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SAGE ADVICE



Dear Rabbi,

I feel a lot of pressure to go on dates. I’m 23,
and my parents are
basically forcing me
to go out with any girl
a shadchan suggests.
I tried to respectfully have a discussion with my parents about this, and for a while it got better. But now the summer is here, and I’m going out with a new girl every week! I’m ready to get married and I’m excited that they care so much about me, but I can’t handle this much pressure. I believe Hashem will send me the right woman with time and faith, but I feel like my parents have a timer set to the end of the year, and that I must be married before it rings.

 

Pressured
by Parents

Dear Pressured by Parents,

Thankfully, you and your parents are on the same page regarding the importance of marriage and that you are ready for it. The fact that this point is agreed upon by you all – something which is not the case in many other situations – is a great blessing for which you should feel grateful.

The second point that should be made before addressing your question is that you should take your parents’ wishes into consideration and ensure to always deal with them respectfully. You might not always agree with them, but their wishes are important and should always be carefully considered.

It appears from your letter that the essential difference between you and your parents on this matter is anxiety level. You admirably approach the situation from the perspective of Jewish faith, firmly believing that Hashem will send you the right woman at the right time, and so there is no need to be frantic in your search for a marriage partner. Your parents, by contrast, seem to have decided that your wedding must take place already now, and they are thus more anxious and worried with each passing day. 

I agree that frantic anxiety ought to be avoided, but at the same time, you should not unnecessarily delay the process, for several reasons. For one thing, you do not want to give your parents the impression that you are notactively seeking marriage, as this would cause them additional anxiety and exacerbate the problem. More importantly, you do not want to miss out on a prospective suitable shidduch, which could easily happen if you do not seize promising opportunities thatpresent themselves.

I would also caution that meeting every girl who is suggested would be counterproductive in your effort to get married. Frequent dates with girls who are not suitable will wear you down and cause everyone involved to become frustrated.

The proper approach, then, would be to implement some sort of screening process to find out more about every prospective shidduchand thus decide whether there is a real possibility that the match is suitable. I would advise enlisting some outside help, somebody who knows you and understands what kind of girl you are looking for, and who could find relevant information about girls who are suggested. The two of you can decide together whether or not each opportunity should be pursued, exercising caution to ensure not to squander promising opportunities. Try to choose somebody whom your parents trust and admire, as his involvement willhelp ease their concerns and give you some leverage so you can better handle the pressure they are exerting. In the end, with wisdom, patience, faith and prayer, your preordained match will be there for you when the time comes.

May Hashem guide you and your parents along a pleasant, rewarding process of searching for your soulmate, and grant you the blessing mentioned in the pasuk (Shmuel I25:6), “Ve’atah shalom uvetcha shalom vechol asher lecha shalom– May there be peace upon you, peace upon your home, and peace upon all that is yours.”

With warm wishes and
Torah blessings,
Rabbi Yechiel Elbaz