I. A Precious Hello - Dateline, Bnei Brak, Succos
Shidduchim are made in Heaven, true, but wouldn't you like to be that lucky intermediary in establishing a union that will continue for all time?
I was a newcomer in town, and in order to get into the Yom Tov spirit, I popped into a local simchas beis hasho'eva. Usually, the crowds in Bnei Brak are so thick, you have to be almost acrobatic and stand balanced on the edge of a chair in order to get a peek through the mechitza. If you've been there, you know what I mean. It's crowded, sweaty and hard to get a real view. Unless someone squeezes you, shares the top of her chair or stender or you're a real early bird who comes two hours before it all begins, you have to settle for hearing, not seeing.
That night, I passed by a small hall which had a lively band on blast. I had gotten separated from my children and popped in to see if they might be at this location. I decided to stay awhile since I had a perfect view of the young bochurim dancing, front row center, and my children, new immigrants notwithstanding, were old enough to manage on their own. Amazingly, the only other woman there was a nice English speaking lady. She welcomed me to Bnei Brak, hearing that I was a stranger, and we continued a friendly conversation and then parted ways.
Dateline: Bnei Brak, Chanuka time
It was Friday. My daughter had dislocated her arm in the school yard. She tried an old wives' remedy of kneading some challa dough but it didn't help. At this point, we decided to have a doctor check it. We entered a very crowded waiting room to find that others had other semi- emergencies that couldn't wait until after Shabbos. The first person I noticed among the crying babies was Mrs. U., my friend from the Simchas Beis Hasho'eva. She introduced me to her next door neighbor who was sharing the bench and we all commiserated with one another on meeting here on the shortest of Fridays. Mrs. U.'s turn came and I continued talking with this newer acquaintance who, it turned out, had an eligible son studying in Yerusholayim. I had an idea, but nothing came of it, and then, eight months later, another brainstorm struck me. The match was made with my husband's chavrusa's sister-in-law. And things clicked.
It turned out that both grandfathers had davened in the same shtibel fifty years ago and the families were very intertwined in community involvement. They were in constant contact with one another and with mutual rabbonim, dayonim, roshei yeshiva acquaintances. No one else had thought of the match. An American lady straight off the plane, a stranger, was the messenger for two old time renowned Israeli families...
II. A Shidduch That Almost Didn't Happen
She was waiting for the right one, but there was nothing in sight. No suggestions, no action whatsoever. The concerned family turned to a rov, known for his deep insights and original advice. His first question was, "Did you pay the shadchon who suggested the match for your last daughter who just got married?"
"No." It hadn't been a `professional', and for some reason, the matter just slipped out of consciousness. After the shadchon was compensated, the next girl in line finally saw some action. She got engaged VERY shortly after.