With children in shidduchim, I often encounter the issue of yichus. I am wondering if you, as shadchanim, find that people are hung up on this.
Interestingly, I recently read that someone asked Rav Avigdor Miller zt”l how much emphasis they should put on yichus when choosing a shidduch. Rav Miller responded that if the yichus is that the girl “comes from good parents, her father is a talmid chochom, a decent man, and her mother is a quiet decent woman, then that’s the best yichus there is.” He added that “the best yichus is a good upbringing and good chinuch.”
I must tell you that when I deal with the yichus issue in shidduchim, it has nothing to do with what Rav Miller mentioned. It has more to do with fathers and grandfathers who are prominent, about “name” families, and things like that. On a practical level, why am I finding an emphasis on this more superficial type of yichus than on the more toichen-type yichus enumerated by Rav Miller?
Though I would not go so far as to catalogue this phenomenon as pandemic, or even endemic, for that matter, I would confidently opine that it is ruefully common. And regarding its legitimacy, as myriad gedolei Yisroel have issued statements on the topic, virtually echoing the sentiments of Rav Avigdor Miller ztz’’l, and excoriating the practice as incontrovertibly divergent from the canon of true Torah values, I think it fair to say it has none.
As far as the why of it all, it really is no different to me than any other of the copious and sundry nitid trivialities which many of us often get lost in or distracted by, effectively superseding a focus aimed at items of authentic import and meaning, and that have actual relevance to quality of character or degree of marital compatibility.
Perhaps it is because those genuinely noteworthy elements are far subtler, and at times, even intangible. Perhaps it is simply because they are not particularly exciting. Whatever the causation, I think it inarguable that we currently suffer, as a Klal, from a general outlook and attitude which fails to afford due and proper value to the significant, opting instead to exert infinitely more energy and attention in the service of “acquiring” the petty and inconsequential.
Lastly, with respect to putting an end to this misguided convention, while I doubt this lone narrative will elicit much in the way of surcease in the near future, it is conceivable that a collectively sustained underscoring of the error of this stance will lead to improvements further on down the road. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
May the Mashpil Gaeim U’magbiah Shefalim shower us all with shrewdness and strength sufficient to separate the significant from the slight, and may that surfeit of sensibility subsequently segue into the securing and settling of a superabundance of sublime batim neemanim b’Yisroel.