Dear Rabbi, a friend is dating “out” and I mentioned to him that I really hope they don’t get married. He asked me “Why not?” I told him because it’s wrong, but I didn’t have any solid arguments. He’s a logical person, and I’m sure will seriously consider what I tell him, so I hope you can help me out here. Thanks.
There have been many arguments offered against intermarriage, below is a summary of some of the most famous.
1. Six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust, 12 million were left afterwards. Today there are only 13 million Jews in the world. Where are the rest that by natural increase should number close to 20 million? The answer is that the silent holocaust of assimilation has caused them to disappear as Jews.
Intermarriages are twice as likely to end in divorce as same-faith marriages (75% divorce rate!). Some reasons for this are the different identities of the spouses and the differences in culture and family. For example a Jew will naturally turn their head at the mention of “Israel” and “Jew.” A gentile who converts in superficial and insincere conversion only for the sake of marriage does not create a new identity that is now Jewish.
3. One is granting a victory to anti-Semites who seek to destroy the Jewish people. Think of what has been sacrificed in the past by our own ancestors to keep their Judaism. And think of the heritage that is being sacrificed for the sake of personal reasons.
Ultimately, however, all Jews must have a sense of pride in their own identity. We cannot define ourselves by foreign ideologies, nationalities or religions. A great author once wrote:
“Pride is faith in the idea that God had, when He made us. A proud man is conscious of the idea, and aspires to realize it. He does not strive towards a happiness, or comfort, which may be irrelevant to God’s idea of him. His success is the idea of God, successfully carried through, and he is in love with his destiny. People who have no pride are not aware of any idea of God in the making of them, and sometimes they make you doubt that there has ever been much of an idea, or else it has been lost, and who shall find it again? They have got to accept as success what others warrant to be so, and to take their happiness, and even their own selves, at the quotation of the day. They tremble with reason before their fate.”
Let us not live by the “quotation of the day” but rather by our own heritage, the Torah. When Jews study Torah, and identify as Jews they are really just returning to their true selves.
In the words of the Rebbe of Kotzk, “If I am I because you are you, and you are you because I am I; then I am not I and you are not you. However, if I am I because I am I, and you are you because you are you; then I am I and you are you.”