Aliza and the Shidduch Maze
By M’nucha Bialik, shidduch coach
Aliza was sitting outside on the green grass, enjoying the breeze and relaxing, observing the white, fluffy clouds in the blue sky that could be seen through the branches of the big oak tree that she was sitting under. Her mind relaxing, daydreaming, she was thinking of her older sister’s recent wedding, her friends dating experiences and how she soon would be going out. Thoughts flitted in and out of her mind as she relaxed. All of a sudden, she awoke (she must have dozed off) hearing someone say, “I’m late. I’m late. I’m late for an important date.” She noticed the White Rabbit looking at his watch just before hopping into a cave. Without thinking, she immediately got up and followed him. She eagerly, but carefully walked into the cave. She suddenly felt herself falling. There was a deep hole in the ground and she slid down the hole like it was a giant tunnel with a slide, kind of bumpy on the sides. As she slid down, feeling herself getting a little bruised, she felt both exhilarated and nervous. She was sliding, sliding, sliding, and then she flew out of the tunnel and landed on the ground. She picked herself up and realized she wasn’t too badly hurt.
Observing her surroundings, Aliza noticed a big sign: Welcome to the Shidduch Maze! She saw tons of girls and boys (separate doors, of course) scurrying into the shidduch maze. Trepidly, she walked in. What a sight! She almost decided to walk back out. There were a group of people jogging around a circle, just going round and round and round. When she asked them what they were doing, they exclaimed, “Don’t bother us. Can’t you see we’re busy? We just got back from seminary and we have to hurry, hurry, hurry and find our chassan before it’s too late, before the next batch comes in. We’re in a rush.” There were all different directions to go in the maze, and there were girls running and stumbling every which way.
Aliza went through room after room, each one more horrible than the one before. I don’t have time now to tell you about all her adventures – if you’re interested, I can tell you more some other time. 😊
But, as I said, Aliza went through room after room. In one of them, there were tons and tons of mirrors. Little cute, friendly fairies would fly in and point out a mirror for Aliza to look into. As she would look into a specific mirror, Aliza would feel herself changing into someone else. In one mirror, Aliza would become sweet and eidel. In another mirror, she would be a very frum, very serious Beis Yaakov girl. Another fairy had her look into another mirror which caused her to be very with-it and energetic. Some fairies would shout, “No! Don’t look in that mirror! Look in this mirror!” Some fairies wanted Aliza to look into two mirrors at the same time and to become two opposite people. She felt like she was losing her mind. She didn’t know who she was anymore. Was there still an Aliza or has she become just a reflection of what others want her to become?
Lost and confused and not knowing who she was anymore, Aliza wandered dizzily into another room. There, a tall raccoon standing on its two legs wearing a suit with money rolling of its pockets saw her desolate face and said, “I have the answer. Follow me.” With a pen behind his ears and his pockets jiggling with the sound of cash, he called the several little raccoon accountants who were following behind him with rolls of papers on which were lists of tons of numbers. They ran into a room where there was a horrible game, a mix between Musical Chairs and a Merry – go – round, being played. There was a big carousal with a bunch of horses and a bunch of girls. The girls were trying to catch the horses and get the horses to agree to let them board onto them and then together they would escape the carousal. There was fast, loud, dizzying music playing on the loudspeakers. As soon as the music stopped, everyone said mazal tov and a few horses galloped out with the girls riding on their back. Then every twelve rounds or so, hundreds of more girls and more horses would enter.
The raccoons were just trying to match the girls with the horses as fast as they could, encouraging them both to just run off, quickly, without too much thought. “Faster, faster!” everyone cried.
Aliza was watching all this in bewilderment. “But, I don’t understand. Doesn’t each horse and each girl have to match? You can’t just manipulate and put any horse together with any girl – that won’t work. This affects them for the rest of their life – not any girl will be happy with just any horse, nor just any horse will be happy with any girl. I don’t understand.” The raccoons explained, “It doesn’t really matter if no one finds their right horse at all, the main thing is for the horse and the girl to run off together. If you do that, you win. It doesn’t matter if the horse kicks the girl off of it or the girl hates the horse a few minutes later. They win if they stay on and escape the carousel. What happens afterwards – that’s another story.”
“That can’t be right,” Aliza cried. ‘What you’re saying must be nonsense.”
Aliza knew intuitively that this cannot be the answer. “Help! Someone please help me find the right answer!” she cried out.
All of a sudden, Aliza heard the sound of trumpets. While no one was looking, she dashed out of the room with the raccoons and ran into a majestic room. And there, she saw the king. Standing before the king was a long line. Everyone stood in line, one by one, they would pass before the king.
When it was Aliza’s turn and she stood before the king, the king kindly asked her: “Who are you?” Aliza didn’t know what to answer. Who was she? Who was she anymore?
Aliza remembered the fairies. She remembered the mirrors. She remembered the raccoons. But who was she?
As the trumpet sounded and the king kindly looked at her, all the distortions that the mirrors and the fairies put on her faded away. All the silly raccoons, musical chairs games disappeared, and suddenly, Aliza felt a tremendous calmness. She was herself. She knew who she was and it was okay to be exactly who she was. The raccoons were wrong. The fairies were wrong. The mirrors were wrong. She knew who she was. She understood now that she had her own special and unique horse that the king would send to her at the right time.
She remembered all those other adventures that she experienced in the shidduch maze – some were silly, some were fun, some were painful. She remembered all the advice that the fairies and animals in each of the rooms told her that had nothing to do with reality, and she suddenly realized with true clarity and true calmness, that she was Aliza. She had a tafkid in this world and she knew what it was (or at least part of it) – she knew her kochos, she knew who she wanted to be, she knew her challenges and she embraced them. And she knew that she was the daughter of the king.
The king loved her and she was so, so important.
Aliza was finally awake. She wasn’t dreaming anymore.
Very, very soon, on Rosh Hashana, there will be a shofar blowing. Are you going to be awake? Will you know who you really are or will you be all confused, trying to be what you think (or know) everyone else wants you to become? Will you believe the foolish things you hear or read, people (fairies, mirrors, and animals) spouting views which you know makes no sense or will you see clearly what is really going on?
On Rosh Hashana, every single person is judged separately (and collectively, but that’s another story 🙂 ). Our job is not to be Sara Imeinu or Esther Hamalkah or even your sister or your friend. Your job is to be you. Whether you get married at 19, 22, 28, 34, or 47 – you have a tafkid to fulfill. You were given exactly what you need to fulfill this tafkid. Be calm. And be happy – you are the King’s daughter and He loves you. He created you and He wants you to be you – the real you.
K’siva v’chasima tova!
May you have a wonderful year and may you know who you really are and have the calmness and clarity to be yourself, your true self! May you find your true zivug and be zoche to build a bayis ne’eman b’yisroel!