Torah thought forFriday 26 Cheshvan 5781 November 13 2020

Parashat Chayye Sarah

From HaGaon Rav Zevadia HaCohen Shlit”a, The Head of the Batei Din in Tel Aviv
(translated by our dear friend Rav Daniel Levy Shlit”a, Leeds UK)

[Belief in Hashem at All Times and Regarding Shidduchim Too, and Why a Young Man Studying Well in One Yeshiva Shouldn’t Change Yeshivot to Enhance his Shidduch Prospects!]

This Shabbat we shall read how Avraham sent Eliezer to find Yitzchak a bride. Throughout the whole journey we see that belief in Hashem led Avraham and Eliezer, and that their quest to find a wife was dependent on Hashem and His blessing. This is evident form Eliezer’s words Hashem, “G-d of the Heavens…shall send His angel before you and you will indeed find a wife there for my son Yitzchak” (Bereishit 24:7). Likewise, when Eliezer arrived at the well, he prayed to Hashem, “O’ Hashem, the G-d of my master Avraham: Be with me today, and grant a favour to my master Avraham” (Bereishit 24:12). And it continues, “The man stood there gaping at her. But he remained silent, waiting to determine for certain whether or not Hashem had made his journey successful” (Bereishit 24:21). And when Eliezer arrived at the Lavan’s home, he said, “I bowed low and prostrated myself to Hashem, I blessed Hashem, the G-d of my master Avraham who led me on a true path” (Bereishit 24:48). And even Lavan and Betuel said to Eliezer “It is something from Hashem, we cannot say anything to you, bad or good” (Bereishit 24:50).

From all this we learn that in a person’s life in general and during the specific time that he comes to build a home and find his soul-mate, the essence of success is belief in and prayer to Hashem that He will provide success. And as such, all the other strategies that we think are the main tools for success are really ancillary to belief in and prayer to Hashem, which enable us to receive His blessing to build an eternal home.

The belief in Hashem and His running of every aspect of the world, cannot be done in half measures. Either a person believes, or G-d-for-bid, the reverse. The problem is that when a person reaches a situation that he requires belief like air to breath, and then of all the times he instead focusses on other things and thinks that there are alternative avenues, what a pity.

But with belief, then the period of children’s shidduchim is a period of the “definitive Hebrew letter hey-the” that is required for belief (THE belief!). Woe to the parents who don’t guide the aspects of their children’s shidduchim from a perspective of belief forged and clear with the Creator. Only those for whom belief is deeply engrained in their hearts, will traverse this period from a perspective of complete inner tranquillity.

Rav Yitzchak Zilberstein shlit”a relates (in his work Barchi Nafshi). Some parents approached me and related that they have a son “caught” in a long period of shidduchim and things just aren’t moving. To the extent that the big shadchanim” have given up hope and forsaken them and no longer are making suggestions. As a result, the couple are rowing about a very specific issue. They related that when they asked the main shadchan with whom they worked with throughout this time, why he no longer presents any suggestions, the shadchan replied that in his opinion their son isn’t succeeding in finding his soul-mate because he studies a yeshiva that is not so well known… and that if they move him to a more well-known yeshiva, one more prestigious, then things will progress…

Have you ever heard such a thing! For this shadchan he has a solution, whilst no one else can see the unknown, his suggestion being to move the young man to a better known yeshiva, and with this well-known in the world of yeshivot as a “strong yeshiva” also his shidduchim will progress more quickly…

Really? Are engagements dependant on this?!

And so, the parents are arguing about this. The father who isn’t such a strong believer argues that they listen to the shadchan and he even has a plan how to achieve this…Since this isn’t straightforward at all, as everyone knows that to move a young man to a prestigious yeshiva is no mean feat, therefore, the father sat and devised a carefully planned process how to achieve this.

Conversely, the mother who is a true Jewish woman, who was brought up on the lap of belief knows that no sane person would think that the success of a shidduch is dependant on the reputation of the yeshiva. And since their son is studying in his current yeshiva, there is no reason to remove him to another yeshiva.

This was the dilemma before me, relates Rav Zilberstein, that since the young man is studying in his current yeshiva, there is no reason to move him to another yeshiva and the mother objects to this move with all her strength.

Every rational person knows that the mother is correct, and anyone who thinks that by moving the son to another yeshiva that his shidduchim will also progress in tandem, is making a grave mistake and there is no trace of belief in his heart.

[Rav Zilberstein continues] that in order to illustrate this, we will bring a quick analogy about a person who was driving an old car and found himself stuck in a traffic jam. After many hours his old car together with many thousands of other cars was travelling slowly at 5km/h, with no end of the traffic jam in sight. This driver had an important appointment and the delay caused him untold anguish. He finally lost his patience and had an idea. He will park his old car at the side of the road and will knock on the door of this beautiful coach that has just left the factory a couple of months ago and will ask to join its passengers…

“If I will travel on this swanky coach  I will arrive quicker at my destination”, this dreamer said to himself.

But he doesn’t understand that in order to be released from the traffic jam, it makes no difference which vehicle he travels in, because the jam is due to the blockage on the road, which has been created for whatever reason, an accident G-d-for-bid, or an oil spill which causes vehicles to slow their speed. And in order to free up the blockage one has to remove the cause that created it in the first place. Until this is done, then any car, even the newest, will continue to be stuck…

This analogy fits in exactly to the situation that you find yourselves in, said the rav to the father. Your son is in a blockage of shidduchim and for sure there is a cause for this, and until you remove the cause then the impediment won’t be removed either.

And do you honestly believe that the cause is the yeshiva in which your son studies?!

We should always remember that the secret of success is only through Hashem’s blessing via our prayers to him, prayers from the depths of our hearts throughout the entire journey, and as the passuk states, “by Hashem they shall encamp and by Hashem they shall travel” (Bamidbar 9:20).

Shabbat Shalom!