web analytics
April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

In Search Of The Perfect Shidduch


Share Button

Nothing is more elusive than perfection, yet perfection is a notion that frequently surfaces in the realm of shidduchim. For example, singles are often told by people on the outermost fringes of their lives, “I know someone perfect for you.” How preposterous, how presumptuous! Yet singles permit themselves to be excited by this declaration so that they may be further disillusioned when the shidduch invariably turns out to be anything but perfect.

Perfection comes camouflaged in many forms and guises. One such guise is the “great catch.” When singles are described as a “great catch,” the presumption seems to be that anyone would be lucky to be married to them, and thus mere ordinary singles should eagerly consent to go out with them. No further thought need be given to whether the two people are fundamentally compatible and have a fighting chance of building a sustainable, healthy relationship. One doesn’t pass up a great catch.

On the flipside, singles who bear this mark of distinction are counseled by their managers and posse (parents and friends) not to settle for less than they can expect on the open market. Few items are more lamentable in the gossip circuit than a great catch settling for someone ordinary. Such events only feed speculation that there is something wrong with the great catch that we didn’t know about. “At least they’re happy together,” the gossipers may ruefully conclude, though of course they don’t believe that to be possible.

There is also the perfect shidduch résumé – a sanitized, utterly sterile description of a single that in fact describes little of the actual person. After we learn the age and height of the single, the attention then shifts to people who really should have their own résumé (parents and siblings) instead of taking up so much crucial space on this one. A few pithy lines “describe” the single; these lines concentrate on pleasant-sounding generic adjectives that describe everyone and no one: “outgoing,” “spiritual,” “serious,” “fun,” “kind,” “nice,” “intelligent,” “giving,” etc.

This shidduch résumé is perfect because it is bulletproof. Everyone will confirm its accuracy and there are no obvious blemishes or red flags. What is striking about the perfect résumé is how similar it is to so many other perfect résumés (uniqueness and individuality are apparently not components of perfection in the shidduch world). It leads one to believe that Jewish men and women are so uniform that they are interchangeable parts, and thus any man should be able to successfully marry any woman so long as vital features such as age, height, and whether or not they watch television match up. After all, this is what determines the fate of the relationship.

Yet somehow it isn’t working out so well. This is the great enigma of the shidduch crisis: that there are so many great single men and women out there, so many great catches who have been waiting for years to be caught, so many people who are just perfect for one another on paper who just don’t work out together in real life. They can’t all be too picky.

(Hence the belief in some circles that this crisis is an act of God. For some reason unknown to us – though all theories that blame someone other than our immediate selves are welcome – God is angry and is abstaining from His primary pastime since creating the world. Those in this camp favor appeasing this randomly vengeful God with various manner of segulos, blessings of self-proclaimed mystics, intercessions of the dead, and other incantations of dubious efficacy. Every segula has someone identified only by initials who tried it and got married three hours later, but it seems to be less effective for the rest of us.)

There are those who probe a little deeper than the sterile, completely irrelevant items on the standard shidduch résumé. They know that the three primary items to match on paper when making a shidduch are pedigree, schools attended, and economic standing. If these items line up along with age, height, and the cocktail of generic adjectives, then we have a perfect shidduch.

Perfection is used to describe families and upbringings. A perfect family is one that is distinguished in that its individual members are indistinguishable from one another. All of them learn Torah 25 hours a day, except when they are performing acts of chesed and earning a comfortable living. All of them are brilliant and good looking, the picture of health and fitness (despite not wasting time on exercise, of course), the top of their class, and highly regarded in the community.

Share Button

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “In Search Of The Perfect Shidduch

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Flyers ordered Jews to appear at a designated location in Ukraine, in Sept., 1941. The next day, the Jews lined up at the Babi Yar Ravine.
‘Jews Must Register’ Flyer in Ukraine an Echo of Babi Yar
Latest Indepth Stories
matza

If itis a mitzva to eat matza all Pesach, then why is there no berakha attached to it?

Masked Palestinian Authority Arabs hurl blocks at Israel Police during and after "worship" at Temple Mount mosque. (archive photo)

When we are united with unconditional love, no stone will be raised against us by our enemies.

Haredim riot after draft-dodger is arrested.

The reporter simply reports the news, but it is greater to be inspired to better the situation.

Bitton-041814

The Big Bang theory marked the scientific community’s first sense of the universe having a beginning.

Freeing convicted murderers returns the status of Jewish existence to something less than sanctified.

“The bigger they are the harder they fall” describes what God had in mind for Olmert.

We, soldiers of the IDF, who stand guard over the people and the land, fulfill the hopes of the millions of Jewish people across the generations who sought freedom.

How much is the human mind able to grasp of the Divine?

Jews have brought the baggage of the galut (exile) mentality to the modern state of Israel.

The Haggadah is an instruction manual on how to survive as strangers in strange lands.

It’s finally happened. New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan reported on her blog that “many readers…wrote to object to an [April 2] article…on the breakdown in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians,” claiming “[they] found the headline misleading and the article itself lacking in context.” Ms. Sullivan provided one such letter, quoted the […]

Nor did it seem relevant that according to widely circulated media reports, Rev. Sharpton was caught on an FBI surveillance video discussing possible drug sales with an FBI agent.

Jewish soldiers in the Polish forces often encountered anti-Semitic prejudice.

When the state was established, gedolim went to Ben-Gurion and asked him not to draft women and, later, yeshiva bachrim.

More Articles from Chananya Weissman

A great human tragedy is taking place before our eyes, yet few can see it.

A singles event in Jerusalem, co-sponsored by no fewer than five groups or organizations, advertised the following:

“Ask yourself this question: Do you really want to get married? If the answer is NO, then carry on having a good time going to all those parties, Shabbat meals, lectures, supermarket aisles . If the answer is YES, then we’ll see you at the MEGA EVENT.”

Since creating EndTheMadness seven years ago I have received all manner of correspondence, and it should come as no surprise that for every gratifying e-mail I receive there are plenty more that are disturbing in one way or another. But what if I asked you to guess which e-mails disturb me the most, even momentarily shaking my optimism that there really is hope for our society?

I’ve long maintained that the large number of people having a difficult time getting and staying happily married is only a symptom of deeper problems in the community. Consequently, efforts to get more singles to go out on more dates will be largely unsuccessful unless the deeper problems are addressed. This thesis has been validated in recent years, as more attention to the “crisis” and various schemes to create shidduchim have yet to result in meaningful change or much cause for optimism.

Moshe was looking for employment (he wasn’t cut out to learn full-time), and was having a difficult time finding the right fit. Sometimes he went weeks without even landing an interview, and he rarely made it past the first round. People began to speculate that there was something wrong with Moshe, and his self-esteem took a blow every time he heard of someone else who found a job.

It’s all too common nowadays for people to defend the widespread method of shidduchim by pointing to the biblical story of Eliezer finding a wife for Yitzchak. Apparently the Torah mandates this method as proper, and therefore there is little else to discuss beyond perhaps fine-tuning the way singles are set up by shadchanim and further shielding them from outside influences and one another.

I find the Orthodox Jewish approach to problem-solving fascinating, in a dark sort of way. It consists of a series of steps that looks something like this:

“And you shall rejoice in your festival” says the pasuk at the end of Parshas Re’ei (16:14), and this is actually a mitzvah. I suspect this is not intended to be one of the more difficult mitzvot for us to fulfill, yet for many hard-working Jews the Yomim Tovim are far greater sources of stress than joy.

Nothing is more elusive than perfection, yet perfection is a notion that frequently surfaces in the realm of shidduchim. For example, singles are often told by people on the outermost fringes of their lives, “I know someone perfect for you.” How preposterous, how presumptuous! Yet singles permit themselves to be excited by this declaration so that they may be further disillusioned when the shidduch invariably turns out to be anything but perfect.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/in-search-of-the-perfect-shidduch/2007/08/01/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: