Dating with the aim of marrying is an important step and requires considerable thinking, planning and commitment. Friends and your favorite Jewish mother are usually more than willing to help with the selection process. But assistance can also come from another, more experienced, source: a traditional matchmaker or shadchan.
Jewish matchmakers, traditional figures of the Jewish community, are often the most successful at the task of finding people their soulmates, because they rely on hundreds of years of shared experience and a strong common culture. Nowadays, they also use the most advanced technology to assist in the search for their clients’ basherts.
Many Jewish singles, however, still balk at the idea of using a professional matchmaker: too old fashioned, too invasive, too expensive. And so they turn to online dating sites. And they date. And date. And date. And they often end up where they started: single and frustrated.
If you are looking for your soulmate, having exhausted all your other options may be a good reason to turn to a professional matchmaker. Here are a few others:
– A matchmaker will do for you what your mother, your best friend and the stranger on the street could do if they decided to put their heads together to work on your behalf: he will get to know you and assess your qualities and shortcomings in a benevolent but objective way. This will help you understand how you are perceived by others and will make targeting appropriate matches more likely.
– In the course of your conversations with him, the matchmaker will help you better define your desires. It is not rare that, by talking openly and confronting ideas, we learn things we didn’t know about ourselves and/or change our minds.
– Contrary to an online dating site, a matchmaker won’t limit his inquiries to a few statistics and a couple of parameters. His aim will be to know you and your desires as completely as possible, so he can find that special someone who will best match your expectations.
– The introduction will be made by the matchmaker. Not by a photo of you. Or by a couple of numbers concerning your age or your bank balance. All of your qualities (and not only your good looks and wealth) will be taken into consideration. The same is true, of course, for the candidates you will be introduced to.
Although it is an ancestral Jewish tradition, having to pay the matchmaker is often a deterrent for Jewish singles who are looking for their bashert.
Some romantic souls are put off by the idea of mixing love and money. They should understand that scouting the globe in search of the perfect match is a difficult and costly task. Today’s Jewish matchmakers, as opposed to their ancestors, try to make the world their village. And they have to cover the cost of doing so.
Other singles are afraid that hiring a professional matchmaker will be expensive. While this is sometimes the case, one could also argue that the money will be well spent. It is after all about finding a life partner. Something much more important than buying a car or going on a luxury vacation. Not to mention that having paid a fee is a sign of your commitment to the project of finding your bashert. As the people you are introduced to pay the fee as well, you can be sure that they are equally committed.
Finally, as Rabbi Wein explains : “The days of meeting a prospective mate on one’s own initiative without having a go-between negotiating on one’s behalf are now gone, at least for the time being”. So if you are looking for your bashert, maybe the time has come to turn to a Shadchan.