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As Jews, we take relationships between people much more seriously than does “society”.

Jewish society cannot tolerate a situation where a young woman, or a young man lets her or himself be used, taken advantage of, or hurt.

Modern novels, movies, magazines, and television programs which fantasize and glorify the notion of “romantic love” are describing a type of ideal relationship that may exist in literary form or in the poetic imagination, but which bears very little resemblance to what love is all about in the everyday world of real life.

People who read love stories or watch television programs should realize that while courtship, chivalry, romance and passion do play their separate and respective roles in the dramatic awakening and eventual attainment of satisfaction in love, these are all elements in a process, but they do not by any means add up to the whole of the love experience.

And why is such restraint, forbidding even mere “touching” (or negiah in Hebrew), so crucial a factor in the successful observance of those laws that define the Jewish standards of family loyalty and interpersonal relationships?

Jewish law states that once a young woman begins menstruating, she assumes the status of nidah, and remains, from that point on, “off limits”, in regard to physical contact with men, until the day of her marriage.

Before marriage, however, physical contact has the effect of forging bonds without sincere commitment.

It’s quite one thing to be charmed by it, but don’t be taken in don’t let it blind you; don’t fall for it.Some people will claim, with reasonable justification, that some of the social practices which Jewish law prohibits, such as hand holding, social dancing, and good-night kissing, are simply matters of form or social grace, which people perform without attaching to them any great significance.It is precisely this point that we are attempting to make.Intimacy without true love, commitment and permanence is a price too high to pay.Why does Jewish Tradition demand that the relationship between men and women before marriage stop at the point of physical contact?

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