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Mrs. Simantov was not an official matchmaker, but she tried, with reasonable success, to make shidduchim between people she knew. She owned an apartment in Yerushalayim and spent many holidays there so that she knew people on both sides of the ocean.

One day, Mrs. Simantov was talking with her neighbor, Mrs. Feiner. “How are your children?” Mrs. Simantov asked.


Baruch Hashem, well,” said Mrs. Feiner. “Our son, Moshe, is planning to learn in Israel after Pesach. I’m a little worried about his shidduch prospects.”

“I know him as a tremendous masmid with excellent middos!” replied Mrs. Simantov. “Would he consider meeting someone from Israel?”

“Yes,” answered Mrs. Feiner.

“I know the perfect girl for him…,” Mrs. Simantov continued. “She’s sweet, modest, with a head on her shoulders and is from a fine family. I’ll send you her information this evening, and, if relevant, contact them also.”

Several months later, Mrs. Feiner called Mrs. Simantov from Israel. “Mazal tov!” she exclaimed. “Moshe got engaged tonight. The girl you suggested is lovely, and just right for him!”

“I’m so happy for you!” Mrs. Simantov replied. “They should be zoche to a happy and healthy life together!”

“Mrs. Simantov doesn’t have a set fee,” Mrs. Feiner told her mechutanim. “But the going rate in America is several thousand dollars.”

“Here the going rate is several thousand shekels,” said the mechutanim, “The shidduch was concluded in Israel, so we should pay what is customary in Israel.”

“Mrs. Simantov worked from across the ocean, though,” noted Mrs. Feiner. She called Rabbi Dayan, and asked:

“How much should we pay Mrs. Simantov?”

Panim Meiros (2:63) addressed a similar question,” replied Rabbi Dayan. “Someone brokered a shidduch between families from different cities, which had different practices regarding the shadchanus fee.”

“Panim Meiros infers from the Gemara (B.M. 83b) that if a worker from one city went to another city to seek employment, the applicable minhag hamedinah, custom of the land, is where he is employed. He cites Talmud Yerushalmi (B.M.7:1), which states so explicitly regarding Beit Maon, which had a longer workday than nearby Teveria, codified by the Rema (C.M. 331:1).

“Thus, if a shadchan from one place went and made a shidduch elsewhere, his default fee is according to the place where he made the shidduch.

“However, the Yerushalmi adds that if a resident of Teveria went to Beit Maon to hire workers, even if the work was done in Teveria, the employer can justly claim that he chose to hire workers from Beit Maon on account of the longer workday (or lower rate) that they provide.

“Panim Meiros understands that certainly if someone from Beit Maon hired a local employee, even to go work in Teveria, the worker works the longer day. Igros Moshe (C.M. 2:57) seemingly disputes this, and writes that the payment or terms are according to where he did the work.

“The Yerushalmi does not address the opposite case of a resident of Beit Maon who went to hire workers in Teveria. Panim Meiros understands that the Teverian worker can claim that he was hired according to the minhag hamedinah of his own locale, and insist on the shorter hours (or higher fee). Rivash rules so explicitly (#475).

“Based on this, Panim Meiros rules that if the shadchan lives in the locale with a higher fee, the families who sought his services are required to pay that amount. However, if he lives in the locale with the lower fee, the families can pay him only that amount; certainly this is the case if he didn’t travel to the locale with the higher fee but just sent written messages there. Igros Moshe agrees with this if the shadchan didn’t travel but rather communicated through writing or telephone from where he lives.

“Thus,” concluded Rabbi Dayan, “you should pay Mrs. Simantov several thousand dollars, according to the fee where she lives and facilitated the shidduch from.”

Verdict: Someone who went elsewhere to broker a shidduch without a specified fee is paid according to where she made the shidduch. However, if she made the shidduch from her home, she is paid according to where she lives.


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Rabbi Meir Orlian is a faculty member of the Business Halacha Institute, headed by HaRav Chaim Kohn, a noted dayan. To receive BHI’s free newsletter, Business Weekly, send an e-mail to [email protected]. For questions regarding business halacha issues, or to bring a BHI lecturer to your business or shul, call the confidential hotline at 877-845-8455 or e-mail [email protected].