By M’nucha Bialik – shidduch coach
Hi! I know that many of you are in various stages of navigating the shidduch maze. Some of you have been stuck in this maze for years. Some of you are just barely putting your feet in, trying to figure out how to get started. And some of you are more on the sidelines – watching as your friends, relatives, and neighbors try to manoeuvre their way through the shidduch maze.
No matter where you’re located, there is one thing that you all have to know, and realize – and that is: shidduchim is a nisayon – a challenge. The fact that you are not yet married does not mean that you are less capable or less worthy, have less self-awareness or less bitachon, or are inferior in any way to your friend who married the first or second person they went out with. It means that Hashem has given you the nisayon called shidduchim.
There are nisyonos in this world. Nisyonos are challenges or tests given to us by a loving Hashem who also gives us the skills necessary to pass the test.
Avraham Avinu went through ten nisyonos. Was he a failure until he passed each one? Was his life not meaningful before he passed each test? Was he worthless until he conquered his final test? Of course not. When someone has a nisayon, it means just that and that alone: the person is going through a test.
The first step, however, is to recognize it as nisayon. Next, you need to know what to do to pass the test. You need to get hold of the Torah Study Guide for passing tests.
No two tests are exactly alike. Each person’s tests are tailor-made for that person and that person alone. Even so, there are certain common themes that you can study and apply to help you ace your test. The three themes one must study and learn in order to pass nisyonos are: Tefillah (prayer), Bitachon (having faith in Hashem), and Hishtadlus (taking action).
1.Tefillah (prayer). Hashem often gives people challenges or tests, such as not being married or not having children, because He loves them. He created you, you are His beloved child, and He wants you to be close to Him. He wants your tefillos – they are so special to Him! Hashem made the Imahos (matriarchs) and Chana barren because He loved them – He wanted them to turn to Him and daven. Recognize that, if you are still single, it is because you are very special to Hashem and He wants you to become close to Him. Tefillah is the means for doing so.
2.Bitachon (trusting Hashem). As a human being, you will experience difficulties in life, even once you are married. There are so many major challenges that we all face and that we will continue to face. Working on bitachon now will serve you well for the rest of your life in all areas of your life. If you develop the faith that your zivug (the person you are destined to marry) is out there and that you will indeed get married, then when you do, in addition to a spouse, you will also have gained and strengthened your emunah (belief in Hashem) and bitachon.
Chazal teach us that Hashem gives us nisyonos in order to educate and elevate us. All nisyonos are simply means that Hashem uses to instruct and strengthen us in the fundamentals of belief in Hashem. Our job is just to remain calm and recognize that all is good and Hashem is in control. He cares about you and truly wants what’s best for you. And only He and He alone has the ability to make it happen at exactly the right time- at exactly the best possible time – and in the best possible way!
3.Hishtadlus (making an effort to help yourself). You must take action! Discover what is considered proper hishtadlus in the realm of shidduchim and then take correct and positive action.
I would like to reiterate: the fact that you are not yet married does not mean that you have davened less, possess less bitachon, or have done less hishtadlus than those who immediately found their bashert. Hashem loves you and is giving you this test because He wants you to become close to Him and strive to perfect yourself.
So now my friends, give yourself permission to allow yourself to grow and come close to Hashem. Not because there is something wrong with you, but because there is something so absolutely terrific about you. He loves you and wants you to grow.
One day, a small opening appeared on a cocoon. A man sat and watched
the butterfly for several hours, as it struggled to force its body
through that little opening.
Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had
gone as far as it could and could go no further. So the man
decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped
off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged
easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.
continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any
moment, the wings would expand to support the body, which
would contract in time.
Neither of these things happened.
In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around
with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It was never able to fly. What the man in his
misplaced kindness did not understand was that
the restricting cocoon, and the struggle required for the butterfly to
get through the opening, were G-d’s way of forcing the fluid from the
butterfly’s body and into its wings, so that it would be ready for
flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.
Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If G-d
allowed us to go through our life without any obstacles, the absence of struggle would
cripple us. We would not be as strong as we could have been. We could
Just as the butterfly’s struggles are for its own good, so, too, our struggles are precisely what is needed for our growth. We must daven and ask Hashem to help us. We must believe that we can truly achieve what we need to achieve. And we must take action!
Who said life is easy? So get out there, study these concepts and apply them, and pass your test!
A teacher does not give a first grader a test on algebra. If Hashem has given you this test, it means that you are capable of passing it. And if you haven’t passed until now – don’t worry. You can (in fact, you must) keep re-taking the test until you pass.
So keep on trying. Success is lurking just around the corner.
P.S. Tomorrow, Wednesday, is Tu B’av, a day that chazal tell us is one of the happiest days in the year. Throughout history, it has been a special day when good things happened to the Jewish people. The Gemara tells us that many years ago the “daughters of Jerusalem would go dance in the vineyards” on the 15th of Av, and “whoever did not have a wife would go there” to find himself a bride. In fact, the biggest shidduch days were Tu B’av and Yom Kippur. Additionally, a few of the other special things that happened on that day were also related to marriage. I don’t know how it works or what it means in reality, but perhaps this is a propitious day for singles to daven extra hard to find their bashert. I would likewise suggest that everyone use this opportune day, singles and marrieds alike, to try to think of the wonderful men and women you know and try to set them up with your friends and acquaintances.