Shomer negiah is a fine institution and all that, don’t get me wrong, but you simply cannot convince me that it’s conducive to a robust connection to Hashem. At least for a BT. Or a ger. Or anyone, for that matter, that’s already sampled the Forbidden Fruit.
So why do we buy into it? I received a phone call about six months ago from my rabbi with much huffing and puffing at the other end. He demanded to know what I’d been telling people about my teshuvah, was I telling them that he’d required that I go shomer? I had no idea what he was talking about and told him so. He finally relaxed and confessed that a concerned congregant had gone to him face-to-face to complain that yours truly needed to get laid and to ask how the rabbi could be so cruel. Funny, it hadn’t occurred to me that I needed to get laid because I had no good options at the time. Every face I saw at shul week after week was the same, and I had no desire to indulge with any of them. The seed was now planted, though, and the congregant was right: I did need to get laid, married or not. Why hadn’t I thought of that?
Now it was foremost on my list. I went on a shul-hopping tour, scoping out all local (and not so local) possibilities. Davening went out the window; I had Facebook to check three times a day. Where there was once studying or at least doing shots with the guys on shabbos afternoons in the shul, instead I was shored up in my room with my closer friends discussing whose tuchas looked to be in prime condition lately. Turns out I was the only one that hadn’t been thinking about sex all that time. Trying to drum up any sort of kavanah was now out of the question. No rabbi in his right mind would have ever prescribed this.
Then it happened. I found my horny, observant opposite and let loose. Awkward at first, yes. Feeling like I was shooting myself in the foot as far as being taken seriously by this person as a Jew, you betcha. Able to sleep at night, finally. Plus now I had time to get back into my studies, this time with a clear head.
I went to dinner the other night with another rabbi, younger than the one I call my own. He knows the deal, my shortcomings, and I didn’t even have to say it. I hadn’t mentioned anything but that I’d had a date with the same person two weekends in a row. As we pulled up to my building, he gripped the steering wheel, looked straight ahead and said, “You know shomer negiah is bullshit, right?” It’s true, you can find a rabbi to say anything you want, even if it’s a statement that will break down everything you know.
Now all I have to do is figure out a way for me and Horny to arrive at shul at staggered times and for me to—for G-d’s sake—get this stupid grin off my face.
A little back round information: The girl who wrote this post is an avid fan and commenter, she happened to meet a fellow new commenter over a facebook status comment and a shidduch was formed, inadvertently through me. Of course, like most 35 year old single ladies she’s part of a community and has to sneak around if she’s in a relationship and I completely understand. Do you know how hard it is to get someone to let you stay in the same house, let alone the same room as your girl/boy – friend?
This may also be called fictional shomer negiah!