Q. I am new to the parsha of Shidduchim. My son just turned 21 and I need advice on what I should be looking for and what I should prioritize in my search for him. Is yichus important, or appearance? Middos or money? The possibilities seem endless – and daunting. In today’s intermingled world, how important is it for families to be compatible? Please advise....
A. Well, in response to your valid question, I must say, you certainly picked the perfect Parsha! There are numerous “priorities” but if we look carefully in Chayei Sarah, we find something fascinating. Avraham Avinu is looking for a daughter-in-law and sends his trusted servant Eliezer to find a match for Yitzchok. Obviously, it was a very important decision, for the whole future of Klal Yisrael depended on it.
Avraham has two priorities. First of all, he tells Eliezer, the would-be wife of his son shouldn’t come from the Land of Canaan. Why? Rashi explains that Canaan is cursed, and therefore “Baruch” (blessed, like Avraham) does not mix with “Arur” (cursed, like Canaan).
Second, she should be from his family and from his birthplace. Avraham weighed the pros and cons and knew that his family and his roots were the right fit for his son.
Rabbeinu Bachya elaborates on this and writes that Avraham did not want Yitzchok to marry a girl from a “cursed” family because she will lead him astray. He should not marry a girl for her money as the money will fly away like the wings of a eagle.... Also, Yitzchok should not look for power, because power corrupts and he will become a controlling person!
What we see from here is that what is important for a young man when looking for a shidduch is to marry a girl from a proper family, a good mishpacha, which comes from a similar culture and mentality. Similar types of families create peaceful marriages and ultimately fine offspring. Listen, it’s not always possible, but you asked for a priority!
Just as an aside, I found a very interesting Malbim in this week’s Parsha which says that Eliezer went to the well to find a suitable mate for Yitzchok. Why a well? Because he figured that only a poor girl will be shlepping water from a well – rich girls don’t do those types of things – and he preferred a girl from a poor home!
These lessons are timeless and we can certainly learn from them. I feel that in 2018 with all the craziness going on in the world around us, we should internalize these important points. Hatzlacha.
Tzadok Katz, Shadchan
As time is short and I can’t elaborate too much on a question whose answer may be endless, here is a small nekuda from the perspective of the Gedolim. Everyone has their own priorities and what’s right for one may not be right for another.
Nevertheless, some things are universal. Rav Matisyahu Salomon shlit’a, the Mashgiach of BMG (he should have a refuah shleimah) writes in his sefer that when a person lives his life with the objective that he must accomplish the purpose for which he was sent into the world, he will approach marriage with that role in mind. If one becomes sidetracked from what his focus should be, and concentrates on extraneous matters – such as beauty, wealth, honor and even age – he is in effect losing sight of the purpose for which marriage was created.
When two people get married, each one has the potential to enable the other to achieve the ultimate goal for which they were created. When seeking proper life partners for ourselves and our children, one must do so for the sake of Heaven. It is incumbent upon us to focus on finding the person with whom one will be able to accomplish the utmost on earth, the purpose that was predestined for him in Heaven.
Let me give you an example. I once heard a story about a 23 year-old bochur who came to Rav Elazar Menachem Shach zt”l, to seek advice about a shidduch that was proposed to him. The girl was 26, three years his elder.
“I don’t understand the problem,” said R’ Shach. “My uncle, Rav Isser Zalman (Meltzer), was younger than his wife. I, too, am a few years younger than my wife. Many great rabbonim were younger than their wives.
“So what if you’re younger? You’re 23 and she’s 26? Nu, I don’t see the problem!”
This is a perspective of the Gedolei Hador.
So if you want to know what should be your priority? Rav Salomon is saying that your priority should be approaching the entire parsha of shidduchim L’shem Shamayim! You’re doing what the Ribono shel Olam wants you to do – to find an appropriate partner for your son with whom he can best accomplish the ratzon Hashem – the will of Hashem. If you approach this with such a mindset, you will answer your own questions and recognize what you’re true priorities are.
Rebbetzin R. Taub