Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

5 Shevat 5760 - January 12, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Home and Family
On the Way to the Chupa
by L.M.W.

If you look carefully at the inner story of a shidduch with the right eyes, you are bound to find many amazing facts which point clearly to overt hashgocha protis. The orchestration of a match is the culmination of thousands of details involving luck in location, timing, language.


In the mid 1940s, a middle aged New York businessman decided to go on an original vacation, a coast-to-coast train trip through the U.S.A.. For months before the vacation, he collected names, addresses and telephone numbers of relatives, in-laws, friends and friends-of-friends to be used as his personal stopover guide to help him see the U.S.A.. His wife opted out, not being very eager to test out all the roll away beds of third cousins etc. from coast to coast. Since the selection of kosher food at the time was very limited, Mr. W. planned his menus very carefully. He would subsist on sardines, boxes of matzos, fresh fruits and vegetables, canned goods. He also hoped to scour grocery stores on the way for jarred gefilte fish, borscht or anything else edible manufactured by the few existing reliable kosher food companies.

From the outset, it was obvious that some stops were much better than others. He recorded his travels, the marvelous views and sites, the interesting conversations held with Americans across the country and the wonderful hospitality received. Elgin, Illinois, was a high point. His hostess, Sara Cohen, a young married woman, was his cousin's daughter. She had been sent by her father from Melava, Poland, to New York during the 1930s to escape the dangers that were becoming more obvious from day to day in Europe. She moved in with her cousins, the W's, in New York, and fit right in. She was treated like one of the children.

She had recently married and was an accomplished baalebusta. As Mr. W. duly noted in his trip diary, her hamburgers and chicken were a true delight. The kashrus was tops, the hospitality warm and beautiful. Sara, on her part, was thrilled to reciprocate years of hospitality that she had enjoyed in the home of the W's, where she had felt so much at home, despite her homesickness for her immediate family.

Now she had a surprise addition to add to her cousin's telephone directory. Her husband's sister lived in Los Angeles, and she was sure Mr. W. would be welcomed there. She did not even attempt to call her sister-in-law since long distance calls were an extravaganza in those days, reserved for news, good or bad, and Rosh Hashona greetings. Mr. W. continued on his way, stocked with a delicious selection of Mrs. Cohen's best culinary creations, packed and wrapped with loving care.

Mr. W. arrived in Los Angeles about three weeks later, late at night, exhausted and off schedule. Mrs. B., his cousin's sister-in-law, had not been forewarned of his impeding visit but welcomed him warmly. He had a quick bite and settled in for the night. In the morning, he had time to get his bearings. He suddenly realized that the apartment was quite small, with a small bedroom for his hostess' two daughters. She introduced him to her brother-in-law, who had recently returned from service in the U.S. army during World War II and was temporarily living with the B's. Looking around the tiny apartment, Mr. W. suddenly realized that he had slept on the couch which had been meant to be Mrs. B's brother's bed. And the young man? Well, he had sized up the accommodations and slept in a corner of the living room, on the floor, making sure to get up before the guest arose so that he would not be caught in the act of his version of hospitality.

One conversation led to another and the businessman felt he had a great `deal' in the offing. This young fellow was a gem! Perfect for his very eligible daughter in New York!

Within half a year, the couple met in New York and became engaged. (Matches did not proceed in those days with the lightning speed of the turn of this secular century.) Hospitality had come full circle. The W's had fulfilled true hachnosas orchim with no ulterior motive for years, for their cousin's daughter from Poland, one of the last of her family to leave Europe and one of the sole survivors of the war. Her host had traveled from coast to coast, upon an inexplicable urge, and as a direct result of Sara's hospitality, had found the perfect match for his own daughter, something not easy to come by for religious families in those days. An unassuming young man who took it for granted that hospitality was everyone's obligation, even if it meant settling for a corner of his host's living room floor.

It had certainly been a trip worth taking!


And a quickie story on hashgocha protis through language.

Whether you are giving vital information to an interested party or describing a near and dear one to a shadchan, try to speak clearly in a loshon hora- free manner. Watch your words. Great matches have been built on few words. The following is true:

A grandmother was describing a superb girl she happened to know. "Not that she's my granddaughter -- but she really is wonderful!"

One hour later, the other woman gets a call, "What we're looking for is a wonderful girl." No more, no less. A shidduch was made.


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