Shidduch – Jewish dating
One of the most touching traditions of Jews is the traditional kosher date of a man and a woman which is named “shidduch”. Being prepared beforehand and thoroughly planned, such Jewish dating may seem not romantic to some people. To understand beauty and importance of the tradition, one needs to address its essence. The goal of such a date is a successful marriage, happiness of two people who love and respect each other. There can be nothing more romantic than that.
What is shidduch?
The ritual can be summarily called matchmaking but in fact, the sense of the notion is much wider and deeper, and this ceremony takes much more serious and responsible attitude. This is a procedure of a potential married couple’s meeting. Every participant of the ritual has a firm intention – to create a family. The couple obliges to build marital relations based on Jewish traditions, the compulsory minimum of which is composed of keeping:
- the laws of family life purity (“Shulchan Aruch”).
What is the difference between shidduch and simple dating?
First of all, the difference is in how serious the intentions of a man and a woman are. Both are ready for marriage and state it directly. Thanks to this, any kind of misunderstanding is out of question. Just bear in mind that the young man and girl’s meeting assumes a lot of surprises. All disadvantages and difficulties possible in the relationship, as well as all accomplishments, are reported about beforehand, according to the rules of shidduch.
The promise to observe Jewish traditions is another significant difference. Strong and happy marriage should be built on such a basis. If a person is ready to take responsibilities connected with the creation of a Jewish family and do his or her best to keep “shalom bayit” (peace in the family), then he or she can be relied on in family relationships.
The participants of shidduch evaluate each other sensibly, as the meeting is planned and prepared. Romantic feelings don’t becloud the mind.
Which role is played by shadchans?
They act as mediators in the meetings and keepers of tradition. Such person is not just a matchmaker. It only seems that bringing the bride and groom together is simple. Actually, the process suggests carrying out serious and difficult work, only a part of which consists in searching for a mate. To make a decision about any candidacy, a professional should examine:
- biography of a person;
- reputation (of the candidate and his/her family);
- physical and mental condition;
- financial state.
An experienced specialist would always make an appointment with both the young man and the girl before making a decision about their introduction to each other. During the appointment he will find out everything that is needed. Not only the data about the person himself/herself are important, but also his or her wishes about the personality of a future husband/wife. Only by competent examination of both potential spouses a conclusion about how strong the Jewish marriage will be can be done. Such a task can be accomplished only by the chosen ones. Often a rabbi is engaged into the ritual.
Shadchan doesn’t limit himself with the acquaintance of mates only; his competence is wider and includes all stages of relationship, from the first meeting and until chuppah. The offer of one’s hand is planned and wort (engagement) is prepared together with the mediator. If a decision about chuppah is made, the couple can’t do without a wise helper-coordinator while making up ketubah (the marriage contract).