The fact is all the milestones and events in one’s life – from when you will marry; your parnasah; children; health, the bumpiness or smoothness of your life’s journey – is min Shamayim; it is controlled and decreed by G-d. By delaying or preventing a younger child’s marriage, can parents be viewed as possibly thwarting Hashem’s will? (It might even have been necessary for a younger sibling to marry – in order for the older one to. I have heard several stories of a married sibling setting up an older unmarried sister with someone her spouse knew and suggested. Had the younger sister not married, the second shidduch would not have happened.)
Perhaps Hashem, for reasons no human can ever understand, decided that “Sarah” will marry at 28, and her sister “Leah” at 20. By not allowing Leah to date and meet her zivug, Leah may end up losing her bashert – the one Hashem meant for her to marry. After all, man is given free choice and if it is her parents’ will that children marry in order of their birth, than that G-d-given opportunity may not materialize.
I have a vague memory of speaking to someone who was rather adamant about sticking to the birth order, insisting that there was a halachic basis for that. All I know was that Yaacov had no halachic issues when he chose Rachel, the younger sister, to be his wife. It was Lavan who insisted that Yaacov marry his oldest daughter first. Should we follow the rules of a vile rashah like Lavan?
Why should kids marry according to their birth position – oldest first and down the line? In real life are siblings niftar oldest to youngest? Maybe someone marrying at 35 will enjoy 50 years of marriage, yet a sibling years younger who married at 19 will only have 25 years of wedded life because of a death. Why hold anyone back – no one knows the future.
Sadly, in the last few weeks, I have heard of young people in their 20’s and early 30’s who due to a very sudden illness, a life-threatening disease, or an accident left this world too soon. Most had very young children. Their bereft parents have the comfort of knowing the niftar(ess) left a legacy, had created worlds with each child they gave life to. What if hypothetically some had not married, or married years later than necessary because their stepping into the parsha was put on hold for an older sibling? They might have died single, or having been married a relatively short time, not leave children to survive them and be their continuation.
In today’s very difficult shidduch scene, adding another “fence” is counterproductive and unfairly jeopardizes the other children’s ability to marry.
Hashem is the ultimate matchmaker and has His master plan in terms of shidduchim and who will marry whom and when. Parents, and the older sibling in the family who wants to marry according to birth order, should, after a reasonable time, remove their man-made obstacles and let Hashem’s will take over.Cheryl Kupfer
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