I am involved in a serious relationship with a young woman who lives in a different city. She has already told me she wants to marry me numerous times. I told her I would move to her place to be with her.

But then, it has always been my dream to ultimately live in Israel. More importantly, my mother plans on moving to Israel in a few years, and she is very attached to me. I don’t even know myself if I am ready to go to Israel yet. I don’t think I am. What I really want is to marry this girl and build a home.

She is perfect for me in all aspects. Problem is, I feel like she is not too open to the idea of moving to Israel because she is very close with her family. What advice would you give me? I don’t want to hurt her, and I really like her.


Since you’re asking a rabbi, I’m going to apply some Talmudic logic here. One of the principles used in the Talmud is called bari v’shema, which basically means “for sure vs. maybe.”

The rule is that when you have two possibilities to choose from, one of them a sure thing and the other one a maybe, you choose the sure thing.

As I see it, you have a sure thing in front of you—a great girl, someone you’re ready to marry and who is ready to marry you. Marriage is the biggest and most important step in life—and one that a lot of people sadly miss out on. Heaven is smiling down on you. This is your “for sure.”

You also have a “maybe”—your mother plans to move to Israel in a few years. We don’t know if that will definitely happen or not; as you know, man plans and G‑d laughs. What if you pass on this girl because of her plans, and then she doesn’t end up moving? You will have lost terribly. However, if you marry this girl, you have certainly won in a big way, and if your mother doesn’t move, you win again; and even if she moves, things can change by then—perhaps your wife won’t be so against moving then, perhaps your mother will realize that you have to do what’s in your best interests, etc.

Bottom line is—choose the “for sure” over the “maybe.”

I’ll tell you one other thing: Honoring your mother is a mitzvah. Getting married is a mitzvah. Both very big mitzvahs. But here again a piece of Talmudic logic: The best way to honor your mother is by building a beautiful home with a marriage of love and wonderful grandchildren. Even if your mother doesn’t appreciate this right now, one day she certainly will.

Actually, I don’t even have to resort to Talmudic logic. Your answer is already written in the first pages of Genesis: “Therefore a man will leave his father and his mother, and he will bond with his wife, and they will become one flesh.”

As it turns out, your quandary is the drama of life, repeating itself again and again in every generation. How do you know that a fruit is mature? When it’s ready to fall off the tree. Once you’ve broken away, you will find yourself capable of honoring your mother in far grander ways than you can imagine now.

I hope this helps, and please keep in touch to discuss this further as necessary.