Sunday, November 30, 2008

So what do we want now?

He may be a bocher in Yeshiva, a budding businessman, a future lawyer, or a teacher. He is outgoing, introverted, sociable, or reserved. He makes friends easily, loves to learn, is patient, and loves to read. He is on “spilkes” for everything, a laid back kind of guy, or a worrier. Believes he sees a cup half full or half empty etc.

You get the picture, decide on a few basic requirements. Certain qualities are on everyone’s wish list. They are self understood but by all means, review them.

The Rebbe specifies in the Igros Kodesh, Vol XVI, p 101, that one should seek the characteristics of Yiras Shomayim, Tznius, and comparable qualities. We all want our child to marry a mentch, a balabusta, someone with a head on their shoulder and so on. Realize that all these very worthy qualities are extremely subjective. What I consider a balabusta is not what you might consider one. I may be more or less exigent than someone else.

At a workshop I had asked a group of girls to write down up to seven "must haves “ in a shidduch. Some replies were surprising, some were too obvious.

The list should not contain more than 6 or 7 requirements. The more requirements we list, the harder it is to find this mythical person. The more requirements, the more our child feels he/she must “settle” if they are offered someone who is missing some of the list prerequisites.

Please note that I have used the word “required” because a requirement is, according to the dictionary, a necessity or something obligatory. That is exactly what we are looking for. That is the criteria for a quality to be included in our child’s list. It must be a necessity; it must be obligatory—our child cannot live without it.

There is a very narrow range of choice on certain issues. For most people it is not debatable whether they will marry a Lubavitcher or not. To list this as a requirement is to lose a slot on the list for a truly necessary quality.

Additionally listing characteristics that are not realistically reachable is a waste of time. Reaching for the stars with unreasonable requests which are one in a million happenstance, is also a waste of space on this list.

As you work on the list with your S/D or if they work on it alone, try not to list absolutes, such as no person from such and such country or a certain number of years younger or older, a hair color or a certain size in clothes. Being tall or a size 2 is NOT an obvious requirement.

It is true sometimes that people from a certain country have certain characteristics we wish for or absolutely do not wish for, but it is too much of a generalization and might leave out just the person our S/D wants by virtue of his/her birthplace, or happenstance.

What middos are most important for your S/D? These are the things that go on the non-negotiable list.