This post is dedicated in memory of Etya Sarah bat Yitzchak ha-Levi. May it be an aliyah for her neshama.

By Samantha Hulkower

 "The matchmaker scene" from Fiddler on the Roof
The New York Times recently had an article on how dating isn't what it used to be. Dates and phone calls are out, while group hang-outs and late night text messages are in. Even the traditional cues for if a guy might be interested have become more vague. The article states:
"[I]n  a world where “courtship” is quickly being redefined, women must recognize a flirtatious exchange of tweets, or a lingering glance at a company softball game, as legitimate opportunities for romance, too."
I recently saw the movie 'He's Just Not That Into You' and this statement reminded me of the cringe-inducing scene where one of the protagonists is recounting to her girlfriend every comment or glance that she could misconstrue into meaning the guy is into her. To the outside observer, she was definitely grasping at straws trying to prove that he was into her; all the while, her friend is smiling and nodding encouragingly.

While it might be fun to dissect interactions to see if there is potential, as Freud said, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Sometimes a smile or a nice comment are just that, and not an indication of a guy's deeper desire to go out with you.

This is where traditional Jewish dating has a distinct advantage: The Matchmaker. Not only do they help you set up the date, but afterwards he or she is there to tell you the truth, not necessarily make you feel better.

Just to be clear, a matchmaker doesn't have to be the stereotypical blue-haired bubby. Setting up singles seems to be a quintessential Jewish trait. Especially here in Israel, once someone knows you are single, they immediately start going through all the single people they know of the opposite gender (who hasn't had their Israeli cab driver offer to set them up with their cousin). The fact that they are setting you two up means that at least someone thinks it's worth going out, or at the very least, someone to gripe to about how wrong they were for you.

Almost all of the problems described in the article are fixed by going through a matchmaker:
  • lack of certainty if there will be another date
  • when he's going to call for the first date
  • if he or she is actually interested in you as a person, and not just a casual hook-up
Of course, going through a matchmaker isn't always easy or foolproof (which perhaps will be the subject of another post). But, all in all, going through an intermediary helps remove a lot of the guesswork, and sting, of dating.

We want your dating questions! If you have a question or topic you'd like to see covered in EmunaDating, please submit it in the comments section below, or send a message to our facebook page.


Chaim Yanklovich said...

Hi Samantha,

Is there a Torah source for using a matchmaker?

Chazal teach us that Avraham had to send someone to bring Rivka to Israel because Yaakov (because of certain halachic reasons) wasn't allowed to leave Israel.

The only case I know of a "shiduch" in the Torah was with Yishmael - his mother found him a wife from Egypt.

In the cases where the Torah records how couples met, it does not mention shiduchim. In fact, couples tended to meet while they were hanging social venues (wells.)

I think the Torah may have something here.

Unknown said...

I loved the idea of a young single woman writing about shidduch dating for other single women. Perfect! I'd suggest a post on the how shadchanim can be "deaf" to the kind of people you tell them you'd like to meet.

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