SZ Connect: Helping Community Singles Split the Sea

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By: Rabbi David Maslaton

“The roads to Zion mourn because none come for the holidays; all her gates are desolate, her priests sigh, her maidens are afflicted, and she herself feels bitterness.” (Echah 1:4)

As a result of the destruction of the Bet Hamikdash, even the roads to Jerusalem wept. The city’s gates that once welcomed thousands of visitors on the holidays were now desolate, and the kohanim who used to be busy with their holy work were now “sighing” in pain.

But why does this verse describe the “maidens,” the young women of Jerusalem, as being “afflicted”?  And what does it mean that Jerusalem “feels bitterness”? 

The Targum (the ancient Aramaic translation) explains that when the Bet Hamikdash stood, the Jewish People received special heavenly assistance in the area of shidduchim, in finding a suitable match for every young man and young woman. On days like Tu B’Av and Yom Kippur, all singles found suitable matches. This special assistance came to an end with the destruction of the holy Temple, resulting in the suffering of singles who needed to wait, often for years, to find their match. And thus, the city of Jerusalem feels “bitterness” over the thousands of “afflicted" Jewish girls waiting to find their match.

The challenge of finding the right match is part of the bitter experience of exile. This challenge is given to us so that we will pray for everyone to find his or her match through the heavenly assistance that will return with the rebuilding of the Bet Hamikdash, when everyone will have a spouse. 

Our sages teach that making a match is as difficult as the splitting of the Red Sea. This comment was not made to cause us despair, or to bemoan the plight of singles struggling to find their spouse. To the contrary, this rabbinic teaching is a great source of encouragement. When Beneh Yisrael were slaves in Egypt, and Gd brought the ten plagues upon the Egyptians, Beneh Yisrael thought after each plague that they would then be set free. Each time, however, they were disappointed. And even after they were allowed to go, and naturally figured that the suffering of bondage had ended forever, they suddenly found themselves trapped against the sea, with nowhere to go. Yet, as we know, Gd intervened, splitting the sea for the people who then crossed to their everlasting freedom. 

The search for a marriage partner often unfolds the same way. Sometimes a person thinks, “This is it, I found him,” only to be disappointed. A person might reach the point where he or she feels like Beneh Yisrael felt when they were trapped against the sea, seeing no hope, no path forward, no possibility of advancing to married life. But just as Gd stepped in to help Beneh Yisrael in a way that they could have never imagined, so does He step in to help a person find his or her match in ways that the person could never have possibly anticipated.

How do we earn this special assistance? What can we do to end the pain and anguish endured by so many singles in our community, and throughout Am Yisrael?

Our sages teach that during the period of Egyptian bondage, Beneh Yisrael cried out in distress, wondering what they could do to earn Gd’s compassion. They then decided that they would try to invoke His mercy through loving kindness, by helping one another in any way they could – such as by assisting each other in collecting straw for bricks, or to build the buildings they were assigned to build. When Hashem saw how the people were looking out for one another and helping one another, He decided that the time for redemption had arrived.

This must be our response, too, to the difficult and painful problem of singles who are unable to find their soulmate – doing everything we can to help them.

It is with this in mind that SZ Connect was created. SZ Connect provides a comfortable platform where matchmakers can work together in an organized way to help each other suggest successful matches. It is a way for matchmakers to share their information and brainstorm together, giving them access to a much larger number of eligible singles, thereby increasing their chances of finding matches for the men and women they are trying to help.

We cannot possibly overstate the importance of this endeavor, or the value of the mitzvah of matchmaking. Every match made brings lifelong happiness to two individuals, creates a new beautiful Jewish home, and lays the foundation for yet another generation of Jews. What could possibly be more important than that?