Forgive Us Our Dating Sins
At the risk of sounding self-promotional (a risk I take regularly), I wanted to re-share one of my best-received and most-often-remembered singles columns; it’s thematically appropriate for the Yamim Noraim (High Holydays) and has this year been reprinted in both the AZ Jewish Post and the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. Rereading the litany of dating sins again this year, I am a little depressed by how many of them I am still guilty of. Here’s to not perpetrating them in the New Year:
In this season of atonement, Jews of every stripe of observance stream into temples, synagogues, shteibels and shuls to recount their wrongs. Beating their breasts in repentance, they beg for absolution for the sins they have committed in their daily human interactions over the past year. On Yom Kippur, many wear canvas sneakers, the plainest of shoes, in a show of simplicity and humility.
As singles, trying on different slippers and hoping for a perfect fit, we have assayed to squeeze ourselves into many an improper shoe during the past year, blistering ourselves and others in the process, becoming callused as we try to move our lives forward. This battered state yields an impressively long list (and uncomfortable memories) of dating-related crimes and misdemeanors. It is only fitting that past and current singles seize this moment to take stock of the unique ways that we have wronged each other, as men, as women, as eligibles populating the same singles pool. Once and for all, let’s take the sin out of singles.
Just like the Al Chet – the prayer in the Yom Kippur liturgy wherein the individual confesses to a litany of collective sins – that inspired it, this original reading is also written in third person plural. We may not recall having committed each of the individual sins in this reading, but as members of the global singles community, we admit to every transgression, in the New Year’s hope that the memory of this confession will make us think twice before committing future infractions.
Preliminary studies suggest that this reading is at its most potent when read responsively before or after a singles event. For maximum dramatic effect, read the first two lines in each stanza responsively, first men, then women. The third sentence should be recited by men and women together. And while we’re asking God for forgiveness, remember – it can’t hurt to beg for a vision or a bat kol (heavenly voice) that reveals the e-mail address of your bashert (intended). Or at least a location, so you know whether you’re trying on uncomfortable shoes in the right city.