Sammy’s Inferno

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Herded like cattle headed to the slaughter.

This is how I felt on the way to an event where hopefully, I will meet my one and only.

When I got there, there was not one and not only.

There was everybody and nobody.

While trying to hide my own shame and despair, everyone corralled in this so called shidduch event, had the same desperate look of the hunted.

Trying to save face, I hide my real face and put on a mask as everyone there did defensively.

In this mask-erade, I did not show anyone my real self. I did not see anyone else’s real face.

Sifting through the faceless impersonal singles: Every one singularly alone and lonely in the crowd, I am choosing or being chosen for the most important and most holy task I my life: building a Jewish home.

Adding insult to injury, as this mixed pseudo-shidduch event did not result in any dates, I continued in my downward spiral, the speed dating pseudo-shidduch event. Here I get to talk to everyone there for a few minutes where I am humiliated every few minutes. Either I don’t want to talk with them or they don’t want to talk with me. Adding insult to injury, I am forced to talk to those whom I dated or who said no to me or who I said no to.

In my continuing downward spiral, I signed up for the eat to meet event: mixed Shabbos meals. Here I was trapped not for a few minutes, but for hours with people from the first second walking into the Shabbos table, was no way I would ever want to be seen in public with any.

In a further descent in pseudo-shidduch hell, I signed up on impersonal computer matching sites where I am reduced into words and a picture. I become binary. Not male or female, but yes or no. Based on what? Pictures where they never look like that in real life and words, a word salad more marketing ploys than revealing a real person.

After exhausting the entire pool of every possibility out there, my helplessness turns to hopelessness.

I keep going to events with the hope that “event”ually maybe this time. That event never happens: nothing is happening. At some point, I became that pathetic familiar face that no one wanted. I have not been on a date for over a year!

Am I doomed to be that 50-year-old cringeworthy events addict where my very presence makes it a creep-fest?

Dear Sammy N.,

Authentic shidduchim follows Jewish law. This includes protecting the privacy and confidentiality in shidduchim. Rav Walkin said that the segula for shidduchim is secrecy. And what is most important, he continued was to ensure that the dignity and privacy of everyone in shidduchim is maintained.

Impersonal email blasts publicizing the shidduch information is diametrically opposed to this standard, and despite calling it shidduchim, it is not. Mixed events, speed dating or zoom dating, and all the do-it-your-self computer methods where you put up your info and you see other’s info and you reach out directly makes you a cheap commodity in a commodities market. WhatsApp groups or women’s meeting to share information of those in shidduchim all directly undermine the age-old practice.

Self-defeating goyish methods are not shidduchim.

A pig by any other name would be just as treif. You can pour kosher salt on it to try to kasher it: It is and will remain irreversibly treif. There is an old Yiddish saying: From a pigs shvantz, you cannot make a shtreimel. The attempts to make Goyish mating methods kosher by falsely calling it shidduchim, is not just inherently disingenuous and wrong, a devious attempt extract undeserved money from singles, but even more egregious, as you are painfully finding out are methods that undermine possibility of getting marriages.

By Jewish law, a shadchan is an agent who gets paid at engagement. Shadchanim do not ask to be adopted or partnered. Every helping hand has the other in the shadchan’s pocket. As a result, more and more shadchanim have stopped.

They asked the Steipler: “What is the problem today with shidduchim?”

His answer: “Not enough shadchanim.”

The newfangled dating and mating is a hell of our own making.

“Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter.”
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