The Jerusalem restaurant Tmol Shilshom is a famous dating spot: out of the way, with a nice atmosphere and books lining its walls. What better spot for a Habitza event, sporting short readings and musings on love gained and lost?
This is the second event hosted by the forum, the first being an AACI panel about matchmakers and singles. Then as now, there was a nice balance: guys and girls, singles and those who had already crossed the marriage threshold all gave brief readings on the topic. Some were funny, some sad and somber, still others perplexing and infuriating.
While the event was certainly fun, I have to wonder whether there was something missing. “Love” at this event was almost exclusively romantic love — gestures, butterflies and fantasies. Don’t get me wrong — attraction and romance are very important components of a relationship, but I don’t think they are enough.
Marriage is also living together in routine and dull days. If romance is the High Holidays, marriage is often the month of Cheshvan — balancing budgets, changing diapers and dividing chores and responsibilities. This is to say nothing of crises and life changes — relatives who pass away, children who grow up and rebel or career change.
A relationship that is conditional primarily or exclusively on being on Cloud Nine of love 24/7 is a very unstable one. There need to be other elements present, first and foremost commitment, friendship and a more realistic attitude than that which I saw at Tmol Shilshom. It may be less exciting than the fantasy of perpetual bliss, but it is also more stable, more lasting, more real.
That said, it was a pleasure to attend this event, and kudos to Deena Levenstein for doing all the grunt work for arranging it. I look forward to further such examinations of that elusive but ever so desirable feeling called love.