Age and Age Differences

Not Too Great a Difference in Age

.. There is the well known, very sound advice of our Sages, of blessed memory, that there should not be too great a difference in age between them [i.e., between husband and wife].

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. VII, p. 184)

An Older Man

Ascertaining the Reason for Not Yet Being Married

.. With regard to your question concerning the shidduch for your sister-in-law with a man of about 35 years of age:

I would suggest that inquiries be made to find out why he did not marry before, and if the reasons are such that they do not affect a Jewish home, it would be advisable for the two people to become better acquainted and ascertain what mutual attractions they possess.

(From a letter of the Rebbe, dated 12 Cheshvan, 5711)

Age Difference — A Crucial Point in a Marriage

In reply to your letter of Erev Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan in which you write that a shidduch was suggested to you with a gentleman who is more than forty years old:

It seems from your letter that the age difference between the two of you is too great — he is too much older than you. It is also important to ascertain why he has not yet married. Before anything more is done regarding this matter, this reason must be clearly ascertained.

It is also important to ponder the difference in ages, something that has a large impact [on the success of a marriage]. Surely you have friends in the city where that gentleman lives, who hopefully will be able to assist you in the above.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XXII, p. 17)

When the Age Difference Is Too Great

A woman had a shidduch suggested to her with a man fifteen years her senior and desired to know what the Rebbe thought of it. The Rebbe responded:

According to the above [that the age difference is so great], you should seek a shidduch with someone who is closer to you in age.

(From a handwritten response of the Rebbe)

An Older Woman

Ascertaining Why the Woman Is Still Unmarried

In response to your letter of Kislev 24, in which you write that a shidduch is being suggested to you with a lady who is 35 years old, and you ask my opinion:

It is important that you ascertain why she did not get engaged until the present, as this [i.e., not to be married by this age,] is quite uncommon. Your decision should be based in accordance with the information that you find out.

May G‑d lead you along the good and straight path — the path that is good for you both materially and spiritually.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XXI, p. 281)

When the Woman Is Older Than the Man

In response to a question regarding a potential shidduch between a lady of 42 and a man of 39, the Rebbe responded:

[You should act on the shidduch] in accordance with [the ruling of] a Rav who adjudicates on a regular basis. [His ruling is necessary,] since your ages are as above (you are 42 and he is 39). I shall mention you at the tziyun.

(From a handwritten response of the Rebbe)

Material Matters and Issues

A Shidduch Is Not to Be Refused For Lack of Funds

I received your letter of May 13th in which you ask — in your son’s name — my advice regarding the shidduch that is being suggested for him. Your son is not sure if the parents of the girl will be able to assist with larger sums of money.

My opinion is, that since you write that she has qualities that are suitable for your son, then this is what is most important regarding a shidduch.

With regard to sustenance, G‑d will assist them. Most probably, at least at the beginning of their marriage, the parents of both parties will assist them [as well]. This is particularly so, since you write that the girl’s parents own a factory.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. VI, p. 61)

Problems of a Financial Nature on the Groom’s Side

In reply to your letter in which you write about the proposed shidduch, a shidduch which both you and the young man find to your mutual satisfaction, etc., the only real problem is with regard to financial matters, mainly on the part of the parents of the young man sheyichyeh.

In situations such as these, the proper approach is to find some individuals among his parents’ friends who are able to influence them.

This is particularly so, when simple logic dictates the absurdity of several thousand liros playing such a major role when it comes to something as crucial [as marriage], etc., which is termed “an eternal edifice.”

You do not mention in your letter where you desire to establish your residence — and there is a wide variance in the price of dwellings in different locations in Eretz Yisrael.

Possibly, establishing your dwelling in someplace other than the place you were originally thinking of will solve the above [financial] problem, or at least will diminish it.

Understandably, my intent [about another location] is [specifically] regarding a place where there dwell individuals who observe Torah and mitzvos, for this is something not subject to compromise.

Your dedication to the sacred work of educating Jewish children, especially in a Chabad school that is named after my father-in-law, the Rebbe and Nasi Yisrael — upon whose tziyun you will be mentioned [for blessing] — will surely stand you in good stead, that you be able to convey glad tidings with regard to all the above.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XXIII, p. 76)

Seeking a Shidduch When One Doesn’t Know
How He Will Earn a Living

What follows is the Rebbe’s response to the following question posed to him: The questioner inquired of the Rebbe whether he should interest himself in a shidduch that was proposed to him, even if he had no idea as to what he will be doing to earn a living.

The Rebbe responded:

The girl tichyeh possesses many fine qualities, for which reason you should interest yourself exceedingly in the shidduch. On the other hand, since you will not be entering Kollel, it is important that you have some practical plan with regard to earning a living.

However, it is not necessary that this plan be implemented immediately. There must, however, first be a realistic notion of “with what,” “how,” and “in what manner” [will you go about earning a living].

(From a letter of the Rebbe, printed in Neilchah b’Orchosov, p. 42)

Seeking a Means of Earning a Livelihood

To another individual who was not sure whether to embark upon a quest for a shidduch, as he was not sure how he would earn a living, the Rebbe answered:

You should simultaneously seek a shidduch and a means of earning a livelihood.

(From a handwritten response of the Rebbe)

Following the “Jerusalem Custom”

Regarding your question about the issue of earning a living in the future, seeking a job, and so on:

Begin by doing the same as the “Cherished of Jerusalem” (Yakirei Yerushalayim), who — to the best of my information — occupy themselves in Torah study and Divine service, and when the appropriate time arrives, interest themselves in shidduchim in a suitable manner. [Only after they are engaged, then] in accord with the shidduch and the demands of the bride’s side do they establish their path with regard to future sustenance.

[You, too, should conduct yourself in the same manner,] as it is inopportune to presently place upon yourself distractions (pizur hanefesh) with regard to issues that will only come to play in the future.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XV, p. 146)

Difficulties Regarding A Dwelling

Difficulties In Finding A Dwelling

To an individual who was unsure whether to embark upon a shidduch, as he was having difficulty finding a dwelling, the Rebbe responded:

.. It goes without saying that difficulty in finding a dwelling does not enter into consideration with regard to a shidduch.

(From a handwritten response of the Rebbe)

Difficulties in Affording A Dwelling And Its Furnishings

.. You write about the shidduch of your sister-in-law, your wife’s sister, tichyenah, and her shidduch with the young man ...

You, yourself, itemize and detail all the positive qualities of this shidduch. Nevertheless, between the lines, you appear to be concerned because it seems to you that they lack the funds to rent a dwelling, and so on and so forth.

Now, ponder the matter in all honesty: Our Sages1 tell us that finding a proper match is as difficult as the Splitting of the Sea [Kerias Yam Suf]. Nonetheless, your sister-in-law found her match, a match that suits her both materially and spiritually. Now, if such a great miracle [equivalent to the Splitting of the Sea] occurred for her, you worry what will be with a kitchen and furniture, etc.?!

In reality, as her relative you should [only] be thanking and praising G‑d for having provided her with a young man who is G‑d-fearing, studies Torah, etc. (as you yourself write in your letter), and that notwithstanding that he is not rich, your sister-in-law entered into the shidduch with a complete heart.

Would only that from now on you be able to notify me exclusively of such glad tidings.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. IX, p. 315)

Shidduchim Between Ashkenazim and Sefardim

Her Qualities Are Fine — A Shidduch Would Be Fine

In reply to your personal question about a shidduch with a young lady of Sefardic extraction:

According to your description in your letter, the young lady hails from a family that is observant of Torah and mitzvos. It is therefore advisable that you act on this matter, since she has agreed both with regard to [your] wearing a beard and [her] covering her hair. Moreover, it is known to us that Sefardic families observe the laws of family purity in an outstanding manner.

With regard to your parents sheyichyu [who are somewhat perturbed by the prospective match], you can relieve their unease by explaining to them that in recent years many successful and happy marriages have transpired between Sefardic and Ashkenazic families.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. VIII, p. 75)

Thousands of Successful Shidduchim

In reply to your undated letter: You write that a shidduch was suggested to you and that you have already met [the young lady] a number of times, however, her parents are not pleased, explaining [that the reason for their unhappiness is] the difficulties that arise in shidduchim between Sefardic and Ashkenazic families.

If this is indeed the only impediment [to the shidduch], surely this [impediment] is to be dismissed, since — especially in recent years — hundreds and thousands of successful shidduchim have taken place between Sefardic and Ashkenazic families.

You should find friends who will speak to the young lady’s parents, explaining all the above and influencing them in the truly proper and good direction.

May G‑d lead you in the path that is simultaneously good for you both materially and spiritually.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XIII, p. 187)

There Is No Justification in Placing Restrictions or Boundaries
On Shidduchim Between Sefardim and Ashkenazim

[This is] in response to your letter in which you write about the shidduch that was suggested to you and the [negative] opinion of your parents about this suggestion, since the young lady is of Moroccan Sefardic extraction. You ask my opinion on this matter.

Since, as you write, she is a G‑d-fearing individual who conducts herself in a manner that is appropriate for a “daughter in Israel,” each of whom is termed “a daughter of Sarah, Rivkah, Rachel and Leah,” it has already been said regarding such [an individual]:2 “a G‑d-fearing woman is the one to be praised.”

You should therefore interest yourself in this shidduch, up to and including seeing it to its conclusion in a good and auspicious hour.

It is self-evident and patently simple that there is absolutely no room for anxiety and setting up a boundary, G‑d forbid, between Ashkenazim and Sefardim. Especially so when in most recent years [we have witnessed] so many [Ashkenazim and Sefardim] that have become engaged to each other, and they have established their homes on the foundations of Torah and mitzvos, living fortunate and happy lives both materially as well as spiritually.

Since all matters require G‑d’s assistance and blessings, especially something as fundamental [as a shidduch], therefore, you should increase your assiduousness and diligence regarding your study of Torah — included in which is also establishing a fixed time for the study of P’nimiyus HaTorah, which in these generations has been revealed in Toras HaChassidus.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XIX, p. 391)

G‑d Forbid to Consider Such a Shidduch Belittling

.. My bewilderment at the form of language you employ in your letter is self-understood — that a shidduch with a young lady of Sefardic extraction falls under the heading of “belittling,” Heaven forbid and forfend.

You should interest yourself in [this shidduch with the young lady of Sefardic extraction that was presented to you].

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XX, p. 227)

Both Sefardim and Ashkenazim
Are Not the Same as in Days of Old

.. Regarding your second question, that your son has had a shidduch suggested to him with a young lady who comes from a Sefardic family:

I personally know that in recent times many shidduchim have been made between Ashkenazim and Sefardim, and both parties are eminently satisfied [with the shidduch]. [This is because] they are not the same as Ashkenazim and Sefardim as in the days of old; today they have become [culturally] much closer to each other.

The very fact that the young lady sees that your son wears a beard and is aware of the fact that he is occupied in Jewish education and is perfectly content with the above, serves as the best indicator regarding her inner feelings about him. And this [degree of inner respect and feelings] is one of the most important factors in developing a harmonious life between two people.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. VIII, p. 119)

Health Issues


With regard to that which you write that you have a problem with stuttering:

You should ingrain in your mind, that Blessed and A-lmighty G‑d oversees each and every person with individual Divine Providence, and that He is the Essence of goodness, for which reason you need not fear any person.

When you will be strong in your faith, then you will not be intimidated by having to speak in front of people and you will speak calmly. Little by little, your speech will then improve.

In general, this should not keep you from seeking a fine shidduch. Your search should be done by natural means as well, through friends and acquaintances. You should seek a G‑d-fearing woman, without placing emphasis on those aspects that are merely “secondary of the secondary.” You will then succeed in the above.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XV, p. 96)

When Both Parties Suffer from the Same Medical Problems

In general, nowadays doctors warn of a shidduch between two individuals who each suffer from depression, or when they both share any other medical problem.

(From a letter of the Rebbe, printed in
Kuntres Tzaddik LaMelech, Vol. VII, p. 225)

Must a Health Issue Be Revealed?

Concerning that which you write about a shidduch and if it is necessary to reveal the above [health] matter:

You should consult about this matter with a rabbi in your environs who actively rules on issues of Jewish law.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XV, p. 436)

Past Health Issues

You write that presently your brother has the prospect of a shidduch, however, he is in doubt as to whether he should reveal his past health situation.

As with regard to all matters of a Jew, the answer to this question as well is that it should be in accordance with Jewish law. Therefore, after he ascertains all the necessary details from the doctor who cared for him in the past and cares for him now, he should consult with a rabbi who actively rules on matters of Jewish law.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XVI, p. 296)

Put Out of Your Mind Health Problems in Your Past

With regard to your past health:

We have but that which is stated in our Torah, a “Torah of Life.” [There it states] that the above mitzvah [of getting married and having children] is a tremendous mitzvah, the very first mitzvah in the order of mitzvos enumerated in the Torah. And as is known the saying of our Rebbeim and Nesi’im, that “The order of Torah is also Torah and [serves as] a directive [as to how one is to conduct one’s life].”

Since you are G‑d-fearing and modest in demeanor and act accordingly, therefore G‑d should make you succeed in your lot — building a home in Israel, an eternal edifice, blessed with wonderful children.

May it be G‑d’s will that both you as well as those who are close to you completely put out of your minds that which was in the past, for nothing of it remains at all. May you provide me with glad tidings with regard to the above.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XVII, p. 10)

When There Are Health Issues Concerning One of the Parents

In reply to your letter in which you write that a shidduch was suggested for your son ... and the question arises concerning the health of the [young lady’s] mother, as recently her health has not been all that it should be:

As for the [health] issue itself, there really is nothing to worry about, inasmuch as she has many children and all are perfectly healthy and normal.

However, in order to eradicate any vestige of a question or doubt, it would be appropriate for you to assemble three of your friends and bring the matter before them. They will tell you, with the “power of a multitude” (“b’koach harabim”), that there is absolutely no reason for any concern and that the suggestion [of the shidduch] is a good one.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XII, p. 173)