Thank you for considering our question, which is timely and is weighing on us very much.
We are blessed with a son who is a metzuyan. You might say that we are biased parents, but we were told by his rosh yeshiva and his rabbeim throughout the years what an outstanding ben Torah he is. “He’s our best,” is what we heard for years.
We don’t take it for granted. We thank Hashem every day for this brachah.
A shidduch was recently redd, and we found out from the shadchan that the reason the other side said no was because “the girl’s father couldn’t understand how such a metzuyan like our son didn’t learn in Yeshiva_____ in Eretz Yisroel.”
My son was confident in his decision to learn in a different yeshiva, despite the fact that many of his peers went to learn in the more well-known Yeshiva_____.
Anyway, apparently that girl’s father later did a bit more research and was informed that our son is the cream of the crop, and he’d “be crazy not to pursue it>”
“He was told that your son is the top bochur in his entire grade,” the shadchan told us, “so he has had a change of heart and is giving a yes.”
My son, an aidele boy who is also smart and perceptive, having heard about the back and forth, told us gently that he is not interested in the shidduch, despite the various maalos it has. “If a father of a girl can, even temporarily, reject a bochur because he didn’t learn in Yeshiva A or Yeshiva B, even though he heard wonderful things, is not the type of person I can look up to as a father-in-law.”
We believe that our son has a point, but we are wondering: How much are we to fight him about this? Are we to respect his opinion and move on? Or are we to try to point out the maalos of this shidduch and convince him to overlook the seeming shallowness – albeit temporary – of the girl’s father?
Before answering your question, there is one point that I would like to address because I think it touches on a valuable lesson that will be beneficial to highlight. It is clear from your words that you are involving your son in the process of deciding whom he will be dating. I can’t stress enough how important this is. There are some parents who completely detach their children from having any say whatsoever in whom they will date, and there are some singles who put the entire decision on their parents and want nothing to do with it.
In certain specific cases, it may be best for the single to be removed, but in most cases the single really must be involved in such decisions. As a shadchan once told me, “If someone is ready to get married and live on their own, they should also be ready to be a part of deciding whom they will date.” As well as any parent may know their child, each single should be able to hear the results of their parent’s research and take part in deciding who it is that they want to date, based on their needs and whether or not they feel that the person being redd sounds like a good match for those needs.
Returning to your specific question, what stands out most to me is a common thread which appears throughout the narrative of the dilemma you are facing. Namely, that final decisions being made appear to be based on matters that are external to the shidduch itself.
To begin with, the father of the young woman decided not to agree to the shidduch because he was underwhelmed by the yeshiva your son went to, and feels that it is questionable if your son really could be a metzuyan if he did not go to Yeshiva ___. Only after being strongly reassured that your son is indeed a top bachur, and that there was a particular personal reason why he did not attend the inestimable Yeshiva ___, did he reconsider.
Subsequent to this string of events, your son feels that he could not possibly respect the father of this young woman as his father-in-law due to the reason behind the father’s original hesitation to the shidduch. As such, he would prefer not to date this man’s daughter.
In none of these matters has anyone made the principal focus of saying yes or no based on the actual young man and young woman themselves.
What does the father of the young woman think of your son as a potential husband to his daughter based on her techunas hanefesh and personal needs? Does being a top bachur make a better husband? Is that what his daughter needs in a husband? Or does it just feel more chashuv to say that one’s eidim is the cream of the crop?
What does your son think about the young woman herself as far as her being a potential wife to him based on his techunas hanefesh and personal needs? It is certainly understandable that his feelings are hurt after hearing that his choice of yeshiva was displeasing enough to the young woman’s father to cause him to pass on the shidduch originally, but to go so far as to say that he could never respect this man as his father-in-law, even after he realized his error, seems a bit extreme.
Furthermore, while this young woman’s father does appear to have made a mistake, and his priorities do appear questionable, he does not seem to me to be a person who objectively could not ever be respected based solely on the information at hand. It would be vital to ascertain if his decisions in this case are reflective of his family’s overall set of values, especially including his daughter, or if the father alone simply got overwhelmed and sidetracked by the trappings of shidduchim. If his daughter is indeed the right person for your son, your son will undoubtedly move past this experience and view it as infinitesimally small in comparison to what is really important, which is what he thinks and feels about the young woman herself. Additionally, should they get married, it may even prove to be a humorous family anecdote about how they were set up. Calamity often becomes humor after the storm has passed.
Of course, no single can, or should, ever be forced to go out with someone whom they do not want to date, for any reason, but each single should be making the decision to date or not date someone, for the right reasons, and with all the information in front of them.
My recommendation would be to sit down with your son, review what it was that you heard about the young woman herself, and what it was about her that appealed to your son’s needs enough that he originally said yes. Certainly, a person’s relationship with their father-in-law is important, but right now your son is looking for a wife, not a father-in-law.
If after further consideration regarding the young woman herself, your son decides that he does, in fact, want to continue pursuing this shidduch, kol hakavod. If not, that is also fine, as long as the decision is primarily being made based on his feelings about this young woman being a potential match for him on a personal level and based on what he is looking for in a future wife.
B’ezras Hashem, you, your son, and all the parents and singles of Klal Yisroel will be matzliach in making the right decisions, for the right reasons, when it comes to shidduchim, and that the result will be more baatim ne’emanim b’yisroel, with true shalom bayis.