Doubts and “Casting Lots”

In reply to your letter of the first of Iyar , in which you write with regard to two possible candidates for a shidduch, one of whom you have a stronger positive emotional feeling for, and regarding the other you were told that [since] you “threw a gorel” (a “lot”) and the gorel indicated the second candidate, [you should therefore go with the second one]:

In general, with regard to shidduchim, when both candidates are G‑d-fearing young men, one should follow one’s emotional feelings — as the verse states,1 “let us ask her opinion.” I have never heard that with regard to matters such as these that one depends on “throwing a gorel.”

Since, however, it seems from your letter that your father seems to favor the second candidate, it would be worthwhile to find out from him why he does so. And in light of this clarification, you should consider once again the two candidates.

As it is sometimes difficult to make a decisive decision regarding something that is so crucial to one’s life, it would be worthwhile for you to seek the advice of those who are knowledgeable of all the details.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XVII, p. 84)

Doubts Should Not Lead to Tears

In reply to your letter of the 23rd of Teves, in which you describe your doubts about whether or not you should get engaged to a certain young man, and for which reason these days are exceedingly difficult for you and you cannot seem to stop crying:

I am surprised that these doubts have had such a strong impact on your emotional state, when it is quite common for individuals to have doubts in matters such as these.

In fact, not only are such doubts common, they are also eminently understandable, as this decision involves a decisive step in one’s life. Since nothing in the realm of creation is perfect, it is understandable that there is room for doubts.

Nevertheless, although it is necessary to give hard and serious thought to this matter, the difficulty in making such a decision should not affect you in this [negative] manner. This is particularly so, since a proper decision regarding this matter must necessarily be made in a state of calm and serenity and not while one is in an opposite state....

It also seems from your letter that, as of yet, you are not at all entirely sure about your general attitude regarding this young man. In such a situation, the proper approach is to cease meeting — or even writing letters to — each other for a few weeks. This period of noncommunication inevitably results in clarifying one’s feelings, whether positive or negative.

Understandably, the number of weeks during which you will not communicate with each other depends on the individual nature of each and every person, as well as one’s speed in making decisions. Generally, three to four weeks suffices.

May the Creator of the world and its Conductor guide you in the path that is best for you, and may you make good decisions both materially and spiritually.

Additionally, the merit of your occupying yourself in Chinuch al Taharas HaKodesh (“Jewish education in a wholly pure and sacred manner”) in an institution of my father-in-law, the Rebbe, surely will stand you in good stead with regard to all the above.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XIV, p. 316)

The Need for Thoroughness and Concurrently Trusting in G‑d

Surely, it need not be stressed that though — on one hand — before one makes a final decision regarding [meeting with someone for the purpose of] a shidduch, it is essential to give the matter long and hard thought; nonetheless, it is also important to know that one cannot be one hundred percent guaranteed in advance.

Rely on G‑d, who conducts the world as a whole, as well as the microcosmic world of each and every person. Surely He will lead the person to that which is best for him or her. We need but strengthen our bond with G‑d by conducting ourselves in the path of Torah and mitzvos.

G‑d, however, also asks that we make a vessel in nature, i.e., that we follow the natural order of things.

That is why, with regard to all matters and with regard to shidduchim as well, it is necessary that we occupy ourselves in the matter.

However, we are not to take this to two extremes, which is to say, we should not grab the first opportunity that becomes available, but at the same time we should not be overly selective and demanding.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. V, p. 269)

“When in Doubt...”

.. You write with regard to the suggestion of a shidduch and you conclude with the statement that you yourself do not know your stand with regard to the above.

It is self-understood that regarding something as significant as a shidduch, one should not make a decision in such circumstances. Rather, you should put off any decisions until you gain a sense of clarity in the above and how you relate to it. Once you clarify the matter, you should act [in accordance with this clarification].

(From a letter of the Rebbe, dated 1 Kislev, 5725)