Fallacy of Mixed Marriages

A man once married two wives. The young wife plucked out his white hairs. The older wife plucked out his black hairs. His previously full hairy head now became bald, pleasing nobody.

The above story reminds me of whats been taking place in the religious world. Never in history have we had so many defectors from our synagogues and churches. The problem of a society lost of their religious identity may be a major contribution to the many broken marriages and relationships.

For some, religious intermarriage performed by both a rabbi and a priest may be a way in fixing the problem. But, I believe an intermarriage fails to do that. During the marriage and especially when children are born there arises strong religious conflicts. Each party wants their religion to be the dominant one. As in the above story, each party pulls for their side and we end up with a non-religious home a bald head, pleasing nobody.

Being a rabbi, I do marriage counseling, performing pastoral counseling but no intermarriages. It's not rare that intermarried couples present me with grave problems that always relate to the religious differences. I wish I knew a way to make them happy but I don't. What I have found is a rather startling phenomenon.

People who may accept their spouses religion usually have no real understanding of their own religion. Let me explain by the following examples.

A young man comes to see me. He tells me he is going to leave Judaism and join the local church. I ask him why he feels the need to change. He explains to me that the church has wonderful prayers which he finds very inspirational. For example, he says, I love The Lord is my Shepherd. It gives me faith and comfort.

Think for a moment. Does he know that Psalm 23 was created by King David, the founder of the Jewish Davidic Dynasty? Then he goes on to quote, "You shall delight in the Lord and I will make you ride in high placement of the Earth". This, too, is from the prophet Isaiah 50:13-14. Both prayers were composed by Jews. "Why not learn what your own religion teaches", I ask.

A young lady visits me and tells me that she wants to convert to Judaism. She explains that Jesus was Jewish. If Judaism was good enough for Jesus, then that must be the correct way.

Her understanding of what Jesus meant to the world and His contribution to humanity is totally lost. Why give up a religion she never studied?

A gentleman in his late 60s calls me and wants me to perform a holy marriage ceremony. He explains that the woman he is going to marry doesn't believe in any religion. Therefore, he thinks, with my being Jewish and her being an atheist, everything should work out just fine. How wrong he is! Nothing will work out.

A young woman told me she finds the Christian religion more tolerant than Judaism. There are too many Jewish groups, each at one another's throat.

I opened a magazine on Ireland and showed her the latest conflict between Catholicism and Protestantism. I told her how many innocent people keep on getting killed in the name of the Christian religion. I asked her to pick the more tolerant one Catholicism or Protestantism.

The point is that all religions have a lot of explaining to do.

There are those who gave up on religion. They rationalize their choice: The rabbi was a bum, The priest was a child abuser. Therefore, they feel that religions are false.

Would anyone give up driving because of drunk drivers or would you give up wearing shoes if you had a bad pair of shoes sold to you? A clear thinking person would tell you to find a better teacher or shoe store. Yet, when it comes to religion, only flimsy excuses are used. Just imagine, the latest statement allegedly said by the rock star, Madonna. She is pregnant and is having a child out of wedlock, I am going to raise my child to be a good Catholic, just like I am. How incongruent we have become.

Yes, a large percentage of people have no idea what religion is all about.

Any clergyman who thinks he can bless a mixed couple in marriage by having a rabbi and a priest preside in the ceremony may be fooling himself.

The clergy needs to be reasonable. By performing an intermarriage with two different religious leaders we are not saving the innocent couple! Instead, we are hurting them. We give them the wrong message. The couple now has two religions and doesn't know what to practice.

People must realize that even in times of an emergency we cannot put out a burning fire with just any liquid. We must be discreet. In our hurry to douse the flames we may end up pouring gasoline and increase the fire, causing an even greater tragedy.

Once and for all I ask that clergymen should put their differences aside. They should ask potential converts and marriage partners of different religions, first and foremost, to understand their own religion. I say, Let's see some educated choices.

The Jewish nation, worldwide, will soon celebrate the holiday called Shavous. This holiday festival is also called Zman Mattan Torahseyno, the season of the giving of our law. Jews believe that it was some 3,308 years ago that G‑d's revelation to the Jews took place and the Jews became known as people of the book.

On Friday, May 24, Jews gather in synagogues to listen to the story of G‑d giving the Ten Commandments from a handwritten scroll called the Torah.

The commandments are the most important instructions that G‑d has given to the Jewish nation. However, there is no monopoly on the commandments and their rewards. All nations are free to study and observe the commandments. If they did, what a wonderful world we would have.