Follow-Up to “Doing It”
by: Rabbi Jeremy Rosen
Regarding a previous post on the rabbinic response to premarital sex in the Orthodox community:
I’ve heard of a case in Baltimore where the rabbi of one shul gave a sermon that was directed (though I don’t believe he mentioned names) toward a couple who weren’t married. They, of course, were offended and left the shul; but the next shul they went to they sought to be married. This was a few years ago, and I heard about this third-hand or so, but I got the impression that the hard line stance that the first rabbi took encouraged them to tie the knot.
You are absolutely right–there can be occasions when strictnness is required and, although I would not want to comment on specific cases, this one certainly appears to have warranted a tough line.
My position is not that one must never be strict! I think everyone needs a blend of both. But I believe that there need to be varieties, just as Hillel and Shammai (to give the obvious example) offered different approaches while still falling within the halachic system.