I’ve finally met a guy I actually like. At my age, that’s a big deal. But there’s a huge issue: He doesn’t keep kosher and says he never will. He insists on bringing non-kosher food into my home, something I have never allowed before. Now I’m in a bind. Does G‑d want me to stay single and kosher, or compromise and be happy?


Compromise is necessary in every successful relationship. Two humans sharing intimate space is a balancing act which can only work if each makes room for the other. Learning to love means learning to loosen your grip and be flexible.

But you can’t put everything up for negotiation. You need to know where to compromise and where to hold your ground.

If a guy you love tells you he doesn’t like a particular dress you wear, because it reminds him of his third-grade teacher whom he hated, would you change dresses? Sure you would. It’s only a dress, and if the negative association is so strong for him, it’s easy to be sensitive and put on something else.

But what if he says he doesn’t like your nose? Apparently, that third-grade teacher had a similar dress sense to you and also a similar shaped nose. You already changed your dress, would you change your nose too?

I hope not. Because your dress is what you wear, but your nose is you. You can change what you do to please someone else, but you can’t change who you are to please someone else.

When it comes to matters of habit, there is wiggle room. If your hobbies clash with your partner, you can adjust them. If you’re a late-night person, you can learn to become an early riser. If you insist on playing your electronic bagpipe, that’s fine, just use headphones. If he’s a junk food addict, he can, over time, develop a taste for quinoa salad. These are superficial habits, so they are malleable.

But when it comes to your identity—who you are, your core beliefs and values—there can be no compromise. If you give in there, you are giving up who you are. And giving up on who you are never ends well. You can change your clothes, but you can’t change your nose.

Your kosher kitchen is not a habit, it’s an expression of who you are as a Jew. Every bite of food is a connection to your Jewishness. This is who you are. You can’t just give it up for someone else.

But let’s give this guy a chance. He may not realize how deep your convictions are. Stand your ground, and explain to him why you keep kosher. If he is the one for you, he will accept you for who you are. After all, his not keeping kosher is just a habit. When he sees that kosher is a part of who you are, who “nose” what will happen?