web analytics
April 25, 2014 / 25 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
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.



Beware Of Shidduch ‘Potatoes’

Kupfer-020113

Share Button

There is a wise Yiddish saying that translates into this observation: “Yichus (illustrious ancestors) is like potatoes – they are both under the ground.”

My understanding of this statement is that while one should be proud and, to a reasonable extent, boastful of one’s outstanding forefathers – one should not base his/her self-evaluation on ancestral achievements. In other words, don’t walk around like you’re a superior being, with the attitude that you are “holier than thou” or better than the rest of the tribe just because your great-grandparents were viewed as being yotzeh min haklal – above the crowd. Their menschlichkeit, their genius in lumdus, their insightful knowledge or incredible heroics, and their outstanding middos are not transferable. You must earn these accolades through your own efforts.

Unfortunately, many people have the mistaken belief that since an individual comes from yichus, he/she embodies the virtues and capabilities of his/her ancestors. They buy into the premise that the sterling qualities that made the family yichusdik are automatically passed down to the heirs. Hence they are thrilled when a shidduch is redt (suggested) for one of their children with “so-and so” who is “so and so’s” einekel (descendant). What an honor to be deemed worthy of such a match, they gleefully conclude.

While in many cases, the members of the generations that follow do emulate the achievements and qualities of their memorable alte zaydehs it is not always the case. Case in point: Eisav was the son of Yitzchak Avinu and the grandson of Avraham Avinu. He had the best family pedigree possible – but all he really inherited was their DNA.

The very real possibility that the moral or spiritual character of a person is not on par with their yichus is tragically overlooked by some shadchanim. Often the prospective in-laws are eager to believe the misrepresentations, even though there are indications to the contrary. The hapless young person who marries the illusion presented – but not the reality- ends up ahrein faling – an expression that in English can be explained as falling into a bad situation, one that is very hard to extradite oneself from – like quicksand or a deep pit – or in this case, a dysfunctional marriage.

Many people have written to The Jewish Press, sharing how they were the envy of their friends for getting “such a catch,” and only when it was too late did they realize that they were fooled into thinking that being a member of a great family automatically translated into being great marriage material. Sadly, marrying a scion of a household with a distinguished family tree does not guarantee “happily ever after.”

In many cases, the individual is a wonderful, ehrliche young person – a credit to his illustrious ancestors, and worthy of his or her shem tov – but it is not an automatic given.

The lesson here is that each potential marital partner should be evaluated on his or her own merit. This holds true whether he or she comes from very respectable families or from less stellar backgrounds. After all, just as Eisav was who he was despite his illustrious background, the virtuous Rifka was the daughter of Betuel, and the righteous Leah and Rochel were the daughters of Lavan!

Under today’s rules, no self-respecting family would have touched those girls despite their incredible middos.

The jaundiced view regarding young people who are not quite “mainstream” – i.e. from a divorced home, baalei teshuva, immigrant family, financially challenged, etc., is often inaccurate and unjustified. So is the misguided perception that kids from “wonderful” homes are themselves wonderful.

Many people assume that children of divorce are messed up or have emotional problems, and will not let their children date those who come from “broken homes.” They don’t realize that any household where there is no shalom bayit is also a broken home – even if the parents are married. Children who grow up in two parent homes where there is constant fighting, where the adults are demeaning, critical and verbally abusive can be more at risk for dysfunction than children raised in single parent homes that are tranquil.

This is true for young people who are what I call “trophy” children – girls and boys being raised by parents who gave birth to them because it was socially and halachically expected that they have offspring, but who are not there for them emotionally and physically. Their own needs or wants come first. The message these kids absorb is that they are not a priority.

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 “Beware Of Shidduch ‘Potatoes’”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Mock Eviction Notice shoved under the doors of students' rooms in predominantly Jewish NYU dorm by NYU SJP.
NYU Latest Site of Anti-Israel Mock Eviction Notices
Latest Sections Stories
Schonfeld-logo1

Regardless of age, parents play an important role in their children’s lives.

Marriage-Relationship-logo

We peel away one layer after the next, our eyes tear up and it becomes harder and harder to see as we get closer to our innermost insecurities and fears.

Gorsky-041814-Torah

Some Mountain Jews believe they are descendents of the Ten Lost Tribes and were exiled to Azerbaijan and Dagestan by Sancheriv.

Yom Tov is about spending time with your family. And while for some families the big once-in-a-lifetime experience is great, for others something low key is the way to go.

A fascinating glimpse into the rich complexity of medieval Jewish life and its contemporary relevance had intriguingly emerged.

Dear Dr. Yael:

My heart is breaking; my husband’s friend has gotten divorced. While this type of situation is always sad, here I do believe it could have been avoided.

The plan’s goal is to provide supportive housing to 200 individuals with disabilities by the year 2020.

Despite being one of the fastest-growing Jewish communities in the U.S. – the estimated Jewish population is 70-80,000 – Las Vegas has long been overlooked by much of the Torah world.

She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence.

Pesach is so liberating (if you excuse the expression). It’s the only time I can eat anywhere in the house, guilt free! Matzah in bed!

Now all the pain, fear and struggle were over and they were home. Yuli was safe and free, a hero returned to his land and people.

While it would seem from his question that he is being chuzpadik and dismissive, I wonder if its possible, if just maybe, he is a struggling, confused neshama who actually wants to come back to the fold.

I agree with the letter writer that a shadchan should respectfully and graciously accept a negative response to a shidduch offer.

More Articles from Cheryl Kupfer
Kupfer-032814

A young lady in her early 20’s, “Sarah” was redt to “Shlomie” a boy from her home town who learned in an out-of-town yeshiva. The families know each other well, which in today’s shidduch scene is a big plus – since it was therefore unlikely the kids would “fall in” due to misinformation and misinterpretations.

Kupfer-031414

I came to the conclusion a long time ago that I have to do what is right for me – as long as it’s “ halachically kosher” and doesn’t negatively impact on others – and not worry too much about what others think.

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and that is precisely what almost always happens in situations where a reference knew someone had serious but hidden emotional issues, but did not reveal the information to the person making inquiries.

Time never stood still for anyone – why would I be the exception? In my hubris, I thought that somehow I would live forever – and I suspect we all have secretly felt that way, even though we know it’s a fantasy.

One can argue that forgetting something on a regular basis is a sign of advancing age and it’s time to for a neurological evaluation, but based on the number of young people who need to replace a lost smart phone (too bad it’s not smart enough to warn its owner that that they have become separated – or is there an app for that too?), I safely can say that losing “stuff” cuts across the generations.

For quite a few days in late December, Toronto was transformed into a breathtaking – literally and figuratively – frigid winter wonderland, where every twig, leaf, car door, and outdoor wire and cable was totally encased in ice. When the sun shone the landscape was blindingly brilliant as if billions of diamonds had been glued to everything the eye could see.

Outside is a winter-white wonderland replete with dazzling trees, wires, and sidewalks seemingly wrapped in glittery silver foil. It’s quite lovely to look at, which is about all I can do since I’m stuck indoors. Icicle-laden tree branches are bent and hunch-backed by the frozen heaviness of their popsicle-like burden, and the voices squawking from the battery-operated transistor radio I am listening to are warning people not to go out since walkways and roads are extremely slippery, and there is real danger from falling trees.

The necessity of speaking up when you “have a hunch” applies even more when it comes to shidduchim. One little girl did just that – she said something – and I was fortunate enough to be in town for the very joyful, lively wedding that resulted from her speaking up.

    Latest Poll

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







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/on-our-own/beware-of-shidduch-potatoes/2013/02/01/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: