Monday, November 10, 2008

Resting on our bitochon

The "preferred" age for marriage has fluctuated depending on external political factors. Generations ago people in Europe married before or in their 20's, then came the war and people got married (or remarried) in their 30's and 40's. Then the age of marriage came down to a "normal" 18-22. There were always some girls and boys who did not find their besherte until they were older. Today it seems like there are so many more older boys and girls still unmatched. All are great kids. Why are they not married yet?

There are a lot of complaints about shadchonim: there are not enough, they only care about certain families, they do not do enough, they do not call back and other typical gripes. Whatever our perception of shadchonim is, should not really be an impediment to finding the right shidduch for your S/D. Sure, a shadchan that takes you from the first moment until the kinyan and beyond, would be great. On the other hand, how many things in this life are handed to us on a platter?

When we look for a job or an apartment, we exert ourselves, go to interviews, talk to everyone we meet, and, in general, leave no stone unturned. If we put our energies and minds to the task of shidduchim as we do with other tasks, the chances of success, with or without a shadchan, will be very good.

After all, do we not say in the 12 Pesukin: If someone says, 'Yagati ve lo matzati, al ta'amin' 'I have searched, and I have not found," don't believe him. (If someone says, "I have not worked hard and I have succeeded," don't believe him. If someone says, "I have worked hard, and I have been successful," believe him! (Moed, Megilla, 6b)): Here it bears repeating that we must do our best and put our best efforts forward without forgetting that our "partner ", the Aibishter, is really doing the lion share of the work and when He deems that it is the right time it will happen.

In my personal experience, only one out of three shiduchim (so far), went through a professional shadchan. Family and close friends were the shliach HKB"H sent for the other two. Our family, friends and neighbors are de facto shadchonim. Let us not wring our hands and say that there are no professional shadchonim who can help us. Let us not complain ad infinitum that most shadchonim these days give us only names and do not really try to match up personalities. In a world that wants everything to be easy and instant (and throwaway) shidduchim are a rude wake up call. Suddently it take effort to accomplish our goal! Why is this surprising to us yidden? Isn't yiddishkeit a training in effort? Do we not put effort in davening, yirat shamayim, keeping mitzvos, doing mivtzoim, learning, teaching etc.? Or do we just coast and do things by rote.

I heard and explanation about the very oft quoted Gemorah "kashe zivugo shel odom kekrias yamsuf" (which some explain to refer only to Zivug sheini). The speaker (I forgot who it was) mentioned that just like the Yamsuf did not split until the Yidden cried for it to happen and Nachshom ben Aminodov actually went into the waters up to his neck (Sota 37b; Shemos Rabba 21:10), the same way a shidduch needs our comlete immersion (pun intended). The yidden were apprehensive about entering the Yamsuf and Nachshon had enough bitochon to go into the waters. We are all apprehensive about entering the sea of shidduchim, but we must have enough bitochon to do our hishtadlus and rely that HKB"H will bring about a shidduch. Krias Yamsuf happened just before dawn. The same way when one is looking for a shidduch it feels like s/he is in darkness and there is no relief, that is when our davening is the most heartfelt and sincere, and that brings about Hashem's yeshua.

Furthermore, the sea split 12 ways one for each shevet, just as each shevet had their own derech so does each person. Each one should find their own hishtadlus and their own individual path that will bring them to find their zivug.

Shidduchim is a challenge that needs our full effort, and our bitochon. We must believe that Hakodosh Boruch Hu will send us the right shliach and the right zivug for our children. But we also need to do our part. Knowing that it is "beshert" that hashgacha protis will bring us the right match, no matter if from next door or another continent does not mean we wait for it like "manna from heaven". We must search and ask and research, and accept defeat, and sometimes insult. And then it will happen, in a blink, the right one will come along, the research will be uncomplicated, things we thought so important become irrelevant, and we stand with a bright smile accepting congratulations!

What you will see in the following chapters is common sense practical advice. It may be something that makes you exclaim: "duh" (to use current slang), but even if it is obvious to you it may be news to someone else. Bear with me.


rosie said...

I see a lot of older singles who are either afraid of marriage, relationships, decisions, etc. or they overrate themselves. I am tired of the word "amazing". It seems that every girl who ever went to sem is absolutely amazing. People are rated on their outgoingness. Are they head counselors or wallflowers?
There are lots of families out there that raised great kids but who don't have a name that anyone would recognize. Is that like buying off brand cereal? There are people who avoided meeting each other and when they finally met and saw what a great match they were, they could have kicked themselves over the years that they were "too good" for one another. Most shadchanim know that they are in for a tough sell and after seeing that someone is not a very likely customer, they move on to more fertile territory.