From the Publisher
Praise for Kosher Sex:
"A saucy, slim volume[proves] that sex can be both holy and hot."
"Boteach possesses the power to surprise as much as he does to preachSure to set off firecrackers in traditional Jewish circlesProvocative."
"A sex book with a differencepreaches back-to-bedroom basics[while bringing] Jewish teachings on sex to a wider public: Jewish, Gentile, atheist, and anyone else who cares to listen."
"[Boteach's] engaging style, linking Jewish biblical beliefs and Mosaic law with the down and dirty details of sexual intimacy, has attracted a huge audienceWith wit and wisdom, Boteach explores lust and commitment, love and intimacy, jealousy, mystery, and romance."
Boteach tackles the subject of dating by applying the basic wisdom and teachings of the Ten Commandments to the concept of romance and the sometimes torturous task of searching for one's soul mate. He bases his theories on his belief that the Ten Commandments are representative of God's love for Israel, and therefore the basic principles they teach are equally applicable to the love between a man and a woman. But this is not some biblical hellfire spoken with wrath from on high. Rather, Boteach extrapolates the essence from each commandment and then applies it to the world of dating in a practical manner, often accompanied by the wink of an eye and a jocular elbow in the ribs.
While Boteach does deal with a variety of dating issues in Dating Secrets of the Ten Commandments, his lessons have a much broader appeal. The overall thrust of the book is geared toward teaching readers two things: 1) how to be better, happier, and more pleasant people, and 2) how to treat others with respect, kindness, and consideration. As Boteach himself explains, the book "will provide you with the most important ingredient of all for successful dating: a sense of dignity and self-worth." Indeed, the principles Boteach puts forth are as applicable to any personal relationship in life as they are to dating. For instance, the basic concept he draws from the first commandment is that of primacy -- making your date know that she or he comes first. Boteach then provides specific ways to do this, from the sublime (not interrupting your date) to the bizarre (not bringing your mother along on a date). But the underlying element of this principle -- treating others with respect and concern -- is one that can be practiced in many walks of life.
Despite the overall applicability of some of the ideas in Dating Secrets of the Ten Commandments, Boteach rarely falls back on generalities. Instead he addresses specific situations and behaviors within the context of dating, driving home the concepts he wants to put forth and then demonstrating how they can be applied. While his approaches may occasionally be based in idealism, they are anchored in practicality. His distillation of each commandment is logical and sensible, and the result is the reinforcement of basic values and Golden Rule living.
Although his message is important and his teachings worthwhile, it's Boteach's style that sets him apart from others of his ilk. He leavens his words with plenty of laughs, frank honesty, and a zippy style that makes him feel like your best friend. His hip tone and biting humor, which sometimes borders on blasphemy, cleverly disguise the fact that the values he's putting forth are fairly conservative. Yes, Boteach is preaching, but his wit and irreverence make it feel more like a fun chat with your best bud over a brew. It's an effective method, for while you may not agree with everything Boteach advocates, it's so much fun listening to him you'll hear him out nonetheless. And if the doctrines he's putting forth don't make you feel better about yourself, his liberal use of anecdotes -- stories about the dating horrors of others as well as himself -- are bound to make you feel better about your own dating failures.
Boteach tackles the difficult and more delicate issues head-on, not hesitating to discuss such things as Viagra, sleazy men, and rubber blowup dolls. His frank discussion of sex, sexual drives, and the occasional vast differences between the sexes makes for a humorous but realistic take on life and ultimately leads to sensible, practical advice. Boteach obviously has a keen understanding of human nature, and he demonstrates his knowledge well. Although he sometimes falls back on sexual stereotypes that could make his advice seem clichéd, his conclusions and suggestions are sound. And despite the occasional oversimplification, self-deprecation, or sexual innuendo, he delivers his message with genuine warmth and sincerity. It's a message worth getting, for both dating and just plain living.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The author of Kosher Sex now offers a guide to dating. Boteach argues that the Ten Commandments are God's blueprints for his love affair with Israel, and there's no reason that readers shouldn't apply those precepts to their own love affairs. Hidden within the commandments are principles that should govern romantic relationships. The first commandment (I am the Lord your God, who led you out of Egypt to be your God) teaches primacy--suitors should make sure their dates know they are a priority. The fourth commandment (remember the Sabbath) teaches readers to make dates special occasions. From the fifth commandment (honor thy father and mother), we learn to bring dates home to our folks for brunch or dinner and not to be afraid to "parent" our dates. Many of Boteach's observations are banal and oversimplified, and he assumes a world full of cookie-cutter men and women, the former commitment-phobic and the latter terrified. (See, for example, his suggestion that men single-mindedly try to get women into bed, and women naively assume that sex "is a sure sign of love.") The ten commandments are an innovative scrim before this otherwise predictable relationship manual. (Jan.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Rabbi Boteach has once again published a guide to meaningful relationships. His previous book, Kosher Sex, provoked audiences with its audacious title. This volume does the same. There are ten chapters, each keyed to a commandment, and each headed by a catchy title. Although written in an upbeat tone, with hip language (which sometimes borders on the flippant), an undercurrent of deep feeling and commitment guides the text. And although Boteach uses the precepts of Judaism as his basis, even readers not conversant with Judaism will still be able to profit from his ideas. An excellent book for those who want guidance in their personal relationships. Highly recommended for all public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/15/99.]--Idelle Rudman, Touro Coll. Lib., New York Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Read an Excerpt
PrimacyMake Your Date Know That He or She Comes First
To do something, say something, see something, before anybody elsethese are things that confer a pleasure compared with which other pleasures are tame and commonplace, other ecstacies cheap and trivial.
Mark Twain (1835-1910), U.S. author, The Innocents Abroad
THE FIRST COMMANDMENT: I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of slavery . . . (Exodus 20:2)
That's one hell of an introduction, isn't it? No goofy pickup line, just straightforward, personal informationthe tachless, as we say in Jew talk. We hear the confidence in this introduction and think, "Wow, this God is one cool customer . . ."
I was fifteen years old when I decided that God was cool and that I was going to be a Rabbi, and so I went to a seminary in California. (Almost the only issue that united my divorced parents was mutual hostility to the path I had chosen in life. Becoming a Rabbi is no job for a nice Jewish boy. If you are really bright, you become an investment banker. If you have some gentile genes mixed into you, a doctor. If your mother smoked heavily while she was pregnant with you, you become an accountant. And if you were kicked in the head by a mule when you were two, you become a Rabbi. Hence, every Jewish parent who has a child who has become a Rabbi lies about it and says that he is a truck driver or a sheep shearer instead.)
At Yeshiva, the seminary, there were approximately fifty young men, and, being far away from our families, we soon bonded and made friends. My closest friend of all was a boy named David. On his fifteenth birthday we gave him a little party. Well, we went around the room and we each toasted him. After seventy-odd toasts he became very drunk. Then we took him back to his room and tried to put him to bed.
In the midst of this process, he suddenly became incredibly lucid. He got out of his bed, placed his hands on both my shoulders, and said, "Shmuley, I have something of the greatest importance to tell you." He spoke with the authority of a prophet. "You are the Messiah, Shmuley. I have been sent as a messenger of God down to this earth to reveal to you that you are the chosen, long-promised redeemer of Israel. I've waited fifteen years to reveal this to you, because the time was not yet ripe. Now, the age of redemption has come." We all laughed out loud and told him he was crazy. Then we took off his shoes and tried to stick him back in bed. But he resisted all our efforts. Light shone from his face. "I'm telling you, Shmuley," and here he started to cry, "you are the Messiah and your task is to redeem the Jewish people and remove iniquity from the earthlike trying to get Barry Manilow to stop singing. It's you. You can't shirk your responsibility. God has authorized me to provide a sign that what I'm saying is true." And with that he began to string together complex mystical names of God from the Hebrew alphabet. None of us were laughing anymore. The other boys were transcribing his words, letter by letter. It all made sense. He had revealed a holy new name for God according to the ancient cabbalistic formula.
Having accomplished his mission, David's soul was called on high, at least for the night, and he promptly fell asleep. The other boys looked at me with awe. I was the most special boy on the planet, born to bring deliverance to all the inhabitants of the earth. Everything my mother had always been telling me was true. My head swelled to the size of a watermelon and I couldn't fit through the door. The Messiah. Me. Right on!
I swore the other boys to secrecy. They were frightened and quietly withdrew. I paced the floor, wondering how to handle things. First I would probably have to retreat to some cave and fast for forty days and forty nights. No doubt Elijah the prophet would soon appear to me and provide further instruction. With this in mind I stayed up the whole night preparing a plan for what would have to be achieved for the perfection of the earth. I made a list. As far as I can remember, it was something like this:
1. End all conflict and usher in a period of world peace.
2. Rid the earth of disease.
3. Resurrect the dead (tough one).
4. Bring back John and reunite the Beatles.
5. Eradicate country music from the earth's airwaves.
Boy, was I going to be busy. I decided that the first thing that I would do in the morning was to call Ronald Reaganwho was our President at the timeand tell him I was the Messiah, but make sure he kept it a secret. Better to have him as an ally. I was a bit worried about all the innocent lives I might have to destroy in Las Vegas. It's hell being the Messiah.
By the morning David had sobered up and remembered nothing of the night before. The other boys rechecked the supposed new mystical name of God that he had revealed in the night, and discovered the letters actually came out as something like IMFULLACRAP. All awe and reverence for me instantly vanished. I was the laughingstock of the school. My Messianic mission was over, having lasted a measly eight hours.
But the point of the story is that I had stayed up all night, at the age of fifteen, and was prepared to take upon myself an immense amount of work and global responsibility, just because someone had made me feel special.
It's something we all need and search for. The greatest human need is to feel unique, distinguished and special. But the secret of life is that you can never feel special on your own. It takes a stranger with free choice to choose us in order to feel special. We want someone who confirms our sense of uniqueness. This desire to be accorded primacy, to be treated as Number One, at least by one other human being, is one of the deepest human desires. So strong is it that when we find someone who makes us feel this way, we are sometimes prepared to give up everything else.
The First Commandment is the only one that commands . . . nothing. But there is an important message hidden here. By simply declaring His identity"I am the Lord your God"God is teaching us that primacy is the first rule of a new relationship. He does not have to embellish this with any specific demands for devotion or worship. Once primacy is given, love and respect follow naturally. It was through acknowledging God's essential, irrefutable primacy in their lives that the Jews at Sinai began to build indissoluble ties in their relationship with Himties that bind us to this day.
Primacythe first rule of dating
So that's where you start. Make the person you are dating know that you think that there is no one like them. Give your boyfriend or girlfriend precedence, make them feel that they are more important than everything else. Coming even five minutes late to a date is basically a statement that something more important than them came up. Don't do it.