his advantage.
Why Are All the Good Husbands Already Taken?
My friends' spouses are all such wonderful people, but the guys I meet all seem to be missing something. What am I doing wrong?
Where Is the Woman of My Dreams?
I know what you are going to say: I am too fussy. But I can’t just settle on something half good. Where is the woman of my dreams?
Can't You Take a Joke?
My wife has no sense of humor. She says I make fun of her in public, and gets all upset and insulted. Shouldn't she be able to take a joke?
Intimacy
You're going to allow someone into that part of you that you're not so comfortable with yourself. And you don't know how the other person is going to treat it. But that's the whole meaning of a relationship
Why Is Torah Law So Restrictive of Contact Between the Genders?
Should any physical contact that is friendly be considered intimate? Hopefully, it should.
Love at First Sight: Five Biblical Examples
In five instances, the Torah describes the phenomenon of love at first sight: in the love of Adam for Eve, of Rebecca for Isaac, of Jacob for Rachel, of David for Abigail, and of David for Bathsheba. These five, in their historical order, are descending examples of how the intensity of love at first sight can be focused into mature, rooted love
The Grammar of Love
Are you searching for love in the present, or in your past? Are you looking for your soulmate or are you looking for yourself?
Growing Pains
Dear Child, you are so tender. A new world is opening before you. I must not let you notice my hesitation. I must not show you my fears
Anniversary
After all these years, I may be less sensitive to your wants and wishes. My guard is down; my words and actions no longer reflect the nuances of care they once did. But you, too, don't give yourself as freely as in the olden days...
A Friend’s Divorce
It had always seemed to me that, for most of us, many of the Torah’s laws restricting relations between the sexes are a sort of collective punishment for the sins of a few. But recently my perspective has changed . . .
Marriage: an Anthology
Whom to Marry... Why Do We Fall in Love... The Kabbalah of Marriage... Yes and No... The Mikvah... Waiting... Moses vs. Freud... Adam & Eve... The Loving Friends.. Ring, Round & Roof... and 20 other articles and stories on marriage
Coffee Break
Masculine and feminine modes of communication reflect our respective arenas of spiritual expertise. Unfortunately, the differences can sometimes result in unintended discord
Men are from Chochmah; Women are from Binah
She'll ask about his day. He'll answer that it was good or bad. If he remembers to reciprocate, he'll soon be wondering when or if she'll ever finish her litany of endless, intricate and irrelevant details and get to the important parts
The Chochmah/Binah Dichotomy II: “Joe, We Need to Talk”
"Joe must be feeling pressured at work," Sara muses. "He's not saying anything because he doesn't want to worry me. Oh, I wish he would just talk about it!"
The Lifelong Marriage
Going through life with a spouse we love is one of the greatest satisfactions in life. A small percentage of us have a natural gift for it—the rest of us have to learn it. So how is it done?
How to Apologize
"If you are lost in a forest," a chassidic master once asked his disciples, "are you better off being lost while walking or while riding on a horse?"
Do What You Want Done
One of the ironies of life is that we do the same things over and over again, but expect different results...
How to Agree to Disagree
It is possible for two people to see and hear the same event and yet each has a totally different experience of what actually took place...
Authentic Listening
Why can't I just skip the "listening part" and go straight to solving the problem?
Productive Communication
An old chassidic saying posits that there are three types of conversations: 1) Everyone talks and nobody listens. 2) One person talks and others listen. 3) No one talks and everyone listens...
Begin With the End in Mind
"We've been married for 14 years, the last 10 of which have been nothing but misery. It will never change!" I asked what they wanted to achieve with counseling. "We want a better future," came the instant reply
Winning the Battle but Losing the War
"I got my way in the end," a friend of mine announced proudly. "He'll never start with me again. Aren't you happy for me?"
Will I Be the Next Runaway Bride?
I'm getting married in a couple of months, but I'm riddled with doubts: Have I made the right decision? How can I know for sure? Some nights I just lie awake wondering...
Human or Beast?
The Torah's views and safeguards against sexual abuse
To many, these laws appear extreme, over-reactive and unnecessary. A little 1st-grader can't hug her daddy's best friend? Two adult co-workers of the opposite sex can’t work alone in the office to finish an important project?
The Everlasting Bond
Marriage as Covenant
"Do you have the same feelings your spouse like you did when you first got married?" --Should this be the criteria for staying in a marriage?
Benjamin Franklin was a Wise Fellow
"Keep your eyes wide open before marriage," Ben Franklin quoted, "and half shut afterwards.'
The Spousal Put-Down
The wife who pokes fun at her husband's clumsiness proves nothing about him other than that he was unlucky enough to marry an unsupportive spouse...
Jewish Bachelor Party?
My fiancée is uncomfortable with it, and I'm not so excited about it myself. But everyone does it so I feel silly refusing. Is there a Jewish approach to bachelor parties?
Did She Cry Because of You?
If we treat the other in the same way that we like to be treated ourselves, as we doing ok? Not really
The Secret of a Good Matchmaker
I've tried my hand at matchmaking, but so far I've been a dismal failure. Is there a secret formula for bringing people together that I don't know about?
Why Is Jewish Marriage So One-Sided?
The Wisdom of the Ketubah
I understand that the traditional Jewish ketubah (marriage contract) is all about the husband’s obligations to his wife, but there’s nothing in there about the wife’s obligations. Is that fair?
Conversation Tips from Sinai
In our nation's 3,300 year history, G‑d has directly addressed us exactly once. In doing so, G‑d also left us a perfect prototype to follow on those occasions when we really want our words to be taken seriously...
Did You Marry for Beauty or Money?
There's an old stereotype when it comes to marriage. Men marry women for their looks. Women marry men for their money. There are of course many exceptions to this rule. But there is some truth to it too.
She Won't Commit
My girlfriend of two years isn't sure she wants to get married. She just says she feels "it" hasn't clicked. I felt a click a long time ago and would very much like to marry and spend my life with her. What can I do?
Don't Think It - Say It
While it is true that actions speak louder than words, there is an element of appreciation that is expressed more by our words than our deeds...
Why Buy My Wife Flowers?
My wife tells me that it is tradition to give the woman in your life flowers before Shabbat. Is this true and, if yes, what is the significance? Secondly, why give something like cut flowers that die?
How Grandma's Advice Changed My Life
It had been on Independence Day, when I was nine or ten years old, that she whispered an odd warning, borne of a distant Russian wisdom, which ruled and guided my life for the next four decades...
Do I Have To Buy My Wife Jewelry?
A friend of mine feels it is wasteful to purchase jewelry for his wife. She, however, disagrees...
Refine Your Search For a Soulmate
Your soulmate is the other half of your soul, the missing part of your very being. You can only recognize your soulmate if you first get to know your own soul...
Loving Eyes, Hurtful Eyes
Other than people’s body language, the main way we have of tuning into people’s feelings is through their eyes. The eyes are truly windows of the soul. When people look at us, they either heal us or harm us. Eyes have power . . .
Why Divorce Is Necessary
And how to bolster marriage
If we forgo our independence in favor of love, we grow resentful of those we love. If we jealously guard our independence, we risk alienating the ones we love. There must be a happy medium that enables us to retain our independence and our love...
What Chanukah Can Teach Us About Love
I had only one question I was trying to get an answer to: Have the rules of love changed as our society has become more technologically dependent?
How to Love When Love Is Dying
The souls of husband and wife are brother and sister—and yet closer. If they can persist in their journey until they return to that place of oneness, a new sort of love will emerge. An unconditional love.
The Secret to a Successful Relationship
Bereishit
Isn't it amazing how the very things we most need from each other are also the most difficult for us to give?