Refine Your Search for a Soulmate

Rabbi Moss will now be contributing regular Q&A commentaries to Gather the Jews.  Rabbi Moss is the proprietor of Nefesh and can be reached at rabbimoss@nefesh.com.au.  The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Rabbi Moss.

Question:

My Jewishness is making it harder for me to find love.  The more I get involved in Jewish life, the fewer options I have for girls to date.  To be honest, it is making me hesitate before becoming more observant.  What should I do, take on more Judaism and limit my options, or keep my options open and put the Jewish thing on hold?

Answer:

It depends what you are looking for.  If you are just after a partner, any partner that suits, then it is a simple numbers game, and the more options in front of you the better chances you have.  If you have a wider pool of potential partners, the odds are higher that you will be successful in your search.  In this equation, the vaguer you are about yourself, the more potential partners you will find.

But that’s only if you are merely looking for a partner.  If you are looking for your soulmate it’s another story entirely.

Your soulmate is the other half of your soul, the missing part of your very being.  You can only recognise your soulmate if you first get to know your own soul.  When you know where you are going in life, when you are clear on your own identity, when you know who you really are, then and only then are you equipped to identify the other half of your soul.

Some people have it backwards.  They think that when it comes to describing whom you’re looking for, you need a long and detailed list of specifications, but when it comes to describing who you are, you are better off being blurry and general.  The opposite is true.  Know yourself and your own soul.  Explore your Jewish identity and become comfortable with it.  You are not limiting your options, you are refining your search.

2 replies
  1. Rob
    Rob says:

    Rabbi, thank you for the highly pertinent article. As someone who is both a child of intermarriage and once came close to intermarrying, I can say that dating outside of the faith has some appeal. Due to demographics, it is far easier to meet someone with whom you have superficial commonality if you date outside of the Jewish community.

    However, as you correctly point out, dating outside of Jewish community is ultimately limiting because it is a path which terminates at an exit from the Jewish people.

    We all know of intermarriages from which children emerge with a strong sense of Jewish identity. Unfortunately, these are rarities. Only 28% of children born to intermarriages are raised as Jews. Of those 28%, only 10% of the children of intermarriage will marry other Jews. http://www.simpletoremember.com/articles/a/WillYourGrandchildrenBeJews/

    When I was considering a future with a non-Jewish spouse, I was willing (at the time) to accept that my children would not be halakhicly Jews. I still felt it important that they have the label “Jewish.” I tried to convince myself that I could impart “Jewishness” in a mixed marriage. My girlfriend disabused me of such notions. She told me that she was unwilling to convert, but that she would “let me raise the children Jewish.” Included in her concept of “raising the children Jewish” was Christmas, Easter, boiled ham for lunch every Sunday, etc. When I told her that wouldn’t work, she didn’t understand “why (she) was the only one being asked to make changes” and “why we can’t compromise.”

    I’m not trying to paint my ex-girlfriend as a bad person (she is not). The problem was not one of bad or good. Rather, it was one of ultimate incompatibility; someone who did share in the core of who I am. The compromises suggested by my ex are not compromises. They would dilute the uniqueness of Jewish identity to nothingness.

    The National Jewish Population Survey (cited above) reflects this trend. Few children of intermarriage stay Jewish because they have no reason to do so. If the non-Jewish and Jewish worlds are presented as equal, why not join the non-Jewish world? With it come Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and MTV. The full richness of Jewish life, tradition and culture is, of course, highly appealing. The attenuated version born of “compromise” seems irrelevant and unimportant. Why? So much of what makes Judaism special and unique must be “compromised” away.

    Rabbi, I hope that your questioner realizes that dating outside Judaism will not “put the whole Jewish thing on hold.” Rather, it will put his Judaism on a path to disappearance.

    Reply

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