- The Washington Times - Friday, January 7, 2000

Not only is God a matchmaker, He's inscribed the laws of boy-meets-girl in the Bible.

If you read the Law of Moses carefully, you'll learn all you ever wanted to know about attracting the opposite sex, says Rabbi Schmuley Boteach, author of the new book "Dating Secrets of the 10 Commandments."

"The Ten Commandments have opened up as an effective dating code," says the rabbi. He made waves a year ago with his book "Kosher Sex," which has since been translated into 13 languages and sold 64,000 copies. Last month, he won the Preacher of the Year award in a contest sponsored by the Times of London.

"People are not falling in love," he says. "People are dating. They are not made of Velcro anymore; they are made of Teflon."

Moreover, he laments, "We're all aristocrats."

"The aristocrat has no needs. We get satisfaction from our careers instead of relationships. If a relationship doesn't meet our need, we dump it.

"People are despairing of finding a soul mate so they are settling for partners. The aristocrat dates and marries differently than a peasant. The aristocrat makes a list of what he has to offer and looks for someone to match that contribution. A guy will say, 'I went to an Ivy League school, I have a good education and a good job. I want someone who has at least these things.'

"The peasant focuses on what he lacks. He wants someone who wants to make him feel special, to make him an aristocrat. People date and date, but won't commit. They hold out for something better."

Surveys show one out of three couples have sex on the first date, but nine months later, those same couples are not emotionally committed. "People these days are in relationships that are emotionally anorexic," he says. "They starve themselves emotionally. They date with full body armor."

The answer? It's back to the Bible for the rabbi-turned-yenta. Not only is his book due out this month, his L'Chaim Society, based in Manhattan, is launching what he is calling loveprophet.com, a "relationship management" Web site. It's for any and all religious persuasions.

But first things first. Turn to the Commandments in Deuteronomy 5:

1. Thou shalt love the Lord Thy God with all thine heart and with all thy soul and with all thy might.

Mr. Boteach says this is a message to men not to think too highly of their opinions.

"Don't believe your own voice is the word of God," he says. "Stop making yourself an idol on a date. Show openness and ability to receive."

2. Thou shalt have none other gods before Me.

"Don't be haunted by ghosts past," he says, adding the big mistake men make on dates is to talk only about themselves. The big female mistake is to talk about old boyfriends.

3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.

Swearing or any sort of swaggering talk is a turnoff for most women. "So many men try to impress women with their accomplishments," he says. "But women say the most exciting thing about a guy is confidence and sense of humor."

4. Keep the Sabbath day to sanctify it.

Just as the Jewish Sabbath is a chance to take one day off, so "Give your date the gift of time: Yourself," the rabbi instructs. "Don't buy her a gold necklace. Show her you're the gift. That's the whole essence of the Sabbath.

"Women are a great mystery to men. I believe the answer to that riddle is every woman wants to be the Sabbath bride. Women want to be around a man to whom she is first. He turns off his cell phone and cancels business trips to be with her. She is his Sabbath. When he's around her, nothing else is urgent."

5. Honor thy father and mother.

"This is a commandment of gratitude," he explains. "When we go out on dates, we are so finicky. We are like spoiled children. We say, 'She's too heavy; I don't like her nose.' She says, 'He's not funny enough.'

"I say give him a … chance. Give him a chance to sweep you off your feet. Even a tidal wave needs time to build up. Go with the flow. Allow yourself to fall in love."

6. Thou shalt not kill.

Again from the rabbi: "You kill someone when you reject them. Rejection is like murder. It's where you have harsh words to say about someone. They feel murdered, useless. Words kill worse than a knife.

"You can bring people to life through words, through praise. Be lavish with your praise. Do you know how women feel when she's told she's gorgeous? When men are thanked for the preparation they've put into a date? Relationships are built through words. They soften people up."

7. Do not commit adultery.

The rabbi defines adultery as "where you give your sexuality to someone who does not deserve it."

"There's a need to attain mystery in a relationship," he says. "Relationships are based on curiosity. Curiosity must remain an integral part of a relationship.

"Don't open parts of yourself to someone who has not wooed you yet. Always keep parts of you to be explored. Men and women are so overexposed to each other… . They lose their dignity in front of each other. There's this fatigue."

The rabbi believes people should delay sex until marriage, "but I'm a realist," he adds. "I feel at the very least, people should delay sex until they are emotionally intimate."

The 33-year-old rabbi met his wife, Debbie, when he was 21 and she was 19. After three months, he proposed marriage. Their introduction was arranged, as is often the case among Orthodox Jewish couples.

"Orthodox couples do not date for recreation," says the father of six children. "They date for marriage. People say the modern dating scene stinks. Well, all dating stinks. How you would feel going through a 10-year job search? These long evaluations really scar you."

Not having sex with your date "makes it more easy to evaluate someone for compatibility," he says. "Sex muddles the mind. You're no longer honing in on the personality; you're honing in on the pleasures."

8. Do not steal.

"A person's most prized possession is not their car; it's their heart," he says. "Don't mislead people on dates. Women use guys on the rebound. Men tell women things they don't mean. People don't open up because they've been hurt. Intimacy is missing because we are afraid to be vulnerable. Say what you mean and mean what you say. What attracts people is when you're authentic and real."

9. Do not bear false witness against your neighbor.

"What allows people to become a unit is trust. I advocate that in dating, you have to make promises and keep them. If you say you'll be there at 8, be there at 8. If you commit to a date, don't cancel it."

10. Thou shalt not covet.

The rabbi calls this the "most important" dating commandment. "Learn to be content," he says. Stop looking over your shoulder at who you're not dating. Focus on who you are dating. People are still thinking they can get a better deal."

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