Discerning That Which Is
Crucial and That Which Is Secondary

It has come to my attention that a number of suggestions had been made to you with regard to a shidduch, but for any number of reasons you rejected them all.

Quite understandably, one cannot comment from a distance with regard to a particular suggestion, but I take the liberty of making the following general remarks:

Marriage is the most important event in the life of a man or woman; it leaves an indelible imprint on one’s entire life. Consequently, such a decision requires considerable deliberation and cannot be done in haste.

Nonetheless, regarding all events that transpire in a person’s life, be they large or small, it is impossible to take into account all the eventual particulars and details, each and every possible permutation.

After all, a human being is extremely limited; it is impossible for him to conceptualize all the eventualities of each and every aspect and detail and their possible consequences.

Thus, to a certain extent, it is necessary for a person to utilize his faith and trust in G‑d, that He will see the matter through in a goodly manner in all its many details.

The same is so with regard to a shidduch: It is literally impossible to find something entirely perfect, and it is impossible to calculate how matters will come to pass to their absolute finality.

If the most important matters are in order, then quite often it is proper to overlook minor matters that don’t seem to be in order. This is especially so, since one may only be imagining that they are not in order, when in truth they are quite fine as well.

.. In general, with regard to a shidduch, emphasis should be placed on that which is most crucial — that it be in harmony with the verse,1 “A woman who fears G‑d, she is to be praised.” We are not to occupy ourselves with “signs” and omens, such as those about which you write.

The primary channel and vessel for receiving Divine blessing is through conducting oneself on a daily basis in consonance with the directives of our Torah, the “Torah of Life,” and by performing its commandments, concerning which the verse states,2 “you shall live by them.”

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XXIII, p. 73)

Qualities in a Shidduch Are to Be Sought
In a Kind and Generous Manner

In reply to your letter of the 23rd of Cheshvan in which you write about the difficulties you have encountered regarding a shidduch: You also write that you read in many sefarim and tractates that one should seek a wife from a prominent family, etc., as well as an individual who is an “ishah kesheirah,” [i.e., distinguished in her own right].

The saying of our Sages that “All daughters of Israel are beautiful,”3 is well known. Understandably, true beauty in the words of our Sages refers to spiritual beauty. Also known is the saying of our Sages (Yevamos 63a), “ ‘Chassan’ [means] — Descend a level and marry a wife.”

Although it is surely true that all the qualities you have enumerated in your letter are to be sought,4 it is also understandable that there is no comparison between seeking [with a stringent eye] and seeking specifically with a kind eye.

In accordance to that which you write, I would advise you to transfer the search [for a shidduch] to the directorship (hanhalah) of Tomchei Temimim in which you learn.

.. We verily observe that when one is not overly particular about lesser matters, and surely when one is not overly particular about trivial and trifling matters, but rather one seeks characteristics of Yiras Shomayim, tznius and the like, then G‑d helps the person succeed that in addition to [obtaining] that which is [of] foremost [importance], one also obtains that which is [of] secondary [import].

It goes without saying that if with regard to every matter one must do all he can to increase G‑d’s assistance, this surely applies to something as vital as a shidduch concerning which the verse states,5 “A wise woman is [granted] by G‑d.”

Increasing one’s performance of Torah and mitzvos is the way to increase Divine assistance — increasing one’s learning of both Toras HaNigleh and Toras HaChassidus, performing mitzvos b’hidur, as well as influencing one’s friends that they too act in a like manner.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XVI, p. 101)

The Desire to Continue Learning Torah

In reply to your letter of the 25th of Sivan in which you write that shidduchim are being suggested to you, and that in answer to your response that you desire to continue learning our holy Torah you were told that the other party is agreeable to this as well:

You should interest yourself in the shidduch if after further inquiry it transpires that this is indeed the case, (that they will agree that you be afforded the opportunity to continue learning in Yeshivah for a significant amount of time, learning both Toras HaNigleh and Toras HaChassidus).

May G‑d, who oversees each and every person with individual Divine Providence, lead you in the path that is truly best for you.

Regarding that which was stated above, that both sides are agreeable [to your continuing to learn]: It is self-understood that first and foremost there must be a firm resolution on your part that you will not only continue to study assiduously and diligently, but moreover you will increase your learning.

See as well Hilchos Talmud Torah of the Alter Rebbe, beginning of ch. 3, where he states: “It is possible as well to learn after one’s marriage for two or three years without worries and concerns, etc.”

This statement applies even to those who occupy themselves with business affairs and the like. How much more so with regard to he who has chosen the “fine portion,” i.e., laboring and occupying oneself exclusively with Torah study and spiritual matters (meshares bakodesh).

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XVIII, p. 434)

Emphasis Must Be Placed on the Most Vital Matters:
Torah, Mitzvos and Yiras Shomayim

.. It goes without saying that with regard to shidduchim, there must be the full consent and will of both parties. But, on the other hand, you should explain to your daughter that in present times, emphasis must be placed on those matters that are most vital, i.e., Yiras Shomayim and Torah and mitzvos, for ultimately, this is the entire purpose of man.

One should therefore not attach additional requirements regarding those matters that are not so vital, inasmuch as one may not readily find an individual who meets all these criteria. And when it comes to choosing between that which is most important and that which is the most “minor of minor,” it is self-understood that that which is vital is most vital.

(From a letter of the Rebbe)

A Firm Foundation

This is in reply to your letter of the 13th of Nissan — that arrived here a bit late — in which you inform me that many shidduchim were suggested to you and you find it difficult to make a decision, as you are not well satisfied with any of them. You also inform me about the present suggestion for a shidduch and that you have begun taking the first steps.

When I was at the tziyun of my father-in-law, the Rebbe, of blessed memory, I mentioned you in prayer for a blessing in all matters that you require. Surely he will arouse Divine mercy, that you be blessed with finding a fine and suitable match in the near future.

Regarding your doubts: You surely realize that a physical edifice is adorned externally as well. Nevertheless, that which is most important is that it be built on a firm foundation and with solid materials, so that the structure is of benefit to those who reside therein and not to serve as ornamentation for passersby.

Surely this is so with regard to constructing a house in Israel, that of greatest import is that it be built on a firm foundation, that foundation being Torah with Yiras Shomayim. The opinion of the “pedestrians” who pass by the house with regard to the house’s external beauty ... is entirely superficial in comparison to that which is of greatest importance.

As a person who hails from a Chassidic family, who surely grew up in the spirit of Chassidism, it is certainly unnecessary to amplify and expound on the above thoughts, as no doubt you are already aware of them.

Reflecting on these, though, undoubtedly will help you clarify your own perspective and viewpoint with regard to the shidduch that is currently under consideration.

May G‑d lead you in the correct path, so that you build a home in Israel on the foundations of Torah and mitzvos, as they are explained and illuminated in Toras HaChassidus.

I trust you will inform me of the good tidings that shall come to pass.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. IV, p. 274)

A Tested and Proven Foundation

In the text of the blessings which are recited under the chuppah, a Jewish marriage is described as a binyan adei ad, an “everlasting edifice.” Needless to say, this is not just a poetic phrase, but is an analogy containing many points of interest.

Above all, when one is about to build a structure, the first thing that is necessary to ensure is that the foundation is solid. Whereas in regard to the structure which will rise on the foundation, there can be differences of opinion among persons about how much consideration to give to the outward appearance, how to reckon with the views of neighbors and friends, and whether to forego certain other things for the sake of external appearances.

There can be no differences of opinion that the primary and overriding consideration, insofar as the foundation is concerned, is that it should be solid and firm and durable, able to withstand changes of climate, and able to firmly support the entire structure with all the people on it.

For this reason, the material chosen for the foundation must have been tested and proven to fulfill these vital requirements, tested and proven under various conditions, both favorable and unfavorable, even in the extreme.

(From a letter of the Rebbe)