Dear Rachel,

I was just set up on a date with a wonderful young woman. I enjoyed her company and spending time together. Unfortunately, I just wasn’t attracted to her. I don’t think it makes sense for us to go out again if I already know there is no future. I certainly don’t want to lead her on, but I have absolutely no reason to stop seeing her other than the lack of attraction. What should I do?


Dear Unattracted,

I agree 100% that it is important to be attracted to one’s partner. But there are some truths I have learnt through my involvement with matchmaking.

The attitude of Judaism, contrary to pop culture, is that most attraction comes from knowing a person and appreciating his or her inner beauty. As the verse in Psalms (45:14) reads, Kol kevudah bat melech pnimah, “The beauty of a princess lies within her.”

The attitude of Judaism, contrary to pop culture, is that most attraction comes from knowing a person and appreciating his or her inner beauty. It is important to get to know someone, and without making quick a judgments based on images or expectations one may have in one’s mind.

Unfortunately we live in an “airbrushed” society, where secular attitudes towards beauty are ingrained in us through advertising, movies and music. These images are often not realistic, and they certainly do no service to the person seeking a life partner.

As two people get to know each other, and if they get along, they come to value the wonderful qualities in the other that complement their own. How they look is beautiful because of who they are. When a person thinks of their partner, the beautiful image that comes up is a reminder of all they are attracted to in that person.

On the other hand, a person who appears to be extremely good-looking can turn ugly very quickly if they open their mouth and speak in an unkind or vulgar manner.

When a person is busy with a full and productive life, they learn to value being understood, respected and cared for, and that becomes the greatest attraction.

I unfortunately know many young men and women who spend years dating, unable to get past this idea. I also know young men and women who have slowly learnt this truth and have found beautiful partners by looking within.

One handsome young man I know struggled with this issue, dating many women over many years. He eventually met a woman who was a wonderful, sensitive and caring individual. She did not match up to the images he had in his mind. Nevertheless, he realized that she was the person he wanted as his wife and the mother of his children. Today they are very happy together! He feels blessed to have such a beautiful wife whom he loves dearly, and realizes how trapped and programmed he was by society’s preconceived notions of beauty.

I have also seen men who have met their picture-perfect woman and prioritized her physical attributes over other qualities. That is a personal choice one has to make. It sometimes takes years to fully appreciate this truth, and it has to be a reality for you.

Ultimately, it is up to the individual to soul-search and determine who they are truly seeking. The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory, calls this hamshachat halev. It translates as “drawing of the heart.” A deep feeling, from within one person, of desire and appreciation for the other.

I am telling you this because I feel it is unfair to expect a man to seek a life partner without giving him a Jewish perspective on what he is seeking. In every other area of life, there is Jewish law; here too, there is a Jewish approach. There are many Jewish books on this subject, and I think it would be helpful to peruse some.

Just as it takes time to learn how to keep Sabbath and kosher dietary laws, I appreciate that a person cannot change the way they think overnight. I just hope that with some of these ideas in mind, it will be easier for you to decide what you should do.