Rabbi Shlomo Aviner
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, whose controversial rulings on relationships and dating have sparked a series of public debates, spoke out against double dating Sunday in a Q&A section of a synagogue pamphlet.
Aviner ruled that a couple on a date should not meet with another couple, be they married or single, even if the reason for such an outing were to observe the other's behavior in a standard social environment.
out of the question," he said, suggesting instead that the interested subject ask friends and teachers about the person they are dating.
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In the question and answer section of a pamphlet published by a number of synagogues, the rabbi said meetings between couples was "not allowed", and added that "spending time with a girl is prohibited even if the intention is not just to have fun."
He explained that the Maimonides wrote that no man should marry a woman without seeing her first, in order to make sure the man likes her, but "nothing further with the purpose of enjoyment.
"It is true that you need to talk in order to get to know each other better and make plans, and sometimes long conversations are in order, but that's it!" Rabbi Aviner wrote. "Matchmaking does not endorse prohibited recreation with the Torah's support."
He also claimed that the desire to observe the other person in a social environment was preposterous. "The main thing is how she functions with you. Is she destined for a public relations post?" he asked.
Rabbi Aviner added that many women may be found lacking, but there is no such thing as "an angel without flaws". She could also make progress in many areas after the marriage, he wrote, and "one may hope that with your blessed influence she will get better."
In addition, the Rabbi dismissed the double date as a reliable test. "You cannot judge a person according to one random event, you need to observe his behavior at times of crisis… would you initiate a crisis there?" he asked.
"There is another, better, solution: Find out about her characteristics through people who know her without and within, like teachers or friends, and this will constitute a much more reliable judgment than what you may witness at a double date."