Does God care if I marry a gentile?
Even as I started dating a Chinese girl, I knew I was embarking on a remarkable adventure. I just had no idea where and how far adventure would take me. The more events unfolded, more I realized that my view of world and how I lived in it were being profoundly and permanently altered...
If problem with marrying a gentile was that my religion prohibited intermarriage, why should that bother me? Perhaps not everything in Judaism made sense, and as an intelligent and thinking individual I could take from my heritage what I felt was meaningful and disregard rest...
The possibility that God Himself does not want a Jew to marry a gentile is not something I recall being taught explicitly. This may be because, even though I believed in God in my own nebulous way, I didn’t take seriously proposition that God authored Torah. For one thing, I considered many claims in Torah absurd: that world is less than 6,000 years old, that Noah lived more than 900 years and built an ark to house planet’s animals, and that a sea parted miraculously to enable Hebrews to escape their Egyptian pursuers. As far as I was concerned, these were stories with possible moral messages but not actual facts. If Bible were true, then theory of evolution, and much of science, must be wrong. In a world where humans went to moon, performed brain surgery, and saw and talked to people on other side of planet, I had far more trust in what modern science presumed than in what Bible stated...
Quest for a Life Partner
I was expected to marry one of my people. Not to do so would be a shocking betrayal of my family. The prohibition against intermarriage was so ingrained that it was hardly an appropriate subject to bring up for a family discussion...
Whereas my siblings sought only Jewish spouses, I kept my options open. I was not convinced of necessity to restrict my search for a mate to those of my religion, especially as we constituted a tiny minority (a fraction of one percent) of human population. Moreover, I encountered females, from various religions and backgrounds, who were extremely nice, good-natured, and attractive. My motto about intermarriage, as in other areas of life, was “I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.”
In summer of 1994, three years after I left my parents’ home in Montreal and was living on my own in Toronto, I met Belinda. I was twenty-nine; she was twenty-five. We quickly became friends.
“Would you like to see my snake?” Belinda asked, as I dropped her off in front of her building.
My heart pounded and raced.
“Okay,” I heard myself saying. I knew that sooner or later she would show me her pet. I hadn’t reckoned it would be so soon.
Belinda ran inside and returned shortly with a tiny corn snake tucked into her sleeve. Once in car, she let me hold it. It was first time I had held a snake. Instinctively, I applied my peripheral vision to clammy, slender creature in my palm, imagining it was some inanimate object.
Belinda reached for my other hand. “What do you think about our relationship?” she asked.