Thursday, May 14, 2009

Shiduch with a Ben Torah

Rav Yissachar Dov Ba’abad, zt”l, lamented the pitiful state of shidduchim during his times. “In Chulin 124 we find that Rav Nachman was the son-in-law of the Reish Galusa, yet in Bava Metziah 16 we see that Rav Nachman’s father was a court scribe, surely not a lucrative occupation. We can draw a very important lesson when we juxtapose these two facts. It shows how klal Yisrael used to relate to shidduchim. For them, the most important advantage of a shidduch was kavod HaTorah. So much so that they did what in our times would be virtually inconceivable: the daughter of the Reish Galusa married a talmid chacham who was the son of a simple court scribe!
“Today, in our great sins, almost no wealthy man would be willing to take such a lowly shidduch. Even someone with exceptional lineage thinks nothing of rejecting a proposal with the son of a melamed or a sofer, even if the prospective bochur is unquestionably good.”
Rav Tzvi Yavrov, shlit”a, pointed out that this has changed in many communities. “Although it used to be that whenever people heard of a person in learning getting engaged they would immediately rush to see the poor guy who was lowly enough to marry a ben Torah, nowadays, this is no longer the case at all. Quite the contrary!”
Rav Chaim Kanievsky, shlit”a, explained that the Chazon Ish, zt”l, was very instrumental in changing people’s attitude in this regard. A certain bochur once approached the Chazon Ish, zt”l, regarding a prospective shidduch. The boy described the situation, “The girl’s family has exceptional lineage and her father sings her praises that she is willing to sacrifice by marrying a ben Torah, despite the material difficulties that often come along with this lifestyle.”
The Chazon Ish immediately advised him to avoid this match. “If the girl sees a life of Torah as a sacrifice and fails to grasp the fortune that such a life offers, she is not worthy of marrying a ben Torah!”


R. Grayson said...

This is exactly why I've given up my focus on finding a new marriage, even years after my wife was niftir. It seems that even frum Jews are embracing secular values and ideas about what's important, and don't want people with "baggage," financial or otherwise. This, despite the fact that life happens and you deal with it. The WAY in which you deal with it should be important, not just a resume of listed facts and a credit report/score. It's a sad thing if you think about it, but there's too much Torah for me to learn to worry about that which I can't control. It's all hashgachah protis anyway, I just need to focus on making myself bittel, and turning down the volume on my ego.

Add to this the fact that I'm a BT, and I'm about as marketable as the Flu. A less observant girl wants the $$ and the status, and a frum girl, even BTF, won't look at you twice if you don't fit into her chosen derech, or she thinks that you won't be instantly accepted by her friends because you're not frum enough for them yet--no interest in allowing the gift of love to bring you up a rung or six. Good lessons for me there, and I'm still trying to figure out what Hashem is trying to teach me, but I'll just keep climbing the ladder alone, being good to people and living my ahavas yisroel. Maybe one day hashem will decide that I'm in a place where it's best for me to have a mate.

R. Grayson said...

Incidentally, my lineage: I'm a 9th generation direct descendant of the Besht, 7th from the Degel--therefore a cousin of R'Nachman, and some of Chabad Rabonim. This however is hidden...I don't walk around with a genealogy chart stapled to my shirt.

Micha Golshevsky said...

Very sorry to hear that you lost your wife.
Shiduchim can definitely be a big pain, even for one looking for a first wife. Yet I don't think you should give up. The Chazon Ish once comforted a worried parent regarding his son's unlikely prospects (the son was considered way too frum for most of the girls in his time). "Your son just needs to find one person!"
Rebbe Nachman says that every effort and prayer to find a shidduch brings the real one that much closer. Keep doing whatever you can!
It sounds like you are really working on yourself. I am reminded of the Degel who says from your great grandfather, the Ba'al Shem Tov, that we need to connect to the joy and holiness of the world. Sadly, most people are like a deaf man at a lively wedding. He sees people jumping up and down, dancing and overjoyed but he cannot "hear the music." We need to be thankful every day that we hear the music!
Rebbe Nachman teaches that the most important element in true emunah is patience with whatever a person goes through in life. One who is truly connected to emunah knows that everything is from Hashem.
I hope Hahsem sends you the right person soon, and that you are able to recognize her for who she is!