Saturday, April 18, 2009

Being truthful

I wrote previously about being truthful with a shadchon. When you go to speak to a shadchan and ask them to put their time to work for you, you have to give them the true facts. If one does not, then the whole exercise is a brocha levatola for you and a waste of time and money for the shadchan.

Someone told me a story that illustrates this point. It is irrelevant if the story is true or not. What has relevance is the point it makes.

A shidduch was suggested. Both sides looked into it and decided that it was a viable option. So began the research. One side, let’s call them Side A asked about Side B. All they had heard from the shadchon seemed to be true. Side B was intelligent, a warm person, lebedick, outgoing. Side A was concerned she should be tznua, and although on the modern side, she should be relatively chassidish. When Side A asked the friends, they all confirmed that this was the case. She was everything that was presented. Side A was satisfied but decided to try one more source, not one given by Side B. Suddenly the story changed. Now they were looking at someone who was much more modern than they wanted. They asked others, went back to the original sources, and with pointed and specific questioning, a different picture came out. Yes, Side B was now acting very modern, but once she was married and settled down, she would be just what Side A wanted. Needless to say there was no shidduch. I am sure some of you now doubt the negative reports, but we are taking this story as a moshol, so we are not concerned with these kind of details. Let us say that the reports were checked, and there was incontrovertible proof. What was Side B’s intent? This is a very good example of what not to do. In this moshol, the shadchon was embarrassed by having presented something that was more a chimera than truth. And Side B must have suffered some embarrassment when confronted with the truth. Let us take the story further: let’s say that the parents of Side B were blameless* because they believed their daughter to be exactly as presented and had no idea she was way more modern than they thought. *(blameless or clueless?)

So the question is: why set up such a misrepresentation? If one wishes to be more frum after marriage, that is admirable. An increase in frumkeit is definitely possible, but a 180 degree turn is not as easy, and it is understandable why a prospective mate would be skeptical that such a change might occur. Why not represent oneself the way one is and get matched with someone at one’s level?
Chazal tell us: “Chochmas Noshim Bonsa Beisa.” A woman can increase her observance and that of her family more easily than a man can. Unfortunately, the opposite is true too. If the boy is more religious than the girl, it is more common for him to match her observance than for her to match his. Mothers of boys know the influence a wife can have on a spouse and therefore, are more stringent in their requirements for a mate for their sons.

It is certainly a great help to read at least Volumes 1 and 2 of Eternal Joy at this period when one is involved in the parsha of shidduchim. In Volume 2, there are numerous letters where the Rebbe shows us the great power of Tznius in the building of a Bais Neeman. It is very beneficial to remind ourselves of the facts at this auspicious time.