For the week ending 1 January 2005 / 20 Tevet 5765

The Mismatchmaker

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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Question: As a professional matchmaker I once suggested a certain young man for the daughter of a friend. I provided him with the name of the boy and the yeshiva in which he studied. My friends investigations about the candidate indicated that he was a good catch and it wasnt long before I was invited to the engagement party. When I was introduced to the chatan, I was shocked for he was not the one I had suggested but rather another boy with the same name in the same yeshiva! Of course I have no intention of harming this match by revealing my error, but I would like to know whether I am entitled to my matchmaker fee for indirectly bringing about this shiduch.

Answer: When such a question came before Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky of Bnei Brak, he ruled that the matchmaker had no claim and could view his role in the successful match as nothing more than a cog in a Divine plan. He illustrated this point with a story.

A Jew who had lost his wife hired a girl to take care of his young children. She did her work faithfully each day and then returned to her home. One day she bought a raffle ticket which she told her employer about. Even before she became aware of it, he learned that she had won a big prize. He then decided to propose marriage to her so that he would share in her good fortune and only later tell her about her windfall. His plan seemed to work perfectly until he told his new young wife that she was a wealthy woman. To his shock she informed him that before the prize was announced, she had sold her ticket to a friend.

When her disappointed husband discussed with his local rabbi the idea of a divorce, he was soundly scolded:

Look how many things G-d had to do to get you to marry this girl. He took away your first wife, brought this girl to take care of your children, persuaded her to buy a lottery ticket, and even arranged for her to win a big prize. After all of this was arranged so that you should marry her, how can you even contemplate divorce?

The moral of the story, concluded Rabbi Kanievsky, is that in this case the matchmakers role was only a part of a Divine plan and a fee is due him only when he was the agent who directly made the match.

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