A Solution to the Shiduch Crisis?

From the Anash.org Inbox: Hundreds of unmarried bochurim and girls in our community continue to seek their shiduch as they climb into their thirties. Could this answer from the Rebbe provide a solution?

By Moshe K.

We are all well aware of the shiduch crisis in our community. Hundreds of unmarried bochurim and girls continue to seek their shiduch as they climb into their thirties.

Over the years, various suggestions have been made. But recently, someone shared with me some novel advice from the Rebbe that I think could help with the much-needed solution.

But before reading it, it’s important to preface:

On many occasions, the Rebbe expressed his strong concern about the preoccupation of singles – or their parents – with secondary, and certainly superficial, preferences in shiduchim:

“If the most important matters are in order, then quite often it is proper to overlook minor matters that don’t seem to be in order.”

“Emphasis must be placed on those matters that are most vital, i.e., Yiras Shomayim and Torah and mitzvos, for ultimately, this is the entire purpose of man.”

“Of greatest importance is that it be built on a firm foundation, that foundation being Torah with Yiras Shomayim. The opinion of ‘pedestrians’ who pass by the house regarding its external beauty … is superficial in comparison to that which is of greatest importance.”

And lastly this sharp response:

“In a shidduch one must focus on essential qualities, and he insists on focusing on tofel detofel (utter trivialities)!”

In that light, the Rebbe encouraged the marriage of Sefardim and Ashkenazim at a time when there were significant cultural differences between them that went beyond food and dress. Still, the Rebbe considered that insignificant in face of two fine young people building a bayis ne’eman b’yisroel.

In the famous letter that the Rebbe would send to every young couple, the Rebbe writes that the most important thing is that the home is established “al yesodei haTorah vehamitzva,” on the foundations of Torah and mitzvos. That is what will provide the couple with years of joy and inner happiness.

With this, we can understand the Rebbe’s directive recorded in Yoman Shnas Hakhel 5741 (p. 112):

One of Anash asked the Rebbe regarding a shidduch for his daughter. The Rebbe replied, “Isn’t my opinion on this matter well known?!” The Rebbe continued, “You don’t know? My opinion is that it is possible to make a shidduch with someone who is not yet Lubavitch and through this bring them close to Lubavitch.”

The Rebbe told this father that the power of Chassidus is so great to captivate any sincere person who is exposed to it. Therefore, whatever Chassidus values the Lubavitch spouse has will inevitably influence the other spouse as well. The current affiliation of a frum and kind person should not be an impediment to a suitable shidduch.

What if it’s not the values that bother them, but the different dress, accent, or other cultural dissimilarities?

That, said the Rebbe, is tofel detofel, utter triviality.

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  1. Good point. Many grandparents of large Lubavitch families today, weren’t Lubavitch when they got married and became Lubavitch over time.

    This was the case both with girls who married temimim, and with bochurim from not Lubavitch backgrounds who married Lubavitcher girls.

  2. I heard this from a seasoned shadchan. Singles today have some very specific requirements, and when you have a small pool of people, it becomes increasingly difficult to find what you’re looking for.

    People need to be able to think a little out of the box.

  3. Its not a cultural difference but rather a parent putting in her input where it shouldn’t even have a opinion problem. A parent has to know her place. Shes not getting married but her son or daughter is.
    P.s. as a cultural difference: getzes find bt’s a great catch to find. Maybe I’ve missed the point of the article but its definitely not the main problem of the shidduch crisis.

  4. but certainly A solution. I know someone who recently married a man from another community and they are happily married BH.

    You shouldn’t tell Hashem who your bashert should be…

    1. The Rebbe wrote three books to guide everyone ..
      “Eternal Joy”by
      Vol 1…Shidduchim
      Vol 2… Engagement & Marriage
      Vol 3…Married Life & Shalom Bayis.
      How come they are Never Mentioned (anymore)??

  5. The author makes very good points. The first Rebbe letter he quotes was precisely THE letter that enabled me to move ahead with my shidduch long ago, when I was about 30. That point can’t be emphasized enough. I believe the next sentence conveys the message that if the important matters are in order, the minor matters that don’t appear to be in order may in fact straighten themselves out just fine in the future.

    I want to emphasize that the “pedestrians” passing by and looking at the externals of the shidduch during your engagement and marriage will forget all about you soon enough. When you marry, you close the door and live with the person for the rest of your life. A flashy appearance, charisma and “what people will think” don’t matter a bit behind your closed doors. Choose a good, frum, kind, stable spouse (whose “looks” you appreciate) and live a happy life.

  6. If you are 30 or older, and your parents keep telling you you must emphasize shidduch qualities that aren’t the #1 main thing (like yichus, a family they already know and like, etc.), talk to a mashpia or Rav. You may need to really ignore these comments while you keep focused on the main things.

  7. I think the idea being brought out from this, is not so much about marrying someone with a different culture, but rather about the whole approach to what should one be looking for in a shidduch. I believe that it is too common today for people to be looking for a shidduch that is a good friend, that will be comfortable to hang out with etc.

    The point being made here is that that is not what marriage is about, looking for another friend. It is about building a bayis neemon biysroel. The idea is to look for a partner with whom to work on this project – of building a house – together with. Obviously, (nowadays) they need to be compatible with each other and their personality, but that isnt the focus.

    Just like you dont go into business with someone that makes you feel good, but rather with someone that has the qualities that you need for that business. In addition, one of the requirements can be that you get along well. But remember what is the main thing you are looking for.

    1. There are various elements to a successful marriage. A sense of Friendship is one of them which is a crucial.

      1. As the Rebbe famously wrote, hamshachas halev is NOT romantic feelings.

        I think the commenter meant that the MAIN way to ascertain compatibility is to see that your values and goals line up. Of course, there must be an emotional interest, but real emotions will take time to develop.

        That is why Yidden have always put values first and feelings second, while by goyim it’s about feel good now, and then they break up when it’s no longer fun.

        1. Yes. That is what I meant.
          Thank you.

          Obviously, I didn’t mean to say that you should choose your spouse, the way you choose your business partner. What I was bringing out from that example, is the idea of focusing on what’s really important in a marriage. (Which many think is the feeling good part. Which is not true. We do not get married to feel good. We get married to build a bayis ne’emon biyisroel. True, in order for it to work, there needs to be המשכת הלב etc.

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