2023 What Helps and Doesn't Help Singles Part 4
Chananya Weissman

May 2, 2023

 

7) Don't act like a prophet.

Singles encounter all sorts of armchair prophecies, which tend to conflict with one another. The nature of the prophecy depends more on the feelings of the prognosticator toward the single than actual divine information – or any information at all – though you wouldn't know it from the conviction with which he delivers the message.

Why do people say things like “By this time next year you will be married”? Surely they have no inside information (I can attest to that from personal experience). Perhaps they wish for the single to be cheerful and optimistic, fully confident that his deliverance is right around the corner, even if it means lying to them. But what happens when the year passes (for some reason these prophets like to give it a year) without the promised salvation, or even anything close?

Maybe the first time the single hears this it's cute and encouraging, but what do you think happens after that, when his hopes have already been deflated numerous times, and his emotions are covered with scar tissue? Do you think that chipper declaration about salvation right around the corner – which never comes with an actual attempt to help the single – really boosts his morale or his chances? Are you so sure it doesn't fall flat, or even have a negative effect?

The false prophets with their “positive thinking” never think about that.

Then there are the purveyors of doom and gloom. “You already met your bashert but you turned her down because her nose was too big.” Some people delight in making this horrible remark, because a prominent rabbi allegedly responded thus to a single man who had come, heart in hand, seeking assistance and support.

How clever! How witty! How insightful! Put that picky single in his place! Of all the ways one might emulate this particular rabbi, this is far and away the favorite.

When I was in my early thirties a woman who called herself a shadchan had the gall to tell me after a very brief meeting (the purpose of which was to discuss EndTheMadness, not to solicit her services) that anyone still single at my age had already missed their bashert.

Really! On what authority she, or even her rabbi, could make such a declaration is beyond me, but she stated it as an absolute fact of the universe.

Shadchanim with such pretentious airs and sociopathic tendencies are not the exception; they are the default. That people with such contempt for singles, who believe they are essentially losers who messed up their lives, deign to “serve” as matchmakers and get away with it is one of the great failures of our generation.

In another era, they may well have been false prophets.

8) Don't act like a prophet-lite.

You once had a hunch, made an introduction, and they got married. Lovely! You're not a prophet. You don't have a gift. (Even if you did, you should keep it to yourself.) Your little hunch story doesn't take the place of putting proper thought into a suggestion and being able to articulate why it makes sense, nor will it make singles feel any better when your next hunch doesn't work out for them.

It's a funny thing about hunches. Every time I had a hunch that someone's hunch wasn't a good idea, my hunch was right. But they won't consider the possibility that I have a gift.

I think they're jealous.

9) Do act immediately when you have a chance to help.

If you have a shidduch for someone that really makes sense, or is at least worth exploring to see if it makes sense, stop reading this right now and follow up immediately. If you've already begun the process and someone is waiting to hear back from you, why aren't you on the phone already? Every second that you let go by when you can potentially help someone get married is needlessly prolonging their pain. Why make them suffer another moment? If you were in distress of any kind, wouldn't you want others to assist you without delay, even if they were “busy”?

Not only is this a clear violation of v'ahavta lerei'acha kamocha — bad enough! — it's a grievous sin.

This is not an overstatement; it's Torah. Here are two teachings that clearly illustrate this point.

Yaakov worked for Lavan for seven years for the right to marry Rachel. At the conclusion of this time he said to Lavan “Bring my wife, for my days have been fulfilled, and I will come to her [a euphemism for marital relations]” (Bereishis 29:21).

Rashi writes as follows: “...for I am 84 years old, and when will I produce twelve tribes? This is what he said 'And I will come to her'; wouldn't even the lowest of people not speak like this? But to produce offspring he said this.”

Yaakov had the big picture firmly in mind. Getting married and having children was his number one priority, and he wasn't willing to put it off a single day more than necessary.

It states in Shmuel I 2:22 that Chafni and Pinchas, the sons of Eli the Kohen Gadol, would sleep with the married women who went to the mishkan. They did no such thing. The mere suggestion is preposterous; such egregious behavior would have elicited a far greater response than mere grumblings from the people and relatively light chastisement from their pious and powerful father.

Chazal explain the true meaning of this pasuk. “Rabbi Shmuel bar Nachmani said in the name of Rabbi Yonasan, anyone who says the sons of Eli sinned (according to the simple meaning) is nothing but mistaken. But how do I maintain “that they slept with the women”? Because they delayed the bringing of their bird-offerings, which prevented them from going to their husbands, the scripture considers it as if they slept with them.” (Shabbos 54B)

For causing husbands and wives to be needlessly separated for even a single night, Chafni and Pinchas are likened to adulterers for posterity.

Think about that before you say you're too busy to get back to a single who desperately wants to get married and build a family.

Every day that goes by is one less day he could be building a family and, if nothing else, enjoy being settled. If that isn't a big deal to you, it's a very big deal to Hashem.

To be continued.

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