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Are We Speaking the Same Language?

Gila Arnold

When Hashem wanted to unhinge the atheistic plans of Dor Haflagah, He simply had each person begin to speak a different language. With no way to communicate, unity turned to discord, and the building plans were abandoned. How then, do people who speak different languages marry and succeed in building a home together?

Wednesday, October 06, 2010


Every couple has their own fond story of how they met, but some shidduch stories are more outrageous than others. When two people from the ends of the earth are brought together, the Hand of Hashem is clearly manifest. Yet one can't help but wonder what induces someone to agree to go out with a person who does not speak his or her language.

“I was a twenty-five-year-old single before there was a singles crisis,” says Penina, who hails from Atlanta, GA, and now lives in Jerusalem. “At that time, it was unheard of to be single at twenty-five. People were like, ‘My goodness! What’s going to be with you?’ They kept calling with suggestions.”

Still, nothing was working out. Then, a friend of hers called with a suggestion from the “mothers in the park.”

“She told me about a thirty-five-year-old Brazilian,” Penina relates. “I said ‘Thank you very much,’ and then did my very best not to go out with him.”

But, oddly, for the first time in a while, no other shidduch suggestion was panning out, and meanwhile, that pesky friend kept calling about the Brazilian. Finally, Penina decided to look into him, and one of her rebbeim, who knew him, encouraged her to give it a try.

Penina describes their first date. “He’s very tall, and I’m short, and when we were walking around talking, his mouth was so far away from my ear, plus he was talking with such a heavy accent, that it was hard for me to understand what he was saying!”

She asked him which language he preferred speaking in, English or Hebrew.

“His English was pretty poor, so I kept asking him, ‘Are you sure you don’t want to speak in Hebrew?’ And he said, ‘Oh, yes. My English is much better than my Hebrew.’ And I was thinking, ‘Oh my gosh.'”


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