Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Princess Whose Prince Had Not Yet Come

Dr. Zipi Rhein – Psychologist and Lecturer,
Orot Israel College and Bar Ilan University
Once upon a time, in a faraway kingdom across the sea, there lived a princess. Like most princesses, she spent her formative years in the usual educational frameworks, and she always knew that when she graduated, she would get engaged to a royal prince from one of the neighboring kingdoms. It was all supposed to be very simple: By her 21st birthday, she was to have met and married her true love.
But when the fateful day arrived, and offers started pouring in from across the realm, a strange thing happened. She met countless princes from all the neighboring kingdoms, but not one of them proved to be the knight in shining armor of her dreams. The first was not religious or idealistic enough. The second was not good-looking enough, and the third was too short for her. Although the fourth was a good match on an intellectual level, there was no emotional connection, and the fifth did not seem to know how to act on a date.
The king and queen were beside themselves. All their daughter’s friends were already engaged. Even the princess had started to feel the pressure. After all, it is not easy to be an unmarried 21-year-old princess. Desperate, the king turned to his trusted advisors and asked them to figure out a way to help his daughter.
In our own world, it is also supposed to be very simple: All one has to do is find the right cover for every pot – that is, the right guy for every girl. But sometimes, matchmaking is as hard as Splitting the Sea. For instance, last week, I spoke to a wonderful guy, who told me that he had been going out with a certain girl for three months. He felt something toward the girl but did not think that it was enough to propose marriage. Another girl asked me if she was doing something wrong, because she rarely made it past the first or second date. Meanwhile, a different girl, who made an appointment with me for next week, wants to talk about getting over a breakup before going out with the next guy.
And in fact, this used to be enough. A couple would marry because they were compatible – not emotional compatibility, but compatible in terms of economic status and values. They would build a home and bring children into the world. And even if they did not get along, and even if they argued, they would stay married, because divorce was not an option. People did not get divorced. People did not stay single. And the few remaining singles apparently had some sort of flaws and could not be married off. Moreover, being single used to be very difficult. Between housework (laundry, cooking, etc.) and earning a living, it was too much for one person to handle. Keeping on top of everything required a team effort.
So why is it so complicated to find a husband or a wife? Perhaps the answer is that today, one no longer needs to get married. Instead, one chooses to get married. In the past, not only was it hard to be single, but it was considered to be the non-normative state. In today’s world, however, getting married is a choice. Thus, one needs to learn how to make that choice. How do you choose the right person? How do you know when the relationship is not going to work out?
A successful relationship must include three elements:
1. Every relationship must be based on some sort of attraction/love. Yet, for some individuals, that attraction/love is constant, but for others, it fluctuates. Therefore, do not compare these two types of people. Young men and women who fit the latter model must learn not to be alarmed by emotional “downturns.”
2. Communication – Communication develops over time. Therefore, at the beginning of the relationship, one must look for the beginning stages of good communication. In other words, one should be able to share not only the nice and pleasant aspects of oneself but also the less pleasant things.
3. Finding a good person with good midot (character traits).

Furthermore, whenever relationship questions or problems arise, consult a professional, who can help one choose wisely and reach the end of the fairy tale: the princess finds her true love, and they live happily ever after.

Thoughts on the Beginning of the New Semester

Rabbanit Dr. Leah Vizel
Dean of Students (Elkana Campus) and Dean of Extramural Studies

Dear Students,
Shalom u’vrachah!
The chagim have long since given way to our normal, everyday routine. How does one cope with the transition from the Tishrei festivals to the month of Marcheshvan? That depends on the individual person.
Unusual events – such as holidays and celebrations – cannot replace a regular routine. After all, constructing a building is a long, arduous process that requires hard work and much dedication. Our challenge is to find meaning within our daily lives. It is the small, ordinary actions that combine to form our personalities - not just the extraordinary ones.
Those who choose to join the Orot Israel family believe that educating Israel’s children is one of our generation’s most significant missions. Yet, it is not always easy to hold on to that sense of mission during the days, weeks, and months that comprise the typical academic year.
As a student heads out on the path she sets for herself, she will, b’ezrat Hashem, encounter numerous and varied sources, which will enrich her inner world. She will gain the critical knowledge and the essential tools she needs to become an accomplished educator and teacher, to add another key layer to her personality, and to make for herself a Rav and acquire for herself good friends. (See Pirkei Avot 1:6.)
Based on my own experience, here is what I recommend: Do not let the hours, days, months, and years slip by you. Wherever you happen to find yourself, play an active role, and try and learn something from everyone. As you reach for your goals, you will likely encounter tasks and topics that do not “speak to you” and do not seem to be important. However, if you keep your mind on your goal, you will recognize that these mundane parts combine to form a complex whole. In addition, maintaining a sense of mission along the way will help you complete and identify with the task at hand.
A bit about my job at Orot Israel College: At the start of the current academic year, I became dean of students at the Elkana campus and am also responsible for extramural studies. Primarily, my job is to take care of the students’ needs – including technical matters, such as the dorms and scholarships, as well as more substantial issues, such as arranging various activities and solving problems.
Orot Israel College functions like a real family and tries to meet the students’ diverse needs. I am always open to new suggestions and ideas, and I welcome the opportunity to meet with you on an individual basis.
As Rav Avraham Yitzchak HaKohein Kook zt”l famously stated:
"כשהנשמה מאירה גם שמים עוטי ערפל מפיקים אור נעים."
“When the soul shines, even the fog-veiled heavens emit a pleasant light.”
When one takes a deeper look at reality and focuses on one’s sense of purpose, even winter’s fog-veiled skies and daily life’s drab routine will emit a pleasant light.
Best wishes for a bright and fruitful winter.