I have been redding shidduchim in my spare time for well over a decade, amounting to hundreds of suggestions. I’ve yet to make a shidduch.
My husband keeps encouraging me to continue, because it’s a big zechus, and one day I’ll finally succeed, but I think I’m done. I feel that it’s kind of like if someone opens a suit store, and after twelve years, they haven’t sold one suit yet. It would be ludicrous for him to remain open. I don’t see a difference. Please advise.
While I can fully appreciate and understand the frustration being felt after so many attempts that appear fruitless, I would like to offer a different perspective, and it is my hope that it will encourage you, and anyone else who is on the verge of burnout, to continue in this avodas hakodesh. And to do so, I will offer two stories; one to address the comparatively nigleh side of shidduchim, and another to address that which remains forever nistar.
1. Not too long ago, a shadchan came across the profile of a young man living on the West Coast. She thought he might be a good match for a young woman living on the East Coast, so she reached out, introduced herself, and redd the shidduch. The young man agreed, travelled across the country, and the couple went out a few times. Alas, while the idea was on point, it did not make it to the finish line. Having earned the trust of this bachur, and showing an ability to understand what he was looking for, that same shadchan redd him to another young woman, and again he trekked from West Coast to East. On paper, the shidduch showed promise, and assuming they would go out a handful of times, he booked an extended trip, thus accommodating for three or four properly spaced dates. Unfortunately, it was a one and done.
When this fellow returned from his disappointing date, he mentioned to his host that it went poorly, leaving him with nothing to do for the next number of days. After thinking for a few moments, the host suggested an idea of his own, and asked if his guest was game to try it out. Indeed, the couple went out, and a few months later they were married. True, the spontaneous and kindhearted host received the final credit for having “made” the shidduch, but that in no way negates the fact that its apotheosis only materialized through the so called “failures” of the original shadchan. If not for her prior labors, that bachur would never have been in that house, and who knows what his future, and that of his kallah, would have looked like. Every time an idea is conveyed or a date is arranged, it opens the door to infinite possibilities that otherwise might lay dormant forever.
2. Many years ago, Rabbi B.C. Shloime Twerski ztz’l was asked why people need to go to work (great question!). We are told clearly by Chazal that our yearly sustenance is predetermined by HaKadosh Boruch Hu on Rosh Hashanah, so why should we do anything other than sit back and relax, waiting for the money to fall into our laps? To which Rabbi Twerski replied, that is not how this decree functions. Rather, we are assured a set amount of parnassah, contingent on the hishtadlus we put forth. That is to say, the g’zeira is not simply, “Ploni will be given X this year.” It is more correctly represented as, “After doing Y, Ploni will then be given X.”
It has long seemed to me that shidduchim is not too dissimilar from the above. Chazal have provided us with an equally lucid statement regarding the predestined nature of matrimonial union, and yet, single men and women do not remove themselves from proactive endeavors, merely waiting for their appointed spouse to arrive on the porch. As is made exceedingly plain by the meforshei Tanach, any forthcoming bestowal that has been designated from on High may in some way or another be contingent on our actions, be they those of an individual or those of Am Yisroel collectively. We must do our part. Always. And if we do not, we may be squandering the shower of bracha that lies in wait for us.
However, and though the natural created order of the universe lends some verisimilitude to the effectiveness of our handiwork, in reality, the connection between our hishtadlus and the beneficence of the Borei Olam is rarely, if ever, revealed to us. Someone may spend hours crafting their résumé, spend weeks on the road tracking down leads, interview for 15 jobs, and after all that, an old chavrusa from years past calls up with an offer of employment. Does that mean his previous toil was in vain? Of course not. Every ounce of energy went towards fulfilling his hishtadlus quota, and was 100% necessary to be expended for that seemingly unrelated phone call to occur. Shidduchim are very much the same. Every meeting with shadchanim made, every phone call placed, every email or text message sent, every suggestion researched, every dollar spent, every date gone on… it all gets deposited into our hishtadlus account, and Hashem Yisborach does not miss a penny.
All said, though we are not even remotely in the position of ever being certain that our efforts will play out in a fashion that even slightly resembles that which we desire, we do know that those efforts are requisite, and are impactful in ways far, far outside the grasp of our limited human comprehension. To anyone who is willing to roll up their sleeves and provide avenues for single men and women to exert normative forms of hishtadlus, ashrecha. You are laying the foundation for the construction of secret worlds that extend beyond and vastly surpass our wildest dreams.
May the Kocho Ugevuraso Malei Olam confer a steady surfeit of strength, conviction, confidence, and menuchas hanefesh upon all those who are oisek in shidduchim.