My husband and I have a son in shidduchim and we are looking for money. There, I said it. I know, one isn’t to supposed to say it so openly. But we are. We’ve been down the other road, and it is just too hard for us to carry an additional couple financially.
My friend tells me that she doesn’t understand it. My response is that I do not understand her pursuit of “yichus” when it comes to her children’s shidduchim.
I am looking for money. She’s looking for yichus. Why can’t I look for what I think we need without having to be questioned about it?
Before addressing your specific question, I feel compelled to note that, above all, what we should all be looking for in shidduchim is two people who are right for each other on a personal level. Middos, personality, life goals and hashkafos. While we can certainly understand some of the practical motivations, and the inherent appeal, in prioritizing money, yichus or looks, any rav, teacher, or mentor with experience will not hesitate to say that such things do not a happy marriage make. This is not to say that such considerations cannot, or should not, be secondary priorities – when appropriately sought after – but first and foremost, the shidduch must be right on the basic personal levels.
If a shidduch were redd to your son with a fine young woman from a fine and loving family, with children and children in-law who are equally fine and well adjusted, and if your son dated this young woman, connected with her emotionally, felt that on the basic personal levels the shidduch was maatim, and was physically attracted to her, but, her family was financially unable to provide significant support, would you insist that your son find someone else, even though he felt that this young woman was his bashert and every other non-monetary aspect of the shidduch was exactly what he wanted and needed? If your answer to that question would be, “Yes, he should look for another young woman to marry,” I would be both astounded and taken aback. And if that were your answer, I believe that some serious revaluating would be in order.
Additionally, it is imperative to clarify what is meant by the statements “looking for money” or “looking for yichus,” in order to answer your question. If “looking for money” means looking to marry one’s son only to a family with millions of dollars so he may live a life of leisure and luxury, and if “looking for yichus” means looking to marry one’s son only to the family of a prominent and world-renowned Rosh Yeshiva or Posek so he may feel highly important by association, then I would have to say we are dealing with inappropriate priorities. Such demands are neither realistic nor necessary, and they severely limit the opportunities available to one’s child.
Therefore, in addressing your question, I am going to assume that in this context, “looking for money” means looking for a family that can significantly help in supporting your son and future daughter-in-law in their early years of marriage while they live a normal and regular lifestyle that is appropriate for a couple living on someone else’s dime. As well, I will assume that the reason for this is not because one is disinterested in providing support for their child and wants to pass the buck, but rather, because they are simply unable to bear that financial responsibility and they want their son to be able to learn for a few years or get a degree without the stress of having to work at the same time. I will also assume that “looking for yichus” means looking for a young woman from a family with strong values and whose dedication to yiddishkeit is known to be beyond reproach. And, that the reason for this is not to assume importance through the shidduch, but rather, because one is looking for a young woman who will raise children and build a home with the same dedication and value-sets that she was raised with herself.
As long as that is the case, I think it is fair to say that you are correct. Each person has the right to decide for themselves what factors they consider important to look for in their quest for a shidduch, and what they do not, as long their primary concern is finding a spouse who is most compatible with their child’s needs. What someone else may be looking for is inconsequential, and it is not really anyone’s business to question another person’s priorities, unless they are truly concerned that the priorities of a friend are unhealthy or damaging.
Financial resources and yichus are both normative and age-old considerations when it comes to looking for a shidduch, and neither would be considered objectively worrisome priorities, as long as they are being pursued both in a reasonable fashion and for the right reasons. It is not important for your friend to understand why money is as significant a factor to you as it is, and it is equally unimportant for you to understand why yichus is as significant a factor to your friend as it is. What is important, however, is that you each respect the needs of one another, regardless of your differences in priorities or needs.
It is not necessary to understand another person’s priorities in order to respect and appreciate them. Whatever help and support one can give to another, should be given, even when another’s priorities are different from our own. For example, if a friend is looking for a shidduch and one does not agree with, or understand, their friend’s priorities, but knows of a shidduch idea that fits their friend’s needs, one should absolutely do their best to redd the shidduch or present it to a shadchan to redd. Hesitating to do so because one does not understand or agree with their friend’s priorities would be the antithesis of v’ahavta l’rayecha kamocha.
People are not all the same, and regardless of how one may personally feel about another’s needs, interests or priorities, as long as they are not inappropriate, we must do our best to help them, just as we hope they would do the same for us. Not only should we be helping one another, irrespective of our differences, we should do so with grace and kindness. Instead of questioning another person, or making them feel bad about their needs or priorities that are different from our own, we should look to understand that different people with different life circumstances may have differing needs, and that we can be there for each another, with respect and understanding, all the same.
May Hashem see that all of our singles find appropriate zivugim, with whom they can live long, happy and healthy lives together, building homes that bring nachas ruach to their families, to Klal Yisroel and to HaKadosh Boruch Hu.