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27 Nisan 5772 - April 19, 2012 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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HaRav Shteinman Explains the Most Common Problem in Shidduchim

In the Pesach edition of the Musaf Shabbos Kodesh of the Hebrew edition of the Yated Ne'eman, on the theme of being a Rov, there was an interview with HaRav Shteinman about the topic. In response to one of the questions, HaRav Shteinman took the opportunity to deliver his opinion on the topic of shidduchim. Here it is.

Question: If a rav is going to found a community, should he prefer mispallelim who are bnei Torah or should he found a community aimed at all religious baalei batim?

This was HaRav Shteinman's answer: If the question is, is it permissible for him [to direct his community only to bnei Torah] it is certainly permissible. He could also decide to found a community aimed only at gedolei olom like HaRav Chaim Ozer, and there is no reason to stop him from doing so, even though in the latter case his community will be no larger than two or three.

But if the question is if it is proper to do so, then the answer is `Certainly not,' because it is preferable to have a community with many members. Of course it goes without saying that all should be shomer Torah umitzvos koro'ui. A community should be built from people like that.

Recently many shailas like that have been coming in, such as, in a city there is an old school and now they want to found a new school, just for religiously special students. One should know that the only thing that stands behind [initiatives like] that us only ga'avah, and besides that nothing.

It is the same with the great issue that stands before us today, namely the issue of shidduchim. There are thousands of bochurim and bonos who have not yet found their spouse. In a large part of the cases it is because of ga'avah: "Such a shidduch is not appropriate for me," or this one does not want to marry that one. I am much more choshuv. It is like they say in the name of Rebbi Yisroel Salanter, that a person does not die of starvation, he or she dies of ga'avah. If he were not embarrassed he would not die. But there is ga'avah, and one's kovod and people die from ga'avah and kovod.

If people would think a little less about kovod a great many shidduchim would progress easier. One cannot say "all shidduchim," but a great many would go easier.

It is the same with regard to sholom bayis. Many of the problems are due to kovod. "How can I give in?" At the end of the day, kovod buries most of the people, as it says, "Hakin'ah vehata'avoh vehakovod motzi'im es ho'odom min ho'olom. This is something one can see tangibly.

I will tell you a story about the Chofetz Chaim who was orphaned of his father at a young age and his mother remarried. One day the Chofetz Chaim came to visit his mother to fulfill kibbud eim and he saw that his mother was sad. He asked why, and his mother replied tearfully that she is embarrassed to tell him what her husband said to her, that since he has a daughter from his first marriage who is 26 he is asking her to influence her son — who was then 16 — to marry his daughter (who was a bas Yisroel with the necessary ma'alos). He threatened her that if her son does not marry his daughter he would divorce her, and she was embarrassed to speak with him about the matter.

When the Chofetz Chaim heard his he said right away that he agreed to marry her. And why not? And they actually got married despite the great gap in their ages. And she was his first wife.

We see from this that one who does not look at kovod finds his spouse and marries him or her. Even though she was ten years older than he, he had several children from her.

Would you ever imagine that a bochur would marry a women ten years older than he? But this was the Chofetz Chaim who was Jew who did not look at kovod.


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