Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Red Light, Green Light

Elisheva Appel

Given the vast amount of energy we invest into shidduchim, it’s no wonder singles and their parents tend to analyze, and overanalyze, every bit of information

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

 Mishpacha image


H ours of research, dozens of phone calls, endless agonizing...

Given the vast amount of energy we invest into shidduchim, it’s no wonder singles and their parents tend to analyze, and overanalyze, every bit of information gleaned over the course of an hours-long date.

Combine nerves, differences in conversational style, and the lack of context inherent in a date, and it’s all too easy to mistake the inconsequential for the life-altering, or to miss the forest for the trees.

Here, four experts on relationships advise us how to differentiate between the red lights that should stop a single in her tracks, and the green lights that encourage her progress toward her ultimate destination

Meet the Experts

Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin

a noted relationship expert, is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, a Certified Imago Relationship Therapist, a rabbi, and a father of five. He’s an Advanced Clinician in Imago Therapy.

Rabbi Doniel Frank

directs M.A.P. (Motivation and Performance) Seminars, Inc., a nonprofit organization that helps people create, design, and launch their life plans successfully. He also maintains a private practice in marriage and family therapy and is a dating coach.

Esther Gendelman

MS, LPC, CPC, is a licensed psychotherapist and certified professional coach who specializes in working with relationships. A veteran educator, speaker, and shadchan, she is the co-author of book The Missing Peace by Menucha Publishers.

Rosie Einhorn

LCSW, a licensed psychotherapist, has worked extensively with singles in her private practice, and presented hundreds of programs throughout North America, Europe, and Israel for single Jewish men and women and their families, friends, and communities.

Chilled or Irresponsible?

When he reported on Ari’s learning, the rosh chaburah praised his intellectual abilities and emphasized Ari’s enthusiasm, which we took to be a compliment.


Now that I’ve been out with Ari three times, and he hasn’t managed to show up on time even once, I’m not so sure that it wasn’t just an attempt to come up with something nice to say. When the shadchan, who’s my aunt, delicately broached the subject with him, Ari’s response was, “Look, I’m a laid-back kind of guy.”

Laid-back seems to be his general term that describes someone who often davens at the minyan factory’s latest Shacharis, can forget to bring his wallet on a date and misplace his parking stub, but who also doesn’t bat an eyelash when Waze goes berserk and sends him in futile circles around Lower Manhattan.

Ari’s clearly good-hearted. He’s gentle and funny. But should I be concerned that he can’t manage the rigors that adulthood will demand?

Yellow Light

Mrs. Esther Gendelman

This is a tough dilemma, because while you see his good qualities, you also see a lack of responsibility.

What you’re perhaps forgetting is that discipline and structure, on the one hand, and warmth, generosity, and an easygoing nature, on the other, are often opposite sides of the same coin. You seem to be looking for a young man who scores high marks in qualities that derive from very different strengths.

Ari might never have the meticulousness to become an accountant, but that’s fine —every person has strengths in one area and corresponding weaknesses. If his strength is what Rav Shlomo Wolbe called “zriyah — planting” — the organic, nurturing processes — he’ll likely be weaker in “binyan — building” strengths, such as routine and discipline. But a good person can use his strengths to compensate for his weaknesses. He could very well surprise you and rise to the occasion, being the warm, comforting presence that everyone wants to lean on in a time of crisis.

In practical terms, what you’re missing is the confidence that Ari is a baal achrayus. (Excerpted from Family First, Issue 578)

Related Stories

Winds of Change

Machla Abramovitz

Montreal’s newly reelected borough councilor, 24-year-old chassidish woman, Mindy Pollak, knows that...

Inside Job: What It’s Like to Be a Principal

Rachel Bachrach

Three women explain what it’s like to manage it all effectively while being mechanech from the hear...

At My Sister’s Side

Bracha Yaari

Some women do more than dress up for their sisters’ wedding day. They plan and finance the entire si...

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

When the Fog Lifts
Rabbi Moshe Grylak In retrospect, we will understand everything
Coming Full Circle
Yonoson Rosenblum A final goodbye to my special father-in-law
Right Turns Left
Eytan Kobre Conservatives can no longer speak their minds
Searching for Olam Haba at Disney World
Rabbi Elchonon Zohn A distorted and perverted view of life and the afterlife
10 Questions for Eli Samuel
Rachel Bachrach “SafeTelecom really is the refuah before the makkah”
Work/Life Solutions with Fran Jakubowicz
Moe Mernick “I turn to daas Torah whenever I encounter a gray area”
A Debt of Gratitude
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman If Ina Perlmuter believed in me, others would follow
Gemara Detective
Jacob L. Freedman “Tell me a bit about the bochur behind the medication”
Tidal Waves
Riki Goldstein “Holding Back the Tide” is comforting on so many levels
Ari's Picture of Redemption
Riki Goldstein Ari Fuld’s incredible photo gives a visual to this song
Not Just for Kids Who Love Music
Riki Goldstein “Every Yiddishe kid is essentially a part of Yingerlach”
Dream Duet
Riki Goldstein “He’s been my singing idol since I was a little kid”
Nix the Nickname
Faigy Peritzman Handing down concepts through family names
Do Your Homework
Sarah Chana Radcliffe What parents really want to teach during homework time
Day of Confinement
Mrs. Elana Moskowitz If Asarah B’Teves isn’t a day of destruction, why fast?