Choosing the Right Kallah Teacher

By Bracha Cohen

Mazel Tov on your daughter’s engagement! You must be so excited!

Your head is awhirl with the million and one details that need to be attended to: the hall, the caterer, the wedding gown, the attire for the rest of the family, the band, the photographer, the invitations . . . Oh yeah, your daughter needs a kallah teacher. Hmmm . . . maybe you should just ask a friend who she used (and make sure the teacher’s not too expensive, since you’re probably way over budget for the wedding). There’s no time to deal with everything, right?

Well . . . no. Long after the flowers have wilted and the wedding album is stored, the benefits of proper hadracha become crystal clear. The kallah teacher that you choose will be opening for (perhaps) the first time a new world for your daughter. The investment that you make in finding the right teacher is an investment in the future of your daughter’s married life.

Here’s what you need to find out before settling on the right teacher.

HALACHA:
Who did the kallah teacher learn from? Who does she ask her shailos to? Does she teach the halachos in a way that the kallah can differentiate between an actual issur, a chumra, a mesorah, or just a good idea? Does she encourage the couple to have a relationship with a rav?

HASHKAFA:
Learning the halachos properly is very important. The halachos are detailed and it’s not always an easy mitzvah to keep. Learning the proper outlook behind the halacha helps the couple understand the importance of what they are keeping. A good kallah teacher will inspire your daughter to become a proud “member of the club.”

THE MARITAL RELATIONSHIP:
Often this is the first (and sometimes the only) time your daughter will be hearing details of married life and almost certainly the first time she is being given the Jewish hashkafa on intimacy. In today’s environment, a typical frum young lady may be exposed to, on one hand, incredible amounts of non-Torah information (and misinformation), and on the other hand, no information on the home front. It is imperative to the future of her relationship and her family that she develop a positive, Torah-based outlook on this most important facet of her relationship with her husband. Even a young woman who was blessedly raised in a bubble of holiness and purity needs the proper Torah hashkafa in this area. Any discomfort or negativity on the part of the teacher in this area will be passed over to her. Make sure the teacher is comfortable and knowledgeable in sharing this information.

A competent kallah teacher will also present a clear and practical instruction that will give the kallah confidence and positive anticipation for her marriage.

RELATIONSHIP SKILLS:
A loving relationship between a husband and wife is a science, not a mystical happenstance. Giving the couple the tools they need to develop healthy relationship habits right from the start will pay far greater dividends than trying to correct bad dynamics later on in the marriage. If the chosson and kallah teachers don’t offer this, encourage your children to take classes, meet with a mentor or a rav, or learn together how to make an already good marriage even better!

Some other thoughts on choosing your daughter’s teacher:

You want to find your daughter someone who will keep in touch with the kallah over the shana rishona. A meeting after the wedding (about 6–8 weeks later) to clarify any questions that have come up in any area of the marriage is very important. I always tell my kallahs that it’s as if they’re learning how to drive a car while sitting in a chair. It’s all theoretical. Once it becomes practical, that’s when the questions should be coming up. More importantly, the kallah should have a built-in venue for raising questions or concerns that have arisen over the first weeks of marriage. The teacher should make the kallah feel comfortable to contact her at any time—now or in the future. Your daughter should feel that she has someone to call when she has any questions. And she should feel that all of her questions are taken seriously.

Look for a teacher who is experienced enough to pick up on any vibes of negativity or doubt; someone who knows how to ask the right questions and listens with a “third ear”—intuition. A kallah teacher is like a first responder. She is often the first to notice when something is not going well, and to refer the young woman to the appropriate treatment. You also want a teacher who is secure enough to say, “Great question; I don’t know the answer, but I will find out for you.”

Hatzlacha in your quest. May you be blessed with only nachas from your young couple!

Mrs. Yitti Bisk has been happily teaching kallahs for over 25 years. She is a Marriage Educator and Relationship Coach and runs workshops that provide practical tools and tips for making your marriage great. Mrs. Bisk lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh with her husband and children. Yitti can be contacted at 02- 992-0280 or [email protected]