Biblical Matchmaking

Everyone knows that setting up your friends is a nice thing to do. In Judaism, setting up a potential couple is known as a “shidduch,” and it is not merely a nice thing to do – it is a “mitzvah.” (Biblical commandment)

Some people say that God was the very first “shadchan” – matchmaker – when He created Eve for Adam. “And the Lord God said: ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him.” (Genesis 2:18). A couple comes together to compliment one another’s strengths and weaknesses, and God created Eve to “meet” Adam, to help him where he was lacking. We learn from this to look for a partner who compliments us, and helps us become whole, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24).

The next incident of matchmaking we see in the Bible is when Abraham sends his servant Eliezer to find a bride for his son, Isaac, “But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife for my son, for Isaac.” (Genesis 24:4). Eliezer prays to God for guidance to find Isaac a match, and he devised a test to find Isaac a bride: he stood by the well with his camels and observed the girls who came to gather water. “So let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say: Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say: Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also; let the same be she that Thou hast appointed for Thy servant, even for Isaac; and thereby shall I know that Thou hast shown kindness unto my master.” (Genesis 24:14). As Eliezer was finishing his conversation with God, a beautiful young woman named Rebecca came to the well. Eliezer asked her for a drink of water, and she gave to him and drew more water for his camels. She was Abraham’s niece, and Eliezer made the match.

Although Eliezer makes matchmaking seem easy, he had the hand of God guiding him. The Talmud states, “To match couples together is as difficult as the splitting of the sea.” The Talmud specifically says “sea” because while both the land and the sea are busy, vibrant places, full of life, the sea is hidden. The sea represents our souls, and to understand our own soul, let alone someone else’s, enough to make a good match is no easy feat. We work hard to do it anyway because as the Talmud says, “all Humans are guarantors (and so responsible) for one another.” Human Kind is like one big family, and we are commanded in Leviticus 19:18 to “love your fellow as you love yourself.”

On that note, it is so important to join a couple together that one of the only incidences that one is permitted to lie is when it is to help bring a couple back together. You are even allowed to destroy a chapter from the Bible in order to bring love between a husband and wife. As stated in Numbers: 5-23

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