Are you a young bochur thinking about marriage to your bashert but unclear how to go about finding one, especially in our era of the Shidduch Crisis? Are you in early twenties, a good learner, and have little knowledge of the outside world, financial resources, and/or skills that you could bring to the workplace to support your family? Don’t worry! Our new, free 2020 Shidduch Guide© is here to guide you through the step-by-step process of finding a mate who will spiritually complete you, provide you with children, and probably also work full-time so you can continue to learn Gemara.
Step 1: Consult your local rabbi. Your local rabbi will probably have good advice for you, like “Of course you should get married,” and “You should get married right away!” and, upon the second call, “Why are you not married yet?” If he gives any other answers, he is not a legitimate rabbi. There are no possible situations where a young man could not be totally ready for the most spiritually challenging relationship of his life.
Step 2: Contact a shadchan (if your rabbi does not fancy himself a shadchan, or if he is simply out of available women at the moment). Remember to emphasize what you are looking for in the marriage: a beautiful woman shorter than you, younger than you, and probably slimmer than you, with an education that will enable her to provide for the family – but not too much education! She might have aspirations to do other things with her life and earning power. Or she might be seeking further education, beyond what is strictly necessary to become a social worker/speech therapist. What is she thinking, that she’s going to be a doctor? Or a professor? What if she gets tenure but it’s at a school that’s not close to a kollel with good learning? The negative consequences are endless! So be firm with the shadchan – you only want someone who is physically but not intellectually out of your league.
Step 3: The Call. The shadchan may give you the number of a living, breathing woman to call. Remember: for just once in your life, if this be the only time you ever do it, try to understand that women are human beings, just like you, with thoughts and desires and their own spectrum of emotions, and you should perhaps treat them as such, at least for the time it takes to arrange a date. She might also be nervous, self-critical, and curious. She might be experiencing the same emotions as you are. So just hold it together like you would any other person you were just introduced to and make polite small talk. How is she doing today? (Women can have different emotions from day to day, even hour to hour!) Where would she like to go to meet in person? (Women like to make their own decisions sometimes!)
Step 4: The date. Make sure to pick a spot with good atmosphere, like a treif restaurant where you only order water, because non-Jews love giving up their restaurant’s real estate to non-paying patrons. It will also establish the finances of your relationship – specifically that you cannot provide for either of you.
Topics to Try:
Where did she go to school?
Does she like potato kugel or noodle kugel?
What’s her favorite blot of Gemara? (TRICK QUESTION! Women can’t learn Gemara! If she answers, never call her back. If she answers with anything from Yevamos, flee the scene like it is about to explode.)
Topics to Avoid:
Whether her lady doctor thinks she has good “birthing hips”
Whether her father will pay for you to sit in kollel in America or whether he’s willing to do it in Eretz Yisroel
What you have been taught to think about women in general, even if the rabbis who said it are very famous
Step 5: Subsequent Dates. Look, this may be the hardest task you’ve ever been given in your life, but you’re going to have to make stilted small talk through at least three of these to determine if you are capable of making stilted small talk for the rest of your life with this person without deeply offending her sensibilities. It may be hard to make conversation that doesn’t betray any knowledge or interest in worldly things like liberal arts, science, philosophy, politics, or current events, but it’s now or never. Otherwise you might have to discuss Torah with your spouse, implying that she is a worthy chavrusa partner on the same intellectual plane as you, and you can’t get trapped in that now. So swallow whatever you were thinking of saying and have a debate about which new kosher supermarket is overhyped.
Step 6: The Final Test. Here is what it all comes down to: deciding if this person with whom you’ve spent less than eight non-consecutive hours will be your partner in life and the World to Come. You may feel like you’re going into this a bit blind, and that the process is arbitrary, which is normal when no attempt at a real relationship has been made. So there’s only one way this guide can suggest that you move forward: recommend a demeaning “women’s guide to halacha” to her and see if she follows your suggestion.
If she does, it means her self-esteem is low enough to listen a man she hardly knows about what books she should read to determine her self-worth. This means she probably won’t say no to you, so propose before she gets wise and changes her mind. (Or actually reads the book; we don’t want women reading.)
If she says she’s already read it, or implies that anything about what you just said is demeaning, report to the shadchan, your rabbi, and everyone in listening distance that she is a crazy person with unreasonable demands. Then ask to be set up again, this time with someone younger and thinner.