Happy Passover! I’m willing to bet that many of you attended a seder or two this past weekend. And if yours were anything like mine, the food was delicious and plentiful, there was only one major wine spill, and only one person forgot her reading glasses, which might be a record. Despite the unspoken battle of wills between those who were engaged in lively discussion and those who looked at their watches every 5 minutes, hoping to eat and run, my family and I had lovely seders, and I hope you did too!
You’ve probably noticed that the number four has significance in the seder: four sons, four cups of wine, four questions (incidentally, our “kids table” was the end of the table with all unmarrieds under 40. I’m in my early thirties and sang the four questions!) While reading about the four sons, my likes-to-categorize brain wondered: are there four kinds of daters? I’m sure there are more, but in the Passover sprit, here are some of my insights on the top four as they relate to the four sons:
1. The Wise One
What does he say? In the story of Passover, the wise child wants to know all about the laws and mitzvot that Hashem has commanded you. In dating, the Wise Child wants to know all about you! In other words, a Wise Dater is attentive, selfless, and aware of G-d (meaning that when it comes to dating, what is meant to be will be). I read some commentary on the Wise Son indicating that his wisdom makes him pure (read: good intentions) and allows him to foresee the consequences of his actions, which, in my opinion are really good qualities in a dater.
2. The Wicked One
He asks, “What is this service of yours? Why do you go to the trouble?” According to some commentary, the Wicked Child is basically kind of selfish. He excludes himself from the rest of the group and thinks the rules don’t apply to him, denying his Jewish engagement. A Wicked Dater acts selfishly and rudely. Obvious signs of this type: texting at the table, making demands of the waiter, or saying things like “MUST BE THIN. SEEKING 21-24 ONLY. NO GAMES OR DRAMA” in his/her profile. The Haggadah says you should blunt the teeth of the Wicked Son, which sounds violent like an old-school punishment, but one interpretation of this phrase is that we should teach the Wicked Son to control his desire for self-indulgence. Luckily, this means the Wicked Son, or Dater, in this case, is correctable, offering hope for even the most selfish daters among us.
3. The Simple One
What does he say? “What is this all about?” The Simple Child doesn’t know what’s going on but expresses an interest in learning. Similarly, there are some daters who are out of practice or maybe new to the playing field, often identified by their empty or generic profiles. But they are here, ready to look for love! Just as we are to help the Simple Son by explaining the story to him, so too can we help new daters by proofreading profiles or coaching them before dates.
4. The One Who Doesn’t Know Enough to Ask
We have to start him off. This is akin to the person who wants a relationship but doesn’t know how to go about finding one. So start him off – tell him to leave the house and get out there! Introduce him to friends and help him set up a JDate profile.
Do you recognize yourself as one of these four daters? In the tradition of Passover, I offer no concrete answers here – just fodder for discussion and debate that may keep you up past midnight. Don’t forget to end with the afikoman!