This Shabbat is Shabbat Parashat HaChodesh, the Sabbath of “The Month.”
Among the discussions of the many details of Jewish life recorded in the Mishna, the first written compilation of the oral law, is the following: “If a Jewish laborer is hired by a heathen to work with wine for [idolatrous] libation, the wages are prohibited…” (Avodah Zarah 5:1).
As someone who went on somewhere between 10 and 118 dates in my life, depending on what one chooses to count as a “date” versus a “lie to impress you,” I’ve had anywhere between almost-none and way-too-much dating experience. This makes me uniquely qualified to write about the myths of Jewish dating. After all, most of my dating experience was a myth. As for facts, we’ll see.
Nebuchadnezzar, the mighty King of Babylon, reigned for forty years. He was so commanding a figure that, according to the Midrash, his own son, Evil-Merodach, was afraid to assume his father’s throne:
There he is, coming this way on a crowded Manhattan street. The man I seek. He’s maybe fifty-five or sixty, handsome, stylish, and still walking with a bounce in his step. And oh, look how attentive he is to his daughter. He laughs at her joke, stops to admire her beauty, and – wait, what is he doing? Kissing her? With his hand on her firm, shapely and most of all, young butt?
Raise your hand if you attended Hebrew school, whether after school or on Sunday mornings. Did you know that you have a Jewish Pennsylvania native, Rebecca Gratz (1781-1869) to thank for that education.
I’m in love with “The One.” He is a dream come true, but has been hurt badly by other women and has trust issues. He is afraid to show me he cares, thinking I will hurt his feelings. What should I do? I care for him so much.
Of all the unfounded accusations leveled at the Jewish people by anti-Semites throughout the ages, the most ludicrous is that of Jews murdering non-Jewish children in order to drink their blood or bake matzot with the blood (blood-libel). Anyone with even a modest knowledge of Judaism would be familiar with the Torah’s prohibition against consuming blood. In fact, this prohibition is included in a caveat to the initial permission to eat meat that God gave to humankind in the days of Noah: “Every moving thing that lives will be food for you; just as I have given you the green herb. Only flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, you shall not eat” (Genesis 9:3-4).
In almost every aspect of life, we go after the things we want. Not happy in a job? Search for a new one. Some recent weight gain getting you down? Up the ante during your workouts. Why is it then, in dating, we think happiness will just find us? It’s as if we think we have a sign on our foreheads flashing, “Single and ready to mingle!” Unfortunately, that’s just not how it works. In online dating, writing a great profile is only half the battle. To really be successful, you have to be proactive and e-mail people of interest.
Every year, on the first or second Shabbat following Purim, a special reading from Numbers 19, is added to the regular Shabbat Torah reading. Known as Parashat Parah, the Torah reading concerns the special purification ceremony of the Parah Adumah (Red Heifer) one of the most intricate and mysterious laws found in the Torah.