This new idea just presented to our community, while understanding the meaningfulness of trying a new system, in reality will do more harm than good. No one can deny there is a huge problem with singles, especially the older girls. Whose heart does not bleed for the parents of an older girl or boy doing everything and anything, going through embarrassments, agreeing to fork out their life saving, and not have to quietly watch their child keep suffering trying to find their shiddach.
Yes, it is hard to find a shiddach, it makes no difference to the attributes or quality of the one seeking it. To quote my Rosh Ha’yeshiva Reb Shmuel Birnbaum A’H while giving a shmuz to older bocharim.
We all know it states, the hardship of finding a Shiddach is like Hashem splitting the Yam Suf. This means the natural way to do a shiddach is very difficult and full of setbacks and nights of teary eyes. This is the way of the world, the way of hashem. However, if you look around and see others that got a shiddach fast and did not have to go through these difficulties, you should know it is only because of a “special merit”. That was not the normal way it should have happened, they were lucky to have some special merit or some special zichus. When you go through hardships that is “normal”- you are not the exception – the others were.
Here is why this new way will in a sense, make it harder not easier, to do a shiddach. Let’s examine this pay as you go new idea. $150 the first date, second free, third $150 and so on. If it does not work out – all start again.
Take the Real Estate Brokering business, most agent if they feel a house is a possible match for a particular family, they will keep pushing the line “what do you lose to just check it out” The person was originally not interested for various reason, ex: not near so and so’s shul…not on this popular block…the size of the backyard etc. However, as the broker knows it is a nice home and quite possible once the buyer sees it, they would use all the positives to weigh against the downside – and they will end up buying the house.
Here is the same, should prospective boy or girl know it will cost $150.00 dollars just to meet – they will make sure of the following list first….
- What is the family affiliation – Chassidish leaning, Litvish, American, Baal Th’shuvah, Tuna Bagel etc.
- Which shul do they daven – A = professional, R. Rd=straight as a whistle, R. Ro=Fun loving-partying etc.
- Household income – Business man, Professional but with good job, Nursing home, Inheritance, etc.
- Extended family – How many Siblings (very important for above line), Brother in laws, Uncles, Grandparents etc.
- Their outlook–Machshiv Torah, Yekkies – educated, Semi chassidish (gartel, hat, peyous), Kashrus standards etc.
And they did not even start the process of examining the actual prospective…Education… Seminary…Very chainedik or pretty…Color of hair… Height, etc. Ask any Shadchan what some of the bizarre requirements they get during interviews ) Should any of the above not ‘Line-up” not by just by the prospective date but also by both parents – they would think 3 times before dropping $150….just for the “zichus” to go out.
I would like to use my own experiences as an example. I come from a Semi-chassidisa Hungarian family from a village located at the foot of the Carpitan mountains. Our first language was Yiddish, my grandmother cried tears while lighting the shabbos candles and said every tchinna ever written. About myself – my friends and I kayaked every river with-in 200 mile radius up to class 4, we hiked and camped out more then we slept in the Mir’s dorms beds. My wife on the other hand comes from England, belongs to one of the last vestiges of families that are hanging on the Vilna Goan’s cherim. Their family comes straight from the lita (Lithuania). My wife’s hobbies were frequenting the Opera, the Art museums, and is an expert on all the famous painters. While I was sleeping under some tent on top of a mountain, she was examining the artifacts in the Frick Museum collection. However, we are married almost 28 years and I can say, I have safely sat through the famous Pilagchi opera at the Lincoln Center, while my wife has canoed overnight down the Mullica River in the Pine Barons. I can whole hearty make the following statement. My wife is the sweetest, nicest, most caring, understanding and beautiful girl this side of the Atlantic Ocean (my mother-in-law lives on the other side).
Should it have cost $150.00 as an up front meeting fee, I ask…..what kind of wild animal it would have taken, to chase me out of the woods to go meet my bashert??
This new system would only make it much harder for the Shadchanim themselves. How many times does a shadchan convince one side to “give it a try” the same way a real estate broker does it. Should you make them pay up-front you are in essence removing this powerful tool a shadchan can use. How many Shidduchim ended up successful, where at first there was no real interest by one side?
While I praise those that “feel the pain” and see the “suffering” truly want and are trying to do something about it, I am not sure this is the right way. Here are my “small head” recommendations.
Just as we supply food for every poor family, help every LO’A sick person, give every couple a chance at having a baby etc. Just think of how much selfless chessed comes out of our communities, how many millions are spent with open hands to help our neighbor. Why can’t we organize a Community Shadchan Service like this?
- Raise from the community to pay a nice salary of several / group of shadchunim, 12 -8 pm ( Salary, maybe $1,000 per week and the candidates should be, intelligent, fine, caring, bit of a machor, people who enjoy this line of work)
- Everyone that signs up pays only a $300 YEARLY fee, this will help fund the group and also not be too of a burden to the family…. only once a year $300 ( think 500 prospective X $300 = $150K every year to start)
- The Shadchonim must present to a prospective sign-up at least one suggestion a month or 12 per year at minimum. (This will assure no one fall in the cracks, and will hold the feet of the Shadchunim to the fire)
- When a shadchan makes a shidduch there will be a reward of $1,500 per side. Should a family not be able to afford this, they can call a number & they will look for a sponsor to help them out. (Exactly what Misaskim does when they bump into a poor family). No one can pay more than $1,500 nor any kind of gift giving since the Shadchin is decently rewarded –( NOW, there is no incentive to look only for the Rich – think Lakewood! )
- Here is where I THINK OUT OF THE BOX. Instead of charging ‘em for seeing….lets charge them for not If the other side agrees to go out (and the shadchan knows the other side did their due diligence of checking) the side that does not want to go out must pay $50. This will force the picky guys to say –I am anyway paying – might as well have a good time and a good reason to miss nacht seder. The more dates that people go out the more chances they can note and appreciable the quality of the other side.
- Everyone that joins the program must take a 2 hour course given by professionals on how to go about dating. How to make a priority list etc. (explain to the guys that looks are only “it should not bother you”. Looks is only very important for the first year and then it drops to # 13. Yichus drops somewhere between #42 – 45. Explain to the participants that they have to “look” for a total of 70 years. They have to use both their minds and their hearts. This event could be co-ed, might as well start the ball rolling (the Gidolim of old did it like this).
- There should be a person available to advise for the boy or girl (a man for the boys and a lady for the girls) whom they can approach in private to help them in their decisions. These would be professionals or the best idea – moonlighting marriage councilors, who could determine if the boy is having an issue with the girl’s high hair line or some genuine underlying feeling that can or will be a real issue once the door is closed. (let’s be real – what does a Rosh Yeshiva that knows every single interpretation on Cheskas Ha’batem but no experience in human relations, doing advising boys) The cost of these “Helpers” would be borne by those who uses their services @ $100 per session. This would cut divorces in half – ask any marriage councilor!
Enough said – now let’s do something ….. May we merit to finally get a handle on this problem!