There were three names with brief bios on the list. All had similar qualities and were within the correct age and frumkeit range. With nothing to distinguish one from the others, we could have enlisted the tried-and-true option of “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe…” Instead, we decided to base our decision on practical and geographic considerations. So we opted to go with the candidate from Teaneck, New Jersey, reasonably close in proximity to our son’s apartment in Edison.
Our eldest son had already dated close to 50 girls without, unfortunately, having found his bashert. He had already begun to pare down his list of requirements, most dramatically omitting his stipulation that his prospective kallah must be open to living in the Holy Land. As much as that remained a theoretical priority for him and for us, we felt it unwise to make it a deal-breaker. The most important thing was to stay in the saddle and avoid the dating burnout that threatened to overtake him.
So we chose the girl from Teaneck. On paper, she sounded like a definite catch: bright with sterling middos, a Masters in special education with a responsible position, impressive involvement in chesed organizations and activities, and the product of a fine family.
The shadchan made the arrangements and my son phoned “Jersey girl” to set up their first date. That is when the girl informed him that she was in the process of moving out of her parents’ home in New Jersey and into an apartment in Washington Heights with her sister. Not only was the first date delayed by a week; our choice based on “location, location, location” appeared to be misguided.
That is until the young couple met. By the second date, my son was already convinced that after years of dating and frustration, he had, Baruch Hashem, finally met his soulmate. A few dates later, they were planning their wedding and their future together while the girl’s sister was busy looking for a new roommate.
Then all the myriad coincidences began to surface. First there was the Teaneck trump card. Then we found out that our future daughter-in-law had also listed aliyah as a prerequisite on her list of requirements until her parents had likewise convinced her to shelve that demand, at least temporarily.
When the dating got serious and her mother was told our son’s name and statistics, she had an incredible light bulb moment. She rummaged among her papers and came up with a scrap of paper on which she had written our son’s name a few months earlier. At that time, she had attended a community shidduch meeting where our niece, a newly minted young rebbetzin in the area, had been a guest speaker.
After the presentation, the girl’s mother had approached the speaker and mentioned that her daughter had been dating unsuccessfully for several years, and inquired as to whether the rebbetzin could recommend a suitable young man who fit the description she proffered. Our niece immediately suggested her cousin, namely our son, and the mother had then scribbled his name and some pertinent information. However, when she returned home from the meeting and shared the idea with her daughter, the latter rebuffed the suggestion out of hand, proclaiming that she had no faith in a shidduch set up by someone she had never met. Now, months later, her mother retrieved the crumpled paper and they both acknowledged that the yad Hashem had been at work long before the first date.
Our entire extended family, including this wonderful niece, fell in love with our new daughter-in-law and immediately recognized all of her golden qualities and how perfect she was for our multifaceted son.
In all, at least three different people had suggested the shidduch at totally separate junctures. That made for some additional shadchanus expenditures, to be sure, but served to prove what we had known to be true all along: Hakadosh Baruch Hu has always been and remains the Supreme shadchan. Four years and two beautiful daughters later, we still marvel at the series of gentle nudges from Above that laid the foundation for yet another wonderful bayis ne’eman b’Yisrael.Naama Klein
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