I thought of an idea to help address our shidduchim needs. Why not have boys/girls send in a short clip of themselves talking about themselves and what they are looking for in a shidduch and their priorities? This would be very helpful in preventing DOA shidduch dates and would have a lot more people going out on dates which they may have avoided had they not seen the clip. In order to ensure privacy, these videos would be sent to shadchanim only. This can also keep the shadchanim’s memories refreshed, as they can refer to the videos as needed.
In discussing the changes brought about through partaking of the Eitz Hadaas, Rabbi B.C. Shloime Twerski ztz’l delineates the following transmutation which took hold in the very essence of our intellect, consciousness, and being.
When mankind was created, the Borei Olam fashioned us with the capacity to wholly and neutrally welcome new experiences. Adam HaRishonstood completely open to the prospect of impactful internal transformation, thus providing him with an optimal readiness for personal and spiritual elevation. This attribute was meant to endure forever, and it fully incorporated the ability to refrain from making any preemptive predictions related to what might be produced after traversing unfamiliar territory. However, through feasting from the famously forbidden fruit, we became susceptible to prefiguring and postulating. And because we fear change so profoundly, we make these definitive presuppositions about the new things that come along in life and that which we will take away from them, so that everything novel essentially remains in sync with who we already are and with that which we already want. This is the loss we have sustained as a consequence of the Original Sin; we deeply desire to “know” prior to engaging in actual study and in advance of journeying through uncharted waters, effectively precluding sincere and meaningful metamorphosis.
Insofar as this reality touches every aspect of humanity, it should then be equally applicable to shidduchim. And indeed, there was a time in the not so distant past when a suggestion would be made, a few calls would be placed – or maybe none at all if there was sufficient trust in the one who presented the idea – and then the two people would go out together. If it went well, the dates would continue, and if it was a nonstarter, that would be the end of things. It does not appear that there was such an interminable fear of, Heaven forbid, having to go out on a date that turned out to be utterly off base. That was simply part of the process, and perhaps it was better understood and appreciated that the hishtadlusof shidduchim was likely to entail and demand some rough moments and time ostensibly wasted.
Regrettably, that is no longer the case. With the passage of time, the shidduch resume was born and has become de rigueur. It is also standard to spend untold hours calling and interrogating both listed and unlisted references, seeking to unearth every ounce of material that possibly can be gathered before acquiescing to a date. During the past half decade or so, the controversial shidduch picture emerged on the scene as normative, hoping to peel back yet another layer of the mask. And now, we are talking about recording one another in quasi-candid fashion, to further unravel the dreaded mystery.
On the face of it, and as laid out in the question presented, we are commonly content to convince ourselves that our intentions are noble with each of these unceasing pro forma additions. We hope to prevent awkward dates. We hope to avoid unnecessary expenses. We hope to spare critical time from being squandered. We hope to lend a little more promise to each shidduch that is redd. We hope to ease the shadchan’s burden. We hope to make more shidduchim! We hope and we hope and we hope. But to be frank, I am doubtful. I am so very skeptical about it all, and as it seems to me, we are doing nothing more than placating and satiating our ancient and overpowering yearning to “know” before we learn and before we stride into heretofore foreign terrain.
May the Yatzar Ha’adam B’tzalmo return us to our loftier primigenial state, one where we allow new things to be what they are meant to be – truly and earnestly new – so that we can all truly and earnestly grow.