We spoke about sheifos a lot, in seminary. Ideals, religious ambitions, spiritual goals. We said man is defined by his sheifos. We spoke of homes of Torah, saintly husbands, pious children, worlds of Chesed, revolutions of inner character work. We had big dreams.
I spin the glass around, between my fingers. I look up and out, at the sea and sand beyond us. There are two Israeli Air Force officers, flanking my right and left. Another couple of guys have joined us too, but they are less glamorous in their civilian shirts, so I don't pay them quite as much attention.
We speak about trips to Europe and past conferences. They follow me, as I walk from drinks table to the railing. They've been smiling at me all day, looking to see if I laugh at the jokes the lecturer makes, catching my eye in the silent pauses. I can barely believe that these good looking, polished, sophisticated army officers are interested in me, but even clueless me can read the signs.
I always wondered what my place in the social ladder would have been in a secular mixed school. Would I have been the quiet one, the girl that no guy asks to dance, the wallflower?
I don't feel like one now, with four guys vying for my attention. I savor the thrill, treasure it; it's new to me.
I'm not doing anything wrong. Networking is a good thing, it's one of the reasons we are here. This is perfectly respectable. This isn't cheap, or shady. I'm not being hit on, I'm not flirting. But it's fun, a lot of fun. It would be so easy to continue the relationships. It would take only a few words to exchange numbers, to meet up again.
They are all extremely intelligent, much smarter than the average guys I meet. They are the elite, the result of careful selection, done by the army, and not by my family's amateur 'finding out' phone calls. They are mature and responsible. I feel like an equal with them. I don't need to dumb down my words, I don't need to explain anything. I wonder what it would have been like to grow up with guys like this, learn in the same academic institutions as them, be automatically and naturally surrounded by eligible young men.
If only they were Frum. Two of them do have Kippot. Small Kippot, so small it took me a while to notice them. One mentions taking it off, travelling bareheaded when he was abroad. I'm disappointed, but not surprised.
"Think about what you really want", someone advised me recently, when I was making a past decision. "Think about the type of home you want, and what's going to get you there."
I can see cafes on the coast, amusement, fun, with these guys. I can see company, excitement, romance.
But I can't see a Shabbos table, I can't see Torah, I can't see truth. Where can it end? Will it bring me closer to where I want to be?
So we say goodbye, at the end of the day. We say a lot more, in the last smiles we exchange, the words we leave unspoken. And I let them go. I go back to my borderline spinsterhood, and my Shidduchim.
I'm alone at home again, missing the guys and the taste I had of another life. I hope that God is valuing these choices. My sheifos are a lot simpler these days. To stay as Frum as I used to be, to cling onto what once was so natural. The goals may sound simpler, but the battle is much more difficult.
5 hours ago