Monday, October 12, 2009

Guest Poster: Shidduchim, dating, marriage

Shidduchim, dating, marriage: My philosophy and thoughts Part 1Share
Yesterday at 10:49pm
by Ari Stern

I don’t believe anyone who I consider a friend needs to share my beliefs or even my values. The only things I can think of that would disqualify one from being my friend are age and music-taste. Just kidding. They are disloyalty, dishonesty or just general untrustworthiness. Oh and they have to value our friendship. I think that’s it.

Anyhoo, I have this real yeshivish friend who basically spends most of our conversations explaining to me how messed up my philosophy of Judaism is. So lately I was telling him that I think Frumster is the best dating-method for me, and he looked like he was going to faint.

“For hundreds if not thousands of years, all our ancestors got married through shidduchim, but then along comes Ari Stern and decides he knows better than Jewish tradition.”

So I tell him why logically it just makes more sense and it’s more pragmatic, but he doesn’t let go.
“We have a mesorah to do it the way our community does it and you have no right to go against our holy mesorah.”

So I told him “For thousands of years our holy mesorah dictated that we have no refrigerators, and along comes our new age and decides it’s okay to have refrigerators.”

He stops to think for a second, and then he says “so you’re saying if computers and internet existed in prior times, our ancestors would use that method?” I say yes. You can see he looks puzzled. He’ll ask his rosh-yeshiva about that. I cannot wait to hear what he’ll say. ;-)

Then I was having this discussion with someone else, and she was saying she wouldn’t hold her husbands hand after she got married (in public). I ask why and she says it’s not totally tznius. I ask why and she says because it gives away too much information to the public; she’s basically announcing she is not a niddah and that is just too much to share.

I always wondered how a lot of Chassidim said it’s not okay to hold hands in public, and yet they hold hands right after the chuppah. They even DANCE in public on their wedding night (mitzvah-tantz). If it’s okay to do it on your wedding night, why not every other day? But now I think I see how it’s not a contradiction or a hypocrisy, everyone knows she’s not a niddah on her wedding night anyway. Cool.

The problem is, according to the above, why doesn’t the couple kiss under the chuppah? Is your love and exclusivity private or not so much? Furthermore, does this mean that anyone who holds of the halachic opinion that touching in public is announcing that she’s not in a state of niddah and is therefore not recommended- do they concede that if the couple is, say, in Taiwan on vacation (or any other place where the people don’t know about niddah and therefor won’t come to any conclusions based on them touching), that it’s okay to be publicly affectionate?


  1. Hmmm...You've got me thinking. I think it really does depend on your environment.

    Take for example the fact that I don't completely follow the "no elbows" rule and wear short sleeved shirts (like t shirts). At school it's not considered weird or makes me feel overly exposed, considering there's girls walking around in booty shorts. But when I go to the kosher market, I always cover up since EVERYBODY is covered up - even the people who work there that aren't jewish wear long sleeved shirts.

  2. The claim about the shidduch system made by your friend has other problems as well. First, it assumes that everything Jews do culturally is somehow intrinsically of halachic value. Second, I'm not even sure the claim that the system has been around for so long is true. Certainly if one looks at the Mishna and Gemarrah discussing these issues (which occur primarily incidentally) one doesn't get at all the impression of the shidduch system. The most obvious example is the Mishnah in Ta'anit about Tu B'av.