The Shadchan Says
February 24, 2021
A conversation with R’ Tzodek Katz
R’ Katz is a Lakewood based shadchan. He has been making shidduchim for sixteen years.
I’m 18 years old. I’ve recently graduated seminary and am about to enter the world of shidduchim. Lately, I have been hearing many stories of divorce, some of them quite shocking and disturbing. It seems to me that divorce is on the rise, and this worries me very much. How can divorce be avoided? What are the red flags to look out for?
R’ Katz answers:
- It’s very important for a young adult to have a close rebbi, teacher or mentor. By having someone who is both objective about the shidduch and is looking out for your good, you can have the proper guidance that is so critical during dating.
- Researching a shidduch productively and constructively is key. Parents should make phone calls, making sure to find out everything they can about the shidduch before the couple goes out. The research stage is the time to uncover potential issues that may otherwise crop up later on in the relationship. A few phone calls can save an incompatible couple hours of needless dating. Research prevents untold heartache and stress.
- A person who is dating needs to know what he is looking for. It’s a good idea to make a list of the things that are important to you in a spouse. When you have clarity and focus, it can be easier to ask the right questions and ultimately, with Hashem’s help, find the right one.
Parents in the Parsha
- Shidduchim can be stressful. Even the calmest people may be rattled by the nerve wracking process. It is scary to face the worry of a phone that’s painfully silent or an overwhelming deluge of resumes, the endless research, the pressure, the stress, the fear of rejection… The bottom line is that the parents need to be calm and have bitachon. Remember: no person is too complex, no history too ugly, for the Ultimate Shadchan. No family is too messy, and no medical complication too daunting, for the Master Matchmaker above.
- In our circles, parents play a pivotal role in finding their children’s spouses. From vetting and researching to coaching and listening, the task is a daunting and often overwhelming one. It’s easy to become distracted by small things and to forget the bigger picture. Stay focused on the things that are important in the long run. Don’t allow yourself to be sidetracked by the small, petty details. You may also want to have a sit down talk with your child about the qualities that he or she is looking for, and to make sure that you’re all on the same page about your and your child’s goals and priorities. It’s recommend that you keep your child in the loop so he or she is well informed about what they can expect on their date.
On a lighter note, the following is a story that happened recently as a result of a lack of communication between a single and her parents.
Mr. and Mrs. Grossberg were inundated with shidduch suggestions for their only daughter, Rivka. The girl herself heard only snippets. Bits and pieces of information about the suggested boys floated past her.
A name that kept coming up was David Rosen, a Lakewood boy who was learning in BMG at the time. When Rivka’s parents gave the go ahead for a first date, Rivka didn’t ask many questions. She cleared her schedule, got dressed, and went on her date.
As they gingerly picked their way through first date topics, Rivka’s date described his long distance, Friday-phone-call relationship with his Israeli grandparents, the Cohens.
Later, the he regaled Rivka with memories of Shabbosim at Zeidy and Bubby Green. While vividly depicting the chocolate rugelach and late night cholent tasting, he failed to notice Rivka’s obvious confusion. Feeling more than a little befuddled, Rivka tried to puzzle out the utter lack of Rosen ancestry. Her mind whirled through options like divorce and stepfamilies.
It wasn’t until she got home that she learned that she had, in fact, been out with Yisrael Moshe Green. David Rosen’s parents had rejected Rivka’s resume a week before, and Rivka just hadn’t been updated.
On the Date
A game can be…well, game changing.
Games can serve as icebreakers, moving a couple past awkward pauses and uncomfortable chit chat. Additionally, a game that’s constructed in a question and answer format can bring the couple closer together. They can often provide real insight into the other person’s thoughts and makeup, serving as a lighthearted way of truly getting to know another person.