The rising age of marriage in the religious public, and the dilemmas that accompany this phenomenon, continue to preoccupy rabbis and religious singles alike.
After Rabbi Shlomo Aviner recently ruled that double dating was prohibited, another rabbi, Ramat Gan's Chief Rabbi Yaakov Ariel, now claims that the practice is permissible so long as the purpose of the dating is marriage.
Ariel issued the ruling in response to a question posted by a surfer on the "Yeshiva" website. The surfer wrote: "We are a group of 21-year-old girls and boys. The boys are all yeshiva students and the girls modest and God fearing. Are we allowed to hold joint outings? (Not for a certain purpose, just for fun).
"Theses are completely innocent gatherings and no immodesty is involved, but are the meetings in themselves forbidden?" she asked.
In his reply, Rabbi Ariel wrote: "If the gatherings are done for the purpose of marriage –so be it. But if it's just for fun – this isn't recommended."
Aviner: Double dates out of the question
Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, whose controversial rulings on relationships and dating have sparked a series of public debates, recently spoke out against double dating.
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.
"It's out of the question," he said, suggesting instead that the interested subject ask friends and teachers about the person they are dating.