Future History of Shidduchim

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A guy goes into a store where in the store window there was an assortment of very exquisite clocks. He points to certain clocks and asks the storekeeper how much it costs as no prices were posted and every clock that he points to, the store keeper tells him it’s not for sale.

Exasperated, he asks the shopkeeper, “don’t you sell clocks?”

“No, we don’t sell clocks.”

“So, what are you?”

“I am a mohel.”

“So why do you have clocks in the window?”

“What do you want me to put there?“

So, what does this have to do with shidduchim? It’s about time.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF SHIDDUCHIM

The Pela Yoetz (פלא יועץ) [i] says that it is an obligation of the father to marry off his children and condemns fathers who neglect this obligation in very strong language. He then goes on to say that it is an obligation of every man to find a wife. If not in his village or town, he should travel far and wide. In the Pela Yoetz, not one word about a shadchan. Not everyone had a shadchan. Yitzchok, yes, Yaakov no.

Shidduchim as we know it today is a relatively new phenomenon in Jewish history. In Halacha, it is the Ramah in Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat when Rav Yosef Karo is discussing the obligation to pay a real estate agent, the Ramah adds that this is the same halacha for a shadchan. Obviously by the time of the Rama, shidduchim was a recognized profession.

The earliest mention of checking into the bride and groom and into their families, is the Meiri who writes that after engagement, it is wise to check into each other and their families so that they can go into the marriage with greater happiness. The Maharil was a shadchan, and although his wife had money, he lived only on the money he got as a shadchan because that was clean money. The Chofetz Chaim bought his tachrichim (תכריכים), what he gets buried in, from shadchan money, also because it was clean money. The Chazon Ish was a prolific shadchan and many stories are told about his shidduchim. The Chazon Ish writes when a shidduch idea comes into our head, we have to act on it right away. He practiced what he preached and made a shidduch in the middle of the night and one actualized upon his death at his funeral. The Chazon Ish said that in today’s time, during hester panim, the only place where you see the hand of Hashem is in shidduchim. At the end of the day, Hashem runs the world including shadchanim who are Heaven sent robotic puppets who are uniquely in a position to see the hand of Hashem. 

SHIDDUCHIM TODAY

Today, a shadchan is anyone who makes your shidduch, except a close blood relative. You pay at your engagement.[i]

A professional shadchan is recognized by their community as a shadchan, by earning the trust of the community by their track record, and gets paid a fee in accordance with Jewish law upon engagement. By and large, they know the family and/or the person in shidduchim, made a suggestion, stayed involved and closed the shidduch. Before shidduchim evolved to what it was today, the shadchan was only involved in negotiating the dowry and was paid a percentage of the dowry. Today, more commonly among Israeli shadchanim, the financial arrangements are negotiated via the shadchan before the first date. It is very organic, very personal. Shadchanim jot their notes, work off their notes but have no way to keep their notes updated. We came up with the idea of letting people put up their information and keep it updated so that shadchanim can work more efficiently.

We sat with The Mashgiach, Rav Walkin Shlita, who very clearly and succinctly laid out the parameters. Rav Walkin stressed that the most important thing is to protect the confidentiality of their shidduch information, respect their privacy, and respect them, that they should go through this phase of life without impinging upon their dignity. We got his haskama to make a database for shadchanim so that they can work more efficiently having access to people’s up to date information. By creating a way to get up-to-date information to numerous shadchanim, Yismach helps old fashioned shadchanim work efficiently using today’s tools and technology without any attempt to change the time-tested age-old customs in shidduchim. Each is independent. No shadchanim work exclusively for Yismach. Each shadchan also knows hundreds of others who are not in Yismach. Yismach successfully expedites shidduchim following Jewish law and centuries old Jewish custom. The overwhelming majority of those who signed up got engaged/married.

HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF

Because your soul was created before time, it is not bound by time. It knows all from the beginning of time until the end of time. It knows its other half. Love at first sight is the recognition of the lost other half. This is your destiny. It happened in all past lifetimes and will happen in all future lifetimes, and your soul which is not bound by time knows it.  Your soul knows who, when and how but also why. In each lifetime, each couple has a unique purpose in the Heavenly scheme of things.

It’s about time. A right time to do a bris mila – A right time to find your lost other half.


[i] [i] פלא יועץ ערך זיווג ” זו מצות האב על הבן… לזוג לו אשה… ואוי לו לאב שהוא אכזר על בניו וגורם להם רעה גדולה כזו… וכל שכן שאם הבן ברשות עצמו, שחובה מטלת עליו למהר לשא אשה ולא יעשה שקר בנפשו. ואם איש עני הוא ואין ידו משגת לפרנסת אשה ובנים ומתוך כך אין מי שירצה להזדוג עמו, על כל פנים כל אשר בכחו לעשות יעשה, ויבקש איזו עניה אפלו אינה מכנסת לו כלום, ויבטח בשם ה’ שבשכר זאת יריק לו ברכה. ואפלו אם היא שחרה וכעורה שקר החן והבל היפי ומצות ה’ ברה היא תעזרנו להוליד בנים אנשי צורה. ואם לא ימצא בעירו, ילך מעיר לעיר וממדינה למדינה, ויסיר מסוה הבושה לבקש אשה כי היא אבן הראשה לגדר ערוה וסדר קדשה:

וגם על הבת צוו רבותינו…

[ii]https://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/headlines-breaking-stories/1996108/13-rulings-from-rav-elyashiv-ztl-on-shadchanim.html

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