I try to be involved in shidduchim when I can. Recently, two different people who I red shidduchim to asked me the same question. I was caught off guard and would like your advice on how I should have answered.
While redding shidduchim to these people, they asked me, “Would you be meshadech with the people you are redding to us?”
I knew that if I said no, there was no chance they would consider the shidduch, because “if it isn’t good enough for you, why should it be good enough for us?” Even if I would try to explain that what I need and what they need are different things, etc., I would get nowhere, because that’s the way people are. So should I have just fibbed and said, “Yes! Of course I would!?” I felt uncomfortable saying that.
So how am I to respond to people who ask me, “Would you be meshadech with the people you are redding to us?”
This question strikes me as being an excellent question and a very sad one, all at the same time. The difficulty you are expressing is real, but the premise behind it is so sadly misguided that I find myself at a bit of a loss in how to advise you.
In responding to your question I am going to assume that we are, of course, not talking about serious and objective reasons why you would not be meshadech with the family you are redding to someone else. Rather, we are talking about otherwise fine and upstanding people who for one reason or another might not be the right shidduch for you personally.
That said, in truth, you are 100% correct. What you may need and what someone else may need in a shidduch should have no correlation. I recently heard Reb Shraga Neuberger quote the Chazon Ish as saying that the ikur in shidduchim is to be goiver on sfaikois. Rabbi Neuberger explained this further by saying that every person has chesronos, but as introspective people we must use our sechel to make distinctions. One must be able to decide which chesronos that they see in another person are insurmountable for their needs, and which are not concerning enough to stop them from moving forward.
Chesronos are unavoidable, it is the human condition, but all chesronos have different impacts on different people. A chisoron that might implode a marriage for one person may be very negligible to the next.
Nonetheless, in our present society, this is often an extremely hard concept to successfully convey.
To begin with, so many distinctions these days are unnecessarily framed as good or bad, when they are merely different. As you yourself said, one of the replies you fear you will receive is, “if it isn’t good enough for you, why should it be good enough for us?” But not everything is about good enough or not good enough. It is about what is right for each person, and what might be right for one is not right for another.
Further compounding this issue is that the levels of conformity, uniformity and competition that currently prevail in our society make it very hard for some to distinguish why a particular chisoron in a prospective shidduch might make it not right for you but perfectly fine for them, and visa versa. If we look the same, act the same, talk the same, believe the same, and all strive to appear to be on the highest social strata of yiddishkeit, how could someone else’s flaw be an issue for you but not for me?
B’emes, I feel that the most appropriate thing to do would be to really and truly try and convey this concept to the person you are talking to. Unfortunately, I cannot say with any great confidence that it will achieve the desired effect, and a potentially wonderful shidduch might be lost.
On the other hand, chazal famously tell us that it is mutar lishanos lma’an hashalom. There is a difference of opinion if this means that one can actually lie, or only bend the truth a little, but in any case, there is some degree of wiggle room when it comes to honesty if the true purpose is to create shalom. And what greater shalom could there be than potentially creating a beautiful new Jewish home?
It is therefore very tempting for me to tell you that you should in fact answer this question by responding, “Yes! I would absolutely be meshadech with the people I am redding to you.” And what you mean is, “if I was you, yes, I would without hesitation be meshadech with this family.” Not because you are any less than me, but because I recognize that we are different people with different strengths, and if I had your strengths, capabilities and techunas hanefesh, instead of my own, I would pursue this shidduch. As long as you are sincerely not saying this from a place of superiority, it would indeed be an honest answer. However, I simply do not have the plaitzos to carry the burden of telling you to do that.
What I would suggest then, is asking a shaila. Speak to a posek and ask if such an answer is permissible. If it is, and could possibly bring a proper shidduch to fruition, you should be able to give that answer with confidence. It it is not permissible, then you must try and explain why although you might not enter this shidduch, there is no reason that they shouldn’t, and hope that this reality is one they can appreciate. Or, perhaps the posek you speak with will have yet another, and better, option, that is just not occurring to me.
May the Borei Olam grant you bracha v’hatzlacha bchol ma’aseh yadecha.