Monday, December 5, 2016

You (can) SHOULD make a shidduch

An integral aspect of Bitachon is that we make a השתדלות only on things that we know we have control over. Things we don't have control of, i.e. the things in Hashem's control; we shouldn't worry about or make an effort to influence. If we know that a certain issue is in Hashem's hands and we try to influence its outcome anyway, it is competing with Hashem's plan and is completely contrary to the conduct of בטחון.
Tip! There may be areas we think we can influence, and then we get a reality check. We should not feel down, just understand that this is one area that we now know we cannot influence.
On the long list of the נסיונות of חושך הגלות are included thechallenges related to shidduchim. There are many involved in the process that possess faulty.השקפות But one thing is clear: dwelling on the many problems is both negative and out of our control to remedy;two בטחון no-nos. So to stay focused, we need to push the positive agenda of trying to improve the situation in areas we can influence.
One thing that everyone can do is endeavor to set up shidduchim. Yes, there is no one who cannot make the effort. Who knows? There may be a שידוך that you are destined to arrange, and which is waiting for you to initiateThere is absolutely nothing wrong- and absolutely everything right- with every person getting involved in arrangingשידוכים. Granted, people shouldn't just throw around names, but positive action must be taken.
Some people may say, “OK, I can think of ideas, but I will give them to someone else to redt.” That is a good beginning; however there can be a shortcoming. The downside might be that the official שדכן may not pursue the suggestion with the same conviction that you would. After all, the שדכן is not you, and may not feel as strongly as you do about the idea. Additionally, at times the שדכן won't even make the suggestion, for he may think there is an issue with the idea, etc.
It may not solve all of the שידוך challenges prevalent today, but taking positive action will certainly put us in a forward moving direction. Instead of posting on blogs and writing articles about all of the problems and all of the different perspectives regarding who is to blame, let's take action. Think only in a positive direction, and even if you are getting a lot of ''no's'', don't give up!
(Some advice on how to begin is to think of your friend or relative on an internal level, who they are, especially in their level of yiddishkeit, and not to just consider their external qualities. This has nothing to do with how much time you've spent with him/her; a 5 minute conversation could be enough to decipher this information. Once these details have been clarified, it will be clear to see what you are looking for, what would probably work and what would not.)
It makes no difference whether you are a well-wisher, a person in shidduchim yourself, or a parent with a child in shidduchim – you can make a שידוך. This השתדלות just may be the vessel which is essential in attaining the desired ברכה.

The overestimater

One of the common pitfalls parents have to watch out for in shidduchim is the tendency to overestimate who their child is. Theythen request from שדכנים types of suggestions that are just not congruent with who their child is.
It's a known fact that many parents can't understand, “What did my child do wrong?” They say, “My child is an angel, and the school or peers ruined the child.”
When it comes to shidduchim, the unrealistic estimation of one's child is something that can delay marrying off said child. “My child wants someone who does Chitas,” or “My child wants to go on Shlichus,” or “We want to make a Shidduch with a חשוב'ע family,” are some of the claims parents make, and often enough the overestimation is of the kind that you just say to yourself, “Oh, that's how every parent should think of their child.” But it is not advantageous to be off the mark when seeking a שידוך, and it couldin fact postpone finding the right one, ח''ו. 
There are many occasions where an objective observer may say,that what the parent is requesting for their child is simply inaccurate. The person doesn't match the request. Quite often, the suggestion made in such conditions won't make it past the research stage because it will be very obvious that it is a mismatch. Even if the couple does meet, (and that means that the research was not doneproperly) their basic incompatibility will soon come to light.
It may happen that both sides over estimated their children, and in the same areas and to the same degree, but the potential couple is similar in other areas, so the שידוך will work out, but this should be considered only יד השם. The assessments of the children and the requests made were not part of the shidduch's success. Hashem made it work out in spite of all the mistakes made.
Thinking highly of family members is very important and has its place. But on a practical level, when it comes to a state of affairsoutside the family setting, it is counterproductive to overvalue, and may slow a person down from reaching the goal of marriage.
The focus needs to be on identifying exactly who the person is. Yes! We could be acquainted with one another for decades, even closely acquainted, and still not be able to pinpoint who the acquaintance is, what makes the friend the specific individual he or she is. With some people it's easier to tell, with others it's harder. Some people have a חוש in that they are able to figure out who a person is. Many people don't have this ability.
The point is that whatever self-esteem boosters are going on at home should stay there. As soon as we reach any area outside the home, we need to be realistic and practical: “What makes them specifically who they are (besides for being my wonderful child)?”

The very best shidduchim ... for you

Every עת צרה-crisis that occurs is a direct result of confusion. Torah guidance (a.k.a. דעת תורה) provides redemption from a state of confusion, substituting clarity and focused living. Consequently, דעת תורה must always be sought out in order to ensure that the right decisions are being made.
Among the many areas in shidduchim that can use fine tuning is clarity in what is to be considered a 'very good'Shidduch. There exists within eligible singles an innate desire to marry someone who is very good-looking, or very smart, or from a very distinguished lineage and background, or very wealthy, or very outgoing, or a combination of a few of the above. Often, parents have the same desire. Not that they know for certain that such person currently existsrather they think to themselves that if they were offered such a Shidduch they most certainly would jump at the offer.
Although one who marries a person with extremeadmirable attributes may appear to have gotten the best that exists, for several reasons however, this shouldn't be one's primary goal while in the process of shidduchim
Firstly, a better marriage will emerge if one focuses on the more פנימיות'דיק elements of the other. Secondly, (and this point we will elaborate on a little more), making the goal of the search for a Shidduch to find one who stands out greatly in any given area may make the search much more challengingand much less realistic, consequently causing the process of finding a match to be lengthened unnecessarily.
To understand this we will first relate the famous discussion between בית שמאי and בית הלל about how to regard a כלה. The dialogue is whether we should always proclaim that she is beautiful, as is the opinion of בית הלל, or to just regardher as she is, if more beautiful, then regard her as such, etc. which is the opinion of בית שמאי.
When בית שמאי heard the opinion if their counterparts, they questioned, "Doesn't the Torah forbid telling lies? מדבר שקר תרחק." To which בית הלל responded, "To a person who just made a new acquisition, would you condemn what they acquired?"
Obviously, בית הלל agrees that it is forbidden to lie, even though they say that a כלה should be generously complemented, and בית שמאי acceded that a person should be praised for their acquisition. The difference between בית הללand בית שמאי, then, is how a כלה should be viewed. Should she be viewed on a general scale against a general backdrop and that only if she is absolutely stunning may she be praised for her looks, or should a כלה be deemed according to the specific marriage she is entering, that to this חתן of hers she is truly נאה וחסודה?
בית שמאי rules that a כלה is considered on a general scale, while בית הלל maintains that a כלה is regarded according to her particular marriage with her  חתן.
This is why according to בית הלל it is not untrue to proclaim every כלה a כלה נאה וחסודה, because in the particular relationship with her חתן it is indeed as such, while according to בית שמאי who always look at the general picture, if the כלהis not remarkable when compared to others, then referring to her as נאה וחסודה would indeed be false.
This discussion can be applied across the board in shidduchim; not just regarding looks but for all qualities, and not just for כלה wannabes but for חתן wannabes as well.
Accepting the opinion of בית שמאי would mean only considering בחורים with great minds or with extremely exalted lineage or only considering a girl who fits into certain physical or financial categories.
The guidance that בית הלל gives us is very differentבית הלל encourages us to personalize our search according to the style and the specific needs of the person who is searching. So if intellect is important, for example, instead of sounding greedy or haughty by considering only the smartest potential spouses available, one will first honestly estimate and assess, (perhaps with the help of another in order to maintain an honest assessment) if for the specific person that s/he is, does s/he really need the smartest person around, or should the object be to seek out the person who is the most suitable intellectually for who I am individually? The same should be applied to all qualities, and characteristics we look for in a spouse.
As it turns out, we generally rule like בית הלל and not like בית שמאי. In regard to this discussion, even if there are those who do get "the best", they are an overwhelming minority, (just as it is with those who can handle life according to theharsh standards of בית שמאי.) It would be considered living in a fantasy world for it to become commonplace for people in general to follow the path of בית שמאי, and think that they need and will 'get' the 'best'. It is much more practical to seek out a spouse whose description makes sense with who the individual searching is, thus making it a personal experience rather than a public one.s

Shidduchim crisis? Or Hashems goodness?

Amongst the many benefits Bitachon brings is the positive attitude it engenders. While it may be common to hear someone say, “I had a terrible day!” or “Things are just not working out for me,” and the like, Bitachon strongly discourages not only such talk, but even such thoughts. Even on a day when he overslept, the computer was down, his oily lunch got all over his fancy suit, and he then came home to discover that his child is in big trouble at school; yes even such a day can't be described as horrible.
According to the perspective of Bitachon in Hashem, all of these situations are Hashem's doings, and Hashem is טבע הטוב להטיב, therefore all happenings for every Yid are essentially good. Every happening of the day is imbued with the perspective that this is a doing of Hashem who is טבע הטוב להטיב, filling the moment with a true and internal שמחה, thus erasing the negative feeling that can emerge. The sum of the day will always be relaxed and tranquil, and the report will always focus on the good events which transpired.
This perspective can be very effective in shidduchim, both in general terms and in particularized terms.
Generally speaking, in shidduchim, people's perspectives can use improvement. Whereas challenges in shidduchim are often referred to as a 'crisis', there are surely more upbeat ways to describe the situation. A crisis means that bad things are transpiring, and while there might be a way to view the situation as bad, Bitachon encourages placing the focus on other areas, as explained earlier.
It's really all about where we choose to put the focus. If it's all about how bad it is, we are probably not thinking about Hashem's goodness, but by focusing on Hashem's 'good nature', the negativity of the challenge will be nonexistent.
There are many potential complexities in shidduchim. The amount of older unmarried individuals in our community is staggering. This situation is a potential for much negativity. That is the easier path, but will simply breed more negativity in this area and in other areas of life. The more difficult path is to choose to focus on the goodness of Hashem, even though it is not always so visible, but ultimately this will lead tomuch better results.
“How?” you may ask, “How does contemplating Hashem's goodness really improve the prevailing difficulties?”
One thing is certain- the Bitachon frame of mind will bring productive thoughts, speech and action which will ultimately bear fruit. The Bitachon contemplation may produce miracles, and it sometimes does, but we shouldn't rely on it. It will definitely steer us in the direction of G-dly goodness, which will no doubt bring good results.
The יצר הרע may receive more permission from Hashem to give us more challenges, but once the Bitachon perspective is in place we willhandle the challenges in the proper way as well.
The application of Bitachon to the more detailed aspects of the שידוך 'crisis' will be addressed in future installmentsבעזהי''ת.

Protecting? From what?

Protecting? From what…
As a part of our attempt to diminish the contributing factors ofthe Shidduch 'crisis', we would like to bring to light various things people do, often naturally and with good intentions, thinking that a good outcome will result, when most of the time they are actually delaying the marriage of their children.
One example is the quality of being protective of one's children. 'Protective' means that in the vast world we inhabit, with loads of good and productive people, there are situations to be wary of. The reality is that not everybody is so good and productive. Sadly, we sometimes find this out too late. So it's normal and expected that a parent should do what they can to protect their children from undesired circumstances.
This is accomplished by doing solid research on a prospective spouse. It would be highly irresponsible for parents to send a child on shidduchim with a person about whom they do not have a clear picture. Just because they heard some nice reports or know the family from long ago is not enough of a reason to agree for a young couple to meet. Doing inquiries about a שידוך proposal must be done properly. So being protective is the responsible thing to do.
But this is not the purpose of this article. Protection becomes problematic when parents are overprotective. Sometimes, parents are not in tune with what a healthy amount of protectiveness is, too much caution is exercised and in turn it ends up protecting the child from any שידוך altogether.
The idea here is that protectiveness can be a limitation. In the right amount, it's a helpful limitation, but too much protection can lead to a setting so restricted that the right one will be left outside the limitation.
It is possible to be protective of one's children in a responsible way. So the next time we think about taking steps to shelter one of our children in shidduchim, we should think, 'Am I shielding my child from the unpleasant and undesirable elements of the world, or am I 'protecting' my child from the joy and fulfillment of a good marriage?'