Friday, February 20, 2009

Side Note: Maybe This Is Why There Are So Many Singles

A colleague of my father's who has never met me tells my father she is, is his words, "desperate" to get me married. After my asking whats driving her, this was his response:

She is desperate to fix you up because she wants to do mitzvos.

This was my email reply.

[ ]’s dedication, and degree of lishma/lo lishma is not for me to question...but im always suspicious of people insistently setting people up just because its a mitzva...remember what Rabbi Tendler said about getting married and its being a mitzva (i heard him say it was like getting a missing pair of tefilin; lenny said he heard him say it was like getting a missing pair of shoes). With all kavod due rabbi tendler that’s not a constructive attitude toward building the relationship necessary for a binyan bayis neeman.

either way...ill meet her, but you might want to let her know that she can also do this on saw you at sinai, if she doesnt already...they probably need a ton of shadchanim, and she can throw people together at her hearts content and see what sticks...

also, between you and, me, im not bothered by my having gotten a haircut, or that you and mom (in the least obtrusive manner possible) "nujjed" me...its your prerogative (ONLY yours), and ultimately, no one told me what to do...but i am INSTANTLY suspicious of someone who says that ill set you up with X but you have to cut your hair...because if its not the hair, itll be something else...the onus in that case is NOT on me, its on the shadchan to find someone who will take my hair, or she can just not set me up and move NOT chayav to make her job easier or pave her way to Gan Eden....

so: unless a) im doing the asking or b) im in yeshiva and the yeshiva shadchan is doing the setting up, it is NOT the shadchans business to give me ANY kind of mussar, no matter how ostensibly salient, or even benign (especially if she never met me)...otherwise shadchanus becomes just another excuse to make sure that there’s the least “shemetz” of “znus” (e.g. a shadchan becomes a “kli sheini” guaranteeing a certain level of “tachlis”…to my mind, a hashkafic c.y.a. G-d forbid anyone should date on their own. Oy.)

plus, in practice, this kind of insistence is poisonous for the romantic possibilities of the setup for both parties, and therefore is ultimately injurious to the prospects of the match's success, which just makes everyone stay unmarried longer. none of us likes it.

this is actually, i think, more of an accurate description of our (singles--and not just west siders') frustration with people (rebbetzin jungreis comes to mind) who wonder why we dont share the enthusiasms of the self-styled shadchanim of the world who wonder why were not RUNNING to get married because they say we should (or must). plus, the concomitant assumption that since were not RUNNING to get married we therefore dont WANT to get married is equally false. maybe, in my case, with me nearing 38, that might be something to consider; but with these people age was never really an issue ([ ] set me up with someone who was---25? poor girl…)

the RIGHT way to do this is either a) again, through the websites that make it easier for the parties to pick and choose with the least amount of concomitant ruffled feathers (like saw you at Sinai; and b) and rabbi [ ], who just suggested somebody off the cuff, which means he wont take it personally if i say no (and i probably will take him up on it).

. ......and while its the 4th quarter and i may behind, i have more than 2 minutes and i havent used up all my i dont need to be a vehicle for someones crusade no matter how well intentioned.

1 comment:

Nice Jewish Guy said...

I've always been amazed and amused by the motivations of self-styled 'shadchanim'; there often seems to be absolutely no thought behind any given shidduch suggestion beyond the fact that one is male and the other female. I've always compared shadchanim to (most) realtors; when you tell them what you are looking for and what your price (age) range is, they'll present you with something completely different, telling you to just 'give it a shot' , or 'you never know' (take out this wall and put in a nice bi window, it'll open the room right up....)

That's not shadchanus, that's gambling. And by the way, if you ever were 'on' SYAS you'd know that not only do they not 'need' more shadchanim, but the shadchanim that they have are a compltele grab bag. No qualification is necessary to sign up as a shadchan at SYAS, other than the 'desire to do Mitzvot'. (And we all know what paves the road to Gehinnom, if I may paraphrase, kaveyochol). I have heard plenty of crazy SYAS stories.

And as far as 'running to get married', I can say that sure-- we all WANT to get married' but married as an end unto itself is in fact a dead-end; what happens then? Rather, my goal is to find the person I want to spend the rest of my life with, who will inspire me to marry them. That, shadchanim and the good Rebbetzin Jungreis may fail to realize, is a much longer process and doesn't necessarily lend itself well to popularly espoused (no pun) Orthodox dating practices.

Nice post- I like your Yeshivish/Gemarish way of expressing your thoughts, as a Yeshiva survivor myself. There should have been a 'masechet shidduchin' to go along with Gittin and Kiddushin!