Part of S.M.A.R.T. dating is to fully believe that Hashem makes shidduchim and gives every person the opportunity to meet their bashert, but you have the choice to reject it.
In this week’s parshas, Chayei Sara, we learn that Avraham chose a shadchan to find a match for Yitzchak, and gave two instructions: not to take a wife from the daughters of Cana’an and to take a wife “from my land and my people”. Yitzchak was a great catch, but he didn’t come with a long list of demands he needed in a wife. Eliezer was sent to find someone with great middos, of the finest character.
Those who come with their long lists believe themselves to be of higher caliber than Yitzchak, demanding this and that, that and this. It is both unrealistic and lacking bitachon in Hashem to believe that you have the right to demand your long list rather than accept what Hashem chose for you. The list of demands and lack of flexibility, reality, and bitachon is often the reason people get older and do not marry.
We do not know how Hashem will enable a shidduch to happen, when, where, or who the messenger will be. In this week’s Parsha, Chayei Sara, we learn of the role of a shadchan in facilitating shidduchim. The pasuk tells us that Avraham sent someone he trusted to choose a mate for Yitzchak. If someone chances upon you to suggest a shidduch, such as a colleague or friend, then the trust factor is not as critical. But if you are choosing a facilitator for your shidduchim, then trust is critical.
Many Rabbis suggest that choosing a facilitator is a level of hishtadlus. You cannot rely on the miracle of someone making your shidduch by chance. It is recommended to choose 2 or 3 facilitators; you don’t need 500 to be considered hishtadlus. What does this mean? It means that you select 2 or 3 trustworthy messengers for you – whether it is a matchmaker on a website or off a website. Choose matchmakers that recognize that they are only messengers from Hashem, and who are willing to invest in you by presenting people that they believe are relevant, not randomly making suggestions based on superficial reasons.
Note the emphasis on “they believe”. If you choose trusted matchmakers, then you need to rely on their recommendations. When they present a match, you should immediately ask, why are you suggesting this person. At the same time, you should trust if they tell you the other person is attractive, kind etc. without having to see a photo. Your need to see a photo means (1) you don’t trust the matchmaker – and then you should find a new matchmaker; (2) you believe that Hashem chose your bashert specific to your taste in attraction, which is a sign that you are not really ready to get married.
This parsha further teaches us that despite Eliezer choosing a woman with amazing middos, who also happened to be beautiful, Yitzchak didn’t just accept the match. The Ramchal note that Yitzchak was concerned about her being so young. He had to see the signs from Hashem, the miracles of Sarah Imeinu coming to Rivka’s tent as well. Only then did he take the shidduch suggestion to the next level, not just accepting it at a first glance, but making sure. But that was already late in the game, when he was making a decision for marriage. The factors that make a prospect have potential is different at the beginning of a relationship and at the end. What Eliezer sought was different than what Yitzchak needed to seal the deal.
More about that coming soon…and remember my story:
A man with very severe pain in a tooth was complaining to a friend, who advised him to go to a dentist. The man went, and returned to the friend a few hours later, smiling broadly but without any teeth in his mouth. The friend asked, “What happened?”
“Boy, did I show that dentist,” he said. “She wanted me to tell her which tooth hurt. I told her, you’re the expert, you think you know it all, you are going to ask me to pay at the end of the visit. So, you figure out which tooth hurts. The dentist saw a big problem with one tooth and pulled that tooth. But I told her that wasn’t the one that was hurting. She saw a big problem with another tooth and pulled it. But, once again, that wasn’t the tooth that brought me into the dentist office.”
He said to his friend with glee, “She thinks she is so smart, but boy, did I get her good. She just kept pulling and pulling, and she must feel really stupid that she couldn’t get it right.”
Shadchanim who are trying to help singles get married can only help those who are working to help themselves. Sending out a pile of photographs and letting a single choose the best-looking one is not a viable path to marriage. Setting you up on a date and getting no feedback why it wasn’t the right direction is not going to help a shadchan re-route to find you someone more appropriate.