Written by Rochele Haramati
He’s Ashkenazi, there’s no way he’ll agree! He’s not merely religious from the home, he’s from a Chassidishe home.
Chana tossed and turned in her creaking bed in the dormitory of the seminary. Her mashpia told her, “Think positively and it will be good. We’ll suggest it and hope he’ll respond, at least agree to a meeting.” His younger sister was a shlucha in the seminary and was very excited about Chana the baalas t’shuva. She told her brother about Chana and said she felt they were suitable. Both were so good and smart and successful.
Chana’s thoughts seesawed between despair and hope and she fell asleep. In a dream, she saw herself holding a little redheaded boy with freckles and blue eyes. She tried to offer him kubana (Yemenite bread) but he pushed the plate away. She woke up suddenly and lay there without moving. It was just a dream but she felt it had to be considered. It was no simple matter. Their backgrounds were so different. They might have a common language, maybe even a common vision, but maybe not. Maybe it would be easier with someone more similar.
In a situation where a girl is interested in a shidduch that is so different from her, should she be alerted to the fact that it’s harder? Maybe those who are so different shouldn’t meet? Can suitability be measured by externals such as background and ethnicity or maybe only personality and deeper character issues?
One of the problems in shidduchim is when parents are looking for a shidduch that suits the parents but does not suit their son or daughter. They are drawn to something completely different than what their parents think is good. You need to listen to the heart whispers of a boy or girl. Parents can make suggestions but not lay down the rule. More freedom to make decisions needs to be given to the boy or girl in shidduchim. Guidance yes; dictating to them, no. A bochur needs to marry someone who suits him and the same goes for the girl.
Marrying someone different, is that an advantage or a disadvantage?
There’s no such thing as advantage or disadvantage. For one couple it’s a plus and for another couple it’s a minus. A boy and girl who are different from one another marry because they are attracted. They see the differences as a challenge. What they have in common is the fact that they are both open to the challenge.
Generally speaking, the backgrounds should be similar and there should be common interests, but sometimes, the parties involved are drawn to a different background and other areas of interest.