When a shidduch is meant to be, it will happen—even if the shadchan tries to stop it in its tracks.
Shlomo Hamelech, the wisest of all men, tried to test this theory and famously placed his daughter on a lonely island in the middle of the sea because he didn’t want her to marry a pauper. But the Master Shadchan ultimately brought her intended to the island on the wings of an eagle, and that’s where they got married, without Shlomo Hamelech’s knowledge or permission.
This midrash gave me some perspective when I discovered what really happened in the days leading up to my daughter’s engagement.
At the time I was oblivious. I felt nothing but profound gratitude to Blimie, the unofficial shadchan who was working behind the scenes to make the shidduch happen.
The official shadchan was a dour, no-nonsense woman named Mrs. Rosenberg*, who had been the shadchan for our mechutanim’s other shidduchim. She was the one who suggested the shidduch, but it was Blimie who did the actual work when it was faltering.
Our daughter Yitty was 23 years old, an accomplished young woman who was very successful at her job in an accounting firm. The bachur being suggested was six months younger. Although Yitty was beautiful and talented, a real catch, we had already been in the “parshah” longer than with our other children.
One day we heard that Nachy Lax, a boy we’d had our eye on for a while, was ready to come home and start shidduchim. Naturally, like any top bachur, he had a list of names a mile long. We had a slim chance of getting on that list, which included the cream of the crop of that year’s seminary graduates, except for one thing in our favor: Nachy was a very mature boy, and he’d made it clear that he was looking for someone his age or even a bit older. He wasn’t interested in marrying a girl just out of seminary. He wanted a girl who was equally mature and responsible.
“I can really see this happening,” gushed Chana Mirel, my sister-in-law’s sister who happens to be Shaina Lax’s neighbor when she heard that the Laxes were inquiring about Yitty. “Trust me, Yitty is exactly what they are looking for.”
With words of Tehillim on my lips I sent my daughter’s résumé to Mrs. Rosenberg. I wasn’t very hopeful that anything would come of it and certainly not so soon, but a mother has to do her hishtadlus.
I was shocked when Mrs. Rosenberg called me two days later, casually asking for more details and a picture. “The Laxes heard about your daughter Yitty,” she said. “Mrs. Lax saw her at a wedding the other day and was very impressed.” Coming from Mrs. Rosenberg, that was quite a compliment.
I kept waiting for her to talk about how many years we were willing to provide support. But no, she said nothing of the sort. She just asked questions about Yitty’s personality and interest in supporting a husband long-term. I confided that Yitty earned a generous salary and was willing to do whatever she could to enable her husband to grow in Torah. “She’s very smart and emotionally grounded. She doesn’t buckle under pressure. Whoever marries her will be very fortunate,” I stressed.
Mrs. Rosenberg listened but made no comment. After all, I was Yitty’s mother. It was only natural that I would sing her praises.
I supplied plenty of references and later heard through the grapevine that Shaina and her married daughters were checking them all out, even asking random classmates and friends about Yitty.
The Laxes were still unsure until my niece Blimie got involved. Blimie had gone to school with one of the Lax daughters, and taught the eldest Lax grandchild as well. Cheerful and upbeat, Blimie was the perfect person to act as a go-between and nudge the shidduch along. “You’ll be lucky if you can get this boy,” she kept telling me. “You can’t imagine how many people want Nachy Lax as a son-in-law.”
I was beginning to think it was a lost cause when the Laxes said yes a week later. Everything was going smoothly—almost too smoothly. Yitty was one of my younger children, so I knew that there were always bumps along the way. This shidduch seemed too good to be true.
“Don’t talk that way,” my husband, Yanky, chided me. “Let’s just be grateful.”
In our circles, the parents meet the boy and girl first, after which the young couple has a sit-down meeting, which we call a besho. Mrs. Rosenberg scheduled a formal meeting with the Laxes, Nachy’s parents, for Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. Yitty went to get her hair done while I fluttered around the house aimlessly, unable to concentrate on anything.