Thursday, September 06, 2007


The Gemora states that although mundane matters may not be discussed on Shabbos to preserve the sanctity of the day, conversations relating to Shidduchim [matchmaking] are perfectly permissible to conduct as they are considered sacred matters. This idea has been immortalized in a well known Shabbos zemer [song] entitled “Mah Yedidus.”

Rabbi Elazar Meisels discusses the concept of a matchmaker. The use of a shadchan and the involvement of the parents also contributed to the stability of traditional marriages.

In considering the match, they tended to focus on the important aspects, not just the trivial ones that youngsters are prone to concentrating on. Additionally, the Shadchan could be called upon to assist by conducting and smoothing over the financial negotiations between the two families. This eliminated much of the personal animosity that is common in the entire dating process. Payment for suggesting a match is generally expected, and there is a considerable amount of discussion in the halachic responsa regarding this point. Questions such as how to compensate two people who suggested the match, or a situation in which one person suggested the match, but another person did most of the negotiating, are dealt with in great detail.

Interestingly, Rabbenu Nissim of Gerona [Ra”n Tractate Shabbos 12a], posits that the word “Shidduch” is rooted in the word “Menuchah,” which means peace and tranquility. He bases this on the Targum Yonasan’s [Shoftim 3:11] rendering of the word “VaTishkot” – and (the land) was peaceful, as “V’Shidduchis”. Teshuvos HaGeonim [Siman 425] suggests that it stems from the word “Shadachi,” which refers to long stems that shoot forth and intertwine with one another. The word “Shidduch” then, means to knot or tie together.

May we hear of many happy matches and successful marriages!