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Humorous and True Dating Stories Connected to the Parsha

And Hashem said to Noach, “Come into the ark, you and all your household, for it is you that I have seen as a righteous man before Me in this generation.” (Bereishis 7:1)

A girl was dating someone that a friend had set her up with and it was not the first date.  She wanted to know more about his midos – his character traits.  Her friend said that he was nice, but could she really know?

She thought, “When people date – they are on their best behavior.  Later on, however, when life’s pressures develop – some negative traits emerge. Some people become rude.  They do not respond to a ‘good morning.’ How can I tell where he truly stands?”  She thought about it and came up with a plan.

On the next date, while stopped at a red light of a busy intersection she removed the keys from the ignition, shut off the car and placed the keys in her pocketbook.

He calmly asked her, “What are you doing?”

She responded in silence.  He inquired again.  Once again, no response.

Very shortly, the cars behind them began to honk.  No matter. She kept her silence. The cars behind decided to go around the apparently immobilized car.  The car immediately behind him went to the left.  But the oncoming traffic did not want to be stopped so they hedged forward not allowing another car to pass.  The car two behind went around to the right.  Those behind that car followed as well, causing those in the lane to the right to get upset and honk as well.

There was a cacophony of honking sounds emerging from all around.  The honking was from behind, to the right, and from the oncoming traffic because they could not pass.  Throughout it all, the date retained his composure.

He calmly asked, “May I have the keys back now?”  Finally, she gave him the keys back.  He put them in, started the car, and eventually pulled over to the right when the traffic mess had subsided and it was safe.

He asked her, in a still calm and collected voice, “What was that about?”

She responded, “I wanted to see if you were also a baal midos under pressure.  You were amazing, and you passed the test.  Ki oscha ra’isi tzaddik lefanai.”

He answered, in a calm, cool, and collected voice, “I may have passed the test, but, unfortunately, you did not.”

He promptly turned the vehicle around and drove her home.

We can ask, what specific test did the young woman (actually she was slightly older than that) not pass?

There is a pasuk in VaYikra the import of which has been little understood. The verse is, “velo sonu Ish es amiso” – (VaYikra 25:17). The Mitzvah is generally called “Onaas Dvarim” or just plain “Onaah.”


The Sfas Emes explains that the main reason behind this Mitzvah is so that we will all have a sense of complete oneness as a people. Causing another pain was prohibited because it causes division within us as a people.


The Midrash Rabbah (Bereishis 84:20) explains that Menashe, Yoseph’s son, was punished for “finding” the goblet in Binyamin’s sack – even though he did so on his father’s instruction. He caused the Shvatim pain, they “ripped” their clothes in agony over the fate of Binyamin. The Midrash explains that Menashe’s portion of his inheritance was also “ripped.”  The woman on the date not only caused her date suffering, but also all of the other people in the cars around.

Rachel Imeinu, stole the Teraphim of her father Lavan. Her intent, of course, was absolutely proper. She wished to wean her father off of his belief in worshipping idols. Yet the Zohar tells us (VaYeitzei 164b) that she did not merit to raise those whom she loved because she deprived her father of what he loved!


Examples of this violation of Ona’ah include reminding a Ger of the actions of his fathers, or a Baal Teshuvah of his original behaviors or sins. Asking someone a question in a subject area where the person being asked does not know the subject well is also a violation of Onaah (See Rambam Hilchos Mechira 14:12). Similarly, inquiring the price of item where one has no intention at all of purchasing the item is also a violation of Onaah (See Bava Metziah 58b).


In discussing this Mitzvah, Rav Yechiel Michel Stern cites the Chikrei Laiv (YD Vol. III #80) that this prohibition could also be violated through inaction. For example, if someone recites a Mishebarach for a number of people but purposefully leaves one person out – he is in violation of this prohibition. A sad aspect of this prohibition is that violators are often unaware that that they are verbally abusing or causing pain through action or inaction. Often they may characterize the recipient of their statement, words or actions as “overly sensitive.”

Different manifestations of Onaas Dvarim include, demonstrating Kaas (anger) at another, name calling, threatening, and blaming one’s own behavior on someone else’s actions. Certain criticisms are also subsumed under the category of Onaas Dvarim as well.


Sometimes, there is a very thin line between proper parenting and Onaas Dvarim. This thin line must be navigated very carefully. For example, let’s assume that a mother is concerned and convinced that in today’s atmosphere where “thin” is “in” – her daughter needs to lose the excess weight. [The prohibition even applies to little children – the exceptions, of course, are when it is necessary for parenting (See Sefer HaChinuch 251)]. At what point, however, does the mother’s comments turn from constructive parenting into a Torah violation of Onaas Dvarim? Often, most people do not get the message unless the issue is made clear to them in no uncertain terms.


There is a story of a young single man who never showered. His Rav approached him and told him that he had to start showering daily. The young man responded that in his particular line of work showering would not be effective because he constantly sweatsin his particular line of work and he would have to shower several times a day in order to be clean. The Rav told him that that was his obligation and put his foot down. Within two months the young man got engaged and was told by his fiancé that she did not even so much as look at him prior to his “complete turnaround.”

The point of the story is that, generally speaking, when people have an underlying issue, nicely telling them is not going to do the trick. Since that is the case, the issue is very pertinent – at what point is it Onaas Dvarim and at what point is it constructive criticism or constructive parenting?

The answer to this question depends upon the person’s response. The Torah in many places stresses the obligation for one to be intelligent, and to be able to accurately assess likely responses of people. This situation is no different. An accurate assessment of the person’s likely response must be made. If it is unlikely that a change will be effected, then further pressing the issue would be a violation of Onaas Dvarim. This does not mean, however, that one should give up. One should constantly be thinking how to coordinate a change within the person – but one that would be effective.   If you have a humorous and true dating story please email [email protected]

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