The Covenant

I recognize that the dating problems of today are rooted in ignorance of Jewish law and ideals, which leads to pettiness and faulty judgment.  By attaching my name to this covenant, I affirm belief in the following principles:  

  1. It is fundamentally wrong to judge someone based on non-Halachic externalities.  Doing so is an act of sinas chinam, the primary cause of our continued exile and national suffering.  Reciting tehillim will not save us as long as the reason for our punishment continues in such force.  People who scorn marriage with others based upon non-Halachic externalities are in violation of sinas chinam.  This is true even if they are friends, even if they eat in each other’s homes, even if they learn Torah together, etc.  The ultimate sign of true acceptance between people and families – or lack thereof – is marriage.  The students of Hillel and Shamai had far greater issues to work out between one another than we do today, yet their families intermarried.

  2. If one feels that certain personal customs enhance his religious observance, he is wise to adopt them. However, such customs are entirely optional. There is no special merit in adopting them or lack thereof in choosing not to. Putting any kind of pressure on others to adopt such customs is an invasion of one’s religious freedom (which exists within the bounds of the Torah), and confuses the ignorant.

  3. Social pressure in all its forms (to date, not to date, to further a relationship, to terminate a relationship, etc.) is morally wrong and frequently in violation of the Torah. If people are mature enough to date, they should be considered mature enough to make the proper decisions. Advice and guidance should be offered with the greatest care and sensitivity, with full realization of the severity of offering inappropriate advice. Rabbis should be especially cautious.

  4. The only true shadchan is Hashem.  Consequently, while people should be proactive in finding their respective mates, one should not lose sight of Who runs the show.  Availing oneself of human assistance is a choice, not a necessity.  Perverting one’s actions to score points with a potential shadchan is a lack of faith in Hashem and a severe personal disservice.

  5. It is a sin beyond description to belittle ba’alei teshuva.  Since Biblical times our leaders have seen them as perfectly viable marriage candidates.  Those who think otherwise are ignorant and cruel.

  6. It is not bittul Torah to date.  Period.

  7. It is intrusive and degrading to ask petty questions about potential dates before agreeing to meet them.  This is a form of narcissism, and should be strongly criticized whenever it is encountered.
  8. If God created an ideal mate for every person (a “bashert”), there is no assurance that this person comes complete with wealthy parents.

  9. One should search for what he truly needs in a marriage partner, not demand a person custom-made to the slightest details. Allowing room for individuality is healthy, not a “compromise”. People should search for their spiritual mates, not their “equals”.

  10. Singles should feel comfortable talking to one another without intermediaries.  Singles should not be embarrassed to be seen talking to one another, whether on a date or not.  Interaction between religious singles is emotionally sound and Halachically permissible, and does not require supervision.  It should become normal again for people to arrange dates on their own.
I agree . . .
. . . Not to undermine religious Jews for petty, non-Halachic reasons.
. . . Not to judge a person based on his family or his background.
. . . To educate friends and relatives about these principles, and to constructively criticize their inappropriate “shtick”.  This is the best way you can help them and spread the positive messages.
. . . To familiarize myself with the pertinent Halachos (lashon hara, hochacha, etc.)
. . . To give chizzuk to those who would prefer not to perpetuate the current dating system.
. . . To emphasize the positive reasons for dating, not the societal expectations.
. . . To become an active part of the solution, not a passive part of the problem.