Our daughter just went out with a boy before Rosh Chodesh Iyar. The boy had a beard, but it was shvach. He is somewhat follicly challenged. It’s a Sefirah beard and it’s not the greatest. And halachah is halachah.
The boy mentioned on the date that he doesn’t have a specific minhag regarding which Sefirah he keeps, and every year he is able to pick whichever “half” he wants.
And so, although we are able to look past the boy’s temporary Sefirah appearance and see his inner quality maylos, shouldn’t it be a little concerning that the boy didn’t see a reason to keep the second half of Sefirah this year? Does this indicate that he’s lacking the seriousness the process deserves?
I should mention that this boy is going into the freezer, so he knew that he’s either dating before Rosh Chodesh or not dating during Sefirah at all.
Well, this is certainly an interesting question. Although, as you have astutely pointed out, since this bachur was headed into the freezer, theoretically, he could have predicted that his only opportunity to date would be before the z’man starts, and as such, perhaps he should have kept the second half of Sefirah this year in order to shave for a date, it does not seem from your question that this date was actually set up before Pesach was over.
If that presumption is correct, the question then becomes: Should this bachur, who presumably has never dated before, and who didn’t have a date when Pesach ended, foreseen that he might be given the name of a young woman to date which sounded shayach; that his family would look into her and say yes; that, in turn, her side would then look into him and also say yes – all within a period of about 8 days; and that, therefore, he should have had in mind on the day after Pesach that he would keep the second half of Sefirah this year, so that he can shave before Rosh Chodesh should he end up going on a date?
Ideally, the answer is, yes, he should have picked up on that; and if we were talking about a more experienced dater, I would think it more reasonable to expect him to make calculations such as the above. However, for a bachur who has never dated before and had no assurance that he would be dating at all between Isru Chag and Rosh Chodesh, I would give him a little more leeway and not take it as any kind of indicator regarding his level of seriousness towards dating.
That said, I do think this fellow made a more notable, small gaffe, than the one you have already noted. Namely, his making mention of the fact that in theory he could have looked more presentable on the date, in so far as he does not specifically keep the first half of Sefirah every year.
Had he refrained from sharing his lack of having a specific Sefirah minhag, everyone would probably have assumed that he keeps the first half, and your concern would have never materialized at all. Knowing how to keep rather meaningless, but potentially harmful, information such as that to oneself, is a far more important dating skill than being able to foresee the future and pick up a shaver.
All that said, I do not believe either of these gaffes portend this bachur to be dating in any kind of desultory manner. They strike me much more so as minor rookie mistakes than anything else. And, again, being that we are talking about a bachur who has never dated before, and who was probably suffering from some first date jitters, I would consider this whole matter a non-issue and simply move on. Especially so, given your statement that your daughter was able to look past this young man’s somewhat disorderly facial hair situation and see something infinitely more important – his penimiousdikah maylois – which is what really matters here.
In conclusion, it sounds to me that there will be a second date (perhaps his beard will be stronger at that point!), and, consequently, I would recommend that as your daughter continues to date this bachur, she delve further into those inner qualities which redound to his credit, and less into his facial hair.
To add one closing point, I believe this week’s question affords us the opportunity to revisit a matter of great importance. B’zmaneinu, it has become increasingly common to lose sight of those aspects which are substantive and meaningful in shidduchim, and get caught up instead on aspects which are decidedly less so.
As such, I would like to take a moment to note how crucial it is to keep our attention directed towards inyanim which carry significance, and to stay focused on the features of a shidduch which truly matter when making decisions in shidduchim.
May your daughter have bracha v’hatzlacha in her dating and may Hashem Eloikey HaTzvakois bring her to the chupah, b’lev malei sasson v’simcha.