This Yom Kippur, I had the pleasure of driving to synagogue with a good friend, and we decided to discuss our dating woes along the way. More than anything though we laughed and discussed funny date stories (I told him my worst sin of the year in my mind involved a Six Flags date that never happened, and he assured me it was probably a light year for sinning if that was the case), but we did reach a serious discussion at one point: when single, do we need to help friends find someone, or should we just look out for ourselves first?
My friend compared the situation to unemployment: you don’t help someone else find a job until you have one. But really, my fundamental problem is that not every job is for every person. If I found a job engineering airplanes, I wouldn’t tell an out-of-work plumber about it. Not everyone fits every job, and, in the same regard, not everyone fits every person. I mean, anyone can get along, but like a good job, longevity comes out of a good fit.
One of my favorite stories from synagogue growing up involves heaven and hell. In hell, there is food spread out everywhere and the people have giant spoons for hands. However, the people are starving because they can’t properly bend their elbows to eat the food with their long spoons. Everyone is miserable. It’s the same situation in heaven, but instead of starving, they feed each other… and everyone is happy. It always stuck with me as a way of understanding how we’re supposed to look out for each other, even in dating.
The question came to my mind again last Saturday night while I spent time with two friends of mine who are engaged to be married in May. They are a prime example of someone helping to set them up (this guy!). The woman in the relationship is a friend, and an ex of another close friend, the guy is a close friend who is Jewish but had never really been part of a Jewish community. They’re the best match I’ve ever seen. And we agreed, sometimes it’s okay to not be selfish, and maybe there’s someone who is a better fit for the position than you.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still primarily looking for myself. But it can be tiring just looking for the right person for you, and sometimes it can be healthy to help someone else find what they’re looking for. I know I’m looking for my friends, just as I’m looking for me, and I hope that anyone in my social circle keeps me in mind when they meet nice Jewish girls, too.