Get in to groups of 2 or 3 to discuss the following questions:
1) Vlad's friend Ilya offers to set him up a blind date with a very nice young lady named Ilana. Vlad checks out Ilana online and is not impressed with her appearance, maybe 4/10. Should he go out on a first date or not waste anyone's time if he thinks he won't be attracted to her?
2) Jaque moved to Chicago from France for his job in finance. Jaque meets Lauren, a nice Jewish girl from the North Shore. The begin to date, but a quick google search reveals that Lauren's father is currently serving a 15 year prison sentence for fraud and embezzlement from his former hedge fund. Jaque is concerned how this might affect his career, his immigration status, and is skeptical in general of Lauren who grew up in such a home and having a felon for a father in law. What do you think?
3) Stacy and Ryan have been dating for several months and things are going well. Stacy is the life of the party, very social and likes big events. But, whenever she invites Ryan to one of her social gatherings, he either politely declines or comes and huddles in a corner with a good book. Stacy wonders whether she should break think off and try to find someone who fits her personality and can enjoy social gatherings as well. What would you tell her?
4) Alex, 32, and Evita, 29, met at the J-Life Chanukah party and hit it off right away. They began dating and soon both felt this was a perfect match and they were meant to be. Three months into the relationship they went on a date to Navy Pier and at the top of the ferris-wheel, Alex pulled out a diamond ring from his pocket and popped the question. Evita has to think fast, should she follow her heart and accept the proposal or tell Alex that this is way to soon and she needs much more time to consider marriage?
5) Naomi is a nice young lady who moved to Chicago from Cleveland for a mid-level marketing job. She meets Stefan who is an aspiring poet, sculptor and violinist. He spends his days producing works of art and tries to get gigs in the evening. His finances are up and down, and in general, he doesn't earn enough to support a growing family. The relationship is going well, but Naomi really questions his earning capacity and his ability provide for a family. Should she break things off or continue dating and see where they head?
6) Jeff meets Sarah at the JUF big event, they exchange information and grab dinner a few times over the next week. Sarah has had an Israel trip booked with one of the Jewish organizations in time and heads out to the Holy Land for 3 weeks. She comes back very inspired, and has decided to be Shomer Negiah, and save all physical intimacy for marriage. She is interested in continuing to date Jeff, as long as he respects her "hands off" policy. This is very different from Jeff's dating life, especially his frat days back at U of I. Should Jeff continue dating her or look for someone a little more "flirtatious"?
I want to explore two rather interesting and reliable statistics related to Indian arranged marriages. The first is that Indians have an astonishingly low divorce rate. Despite doubling in urban areas since 2007, only about 1 in 100 Indian marriages end in divorce. This is one of the lowest divorce rates in the world. Even more impressive is the second statistic, about the high levels of satisfaction reported by those in arranged marriages over the longer-term...
והא לית ליה לר"מ מכלל לאו אתה שומע הן אמר רבי תנחום (במדבר ה, יט) הנקי כתיב דריש ר"ע איש ואשה זכו שכינה ביניהן לא זכו אש אוכלתן
Rabbi Akiva taught: If a man [ish] and woman [isha] merit reward through a faithful marriage, the Divine Presence rests between them. But if they do not merit reward, fire consumes them. Rava said:
... תנו רבנן יפיפיות שבהן מה היו אומרות תנו עיניכם ליופי שאין האשה אלא ליופי מיוחסות שבהן מה היו אומרות תנו עיניכם למשפחה לפי שאין האשה אלא לבנים מכוערות שבהם מה היו אומרות קחו מקחכם לשום שמים ובלבד שתעטרונו בזהובים אמר עולא ביראה אמר רבי אלעזר עתיד הקדוש ברוך הוא לעשות מחול לצדיקים והוא יושב ביניהם בגן עדן וכל אחד ואחד מראה באצבעו שנאמ' (ישעיהו כה, ט) ואמר ביום ההוא הנה אלהינו זה קוינו לו ויושיענו זה ה' קוינו לו נגילה ונשמחה בישועתו:
Rabbi Shimon ben Gamaliel said: There were no days of joy in Israel greater than the fifteenth of Av and Yom Kippur. Section two: On these days the daughters of Jerusalem would go out in borrowed white garments... The daughters of Jerusalem come out and dance in the vineyards ... What would the beautiful women among them say? Set your eyes toward beauty, as a wife is only for her beauty. What would those of distinguished lineage among them say? Set your eyes toward family, as a wife is only for children, and the children of a wife from a distinguished family will inherit her lineage. What would the ugly ones among them say? Acquire your purchase for the sake of Heaven, provided that you adorn us with golden jewelry after our marriage to beautify us.
It is forbidden for a man to betroth a woman until he sees her, lest he see something repulsive in her after the betrothal, and she will become repugnant to him, which will cause him to hate her. And to prevent this violation of what the Merciful One states in the Torah: “And you shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18), the Sages ruled that a man must betroth a woman in person, to ensure that he approves of her.
...אבל אם היה ממזר תלמיד חכם וכהן גדול עם הארץ ממזר תלמיד חכם קודם לכהן גדול עם הארץ:
.... But if there were a mamzer who is a Torah scholar and a High Priest who is an ignoramus, a mamzer who is a Torah scholar precedes a High Priest who is an ignoramus, as Torah wisdom surpasses all else.
...שְׁאֵרָ֛הּ כְּסוּתָ֥הּ וְעֹנָתָ֖הּ לֹ֥א יִגְרָֽע׃
...A man must not withhold from his wife her food, her clothing, or her conjugal rights.
Midrash - Shemot Rabbah 16:2
“Do not draw close to uncovering nakedness” (Vayikra/Leviticus 18:6). So says God: “Do not say, ‘Although a certain woman may be prohibited to me (sexually), I may nevertheless engage in close physical contact.’ For just as when one has taken the Nazarite vow prohibiting himself from drinking wine, he may not even partake of grapes in any form, similarly any woman who is not yours – keep your hands off!”