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Q&A: Matchmaking

June 25, 2014

Question: What did Hazal think of life insurance?

Answer: They were for it in a certain sense. A man should marry the daughter of a talmid hachamim so that if he dies, his children will be talmidei hachamim. (P’sahim 49b) Explanation: As the point of marriage is to produce children, it is important for one to prepare for the eventuality that he might not be able to raise his own children after they are born, and he should therefore invest in a mate who would be able to raise those children on her own. One would presume that the sages would also recommend for one to prepare for the worst in other respects…

 

Question: What should one look for in a wife?

Answer: R’ Schachter says that a guy should choose a girl who is attractive and has good middoth. Explanation: He should find her attractive, and to each his own. Middoth: He should find someone tolerant and tolerable. Tolerant means that she will be able to stand living with him, and tolerable means that he will be able to stand living with her. The rest of the details can be worked out after that.

 

Question: I know of a possible match that can be made between two eligible young people, but I feel uncomfortable suggesting it to either of them. Is it OK if I do not?

Answer: No. It is awful. The worst that can happen if you do suggest is that either or both parties will decide the match will not work, whereas if you say nothing, then it is certain nothing will come of the match, and the two you have in mind will still be lonely. As Wayne Gretzky says, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

 

Question: I have been thinking about a particular shidduch, but I still feel that perhaps I am not familiar enough with either party. Should I persuade them to meet anyway?

Answer: Yes, as long as they are both normal and decent Jewish people. Only they will know if they have any chemistry. Often the best matches on paper are duds, and the best couples meet randomly. Your idea has at least better odds than blind chance.

 

Question: There is a lot of talk nowadays of a shidduch crisis. We all have close friends who should have been married long ago, and we all know of certain places overpopulated with young Jewish people who should not be single. The yeshivas are clogged with guys who are already in their late twenties, Jerusalem is full of the single girls who gave up on guys leaving the beis and decided that if they are going to be alone, they should at least do it in Israel, and the upperwest side is… well you know what it is. What do you think about this situation?

Answer: I believe that the the crisis, if that is what you call it, is the fault of the men. I mean that very seriously. The difference between a married guy and a bachelor is that the married guy has successfully convinced some woman that it is in her interests to mate with him. It’s that simple, and as Sean Hannity said, “Only a loser can’t get a girlfriend.” In the good old days, or so I am told, life was more difficult, and full of socio-economic considerations that we can not comprehend. Marriage, as a socio-economic institution, was looked at differently, and there was often less choice, if any, available to a nice Jewish boy looking to wed. Often marriages were arranged, and they made it work out. (Think Fiddler on the Roof.) I am speaking in sweeping generalities, of course, but the point remains. Times have changed, and now there is a lot more to consider when choosing a mate, and there is too much that enters our considerations. Most importantly, too many believe that there is too much that is beyond their control. Our sages put it nicely: As a man, you have to get yourself married, and they even saw it as their prerogative to punish bachelors who stayed single too long. Could not the bachelors have claimed that they just could not find the right one? Of course not. Just like you go and find an esrog before Sukkos, you’ve got to go out there and find a wife. If you say you’ve met dozens or hundreds of females and none are right for you, then look at more.

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