A Miracle Story
Chava & Shaul
Match #: 1217&1218
Hi… This is Chava…(Profile name: Chava)
So this is kind of a miracle story…..I mean, how is it possible for people from as far away as Portland Oregon and Beit Shemesh Israel to ever meet and get to know each other while still thousands of miles away from each other???
I’d been on the site for about 4 years and had met some really sweet, wonderful, special men, but with each one there had been something(s) that just didn’t flow. I was at a point in my life where unless all the pieces fit for me, I wasn’t about to try to make it work. I was looking for nothing less than the other half of my neshama.
Before I even start telling about what happened, I just want to stress something that I learned during the time while I was single and searching. One thing is how important it is to really integrate the belief and trust that everything is in Hashem’s hands and everything is for the best. True, I didn’t like being single. True, I wanted to be married. But I knew that if I still had not met my beshert, then Hashem wanted me to be single at that time for a good reason…..perhaps in order to grow and change in ways that I could only do while I was single; perhaps to work on parts of my personality that could only be refined and fixed as long as I was on my own. That helped me a lot, as I understood that He hadn’t abandoned me (chas v’shalom), He just wanted me to be doing things that did not include getting married and living with a husband right then. And so I worked on trying to be grateful for all of the other aspects of my life that really were working
My turn… This is Shaul formerly Steve (Profile name: Walking Man)
I was ready… I had been through a number of long term relationships… my kids were out of the house, and I was hozer b’tshuvah… My experiences in relationships gave me the experience to know what did and did not work for me. But I knew that now I wanted the real deal. I wanted the perfect relationship, but I wanted it to include living a frum life with a committed wife. (Note: not “Partner”, but “Wife”. A good wife must be a good partner, but not all good partners are good wives, right? I wanted the “real deal”, a life long commitment sanctified under a frum chuppah.)
I had come to understand the difference between “dating” and “dating for marriage”. My life had been full of the hit and miss of the former, and I was clear that I would only practice the latter.
But I was in Portland, Oregon!!! Maybe five single, frum women within two hundred miles!!! That was a problem! Enter JWed…
I had tried other services, such as Match.com and JDate…. No problem if you are looking for a “date”, but very dicey if you are looking for a kallah! I found that most of the participants in these kind of sites follow the hashgafah of what I call, “Dating for Dating”:
I’ll find someone who likes the same movies, sports, activities, etc. that I do and who is physically attractive. If s/he likes me, and I like her/him, we will go on a date. If we kind of like each other, we may get physically involved and if we like that, we may date some more, until a) we find a “fatal flaw” or; b) we get more attached, move in together and ultimately (maybe) get married. (80% of these marriages fail!)
I opted to skip the “dating for dating” and get serious about finding my b’shert.
At first I searched only within a few hundred miles of home… then for a while, I tried everywhere in the US…. This yielded some very nice possibilities… I would send messages and would respond to messages sent to me, until I found someone whose midos matched mine. We would then spend some time emailing and then “escalate” to phone calls… (Remember that in most cases, these women were 2000-3000 miles away!) But ultimately, nothing that was “it”.
I had posted a profile, which reflected where I was in my life journey, and this included where I was in my religious practice… I was (and still am) growing and learning… I had always loved Israel and hoped to meet someone who might someday make Aliyah with me, but that was a ways off.
One of the profiles that appealed to me was Chava’s… but she lived in Ramat Beit Shemesh, Israel! How could THAT work? I wasn’t ready to make that move yet, was I? What the heck… I sent her a light-hearted message, just to say “Hi”.
OK… my turn! it’s Chava ….
Anyway, I went through periods where I was just a Basic member of JWed and other times when I bought a Premium membership. During one of my “off” periods, I got notice that this “new guy” had written me, although of course I couldn’t read his email, since I was just a Basic member. Sometimes, when this had happened previously, I would read the profile of the writer, and if he seemed interesting and “mat’im” for me, I’d pay my Premium membership, read and respond to him.
So I checked out this new guy – and read what was for me the “kiss of death,” : He didn’t live here in Israel, nor was he “definitely making Aliyah” – (you see, I was/am committed to living only in Israel, and would not date someone who was not either here or in the process of moving here) In addition, he had written a very generalized profile……, it didn’t jump out at me as being written by someone who was special for me. (Everyone is special, but the big question was whether he was the specifically special, exactly right one for ME.)
I didn’t even bother upgrading and responding.
I’m back again… This is Shaul
She didn’t respond to my tentative outreach and then I met someone else who I thought was a real possibility. It appeared that the feelings were mutual! We talked and then finally met in person. All seemed well but in the end, it failed… No faults… It just didn’t work. And I was alone again… It was time to change something!
I modified my profile, updating the photo and bringing my learning and hashgafah up-to-date. In addition, I indicated that I was planning to make Aliyah. I had filled out the Nefesh b’Nefesh application!.
Fast forward a couple of months: he changed his picture, profile and his status regarding Israel! He’s “definitely” moving to Israel, and he wrote a profile of such depth and wisdom that I knew I had to write back to him. I upgraded, and we emailed back and forth a few times and by the time I spoke with him on the phone the first time, I knew this was someone very close to who I was looking for.
We quickly graduated to video Skype, and there was rarely a day (unless it was Shabbat or Chag) that we didn’t speak. The beauty of this kind of dating is that we got to know each other from the inside out – our thoughts, dreams, feelings – the things which are so important in a marriage - and we weren’t distracted by the physical stuff (which of course is vitally important, but sometimes tends to pull us off course and blinds the clarity of our vision early on).
Shaul back again…
This was a time of growing, of exploring each other. We had both been hurt before and were wary of being hurt again… “Things that seem too good to be true, often are…” Was this? Here is where we learned about each other’s lives, our children, our passions. But the real learning came as we found items that we disagreed on… They were few, but the important thing was how we solved the problems…
The one thing this phase of our relationship building could not do, was to help build a connection between each of us and the other’s children, as would happen in a more traditional courtship. As a result, when we finally met in person, our families had not had the opportunity to feel a part of this new budding relationship. It has taken and will take extra effort to work through this going forward.
Back to the story… (Chava ….)
He had a reservation on the September Nefesh b’Nefesh flight……could we wait till then to actually meet and bring this virtual relationship into reality? (Was there chemistry? Could this really work???) So Hashem took over, and decided that no, we didn’t have to wait to see – my youngest son, BH, became engaged and the wedding was set for August – in New York. My beshert flew in from Oregon, and we met the day after I arrived in the country. Two hours later we were engaged.
We were married 2 ½ weeks later in Portland.
What is so clear now, from this side of the marriage divide, is that he and I needed to intersect at exactly this point in time – any earlier (despite my/our tearful prayers to Hashem), would have been before each of us was “ripe;” we each needed to develop and grow, so that when we did come together, we would recognize one another and our fit would be without question. It’s so hard to see that from the place of lack – WHY wasn’t Hashem sending me my beshert? Why did I have to wait for so long? From the other side – it’s all crystal clear.
We have been married almost four months now. We are living in Ramat Beit Shemesh and not a day goes by when we don’t thank H”S for finally bringing our neshamas together. The connection we experience… the connections of our “selves”, our souls, our lives seems seamless. We often time ask… “Is this real?”
From Chava and Shaul
It is B”hS…
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