Dating Advice

“I’m dating and everything adds up; she seems to be exactly what I am looking for on paper. Just one thing… the love is absent. What do I do!??”

Love can only blossom in an open heart. When our heart is closed we cannot feel affection, even when that affection really is there. And what closes a heart is fear.
You’re scared. You’re scared of your dream coming true. You have finally met a girl who could really end up being your wife. This is what you have prayed for, waited for, and hoped for, for so long. And now that it is in front of you, you’re gripped with fear.

It’s scary to say goodbye to single life. It’s scary to accept that you will marry a real person with flaws and issues, not an imaginary perfect dream person. It’s scary to realize that now you’re growing up, and about to start the next stage in your life, with all the joys and challenges that will bring.
This is why your heart is blocked. Fear and love cannot both be felt at any one time. They are opposites. Fear is the urge to stand back, while love is the yearning to become closer. So ironically, when you meet a serious candidate for marriage, your heart is paralyzed by the fear that this might actually work out. Your blocked feelings might be a good sign. The fear could indicate that this is a relationship worth pursuing.

If you want to give it a chance, you first need to calm your fears. Take a long walk, all alone, and observe what’s going on inside you. Admit that you are scared. Acknowledge that it has nothing to do with her, and everything to do with you. Get comfortable with the idea that you may have found your match. Be grateful to G-d who has sent you such a wonderful woman. Believe in yourself that you are ready to take the plunge and become a married man. Let these ideas slowly sink in, face the reality and make peace with it.
Once you quiet your fears, your heart will be open to love. Then, if she is indeed the one, it won’t take long for the warm feelings to come flooding in. If you want to find love, you have to lose fear.

Rabbi Mendel (Menachem) Bluming is a rabbi in Potomac, Maryland who serves the Jewish community. Mendel Bluming officiates at many life cycle events. Credits also to Rabbi Moss

Why Do Mourners Tear a Garment?

The experience of loss arouses several emotions. On the one hand, death is a tragedy. A loved one is lost to their family and friends, who are left feeling a profound sense of separation and distance that seems beyond repair. For this reason, we observe a seven day intense mourning period, during which the family sits at home and feels the pain and loss, followed by a year of mourning. This helps them slowly accept the new reality; that their loved on has passed on.

But often, the mourners feel that it isn’t really true, it didn’t really happen, they haven’t really gone. This is not just denial. In a way they are right. Death is not the end. Our souls existed before we were born, and they continue to exist after we die. The souls that have passed on are still with us. We can’t see them, but we sense they are there. We can’t hear them, but we know that they hear us. On the surface, we are apart. On a deeper level, nothing can separate us.

So we tear our garments. This has a dual symbolism. We are recognizing the loss, accepting the reality, our hearts are torn, and there is a hole in our lives that can never be healed. But that is only true on the bodily level. The loss is a physical one. But the soul lives on.

The body is no more than a garment that the soul wears. Death is when we strip one uniform and take on another. The garment may be torn, but the essence of the person, the soul, is still intact.

From our worldly perspective death is indeed a tragedy, and the sorrow experienced by the mourners is real. But as they tear their garments we hope that within their pain they can sense a glimmer of a deeper truth; that souls never die.

Rabbi Mendel Bluming serves as rabbi of the Chabad Shul of Potomac since 2003. Among his communal roles, Menachem Mendel Bluming assists community members through this Jewish mourning period. Credits to Rabbi Moss.

Are Synagogues Safe After Pittsburgh?

We have all been deeply affected by the shooting in Pittsburgh.

There is a great danger ahead. The danger is that Jews become intimidated into hiding away. In the wake of such a tragedy, avoiding shul is far riskier than attending. You risk giving your kids the wrong message.

I will never forget something that happened when in Jerusalem during the 2001 intifada. One Thursday afternoon, the busy Sbarro pizza shop, became the target of a Palestinian suicide bomber. He stood amongst the crowds innocently eating their lunch, and exploded himself, killing 15 people, including 7 children and a pregnant woman, and injuring 130. It was an unspeakable tragedy that shook the Jewish world.

It hit me hard too. But what stuck with me was what happened in the aftermath of the attack. Within a few weeks, the pizza store was open for business again. Construction crews worked around the clock to clean up the wreckage and rebuild it like new, as if nothing had happened. A bustling eatery had turned into the scene of mass murder, and then back into a bustling eatery, all in the space of a month. Only one thing had changed. A plaque was placed on the wall that read:

In memoriam of the darkness that befell us on August 9, 2001.
Sbarro Family, City of Jerusalem, and the whole House of Israel.

All the employees came back to work that day, except for one who was killed and two who were still recovering from injury. They resumed serving lunch to their customers, including some who had been there on that dark day only weeks before. The message was powerful: We will not forget the dead, but we will not stop living.

This is the Jewish response to terror. We don’t cower in the face of intimidation. We don’t allow our enemies to define who we are and what we do. We don’t adjust our lives to suit the evil schemes of those who hate us. We are here, and we are here to stay.

It was amazingly poignant that the day Sbarro pizzeria reopened was September 12, 2001, a day after the 9/11 attacks on America. Israel was teaching America and the world the answer to tragedy: we mourn for those who were lost, we pray for those who were hurt, we bring the perpetrators to justice, and we don’t change who we are because someone doesn’t like us.

You now have the opportunity to teach this truth to your children. Make a point to take them to shul, especially on Shabbos. Walk proudly as Jews. And explain to them that we don’t let evil win. We cry for the victims. And we honor them by doing what they wished to do – live as proud Jews.

Rabbi Mendel Bluming has served the Potomac Maryland area community since 2003 through the Chabad Shul of Potomac. Menachem Mendel Bluming encourages Jewish pride knowledge and engagement. This article was written by Rabbi Bluming and Rabbi Moss.