- Dating Based on Living in Israel
- Moshe Ben-Chaim
- (The following is an actual e-mail conversation
between a possible couple. This conversation picks up after the
girl (who previously assumed the man was not so devoted to learning)
found out that the young man was indeed one who valued and set
aside time to learn. She had one further question before agreeing
to a date)
- Girl: "I appreciate
what you said, and I apologize if I sounded like I was judging
you--it was certainly not intended.
- I still do have one question regarding a topic that you did
not address. That topic is Israel. Are you open to the idea
of living in Israel? I'm sorry if I am being too direct, but
that is very important to me and it would not be fair to even
begin dating someone without letting them know that Israel is
where I plan to spend my life and where I would like my children
to grow up. etc.
- Be well,
- Young man's response: "I
admire your desire to live in Israel, but the Torah - when portraying
values of perfected individuals - has always focused on the person's
virtues. I have never seen the Torah praise someone more for
choosing to live in Israel, than having worthy virtues.
- This is clearly how one should operate, i.e., using the Torah's
barometer for selecting who is of virtue. I would assume you
agree that virtue is also the prime determinant used when selecting
- One cannot possibly get all one wishes for in one person.
There must be some compromise if one is to get married. So what
should one compromise on? Where one lives seems to be
extraneous to the perfection of the person. Shouldn't one look
at the values of the person, and place that in much higher esteem?
If someone finds a possible shidduch with bad character but he
wishes to live in Israel, opposed to another who is of good character,
but has his business or his rebbe is in the U.S. and therefore
wishes to remain there, wouldn't you agree that selecting the
latter is the wiser choice? Additionally halacha condones living
outside of Israel for the two stated reasons.
- Living in Israel is not a goal in itself, but rather, a means
to living in line with the Torah. The Torah teaches that if the
Jews abandon the Torah, they are evicted from the land. So the
Torah's priority is that one follow the ideals of the Torah.
The land is merely a means for having the situation which allows
one to act freely, without alien sovereign. There are additional
benefits to living in Israel, as the gemara points out, but I
don't believe they outweigh the correct selection of a mate.
- If you can find someone with both, you're very lucky, but
then again, you mat not, or it might take a while. How long should
one wait? Perhaps not at all.
- You may be passing up a true match for yourself by placing
where you live in higher estimation than who you
- The Torah is written for a reason, including the stories
depicting perfected personalities.
- Don't you think G-d's desire then is that we follow what
He taught us His preference to be?"