From the Viewpoints of Shadchanim
(See the Interview with a Shadchan series in Chronicles of Mar. 22, 29, & Apr. 5)
Being a shadchan myself, I read the 3-part interview with a shadchan with great interest. All the scenarios mentioned were very familiar, and I can assure you that all of us shadchanim experience similar episodes.
I would like to elaborate on the subject of compensation for a shadchan’s services by sharing just one of my past shidduch experiences with your readers.
A family member of a 19-year old yeshiva bochur in need of a shidduch phoned me. She answered all my preliminary questions about the boy, as well as filling me in on what the family was looking for. Afterwards I did some of my own research and discovered the boy to be an orphan (bereft of his father), heard that he was of husky build and that he was a very good boy all around.
The fact that he was an orphan pulled at my heartstrings and I got right down to business. To make a very long story short, I was the successful shadchan for him…after working for him for close to two long years and having tried 68 (yes, 68!) different proposals.
I would like readers to compare this kind of diligent, non-stop, dedicated work to that of a lawyer, broker, dealer, etc., and to try to figure out how much the pay would have been for this type of labor and input by any other professional.
This is just one example of why there is a shortage of shadchanim. The pay is not commensurable with the amount of work invested. You might say “but it is a big mitzvah,” and you’ll be justified in your argument. But so is bikur cholim, gemilus chassadim, and many other mitzvos where you can choose your day as well as pick the hours you prefer to do the chessed in — whereas being a shadchan requires being available and on call virtually all the time!
You can’t even go to a simcha, grocery shopping, or an einikel’s siddur play without being approached about a shidduch for a niece, nephew, brother, sister, friend, neighbor, etc., while those who opt, for example, to do bikur cholim once a week don’t have their family routine turned upside down; planning can be done and supper can be prepared in advance. Not so when you are a shadchan.
Whenever I am successful with a shidduch, my husband, upon meeting the lucky families and conveying the appropriate mazel tovs and niceties, always quips that he knew a shidduch was about to happen because he hadn’t gotten served a hot supper for the last several days!
Gratification is my compensation
By way of introduction, I am the Chany whom RB refers to in the first part of the interview series (the cousin who contacted her after her first triumph with the idea of having a shidduch group in our area). I started the meetings in Williamsburg after having witnessed the success of the ones I had attended in Boro Park that were hosted by a very good friend.
I felt that there was a big need for such a group in Williamsburg. My initial outreach to shadchanim was met with skepticism at first, but after conducting a few such meetings the shadchanim who attended enthusiastically requested more and kept on bringing new shadchanim on board.
Boruch Hashem quite a few success stories have emanated from our group. One of the shidduchim that stand out in my memory: At one time I would print the resumes of girls and boys who were brought up at the meetings to distribute them to the groups. A young man who was divorced had asked me if he could be of help in any way as a zechus for meeting his own true zivug. His help was fantastic. He went to the trouble of gathering pertinent information that we were missing on the boys and girls.
One day while going through the thick binder of names, he came across the name of a young divorcee. One thing led another and boruch Hashem they are today married and the proud parents to children of their own.
If there is one piece of advice I would give budding shadchanim, it is to remember that there is no such a thing as “I am not a shadchan.” Being one requires no diploma or license. All one needs is a telephone, guts, persistence, and siyata d’Shmaya (heavenly guidance). Now can we start those mazel tovs coming?
You’ll thrill at the sound!
You both obviously have what it takes to take on such a challenging yet gratifying career. While it’s true that any adult can technically become a shadchan, some seem born to the task and are obviously divinely blessed in this vocation of their choice.
I once heard it said (don’t recall the source) that one who is instrumental in bringing a couple together (feehrs out a shidduch) needs not harbor any trepidation of a verdict on the oncoming Yom Kippur — that’s how great the accomplishment is deemed in the Heavenly Spheres.
Now that’s worthwhile compensation! Hatzlacha and keep up the good work!