As a bochur in shidduchim for some time, with many friends in the same situation, and hearing that there are many girls also looking for their zivugim, I was wondering if there is anything that could be done to address this matter.
A married friend of mine told me that his wife has friends in the parsha for over two years who have not yet dated! Why aren’t we hearing about these girls?
Take a look at the frum real estate market. There are hundreds of agents working in that field. Yet, in the market of shidduchim, there are far fewer “agents” – namely, shadchanim. Now, obviously everyone has their basherte zivug and time, but b’derech hateva, if shadchanim were paid equivalent to other sales positions, wouldn’t there be more shadchanim, and in turn more shidduchim being redd, and we’d have more simchos?
I feel that shadchanim are undervalued and underpaid, and we may benefit drastically by paying them like it is a full-time job, because it is.
What do the panelists feel about this?
To be very clear, I have long been, and staunchly remain, a very strong proponent of increased recompense for shadchanim. And thus, I would wholeheartedly agree both to the statement that professional shadchanim are often overworked, overtired, underpaid, and underappreciated, and that compensation commensurate to their efforts would alleviate a number of issues that currently plague our shidduch system. Nevertheless, with respect to this particular scenario, I do not believe that the proposed extension of sorts to the Pythagorean theorem will bear out to be the sole solution to the equation. That is to say, I do not think it is as simple as saying “A2” (paying shadchanim what they deserve to be paid) + “B2” (more financial upside leading to the redding of more shidduchim) = “C2” (the pairing of long-standing single men with purportedly anonymous single women who have not gone out in a painfully long time).
As far as why that is the case, to the best of my knowledge, for the most part, these so called “unheard-of women” are very much not unknown, and they are not out of sight and out of mind. Neither on the single man’s side, nor the shadchan’s. Rather, they are commonly the ones who have been waitlisted whilst their counterparts choose to pursue other opportunities; as is any dater’s right, regardless of the prudence of each determination.
Indeed, and though there are certainly exceptions, such as single women who are relatively new to shidduchim and have not yet acclimated or received sufficient exposure to shadchanim and dating procedure, I can recall few instances wherein I was made aware that the lone cause for a single woman not having dated for months or more was purely because no one knew of her, and consequently, no one was offering suggestions on her behalf, be they from full-time or part-time shadchanim, family, or friends. On the contrary, typically, and quite unfortunately, these are women who have been redd to many single men, most of whom, or sometimes all of whom, said no. Meaning, despite numerous men hearing about these women all the time, they are not deigning to date them, which is to everyone’s detriment.
Hence, and with firm conviction, I would posit it to be an erroneous presumption that adding more shadchanim to the mix will, in and of itself, entirely fix the problem. It is but a portion of the answer.
Accordingly, there is an additional and equally momentous piece of the puzzle, and it is one which lies wholly within the sphere of the decision-making process on the dater’s side. If we would stop obsessing over pictures, height, and weight, that would have an impact. If we would stop deeming money, prestige, and school of attendance to be towering and preeminent features, that would have an impact. If we would stop stigmatizing divorce, geirus, ba’alei teshuva, and siblings or extended family members who are nonconforming or idiosyncratic, that would have an impact. If we would stop posturing and endeavoring to deduce what might make us look better in frum society, and instead earnestly looked inward in an attempt to truly identify and hone in on what is best for ourselves, that would have an impact. If we would stop treating others and ourselves as nothing more than snippets of information confined to a one-page resume, and instead engage in meaningful self-reflection, and come out on the other end sincerely understanding what is actually and honestly needed, that would have an impact. Without exaggeration, the list of mistaken priorities in our day and age goes on and on and on.
In short, if we continually made our primary focus the tamtzis of the person, and if we always regarded the compatibility of the shidduch on a personal level as an essential desideratum, and if we relegated externalities to secondary concerns at best, we might see markedly less women going without dates for unbearable stretches, and considerably less men having to date scores of women before realizing that the person they sorely need is the person they keep ignoring for nothing more than trivialities. More remuneration and more shadchanim devoting themselves to the task will certainly go a long way. But more people making determinations for the right reasons just might go even further.
May the Einei Kol Eilecha Yisabeiru open and illuminate our collective eyes, hearts, and minds so that we may recognize, value, admire, and esteem that which is truly of import and implication when it comes to shidduchim.