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Digital Dating During Corona

November 12, 2020 | by Yonah Levi

How are Jewish singles supposed to meet in the Age of Corona?

How are Jewish singles supposed to meet in the Age of Corona? The people most worried about this issue, obviously, are Jewish mothers. They are on mega shpilkes, the kind of shpilkes that leave them sleepless for months. The kind of shpilkes that shortens lives. The kind of shpilkes that drives everyone in the family completely insane.

Dating via Zoom is not impossible but it’s also not a permanent solution because every Zoom relationship essentially is a long-distance one. Meeting people on screen cannot possibly do them justice because there is a certain indescribable energy, vibe and je ne sais quoi that can be fully experienced and appreciated only live, in person. Life is not meant to be lived two-dimensionally and that certainly applies to dating. The only good thing about dating someone on a screen is that, if necessary, it’s easy to turn it off or change the channel.

Dating while wearing masks can be precarious because a mask is designed to conceal at least a portion of someone’s face. Would you buy a house after seeing only half of it? No, you wouldn’t. Full disclosure is critical to any transaction, including social contracts. Even a blind date eventually results in the big reveal, but dating with COVID-style masks leaves participants partially in the dark. The only thing less revealing would be mechitza dating.

Meeting someone when they are wearing a mask might work on Purim, but that too can be dangerous. For example, a female might be dressed as gorgeous Queen Esther but, under the mask, might look more like Haman. A male might me masquerading as heroic Mordechai but, underneath the wardrobe, might be shaped more like a hamentashen.

Of course, it would be refreshing for singles to fall in love with another person’s personality, intellect, kindness or other non-physical factors. Thus, it would be rather charming for COVID to create couples who unite for non-superficial reasons. But, alas, that may be asking too much from the average person. Beauty may be subjective but, for many people, looks really do matter. Not for me though. Actually, that didn’t come out right, honey you are beautiful.

Some parents may secretly welcome the dating slowdown brought on by COVID because it allows them to keep their children under the family roof for longer than expected. However, any parent who has such thoughts should take heed of the following Talmudic passage:

“You do not have a pauper among the Jewish people other than one who is a conniving wicked person, who seeks to conceal his true nature, and one who delays the marriage of his daughter who is a grown woman. The Talmud asks: Is that to say that one who delays the marriage of his daughter who is a grown woman is not a conniving, wicked person? He connives to delay her marriage to ensure that she will stay at home and do the housework, sparing him the cost of domestic help, and thereby causes her to sin.” (Sanhedrin 76a)

Thus, parents should not attempt to use COVID so that their floors and laundry get cleaned for free. In other words, never stop your grown daughter from trading in her broom for a groom and never stop your grown son from trading in Tide for a bride.

Some singles actually will benefit from masks, social-distancing and Zoom dating, especially those with halitosis and body odor issues. Masks also can help hide the expression on someone’s face. For example, if your date utters something truly idiotic and you are aghast, your mask will cover the stunned/disappointed look on your face. A truly idiotic statement might be something like:

  1. “I may need to see a dermatologist because my mom told me that right after Shabbos I will have a kumzits.”
  2. “On Pesach, should I avoid my family’s breadwinner?”
  3. “Why did the rabbis schedule the Nine Days for the middle of the summer? Terrible timing!”
  4. On what day is Tu B’Shvat?

Final thought: Should you date someone who bakes round hamentashen? Answer: No, because they totally missed the point.


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