Yeah, But What’s He Really Like?
Purim is today and Pesach is around the corner. Both these holidays are centered around wine. I know what you’re thinking, “It’s time for the yearly wine review.” No, not yet. Soon. Instead I want to talk about wine in the context of getting to know the real person behind their Purim mask. And although I am framing this in light of someone seeking their beshert, the lessons are universal and apply to anyone in all situations and not just when dating.
A common concern when looking for the right one is how to tell the true nature of another well before the chuppah, and thereby avoid some unpleasant surprises down the line. The Talmud gives us a short and pithy saying, a play on words, that assists us in knowing what someone is really like and thus “fast-track” our understanding of another and what makes them tick.
בשלושה דברים אדם ניכר – בכוסו ובכיסו ובכעסו – “In three ways can one see the true nature of another: Koso, Kiso and Ka’aso – Glass, Wallet and Anger.” In all three of these, people drop their guard and we see them for who they truly are.
Koso/Glass refers to how someone behaves when they imbibe a bit of booze. Once a person gets a bit tipsy, their inner selves are revealed and we can see them for who they are. Indeed the Talmud notes that “when wine goes in, secrets come out.” It’s no accident that the Gematria (numerical equivalent) of the word for wine (יין) and secrets (סוד) are the same – 70. After a drink or two pay attention if s/he is happy, funny, flirty, morose, immature, obnoxious. Some interesting inner parts of another’s personality are revealed when the mojito kicks in.
Kiso/Wallet. If you wish to see if someone has a generous spirit, note how they deal with money. Yes it’s that simple. If at the end of the meal your dinner date consults his Tip Calculator app, puts his reading glasses on the end of his nose and begins an involved computation (“Let’s see, it took them so long to bring me my water refill, that loses a percentage point. The server didn’t smile – another percentage point…”) then that ought to tell you about how much of a nickel and dimer the fellow might be. People will often talk of how kind and generous they are, but the proof is in the pudding when real cash is involved. A cheapie cannot fake it. So pay attention to how they deal with finances. Is s/he responsible, reasonable and generous or a tightfisted penny-pincher who will negotiate for every dime no matter how financially comfortable they are?
Ka’aso literally means Anger and it refers to what a person says and does when they are angry which can be a very meaningful telltale sign of what’s inside. The usual apology when someone says something hurtful is, “I didn’t mean that, I said it in a moment of anger.” Uh… no. If one really didn’t mean what they said, the idea wouldn’t have been there in the recesses of their being in the first place to slip out. So the stuff folks say during those times of rage is a window into what is percolating deep down and not said in polite company until the fuse is lit.
Ka’aso can also refer to passion. Be on the lookout for what makes another’s eyes light up. When does this person get animated and lively? What are they zealous about? Sports, Injustice, Success in Business, Children – it is very easy to see what makes a person tick by what excites them. Are they passionate about meaningful things or the latest episode of The Crown?
And finally one more which is not in the Talmud but my own:
Server. How do they treat a server at a restaurant? And not a babe or hunk because everybody treats good-looking people nicely. If your date is considerate to the person who is seemingly in a lower socio-economic place, then you can see that they have a basic kindness and respect for all people regardless of their position. They understand that everyone is created in God’s image and has infinite value – whether they articulate it like that or not. But if he or she is nice to you and to other important people in their life, but is dismissive and abrupt with people like a server or the bag boy at the supermarket, then this is a serious red flag regarding the basic goodness of that person.
So there you have it. Tips to give us a window into the soul of another which will affect how they deal with everyday situations. Oh, which reminds me of one last point – Real Life Situations. Don’t spend every date in Starbucks. That has nothing to do with reality. If you marry someone, your life is not going to be chitchat in coffee houses, long walks along the beach, and Netflix. Take him to your sister who has the runny-nose baby, plunk the kid on his lap and see how he reacts. Is it, “Ewww, this kid is messing up my Hugo Boss pants!” or “Cute kid. Got a tissue for him? There we go…” as he wipes the snot from his nose? You want to see him/her in real life situations not fake ones because guess what? Most of marriage is real life and not fake Hollywood movie nonsense.
LeChaim – Drink Up and Happy Purim!
Red red wine you make me feel so fine
You keep me rocking all of the time…
Red red wine you give me whole heap of zing
Whole heap of zing you make me do my own thing