Lo Bashamayim He

Lefty’s Law # 2:

Come prepared.

Intended Audience: Shadchanim

Though it is true that shidduchim are made in shamayim, a shadchan is the shaliach. As with any other heavenly matters that impact upon our daily lives – hishtadlus is required.

When a shidduch idea pops into your head, take a minute to think about why you thought of these two individuals as a possible couple. Write down your reasoning, and if you have time, explore further.

Is it because they have similar life-goals? Is it because they come from similar backgrounds? Is it because they share the same interests? Is it because you can’t stand either of them? (That was only partially in jest, BTW. I personally know of a success story attributed to this exact situation.)

Sometimes this exercise will make you realize that it wasn’t the best idea after all. Just because two people both like eating out and photography, doesn’t mean that you can bridge the gap between MO and Chassidus. Sometimes you’ll find even more of a reason to set these people up. (Oh, right! I forgot that he’s also a Master in Kung Fu…)

Once you have your reasoning straight, prepare it in a straightforward and appealing manner. “What made me think of this idea is the fact that both he and she are super-committed to a life of klei-kodesh. I also felt she would appreciate his sensitive side, since she has been married before and has seen the other side of some loud, charismatic personalities.”

Next, prepare a basic description of each party and some anecdotes, if relevant. Know which ideas/issues are important to each party, and make sure to explain how the other person jives with said ideas.

Use all this info to suggest the idea to each side.

You don’t have to read from your notes, but it does help to have what to work with if your mind goes blank as you dial the guy’s mother.

Happy shadchaning!

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Disclaimer: 

I’ll be the first to admit that I am an amateur shadchan.

Contrary to what many believe, it seems that matchmaking is a serious skill that needs to be honed and nurtured.

As I muddle through the earlier stages of “shadchaning,” I’ve been taking notes for myself on the mistakes I make and how to avoid them in the future. I figured that it can’t hurt to share them with my three or four millions of undying fans out there…

Feel free to disagree with me – I am very open to other opinions in this arena. 


And I Don’t Even Wear Black!

Everyone knows that married people are boring.

For some inexplicable reason, the minute the sheva brachos are over, an individual’s perceived personal intrigue level takes a nosedive.

And I’m OK with that.

Who wants to hear about diapers and Shalom Bayis, anyway?

As you may well know, there are quite a few shidduch related blogs out there.

Many of them are insightful, some are humorous, and most are pretty interesting.

I have learned a lot about the do’s and don’ts of matchmaking, and I like to think I learned a lot about the sensitivity, professionalism, and tact that matchmaking requires.

I have just one honest question.

Why is the shadchan the enemy?

Yes, I said enemy.

You know, the woman we don’t want to see, the one with the creepy stare and malicious intent.

The one who thinks she knows us when she really doesn’t, the one who makes our lives miserable, the one who makes us dress up when we want to dress down, the one who makes us conform when we want to fly free, the one who is deceptive, and judgmental, and greedy.

Even I am horrified to read about Her – let alone meet her! – the Woman in Black.

Until I realized that she might be me. I might be her. (I sure hope she is always middle-aged. I need some time to figure this out!)

Is she, perhaps, a metaphor for all that is wrong with society? Does she represent an idea?

Or is it the fact that her existence makes us all feel vulnerable? You know, singles, parents of singles, parents of potential singles – we’re all victims…

(You’d better toilet train him already! What if the shadchanim find out? He absolutely cannot take Ritalin! What if the shadchanim find out?)

Oh, the things she might find out. The way she always judges. The unsolicited advice. Who does she think she is anyway?

She’s the devil, you know.

Why?

I don’t know. She just is.

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So I’m asking – why DO we hate her so much?

She’s concerned, she’s sharp, she’s thinking of others and actually doing something about it!

There are good ones and bad ones everywhere – doctors, rabbanim, social workers, eitzah gebbers, chessed volunteers – in any field, at any location, and in any society.

How is she different from any other person who is in a helping profession?


Shidduch Blues

You know how they (oh, and in this case, “they” does not include our resident expert) always say that there are more good girls than good boys?

For the first time, I’m starting to believe them.

Lately, there have been a slew of engagements where I knew both the guy and the girl pretty well before they met.

I never would have even thought of setting any of these people up – in my mind they just don’t seem compatible.

And in majority of these cases, I really feel like the guys are getting the better end of the deal.

Case in point:

My sister’s close friend recently married a guy who has spent quite a few Shabbasos in our home. The girl is, according to the “system,” a top-notch girl. She went to all the right schools and is getting all the right degrees, and her family is doing all the right things. (Most of this is being said tongue-in-cheek, BTW.) The guy is nice enough, but shall we say, somewhat less committed to the ideals that she is killing herself for. I know for a fact that her mother is quite obsessed with the whole “shidduch crisis,” and I was not surprised to hear that this was her first guy, and that they met just a couple of months post-seminary.

It’s my lifetime’s work to try not to be cynical, but lately I’ve been really disenchanted with the whole shidduch scene.

Another case:

My husband and I have been debating setting my sister up with a guy we know pretty well, probably too well, and we just can’t decide what to do. All subjectivity aside – my sister is an incredibly fantastic person, f’real people. She is beautiful, smart, put together, sincere, educated, warm, responsible, and kind. And I’m not just saying this because she is my sister – it happens that anyone who meets her agrees with these impressions. This is a girl who will be caught quietly doing the most undesirable kinds of chassadim – the kind where the recipients are ungrateful, demanding, and hard to deal with, and there’s no plaque or honorable mention for her at the end of all of it – my own mother doesn’t even know about most of it. This is a girl who befriends every wallflower, and has everyone thinking these are her true best friends. This is a girl who spends literally hours tutoring high-school kids for no pay, when she is qualified enough to charge a LOT of money for these sessions. I am still working my way up to where she is now. Honestly – I have never really met anyone quite like her before, except maybe my own parents, who have had many more years of practice.

The guy we have in mind is very kind, very sincere, very smart, and very likeable…but somehow he also seems confused, a bit immature, and somewhat insecure. It’s not his fault that my husband is somewhat of a mentor to him, but we are still privy to his struggles. It seems as if he is still “finding himself.”

Somehow, I feel like my sister deserves better.

On the other hand, this guy has tremendous potential, and maybe he’ll settle down with marriage, and they might be really good for each other.

And they both really want to be married.

In general – and I’ve always wondered about this – how much achrayus do you think a shadchan should personally take over a shidduch?

I’m not talking about a more chilled out version of shidduchim, where the couple doesn’t mind being casually set up with random ideas. I’m talking about a situation where both sides will trust our opinion and this couple may very well end up married.

Am I being too bigheaded here?

Can’t I just say that if it works out, Hashem meant it to be this way?

Should I just say that if they’re old enough to date for marriage, they’re old enough to decide who to marry?

Can I say that I am just the shaliach, and any future issues they may have together are basherte for them?

And is the point of the shidduch system to marry people off, or to marry them off well?