shidduch
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The ''Shidduch'' ( he, שִׁדּוּךְ, pl. ''shidduchim'' ,
Aramaic Aramaic ( syc, ܐܪܡܝܐ, Arāmāyā; oar, 𐤀𐤓𐤌𐤉𐤀; arc, 𐡀𐡓𐡌𐡉𐡀; tmr, אֲרָמִית) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic languages, Semitic language that originated in the ancient Syria (regio ...
) is a system of
matchmaking Matchmaking is the process of matching two or more people together, usually for the purpose of marriage, in which case the matchmaker is also known as a marriage broker. The word is also used in the context of sporting events such as boxing, in ...
in which Jewish singles are introduced to one another in
Orthodox Jewish Orthodox Judaism is the collective term for the traditionalist and theologically conservative branches of contemporary Judaism Judaism ( he, ''Yahăḏūṯ'') is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic ...
communities for the purpose of marriage.


The practice

In the past and until today in some more conservative Orthodox Jewish circles, dating was limited to the search for a marriage partner. Both sides (usually the parents, close relatives or friends of the persons, and the singles themselves, involved) make inquiries about the prospective partner, e. g., on his/her character, intelligence, level of
learning Learning is the process of acquiring new understanding, knowledge, behaviors, skills, value (personal and cultural), values, attitudes, and preferences. The ability to learn is possessed by humans, animals, and some machine learning, machines ...
, financial status, family and health status, appearance, and level of religious observance. A ''shidduch'' often begins with a recommendation from family members, friends, or others who see matchmaking as a
mitzvah In its primary meaning, the Hebrew language, Hebrew word (; he, מִצְוָה, ''mīṣvā'' , plural ''mīṣvōt'' ; "commandment") refers to a commandment Divine law, commanded by God to be performed as a religious duty. Jewish law () in l ...
, or commandment. Some engage in it as a profession and charge a fee for their services. Usually, a professional matchmaker is called a '' shadchan'', but anyone who makes a ''shidduch'' is considered the ''shadchan'' for it. After the match has been proposed, the prospective partners meet a number of times to gain a sense of whether they are right for one another. The number of dates prior to announcing an engagement may vary by community. In some, the dating continues several months. In stricter communities, the couple may decide a few days after originally meeting with each other. Also, the age when ''shidduchim'' start may vary by community. In frum circles, especially among Hasidim, eighteen is the age when ''shidduchim'' start and ''shadchanim'' take notice. Those who support marriage by shidduch believe that it complies with traditional
Judaism Judaism ( he, ''Yahăḏūṯ'') is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civilization of the Jewish people. It has its roots ...
's outlook on '' Tzniut'', modest behaviour in relations between men and women, and prevents
promiscuity Promiscuity is the practice of engaging in sexual activity frequently with different partners or being indiscriminate in the choice of sexual partners. The term can carry a moral judgment. A common example of behavior viewed as promiscuous by ma ...
. It may also be helpful in small Jewish communities where meeting prospective marriage partners is limited, and this gives them access to a broader spectrum of potential candidates. If the shidduch does not succeed, the shadchan is usually contacted, and it is he/she that tells the other side that the arrangement will not be going ahead. If the shidduch is successful, the couple informs the shadchan of its success. In recent years, a number of shidduchim sites have appeared on the
Internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a '' network of networks'' that consists of private, p ...
.


Bashow

The prospective partners either date each other, or, in stricter
Haredi Haredi Judaism ( he, ', ; also spelled ''Charedi'' in English; plural ''Haredim'' or ''Charedim'') consists of groups within Orthodox Judaism that are characterized by their strict adherence to ''halakha'' (Jewish law) and traditions, in oppos ...
communities, they go to a "bashow", or sit-in.They don't "go out". The practice has been called "a chaperoned quasi-date". A typical ''bashow'' scene is that the young man, with his parents, goes to see the young woman in her house (or that of someone hosting), to see if the prospective couple are compatible. Both sets of parents talk to each other, and then, when the setting is more relaxed, they go into another room, leaving the man and woman in the living room to speak among themselves. Some use this opportunity to actually ask each other pertinent questions, while some just want to see if they like each other, relying more on the information they got from the ''shadchen'' or from other people. The number of ''bashow''s prior to announcing an engagement varies, as some have many ''bashow''s, while others have as few as one, which is typical among the children of
Hasidic Hasidism, sometimes spelled Chassidism, and also known as Hasidic Judaism (Ashkenazi Hebrew: חסידות ''Ḥăsīdus'', ; originally, "piety"), is a Judaism, Jewish religious group that arose as a spiritual revival movement in the territory ...
Rebbe A Rebbe ( yi, רבי, translit=rebe) or Admor ( he, אדמו״ר) is the spiritual leader in the Hasidic Judaism, Hasidic movement, and the personalities of List of Hasidic dynasties, its dynasties.Heilman, Samuel"The Rebbe and the Resurgence o ...
s.


Bashert

''Bashert'' (or ''beshert'';
Yiddish Yiddish (, or , ''yidish'' or ''idish'', , ; , ''Yidish-Taytsh'', ) is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language historically spoken by Ashkenazi Jews. It originated during the 9th century in Central Europe, providing the nascent Ashke ...
: ) means "destiny". The etymology of the word is somewhat unknown. with some arguing that it comes from the German ''beschert'' (meaning "bestowed" or "given"). Others insist that it comes from the Yiddish ''sher'' (meaning "scissors" or "shears"). It is often used to refer to one's divinely foreordained spouse or soulmate, who is called one's ''basherte'' (female) or ''basherter'' (male). It can also be used to express the seeming fate or destiny of an auspicious or important event, friendship, or happening. In modern usage, Jewish singles will say that they are looking for their ''bashert'', meaning they are looking for that person who will complement them perfectly, and whom they will complement perfectly. Since it is considered to have been Heavenly foreordained whom one will marry, one's spouse is considered to be one's ''bashert'' by definition, independent of whether the couple's marital life works out well or not.


Zivug

A somewhat related word is ''zivug''. The word includes the letters for the Hebrew word ''zug'', pair; the transliteration subsets/matches too. God has
pleasure Pleasure refers to experience that feels good, that involves the enjoyment of something. It contrasts with pain or suffering, which are forms of feeling bad. It is closely related to value, desire and action: humans and other conscious animals ...
also with the Yichudim of Jewish couple: ''
Shekhinah Shekhinah, also spelled Shechinah (Hebrew language, Hebrew: שְׁכִינָה ''Šəḵīnā'', Tiberian Hebrew, Tiberian: ''Šăḵīnā'') is the English transliteration of a Hebrew word meaning "dwelling" or "settling" and denotes the Divine ...
is present with union ... the "
wedding A wedding is a ceremony where two people are united in marriage. Wedding traditions and customs vary greatly between cultures, ethnic groups, religions, countries, and social classes. Most wedding ceremonies involve an exchange of marriage vo ...
"''. All desire may be for God, and ''all pleasures come from "divine spiritual source"''.


Biblical matchmaking

The first recorded ''shidduch'' in the Torah was the match that
Eliezer Eliezer (, "Help/Court of Elohim, El") was the name of at least three different individuals in the Bible. Eliezer of Damascus Eliezer of Damascus () was, according to the Targums, the son of Nimrod. Eliezer was head of the patriarch Abraham's ...
, the servant of the Jewish patriarch
Abraham Abraham, ; ar, , , name=, group= (originally Abram) is the common Hebrews, Hebrew patriarch of the Abrahamic religions, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In Judaism, he is the founding father of the Covenant (biblical), special ...
, made for his master's son
Isaac Isaac; grc, Ἰσαάκ, Isaák; ar, إسحٰق/إسحاق, Isḥāq; am, ይስሐቅ is one of the three patriarchs (Bible), patriarchs of the Israelites and an important figure in the Abrahamic religions, including Judaism, Christianity, a ...
( Genesis Ch. 24). Abraham gave him specific instructions to choose a woman from Abraham's own tribe. Eliezer traveled to his master's homeland to fulfill Abraham's wishes, arriving at a well. After a short prayer to God for guidance, describing how a virtuous woman might act toward a traveling stranger at the well,
Rebekah Rebecca, ; Aramaic, Syriac: , ) from the Hebrew (lit., 'connection'), from Semitic root , 'to tie, couple or join', 'to secure', or 'to snare') () appears in the Hebrew Bible as the wife of Isaac and the mother of Jacob and Esau. According to ...
appeared on the scene, and did everything described in Eliezer's prayer. Eliezer then went with Rebekah to her family, and appealed to them for permission to take Rebekah back with him to be Isaac's wife. Once this permission was granted, Rebekah joined Eliezer on the road home to Isaac. Even so, Isaac gained his own impression of her before agreeing to marry her (Rashi, commentary to Genesis 24:67). However, when Eliezer proposes to take Rebekah back to Isaac in
Canaan Canaan (; Phoenician language, Phoenician: 𐤊𐤍𐤏𐤍 – ; he, כְּנַעַן – , in pausa – ; grc-bib, Χανααν – ;The current scholarly edition of the Septuagint, Greek Old Testament spells the word without any accents, c ...
, he is told by Rebekah's family: "Let us ask the maiden" (''i. e.'', Rebekah). This is taken as an instruction for Jewish parents to weigh their child's opinion in the balance during an
arranged marriage Arranged marriage is a type of marital union where the bride and groom are primarily selected by individuals other than the couple themselves, particularly by family members such as the parents. In some cultures a professional matchmaker may be us ...
. Regardless of whether proper procedure is followed, this is not the end of the decision - it is believed by Jews that the final say belongs to God, who may have different plans (compare with the match of
Jacob Jacob (; ; ar, يَعْقُوب, Jacob in Islam, Yaʿqūb; gr, Ἰακώβ, Iakṓb), later given the name Israel (name), Israel, is regarded as a Patriarchs (Bible), patriarch of the Israelites and is an important figure in Abrahamic religi ...
and
Leah Leah ''La'ya;'' from wikt:𒀖, (; ) appears in the Hebrew Bible as one of the two wives of the Biblical patriarch Jacob. Leah was Jacob's first wife, and the older sister of his second (and favored) wife Rachel. She is the mother of Jacob's ...
).


Talmudic references

The
Talmud The Talmud (; he, , Talmūḏ) is the central text of Rabbinic Judaism and the primary source of Jewish religious law (''halakha'') and Jewish theology. Until the advent of modernity, in nearly all Jewish communities, the Talmud was the center ...
(Bavli Kiddushin 12a, first version) states that academy head
Abba Arikha Abba Arikha (175–247 CE; Jewish Babylonian Aramaic: ; born: ''Rav Abba bar Aybo'', ), commonly known as Rav (), was a Jewish amoraim, amora of the 3rd century. He was born and lived in Kafri, Asoristan, in the Sasanian Empire. Abba Arikha es ...
would give corporal punishment to a man who would marry without ''shidduchin'', that is, without prearrangement by the couple. The text gives three versions of his practice; the other two versions disagree. Some authorities rule according to the first version, while others rule according to the other two versions. In Kiddushin 41a, it states that a man should not marry a woman he has not seen, lest he come to violate "love your neighbour as yourself". The
etymology Etymology ()The New Oxford Dictionary of English (1998) – p. 633 "Etymology /ˌɛtɪˈmɒlədʒi/ the study of the class in words and the way their meanings have changed throughout time". is the study of the history of the Phonological chan ...
of the words "shidduch" and "shadchan" is uncertain. The medieval
rabbi A rabbi () is a spiritual leader or religious teacher in Judaism. One becomes a rabbi by being ordained by another rabbi – known as ''semikha'' – following a course of study of Jewish history and texts such as the Talmud. The basic form of ...
Nissim of Gerona (commonly called ''Ran'') traces it to the
Aramaic Aramaic ( syc, ܐܪܡܝܐ, Arāmāyā; oar, 𐤀𐤓𐤌𐤉𐤀; arc, 𐡀𐡓𐡌𐡉𐡀; tmr, אֲרָמִית) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic languages, Semitic language that originated in the ancient Syria (regio ...
word for "calm" (cf.
Targum A targum ( arc, תרגום 'interpretation, translation, version') was an originally spoken translation of the Hebrew Bible (also called the ''Tanakh'') that a professional translator ( ''mǝturgǝmān'') would give in the common language of the ...
to the
Book of Judges The Book of Judges (, ') is the seventh book of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Old Testament. In the narrative of the Hebrew Bible, it covers the time between the conquest described in the Book of Joshua and the establishment of a kingdom i ...
5:31), and elaborates that the main purpose of the ''shidduch'' process is for young people to "''settle down''" into marriage. According to Jastrow, the word means to "negotiate" or "stipulate" (the financial terms of a betrothal).


Shadchan

(, plural / , female / ) is a
Hebrew Hebrew (; ; ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is one of the spoken languages of the Israelites and their longest-surviving descendants, ...
word for matchmaker; Yiddish: Shadkhn. The word refers to people who carry out as a profession within the religious Jewish community. However, can also be used to refer to anyone who introduces two single Jews to one another with the hope that they will form a couple. One of the characters in the musical ''
Fiddler on the Roof ''Fiddler on the Roof'' is a musical theatre, musical with music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and musical theatre#Book musicals, book by Joseph Stein, set in the Pale of Settlement of Russian Empire, Imperial Russia in or around 190 ...
'' is a matchmaker named Yente. Because of this, the name () is sometimes mistakenly taken to be a synonym for .


Shadchanus gelt

() is the money ( yi, געלט, ) paid to the party/parties who brokered a successful pairing. It is a brokerage fee, not a gift, and can't be paid from funds intended for charity ( ). Usually it is paid by the parents, and it is common that each pays an equal amount.


Bat-Kohen

Although Torah law allows for a bat-kohen to marry a ''challal'', convert, or freed slave (Hebrew ''eved meshukhrar''), the Midrash and Talmud cite
Johanan bar Nappaha :''See Johanan (name) for more rabbis by this name''. Johanan bar Nappaha ( he, יוחנן בר נפחא Yoḥanan bar Nafḥa; alt. sp. Napaḥa) (also known simply as Rabbi Yochanan, or as Johanan Patronymic#Aramaic, bar Nafcha) (lived 180-279 ...
's view that a daughter of the kohen is best off marrying a kohen. Rabbi Yochanan maintains that in the event a ''bat-kohen'' marries a non-Kohen, undesired results for the groom are likely to surface, such as poverty or the demise of the groom. An exception to this taboo is if the groom is a '' Talmid Chacham''.


Medical aspects

Considering the prevalence of a number of
genetic disease A genetic disorder is a health problem caused by one or more abnormalities in the genome. It can be caused by a mutation in a single gene (monogenic) or multiple genes (polygenic) or by a chromosomal abnormality. Although polygenic disorders ...
s in both the
Ashkenazi Ashkenazi Jews ( ; he, יְהוּדֵי אַשְׁכְּנַז, translit=Yehudei Ashkenaz, ; yi, אַשכּנזישע ייִדן, Ashkenazishe Yidn), also known as Ashkenazic Jews or ''Ashkenazim'',, Ashkenazi Hebrew pronunciation: , singu ...
and
Sephardi Sephardic (or Sephardi) Jews (, ; lad, Djudíos Sefardíes), also ''Sepharadim'' , Modern Hebrew: ''Sfaradim'', Tiberian Hebrew, Tiberian: Səp̄āraddîm, also , ''Ye'hude Sepharad'', lit. "The Jews of Spain", es, Judíos sefardíes (or ), ...
communities, several organisations (most notably Dor Yeshorim) routinely screen large groups of young people anonymously, only handing them a telephone number and a PIN. When a ''shidduch'' is suggested, the candidates can phone the organisation, enter both their PINs, and find out whether their union could result in critically disabled children. Although the implementation has been controversial, there has been a sharp decrease in the number of children born with Tay–Sachs disease and other genetic disorders since its inception.Leiman, Yehoshua. "Yosef Eckstein - Trailblazer in Genetics for the Jewish World and Beyond". Personal Glimpses, supplement to Hamodia, Pesach 5766 (April 2006), page 24-27.


See also

* Jewish views on marriage *
Jewish wedding A Jewish wedding is a wedding ceremony that follows Halakha, Jewish laws and Jewish culture, traditions. While wedding ceremonies vary, common features of a Jewish wedding include a ''ketubah'' (marriage contract) which is signed by two witnesse ...
* Negiah (guidelines for physical contact) *
Niddah Niddah (or nidah; he, נִדָּה), in traditional Judaism, describes a woman who has experienced a uterine discharge of blood (most commonly during menstruation), or a woman who has menstruated and not yet completed the associated requirem ...
(menstruation laws) *
Segula (Kabbalah) A segula ( he, סגולה, pl. סגולות, ''segulot'', "remedy" or "protection") is protective or benevolent spell (paranormal), charm or ritual in Kabbalah, Kabbalistic and Talmudic tradition. Etymology The word ''segula'' appears in the Heb ...
* Shidduch crisis * Shalom bayit (peace and harmony in the relationship between husband and wife) * Yichud (prohibitions of secluding oneself with a stranger)


References


Books

* Shani Stein. "The Survival Guide to Shidduchim". New York, NY: Feldheim publishers, 1997. . * Leah Jacobs, Shaindy Mark. "Shidduch Secrets". Shaar Press, 2006. . {{Women in Judaism Dating Intimate relationships Jewish culture Jewish life cycle Jewish marital law Matchmaking Yiddish words and phrases Aramaic words and phrases in Jewish law Hebrew words and phrases