A century ago,reddingashidduchrequired significant effort on theshadchan’s behalf, traveling to someone’s home across town or even traveling for days to another town to relay information. Nowadays, shidduch résumé sharing occurs with little effort and sometimes no thought.
Amother with a boy inshidduchimtold me that ashadchanshared with her 15 girls’shidduchprofiles in one day.This is what I would call “massshidduchsharing.”He had done some homework, knew they were overall excellent girls, and was in general terms seeing which girls the parents would show further interest in. A few weeks later, a good friend of the mother’sreddher one girl who she knew very well.The friend was on top of the game, and theshidduchproceeded along to the point of dating and eventual engagement. The boy’s parents were aware that the othershadchanhad shared this name, too, but they were much more comfortable using this friend to be the shadchan, as she knew both sides well.The originalshadchancame back to the boy’s parents expecting his piece of the pie. How can someone expect reimbursement for just “name dropping”?
Insofar as the chronicle’s concluding conundrum cascades squarely into the realm of a halachic shaila, as opposed to being a matter of subjective opinion, and given that the halachos of how exactly shadchanus must be paid out is highly nuanced in these types of scenario’s, I believe that any final and practical adjudication can only be issued by a posek who is well-versed in this area of halacha, and only after being provided with painstakingly clear details regarding the participation and impact of each shadchan party to this shidduch.
That said, I do feel it is important to note, in a broader sense, that while résumé dumping may indeed be utterly insignificant (and for many recipients, not only is it quite fatuous, it is also reprobative, burdensome, and annoying), if the fact that a résumé was shared did meaningfully move the needle with respect to either family’s willingness to proceed when the shidduch was redd again later by someone else, that alone may suffice to have earned the first shadchan a percentage of the shadchanus. It can be a rather arduous chore precisely untangling which shadchan effectuated what outcome, but degree of difficulty may be irrelevant when it comes to who is owed a check.
Parenthetically, I am also compelled to contest the notion expressed in the opening lines of the narrative presented, and its implied scarification of a shadchan’s work, b’zmaneinu. Yes, the decidedly confined act of electronically communicating dozens of profiles can be done expediently and with truly minimal effort. However, that does not in any way detract from the reality that being a shadchan and making shidduchim remains an exceedingly challenging and time-consuming undertaking. That we live in a day and age of technological advancements heretofore unseen, and simply unimaginable to prior generations, does not change the nature of the charge itself. Smart phones and emails do not negate Chazal’s comparison of zivugim to Kriyas Yam Suf.
How many hours did it take for the first shadchan to meet with all 15 of those young women, tediously teasing out what they were looking for in a husband and learning about their varied backgrounds? How many hours did it take to do the same with enough bachurim to redd shidduchim on an hourly basis? How much time and energy did the shadchan expend, leaving their family behind, and traveling from event to event and city to city in order to meet single men and women into the wee hours of the night?
Furthermore, it seems that the ideas were relatively on-point. Did that happen magically or by mere coincidence? Presumably, this shadchan knows of hundreds of eligible young women, and with intent relayed those 15 specific prospects. How long did it take to select those 15? Should no credit be given for having the requisite skill and intuition to properly identify a handful of genuinely promising ideas out from under a veritable mountain of contenders? And though any single click of a button may take but a fraction of a second, sending out scores and scores of texts, WhatsApps, and emails every day, and endeavoring to stay on top of countless pieces of dialogue with who knows how many different people, all in need of earnest consideration and care, is no mean feat.
Being a shadchan is tremendously tall task at any juncture in history. From Eliezer eved Avraham to this very moment, it demands strength, perspicacity, patience, persistence, and grit. Accordingly, it behooves us all to fully appreciate the toil of shadchanim, and 100% with equal measure, both when we so deeply yearn for their attention and brain-space, and after Hashem Yisborach has bentched us with our most treasured of requests.
May the Ne’eman L’Shaleim Schar Peulos ensure that we, too, are never mikapeach al schar kol beryah.