People are on JDate for a variety of reasons. Some people are on every dating site and app available; and it’s just one of many used to increase the number of people they meet. Others are on JDate because their mom threatened a nervous breakdown if they didn’t sign up. Others might like to find a nice Jewish person to date, but religion isn’t am absolute deal breaker. And still for others, their dating philosophy might be Jewish or bust. Whatever brought you here, we all have something important in common: we’re all Jews!
I know, I know, duh. This is JDate, not ChristianMingle or FarmersOnly. But, the holiday of Sukkot offers some interesting insights on why this is important. This week is Sukkot, a joyous Jewish holiday that celebrates our trust in G-d. We eat, socialize, and even sleep in a sukkah, which helps us remember how He protected the Israelites for 40 years as they wandered in the desert. One way we observe the holiday is by waving the lulav and etrog in all directions. In the grand tradition of Judaism, there is no shortage of commentary and discussion on the details of this mitzvah. But, I wanted to share one in particular that struck me as relevant to why we are all here on JDate.
The four species of plants (the etrog, the lulav’s date palm, myrtle, and willow branches) that we shake together are distinct and have their own meaning and symbolism, suggested by their fragrance and/or taste. (Why is it always four? Four sons, four questions, four cups of wine, etc.) One common interpretation for the four species is that each one represents a different kind of Jew, based on their levels of Torah observance and wisdom. I won’t go into the details of which is which, and all the specifics of the observance levels. But, the lesson here is that on Sukkot, we bind together the lulav and etrog and shake them all around us, symbolically binding together all types of Jews. The different kind and types are secondary — each Jew is important and we need all four types of species to fulfill the mitzvah of Sukkot.
So, you might be here because Grandma Esther threatened to sit shiva if you marry out of the tribe. But Grandma might be right — Sukkot teaches us that it’s important to stick together, and that every single Jew is an important part of our nation and our purpose. So, next time you dismiss someone because he or she has a different level of kosher observance or Jewish knowledge or family tradition, think again. These are important compatibility factors, but also, we are all Jews and should strive to be inclusive and accepting of each other.