Meetings and Decisions

60. The search for a shidduch and the meetings between the young man and woman should be with great Tznius both in conduct and speech.1

61. When travelling to a different city for a meeting, one should take along a shlichus mitzvah (such as Tzedakah), and this will add to the success of the journey.2

62. They should both be fully aware of the laws of Yichud and the prohibition of Negiah/physical contact. Therefore when meeting, they must either meet in a home where shomrim are present or in a public area. Even when at home, they should leave the door to the room they are in unlocked, and it is a middas chassidus to leave the door slightly ajar. It is forbidden for them to drive to a secluded country spot or isolated park or forest etc. They should not drive alone late at night, and certainly not out of the town.3

63. This halachah applies even more strongly after the couple are engaged to be married. They must be extremely careful to avoid Yichud and Negiah. The fact they are engaged gives them no permission whatsoever to be lax or lenient in the halachah.

64. It is incorrect for a young man to meet a young woman when they know that the time has not yet come for marriage. Undesirable proximity ultimately breeds distance and contempt.4

65. Many chassanim wrote to the Rebbe that they wished to “go out” with a certain young lady with view to marriage and they asked for a berachoh — the Rebbe crossed out the words “go out” and instead wrote “lehipagesh/to meet”.5

66. Until the two make a decision, the meetings between them should be kept private.6

67. When meeting, the two should discuss Yiddishkeit, Torah and mitzvos and the way of life in general and, specifically, what type of home they wish to establish.7 They also need to discuss thoroughly the details of conduct with Yiras Shomayim.8 Since the channel and vessel to Hashem’s blessing is daily conduct in Torah and mitzvos, it is vital to ascertain the attitude towards these matters. Furthermore, it is also important to ascertain the attitude towards hiddur mitzvah and growth in Torah.9

68. If the man plans to continue to learn (as in a Kollel) after the wedding, this must have the full and joyful consent of his prospective wife, as this will usually entail some concessions in their standard of living.10

69. Once they have met enough times to allow a thorough discussion of the above matters, then it is inappropriate to have further meetings just for the sake of meeting, rather they should come to a decision one way or the other.11

70. If a couple has only met once or twice and they don’t have any specific feelings, then it is advisable for them to meet again to discern if they have any further emotional attraction.12

71. Being that this is a life decision, consideration of a match should not be done hastily, but calmly and in a calculated manner, without undue pressures.13

72. It is most natural in these matters that there be a measure of uncertainty, for how is it possible to really know someone through a few meetings. Nevertheless, after one has done research into the background and education of the suggested party, and they are found to be suitable and compatible, what remains to be seen is whether they have positive feelings for each other. Often, even after meeting a few times, one, or the other, or both, don’t have a positive feeling. This could be the case even when logically all else seems to fit into place. Nevertheless, it is paramount that they should have feelings for each other. One often hears, “My head tells me that this is a great shidduch but my heart tells me it’s not right”. In shidduchim, what the heart feels should also be reckoned with. There needs to be some feeling for each other (or at least the potential for one to develop). And if there is no feeling whatsoever, and the heart says no, then this needs to be reckoned with.14 In such a case it may be advisable that they should stop seeing each other for a few weeks and see how they feel after such a break.15

73. If one of the parties is in doubt, then the reasons for this doubt need to be ascertained by the shadchan or by close friends.16 The shadchan needs to help them come to a decision one way or another. Some anxieties/fears have no base and others are a real concern. The shadchan should help each party gain clarity, allowing them to make a sensible and objective decision.

74. A decision to proceed should be made only when one has clarity that the shidduch is good but not when in a state of doubt.17

75. During the dating process, if one of the parties decides that they no longer wish to continue the shidduch, then this is usually communicated through the shadchan.18 Extreme sensitivity should be displayed at this point not to hurt chas vesholom the feelings of the other party. When necessary, one should ask for forgiveness if one may have hurt the other in some way.19 The bearing of a grudge by any of the parties can have ill effects in their respective later relationships.20

Receiving the Rebbe’s Blessing

76. Before the shidduch is finalized, it is customary to receive the Rebbe’s blessing.21 Today it is customary for the chosson and kallah, together with their parents (if possible), to go to the Ohel and write in their respective requests for a Berachoh for theshidduch.22 After they exit the Ohel (after Netilas Yodayim etc.,) the families wish each other Mazal Tov on the engagement and drink a Lechaim!23 Those who are unable to visit the Ohel should send a written request for the Rebbe’s berachoh.