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It was a warm April afternoon -- the kind of afternoon that said, "Kick off your shoes, pick up the Talmud, pour yourself a cup of borscht with a dollop of sour cream, and wile the day away." But I was not to have the relaxing pleasure of that kind of afternoon. Not that day. For there was a knock at the door. Oh, by the way, my name is Rabinowitiz. Shlomo Rabinowitz. And I'm a Jewish private eye. My specialty? Affairs of the heart.
I opened the door and gasped. Her beauty took my breath away, sucker-punched it, put it through a wind tunnel, juggled it, and tossed it back into my lungs. She was 5'4" of Hebraic heaven. "Detective Shlomo Rabinowitz?" she inquired, with a voice like liquid velvet mixed with blintzes. My mouth opened to answer in the affirmative, and yet nothing came out. "My name is Rivka Blatberg," she purred. Rivka Blatberg. It was the kind of name that evoked visions of soft hands moving above Shabbos candles, passionate days on a kibbutz, feeding one another chocolate dreidels. It was the kind of name that made grown rabbis grow weak in the knees.
I motioned her inside and watched her as she walked toward the chair. I envied the form-fitting garment that hugged each curve of her Judaic form. She had the kind of face for which you'd gladly miss your nephew's bar mitzvah to be near. And a body that could take you to the Land of Milk and Honey and certain portions of New Jersey. As she sat down, I found myself envying her chair as I asked her how I could be of service.
"Mr. Rabinowitz, I understand you're the best Jewish private eye dating specialist in town," she said. "Please -- Shlomo," I offered. "And I'm flattered that my reputation precedes me. You've obviously seen my commercials on local cable -- 'If your heart's going 'Oh no!', come see Shlomo.'"
Rivka then got to the point, her eyes welling up with tears, like the Red Sea at high tide. "You've got to help me find him, Shlomo! " "Find whom, Rivka? The man who done you wrong? The man who robbed your innocence? The man who stole your heart and vanished like the last rugalach on the plate at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting?" She shook her head. "It's not like that, Shlomo. You see, I've never even met him." "Never met him?" I responded. "Why, that's more meshugeneh than Ozzie Osbourne at a Hadassah meeting. How can I find someone you've never met?"
She looked directly into my eyes. I made a mental note to take several cold showers later. "Shlomo, I've never been in love, and I want so desperately to care for a man and for him to care for me. I want you to find me a man to love." I sighed, and as I did so, could make out the lingering aroma of the whitefish and kugel I'd had for lunch. "Rivka, I'm no match-maker." "Please, Shlomo, you know so much about romance. You know so many people. It's your occupation. You live it and breathe it. Work with me. Find me my beshert."
I was about to turn her down again, when she said those words -- those words every Jewish man longs to hear, those words that changed my mind completely. "Please, Shlomo -- money's no object."
I worked for Rivka for the next six months, though perhaps "work" is not the most accurate term. A better description might be, "I floated on air with Rivka for the next six months." I introduced her to every logical candidate I could find -- a cantor from Kansas, a lawyer from Louisiana, a mohel from Miami. None were right. And then, a funny thing happened. Rivka and I started getting closer. We've been dating now for a year and a half and our only argument so far has been which of us is luckier to be with the other. Nauseating, I know. I even gave her her money back -- which hurt.
But Rivka and I both learned that sometimes the thing you want most in life is right in front of you, if you'll only open your eyes. And another thing -- real happiness and fulfillment is all it's cracked up to be. Why, I'll have days and even weeks in which I don't even think about that returned money. It's all in a day's work for Shlomo Rabinowitz, Jewish private eye and dating specialist.