As the weather turns from sweltering hot to a little chilly, and with the High Holidays just upon us, it’s time to deal with a question that might arise: Is it gauche to date on Rosh Hashanah?
Now, I don’t mean that you should analyze whether it’s unkosher (perhaps literally) to grab a bite at the Chinese restaurant across the street after Erev Rosh Hashanah services if you’re hearing your stomach growl over the Amidah. What I mean is: What if you see a good-looking gal (or guy) at services? Would it be sacrilegious to start a conversation and potentially ask for her contact information? I’d venture to say no… but use plenty of caution and respect.
Rosh Hashanah is the beginning of a new year after all, and we’re supposed to fill it with sweet things, like apples and honey. While common wisdom would have us believe that said honey should be viscous and come from a bee, what if there’s another form of something sweet at services, and instead she’s about 5’3 with honey brown hair, dimples on her face, and cherry red heels. Should we deprive ourselves of one type of sweet new year to maintain respect for the other one?
I used to have a friend (we’ll call her Dina) who moved to Baltimore and didn’t know anyone there. Rather than driving down to DC to join me at services, she decided to attend the services there by herself. She was on the seat second from the end. Just as the service started, a guy (we’ll call him Jon) sat down next to her, also by himself. They exchanged pleasantries – name, job, the usual – and that was that. Jon wanted to ask Dina out, but he was afraid that it went against all social and religious norms to do it in the synagogue, and on the holiest of holy days (this time Yom Kippur) at that. So he waited a week, got creative, looked her up (these were pre-Facebook days!), and asked her out. They are now married with a baby boy.
Now, I’m no religious guru, but my thought is: Would G-d want us to stop ourselves from “going for it” on the holiday? While no one could ever know the answer to this question, what I recommend is that if you think someone might be worth talking to after services, it doesn’t hurt to strike up a conversation and end with some form of, “I really enjoyed talking to you. Let’s definitely be in touch after the holidays. May I get your number?” A lighter alternative would be to ask for the other person’s card… an easy peasy way to exchange information without using the line, “What’s your number?”
As we internalize the spirit of the High Holidays and try to enjoy the year 5773, remember that it’s ok to start off on a bold and exciting foot. L’Shanah Tova!