As a writer in the making, I’ve committed myself to talk to you, my admired audience, in a straight forward lingo, about common daily topics, that are likely to affect many or most of us. Also, as you can tell by now, I like frank and real talk, so let’s do it.
Today, I’d like to touch upon my own experience in a ‘Hot Potato’ subject: Shidduchim.
Hot potato I say, you get burned when you touch it, and you feel like a potato when it doesn’t work.
In my recent round, I didn’t feel like a potato; I instead felt “cornered’ into doing something difficult, which I’m okay with it. However, it also made me aware of a new component of being A Shadchen in 2019, and let me tell you; it wasn’t pretty.
Before I talk about this instance, please allow me to share with you my ‘Shaddchen resume’.
About 30 years ago, when I was in Kolel, there was a fellow, a shtarker masmid, that came only for one seider (segment) daily. Wondering where he is the other half of the day, I found out he’s a professional and practicing in the morning. Upon hearing this, a bulb flickered in my brain; we had an aging, distant relative, looking for a professional Ben Torah. Bingo!
Being a young yungerman, I began counting my money and designing my dreams. I called her the same night with the big news. After giving her the Shpil, I got to the point and told her about my genius idea.
What’s his name, she asked?
I’ll tell you the truth, I’m not sure, I just wanted to know if I’m on the right path, I said.
Come on, tell me something about him, she pleaded.
Listen, I called you first. I care about you. You’re a shtikel Mishpacha. First give me your feeling about the idea.
Hello, you’re so funny, so far he’s nameless, she says. How about if I tell you a name, perhaps it will ring a bell?
Go! I said.
She popped a name, and indeed, it rang a bell, loud and clear.
How in the world did you guess, I jumped out of my chair?
Dear readers, at this point she told me to hold on to my chair, and I’m telling you to do the same. Hold on to your magazine (or phone) while reading about the exact answer she gave me.
I was engaged to him!!!
Should I describe how I felt at that moment, or can you paint the picture yourselves?
To bring some normality to a crazy story, ‘she’ calmed ‘me’ down with a million explanations. It took me 30 years to gather my guts and get involved in this vital occupation, again.
This time around, an idea beamed into my head. Although we live in the era of “nobody wants anybody,” a sad status worthy of a series of articles, like I heard from someone lately: most aging singles have only their parents to thank for their loneliness. However, to my luck, both sets of parents were interested and even eager to proceed. I told them both do your homework diligently and let us proceed with caution. The communication lines were healthy and smooth, and we were inching ahead. The time BH came for set #1 to see, interview, analyze the boy. The meeting was set up, my heart was pumping like the City’s pumping station after hurricane Sandy. Forty-five minutes after the set time, set #2 sent me a text: things went very well, we’re looking forward to going forward.
Oh man, this time I didn’t count my money yet, but I sure felt like I have a winning lottery ticket in my pocket, not wanting to scratch it ‘yet’, you know what I mean. Anyway two hours while the silence is ‘in charge’ set #2 is texting again: how are you? I felt like answering: I’ve never been better, but I replied: no news yet. I’m sure they’re communicating with their child, give it some time. I must say that I felt good about it, due to the desire and eagerness side #1 kept on demonstrating throughout the information gathering process. Two hours later I felt like putting on an oxygen mask. I couldn’t hold my anxiety back, I picked up the phone, sounding casual like a catering hall receptionist,: Hi, what’s doing, how’s everybody? Oh fine, can we talk later? What a question. I replied.
I felt like calling my Coaching Professor for an emergency session.
I won’t stop your heart with the details like my heart did. Although it was very riveting and would make excellent reading material and maybe earn me few more likes, but I don’t think that genuine Jewish pain should be the focus of this article. Bottom line, set #1 was immediately unimpressed, and it’s their prerogative. To their credit, they were trying to figure out how to say no to the other side, without hurting their feelings. They were simply buying time.
This “junction” is the point I’d like to bring up for discussion. I know by now that my lottery card isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on, but what am I telling these desperate people without hurting them? How am I sharing the unwanted news? Moreover, why am I, Mr. nice guy, suddenly in the business of telling people words they so don’t wanna hear? I was never trained by the army to share bad news with parents. C” V.
Perhaps we should open our eyes and start looking at Shadchanim from a different perspective. They’re not in it just to get fame and make money. They, usually, work their kishkes out to make a shidduch happen. So perhaps we should give them more respect and accolades, or even give them a ‘Golden token of appreciation’ when we feel they tried hard, even when by the end of the day things don’t materialize.
This may bring back the good vibes into the marketplace, and possibly some new faces will appear in this echo filled arena.
Please don’t you start calling me for shidduchim now. I need another 30-year break.
Aron Blum is an accomplished certified coach, committed to helping people navigate their personal and Business encounters. He is head of SCC, Success Coaching Center, a prestigious coaching practice, based in Brooklyn NY. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org