The Big Question

The Big Question:

This is amazing – This was written by a 17 year old girl

          Is it wrong to talk to boys? This question crosses all of our minds at one point or another throughout adolescence. This question begins to take form shortly after you have reached puberty. You are no longer a child and society tells you that you are not yet an adult, the stage that I like to call “teenage hood”. It is at this point that you begin to challenge authority regarding this issue. Until I was given the opportunity of writing this essay, I had the same questions as many of you. In doing my research for this project, I have discovered the truth. I can no longer claim ignorance as I now know that there are in fact concrete reasons and halachos against talking to boys.

          There is an actual issur de’orisa regarding relationships between boys and girls.  It says in Sefer Vayikra 18,6:   This  means that a man cannot have a relationship with a girl who is a niddah, therefore including all girls before they are married. In addition, this concept is revisited in the Sefer HaChinuch, mitzvah number 188. It states there that it is assur for boys and girls to talk to each other. Based on Igres Moshe many could come to the conclusion that the issur for a girl is only in the fact that she is an accomplice to the boy. That however is not the case as we see in the Sefer HaChinuch. It is an equal issur for both genders.  

          There are two problems that we can blame the boy-girl phenomenon on. Firstly, no one really knows the real facts, the actual halachic problems with it. With your lack of knowledge, and just the vague idea that it is wrong to talk to the other gender, you justify your actions. You write it off as a stage that we all go through. Secondly, on many occasions you choose to conveniently ignore the facts even when they are placed right before your eyes.  You say that this guy is different, or claim that you don’t feel anything for your “friend”. The fact is, no matter how many excuses your brain comes up with, they are all just excuses.  

           We must all realize that G-d does not have it out for us. He loves each and every one of us and it is for that exact reason that this issur is placed on us. If we were to fully understand how much emotional damage we cause ourselves by talking to the opposite gender we wouldn’t talk to them in first place. However, the majority of us are stupid for a time, and just like a child goes near a fire when he is told not to, we will not learn until we are burned. This is the case with many girls. We feel the need to see the consequences for our actions before learning from them.

Teenage hood is a very vulnerable stage in a person’s character development. Most teens are going through a time of raging hormones and fluctuating emotions. Therefore, it is crucial that absolutely nothing interferes with our personal growth. G-d wanted man and woman to grow separately until they reach an age of maturity. It is only at this point that the two can merge to form a bond (marriage). If you form this attachment before you have reached an adequate stage of maturity the boy(s) you talk to become a crutch. Having this crutch causes a handicap in your growth. This will cause eventual and permanent damage.

But how can G-d expect us to resist talking to boys all this time until we eventually get married? The truth is, in times past, when raging hormones began at the start of teenage hood, you would also be at the age of maturity and therefore marriage. It is only because society has warped our view on when it is “appropriate” to get married that the wait between teenage hood and marriage seems to be so long. There’s one excuse we make knocked down. G-d didn’t want there to be a long waiting time, we placed that challenge on ourselves. 

          “Platonic” relationships have become a huge trend, and a huge problem, for teens recently. Webster’s Dictionary defines a platonic relationship as “a not sexual but purely spiritual relationship”. We want to believe in platonic relationships to justify our friendships with boys. Many of us draw the line at dating but will be “just friends” with boys. The problem with this is that there is no such thing as a platonic relationship. As a result of our chemical make-up it is impossible for a boy and a girl to be friends for a significant amount of time without it resulting in a more intense relationship. Therefore, being friends with a boy and dating are equally inappropriate emotional attachments, only one has a label of “boyfriend” and one doesn’t. 

In order for the relationship to be considered a non-platonic relationship all it takes is for one side to feel differently.  Just because you don’t feel that way towards your guy “friend” doesn’t guarantee that he has similar feelings, or lack thereof, for you, no matter what he says. I used to think boys and girls just think differently. Now I know better. It’s not just that boys and girls think differently, everything about us is different. G-d created man with a much stronger yetzer hara than us when it comes to the opposite gender. The only reason they want to be “friends” with girls is for the sole fact that they are girls, and in hopes of something more. The same way they cannot relate to our natural inclination for shopping, they cannot relate to how we can be satisfied with a “just friends” relationship. Knowing this, do not fall into the same trap as everyone else. Don’t continue to be a slave to another excuse your mind has come up with.

As well, in any guy-girl relationship, you are always very obviously a girl, and he is always very obviously a guy. Don’t delude yourself into thinking that your genders don’t matter in the relationship. They do. Most likely your friendship started because and for the sole reason that you are a girl and he is a boy. It might have developed into something real and emotional after that but your genders play a very real and obvious role. Think about the difference in the way you talk to your girlfriends and to your guy friends. Is there a difference? Generally yes. The human body is wired to react differently to members of the opposite gender. We automatically talk and act differently around guys even if we don’t notice. It’s only natural as we were created that way. It’s not something you can resist.  

          Another problem with talking to boys is the slippery slope that it places you on. Shomer negiah and yichud are very strict assurim that get compromised when you talk to boys. When asked if you are shomer negiah your response should be similar to the one that you would give if someone asked you if you are shomer shabbos, because it’s the same type of question. Shomer Negiah is a halacha even if it is not treated like one in today’s society. The halachos of negiah are discussed in the Shulchan Aruch based on another possuk in Vayikra, 18:19. The yetzer hara for touch is so great that the guidelines are very strict. The halachos for yichud are even more strict because G-d wants to help us avoid situations where we may not be able to stand up to our desires.

There is an equal balance of holy and unholy in every situation. The line between them is so thin that it can be crossed at any moment without anyone even realizing it. The physical relationship between man and woman can be the holiest connection therefore the potential for the lack of holiness is that much greater. When utilized properly the relationship between a man and a woman can be the closest example of our ultimate relationship with G-d. Consequently, the physical connection has potential to be the most spiritual connection in the world. However, if this fine line is crossed it can result in the most disgusting of immoralities.  

          So now what am I supposed to do you might ask. Now that I’m involved how can I get out? I might as well continue this relationship; it’s too late anyways. That is not true, it’s never too late. Any guy who really cares about you will understand a rational explanation. He will want you to do whatever is right, for you and in general. Yes, people do get hurt. But here’s the thing; short term hurt is better than continuing to do an issur de’orisa which in essence is much worse harm. Teenagers have a built-in healing mechanism. We are young and we can and will bounce back. Yes, it might hurt. But time heals; you (and he) will survive.

I’m not here to preach to anyone. While I wouldn’t mind if this essay did convince you, that wasn’t the purpose of it. The purpose of this essay was to plant the seeds of useful doubt in your mind, to get you to start thinking before you act, as writing and researching this essay did for me.  The purpose of this essay was to educate you. So that now, when you ask the questions you know where to go for the answers. Now that the information is available, you can no longer plead ignorance. And now that the facts are in front of you I hope you do not choose to ignore them. I’ve done all the hard work, the research. All I ask is that you open your mind to the possibility that change is necessary and possible. Life is about change and growth. We must always be working up, towards the higher goal, to develop the closest relationship with G-d. Is continuing this act, that you now know is wrong, bringing you up? Or is it bringing you down?


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