Elul–Selichot: How to Catch a Man
The rabbi's wife or your seminar teacher taught you how to pray, great; but how do you act and what do you say when you’re with him? They didn't talk about that...
by Alizah Teitelbaum
So, you want to catch a man, and your clock is ticking, and you need a book about it now even though all the good men are married already. Well, here's the good news: this week is Tu B'Av, Judaism's annual "Love Day", the perfect time to snare your soul-mate...
Rabbi Nachman spoke about a marriage book in his story “The Cripple” (tale #3 of Rebbe Nachman's Thirteen Tales):
"The talkers among [the demons] tried to tempt the old man’s grandson. He had mature daughters, and [the talkers told him], “Your daughters are getting older, and you do not have money to support them or marry them off. You should therefore make use of this book."
Is there such a book of guaranteed success? Now there is. It's called Women's Wisdom, but it wasn't around in my day.
Oh, so maybe you don't like books written by a Breslever. What are your alternatives?
You go to the rabbi's wife for tips; some things she won’t tell you and some things you’re afraid just to ask.
The rabbi's wife or your seminar teacher taught you how to pray, great; but how do you act and what do you say when you’re with him?
They didn't talk about that.
They spoke about the Evil Inclination.
The rabbi's wife said he can be very tricky. Sometimes he will even dress up in a beard and a hat.
I asked: so how can we know it's him?
She said: if you're sorry later, you know it was him.
I know what you're thinking; I also thought it--gee, lady; thanks a lot.
Okay, so she didn't exactly tell you how to act and what to say when you're with a guy, and it's natural to be dying to know.
But if you still don't want to read Women's Wisdom, you can try the highest-rated dating websites. They do tell you, so let's go there:
For example, this is what the latest scientific research has found:
1. When you're talking to him, tilt your face down and push your chin forward.
2. When you're saying good night, catch his eye and stay like that a few seconds.
3. Open his car door for him from the inside.
4. Tell him: “Wow, Man, you’re the strongest!
5. Do not call him.
6. Sit by his side while he watches TV.
7. You also discover up-to-the-minute scientific findings: People who use online dating services are the happiest, longest-lasting couples.
8. Wow. Really?
Before you rush in to register, ask which university funded and conducted the research. Oh--an online dating service...
On the websites, you discover advertisements that look like articles. One popular ad brags that a certain dating coach has discovered the 12 Magic Words guaranteed to make you irresistible to any man.
Before you rush over there, let me warn you that once you click on the frame-by-frame presentation it will be impossible to stop, since the guy keeps promising that on the very next frame he's going to reveal the secret—but know that the presentation goes on and on for an hour with no end in sight, and your heart knows he's going to charge an arm and a leg at the end, and the 12 Magic Words won’t even work.
Sister, I know how it feels to thirst for the Magic Words: See, I panicked at the age of 26 when most of my Crown Heights friends had three children already, and so I consulted a kind of cabbalist who promised to catch me a husband with just a few magic words, a frying pan, a spoon of olive oil, one hot pepper, and a lit match.
I beg of you: don’t do it. The trick didn’t work—though it came kind of close. My first husband’s name was almost the same as Nathan’s; even his mother’s name was almost the same as Nathan's, but one marriage worked and the other didn't.
And I beg of you: don’t convince yourself it doesn’t matter that you don’t feel connected to the guy and don't talk yourself into it because it's bashert and it's magic and you’ll have a rich father-in-law who will buy you a house and a car in South Africa, and you’ll have a maid, and you’ll be far from the noise and pollution of Brooklyn. If you tell yourself this, don’t listen.
You’ll be sorry later.
Rebbe Nachman continues:
"[The grandson] did not know that [the talkers] were tempting him; he thought that it was his heart that was giving him this advice. But he traveled to his grandfather’s grave and asked…and the [deceased sage] answered, '…Do not make use of it… G-d will help you.'
Hashem sent us Women's Wisdom – if we couldn't use it for ourselves when finding our guy, we can at least use it for making life with him more bearable – even delightful, if we're prepared to work at it.
Alizah Teitelbaum's stories have appeared in Hamodia, Ami, Mishpacha, the Voice of Lakewood, The Jewish Press, and other places. She serves as fiction and poetry editor for https://sassonmag.com/ and blogs at http://alizahteitelbaum.weebly.com/blog. She lives on a mirage in the Negev Desert.