For a while now, I’ve been part of a chat group in which hundreds of singles and about 30 shadchanim swap names, profiles, and pictures. But I’d like to remove myself from your Whatsapp chat. Others might see this chat as a great resource; for me, it’s a source of disillusionment.
There’s something you should know about me. I’m a shadchan now, but I got married later in life and went through many torturous years in shidduchim. So… I get it. What I don’t get is the kind of private messages I get. When I post the name of a boy, the top three questions I always receive (and I get these questions tens, sometimes hundreds, of times) are: (1) How does he dress? (2) Is he with-it? and (3) What “type” is he?
Which is kind of surprising to me. Because back when I was asking the questions, they were different. More like (1) Will he make a good husband? (2) Is he a baal middos? and (3) Is he a sincere and honest human being?
It’s no one’s fault. Our society at large is so focused on externals. I see it all around me. Like when I called a boy’s mother recently. I had her son in mind for a sincere, ehrlich colleague of mine. As per the formula, the mother spoke about how her son wants to build a “Torah-true home.” But the next questions threw me. They were: (1) On a scale of 1–10, how pretty is she? and (2) How many degrees does she have?
Which made me ask a few questions to myself: (1) Does your son, who learns in a top yeshivah, have his heart set on a model with a PhD? and (2) Is it possible this demand comes from the mother’s wish to kvell over her son’s “amazing” shidduch?
And then comes the biggest question of all: Whatever happened to bashert?
Chassanim — and ergo, husbands — come in many different shapes and sizes, some quite different from what we may have envisioned for ourselves. What if the other half of your neshamah comes from a different background? What if he’s not “with-it and a snappy dresser”? What if he doesn’t fit the rule of “must only come from New York because of my job”? What if he doesn’t fit the requirement of “only heimish family — no exceptions.”
Here’s the thing: It’s not about his sense of style, his speaking ability, or his ideas on chinuch — boys (like girls) need a spouse who will believe in them, encourage them, and know that life is a process.
No one is perfect. Look past the mode of dress. Look past the background. Look for what really matters. Look for a husband who is honest and sincere. If we’re all a little more open-minded, we may be astonished at what Hashem has in store.
A Shadchan Who Focuses on Internals
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