I am an out-of-town mother. Due to financial difficulties, it would be a major strain on us to send our daughter to a “top” seminary, but we feel obligated as parents to accept this due to the fact that, these days, our daughter may have difficulties getting a good shidduch. Does the panel think that it makes sense to accept this financial burden on ourselves?
Right or wrong, fair or unfair, it could justifiably be said that everything which one is doing or has done, everything which their family members are doing or have done, and that everything which has transpired in their collective background, carries enough weight to impact one’s prospects in shidduchim. From the professions of one’s parents, all the way down to the outfits that their three-year-old sibling wears on Shabbos, it is all there painting an ever-changing portrait. In short, anything could mean something to someone.
And indeed, if that is the prism through which a family decides to craft their reality, each and every minute decision can be made to hinge primarily on how that move will affect the present or future shidduch candidacy of their progeny.
However, and as should be painfully self-evident, perpetually looking over one’s shoulder; suppressing one’s true needs and those of their family members; denying the genuine essence of who they all are; and papering over their family’s past history, is no way to live. Moreover, the sad irony of it all is that inauthenticity creates nothing more than a meager façade. And when the time to begin dating rolls around, that thin veneer will not fool anyone. Those looking into a shidduch will generally get to the bottom of things, and worse yet, they will likely be turned off by what they view as a grand spectacle which lacks real substance.
Consequently, when determining what to do and where to go after high school, I believe the proper route to take is that of discerning which school is best suited for the student. If that institution proves economically out-of-reach, a family must then evaluate whether sacrifices can and should be made, in order to provide their daughter with an opportunity to attend the seminary which appears to be the ideal fit for her. When all the dust settles, and a selection is made – based on that which is most advantageous for the young woman, and that which is fiscally feasible for her family – if there are ramifications vis-à-vis shidduchim that follow, they will have to be handled accordingly.
B’ezras Hashem, outsiders looking in will not only appreciate the reasons for the choice that was made, but will also recognize and respect that this is a family which takes care of itself in a healthy and confident manner. When that is what people see, and when they shift their focus to the compatibility of the match on a interpersonal level, I can think of nothing more appealing to behold. After all, who would not want their own child to join ranks with a wholesome, loving, considerate, functional family, and one that they can trust will ensure the wellbeing of each member – new or old – through thick and thin.
May the Noheig Bechasdo Kol Dor confer upon us the capacity to be compassionate with ourselves, with our family, and with all those with whom we interact.