A video of an Orthodox Jewish couple straightening out “misconceptions” about religious dating while guests on The Ricki Lake Show last summer drew attention this week after it was uploaded to YouTube.
On the show, the guests, Michoel, 35, and Chava Shapiro, 24, said they had no physical contact throughout the two weeks they dated, a revelation which took some time for Lake to grasp.
“This is the part where you lose me,” the talk show host told the couple. Chava explained, “We believe that physical touch is very powerful and its something that’s really holy and it’s reserved for a married couple.”
“We wanna go about [dating] with a clear head,” she said. “When you have physical touch, you kind of lose an objective perspective sometimes of a person, and sometimes you end up in a situation where you have all these feelings of closeness and intimacy but it’s kind of an illusion; it’s artificial. Obviously we wanna see if there’s chemistry, but we see that through discussion and talking.”
Lake asked the couple how they could be sure they would have physical chemistry if they had never touched. Michoel replied, “intimacy doesn’t just mean sexuality. The word has a much deeper connotation, and that’s what we’re trying to build.”
During the dating process, Orthodox Jews aim to discover if there is potential for intimacy to grow “and everything else follows,” Michoel told Lake. Orthodox men and women don’t flirt in public for “reasons of modesty,” he said, and “when we date its for the sake of marriage so of course there’s fun involved, but we’re not going out just to have fun. It’s really with an intention.”
The couple have been married for two years and have a 1-year-old baby. When Lake asked them how married life is, they responded in unison, “Great.”