The Celebrate Israel Festival on May 31 at Pier 94, slated to be the largest gathering to date of Israeli-Americans in New York.
No one in the family has ever gotten angry, lost a job, struggled in school, faced a challenge in life (let alone failed one, heaven forbid), or experienced a moment when he did not perfectly observe every minute detail of Jewish law. No one in the family has ever experienced uncertainty in life, become depressed, questioned an authority figure, disagreed with anything he was taught in yeshiva, or expressed an opinion that is different than the one opinion we are all supposed to have on any given matter.
Everyone in the family is a certified “great catch” and married another certified “great catch” with ease and immediacy, and strictly on his or her own terms. This is the perfect Jewish family in the shidduch world.
Not surprisingly, our gedolim and all their successors are supposed to be perfect, and Jewish history is sanitized to reflect this. In the absence of role models to portray the modern Jewish version of perfection, we simply imagine or create them. Those who don’t play along with the charade… well, there are ways of dealing with such people.
Some people are finally willing to express the epiphany that there is no such thing as the perfect family. After all, there might be an aunt who wears short sleeves, a child with a disability, or something similar that stands out for shame and ignominy. We must be willing to “settle” for shidduchim that come from such blemished origins. So goes the current punditry in many circles.
What is lost in this relentless search for perfection is the truth about perfection itself. It runs deeper than the fact that “no one is perfect.” It is the realization that our imperfections are often what make us beautiful. It is the great fact of this world that God created that one can only grow through facing and overcoming challenges, and that it is normal to have a less than 100 percent success rate.
Those among us who are closest to perfection are those who have faced and overcome the greatest and most numerous challenges. These include ba’alei teshuvah (those who have repented for any sin, especially those who were formerly not halachically observant), those who are not the best and the brightest but work their tails off, and those from disadvantaged family and social backgrounds who forged a better path. Honorable mention goes to those who can think for themselves, make a serious life decision, and then go ahead and implement it.
One who has the most impressively bland shidduch résumé but has never had to solve a real problem or face a meaningful challenge is highly questionable marriage material. One whose first experience with stress and uncertainty is matrimony itself is no better off than the child who grows up in a sterile environment to protect him from germs, and thus lacks an immune system. Not surprisingly, marriage therapists and divorce attorneys are doing quite well these days. Lessons not learned early in life will be learned later at a higher price.
True perfection is not the avoidance of failure or the appearance thereof, but, as the advertising slogan goes, the relentless pursuit of perfection. One who is continuously growing and is committed to a lifetime of growth will make the most wonderful spouse. One who would rather pretend that he has never failed and that any failure contaminates a person forever is already a failure and an even greater failure just waiting to happen.
Let our résumés reflect who we really are and who we really hope to be. Let us feel disappointed by our flaws and shortcomings, but let us never run from them. These are what make us human. We would not be happy being married to someone truly perfect, nor would someone truly perfect be happy being married to us.
Indeed, it is only human beings, with our many flaws and shortcomings, who have the institution of marriage altogether – because we aren’t supposed to be perfect. That’s what gives us room for a spouse to help bring us closer. The person who will do that for us is the greatest catch of all and the most perfect shidduch.
About the Author:
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
As for the president’s new, softer tone vis-à-vis Prime Minister Netanyahu and Israel, this is most likely being driven by the results of the recent Israeli election.
What especially appeals to us is his grand – some critics would say extravagant –view of what the borders of Israel should look like.
There was something else of great importance in play – something we would have liked to see him take into account before deciding to stand with the boycotters.
The establishment of Hebrew University was a cause much beloved to Einstein who in 1923, during what would be his only trip to Eretz Yisrael, delivered the university’s inaugural lecture on Har Hatzofim (Mt. Scopus) and, discussing the theory of relativity, spoke the first few sentences of his address in Hebrew.
The Golden Square wanted Germany to destroy the British and Jewish presence in their country. The Third Reich craved what was beneath the ground – oil.
Ida Nudel’s account of how the Soviets persecuted and punished her was far worse than imagined.
Swim4Sadna is an annual event benefiting Sadna, an integrative special-ed community in Gush Etzion
Prof. Wistrich, was THE foremost historian of anti-Semitism; committed spokesman & advocate of Jewry
Jewish Voices for Peace’s 2015 Haggadah is a blatant anti-Israel screed crying, “L’chayim to BDS!”
On his shloshim, I want to discuss a term I’ve heard countless times about Rav Aharon: Gedol HaDor
After obsequious claims of devotion to Israel, Obama took to criticizing Israel on peace process
Mr. Obama, Israeli voters have democratically chosen to apply Israeli sovereignty over Judea&Samaria
Netanyahu so disdains Shaked’s appointment he completely ignored her after the swearing-in ceremony
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.
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: