My son will begin shidduchim soon, having returned from learning in Eretz Yisroel this past Sukkos. My son has many maalos and we’ve been fortunate to be redd many shidduchim. I have a stack of résumés on my kitchen table. I am not saying this to boast. I am mentioning it because, as strange as it might sound, it’s extremely overwhelming.
I have no idea where to even start and which shidduchim to look into. The girls really all sound excellent. Obviously, there are differences in family and things like that, but I haven’t yet been able to come up with a system for sorting through the names being redd.
Do the panelists have any suggestions in this regard?
While at first glance your question might not evoke much sympathy from those who read it – it could come off sounding like a frustrated g’vir asking what to do with all of his money – you do raise a very valid and relevant concern. Aniyus is a nisayon which we can all relate to, but ashirus is a nisayon in its own right as well, and can prove to be immensely difficult.
Generally speaking, it is my very strong opinion that the first and foremost consideration in deciding which shidduch idea to pursue first is how maatim the young man and woman appear to be for each other. It is far more important than family fit, support, location, or any other appealing external factor, and will be the most crucial point in a healthy marriage. THE driving force behind which shidduch should take precedence, in my personal opinion, is how good the idea sounds vis a vis the personality, hashkafah, and life goals of the single people themselves.
Of course, we never can really know if two people are actually maatim for each other until they actually go out. But, within reason, we can make a fair assumption, based on research and what we know about each of the single people in question, if the idea sounds great, good, or off base.
Although this might sound obvious, it is both easy and common, particularly b’zmanainu, for people not to approach shidduchim in this manner. Getting caught up in the trappings of a shidduch will fast distract us from focusing on what is most important question regarding a shidduch: Do this young man and woman sound right for one another?
However, this route is only practical when one is dealing with a smaller amount of profiles being suggested and when some ideas, in fact, appear more maatim than others. In your case, that does not seem to be the reality. When numerous ideas are being offered, it is simply not possible to look deeply into all of them, and even if one did so, there might be a dozen ideas that all appear to be maatim for the young man and woman.
In such a situation as yours, I would recommend adopting a more pragmatic approach. If possible, try to discern, to the best of your ability, which prospective shidduchim appear to be most maatim – at the very least, on a surface level. If that is just not possible, then skip to the following step.
As hesitant as I am to say this, for the sake of not drowning in information overload, I think you should prioritize the profiles based on the higher ranking external factors that you and your son may be looking for. If there is a preference for your son to date a young woman that lives in the same city, or specifically not in the same city, as he does, that is a fine place place to start. Or, if your son would prefer to date a young woman whose father is a yoideiah sefer and works in klei kodesh, you can further whittle it down based on that. Or perhaps he wants a father-in-law who is in business, also fine. And so on and so forth until you have a manageable amount of profiles that you can explore more deeply and see which young women sound the most maatim for your son.
If the first go-round proves unsuccessful, you can go back to the profiles, along with any additional ones that may have presented, and begin looking further into ideas that may lack some of the external factors, but still appear hopeful as far as being maatim.
B’ezras Hashem, a fine young woman will emerge from the profiles you have, sooner than later, and she and your son will build a bayis ne’eman b’Yisroel together.