Sunday, October 30, 2011

The REAL Shidduch questions to ask

Chazal tell us that Noach used a “secret weapon” with which he was able to rebuild the world anew after the destruction of the flood: "vbch sxj okug"/ R’ Mordechai Gifter ZT”L explains that the fact that Noach was locked inside a floating ark for 120 days with nothing to do but chessed - kindness for his family, kindness for the animals - was for the sole purpose of entrenching the ideal of chessed into his very fiber so that when it would be time to come out and start all over
again, he would do so with the attribute of kindness. This was - and continues to be - the only way the world can exist.
It is told that one day a Yid from Yerushalayim traveled to Bnei Brak to ask the Rosh Yeshivah of Ponevezh, R’ Shmuel Rozovsky ZT”L, about a boy in the yeshivah for his daughter who had reached marriageable age. He arrived at the yeshivah and entered the Rosh Yeshivah’s home during the break between learning sessions.
R’ Shmuel greeted him cordially and asked why he had come. He explained to the Rosh Yeshivah that he was inquiring about a particular boy and R’ Shmuel told him to ask what was on his mind.
The man wanted to know, first and foremost, how many hours a day did the bochur learn? Was he punctual in arriving to Seder and did he spend his time diligently? Does he come to davening on time and does he actively participate in the Shiur? Does he ask relevant questions and does he understand the answers?
R’ Shmuel knew the boy well and was able to answer each and every question satisfactorily. After receiving a favorable report in regard to his questions, the man thanked R’ Shmuel for his time and began to get up to leave. At this point, R’ Shmuel in his gentle and noble manner, turned to the father and said, “Until now, you’ve asked me a number of questions. Do you mind if I ask you a couple of questions?” Of course, the man agreed.
R’ Shmuel looked at the man and said, “It seems to me that you are inquiring about the boy for your daughter and you seem happy with the report I gave you. You obviously think that all your daughter needs to know is whether he comes on time and if he is a lamdan, a boy who is studious and well-versed in the intricacies of the Talmud.” The man nodded his head in agreement. “Did it ever occur to you,” asked R’ Shmuel, “do you think it is entirely possible that your daughter would like to know if this boy is a mentsch? If he is a Baal Chessed?”
R’ Shmuel continued. “It would seem fitting that you should ask me: How often does he brush his teeth? Is he pleasant to sit next to? How does he behave in the company of others? Does he arrive first to the dining room and take the biggest portion, or does he linger after mincha for a few minutes to learn with his study partner and eat whatever portion is left?”
The man began to answer but R’ Shmuel just continued speaking. “I’m sure your daughter would be curious to know what does he do when the pitcher is empty on the table; does he wait for someone else to fill it up or does he run to fill it up himself? Does he ever go into the kitchen to thank the staff for preparing the food? Does he eat the food even if he doesn’t like it and thanks them graciously for preparing it or does he just go to the nearby kiosk to buy something he likes?
“You came to the conclusion that he is a masmid; did you ask what he does when he finishes learning late at night and his roommates are sleeping? Does he take off his shoes and tiptoe in so as not to wake them or does he walk in noisily? Does he make his bed and keep his things neat? Does he think about others and want to do chessed for them or does he just think about himself?” R’ Shmuel concluded, “I think that you need to check these things out. If he is spoiled and he arrives home in the afternoon and does not like the food your daughter will work hard to prepare, will his face crumple in obvious dissatisfaction? Will your daughter then be happy that her father checked the boy out with the Rosh Yeshivah who told him that he knows every Ketzos and Rabbi Akiva Eiger? Will you daughter say, it’s true that he has no manners and no social skills but I respect him anyway because he knows the sugya of the bees and the mustard in Bava Basra?”
The man hung his head in shame - but he got the message. This is was R’ Shmuel’s approach to finding the proper shidduch for a bas yisroel.

Taken from Torah Tavlin Parshas Noach


  1. "vbch sxj okug" (Hebrew didnt post).

  2. My father tells this story often.

    I get annoyed with all those questions as I know only a date will prove if the guy is a mensch. Rarely does one get true answers to shidduch questions, and that is something I can gauge for myself.