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GOOD MORNING! What would you do if your child wanted to date or marry someone of another religion? For most parents this is a heart-breaking,heart-wrenching and confusing moment - how to explain why marrying someone of our own heritage is so important when the parent's Jewish lifestyle is not commensurate with their commitment to our heritage and to Israel.
There are two books that parents can give to their children which may help: Why Marry Jewish? by Doron Kornbluth (JewishandDating.com) & Chicken Soup with Chopsticks by Jack Botwinik (paperspider.net).
Why Marry Jewish? is a fabulous book - rational, clear, explanative -which deals with essential questions of what happens to people of different backgrounds who get married. With facts, figures and studies it clearly spells out the difficulties facing an intermarrying couple. Reasonably every couple would want to read this book to ensure their marital bliss. As one person put it, "No one gets married to get divorced!"
Chicken Soup with Chopsticks is the story of a college-age secularly-Jewish man who has been taught by his family to respect his heritage ... and other heritages as well. And all is well until Jack meets the love of his life, Belinda, a Chinese young lady from Hong Kong who is studying at his university. Initially Jack shields his parents from the news, but eventually shares with them his growing feelings for Belinda. When Jack's parents realize that the situation is serious they enter into a series of discussions with Jack. Finally, Jack's father tells Jack that until he either breaks off with Belinda or she converts, he should no longer call home or visit.
What does Jack do? He confronts his deep feelings for his heritage and family and his deepening feelings for Belinda. He understands that to have Belinda convert for the sake of marriage or family peace is putting her in a place of compromising her beliefs, commitments and intellect. If she is going to convert, then it has to come from her own personal search for truth. However, where does Judaism fit in to his own personal search for truth? And the answer is in Chicken Soup with Chopsticks, which actually is subtitled "A Jew's Struggle for Truth in an Interfaith Relationship." It is available at your local Jewish bookstore, at judaicaenterprises.com or by calling toll-free to 877-758-3242. REVIEWERS' WARNING: Interdating may lead to Orthodoxy!
Jack continually asks himself, "Why not intermarry?" Ultimately, he concludes that the one essential reason is that God said not to intermarry ("You shall not intermarry with them..." Deuteronomy 7:3). This leads to a vital question: Did God author the Torah? Here are a few excerpts from Chicken Soup with Chopsticks:
"It's easier to believe that God exists than to believe He also gave us the Torah. I always believed in God, and many people who believe in God find nothing wrong with intermarriage. Believing that the Torah is of Divine origin, on the other hand, has most significant implications for how our daily existence is to be consummated, and for our purpose in life....
"If the Torah is not the word of God, then there is no fundamental difference between a Jew and a non-Jew, and so there is no reason why one (or one's children) should not intermarry.
"Most of the reasons Jewish people give themselves for not intermarrying are subjective....'It would kill my parents;' 'Because of the Holocaust;' 'Because of anti-Semitism;'' and it threatens Jewish continuity.' These reasons are tainted with guilt and prompt the question, Why be Jewish? What is so important about our heritage that we must sacrifice our happiness (refrain from marrying the person we love) for its sake? Many cultures exert pressure to marry one's own kind, but why give in to it -especially in a multicultural society?...
"It is against the backdrop of acquiring greater appreciation of the richness of my Jewish heritage, understanding the indispensability of the Torah in preserving it, and realizing that the Torah prohibits a Jew from marrying a gentile, that I struggled long and hard with the question of whether to continue dating my Chinese girlfriend. In the end, the prospect that God Himself authored the Torah raised the stakes to a non-negotiable level."
Check out http://www.ShabbatShalomAudio.com for more information on dealing with interdating and intermarriage.)
Torah Portion of the Week
The Torah continues with the laws of physical and spiritual purity. The focus of this portion is upon tzora'as, a supernatural physical affliction sent to warn someone to refrain from speaking badly about others. The disease progressively afflicted home, clothes and then one's skin -unless the individual corrected his ways and followed the purification process stated in the Torah.
There are two types of speech transgressions: 1) Loshon Hora (literally "evil tongue") - making a derogatory or damaging statement about someone even though you are speaking the truth. 2) Rechilus (literally "tale bearing") - telling someone the negative things another person said about him or did against him. Check out http://www.chofetzchaimusa.org/ for daily lessons in Shmirat HaLoshon, proper speech - or call (800) 867-2482 for books and tapes!
based on Love Your Neighbor by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
The Torah states that:
"He (the person afflicted with tzora'as) shall be brought to Aharon the priest or unto one of his sons the priests." (Leviticus 13:2)
The Dubno Magid said that many people speak loshon hora because they are not fully aware of the power of the spoken word. How often people rationalize, "I didn't do anything to him, I only said a few words." The metzora, who has been afflicted with tzora'as because of his speaking loshon hora, is taught a lesson about the power of a single word. He must go to a Cohen (priest) who will decide if he is a metzora or not. Just one word by the priest ("Unclean!") will completely isolate him from society. No more will the metzora minimize the destructive capability of words.
Words can destroy. They can destroy someone's reputation. They can destroy friendships. They can destroy someone's successful business or someone's marriage. Therefore, we must be careful with them as we would be with explosive material.
PIRKEI AVOT 4:3
"Do not despise any person and
do not disdain anything
for there is no person who does not have his hour
and there is no thing without its place."
- Ben Azzai
CANDLE LIGHTING - April 8:
(or go to http://www.aish.com/shabbat/candlelighting.asp)
Guatemala 5:56 Hong Kong 6:22 Honolulu 6:29
J'Burg 5:40 London 7:26 Los Angeles 7:01
Melbourne 5:42 Mexico City 6:37 Miami 7:22
Moscow 7:03 New York 7:09 Singapore 6:53
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
Eating words has never given me indigestion.
-- Winston Churchill