“Some enchanted evening
You may see a stranger…
… across a crowded room…”
I was not originally a fan of Broadway musicals. But when I saw Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific with Rusti, the opening lines of “Some Enchanted Evening” brought back an enchanted evening for me.
I was beginning my sophomore year at the University of Michigan. There was a Hillel mixer. I never went to social events, Jewish or otherwise, but something called me to this one.
Then I saw her. Across the crowded room. Dancing alone in a red dress. It wasn’t just her beauty. It was a spirit emanating from her being. I approached her and we talked a bit. I found out her name was Rusti. Enchanting. But she was swarmed by other boys—she was beautiful, talented and smart.
Nevertheless, when I returned to my fraternity house that night, I told my brothers that I would marry her. It was love at first sight.
It was not love at first sight for her. So, we talked on and off. Eventually, she allowed me to take her on my white Honda motorcycle for her favorite foods, lime sherbet from Baskin Robbins and coleslaw from a nearby deli.
We got to know each other better. I told her that my best friend from Chicago was coming for UM’s Homecoming weekend.
Some months passed when she called, wondering if my friend was coming to town and could he take her to a homecoming event; her date had fallen through.
Him!? What about me, I asked! And she said yes. It must have been beshert. (Not so beshert maybe was when he loaned me his car and, soon after, I was driving and looked over to see her beautiful face once too long, and crashed the car. Fortunately, no one was hurt.)
She later said that at some point a small voice in her head told her I was the one. On my path to becoming a psychiatrist, I didn’t know exactly what that voice represented then, nor now. But we were married after my first year in medical school and still, it is an enchantment 51 years later.
I am occasionally asked as a psychiatrist if I can explain the phenomena of love at first sight. Not really. Psychiatrists have tried for decades, but I think it is a spiritual or religious mystery.
I think one has to be open to life’s mysteries. Judaism, with the idea of beshert, helps plant the possibility of divine influence in such an occurrence. If you’re still seeking your beshert, I’d say be open to unexpected opportunities and connections.
This Valentine’s Day, I can only tell you how Rusti and I have kept the love going for 55 years. I’ve always made her my first priority. We appreciate each other’s needs and interests and enjoy activities together while maintaining our individuality.
Beshert is to grow better together.
“Once you have found her, never let her go
Once you have found her, never let her go!”
Rusti Moffic and H. Steven (Hillel) Moffic, M.D.—Steve—go by “Rustevie.” Steve is a retired psychiatrist; Rusti, a learning disabilities specialist and fashion designer. They love traveling and co-chairing their Milwaukee JCC’s Arts & Ideas Committee (Tapestry). They have two adult children, Stacia and Rabbi Evan, and four grandchildren. Steve’s book, Anti-Semitism and Psychiatry: Recognition, Prevention, and Interventions (Springer) is due out in April. Contrary to some forecasts, sharing a computer has not wrecked their marriage.