Friday, December 4, 2009

Non Traditional Methods Cont'd

It is not as unusual as it once was to let "Mame Liebe" do the job. Which means when a couple meets and "falls in LOVE".

In the best situation once the couple has been dating for a while and they want to marry, they will approach the parents and lay the situation out for them. Or the parents may find out on their own about the couple.

Although the reaction of a parent when faced with such a request might resemble something somewhat closer to fireworks than flowers, parents should consider that the children did come to them eventually, and want to do this in the proper manner after all. No matter what let us consider that like everything else this is also definitely Hashgacha Protis. Hashem does bring about shidduchim in a lot of different ways, and due to the level this couple was in this was the way it had to work out.

The worse scenario is when the parents find out that their child is just happy dating and has no thought of marriage!

But let us look at the more positive way: either the kids tell the parents they wish to get married and need their help with the wedding, or the parents find out on their own and confront their kids. Either way the parents should take a deep breath and count to ten before even thinking about the situation. Do not, absolutely do not, say the first thing that comes to mind. You are closing the door before it is even open.

By coming to you, the couple is acknowledging that they cannot do this alone and hopefully they are willing to listen to your advice. You have to realize that rehashing past behavior at this point is counterproductive. You have been put in a spot you do not wish to be in, but have no choice about. As they are so fond to say in this country, when you are given lemons, make lemonade. Maybe this is a good thing for your child, and if you manage this correctly, only good will come from it.

Consider the situation from this point forward. Do the research into the boy or girl as you would do in a normal case. If for no other reason, do it at least for your own peace of mind. Share your research with your child. If what you find is negative, explain your concerns to your child, calmly and logically. You may be able to influence him or her to your way of thinking, or you may give yourself more time, and anything may happen with time. An infatuation may be replaced by another interest, or they may fall out of “love” just as they fell into it.

The one most important thing to remember is to keep the dialogue open with your child. Even if one of the parents cannot be rational or logical in this situation, the other has to stay in touch and maintain an open channel.

When you show your displeasure to your child, make sure he/she understands that it is the circumstances and his/her choices that you are displeased about, but that you still love him or her. It is the action you hate and not the child. A benefit of keeping an open channel with your child is that they may listen to your advice on how to build a Bayis Neemon. They may be willing to accept a slightly more stringent lifestyle than they would otherwise because you were logical and persuasive about the necessity of keeping certain mitzvos and boundaries.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Non-Traditional methods

Until now the focus of these articles has been on the traditional way to find a match, a regular shidduch through a shadchan, professional or otherwise. It is becoming more common and even accepted to go though some non-traditional paths to find a shidduch as well. I will try to explore some of them.

Many articles on shidduchim bemoan the fact that shadchonim do not make the cut anymore. They are not flexible enough or not thorough enough or not involved enough.

- As an aside let me make a few comments:
1. The job of a real shadchan is very difficult, they spend time interviewing or talking to bochurim and young ladies, they make hundreds of phone calls many times without results, they put a lot of effort into an often thankless endeavor.
2. There are some shadchonim who request a payment before looking for a shidduch. If you know that these shadchonim interview prospective "clients" and try to properly match singles, (not just throw a list of names at you) then they are not being outrageous by asking some remuneration for all the time they put in on your behalf even if at the end the shidduch does not come from them. One always has the choice of not using them, but to criticize them for taking money for their time and effort is not the right thing to do.
3. Do not throw up your hands and complain about shadchonim and how they are the reason there is such a difficulty finding matches. I wrote it before and I will keep repeating it: most shidduchim come from family and friends so forget the shadchonim if you are so upset at them, but if you are smart just use it as another tool in your arsenal and don't make an issue of it.
Disclaimer: I am not a shadchan, I will counsel, try to give advice as on this blog, and I speak to groups all over the world on the subject.

I am sure you all have heard all kinds of reasons why the traditional way is not the way to go, and we are not discussing shiduchim made by friends.
Actually the traditional way is the best and ultimately the only method, but there are many who do not agree, so let us see how we can minimize problems in other methods.
Please so not consider that any of the following are what a Chassidishe bocher or Kallah meidel may try, but there are many degrees and levels of people and maybe someone who reads this is not going to try the previously discussed ways.

A way could be to try to meet girls at frum single events or shabatons, at shabbos tables or weddings etc. This means taking matters initially in one’s own hands, but it is a good idea to consequently follow up with a request to a parent or shadchan to make inquiries and find out about the person one is interested in and be an intermediary.

There are pitfalls in this method, not least of Tznius, but as long as parents or other married adults are involved from the beginning, matters may turn out well. A lot of couples who are now in their 50's and older have met in this way, and many propose that there is nothing wrong in this method because it had worked with them, or their parents, or grand-parents, etc.
What we forget maybe, is that the world was a lot bigger then. Which means that generally people met others of like mindset and upbringing, similar backgrounds etc. People were also a lot more moral and the mainstream did not have to worry about a lot of the problems we have today. Many actions were unthinkable, which these days are accepted. So we live in a much more dangerous society (to our way of life, not specifically security wise) than the society older generations lived in.

To be continued.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Gmar Chasima Tovah

May you all have a gebenchte Yohr, a nachasdike yohr. May all those who need a shidduch find their beshert this year and build a bais neemon b'Yisroel
Shana Tovah Umesukah

Sunday, August 16, 2009


When talking about brothers the Rebbe says:

“It is my considered opinion - and this is also my response to those who inquire of me regarding this matter - that with regard to sons, one is not to impede the marriage of the younger [brother] before [the marriage of] the older [brother]. This is especially so when the younger [brother] has already attained the age of twenty. [In fact,] haste in this matter is to be lauded. The older brother should have it explained to him that assisting his [younger] brother in performing an unambiguous and obvious law of our holy Torah also constitutes the older [brother's] own performance of a clear law of our holy Torah. Thus, the merit [of his performance of this law] stands him in good stead, that he should soon obtain a shidduch as well.”
(Printed in Kfar Chabad Magazine, Issue 851.)
“... As the verse, ["This is not done] ... to give away the younger [sister] before the older [sister]," is stated with regard to daughters; your brothers sheyichyu should interest themselves in shidduchim without one waiting for the other. Surely each one of them will completely forgive the others. This [act of forgiveness] will also serve as a segulah for a good shidduch for the brother who grants the forgiveness.”
(From a letter of the Rebbe, printedm in Mikdash Melech, Vol. III, p. 53)

For parents who are in this position, it is worth reading through the letters in Eternal Joy, either in the book form or on the web at The Rebbe answers cases where a brother has an older sister or a sister has an older brother etc.


I received an email some time ago regarding older siblings who are "holding back" younger ones.
Sometimes the siblings are very close in age, and the older one is not ready or cannot find what s/he needs.
Sometimes the ages are not close, but the first one has had no mazel for the moment. What should a parent do?

When a family has siblings who are close in age, it is expedient when possible to start looking for the older daughter/son early. This way one has more time to find him/her a shidduch, before the younger sister is ready too.

Of course, if the older sister is not ready and one sees no signs of readiness at all, it is more complicated. The situation of a younger sibling who feels caged in by her older sister is a very difficult one for the whole family, and parents in such situations should not leave any option untried. Talking to a Rov, davening, taking on additional hachlotos, saying tehilim, helping other Kallos, tzedokah, etc. Chazal tell us that the gates of tears are always open. May your efforts be recognized, and may all those who need shiduchim soon find their Zivug.

I know about the case of two sisters who are 15 months apart. Everyone always praised the younger one for her beauty, although the older was just as pretty, although in a different way. The parents started looking for her in the middle of Sem Aleph and she got engaged in the middle of her Sem Beis year. Then the second one got married right after.

Unfortunately as they say "man proposes and G-d Disposes" or "man tracht und G-t Lacht". If one part of the couple is not ready, our plans do not work out, but we should not start off being pessimistic. If we look for the right things, minimize our list to the max, and make ourselves the best keily we can be (do our hishtadlus) then most of the time we will be successful.

There are differences in how one deals with girls or boys. To everyone who is in this position, please consult a Rov. Present the whole case to the Rov: how old the older sibling(s) is; how long and what efforts were made to marry them off; the age of the younger sibling(s) who is ready to go; the reasons why the family believe that sibling should go first, etc.

I am going to quote some of the Rebbe’s letters on this subject from Eternal Joy (published by Sichos in English). As you can see--although the Rebbe mentions in the majority of the letters that the younger one can go ahead if certain conditions are met, the Rebbe also says in another letter that the siblings should marry in order of age. Therefore, consult with Daas Torah and do not decide on your own as you are not an objective observer and could come to an erroneous conclusion.

In these letters the Rebbe speaks about sisters, and the Rebbe tells the parents to go slowly ahead with the shidduch of the younger sibling:
“In reply to your letter in which you notify me that a fine shidduch is being suggested for your younger daughter tichyeh, a shidduch that is finding favor by all, but your older daughter tichyeh is not yet married, and you ask my opinion in this matter: You should [first] obtain your older daughter's assent regarding this matter and her forgiveness regarding her sister preceding her in a shidduch. The kishurei hatena'im [of your younger daughter] should be celebrated in a restrained manner, and there should not be too much of a rush to make an early wedding. May it be G-d's will that in the interim your older daughter will find her mate, one that is fitting for her both materially and spiritually, and you will be able to inform me of glad tidings twice over. We do not know the wondrous ways of Divine Providence. It is possible that your older daughter's overcoming her natural inclination to envy her sister and forgiving her [for preceding her in a shidduch] with a perfect heart and true joy, will remove the final obstacle and impediment, and she will find her shidduch very speedily. With blessings that the kishurei hatena'im of your younger daughter take place in a good and auspicious hour, and that you speedily be able to transmit the glad tidings of the kishurei hatena'im of your elder daughter tichyeh.”
(Igros Kodesh, Vol. IV, p. 197)

“In reply to your question about the marriage of the younger sister before the older one: Presently, during the time of the four-fold darkness of Ikvesah deMeshicha, when the "Son of David" [i.e., Mashiach] will arrive [only] after all the souls will descend from the "Storehouse of Souls" known as Guf, then if the older sister will forgive [her younger sister] with complete forgiveness, this matter [of her getting married first] has been permitted [by our Sages]. It would be advisable that this forgiveness be in writing or take place in front of two witnesses. Understandably, all this applies only if the young man is G-d-fearing, etc. It would also be appropriate that in addition to the forgiveness, the younger sister as well as the parents set aside some money for the wedding expenses of the elder sister, to be utilized when she becomes engaged in a good and auspicious hour.”
(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XV, p. 326)

But in the following letter the Rebbe sees that in this case the situation merits that the younger sibling wait:
“In reply to your letter of Monday, in which you write that up until now a shidduch has not come up for your older daughter, and a shidduch is presently being suggested for your younger daughter: You are to exert yourself to find a proper shidduch for your older daughter - it is known of the many places in which our Sages, of blessed memory, have spoken about the tremendous responsibility that lies on the father to find an appropriate shidduch for his daughters. Since our Nesi'im have been exacting with regard to the verse, "This is not done ... to give away the younger [sister] before the older [sister];" therefore, only afterwards [i.e., only after you find a shidduch for your older daughter], should you seek a shidduch for your younger daughter.”
(Igros Kodesh, Vol. VII, p. 269)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Do we tell our kids about the names that are suggested?

Personally, I do not believe they need to hear every name that comes up oe even every name we are looking into. It is true that they may feel we are not doing anything or that no names are being suggested, and we can explain that names are being suggested and we are looking into them but there is nothing concrete yet.

In the case of a boy, if we believe a prospect is interesting enough after a couple of calls, then we might pass on the information to our son if he insists on being kept in the loop. I personally prefer not to say anything until it becomes much more of a real possibility and less of a probability, but it really depends on the kind of communicaton you and your son have.

With girls I truly prefer not say anything until I have done all the research and believe it is a definite as far as us parents are concerned, and it is then up to my daughters. My reasoning is that girls are easily hurt, and if they hear how many times a name comes up and either gets rejected by us or by the other side, they might get feelings of insecurity.

These feelings may come from either the possible rejection or the feeling that their parents are too picky and no one will get through their vetting. Those are my reasons for not wanting to mention everything that comes up to either my girls or boys. Ultimately, it is a decision the individual parent should make.

In the book, “Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover”, a story is brought down about the search for a Chazzan by the town of Brisk. The leaders of the community came to Rabbi Chaim Soloveichik with the names of the finalists: one of them had yirat shamaim; another was a big lamdan; another had wonderful midos, and so on and so forth. Rabbi Soloveichik listened to all of them and then asked one question: “Which one knows how to sing?”

Sometimes in the search we get distracted. We forget what the important middos are. We get lost, asking questions that do not matter, and we get sidetracked by minor annoyances. Let us stay focused and let us not procrastinate. I have spoken to some older singles and others who married at a later age than usual. They all said how at the end there were so many things that they had thought were indispensable, but as time went on, they did not seem so important.
Ultimately, their partner only had one or maybe two of the requirements they originally thought they could not live without.

Why do we have to wait until our kids are older, until they almost despair of finding their mate?

Let us strip the requirements to the bare minimum right now. Let us be more accepting, less fastidious now, so we do not have do it later. Look for compatibility, shared goals, solid character traits and health. Hair color, nationality, money and weight are not essentials.

In previous blogs we have looked at all kind of questions: questions to ask our kids, questions to ask a shadchan, questions to ask ourselves, questions to ask people for references . All this was to give you an idea, a reference point, a map. You know the destination, where you want to go--what are the important things for you. I hope I made it clear that we should emphasize the important points, the essential qualities, and not the fluff.

In “Eternal Joy”, a sefer anyone who is looking into shidduchim should have, the Rebbe writes:

“Surely, it need not be stressed that though, on one hand, before one makes a final decision regarding a shidduch it is essential to give the matter long and hard thought, nonetheless, it is also important to know that one cannot be one hundred percent guaranteed in advance. We are to rely on G-d, Who conducts the world as a whole, as well as the microcosmic world of each and every person; surely, He will lead the person to that which is best for him or her.”
(Igros Kodesh, Vol. V, p. 269)
Another important point:
“It is patently obvious that with regard to a shidduch it is the young man's and young woman's task (to make the decision; how to go about making the decision; what to do [after having made the decision, etc.]).” (From a handwritten response of the Rebbe)[2] But let’s keep in mind that: “... It is obvious that with regard to a shidduch, a child should not decide on his own, without one of the parents being on the scene....”
(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XXIII, p. 113)
One last thought that we should memorize:
“Marriage is the most important event in the life of a man or woman; it leaves an indelible imprint on one's entire life. Such a decision requires considerable thought and cannot be done in haste.”
(Igros Kodesh, Vol. IV, p. 272)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Consider who you are talking to.

When doing research, consider who you are talking to.

If you are talking to a close friend of yours who also knows the other side, then you are on more even ground, as you know what their standards are and how they judge, and you can put the answers in a proper prospective. I

f you do not know the person you are calling for information, be careful what weight you put on the answers. If something you hear is raising a flag, ask specific questions to clarify what you are hearing, you may have misunderstood or the person at the other end meant something different. It is much easier to clarify things right away, rather that later. Also, do not automatically say no. Do further research on that one point until you are very sure that the facts are true, and it is something undesirable to you.

Some other possible questions: What is their connection to the Rebbe? What part does the Rebbe play in their lives? (this is not a “meshichist” or “anti” question). Are the parents hands on parents or more laissez faire. Was there sholom bayis in their home? Do they have a lot of emotional baggage? Is she open-minded? ( what does open minded mean to you?) Is the family open-minded? Are they straightforward and honest, or is there a hidden agenda, and you don’t really know their intentions? Are they open to change, or do they dread it? How do they act with strangers: are they respectful with all kinds of people, janitors, cleaning ladies, shopkeepers, kids, secretaries yidden and goyim etc.? Are they a ‘good listener’? Are they always thinking of the next project, or do they take time to really give you their whole attention? Do they set attainable goals or just castles in the sky? Do they go with the flow, or do they know where they are going? Do they have a mashpia? Do they follow advice or prefer their own counsel? What is their conversation like? Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”

Centuries ago, Machiavelli (Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli born in 1469 and diplomat and adviser to the Medici family, known for his work “The Prince” and Discourses on Livy) noted in “The Prince”: “The great majority of mankind are satisfied with appearances, as though they were realities, and are often more influenced by things that seem, than by those that are.” Or as Rabbi Yehudah HaNossi (the prince) used to say: “Al tistakel b’kankan elah b’ma sheyeysh bo.” Don’t look at the flask, but at its contents.

What about Shlichus?

A lot of girls say they want a boy who is prepared to go on Shlichus, but, is this just a formula, or do they really only want a Shlichus position, and are they prepared to do whatever necessary to help their husband attain such a position?

It is very hard to get Shlichus today as we all know, and if one is not 100% dedicated (or one’s family is in Shlichus), it is not a given that Shlichus will materialize. I have discussed this previously, but it seems to me that a lot of girls feel they have to say they want someone in Shlichus, or they will not be viewed correctly; they will be considered less desirable; they will get a "second tier" boy.
That is a terrible misconception.

If a girl would be happy with a working boy it should be said; it might open up many more possibilities, especially if she expects that ultimately he will end up working anyway because he cannot find a shlichus position. And one should not wait until one is 26, 27 lo "settle" for a working boy, but choose this as an option early on.

There are boys who are either working, learning a profession, or in yeshiva but planning to work, who are just as "chassidish" as boys who sit in 770. They may even be better learners. Some do not touch their beards, have regular chavrusas, are careful to daven with a minyan etc. Do not assume that just because a boy is looking at other possibilities besides shlichus, he is a lesser offer.

Another fact to consider. A girl may say she wishes shlichus, but what she wants is shlichus in an established community where it is not a struggle to find Cholov Yisroel and where there is a choice of restaurants for the occasional outing. Not only that, but she may not feel comfortable with having an open house 24/7, where she must feed and advise and befriend perfect strangers on a daily basis.

Consider more than the perks of shlichus and decide if your qualities will fulfill the mission. If not there are other ways to be a shliach without going on shlichus.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Questions on Health

I wrote about health back in May. Such questions should definitely be asked, no matter how uncomfortable they might make you.
Ask about family health in general, and the person you are looking into specifically, both physical health, and mental health.
Be reasonable, certain conditions are not life threattening and do not greatly influence the couple's life. Others are of concern but can be dealt with and still others have to be discussed with a doctor. Consider your own family history as well. No one is perfect but if both families carry the same tendencies, they might get aggravated in the children.
Don't hesitate to ask your doctor if you are not sure, (and even if you think you know) whether a condition is acceptable or not.

Lets ask some more

  • What are her hobbies?
The reason we ask this question is that hobbies give us another insight into the personality: if a person’s hobby is reading, and the other person's hobby is white water rafting, we can see immediately how different those personalities are.
We can gain insight in character by the hobbies a person has as well. For example: a person whose hobby is genealogy research has a sense of family, history and an inquisitive mind. A person who likes to travel, is able to assimilate new things and is comfortable in strange places. Someone who does photography has an eye for detail and so on.
Sometimes a hobby is something we wish we could do full time if we did not have to eat.

  • Does she say ChiTas? Does she daven every day, etc?
Find questions that will tell you the level the girl is at. Asking if she is Chassidish these days means so many different things to so many people that one really has to be specific. This applies to boys and girls.
If Davening every day is important to you, then ask. If going to shul every Shabbos is the level you are aiming for, then ask about it. To ask how frum a person is a very subjective question, but asking a specific thing that is important to you gives you an insight.
  • Does she have a lot of friends? Is she dedicated to her friends?
Neither a no nor a yes answer is negative. This just amplifies your previous question of how sociable she is. Most people have a lot of acquaintances but a limited amount of close friends. Asking this question might reveal that this girl always tries to help out her friends, or she is the one everyone goes to for advice, or she is the one to go shopping with. This will give you further insight in her character.
  • Does she have a sense of humor?
Humor in life is a necessity not a luxury. If one can laugh at oneself and take oneself less seriously, it defuses a lot of little incidents that could become big. One can minimize problems by seeing the humor in them. We are not talking of a letz, a joker that finds everything a reason for mockery. That is not a good trait. We are discussing someone who has a positive reaction to a negative situation.
A person with a good sense of humor is easier to live with than someone who is serious and intense.
  • Does she have common sense?
It is hard to have this question answered truthfully. Most people will say yes without giving it a thought. According to the dictionary common sense is good practical understanding, sound practical judgment that is independent of specialized knowledge, training, or the like; normal native intelligence. Also from the dictionary: “Common sense is not so common.”
Maybe a better question would be: is she a practical person. Does she simplify tasks, does she easily visualize solutions. Of course these questions show a lot more than common sense.

It is worth repeating that one should have specific questions that target qualities that are important to our son or daughter. We want to know weather our child can live with this person so we ask those questions which will bring to light possible conflicts or confirm positive points. We will never figure out the entire person just from research, it is useless to try.

  • Is she a morning or a night person?
It is easier if both partners are the same. This way one is not drooping when the other is getting into gear, but this is definitely not a deal breaker.
Is she a half glass full or empty kind of person?
Optimism, like humor is a great quality to have, and again it is only important to the extent that it will effect her partner.

  • What do you consider her best quality? (subjective question) What is the one thing that comes to mind when one mentions her name?
Try to have the person limit the answer to one quality only. Do not accept a wishy-washy answer. "She is a great girl", is too general.

  • What do you consider her worst defect? (subjective question)
You are not expecting a major chissaron to be revealed here. Someone may say, she is often late, or she is absentminded, or she talks too much on the phone, etc. Those are all acceptable, but if someone cannot come up with even one minor drawback, then I would ask some more questions and call some more people. Everyone has some failing and if they cannot think of a minor one to tell you maybe there is a major one they cannot get out of their mind. On the other hand, they really do not know the person that well and cannot think of one.

Please do a thorough research but not an obsessive one.

More ???

  • Does she have an even temperament.
Give examples of what you mean- (subjective question).
Is she moody, one minute having a smiling disposition and the next upset or angry. Often moodiness may be a warning sign of other more serious problems.
  • Does she have a temper?
This one can be combines with the previous question although they are not really the same. Temper was discussed at length in a previous article regarding boys’ questions. Not only boys have tempers. Girls can have them too. Find out how she acts when angered. Does she sulk, hold grudges? Does she retreat into offended dignity for ages? Does it quickly blown over, etc.?
A woman's anger is generally less intimidating than a man’s; therefore often, one does not consider this an important point, but it is good to know if a girl is prone to outbursts or is generally even-tempered.
Think of how your son's temperament is and direct the question as counterpoint. If your son has a very long fuse and does not anger easily, then someone who is more volatile may be ok, but if he has a short fuse and so does she, it might lead to too many sparks.
  • Question: Is she neat, organized?
Give examples of what you mean (subjective question).
Some boys must have neatness around them in order to feel relaxed or even to be able to think calmly. Others can function in the middle of a tornado. Some people are very organized in their thoughts; therefore, the chaos around them does not affect them as much, but for people whose thought processes are not so organized, having neatness and a seder around is essential. If you, the mother, are very conscientious in your cleaning and would not dream to leave a dish in the sink before going to bed no matter how tired you are, find out if that is a quality your son values or if he barely notices. If the wife of such a boy is more concerned with having a warm house (warmkeit in yiddish not warm as in heat) than a spotless house, will this engender discord among the couple?
  • Question: Is she careful with tznius?
It is a sad fact that we as a community are not as careful with tznius as we once were. Because we work closely with people in all stages of kiruv, we are anesthetized against seeing something problematic in tznius. We accept that people will go around without stockings in the summer, or wear skirts that are short with slits or barely cover the knees and collars that are a little too open, and so on and so forth.
This is also due to our openness to the world at large: we are bombarded by ads and magazines and goyishe ideals that have nothing to do with our ideal of beauty or modesty.
It is also a question of education. For whatever reason, if one mentions the word tznius in conversation, it is taboo just like religion and politics; it is bound to raise animosity and resistance.
In reality, tznius is a beautiful thing. It is a well of self confidence that women and girls have that enables us to dress in a pleasant and pleasing way and still retain our dignity, our regal worth. It allows us to feel well-dressed and au-currant without running after every twitch and twist of the fashion world. It enables us to be appreciated for who we are and not for what we wear.
So to get back to our question, we have a lot of different levels in our neighborhood, and I have come across the fact that an eminently suitable girl will be rejected because her hems are too high or she does not wear stockings. The decision to look more fashionable so that she attracts the right attention, or some would say to be more comfortable, is preventing a great girl from making a good shidduch. We are letting our standards slip, and it is not beneficial in any way.

So, if your son is concerned that his wife wear the right length and be stricter with her tznius, this question should be asked. And it should be asked also when your son does not have a personal opinion at this point, but you do not wish your daughter-in-law to sit across from you at your table dressed in an unsuitable manner. This encompasses a whole other topic of course, and I know a lot of people will be riled up (did I not write it is like talking politics where no one can agree?), but I find it incomprehensible how young couples can so blatantly insult parents in their own home.
  • Question: Is she fashion-conscious, obsessed?
All we want to know is if she is obsessed by fashion and must always try the latest styles or does she dress stylishly but have other areas of interest besides the latest color in vogue. I knew someone who was very difficult to talk to because her world revolved around clothes and fashion.
For the right boy such a girl is eminently suitable. Her kids will always be dressed to the nines and her house will be a showplace.
  • Is the family a close knit family?
This question matters to some people and is totally irrelevant to others. Sometimes your family loves the match suggested but may have some issues with a close relative. In such a case, you might want to know in advance how close the family is. It should not make a difference to the shidduch if other more important things are fine, but it is good to know.
Another reason for the question is, for example, if your family is very tight and always spend Yomim Tovim together, this answer gives you a heads up to how much you will have to share. If both families are close you will have to juggle visits and reunions. When only one side is close knit it might be difficult for the other to understand why s/he is always on the phone with their family, or is always visiting and so on.

  • Is she sociable, or reserved?
Give examples of what you mean. (subjective question)
This question might have gotten an answer when you asked about temperament. If not, it is an essential question as you should know if the girl is introverted or very outgoing (to mention two extremes). Don’t match a very social and outgoing person with a homebody who would rather stay home with a sefer than go out and visit. It will not really draw out the shy partner. It will make it a point of contention between the two if one is always wishing to go out and the other wants to spend the evening relaxing at home. If one side is a little more friendly and gregarious than the other, the one will draw the other one out some. As long as they are not at the polar opposites they will influence their partner a bit, but when the differences are too far apart then they will only get on each others nerves. Naturally, there are always exceptions, but before you think you are one of those exceptions, consider well.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Questions on Girls

Here are some questions that you may want to ask when researching a girl:
  • What Seminary did she go to?
We ask what Sem a girl went to because it gives us a basic idea of what kind of a girl she is. Choosing a sem should be individualized according to the girl needs. We should find a sem for our daughters that will give them the possibility to grow and become capable independent women who know their own worth.
Some girls go to seminaries that emphasize learning. Some go to sems that give courses in possible future enterprises, such as sewing or hair/wig care. There are different kind of sems for different characters. Knowing where a girl went might give one an idea of where this girl is heading. Often girls will just go to one sem or another because their friends are going there, or their sisters went there. That does not disprove what is said above. After all a girl who is not interested in learning will not go to an intensive learning program, just because some of her friends will go there.

  • What is she doing now?
Rounds out our picture of the girl. If she is in shlichus, or teaching, or working, it will tell us how she is managing her time.
  • Did she go on shlichus after Sem?
  • What does she want to do, teach, work in an office, go to college, shlichus etc?
  • What did she do with her summers?
  • Is she shy or lebedick
Give examples of what you mean - I explained in the boys list of questions what we are trying to achieve with a particular question. I will not repeat here what was covered before. Some questions are appropriate for both boys and girls so look at both lists, it may be I did not repeat it.
I will digress to share a story someone related recently. I do not know if the story is true or not as the one who told me the story did not know the protagonists, but it clearly illustrates a very important point.

A shadchan offered a match to a family, Rabbi and Mrs. Plony. Their son was a well-liked boy with good midos who knew how to learn. The parents naturally wished the best match for him. They investigated the proposed name, but the results were not encouraging. No one said outright that there was anything wrong with the person, but there were rumors, generalities, and unfounded objections. Therefore, they decided not to continue with this shidduch and told the shadchan that they were not interested.
Mrs. Plony was upset that another initially promising lead had come to nothing. The constant high and lows were very wearying, so after talking to the shadchan, she went to the Kosel to daven that her son find his besherte. While pouring her heart out at the Kosel, a girl stood next to her, davening herself with apparent deep sincerity. When the girl saw the tears in the older woman eyes, she approached her to see if there was any way she could be of help, and Mrs. Plony got into a conversation with her. When Mrs. Plony mentioned she was from a particular sect of Chassidim, the girl asked her if she knew of a family Plony that belonged to that sect. Without revealing her own name, the very surprised lady asked the girl why she was inquiring of them. The girl answered that a certain shadchan had offered the son of this family as a shidduch, but after hearing that they were looking into it, she did not hear anything further, and therefore, she was making limited inquiries into the family herself to see if it was a possibility. That is why she had come to the Kosel -- to daven for Siata D'shmaya that she may soon find her shidduch. After some more conversation, Mrs. Plony discovered that this was a very warm-hearted girl, intelligent, and with good middos -- just what she was looking for her son.
She revealed herself as that Mrs. Plony the girl was trying to find, and a short time later the couple was engaged.

The nimshol of the story is clear to everyone. If you are not happy with the answers you receive, or have unsubstantiated objections, or do not have enough people to ask, do not throw away the shidduch but refine your search; ask more pertinent questions; insist on confirmed information, ask friends if they know anyone in the area or if they know anyone who might know this family.
Why put the Eibishter to the extra trouble (such as to make the mother and the girl meet) because one has let themselves be swayed by rumors and hearsay.

But like every coin has two sides, if your tendency is to examine everything with a magnifying glass and then to go for the microscope, take a step back and do not examine so much. Stick to the important traits and questions and forget the irrelevant questions about scraping the dishes or tying the shoes. Asking if he has a good voice or not may be appropriate when hiring a chazzan, but it will not make or break a marriage. At least not as a rule.

Another point I wish to bring up. In every group there are popular name, so for example by us there are a lot of Mushkies, Nechamas, or Mendels and Yosef Itzchaks. Sometimes in a family there are cousins with the same name who are very close in age. Be careful when looking for information that what you get is for the right person. One shidduch never came about because the information was relayed that the girl was introverted, when in reality that was the cousin and not her.

So on to the questions. Let me say again that there are probably other questions that you might find important that I have not listed (write me a note) and questions which I have listed that you may find irrelevant.

Wrap up

One last comment on the boys before going on:
It has become more and more common for some boys to go to the army (Israeli for the most part) for 18 months or more. Some of these boys may have been distancing themselves from frumkeit, some felt this was a must before they entered the next stage of life and the responsibilities. Do not refuse to look into these boys. Just because they went to the army does not mean they are not frum. Many of them learn with chavrusas, go to minyan, do Chitas and do not touch their beards. Some plan to go to Kollel after they marry, some even on shlichus.
So keep in mind that there are outstanding and middling boys who are learning and outstanding and middling boys who are working, and among those there are outstanding and middling boys that went to the army. Do not take things for granted, investigate, the only caveat being: do not be obsessive just diligent.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Questions, questions...

  • Is he a morning person or a night owl?
It is sometimes hard for a night owl to get along with a morning person; when one is up and chipper, the other only wants to sleep, and when one is just getting going, the other is drooping, so it is a valid question.
  • Does he make friends easily?
This question might have already have been answered by one of the previous questions.
  • What do you consider his best quality? (subjective question)
It is helpful to hear what friends and family find admirable in a boy.
  • What do you consider his worst defect?
Be weary of repeated: "He is such a wonderful boy I cannot think of anything at all!" No one is perfect, if they cannot think of anything it may mean that there is something they do not want to say, and it is so big in their mind they cannot come up with a minor infraction they can say. Therefore if one person cannot think of anything, it may happen but if more than one gives you such an answer ask a few more people.
  • What kind or a drinker is he? How does he behave after a few drinks?
As mentioned previously, in Lubavitch many boys drink at Farbrengens, is that something we should worry about? We are not talking here of alcoholics, Ch V’Sh. So why would we even ask? Well, some of us do not like the results of drinking. We do not wish to have our husband brought home after a Farbrengen, more unconscious than not, and we do not wish to deal with the aftereffects of a hang over. Others, do not mind and do not think it is necessarily a bad thing if occasionally they go overboard. Therefore, it really depends on whether this kind of drinking bothers your girl or not. You should look into it at least to make sure that there is no real drinking problem and go vaiter. (This is one of the 3 things mentioned in the Gemora, see above)

Another concern to keep in mind: Some boys and girls are projecting an image. He is considered the best bocher, a baal chessed etc. She is considered a leader in her clique, cheerful, studious, outgoing etc.
These girls and boys could be acting in a certain way because of their present surroundings. They know a certain behavior is expected and they provide it. But if taken out of these situations, do they have the personal resources to be what they project or is it only an image? Is he truly studious or it is part of his image to sit with a sefer and he thinks of ______ (pick your subject) while looking at the open sefer. Is she enterprising in public but not at home? Even more, is he/she courteous to friends and strangers but abrupt and unfriendly with family?

When looking for a shidduch for your child do not be taken in by an image. Make sure that what you get from your inquiries are solid answers and not the usual patter of “he is a wonderful boy...” “she is a great girl...”. And when your child goes out she should not be taken in by pretty manners put on show for the date, see how he behaves with waiters or attendants, parking valets etc. The same way people will not be totally truthful on a job application, similarly young people will act in the accepted way publicly so that they may get married.

Some may act more frum than they are, some may stop trimming a beard just for a shidduch etc.
Caveat: We should not go crazy checking every last thing, after all sometimes from "shelo lishmo bo lishmo" they have acted a certain way so often they get in the habit of it. The point is if there is a particular thing you are makpid on, do diligent research. I repeat: one particular thing, let us not go overboard and consider everything particular.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Researching Boys II

Continuing with examples of questions to ask when researching a boy.
It might look that some of the questions have been asked before, but sometimes when you did not get the answer you needed the first time it is worth it to re-frame the question and re-ask. Also, sometimes the question is similar but not the same, you are getting to a different aspect of the person. And again sometimes you just skip the question you thing repetitive because you got your answer previously.
  • Is he working?
You may or may not know the answer to this already. If he is a boy who’s learning, he may be working some hours a day. He may be tutoring or teaching. Or if he is a “working” boy, he may be studying for a future career but not working, or he may be working part time and studying part time.
Let's be realistic. If a bocher is a certain age, he is working even if he wants to go on shlichus. In fact if a 28 and older bocher is not involved in something I would be surprised. Of course you have the exception, Bochrim who have such a kop for learning that it is what they do all day with full committment. That is possible, but seriously how many can do that?
Others might keep busy teaching, or being involved in organizations, or helping shluchim, or go into some kind of business or learning a trade.
One has to understand that a lot of these bochrims are true gems, but they could not wait to get married to start life, so do not categorize them in a lower level just because they picked themselves up and did something with their lives.

  • Is he driven (trait not car!), forceful, high strung or sedate?
Give examples of what you mean (subjective question). Are you looking for someone who is out thee looking for opportunities, ambitious, driven to succeed in whatever path he has chosen? Or are you looking for someone who get things done but quietly and calmly, or someone who has a laid back attitude, doing what he has to do, but letting things also take their course without pushing, etc. Describe what you mean with your question, you will get a much better answer.
  • Is he sociable, or reserved?
Give examples of what you mean. This is not the same question as in the last post. One may be laid back but not sedate. One may be a bit wild but not enterprising. Before you were asking more in reference to the world at large--whether in regard to shlichus: can he fund-raise? Or in regard to business, does he look for opportunity or does he wait for it to knock? Now, you are asking about a personal character trait: is he the first to jump in or does he observe what others do first? Is he calm and contained or is he always on the edge of his seat? Again, use your own examples that will give you the insight you want. One can be reserved but rise to the occasion. When necessary, they can be sociable. Or are they reserved and prefer to avoid social situations that will spotlight them?
  • Does he have a temper or an even temperament?
Give examples of what you mean (subjective question). Everyone gets angry sometimes, but you wish to know if he is easily angered, or if he holds a grudge, and it takes ages to get him out of a “sulk”. As Pirkei Avos says, there are 4 types of temperaments: easily angered and easily appeased, slow to anger and slow to be appeased, slow to anger and easy to be appeased, and easily angered and slow to be appeased which we all know is the worst combination.

We all give in to anger sometimes, but it is good to find out what one does when angry. Stay and yell, storm out and calm down outside, etc. Explain what you feel is excessive anger and give examples. (We are not taking here about abusive behavior Ch’V. If you have heard rumors of such, do not rely on rumors but try to find out the truth and speak to a mumche, a counselor)
Anger is one of the 3 facts the gemorah tells us reveal the character of a person (Kiso, Ka'aso, Koyso, his pocket - financial -, his anger and in his cups)

  • Is he neat (his room, his papers), organized?
Give examples of what you mean (subjective question). Neatness and organization might matter greatly to some and not at all to others. If it is important, be specific with your examples. Do you want to know if he is neat in dress, orderly with his personal belonging, with his books or files etc.? (Some people may be sloppy at home but greatly organized at the office.)
If a girl is always very neat and orderly in her life and she marries a slob, there will be issues that both have to resolve. She has to accept the fact that he is not very concerned with neatness and orderliness and can live with this fact. She should not think she can change him after they are married. Similarly if he grew up in a house where his mother was a great balabusta and everything had its place and there was not a crumb left in sight before going to sleep, but the girl he is looking into is more relaxed with the household and if the dishes stay for the next day it is just fine, he has to decide if he can live with this attitude, maybe pitch in to bring things to his own standard, but again he should not think that she will become the balabuste he wants just because he is marriying her.
This is not a deal breaker as long as both parties go into the marriage knowing the shortcomings of the other and ready to accepting them.

  • Is he fashion conscious (i.e., his shirts must be a particular brand name, only 100% cotton ...)?
  • Does he dress sloppily or neatly?
Give examples of what you mean (subjective question). How concerned are you with his mode of dress? Does he have to be neat or does he have to look well-dressed? Explain your level of fashion so you can get a proper answer. Is it important to you that his shirt is tucked in? His pants color match the jacked color (common blue pants with black jacket)? Does he look like he slept in his clothes etc. Consider that if for the girl it is important that his pants be pressed and his shirt uncreased, she can make sure of that after they are married. He may not care, but she can make sure that his closed is up to her par. On the other hand, she may want someone who will be concious of his own appearance without her imput.

  • Does he help around the house?
Mamy bochrim have been away from home from early adolescent, which makes it difficult to get an answer but, they do come home bein hazmanim, and they stay by shluchim and so on.
Some bochrim are always ready to lend a helping hand, some are not. Some only do it outside their own home or dorm.

  • Does he get along with his siblings? (subjective question)
Explain what you mean by getting along: some families are a loose unit--everyone is friendly and close, but each is an individual and independent. Some families are a tight unit, very close to one another even though geographically apart. In one case an occasional phone call or visit is considered fine. In the other case it would be considered a distant relationship. If the girl comes from a tightknit family he has to realze that she will keep this close contact even after marriage. It is not a negative or positive trait, it is just a fact. When both sides come from closeknit families and they live in separate cities there are more compromises to be reached as to when to go where, for Yom Tov, for visits etc. It is just an item to be considered, nothing to agonize over.

  • What are his hobbies?
  • What does he do in his spare time?
It may give an insight into other interests the bocher has. Maybe he is a nature lover, or a photographer or an artist, etc.
  • Does he go on mivtzoim?
  • Is he well liked by his friends, neighbors, fellow students, staff, Rabbeim?
  • Does he have a sense of humor? (subjective question)
Is he the resident clown or does he have the right “bon mot” at the appropriate time? Can lighten up a conversation with a well-said joke? Humor is also “in the ear of the beholder”. What is funny for an Englishman might not be for an American. But humor makes life so much easier. It is a great thing to be able to not take oneself too seriously. On the other hand someone who cannot be serious is a challenge.

  • Is he a graceful looser?
We are not talking about games really. It starts with games when the kids are small and continues in school, business and life. Sometimes a student is rewarded when another should have been, or the learning of one is praised more than a second one; or one boy's idea is rejected but accepted when repackaged by a different boy, etc. What is the boy’s reaction in such life situations? How gracefully does he accept life’s “unfair hits”?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Bochrim Questions

About a boy (some questions may not be appropriate in all cases):
  • Where did he go to yeshiva?
Besides the obvious, this question helps you know more about the general approach the boy has in life. For example, in the yeshivish world, if one hears a boy has been to Brisk, or Mir, or Chaim Berlin, one can tell by the yeshiva what approach the boy is comfortable with. In Chabad, if one hears the boy was in Tzfas or in Detroit, it would also give an idea of his derech.
On the other hand, it is also possible that someone went ot a particular yeshiva but does not ascribe to the derech of the yeshiva, but because of circumstances he went to learn there. Therefore do not make major assumptions because of the place the bocher went to learn at.
It is useful to know what he is doing now besides waiting for a shidduch to happen. Is he sitting in Yeshiva learning because he is really a lamdan, enjoys learning, and is gaining from it, or is he just wasting time until he finds a shidduch?
Is the boy who is "treading water" (staying in yeshiva just because of shidduchim) before he gets married and can go to work, a better choice than the boy who is now working (or studying for a profession) and learning on the side?
  • Is he helping out a shliach while he waits?
  • Is he learning a business, a career?
  • Is he working part time and learning part time?
  • Is he teaching?
  • Does he have Smicha? Is he interested in getting Smicha?
  • What did he do until now?
  • What did he do with his summers? This might tell you something about his character. If he was often a counselor in a camp, it might indicate he is gregarious, outgoing, and likes kids.
  • Is he a learner, or does he just learn because he is waiting for a shidduch?
    Yes it was asked before but as they say, if at first you don’t succeed... If you did not get a satisfactory answer to #2 and you wish to know if he is the kind of boy that is more laid back rather than pro-active, go ahead and ask straight out.
  • Can he give over a D’var Torah? This is not a measurement of his learning; many boys know a lot but would rather listen to others than talk themselves. Rather, this will tell you if he is a quieter boy or he is comfortable to stand up in front of people and expound. It might be important to some girls and not important to others. If he wants to go on shlichus, being able to stand up and give over a drasha is a useful, sometimes indispensable skill.
  • For a boy who is now in Yeshiva, you might want to ask if he goes on mivtzoim regularly.
  • If you are asking a friend or a Rebbi, ask about his learning if he is a masmid and if he is on time for Seder, if he learns Chassidus before Davening, and other such questions.
  • If you are asking a neighbor or another reference they might not know and guess.
Know what kind of questions to ask, depending on who you are talking to.
  • Is he enterprising or laid back? Give examples of what you mean (subjective question). Put the examples in the situation that is important to you. e.g., is he comfortable to go up to strangers for Mivtzoim or does he like to go to people he established a relationship with? Or maybe you want to know if he is the kind of kid who used to sell doughnuts in elementary, swept peoples driveways etc. Give examples that will be meaningful to you and will reveal a side of his character

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Common research questions

Herewith follows a list of some of the most common questions generally asked when doing research.

I wish to re-emphasize the importance of research. It is not an outdated practice; it is not (generally) a hunt for irrelevant details; it is a job that parents or mashpiim must do to prevent possible disasters down the line. When a boy and a girl go out, it is not fair to ask them to find out background information that their parents should have found out in advance. During the first few dates asking information is awkward for the couple, and later when feelings are involved, it is difficult for the young people to get the information their parents could have gotten before they met.

When a couple goes out, they should only have to judge if there is any connection between themselves, any reciprocal feeling. They should not have to dig for family information.

Basic questions about the family:

• Family composition -

  • how many siblings,
    how many are married and
    to whom.
    Who are the grandparents
    If it is of interest to you, ask about the family's yichus
  • Family Status -
    Parents are married, divorced
    FFB, BT
    What do the parents do for a living
• Do the siblings get along?

• Family health: are there any major problems in the family which might compound health weaknesses in your family, i.e. Diabetes?

• How is the family regarded in the community?

• If it happens that the parents of the suggested Shidduch were divorced, one should find out if the prospective mate had the opportunity to observe a happy, normal marriage. Do not automatically reject children of divorced parents. A child of a divorced couple can be just as well adjusted as a child of a couple who stayed married. Probably better adjusted than the child of those cases when the parents stayed married but the child was exposed to constant strife between them. If a child of divorce has been able to observe a regular happy household, either by friends or on shlichus etc, there is no reason why this person cannot have a happy married life notwithstanding his/her parents divorce.

• If one of the families are Cohanim, they will have particular questions requiring answers because of the rigorous halachos regarding marriage of Cohanim.

Questions about boys next time.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Footsteps in Cyberspace

Many of us do not realize the permanence of cyberspace. Even those among us who are computer savvy do not appreciate the fact that things written on the web are a lot more permanent than one could imagine.

Why do I bring this up? Let me tell you. Last year, I was talking to a friend who has a child of age for shidduchim. In the course of our conversation she told me she checked a prospective shidduch on Google, and she was able to see pictures, a profile, and other information.

Now I am on Google constantly, and I will head there first for almost any kind of information, but I must say this was a new idea to me. So first I thought, “Great, another source of information!” ...and then I thought, “Gevalt!” Do you know how many young girls and boys write all kind of foolish things on the net in places like Facebook, blogs, etc.--Girlish confidences, funny pictures etc. Just imagine 4 to 6 years from now when someone puts their name in Google: Result 1 to 2750 of 155,905.165 for plony ben plony. Scary thought!

So besides the conversation with your kids about not giving any personal information on the web, have a conversation about making sure that what they write will not embarrass them years down the line. That goes for any adult that is on the web as well.

More on Research

Be thorough in your research.

Ask the right questions and call both the reference you were given and friends or family who might know the prospect.

On the other hand, to all those who give information: make sure your information is factual and true to the best of your ability (see previous articles).

If there is a medical problem and you are not sure if it should be mentioned, call a Rov. By withholding information you are not doing a favor to anyone. I recently heard a story of a divorce that came about because of information that was withheld. A couple had a baby that was born with certain defects which were caused by medication the husband was on at the time of conception. The wife had no idea the husband was on medication or even that he needed any. If the wife had known about the condition, the baby might have been born healthy.

Again on the other hand: people think that shadchonim or others trying to make a shidduch are trying to fool them or trick them by "hiding" information. This is not so. Many times a Rov will tell the family they do not have to disclose a certain fact. It could be because it is well known in the community and it is not something hidden but obvious when one meets the person (such as a limp or a stutter). Do not jump to conclusions that the family was "hiding information". Allowing for a lag of time before some information is found could be the making of a shidduch. If the family has found out that the prospect is full of maylos, good qualities and middos, then when they discover that there is a flaw they will measure it against all the good and still go on with the shidduch. But when the flaw is laid bare at the beginning, it becomes a major flaw and the shidduch is rejected.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Cont'd Dr. Mittman on Health Research

Dr. Mittman continues writing:

" Genetic Assessment
The organization Dor Yeshorim has increased awareness of genetics in the Orthodox community. The testing it provides is one way to alert people considering marriage as to whether, together, they are likely to have children with a specific genetic condition, such as cystic fibrosis, Tay Sachs, Canavan disease, or Bloom syndrome.
In regard to other illnesses and conditions, however, my research has unraveled many erroneous beliefs. Do they constitute a genetic condition or not? As an Orthodox physician articulated to me, “People often call me with genetic questions. There are lots of different disorders, and many people don’t have any idea whether they are genetic, or even important.”

Getting an accurate genetic risk assessment in a quick phone inquiry is rather tricky. First of all, genetics is a complex science, and demands a close familiarity with the rapidly evolving nature of the field and emerging findings of human genome research. Moreover, only a careful examination of the health history of both sides of the family would be reliable enough to be used as a basis for such an important question as “chasana or no chasana?” So, where do we go from here?

The Benefit-Burden Concept
While Dor Yeshorim offers a reliable way to do premarital testing for recessive conditions, it does not guarantee perfect health for a myriad of other conditions that are not recessive. Simply put, there is no such thing as a “free lunch.” Everything we do in life demands some compromise, some work, and yes, risk-taking.

When one gets into a car one takes a major risk for injury and even fatal accidents, G-d forbid, but one takes this risk daily because one needs to get places to carry out our routines. In other words, for the benefit of driving we have to put up with the risks that driving entails: getting lost on the way to our destination, having a flat tire, or, G-d forbid, worse possibilities. In the same way, finding our bashert means taking a chance. We hope that we and our children and loved ones will live to me’ah ve’esrim (120) in wonderful health, but we cannot predict our future, and there are no guarantees. We do not know whether the child will develop asthma, have an attention deficit disorder, or grow up to have hypertension.

The Beauty of Diversity
We have to remember, also, the special value of uniqueness, our diversity is what makes the world such a wonderful place. Having said that, if there are serious health issues in the family beyond those of the general population, it is possible to ascertain genetic risk. Just remember, it is a matter for experts. Call your doctor, and if the doctor is not sure, ask to speak to a genetic specialist. To find a genetic counselor in your area, you can log into the web site of the National Society of Genetic Counseling:

Dr. Mittman is a certified genetic counselor and a public health expert at the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities in the Maryland Department of Health and Hygiene.

What I want to bring to your attention with this article is that one should be discriminating when doing research on matters of health. Do not reject a shidduch out of hand because of a health problem. Consult with a doctor who can advise you.