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 Home > Jewish Wedding Guide > Conservative > Matchmaker: the Shadchan

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Matchmaker: The Shadchan
A Conservative Perspective by Rivka C. Berman

 • Matchmaker, Matchmaker
 • Romance vs. Matchmaker
 • Contemporary (modern) Shadchans

MatchmakerShadchan
At the root of the word shadchan is the essence of a matchmaker’s art. Literally, shadchan translates as connector, a "stapler). Delicate shuttle diplomacy is needed to satisfy the potential bride and groom, not to mention their families.

Romance
Romantic love ranks low among Jewish priorities for marriage. Marriages require compatibility and compromise to last. Infatuation, flowers and poetic outpourings are not the best indicators of a long-lasting relationship.

The shadchan puts pragmatism before romance, and is evidence of how deeply Jewish communities mistrust the sureness of Cupid’s bow. However, the bible gives us an account of love at first site in the story of Jacob and Rachel, their meeting and a kiss. Before this, there is an example of love growing between husband and wife after marriage in the verses which speak about the marriage of Jacob’s father Isaac to Rebecca. “And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Rivka, and she became his wife. And he loved her.” (Genesis 24:67) Note how the verse mentions love only after Isaac and Rivka married.

Matchmakers in Contemporary Times
If you’ve been to jdate.com or any of the singles’ web sites, you’ve introduced yourself to a shadchan gone cyber. In a sense, modern dating services act as passive matchmakers, providing a medium for meeting.

Flesh and blood middlemen and middlewomen continue to be used to suggest suitable dates. For many the shadchan’s role is limited to introducing the two people and acting as a sounding board after the first few dates. Some take a more active role.

While a shadchan is quite often a friend of a friend, a cousin, a roommate, an older sibling, a neighbor, there are still those who do this professionally. A successful shadchan keeps her or his eyes open for good matches. Skipping out on a shadchan’s fee was considered a harbinger of a rocky marriage.



 

READ MORE:
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The Dowry (Nedunia)
Matchmaker, Matchmaker Make me a Match!
Forbidden Marriages
Engagement: Announcement and more
Marriage: A Jewish Perspective
Setting a Date for the Celebration of a Jewish Wedding
Double Wedding, Double the Fun?
Wedding Guests: Who and How Many to Invite

Jewish Wedding Music Beyond Hava Nagila
Jewish Wedding Attire Customs: From Wedding Gown to Kittel
Jewish Wedding A Second Time Around
Mikvah:The Ritual Bath
Aufruf – A Torah Honor for the Groom
Wedding Day Customs
The Ketubah: The Jewish Marriage Contract
The Conservative Ketubah Text and Translation

Ketubah Designs and Designation
The Bedeking Ceremony: Veiling of the Bride
The Chuppah - the Wedding Canopy

Chuppah: The Inner Meaning
The Processional and the Chuppah Ceremony
Jewish Wedding Ceremony Part I: The "Erusin" - the Engagement
Jewish Wedding Ceremony Part II: The Ring and Its Significance
Jewish Wedding Ceremony Part III: The Ketubah Reading
Jewish Wedding Ceremony Part IV: Nesuin, the Marriage Ceremony
Jewish Wedding Ceremony Part V: Breaking the Glass
The Recessional at end of Wedding Ceremony
Yichud: Bride and Groom Retreat from Crowd for Alone-Time
Jewish Wedding Reception Customs and Traditions

Shana Rishona: The First Year of Marriage
Practical Tips: List of things to bring to your wedding
Jewish Wedding: Proper Etiquette and Gift Ideas




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