Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.
For all the talk in recent years about problems with the way shidduchim are happening or not happening, not nearly enough attention has been given to the disordered state of shadchanus.
The Jewish world abounds with people who attempt either publicly or discreetly to match singles. We should assume that the vast majority of these people have noble intentions, yet shadchanim tend to be frustrated with singles, singles tend to be frustrated with shadchanim, and the horror stories far outweigh the success stories.
Perhaps the worst thing about the situation is that there are any success stories at all. Strange as this may sound, the occasional success makes it easy for shadchanim with haphazard methods to pass themselves off as competent, for singles to continue putting their fragile hope and energy into something that depletes them of hope and energy, and for our inertia-laden society to delude itself into believing the system is working pretty well. (After all, it worked for so-and-so.) As a result, change continues to be slow and tentative while the ranks of suffering singles continue to grow.
As things currently stand, a shadchan proposes a match between two singles. This is usually followed by many days or even weeks of negotiations, hemming and hawing, even arm-twisting. A small percentage of the time this results in an actual date, after which another round of the above ensues. Generally the proposed match is quickly scuttled, often with great disillusionment on the part of the singles and irritation on the part of the shadchan. Singles dread being set up, but consider it hishtadlus. Shadchanim find singles difficult to deal with, but consider it a mitzvah.
There is a better way for shadchanus, courtesy of my friend Zevi Adler. It makes extraordinary sense and protects the concerns of both the shadchan and the client. Zevi first proposed the idea in 2000 and has employed it very successfully on a small scale. If the idea is implemented on a larger scale it will revolutionize the shidduch world and make a lot of people very happy.
Instead of the above scenario, a shadchan would propose a match between two singles. The shadchan would then say, “I am so confident that this is someone you should meet that I am giving you $20 to help pay for the date. If you decide to see this person again, give me back the $20. If you ultimately marry this person, then pay me $2,000.” (If one is completely uninterested in making a business of shadchanus, the $2,000 can be donated to the tzedakah of the shadchan’s choice.)
This format would solve a host of problems associated with shadchanus, for both the single and the shadchan. For starters, it changes the relationship between the single and the shadchan to a partnership infused with professionalism and mutual respect. (It is far too common for shadchanim to view and treat singles as lesser people, or even to take advantage of them. Even the “good” shadchanim often view singles not as mature, sophisticated adults but as chesed projects.) This system elevates the status of the single to that of a client and a business partner, which is far more dignified and appropriate.
It is unreasonable for shadchanim to expect singles to invest their own time, money, and energy on suggestions if the shadchan is not willing to invest anything in the suggestion – especially if the shadchan expects to be rewarded for a successful match. Singles bear the brunt of the expense, which can include hundreds of dollars for travel and dates, while shadchanim risk only a few bucks for phone calls if it doesn’t work out. Just because the single is the one with a need to fill doesn’t make this arrangement equitable.
I can imagine shadchanim reading this and exclaiming, “Why should I pay someone to go out on a date? I’m already doing enough for them by finding them a date, not to mention all the time, energy, and money that I spend making all those phone calls. I should pay singles for the privilege of helping them too?!”
If one thinks about this soberly, however, the benefits for shadchanim make the $20 a very wise investment. Certainly the annoyance of having to persuade singles to go out on the date will be almost entirely eliminated. After all, the single will say to himself, “If the shadchan is willing to lay out money for me to go out with this person, it can’t be a bad idea. If the shadchan is willing to take a chance on this, then I’ll take a chance on it, too.”
About the Author:
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
Obama’s Syrian policy failures created the current situation in the Golan Heights.
Our journey begins by attempting to see things differently, only then can we be open to change.
Despite Western ‘Conventional Wisdom&PC,’ the Arab/Israeli conflict was never about the Palestinians
In fact, wherever you see soldiers in Paris today, you pretty much know you’re near Jewish site
Inspired by the Perek Shira pasuk for “small non-kosher animals” we named the bunny “Rebbetzin Tova”
The abuse following publication proved a cautionary tale: no one followed in Peters’s footsteps
Plainly, there is no guiding hand dictating choices across the board.
How many sites that tell you to check your politics at the door have 10,000 likes?
In this particular case, the issue was whether the Arkansas prison system could prohibit, for security reasons, a devout Muslim’s maintaining a beard of a certain length as a matter of religious practice.
While we recognize the Republican Jewish Coalition is hardly a non-partisan outfit, a snippet from a statement the group released is worthy of note:
“These are good matzah balls,” my aunt Robertine would say, but her sister Irma would counter “No, not compared to Mama’s. They were always so light yet they never fell apart.”
Despite the 2005 Koby Mandell Act no Palestinian implicated in harming an American has been charged
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/shadchanus-the-20-solution/2007/01/24/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: