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.