Dear Yeshiva World,
There is much being said about the Shiddich situation today. I have a modest suggestion that can be implemented by individuals.
The Gra in Even Shleima says “ki mah she’heodom chai hu keday lishbor hamiddah shelo shavra ad henah, velochen tomid tzorich lehischazek, ve’im lo hischazek lomoh lo chaim” [the reason a person is alive is in order to break the middah that he hasn’t yet broken, and therefore one must always strengthen himself, and if he didn’t strengthen himself, what is he living for]?”
A person’s essential nature is very hard to change. Rav Yisroel Salanter zt”l said it’s more difficult to change one middah than to learn gantz Shas. Today bli ayin hara we see so many people completing Shas. So perhaps it’s time to tackle something even more difficult. While we should all be working on our middos leshem shomayim, I hope that the following shelo lishma may help motivate some.
Parents have little control over some of the qualifications prospective mechutonim may be examining with regard to a Shidduch. The height of the child, the appearance, the intelligence are beyond their control (after having davened for them in past), as are the parents’ social and economic status.
There is one factor that I have seen discourage prospective mechutonim which can be altered, albeit with considerable effort, and that is the middos of the parents. Many shidduchim have been refused consideration or shattered at a later stage due to the reputation of the shver (or shvigger) for being a difficult person, one who always gets his (or her) own way, etc.
Sometimes a prospective mechuton will overlook the person’s conduct in the community if he is perceived as sweet and nice to his family, but other times the prospective shver is described as controlling every aspect of his children’s lives. Of course, we want to instill our values in our children, but there comes a time when it’s up to the children to apply what they’ve been taught on their own, and, unfortunately, some parents don’t see this.
Of course, change doesn’t happen overnight, but we must believe in the power of Teshuvah to transform a person, and his reputation as well.
The next time you have a difference of opinion with your neighbor, your child’s school, your friends at shul etc. (or, the next time your child wants to do something perfectly innocuous that is just not “your way”), consider that if you give in, you may thereby avoid pushing away your child’s shidduch.
A very easygoing parent (I hope).