Mishmeres HaSholom: Ask the Rav

Q: Our daughter has entered the shidduch parashah, and with suggestions coming in, we want to clarify the following points:

How can we tell a shadchan that we’re not pursuing a shidduch because of something negative we heard about the boy or his family? (We prefer telling the truth so that the shadchan won’t continue pushing the shidduch.)

Are we permitted to tell the shadchan about a specific detail s/he seems unaware of l’toeles and for our benefit, so that he doesn’t continue pressuring us?

When the shadchan pressures us for a specific reason for our lack of interest in the proposition, are we permitted to say what it is?

A: Because these are common questions, we will give a general ruling for all parents involved in shidduchim. This answer doesn’t absolve individuals from seeking detailed advice from a Rav for specific cases.

You asked about rejecting a suggested shidduch because of something negative you know about the young man. We must preface the answer with the understanding that the heter to inquire about a bachur is because of the to’eles involved. It is therefore permissible to listen to negative information, in accordance with the conditions delineated by the Chofetz Chaim, to suspect its validity and refrain from pursuing the shidduch because of what you heard. The shadchan has no direct to’eles from knowing the information, and it may be lashon hara to tell him about it.

The heter to tell a shadchan about a specific detail depends on the type of fault.

You may tell a shadchan about differences in culture, types, opinions, etc., because these aren’t considered faults.

Regarding flaws which are common knowledge (like a missing finger, for example), you may say, “We’re not interested in this type of thing.”

If people told you about standard types of faults, e.g., “Not the greatest learner,” “He’s unsocial,” or about family issues, you may not repeat this to the shadchan, but rather use a standard phrase, like, “They’re not our type.”

If you hear about serious problems, like health or emotional problems, you must remember that they are often not thoroughly researched and may be incorrect. You may only listen to this information for constructive purposes and suspect the validity thereof or refrain from pursuing the shidduch. The information may not be passed on to the shadchan who has no direct to’eles from the knowledge. In some instances, it may be permissible to relay the information if it was researched properly. A Rav should be contacted for individual situations.

Based on all of the above, the decision of how to reply to a shadchan is dependent on the type of problem and not on the shadchan who is pressuring you.

The questions and answers above were taken from the Mishmeres Hasholom pamphlet in Israel. For details and inquiries please e-mail us at office@hasholom.org or call 972-2 5379160.

The views expressed are of the individual author. Readers are encouraged to consult their own posek for guidance.