The Importance of Marriage

The Greatest Joy of All

The rejoicing of a bride and groom is one of the greatest expressions of Jewish happiness. This rejoicing heralds and precipitates the ultimate rejoicing as expressed in the prophecy:1 “There will be heard ... in the cities of Judah and the outskirts of Jerusalem ... the voice of happiness and the voice of rejoicing ... the voice of a groom and the voice of a bride.”

Therefore, everyone, and particularly the members of the family, should participate in this celebration as a preparation for the “eternal rejoicing”2 which will characterize the Era of the Redemption.

(Yechidus for grooms and brides, 11 Sivan, 5744)

The Importance of Following the Customs and Directives Of the Rebbeim

The customs that relate to a wedding in particular are relevant to everyone, for in a marriage, the power of the Ein Sof is revealed. This is drawn down by the leader of the generation. Therefore it is appropriate to follow the customs of the Rebbeim.

(Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXIII, p. 522)

Establishing the Foundation for Marriage

[Marriage] involves a fundamental mitzvah; the preparatory period serves as a foundation for the remainder of the [manner of] life that follows.... For family life is of a totally different character than one’s life as a solitary individual prior to marriage....

It is customary to bless a couple that they produce “an everlasting edifice.” Before constructing a building, one must lay its foundations; the entire strength and perfection of the subsequent building depends, first and foremost, on the strength of its foundations.

(Letter dated 24 Adar I, 5736; Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XIV, p. 307)

In Present Times Marriage Must Also Be
Established On the Foundation of Toras HaChassidus

.. That which is most critical [is] establishing a Jewish home on the foundations of Torah and mitzvos. In present times, times in which many mistake light for darkness and darkness for light, even these foundations must be illuminated and permeated with the “luminary of Torah,” the inner portion of Torah, which during present times, has been revealed in Toras HaChassidus.

When [the Jewish home is established] in this manner, the possibility of making the above mistake [i.e., mistaking light for darkness and darkness for light,] is minimized.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XIII, p. 89)

Failure to Resolve to Establish a Marriage on Proper Foundations May Have Untoward Shidduch Results

This is in response to your letter in which you write that a shidduch has already been suggested to you a number of times; however, when it came close to completion, nothing ever came of it. You ask me why this is so, and what you are to do about it.

Most often, this is a result of one’s failure to truly resolve, subsequent to the wedding, to build one’s home in Israel on the foundations of Torah and mitzvos.

G‑d therefore waits a while longer, [with the hope that] maybe in the interim you will recognize the absolute truth, that it is an unconditional obligation for marriage and married life to be conducted on the foundations of our Torah, the “Torah of Life”....

.. When this resolution is made in all sincerity and with the sincerest resolve, that even if there be difficulties you will still conduct yourself as befits a “daughter of Sarah, Rivkah, Rachel and Leah,” then G‑d will provide you with your intended.

Nevertheless, in order to hasten the blessing, you should give several francs every weekday for [the tzedakah of] Hachnosas Kallah, [the tzedakah that provides the material means for marriage] for poor brides....

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XVI, p. 180)

Spiritual Improvement Is Vital

.. As one embarks upon such a critical and vital step in one’s life as constructing a Jewish eternal edifice of marriage, improving one’s spiritual state is of crucial and fundamental importance.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XIX, p. 169)

The Appropriate Attitude

Beyond the Realm of the Natural

.. The entire matter of a shidduch and marriage transcends the bounds of nature.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XIV, p. 345)

Free Choice With Regard to a Shidduch

With respect to your question about the seeming contradictions in the statements of our Sages regarding a shidduch, whether an individual possesses free choice, [i.e., whom to choose,] or is it a decree that is not subject to change:

In general, there is no decree that cannot be changed (see Rosh HaShanah 16a, et al.). With regard to the instance of a shidduch in particular, the question has already been raised in many places, among them in Shas and Zohar. The answer that is provided is that garnering Divine mercy is efficacious [in changing the decree] (Moed Katan 18b), and the decree comes to pass in another gilgul (Zohar I, end of p. 91b)....

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XVI, p. 246)3

Life’s Most Important Decision Is Not to Be Rushed

Marriage is the most important event in the life of a man or woman; it leaves an indelible imprint on one’s entire life. Such a decision requires considerable thought and cannot be done in haste.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. IV, p. 272)

Trust in G‑d — A Key Element in Approaching a Shidduch

..Regarding all events that transpire in a person’s life, be they large or small, it is impossible to take into account all the eventual particulars and details, and each and every possible permutation. After all, a human being is extremely limited; it is impossible for him to conceptualize all the eventualities of each and every aspect and detail and their possible consequences.

Thus, to a certain extent, it is necessary for a person to utilize his faith and trust in G‑d, that He will see the matter through in a goodly manner in all its many details.

The same is so with regard to a shidduch: It is literally impossible to find something in this world that is entirely perfect and it is also impossible to assess with perfect accuracy how matters will turn out.

If the most important aspects are quite satisfactory, then quite often it is proper to forego on minor matters that do not seem to be in perfect order. This is especially so, since one may only be imagining that these matters are not in order, when, truth be told, they are in point of fact quite fine as well.

(From a letter of the Rebbe)

The Proper Approach to a Shidduch

I wish to reemphasize that which you yourself write — that the most important matter of all is finding a shidduch.

You write that your feeling is that you are not finding any fitting proposals regarding a shidduch.

My hope, however, is that when you will have the proper approach to the suggestions you receive, then G‑d will provide you with the shidduch that is most appropriate for you both materially and spiritually.

One must always remember that there exists nothing in the world that is absolutely perfect. The same holds true with regard to human beings; there is no person who possesses all possible good qualities. Thus, it is pointless to wait [or expect] to find such a “dream” individual.

Since no person possesses all possible good qualities, it follows that the same is true regarding oneself — surely the person himself or herself is not perfect as well. However, [regardless of our own imperfections,] when it comes to looking at ourselves, we do so with a “good eye.”

This should [also] be taken into consideration when looking upon another. [One should view the other person as well with a good eye, and] be ready to overlook and let pass [imperfect and deficient qualities]. Hopefully, with the passage of time, these imperfections — real or imagined — shall pass or straighten themselves out.

With this approach, it will be much easier to attain a shidduch — the choice becomes much greater and your entire attitude with regard to a shidduch will be a much happier and more positive.

I would also like to add that it is nigh impossible to truly assess and measure how these two individuals will be after they marry each other, inasmuch as marriage makes specific and marked changes in the two individuals who marry.

Thus, it is only up to a certain degree that we have free choice in the matter, while with regard to the rest we have to rely on G‑d that He will lead the married couple in the path of joy, contentedness and goodness.

We verily observe that people do in fact act in this manner — [placing their ultimate fate in G‑d’s hands] and go on to live happy and successful lives until “120 years.”

The same is true with regard to yourself — it is impossible to calculate with one hundred percent accuracy how each suggestion that is made to you will work out in the future, subsequent to getting married.

We must rely on G‑d, [realizing] that if He is capable of properly conducting such a gigantic world, He surely is able to conduct the microcosmic world of each individual person that it be good for him or her materially as well as spiritually.

I hope that you will read this letter once and again and ponder the matters that I have written here.

My main purpose in this letter, however, is to try to see to it that from now on you change your approach to a shidduch — do not approach it with the disposition and bias that the shidduch is not for you; nonetheless, it is still necessary to make the requisite inquiries.

Rather, you should approach it in an entirely opposite manner — that G‑d will surely provide you with a shidduch that is good for you, and quite possibly this may be the shidduch suggestion that is currently being presented to you. Consequently, it is very important to inquire and know the various details regarding the shidduch suggestion.

I wish for you that in the near future you will find a shidduch that is appropriate for you both in a material as well as a spiritual sense, and that you erect an edifice in Israel on the foundations of Torah and mitzvos.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. V, p. 103)

An Everlasting Edifice — A Foundation of Torah and Mitzvos

A Jewish marriage is called a binyan adei ad — an “everlasting edifice.” The analogy of a marriage to an “everlasting edifice” is not merely a figure of speech, but contains also an important idea and moral:

In the case of any structure, the first and most important step is to ensure the quality and durability of the foundation. Without such a foundation, all the efforts put into the walls, roof, decorations and so on, would be of no avail.

This is even truer of the structure of marriage; if its foundation should be unstable, what tragedy could result! This is why a Jewish marriage must, first of all, be based on the rock-solid foundations of the Torah and its mitzvos. [Doing so ensures that] there then follows the blessing of joy and happiness of the beloved couple for the rest of their lives.

(From a letter of the Rebbe)

Creating a Perfect Union

..Bear in mind that marriage is not only the beginning of a partnership but the beginning of a union, where both parties truly become one, united for life. [They do so] in order to set up an “everlasting edifice,” as mentioned in the text of the sacred [nuptial] blessings.

Therefore, it is clear that everything should be done in order to assure the maximum degree of compliance with the will of G‑d, the Creator and Master of the universe and of man, whose Providence extends to everyone individually.

Even if it is but a question of hiddur [“adorning” and enhancing a commandment by being scrupulous in its observance], or even an extreme measure of hiddur, and even if there are some difficulties to overcome in this connection, no effort should be spared to do even that, because it is all for the added benefit of the “everlasting edifice.”

(From a letter of the Rebbe, dated 8 Tishrei, 5722)

“First Things First”

With regard to shidduchim: Your emphasis should be on the most important factors of the person that you are meeting. When you do so, then as a matter of course, the secondary aspects — and most surely those matters that are but “secondary of the secondary” and “minor of the minor” — will cease to be of any import.

This is in keeping with the known verity that the more the internal and inner aspects are revealed, the more the external and exterior aspects vanish — until they completely evaporate.

When you approach a shidduch in this manner, then surely all trials and imagined difficulties will dissipate. You will consequently very quickly find the match that is good for you both materially as well as spiritually.

Moreover, [with regard to the external and secondary matters that are causing your difficulties, etc.,] in the overwhelming majority of instances, one ultimately comes to the realization that even regarding these “external and secondary matters,” everything is indeed truly fine and good.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XI, p. 52)

Only G‑d Knows for Sure

In reply to your question with regard to a shidduch — how to approach it so that you know that this is indeed your intended match:

The Torah’s answer to this ... is known: The person is to occupy himself in finding a shidduch in a natural manner, (understandably, in a manner of tznius and in accordance with the Shulchan Aruch), and the Creator, who oversees each and every person with individual Divine Providence, will direct you to find the match that is best for you.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XVI, p. 327)

The Manner of the Quest

With Due Effort

Seek with due effort and energy a zivug that will benefit you both materially and spiritually, in keeping with the saying of our Sages,4 “It is customary for the man to seek [the woman]” ... And “If you will but toil, you will surely find.”5

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. V, p. 127)

With Due Diligence

Most importantly, you should seek a shidduch with due effort and diligence. Our Sages say that seeking a shidduch is to be conducted in a manner similar to a person searching for something he lost.

Surely the person doesn’t sit with folded arms and merely wait for someone to return the lost object to him. Rather one must expend effort to seek and find the object he has lost.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. VI, p. 144)

Without Artifice

In reply to your letter ... in which you ask that since very good and even excellent suggestions regarding a shidduch are being presented to you, are you to be concerned about that which is stated in some sefarim apropos the numerical equivalency of the names [of the two parties]:

Our approach concerning this matter is based entirely upon the words of our masters, which is based on the verse,6 “Serve G‑d in a wholehearted manner, without artifice.” This is true with regard to shidduchim in particular, concerning which the verse states,7 “A wise woman is [granted] by G‑d.”

In light of the above, you are to intensify your performance of Torah and mitzvos and judge the [shidduch] suggestions in accordance with their degree of religiosity, so that your mate be a wise and G‑d-fearing woman.

[And with regard to the numerical equivalency of the names], he who is not meticulous about that which is stated in the sefer that you quote, surely and beyond a shadow of a doubt will not be judged meticulously.8

This is particularly so, since those sefarim such as you mention, are subject to serious examination whether they are reliable, and it is possible that their words apply only to the particular location [of the author] and his community, and so on.

This is to be understood from the many exhortations of Rabbi Yehudah HaChassid. With regard to many sections [of his Testament] the same is also said — that it applies only to his descendants, notwithstanding the fact that the greatest Kabbalists provided him with their stamp of approval.

If the following was true ages ago, how much more so is this so during present times, when there are so many difficulties and obstacles with regard to shidduchim. Therefore, we are not meticulous at all with regard to such matters, except for certain select statements of Rabbi Yehudah HaChassid and his ilk.

(What we should be meticulous about is obeying the statement of the Mishnah:9 “eighteen is the time to get married,” as well as the other famous statements of our Sages (Kiddushin 29b, Pesachim 113a, and others), who surely are reliable, and whose words apply to all communities.)

If the suggestion is good and excellent in accordance with the Torah and Yiras Shomayim, then you should conclude the shidduch. May it be G‑d’s will that the shidduch be in a good and auspicious hour.10

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XVI, p. 198)

“Signs and Omens”

.. In general, with regard to a shidduch, emphasis should be placed on that which is most crucial — that it be in harmony with the verse,11 “A woman who fears G‑d, she is to be praised.” We are not to occupy ourselves with “signs” and omens, such as those about which you write.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XXIII, p. 73)

In a Manner of Tznius

It goes without saying that you should interest yourself in a shidduch, doing so in accordance with the dictates of the Torah — with tznius, but energetically as well.

(From a letter of the Rebbe, printed in Teshuvos U’Biurim, p. 427)

As One Who Seeks a Lost Article

I was sorry to note that in your letter, you did not mention anything about shidduchim. You are surely familiar with my position concerning this matter, based on our Sages’ statement:12 “It is customary for the man to seek the woman,” as well as their use of the analogy of “someone searching after a lost article.”

On a practical level, we observe that a person who lost an article does not sit at home waiting for someone to approach him and say: “I found an article; perhaps it’s yours.” Instead, he leaves his own place ... and searches for his article. May G‑d grant you success [in your quest].

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. X, p. 249)

Search Actively

Since you are earning a sufficient income, one that could support a family, it would be proper to energetically seek your mate. As is well known, our Sages suggest that the search for a wife should be like the search for a lost article. Implicit in this statement is that one should not sit with folded hands and wait until the article is brought to him, but that one should actively search.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. VI, p. 144)

A Crucial Mitzvah

In this letter as well there is no mention about a shidduch. Bear in mind that time does not stand still and this mitzvah is a crucial one, a mitzvah that has a bearing on a person’s entire being, including Torah and mitzvos.

Although I have already written to you a number of times with regard to this matter, nevertheless, because of its great importance, I write to you again and again. Would only that very speedily I receive from you glad tidings with regard to an actual event — that in a good and auspicious hour you have become a chassan, established a date for the wedding, and then also glad tidings from your wedding in a good and auspicious hour.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XV, p. 263)

In Accordance With the Torah and With Yiras Shomayim

In response to your letter, the statements of the Rebbeim with regard to the necessity of searching for a shidduch are well known — that one must act like a person seeking a lost article, and perhaps even more so, [i.e., to invest even more energy in seeking a shidduch than one seeking a lost article].

Needless to say, this [quest] should be carried out in accordance with “the path of the Torah” and with “fear of heaven,” and with energetic input on the part of friends and relatives.

With regard to that which you write that you would like to know from the very outset who is your intended [partner in life] — according to the guidelines and directives of our holy Torah, the Torah of life, it is important to follow the order of nature, [i.e., one’s future is not foretold and is not for us to know].

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XIV, p. 23)

Resolving and Assuring That the Home Will Be
Established On the Foundations of Torah and Mitzvos

In reply to your query about a shidduch and your mate:

Before you become engaged, you must be absolutely certain that your home will be established on the foundations of Torah and mitzvos. By this I mean that not only you but your groom [to be] will undertake with absolute assurance to perform mitzvos, and that your chassan will establish fixed times for the study of Torah.

It is self-understood that all the above must be done with complete sincerity and candor, for the good fortune of all Jews, both men and women, are determined by their proper Jewish conduct.

If in addition to all the above, you perceive that you are drawn to this shidduch, then you should act on it. May it be in a good and auspicious hour.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. IV, p. 129)

The Decision to Seek a Shidduch
Will Assist in Improving One’s Spiritual Status

You write that you are unable to immediately begin seeking a shidduch since your spiritual situation is not as it should be:

It is my hope that the very fact that you are preparing yourself to enter a phase of life that is commanded to us in our Torah, the “Torah of Life,” will ease your battle with your evil inclination and will lead to an improvement in all those things you write about.

We have verily seen such changes [for the better come about] in many individuals once they began to occupy themselves in shidduchim. [These changes have occurred,] not only in years past, but presently as well.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XIX, p. 103)

Improving One’s Spiritual Status Will Assist
In Gaining the Approval of the Parents

In reply to your letter of Motzoei Shabbos Kodesh, in which you voice your concerns with regard to the responsibility involved in a shidduch:

As it would seem as well from your letter, your entire apprehension is whether the amount of Yiras Shomayim you possess is sufficient to meet the demands of the young lady’s parents, at least in regard to actual behavior, dress, etc.

This being so, then it is all in your hands; if you desire, you can provide the above and satisfy their demands [by improving your behavior]. If you wish, this is an additional reason to bring the shidduch to a conclusion, as this will assist you to rise in holiness, in matters of Yiras Shomayim.

Our Sages, of blessed memory, have informed us that one mitzvah leads to another,13 and it is almost sure that with the passage of time, the addition in Torah and mitzvos will come as well. It has already been said that (if you but reach the level of) “taste” (then you will surely) “see that G‑d is good.”14 This understandably includes G‑d’s commandments and directives to His cherished people, Israel, regarding the fulfillment of Torah and mitzvos.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XX, p. 59)

Go Out as Many Times as Necessary

Surely you remember what I told you — that one must seek out a good shidduch. One should not be miserly with regard to the number of times one goes out to see [prospective partners].

(Igros Kodesh of the Rebbe Rayatz, Vol. XII, p. 113)

When One Is Too Idle in His Quest

It appears that you are not energetic enough concerning this matter [of seeking a shidduch]. Moreover, it is the nature of many individuals who remain idle concerning a matter for a prolonged period of time, that they find it difficult to free themselves of this tendency.

Ultimately, however, you will [at any rate] have to carry out our Sages’ directive [to search for a shidduch] as one searches for a lost article.... [This being so, why the slothfulness?]

The analogies employed by the Torah are apt descriptions. When one appreciates that [finding a shidduch] is like finding an article that one has lost, one comes to the realization that every day that passes without a shidduch, one is lacking in a certain measure.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XII, p. 195)

“If at First You Don’t Succeed...”

There is a well-known statement of Rabbi Zusya of Anapoli, that one can learn lessons in one’s Divine service from all people, even from those whose conduct is lacking.

Along these lines, Rabbi Zusya explained how it is possible to learn several positive qualities from a thief, one of them being that if he does not succeed at first, he [will not give up, but] will try a second and a third time.

..Surely this concept can be applied with regard to shidduchim, which our Sages have described as “difficult.” One must try again and again, and ultimately one will find a proper match. One should not be intimidated by the fact that much effort is necessary.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. V, p. 119)

Active Efforts

You do not mention at all about your active efforts with regard to finding a shidduch. It is a Torah statute (and clearly stated in Shulchan Aruch) that one must make an active effort regarding this matter — not simply going through the motions.

(From a letter of the Rebbe)

The Role of Shadchanim and Intermediaries

Common Usage of a Shadchan

.. The preponderance of individuals in this country approach an intermediary, a good shadchan, one who has many contacts among religious Jews, and tell him exactly what type of person they are looking for, etc.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XIII, p. 68)

The Introductory Function of the Shadchan

Needless to say, the function of a shadchan is merely to make a suitable introduction, and then each of the parties can take it from there, freely and without pressure, etc....

(From a letter of the Rebbe)

Friends in the Role of Shadchanim

Almost all shidduchim are presently carried out with the help of shadchanim (matchmakers), and/or friends who act as shadchanim.

(From a letter of the Rebbe)

Speaking to a Shadchan With the Daughter Unaware

With regard to your daughters, it is my opinion that you should speak to a shadchan without your daughter’s knowledge. Provide the shadchan information about your daughters and have him actively pursue the matter.

Although it is G‑d’s business15 to arrange matches, still every activity must be grounded in the natural order.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. VII, p. 14)

“One’s Greatest Energies” — A Good Shadchan

In response to your letter ... in which you write that you are unsure of my intent in saying that one must invest effort into finding an appropriate shidduch, applying one’s greatest energies [to this quest], following the natural order:

My intent is simple ... [that you should] establish a connection with an intermediary, a good shadchan....

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XIII, p. 68)

Assisting Students

Assisting Yeshivah Students With a Shidduch

I was pleased to hear that both of you are endeavoring [to help] with regard to shidduchim for the students of the Yeshivah....

The magnitude of such efforts can be appreciated from the verse:16 “A wise woman is [granted] by G‑d,” and our Sages’ statement17 that from the Six Days of Creation onward, the Holy One, blessed be He, is occupied with making matches. Whosoever endeavors [to assist] in these matters will receive great reward.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XI, p. 138)

Assisting One’s Student With a Shidduch

With regard to your student ... It seems that he has no firm plans regarding his future. ... In light of the above, you are to interest yourself in finding a shidduch for your student. Understandably, your search should be made energetically.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XIV, p. 148)

Seeking a Shidduch for a Student Without His Knowledge

You should seek a shidduch for your student, and [your] involvement in this matter should be with all due energy.

As is understandable, in most instances [the student] for whom you are seeking a shidduch should not be aware of this until there is a particular person suggested.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XIV, p. 148)

Mediums to Increase G‑d’s Blessing for Shidduchim

Firmly Resolving That the Marriage
Will Be Built Upon Torah Foundations

One of the things that will speed the blessing of [G‑d], the Creator of the world and He who controls it [regarding a shidduch] ... is for you to make a very firm and resolute decision that when you find the person you will marry, you will conduct your home according to the foundations of the Torah and its mitzvos as is appropriate for faithful Jewish women, keeping the laws of taharas hamishpachah, kashrus, and Shabbos.

We see that these matters are dependent on the will of the mistress of the home. And nothing stands in the way of a person’s firm resolve. When G‑d, who knows [the workings of our] hearts, will see that this resolve is made with the intent of actually carrying it out, this will bring G‑d’s blessing that you will find your match in the near future.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XIV, p. 478)

The Merit of Involvement in Jewish Education

With regard to your questions concerning a shidduch:It is fitting that you look into the matter. The merit of your involvement with [the education of Jewish youth] will bring you success in this matter as well.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XIII, p. 269)

Lighting Shabbos Candles

In the present era, for various reasons, the practice is — whether we desire it or not — for a girl to make her own decision regarding a shidduch [instead of relying on her parents]. This makes it even more necessary for every Jewish girl to herself light Shabbos candles. This will endow her with the merit that she be able to marry a Torah scholar.

(Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XVII, p. 47)

When There Are Difficulties Regarding a Shidduch

Trust in G‑d Will Lead to Consummation of That Trust

In response to your letter ... in which you write that you have reached the age of shidduchim, and yet you have not been offered proper suggestions,and that this causes aggravation.

As is well known, our Sages stated18 that finding a proper match is as difficult as the Splitting of the Sea [Kerias Yam Suf]. And it is well known that the Splitting of the Sea came about because of the faith and trust manifested by the Jewish people.

One can thus conclude that similar concepts apply with regard to finding a match. When a person strengthens his faith and trust (while at the same time continuing to search in the proper way), this will lead to the consummation of that trust.

As is well known, the Zohar states: “The Holy One, blessed be He, looked into the Torah and created the world.” This applies to the world at large, and all the particular facets of the life of a person who is called “a small world.”

It is thus appropriate for you to increase your study of the Torah: both Nigleh, the revealed dimensions of Torah, as well as the teachings of Chassidus. May G‑d grant you success.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. VIII, p. 219)

“Count Your Blessings” and Don’t Seek a Pretext

The following is the Rebbe’s response to a young lady who wrote the Rebbe about the difficulties she was having in obtaining a shidduch and the effect it was having on her mental state:19

.. Your previous letter in which you describe your situation and your frame of mind perplexed me greatly.

When you will thoughtfully consider the simple meaning of the words of the eighteen morning blessings, blessings in which you thank G‑d on a daily basis at the beginning of the day, you will realize the following:

You have been blessed — bli ayin hara with them all. In addition to which, you have been blessed with good health, good parents, a good education, a good environment, a good job with ample sustenance, and more.

Accordingly, where is the justification for complaining and the like?!

The only matter that needs to be rectified is that you have yet to come to the realization that the true reason for this, [i.e., that you have no shidduch] is that when a shidduch is suggested to you, you seek an excuse and a pretext to get out of it.

When this [behavior] will change, this as well [viz., a shidduch] will appropriately come to pass.

(From a handwritten response of the Rebbe)

A Torah Command Empowers and Assures

You write that you are having great difficulty in finding a shidduch for ... Surely it is not as difficult as the Splitting of the Sea [Kerias Yam Suf]. Nonetheless, this expression is used with regard to every shidduch at the same time that the command is issued to obtain a shidduch.

A Torah commandment serves [not only as a directive, but also] as an empowerment, and as explained in many places in Chassidus with regard to the commandments, they are also an expression of assurance.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XV, p. 253)

When the Right Time Will Arrive The Right Shidduch Will Also Arrive

You write that a shidduch was suggested to you a number of times and nothing ever came of it:

Since you are to continue your studies in Seminary for a goodly amount of time, surely when the time comes for you to conclude your studies, G‑d will present to you your appropriate shidduch.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XVIII, p. 323)

Strengthening Both Natural and Supernatural Means

The following is the Rebbe’s response to a young man who wrote to him about the difficulties he was having in obtaining a shidduch:20

Since an individual is to do all that he can via natural means, you should seek a proper shidduch through the good offices of your friends, relatives and the like. Furthermore, [you should seek it] — and as is the custom among all circles here — through a good matchmaker.

You should also strengthen your observance of Torah and mitzvos as necessary, for this draws down G‑d’s blessings. Also, check your tefillin. Prior to donning them, donate — bli neder several coins to the charity of “dowering the bride” [Hachnosas Kallah].

Sadness and Depression Compound the Difficulty

In response to your letter, ... it is definitely unnecessary to arouse sadness and depression, for the leaders of our people have distanced themselves from these qualities to a great degree, as explained in Tanya, ch. 26, and in other sources.

We can see that these feelings do not actually help to correct any situation. On the contrary, [they compound the problem]. This applies in particular to the matter with which you are concerned, [finding a shidduch]. For particularly in this country, it is the quality of happiness — and not opposite approaches — that makes others’ hearts more receptive.

And what’s most important is that there is no basis for your sadness, for it is said:21 “A wise woman is [granted] by G‑d.” The way to attain such blessings is to repeatedly seek after the matter as one seeks after a lost object. This implies that one must seek with energy, following the practice of observant Jews, i.e., using intermediaries. You should continue to do so with powerful trust [in G‑d].

G‑d, who from the Six Days of Creation onward is involved in making matches22 ... will certainly find you a mate who is appropriate in both a material and spiritual context.

May the merit of bringing the hearts of the Jewish people closer to their Father in heaven through the study of P’nimiyus HaTorah and following in its paths — which lead to the marriage (not only to the betrothal) of the Holy One, blessed be He, and the Jewish people — enable you to find your “lost object” speedily... and build a Chassidic home, an eternal structure, in much happiness.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. X, p. 269)

Tzedakah and Chitas

I received your letter ... in which you write that according to the natural order, you do not see how a shidduch is possible.

This is not a new insight. Indeed, it is stated that finding a match is as difficult as the Splitting of the Red Sea, and the magnitude of the miracle of the Splitting of the Red Sea is well known.

And yet, it is the nature of the world that [notwithstanding the above difficulties,] people find shidduchim, get married and build “eternal edifices.” All this will transpire for you as well.

You must divert your attention from the difficulties and make [the following] firm resolve: Marriage is one of the mitzvos of the Torah, and “the Holy One, blessed be He, does not make impossible demands of His created beings.”23

Since G‑d requires that you fulfill that mitzvah, He will certainly find your mate for you at the appropriate time. Nevertheless, since everything must be anchored in the natural order, [and] “it is the manner of man to seek a wife,” [you should actively seek a shidduch as well].

In order to speed [the process of obtaining a shidduch], you should resolve — bli neder — to give a francto tzedakah every day before prayer, and as is self-understood, observe the pattern of study my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe, established with regard to the three texts of Chumash, Tehillim, and Tanya.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. IV, p. 300)

The Proper Approach and Attitude
Will Assist in Finding a Shidduch

Although I have already written to you many times, however, it has not yet reached the “one hundred times” that our Sages tell us to do.

I therefore repeat again that your attitude with regard to a shidduch both perplexes and pains me. To someone in a similar situation I once wrote:

The approach to any matter can be in one of two ways: a) there is a choice to do it or not to do it, or at least to push it off once and again, and thus one chooses the path of least resistance; b) that the matter must be accomplished, and accomplished as soon as possible. The only choice that remains is how to accomplish it in the quickest possible time.

After asking your forgiveness [for my sharpness of tone], it seems to me that you have decided on the first way, and it is this that is leading to all your difficulties with regard to a shidduch.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XVII, p. 166)

Establishing Fixed Times for Torah Study

You mention in your letter your eldest brother, Mr. ..., who is already thirty years old and has not yet managed to find a shidduch:

Convey to him that he should set aside daily fixed times for the study of Torah, and surely so on the Shabbos day.

He should occupy himself energetically in finding an appropriate shidduch and remember the statement of our Sages that a husband is to conduct himself towards his wife in a gentle manner.

The merit of establishing fixed times for Torah study shall stand him in good stead, assisting him in finding a suitable wife.

If he will conduct himself in the above manner, then may it be the will of G‑d that their marriage be a successful one — a lasting one — and may they be blessed with fine and upstanding children.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. IV, p. 73)

Establish Fixed Times for the Study Of P’nimiyus HaTorah

May you soon send good tidings with regard to building a Jewish home, which is an eternal structure; even before that, good tidings regarding the establishment of fixed times for the study of P’nimiyus HaTorah ... for one assists the other.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XIII, p. 101)

The Role of Parents in a Shidduch

The Responsibility of Parents — Especially the Father

It is redundant to elaborate on the many statements of our Sages24 regarding the greatness of the obligation incumbent on parents, and in particular, a father, to arrange for the marriage of his daughter.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. X, p. 314)

“I Have Given My Daughter to a Man”

.. It pained me to read at the conclusion of your letter that you are as of yet unable to provide me with any news concerning an appropriate shidduch for your daughter. It seems to me that by this you meant that as of now there are absolutely no suggestions pending at all. This is truly painful, and for many reasons.

To someone of your stature, I need not quote extensively the many statements of our Sages, of blessed memory, who go on at length with regard to the great responsibility that is placed on the parents — especially the father — to marry off his daughter, and to do so in a manner that he be able to say, “I have given my daughter to a man.”

Furthermore, there is the famous statement of our Sages,25 “Do not believe someone when he states, ‘I have toiled, but I have not succeeded.’ ”

May it be G‑d’s will that a shidduch take place in the near future, and [moreover, that it transpire] without obstacles and difficulties.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. X, p. 314)

A Father’s Obligation to Marry Off His Son

.. [I ask you to] ponder what you write at the beginning of your letter and then at its conclusion:

To find thousands of liros for a dwelling is worth going in debt for — although previously you also lived in a house, albeit not as fancy as the present one. However, to perform the mitzvos of “You shall teach them thoroughly to your children,”26 and then to “marry the son off,” commandments that are incumbent on the father to perform for his son,27 you take as a given that not only need you not do this, but — as you write — “there is no room even to think about doing this.”

You have been living in Jerusalem for many years. Surely you are aware that literally impoverished fathers marry off their sons and daughters — having done so most recently as well. Moreover, they exert themselves mightily so as to specifically enable their children to continue their Torah studies. And among them are to be found even those who do not have thousands of liros for a dwelling.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XI, p. 226)

Approach With a Specific Suggestion

With regard to your statement that your daughter ... refuses to listen with regard to a shidduch.... It is proper for you to come to her with specific suggestions. If possible, she should not know that you were the ones who initiated the suggestions. Certainly, there is a way that this can be done. Then she will certainly change her attitude.

It is likely that a large part of her reluctance is merely an act — for the sake of appearance, since she is depressed about not having become engaged until now.

..Efforts should be made that she continue to live at home until her wedding; may it be in a good and auspicious hour.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. X, p. 52)

When the Daughter Is Still Quite Young

.. You ask my opinion as to whether you should interest yourself about a shidduch for your daughter who will soon be turning seventeen, or whether you should wait:

My opinion is that you need not conduct yourself in any of the two extremes, [i.e., neither to be too hasty in your quest, or completely put it off]. Rather, you should interest yourself in this matter, but in a calm manner, and without undue haste. Surely, at the proper time, G‑d will reveal the path with regard to this matter.

(Igros Kodesh, Volume VI, p. 72)

Find a Shidduch To the Son’s or Daughter’s Liking

... It is self-understood that there is no justification to force someone to accept a particular proposal with regard to a shidduch.

On the other hand, it is also possible that your son’s above plaint [about his unwillingness to interest himself in a shidduch] stems from the fact that he feels that the proposals that are being suggested to him do not meet his criteria.

Possibly, if a suggestion is made to him that he will find to his liking, his entire view about the matter [of interesting himself in a shidduch] will change as well.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XV, p. 51)

“Measure for Measure”

Our Sages declare:28 “The attributes of the Holy One, blessed be He, [follow man’s pattern] measure for measure.” Accordingly, all those who are concerned with the marriage of your son should strengthen their involvement in those matters that lead to the union of the Holy One, blessed be He, and His Shechinah.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. VII, p. 36)

Additional Tzedakah on the Children’s Behalf

It is appropriate that you give eighteen cents to charity before the morning prayers every weekday, in the merit of your daughters and all the members of your household.

This will serve as a medium to draw down and receive G‑d’s blessings in all the above [i.e., the father’s request for a shidduch for his daughters].

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. VII, p. 14)

Establish Fixed Times for the Study of the Subject
of Shidduchim As Discussed in P’nimiyus HaTorah

Since it is an obligation for a father to marry off his daughter, it is proper that the father also establish fixed times to study these subjects [in] (P’nimiyus HaTorah).

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XII, p. 392)