Sunday, November 20, 2011

From a Frustrated Shadchan

(A modernized version)

It's so hard to please anyone these days!!!

It's so hard to please anyone these days!!!
Here is a partial list of my clients .... I couldn't even get them one date, and that is why I am finally quitting and going into the pickle business.
Avraham Avinu: How can you recommend him to my daughter? Wasn't he involved in a family feud with his father over some idols? Then he left home without a GPS or a viable business plan!
Yitzchak Avinu: His brother is an Arab terrorist!!!

Rivka Imeinu: Sorry, she seems nice but did you hear about her mishpuche??? Her father's a murderer and her brother's a Ponzi scam artist...

Yaakov Avinu: Okay, he sits and learns all day... but his brother is a no-goodnik. And anyway, we heard he has a limp.....
Leah Imeinu: Her father's a con artist, and she has opthalmology problems. Maybe it's genetic?
Moshe Rabbeinu: Are you kidding? His parents are divorced! And worse.. They remarried! And we hear he's in speech therapy....

David Hamelech: How dare you suggest him to our yichusdike family? Our neighbor Yenti told us that his great-grandmother was a giyores!!!

Chava: Do you know anything about her family? We never heard of them. No one knows where she came from and she can't come up with any referrals!
Please chevra, judge the person for him/herself - you're going to marry the person, not the family. You're getting married to build your home, not to please your neighbors. And finally, remember that if you are in this world, you are not perfect and neither is your spouse!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Waiting for love

I recently re-tweeted an article by Gila Manolson published by 
I feel that especially in our days it is extremely relevant and apropos.  

I've heard too often of a couple who did not get engaged or broke an engagement, because they felt they did not have “feelings” for the other. “Feelings” being used as a euphemism for the word “Love” which, in the community I live in, would not be accepted as a valid excuse for breaking an engagement or for not going forward with a match.
 Our young people are expecting the euphoria and infatuation so common in the Hollywood firmament, forgetting that Astrology (stars in your eyes) is not a component of this Life 101 class.
As the author rightfully says, love is a choice we make. 
We can choose to see the special traits the other person has, his or her qualities and behavior that will make us appreciate that person and grow our feelings (of love).
We are so influenced by the world at large; by the instant gratification syndrome that we live with today that we do not want to give a relationship the proper time to develop from an embryonic like and appreciation to something lasting.
To clarify, I am not proposing that couples go out longer, which will not help and in fact will definitely hinder. A relationship will grow into true feelings of regard and love only after the couple is married, with equal effort on both partners to build a truly everlasting edifice, a binyan adei ad.
This brings us to the all-important question: if going out more times will not serve, how do we know the choice is the right choice?
The answer of course is not simple. One important component is emuna. Emuna (faith) that if we do our part the Aibishter will send us our match.
What is not often understood is that finding our match, our zivug, is no guarantee of living happily ever after, (as mentioned before: Astrology is not a factor). Furthermore whoever we marry IS the person we were supposed to marry. The future of Klal Yisroel depends on yiddishe families and Hakadosh Baruch Hu (as the medrash tells us) is busy with making matches (Mezaveg Zivugim); no matter how unlikely we may think a shidduch is, if it is meant to be it will be. Therefore whoever we finally marry is the right one for us at that moment. But we do not, really deep inside us, believe it.
Another factor is the belief that although we lack experience, and we are not objective when it comes to ourselves (as the old lawyers' saying that a man who represents himself will have a fool for a client) we still believe we know best. 
It is imperative for parents or other supportive adults to do proper research into suggestions. Not obsessive just thorough. If the suggestion passes muster then all the couple has to do, is decide if they like each other, admire each other’s qualities and can respect each other, then in marriage, love will grow through the daily giving one to the other. Unless of course, there is indifference or dislike of the other person, in which case it is obviously not going to work.  
Another reason we have so many young and not so young singles is that our expectations have spiraled out of control.
We are not looking for marriage partners we are looking for custom made fantasies: sometimes the list of qualities wanted cannot coexist, sometimes parents are looking for the diametrical opposite of what their kids want, and sometimes no one is good enough for their kids. 
We surely see how previous generations were not as particular and exacting as we have become.
So as Gila Manolson says in the article “By focusing on the good, you can love almost anyone.” If we kept this in mind there would be a lot more engagements and happy marriages around.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Answer to Chabad.Info article"Broken Engagements

Why Engagements Fall Through
When an engagement is broken off, it brings sadness and sometimes despair. But for Jews, who believe in Providence, there must eb an answer to why Shidduchim fall through. More
Beis Moshiach Magazine
21 Sivan 5771 (23.06.2011)
Presented by Rabbi Boruch Sholom Cohen
Edited by Y. Ben Boruch
A Shidduch That Falls Through
The Chassid R’ Menachem Mendel Cunin received a bracha from the Rebbe Rayatz for a certain shidduch. However, the shidduch did not work out. In 5691, R’ Cunin wrote to the Rebbe about a new shidduch suggestion, and in his letter it was apparent that he was unhappy that the Rebbe’s bracha for the previous shidduch did not work out.

The Rebbe told his secretary, R’ Chatshe Feigin to respond to R’ Cunin, telling him to pursue the new shidduch idea. As for his being upset about the Rebbe’s bracha not coming to fruition, the Rebbe said:

When I was 14 years old, I heard a story from my father (the Rebbe Rashab):

The tzaddik Rabbi Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev had a shadchan, who would make shidduch suggestions for his sons and daughters. For every suggestion, R’ Levi Yitzchok would give him a pitak (a coin).

Since R’ Levi Yitzchok was constantly in a state of d’veikus and was always preoccupied, he had a set time for the shadchan to come and make his suggestions. That was during the time that he folded his tallis and t’fillin

(Parenthetically: R’ Levi Yitzchok folded his tallis and t’fillin himself and they once asked him: Why don’t you let the talmidim or mekuravim fold it, when any one of them would be thrilled to do so?

R’ Levi Yitzchok explained: We find that Hashem Himself was involved in the burial of Moshe Rabbeinu (and Chazal say that this was because Moshe was personally involved with Yosef’s bones when they left Egypt; this is why he merited that Hashem Himself took care of his burial). This is despite the fact that after the passing of a tzaddik his life is no longer the way it was when he was alive in this world – although “tzaddikim in their deaths are called alive” – still, there was the histalkus of the neshama after all. But what is special about a tzaddik is that even after the histalkus of the neshama from the body, the body remains holy.

So too with the tallis and t’fillin – while a mitzva is performed with them, which is the absolute essence of the Supernal Will, the body of the King as it were, then within [these objects of] the mitzva there shines forth all the lights of the Order of Hishtalshlus and above the Order of Hishtalshlus till before the Tzimtzum, as it is within the Essence of the Ein Sof, and as such can be compared, as it were, to the neshama being invested in a body.

After the mitzva is done, and the tallis and t’fillin were removed, it’s like a histalkus, as it were. Nevertheless, the body remains holy. Therefore, just as Hashem Himself was involved with the body after the histalkus, so too with mitzvos which are the body of the King – I want to be involved with it.

When the Alter Rebbe heard this reason he praised it, as we know that the Alter Rebbe received something from every disciple of the Mezritcher Maggid.

That’s the end of the parenthetical note.)

When the shadchan would go to R’ Levi Yitzchok to make suggestions, of course he could not know precisely when R’ Levi Yitzchok would be folding his tallis and t’fillin and he always had to wait.

After some time, when the shadchan had made many suggestions and had received many coins, but the suggestions did not work out, he decided to stop going with more suggestions (because once upon a time people made do with less).

R’ Levi Yitzchok called for him and asked: Why did you stop making suggestions when 1)the inyan itself is a lofty one for it is a “binyan adei ad” (everlasting edifice). 2)It is included in the mitzva of Ahavas Yisroel, to try and help another. 3)Especially when you made money. So why did you stop?

The shadchan replied: What’s the point when the suggestions don’t work out?

R’ Levi Yitzchok said: Even when a shidduch suggestion does not work out, there is a purpose to it. For Chazal say that forty days before the formation of a fetus, they announce Above: “the daughter of so-and-so for so-and-so,” because up Above everything is announced and all Supernal announcements provide life for the angels. Their life-force comes from this, when they hear the announcement they repeat and announce what they heard, and this sustains them.

It is known that the angels are created from the Torah and good deeds that people do, but when the Torah and mitzvos are not done for the sake of Heaven, they lack chayus, and in such cases produce maimed angels, which is why there are blind and deaf angels.

When the announcement is made, “the daughter of so-and-so for so-and-so,” and the angels repeat this, these angels mistakenly change the names and announce other names. Since everything an angel says is not for naught, the people involved cannot easily attain the real shidduch, but have to suggest those names that the deaf angels mentioned and after those suggestions are made, which do not work out since they are not the real match, they ultimately attain the real match. And so, there is a benefit even to those shidduch suggestions that do not work out because through them, one reaches the real match.
 ---------------------- Answer:

Broken Engagements - not wrong suggestions

The title of this story is not descriptive of that the article says.

It is an unfortunate fact that we hear of a lot of broken engagements, and there surely is more than one cause.

A possible reason that occurs even before the engagement itself is the amount of influence the media and the world at large has on us these days. Young people expect fairy tale feelings and fourth of July fireworks to tell the they have found THE ONE. Reality is that very rarely is there such an instant connection or "lightning strike" as the French call it. Usually there is just a gradual growing of "like" and good conversation. If one misses the other, if things that happen during the day are stored to be told over on a shidduch date. That is why going on a marathon date for 8 hours is not as good as 2 shidduch dates of 4 hours each. The reflection period and the initial braking the ice is just as important.

So many times couples break up after going out 8,9 or 10 times because they are waiting for those fireworks or lightning or forever feelings that only come after marriage. And sometimes couples who let themselves be convinced by good advice from parents and mashpiim and get engaged, then listen to advice from friends or bad advice from adults and break the engagement because they are not 100% sure, and it is "better" to break up an engagement than a marriage. By the way one is NEVER 100% sure and the whole point of shidduchim is to rely on bitochon that the Eibishter will send us THE ONE for us. If one does all the right things: research, meet seriously enough to see if there is a connection and listen to mashpiim and parents then one will not go wrong. Again there are many different reasons why an engagement may break and sometimes it is beshert it should do so (we sometimes know when a break is beshert because the break up is so totally senseless we are left speechless).

So don't expect 100% or atmospheric indications. Read Eternal Joy for the Rebbe's advice for example:pg.85 " cannot be 100% guaranteed in advance [of successful marriage]. ....Rely on G-d who conducts the world...surely He will lead the person to that which is best for him or her." etc.