Website sponsored by Mr. & Mrs. Malkiel Goldberger in honor of their precious children
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 3/1/19: We Already Gave a Yes. Can We Change Our Minds?

Question:

We gave a yes to a shidduch for our son, and as the girl’s side was checking out our son, the shadchan came back with a list of questions numerous times. We realized based on the questions that this was not a match. Both sides were looking for different attributes, and my son, in our opinion at that point, was not what they were looking for and vice versa.

We let the shadchan know while they were checking out my son that we were no longer interested and we explained why.

To put it mildly, the shadchan was very upset and felt that this was not fair to the girl, as we had already given a yes. We explained why we felt the way we did.

What are the panelists feelings about what we did? Didn’t we have a right to change our minds based on the questions being posed?

Answer:

Generally speaking, I believe it fair to say that once a yes has been given to a shidduch, one is duty-bound to refrain from abrogating their commitment. Nevertheless, there are also exceptions to every rule, and based on the narrative provided, it appears to me that this scenario meets criteria which would allow for the rescinding of a previously proffered yes. That said, I feel obliged to note that this presumes the young man in the equation concurs that the information brought to light is as unappealing to him as it is to his parents, and is of identical mind that the hitherto assent was indeed based on a significant oversight. 

Additionally, I would strongly recommend reaching out to the references of this young woman once more. The objective in doing so would be to gain clarity on this unforeseen incongruence, and to verify that the inferences made from these inquiries are being understood correctly, as opposed to it being purely a matter of miscommunication, sub-optimal subject presentation, or simply being perturbed by the style or sheer quantity of requests that have been dispatched.

As to why revocation would be acceptable in this case, to elaborate a little further, it is my opinion that when a yes is given, there is a tacit understanding that the affirmation is contingent on the particulars of the shidduch remaining reasonably static. However, should the discovery of impactful data lead one to justifiably sense that something is amiss –  and particularly when the source of that information is the nature of behavior displayed, or content of communication relayed, by the other side of the shidduch – one does have a measure of liberty when it comes to retracting their erstwhile consent.   

To be clear, this is not to say that realizing the young woman is an inch and a half shorter than expected, that the young man is a year older than one was originally told, or that a family does not always use crystal water pitchers on Shabbos would be grounds for immediate and complete deracination of the shidduch. Rather, if one unearths a serious and verifiable concern that had been otherwise undisclosed, or, and as seems to be the case here, if one has candid cause to believe that at the very core of the match, it is, in fact, untenable, it is not unconscionable to preemptively withdraw from the shidduch

It is not the required response, it is not easy to do, and it will almost certainly create pain for the person who was suddenly rejected after anticipating that an opportunity was securely held in their hands, but it is still not inherently the wrong thing to do.

And yet, that the shadchan was demonstrably dismayed by this determination is equally explicable. While a parent’s job is to advocate for their child and do right by them, and a dater’s job is to make the best decisions possible for themselves, the shadchan’s job is to champion shidduchim that they genuinely consider to have potential. Accordingly, it is entirely plausible that although this novel material was immensely off-putting to the young man’s side, the shadchan may have honestly felt that it was not quite so consequential and did not warrant the termination of the shidduch

As such, once the dust has settled, it would be advisable for all parties to politely agree to disagree, and to do their utmost to proceed with mutual respect, as everyone involved continues to seek out shidduchim which are truly matim.  

May the Adir Bamarom impart shalom v’shalva upon all those who find themselves caught amidst discord or discontent, and guide them towards ever brighter futures. 

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