I am from out of town and have already gone to meet shadchanim in the tri-state area twice. I have probably met about twenty-five shadchanim already. My mother wants me to go to more places, but I think I’ve met enough people. When do I say, “Enough”? All I need is one boy from one shadchan.
I know that the ikkar hishtadlus is tefillah, but when is it time to meet more shadchanim if nothing worked from any of the ones I went to already?
Basically, my question is: How do I know where to draw the line between normal hishtadlus and trying too hard?
Much like in any other area of life where one is trying to ascertain where hishtadlus ends and hashgacha takes over, it is nearly impossible to mark, definitively, where that line is. Being that that is the case, instead of trying to give you an exact answer, I would like share a few of thoughts with you, in the hope that they will help to guide you as you make these types of decisions.
While you are correct in saying that you only need “one boy from one shadchan,” there is no way to know which shadchan it will be who knows that boy, and thinks to set you up with him. It is also very possible that it will be a family member or friend who knows this one boy, and it will be one of them, not a shadchan, who sets you up with him.
With that in mind, when each of us meets our bashert, does it mean – in hindsight – that all of the time and energy we spent directed towards efforts that seemingly did not lead to our shidduch were a waste? Certainly not. There is no way for us to know where our shidduch will come from, and until that time comes, we must expend efforts towards any reasonable avenue that may bring our shidduch about.
It would also seem fair to say that while, on the surface, certain efforts may not appear to have brought about one’s shidduch, there is no way to actually see the totality of our efforts and how they are all connected. Only Hakadosh Boruch Hu can see and orchestrate such things.
When it comes to “drawing the line,” I recently heard Rebbetzin Lea Feldman say the following regarding measuring our hishtadlus; “You have to do, but you don’t have to overdo.” I think we could rightly say that the point where one is “trying too hard” is right about at the same point where one feels like they are “overdoing it.”
The question then becomes; how does we define “overdoing”? I think that we could define overdoing as the point where one is so utterly exhausted or frustrated that they become unable to meet another shadchan or they are concerned that in their present state of mind they might not give a positive impression to the shadchan. When a person feels like they have reached that point, it is then that they could benefit from taking a break and seeing what comes as a result of their hishtadlus thus far.
The same way that someone with a job takes a break from work in the form of a vacation, in order to recharge themselves and return to work at their best, so it is with shidduchim. One of the “jobs” of those in shidduchim is to meet shadchanim and go on dates. As long as one is physically and emotionally able to do so, that is an integral part of their hishtadlus. Again, keeping in mind that it is not necessary, or healthy, to completely devote all of one’s time and energy only towards hishtadlus for shidduchim, or to do so in a fashion that will be detrimental to them. It should also be clear that how much hishtadlus one can do before needing to take a break, and how long a break they will need, will vary from person to person.
There is one final point I would like to add. I cannot remember exactly in which sefer I saw this, but I once saw it said that when a person feels that they have reached the end of their rope in a learning seder, they should learn one more paragraph or for just a few more minutes. The reason for this is to make sure that one is not closing their sefer before they have really reached their maximum capability in talmud torah. I wonder if the same could be said here as far as one’s assessing their point of feeling that they are closing in on overdoing things. Maybe, just maybe, as one begins to feel like they are getting overwhelmed, and on the verge of approaching overdoing, if they still have just enough energy and can present well, they should meet one more shadchan, or make a couple more follow-up phone calls/emails to shadchanim they have met in the past. Simply for the sake of being sure that one is not selling themselves short on the hishtadlus that is proper for them before they take a break.
In the end, whatever tactic one uses, the goal is for each individual to do their best in gauging what their point of overdoing is. As long as we are honest with ourselves and are seeking the proper guidance from Rabbeim, parents and teachers, we will hopefully have the siyata dishmaya to successfully draw that line.