First of all, happy Tu B’Shvat!
Now, this topic. The elephant in the room. I’ve avoided it for almost an entire year, but if this blog is meant for people in the parsha, we were going to acknowledge this issue at some point, weren’t we? So, let’s get this over with as quickly as possible and hope no one gets hurt.
I want to say at the outset that I do not want to minimize anyone’s pain. If you have been struggling in shidduchim for a long time, sometimes it really does feel like there’s no one normal left and you might as well give up the search. But those feelings are not based on immutable reality. Because…
There’s no such thing as a shidduch crisis. Know how I know? Because we believe in something called hashgacha pratis. It’s one of the key components of emunah. It means that Hashem has a unique, very individualized plan for every member of Klal Yisrael, and He watches over each person and orchestrates events so that His plan will unfold for that person exactly as He intended, at the time He intended. That means that nothing and no one can stop Hashem from doing exactly as He plans for each person. That means that no human on earth can predict the path your life will take.
In almost every advertisement and article addressing the shidduch…nisayon, Hashem has been conspicuous only by His absence. Have you noticed?
[And just about those dramatic charts and graphs…let’s just comment on the fact that they show incredible narrow-mindedness. Those numbers are based on the assumption that the pool of boys and girls who are looking to marry each other will have gone to specific schools and have grown up as part of a specific system and will be dating according to specific rules (i.e. girl enters shidduchim age 19, boy enters shidduchim age 23, everything unfolds according to the cookie-cutter norm). Well, that doesn’t account for the reality that people enter and leave this parsha at different times for different reasons, move to the left and right hashkafically, marry people from different backgrounds than themselves, different parts of the world, or people who had been previously married etc. etc. That also doesn’t account for the percentage of individuals who have specific needs that preclude their dating just “anyone” on “shidduch island.” This is all aside from the fact that statistics are simply a part of the nisayon called teva, which serves as a mask Hashem hides behind so that we get to do the work of finding Him. Hashem laughs in the face of statistics! They’re meaningless. Close parentheses.]
If someone is very sick r”l, and the situation does not look good, we give out their Tehillim name and we ask everyone to daven. Why bother? I mean…statistics, right? Because we believe that Hashem can turn around any situation in an instant and He loves and waits for our tefillos. And that doctors and prognoses and treatments are part of the hishtadlus we do to show Hashem that we are willing to invest all we can, but ultimately we know the results are totally in His hands. And the same is true for shidduchim as it is true for any and all challenges that human beings face! So why does our community seem to view shidduchim so differently? As if in this area there is a systemic problem, and we caused it, and we have to cure it, and even if we can cure it, some people don’t have hope even then? Where does this belief stem from?
The Nesivos Shalom writes that since emunah is the basis of all avodas Hashem, the Yetzer HaRah creates terribly difficult nisyonos in this area. And especially in the generation of Moshiach, since the geulah will come in the merit of emunah, the nisyonos of emunah will be formidable indeed. To the point that (get this) even people who are otherwise yarei Shomayim and midakdek b’mitzvos will have THOUGHTS OF K’FIRA. And these thoughts are like a contagious disease, so one shouldn’t even have discussions with people who might have these thoughts.
This is describing the shidduch crisis, straight up. So we just may have arrived at the final battle. And our duty on the field is to believe that Hashem can do anything, and to live like we believe that Hashem can do anything.
The geulah will come in the merit of righteous women. Maybe we are the righteous women that Moshiach has been waiting for.