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Why should I give up my "Mr. Perfect" just because we don't share religions?

by Rabbi Shlomo Chein

  

Library » Jewish Identity » Non-Jews » Intermarriage | Subscribe | What is RSS?


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Question:

Since when does race or religion determine who you fall in love with? I met a Jewish man; the sweetest man I have ever met. I am not Jewish, and after reading up on his religion I am considering bowing out of the relationship. Pray tell me why I have to give up a man for his religion? This is so unfair to those of us who have waited a long time to find a spouse who is truthful and honest. I met him and my dreams have come true.

Thanks so much,

Answer:

I feel your pain and understand your frustration.

Whatever I say may fall short of what you are expecting to hear, since you are asking an emotional question and I can only give you an intellectual answer. But let me try.

If religion were just some sort of diet or an article of clothing I would agree with you one hundred percent. Why should a piece of material or a type of food stand in the way of true love?

But religion is not that.

Would it make sense to say “I am truly in love with everything about this guy except for his personality”? Or, how about “It’s not fair, I really love this guy and I just can’t believe that his psychopathic behavior is getting in the way of true love!”?

If religion were just some sort of diet or an article of clothing I would agree with you... Why should a piece of material or a type of food stand in the way of true love?
Needles to say, no one would ever say something of this sort. Personality is an essential part of one’s being, and if you aren’t in love with the person’s personality, you aren’t truly in love with that person.

To the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Judaism is their very essence. As such, it is a key factor in every aspect of a Jew’s life—including, and especially, their relationships. One can’t say I am in love with everything about this guy except for a “small trivial factor” called Judaism. Judaism is who he or she is; it is no side factor.

Since Judaism is so deeply rooted in the core of the Jew it would be wrong for the Jew, and the non-Jew, to enter into a relationship with each other. They cannot unite and truly relate on this very basic and fundamental issue. Sure they might have certain commonalities, and they might even love many things about each other, but they are lacking a relationship with regard to the very essence, and it would thus be unwise to enter a relationship that can’t be maximized and experienced on the most fundamental levels of life and identity.

Everyone wants to enter a relationship where the love has infinite possibilities and an eternal lifespan. Putting someone in this type of a relationship, where it is impossible for the couple to truly love and connect on an issue that shapes the course of life and molds the very essence, is simply cruel.

This is not a form of discrimination towards a non-Jew, and it is not intended as a restriction for the Jew. It is simply a precaution for the sake of all the parties involved, put in place by a loving G-d who wishes to see each individual reach his or her maximum potential of love. True love.


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COMMENTS

Intermarriage

Posted by: Anonymous on Apr 05, 2006

I have been married to a non-Jew for 40 years.

I love him dearly and we have a wonderful fmaily. What has been missing from my life all these years is exactly what you stated, the ability to connect at the deepest level.

There is a difference that will always be there and although we have a wonderful life and a great marriage a tiny piece will always be missing for me.


Intermarriage

Posted by: Anonymous, Brisbane, Qld, Australia on Oct 15, 2009

It is true what the rabbi says and which he says gently and wisely. I am long term married to a non Jew. This difference has caused enormous and fundamental problems, let alone the more surface but still very serious matters such as concernibg the religious upbringing of our children and which has important repecussions. The gulf between our hearts and minds is now astronomical.

In the beginning I was did not even see myself as a Jew, let alone being a practising one. But still, as I can see now, big differences were there and I pushed them out of my awareness, but they did not go away - they grew and now they cause a big impact.

The non Jew can convert but it has to be sincere and intensely desired. It is not like changing a dress or coat. If it is genuine, a process happens in the person, which causes big changes in both him and her and the relationship.

There are things we don't always understand. But that doesn't make them not real and true.


RELATED CATEGORIES

Life Cycle » Marriage » Intermarriage

Abraham
First Jew, and first of our three Patriarchs. Born into a pagan society in Mesepotamia in 1812 BCE, he discovered monethieism on his own. He was told by G-d to journey to the Land of Canaan where he and his wife Sarah would give birth to the Jewish People.
Jacob
Third of the three Patriarchs and father of the Twelve Tribes. Lived most his life in Canaan and died in Egypt in 1505 BCE. Also known by the name of "Israel."
Isaac
Second of the three Jewish Patriarchs, son of Abraham and Sarah. Lived in Canaan (Israel); b. 1712 BCE, d. 1532 BCE.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.