Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

19 Iyar 5760 - May 24, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Home and Family
Let There Be Light

by L.M.W.

The most seminal event in history was Creation, yesh m'ayin, which followed the unimaginable emptiness of tohu vovohu. We can still appreciate the ongoing renewal of Creation in the world around us. A birth, a sunset, and, yes, a shidduch.

Just as the miracles of creation are enveloped in deep mystery, so, too, the process of shidduchim remains veiled and protected. At times, the light at the end of the tunnel is nearly invisible, the wait interminable. The anxious single must sustain himself with trust and buoy himself with confidence, waiting for the resounding "Let there be light."

Occasionally, players in the shidduch scene become confused about their role in the process. As loving parents, we want the best for our children. We also feel that we know them and recognize their needs better than anyone else. True. But we are also more biased than just about anyone else. Have we evaluated prospective shidduchim as "How will this play in the street?" Is it up to our standard? Will our reputation be tarnished by this one? Or future shidduchim for other children harmed and compromised? If we are involved so deeply, can we still backtrack? The bottom line: Are our subjective desires distorting our judgment?

As a shadchanit, I admit that I haven't heard any bas kol announcing tomorrow's Mazel Tovs, but I have heard my share of static. Interfering thoughts that block objective judgment which is so crucial for decision making. Pivotal judgments must be made quickly in shidduchim at a time when emotions are running strong and patience may be lacking. At times, a shadchan tries to rush the process. At times a parent pushes a child to decide. But as parents, we must ask ourselves if we are looking for a son- or daughter-in-law to suit our own taste and temperament, projecting our own tastes, or interests, or are we looking for the most eminently suitable spouse for our child? We cannot live our child's life vicariously. As parents, we make mistakes. Sometimes, they cannot be corrected. Like the mother who had pointed out a superficial flaw in a girl whom her son had been ready to propose to. Ten years later, she asked me if I knew of any other shidduch "like that girl who was the nicest girl he had ever met."

At times, a parent tries to correct mistakes which they made by looking for "the perfect mate" for their child. Every shidduch has an element of fantasy but this should remain the domain of the child, not his parent. One disappointed parent confided to me that she felt guilty about her child's divorce. The ex-son-in-law had met all the criteria set by herself and her husband. The dutiful daughter had stifled her deep reservations in order to please her parents. No parent wants `nachas' like that.

As parents, we must maintain our objectivity. At times, this may entail referring our child to an objective advisor or mentor. A lot depends on the nature and quality of the relationship which has been fostered or neglected within the family. If you have not cultivated a truly close relationship with your child in his early years, shidduchim decisions may be outside your realm. This may be a devastating discovery for a parent. But running inteference with your child's life plans without the necessary tools for decision making may bring even more devastating results. A single who hesitates to make decisions can be helped and boosted, but not thrown overboard. At times, parents switch gears in the middle of the road. They've raised independent thinking children and now when they've reached the fork in the road, they'd like to switch methods. The parent would like the child to step back in time and become a YES man.

Matches are surely made in Heaven but we cannot shirk responsibility by attributing everything to bashert. On the other hand, we must know our limits and not overstep our bounds. Prayer helps; it also eases the way.


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