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info@shidduchcenter.org | 443.955.9887
Website sponsored by Mr. & Mrs. Malkiel Goldberger in honor of their precious children
info@shidduchcenter.org | 443.955.9887

Yated Shidduch Forum 11/10/17: When Knowing Too Much Starts to Hurt

Question:

We have a daughter in shidduchim. On a regular basis, we ask our wonderful son about prospective bochurim. Every boy has a chisaron, and no one knows boys better than other boys. Bochurim know others bochurim’s weaknesses and idiosyncrasies.

What has happened – and apparently this is an issue encountered by many parents of girls like us – is that our son has reasons – valid ones, based on his knowledge – to nix every shidduch. In a certain sense, as the velt says, ignorance is bliss. Sometimes, we know too much and it hurts us. That’s what seems to be happening with us. At the same time, how can we not ask our son about such information if he indeed knows these boys?

Allow us to point out that our son is smart, intuitive, on the ball, with an ayin tovah and the ability to accurately teitch people up. But, again, the honest info is rendering virtually every shidduch problematic. What to do? 

Answer:

As I would hope we are all well aware, not only does every young marriageable man have chesronos, every living person has chesronos. There is no perfect human being.

Imperfection is not only the inherent nature of the created person, but it is the foundation of our avoidas Hashem. As the Ramchal makes clear in the sefer Derech Hashem, our latent deficiencies are the very vehicle through which we can achieve true hatavah and dveikus from and with HaKadosh Boruch Hu. It is only by way of using our bechira to overcome the impulses stemming from our natural character flaws that we ascend as Yidden.

There is no one, nor has there ever been anyone, since the creation of man, who did not have to spend a lifetime battling their character flaws in service of the Boirei Oilam.

As this reality of the human condition relates to shidduchim and marriage, the goal is not to remain delightfully oblivious to the chesronos of potential mates, nor is it to disqualify shidduchim simply on the basis of the existence of chesronos – provided they are not of an enormity so great as to exceed what is to be expected of a person of that age, and at that stage of human development.

Rather, the objective is to make note of extant characteristics and chesronos, and reflect upon whether or not those specific traits and weaknesses prohibit this particular shidduch from being pursued.

That is to say, if a single man or woman struggles with anger or insensitivity, they are unlikely to be a proper match for someone who is of a more delicate nature. Whereas, if they were to be redt to someone with a thicker skin, it may be a fine match, and even provide just the right opportunity for this person to progress and grow, with the aid of their spouse, and conquer these less promising middos.

Similarly, if one lacks drive and self-motivation, paired with another who struggles with the same challenges, they may find great difficulty in meeting the obligations that taking care of a family requires. However, paired with someone who has sufficient motivation, the shidduch may be ideal. Assuming, of course, that the dearth of enthusiasm by the one person does not end up engendering feelings of resentment in the other, this balance between leisure and industriousness may be the glue that holds each of these individuals together and keeps them sane.

And, finally, if one is somewhat emotionally closed, while they may be a poor match for someone in need of warmth and open communication, a shidduch for such a person with one who is in no great need of much conversation or effusion of emotion may be a wonderful match.

Sometimes it is a matter of finding someone with a similar disposition, so that the chisaron of one is understood by the other. Other times, it may call for a match with someone who is of the opposite disposition, so that the two can balance one another out. And yet other times, it is not a matter of similar or dissimilar, but finding a match with someone of the right temperament so that one’s current nature and chesronos do not create serious depreciations in shalom bayis.

To further solidify the point, and not to make this too personal for the esteemed reader, I would imagine that the majority of parents are quite familiar with the chesronos of their children, as are most self-aware people rather conscious of their own chesronos.

Yet, despite these cognitions, we do not preclude our children from getting married, nor do most single men and women refrain from marriage simply because they are knowledgeable of their personal shortcomings. Again, this presumes we are not dealing with inadequacies or character defects that are indeed of a magnitude so great that they would make marriage a nonstarter until improvements are made.

Kol z’man that we are discussing normative chesronos – those that are but a byproduct of being human, and form the basis of our attempts at tikkun hamiddois – we accept the presence of chesronos within our children and within ourselves, and we do our utmost to improve upon them. We do not, however, take our hats out of the marriage ring.

Correspondingly, we must afford that same understanding of chesronos within others, inclusive of those we are considering as we explore potential shidduchim.

As we learn of and acknowledge the chesronos in others, we must then carefully deliberate as to whether or not those chesronos would forestall a successful marriage between these two individuals, given the sensitivities and personalities of both parties in the possible match. Using such a framework, if the discovered chesronos make the shidduch an impossibility, so be it.

Conversely, if the discovered chesronos do not fundamentally negate the prospective shidduch, the knowledge of those chesronos must be compartmentalized, and the shidduch may be proceeded with. In fact, being that we all have our issues, it is generally best to be aware of the chesronos of one’s future spouse before marriage, so as not to be crestfallen when those deficiencies inevitably come to light.

May the Chanun Hamarbeh L’sloiach give us all the capacity to perceive others favorably, appreciate their chesronos within the appropriate contexts, and with the same degree of latitude as we give ourselves.

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