Friday, November 14, 2008

FFBs and BT Matches

It is relatively common for FFB (Frum-from-birth) families to look for other FFB families and at least initially reject BT (Baalei Teshuvah) families. Due to the fact that this is a very sore issue, I would like to explain my opinion on the matter. I welcome any comments on the subject as long as they are written with reason and not only emotion.

We have to realize that usually it is difficult for two individuals to adjust their lives, habits and thoughts to live with one another as a married couple. The first year is a period of adjustment for two individuals that are trying to create one entity. A popular line with speakers is that in marrige 1+1=1. When we look for a match we try to match up background and upbringing, as well as goals and philosophies.

In the case of BT’s and FFB’s the upbringing, experiences and background are even more diverse. The enormous achievement of becoming a BT has an effect on the person and his/her children. The mental processes and points of view are disparate from an FFB. In certain cases, such matches work, but that is the exception to the rule. Therefore, when an FFB family rejects a BT shidduch, it is not just because they do not want a match with a BT, rather, it is because it is difficult enough to be married to someone with a similar background, let alone someone with a different point of view and experiences.

It is true that it is also an instinctive reaction to say no to such a shidduch, and maybe at a later time to accept it. When families first start looking they are only paying attention to the "best of the best" of suggestions. As time passes expectations are lowered and other matches are looked into. Everything is directed from above so if a shidduch is rejected it is because it is not the right one. Or it is not the right time. If it is meant to happen it will. Rejecting shidduchim for non-reasons, such as nationality —”I will never marry an Israeli, Frenchie, Australian” etc. or because a parent does not want to be far from a child, is quite common as well.

We all believe we are in this world to achieve a purpose. That purpose can be attained only by using our unique talents and characteristics. That being the case, we want to find someone who will complement our talents and characteristics and we complete theirs, so we can accomplish our life’s work. Let us not get hung up on labels while we look for a shidduch, and let us not get insulted by rejections either.

These are all milestones on the path of finding our Besherte. No one said the road is freshly paved, on the contrary, there are plenty potholes and glitches to be aware of. Esther HaMalka was zoche to rule over 127 countries because her ancestress Sarah Imeinu, used every second of her 127 years in this world. Rabbi Twersky expounds on the verse: “VeAvrohom Zaken, Bo BaYomim” (He came with his days: literally, he came with his days). When Avrohom was old he came with all his days, because he did not regret a single one of them. Avrohom had in Sarah a true “ezer”, a helpmate who could advise him and compliment his tachlis in life. May we be Zoche to find for our S/D the right helpmate who will complement their qualities and help them accomplish their tachlis.


rosie said...

So we admit that at the end of the day, marriages between people of different backgrounds do occur and those couples do have to adjust. It might not have been the couple's first choice to marry each other but they find that the BT, Israeli, or other person with a background difference is now their spouse and they have to learn to tolerate differences. Maybe we should also teach children that what they had in mind might not come their way. If it was only a matter of finding partners with like backgrounds, BTs would be very understanding and often BTs do not want their children to make shidduchim with FFBs for the same reason. The problem is that FFBs get insulted when BTs try to get their children's names redd for the children of FFBs. It is not just that BTs are insulted when turned down. That is a totally different matter because it is not simply a desire to seek a common background but a desire to social climb and the BTs become low on the ladder. Why wouldn't they object?