Monday, August 3, 2009

The Mating Ritual

Since time immemorial, an ancient mating ritual has been practiced, amongst the ultra orthodox sect of judaism, in the holy land of Israel. All details are sacrosanct. Our top investigative reporter reports back to us, below.

Time: 8 PM on the first day of summer Bein Hazmanim.

Place: The Inbal hotel lobby, Jerusalem.

A row of white cabs pull up in the traffic circle. One by one, out step the girls. Each girl is fully made up and in her finest, each is clutching a purse, and each is wished good luck, with a wink, by her respective cab driver.

The guard, standing at a wooden booth beside the potted palm trees, inspects their bags. Again they are told good luck, this time with a grin. One by one they push though the revolving door, into the heart of the Israeli shidduch scene.

Inside stand the young men. They wear black hats, and suits. They can be distinguished by their ties. Beards are optional.

They stand, by the reception desk and the souvenier display cases. The chairs are taken by groups of tourists, in T Shirts and canvas shorts, chattering loudly. They may be the hotel's paying guests, yet in fact they are the trespassers, here in this ancient mating place, during the holy pairing ritual.

For some lucky pairs, this is a second date. Or even a third one, and they are well on their way to engagement. One of these boys will immediately spot his beloved, and stride towards her confidently. She smiles up at him (or down, if she's in heels). She is in love, with this wonderful male specimen, the first man she has ever conversed with at length who is not a first degree relation. Perhaps she is not yet in love, but at least he is not a stranger to her. They have already endured the first awkward meeting, two days previously, and have succeeded in banishing the memory. They are a couple.

The others look at each other helplessly. Who is for whom? A voice may have pronounced their soulmates in the heavens, before they descended to earth, but right now, under the amused eyes of the receptionists, and the guests, it is not of much assistance. The boys are stranded, deserted, surrounded by expectant females, without their mother to turn to.

The girls are better off. Their task is easier. They are but to stand, purse in hand, eyes modestly downcast, until approached by a suitor. They try to look ornamental, elegant and refined, as they do so.

One girl stands out from the others. Under close inspection, she is not any prettier. Nor is she dressed very differently .She too wears a skirt that conceal the knees, and a sweater set, and carries a patent leather purse. Yet she stands differently. She smiles at the men who meet her eye. She finds a free sofa, and perches there, legs crossed. She should not be there, tonight. She can offer no apartment as dowry. There is no noble family tree arrayed behind her. Her own background too cannot stand under thorough investigation. Yet she has come. And she is the first girl they all approach.

"Sara?" one asks. She drifts her eyes down him, and across his girth. "No", she says.
He moves on, disappointed, hoping for better luck with the next girl.
"Tzippora?" asks another. His tie is spotted, instead of striped. Bright colors. She likes it, but not the ill fitting cut of his suit. "No", she says, and he turns away.
Around her, two by two, they pair up. And like the animals in Noah's ark, they match their steps, as they make their way around the corner, to the lounge.

She remains. As does another girl, who's now biting her nails.

The glass door begins to revolve, a long lean shadow is reflected in the marble floor. The two girls wait. One calm, the other afluster.
It is a man, a young man, suitably attired in black and white. He is alone. He gazes across, at them both.
The first girl meets his eyes, and smiles. She likes his confident stride, as he crosses the lobby to her side. "Chana Leah?" he asks. Questioning. Hopeful.
"Yes." She says.
"For you darling, I can be Chana Leah." She murmurs to herself, too quietly for him to hear.
They exit the scene. Both expectant, both pleased.

Only one girl remains behind. Chana Leah.

16 comments:

  1. The beginning is described very colorfully and it is powerfully intrigues. The middle is not very clear, but gives the idea of the ending. The ending is unfortunate and sad.

    I would call that stealing (gzeila i guess) and I wouldn't wish them to be together, but it's not me to decide and if it's a true story Hashem made it on purpose.

    Who is it about? I am asking about both girls described here...

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  2. great story and writing! is it true?

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  3. You made my mouth drop open at the end!
    Great story!

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  4. No, it's not true.

    It's what I'm always tempted to do, when I see a cute guy, and he's not for me. It would be so easy!

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  5. It's what I'm always tempted to do, when I see a cute guy, and he's not for me. It would be so easy!

    Of course, the question then arises - do you want a cute guy or a good guy? (and, yes, I am sure you want a cute good guy, but who can tell?)

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  6. Nice post. If you want an interesting view, check out http://shidduchtalk.blogspot.com/

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  7. That was a great story, it would be so cool if in real life we knew the name of who we were supposed to marry.

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  8. which is a better shidduch scene? The David Citadel or the Inbal Hotel? I think the Inbal is more spacious...

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  9. I would have picked you

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  10. Doesn't the David Citadel have a minimum cover charge? Two cokes don't reach it, and (see Starving on a Shidduch) food is forbidden.

    Also sometimes they don't let you in there, when it's a busy season.

    So Inbal win's this year's Shidduch Scene Awards.

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  11. wow.... genius! I had no idea the scene was like that - they're really just play guessing games? I mean if I was the girl I'd kinda pay attention who he went up to first - if it wasn't me... was I not pretty enough?? :-p

    I actually went to the david citadel once (ok really it was because I wanted to use the bathroom..) but then we stuck around and they even gave us some cups of water (twice!) and we didn't pay a cent. Its also nice to sit overlooking the pool (well on the steps.. cuz if u sit down on the tables..) :-)

    - MrSmiley

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  12. I haven't dated in Israel (yet). Is that really what it's like?! guys guessing who their date is? Around here, the guys picks the girl up from her house. cute story, and it probably could happen too!

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  13. Great story reminds me of yaakov being tricked into marrying leah but not quite of course.

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  14. Nasty!! :) So much for basic manners.

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