“Mazel tov! My cousin is engaged!”
“Wow! Mazel tov! To who?”
“To my neighbor’s son’s classmate. And you’ll never guess how the shidduch happened…”
“Shidduch stories” have an intrigue all to themselves. While some are lucky enough to find their bashert in a relatively easy way (“The shadchan just happens to know my mother and his father, and one day he just happened to think of the two of us!”), others have long sagas of how their miracle happened. Whatever the case, the common factor among any and all shidduchim is the Hand of Hashem so clearly apparent throughout. And that is why the “shidduch stories” in Riding the Waves are such an inspiration for those still “in the parshah.” They convey the unshakeable truth that being “in the parshah,” looking for one’s bashert, is no different than any other nisayon, and that emunah and bitachon in our loving Father are the keys with which doors can open for everyone—including the door to the wedding hall…
But besides for providing chizuk (and no small amount of entertainment!), Riding the Waves is also an incredibly practical guide for singles and their families. It explores important topics such as initiating better communication while dating, medical issues in shidduchim, how to cope as a newlywed with single friends left behind, and much more. It also includes selected essays of inspiration from renowned speakers/authors such as Rav Mendel Weinbach, Rabbi Yissocher Frand, Rabbi Paysach Krohn, Rabbi Dovid Kaplan, Rebbetzin Sarah Meisels, Lori Palatnik, Chana Levitan, and others.
So if you are an eligible young lady or man, in addition to looking your best and using only your best manners (no ordering spaghetti while on a date!), pick up a copy of Riding the Waves and let the inspiration wash over you… And may we hear good news from you soon, too!
Click here to purchase online.
Enjoy one of the many inspiring stories in this book:
The Sister Project
Shoshi*, our main protagonist in this story, did not actually need this yeshuah herself. She comes from a family of twelve siblings, and is number eleven down the line and all of her older siblings are happily married, thank G-d. Shoshi is just an exceptional young lady and understood her friends’ pain…plus the power of doing a project as a group.
And how do I come to know this story? That too is an act of hashgachah; Shoshi’s mother “just happens” to be a good friend of mine, and she called me excitedly to tell me the story of “her Shoshi,” and asked that I please find a way to publicize this in my book…
As Shoshi entered her senior year of high school – called “seminar” for Israeli Bais Yaakov students – she and her friends were increasingly worried. Their grade alone, which consisted of ten classes with at least forty girls in every class, was enormous, and the problem was the same in every class. Most girls came from large families, where parents hoped to marry off their children in order of birth. However, for many this was not working out so smoothly. If a daughter finished seminar at the age of eighteen and was not married off by the time she was barely twenty, it automatically caused backup in the line of girls to marry off after her. For families that had several daughters in close succession, the tension was especially fierce. A lot of the girls in Shoshi’s class were anxious; they knew that if their older sister – in many cases, more than one sister or even older brothers – would not get married by the end of their last year in high school, they were doomed to “wait” until the older sibling got married. And in many cases, this was far more than just a year or two. Justifiably concerned, Shoshi and her friends put their heads together and decided they were not going to just sit around and do nothing. The situation called for immediate action.
The girls drew up a list of all the “olders” in their class alone, and to everyone’s great dismay, it totaled to forty singles in need of shidduchim. Then they got to work. They organized every known segulah to help their older siblings. They did hafrashas challah, they said Tehillim, they said Perek Shirah and Shir HaShirim, they gave tzedakah to all sorts of known places – there was no stone they left unturned. But still, even after all their prayers and segulos, nobody on their long list got engaged. It was disheartening. The girls did not know what else to do.
As the initiator of the whole “sister project,” as it had been nicknamed by the girls, Shoshi felt responsible for their failure. What could they be doing wrong? What had they not tried? All their efforts should have brought about at least a few engagements! Why wasn’t it working?
Shoshi wracked her brain for an idea, a clue, as to what they could do. Obviously, although they had all done their bit, it was not finding enough favor in the eyes of Hashem, the Ultimate Shadchan. Something was lacking – but what it was escaped them all.
Then inspiration hit. It occurred to Shoshi that perhaps they needed to do something that was less “easy.” Something that would take genuine effort to accomplish.
Something that would be done only through mesirus nefesh…
Shoshi thought and thought. And then the idea came to her.
At school, they had one class that no one liked. The teacher was an older woman, and her teaching techniques were, in the girls’ honorary opinion, a bit outdated. The truth was, the girls were bored and found it nearly impossible to sit through the class. They knew it was wrong to whisper, pass notes, nosh, talk out loud, study something else, and be disrespectful … but it was really hard to motivate themselves to pay attention. Naturally introverted, the teacher was at a loss for how to discipline this lively class, which meant that even those who tried to listen had a hard time doing so. Many girls took full advantage of the situation, knowing that they could get away with doing whatever they wanted. In their eyes, they never learned anything in this boring class anyway, so why not at least have some fun? By midyear, the disrespectful behavior and the complete disregard for this teacher’s class made for a picture that was not very pretty.
Shoshi honestly didn’t like the subject any more than the next girl, but deep in her heart she knew it was not right to act disrespectfully towards the teacher. But then it hit her – this could be their “mesirus nefesh project!” Shoshi’s idea was for the entire class to agree to sit for TEN HOURS during this teacher’s lesson and be model students. Really perfect girls. They would behave, sit quietly, pay attention, even ask a question or two to show they were listening, and have their homework ready on time. For the girls of this class, this would certainly be a very high level of mesirus nefesh!
However, it was one thing for Shoshi think of the idea, but quite another to carry it out. Her fellow classmates were aghast, and let her know it, too. “This is what you want to do for our singles?” “Are you out of your mind???” “Why should this help at all? We already did everything there is to do!” “What a crazy idea!”
But Shoshi persisted, and in the end, her persistence won out. The girls decided that for ten hours of good behavior they didn’t have that much to lose; it would be very, very hard, but they would try it out. If it didn’t work, they could always go back to their “regular” behavior in that class…
Their project began the very next day. Many girls had their doubts if they would be able to survive the hour of this teacher’s lesson without providing distractions for themselves, but, as they told themselves, at least it was only for one hour at a time.
Imagine their consternation, then, when just that very day, they discovered that they were to have this teacher for two lessons in a row! They all groaned inwardly, but—a project is a project. Hard as it was for them to control themselves, somehow they managed. You could hear a pin drop in that classroom, it was so quiet.
The teacher was, to put it mildly, very surprised. She did not know what to make of this model classroom, in which she suddenly had all eyes and ears upon her. Knowing this class’s usual behavior, she became suspicious. Maybe this is just a prelude to some new kind of mischief, she thought to herself. With this class, one never knew what they would be up to next.
Those first two hours went by in a daze of beautiful conduct and a decorum the level of which that teacher had never experienced before with this class. By the end of the two hours, the teacher could not hold herself back. “Girls,” she began, “I want you to know how much your good behavior these past two hours means to me … I can’t believe how much material we covered! I am so proud of you.” And before she could go any further, she began to cry!
Ashamed, the girls fidgeted quietly in their seats. Okay, they knew they had been horrid to her, but they didn’t think it mattered quite that much. Little did they understand in their teenaged minds how much pain their mischief and disrespect had really caused her. Little did they know that this teacher realized that if she did not succeed here, the parnassah of her family would be threatened.
It was quite a struggle, but the girls managed to hold out for their promised ten hours. And at the same time, ten singles from their list finally, finally became engaged!
The timing and the sheer numbers could not possibly be written off as a coincidence by even the most hardened cynics among them. So the girls decided to go for an additional round of “just ten hours.” And at the end of those ten hours, they rejoiced to see their list decrease by another ten names…
Now Shoshi wanted to do a third round of ten hours. It was close to Pesach time already, and if they could keep this up, perhaps they could finish the year with this teacher in a pleasant manner. Besides, they wanted to see their entire list engaged, not only half of it! But by then, many girls were tired of the project already. They wanted to be free of the burden of being so well-behaved in this teacher’s class. They wanted to be finished with the project already. And anyway, baruch Hashem, many of their older siblings were already engaged. Why should they bother continuing with their commitments? But Shoshi gently and firmly insisted. The project would only have its full power if it was done as a group, with each and every student participating.
“Don’t back out now,” she pleaded with her classmates. “We have so many more singles that still need a yeshuah!” So grudgingly, the class went ahead with the next round …
Another ten hours – their teacher was in seventh heaven! And now, the total amount of hours of decorum came to a total of thirty hours – and there were thirty singles from their list that were now either engaged or married! The simchah was catchy, especially as quite a number of these singles were already over thirty years old!
At the time of this writing, the girls are on their fourth set of ten hours, which is not too surprising. After all, they want to finish off their “sister project” before the end of the year …
(*name has been changed)
Wow, how powerful!