What concepts of modesty are important to discuss with our sons?
Regarding their own modesty: That blowing their own horn about their scholastic achievements or riding around on a motorcycle without a muffler is just as superficial as a woman parading her body. Regarding females: That they shouldn’t write off a woman just because she doesn’t initially attract them. Real, enduring attraction combines outside and inside, so give the inside a chance to show.
You also write about love, dating , relationships and marriage. What drew you to these themes? The fact that they’re handled so senselessly in the secular world and result in so much wasted time and emotional pain. It kills me to see people causing themselves damage when it’s so easily preventable with a little common sense about relationships.
As our children grow, and begin to look for their bashert (hard to imagine but my oldest is 14 so it’s not here yet…but it will be someday!),
what is your best piece of advice we should share with our daughters? Our sons? First, that love isn’t a feeling you get when you meet the right person. It’s the attachment you feel to someone when you appreciate his or her goodness. Starting off with the right definition of what you’re looking for can steer you away from wrong connections. Second, that love has less to do with finding the right person than with being the right person. The best preparation you can do for marriage is to work on yourself, since you can be only as good a spouse as you are a person.
Has there been any surprising reactions to your writing from readers that you would like to share? The most surprising reaction was when a girl, upon hearing that I was the author of The Magic Touch, burst into tears. It turned out that, thanks in part to my book, she and her boyfriend had become shomer negiah (Translation: they chose to refrain from any physical contact-Ann) a month ago, and she was overwhelmed by what it had done for their relationship–”It’s a different world, it’s a different plane,” she told me. And then when her mother came up to me after a class in New York to give me a gift, she too started crying. I guess it’s in the family.
Have you received any negative reactions? If so, what were they? I’ve been told that while I’m famous among seminary girls, I’m infamous among their boyfriends. One guy told me there’s a contract out on me. Another guy told me what I have to say is @#$*. But I take it all as a compliment–that what I wrote was provocative enough to evoke a strong yetzer hara response!
Yeah, you always know you are doing something right if folks are yelling at you!
This is a broad question but I am curious…you are an international speaker and author. How does one become an international speaker and author? How have your books and lectures gained recognition and popularity–what has the process been? You become a public speaker and author when you have a very strong beliefs, have a big mouth, and are incredibly frustrated that more people don’t have access to the wisdom that has been so life-changing for you. It started small, with talks in Jerusalem and local book sales of The Magic Touch; then kids brought the books back to the U.S. and their friends wanted them, and Feldheim Publishers got so many requests for it that, despite the fact it’s considered risque by frum standards, they asked a sh’ailah and were told to take it; then it eventually got into their catalogue. It was a process. My subsequent books then rode on the fame of the first one. (And all this without a web site…!)
What led you to launch your new website gilamanolson.com? The need for it arose from the fact that I’m putting out a book on shmirat negiah for Christians, who don’t know me, so I have to have a web presence. It should be up any time now. And thanks to your totally on-target article in Jewish Action entitled “Please Put the Women Back In,” it will indeed have a photo of me, which I initially viewed as a bediavad and now view as a lechatchilah. (Thank you for that!)