Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: Incredible Shidduch Question Answered From Bava Kama and Sukkah

A rabbi, priest, and imam walk into a bar; the bartender says, "What is this... a joke?"

That is, but the following ma'aseh really happened (as elucidated by R' Fuerst; Shiduchim, Incredible But True Shailos).  Shimon was upset with Reuven and wanted to take revenge.  (That's forbidden, of course; but sometimes Jews do things they shouldn't, unfortunately.)  Shimon approached Reuven and told him he had a wonderful shidduch for him.  The girl was amazing and her family had already done all their checking; they were ready to go forward to make a shidduch with Reuven.  The "proposed shidduch" (in quotes because Shimon had not, of course, spoken with anyone) was very attractive to Reuven, who did his checking very quickly and went back to Shimon to ask him to proceed.  Shimon was over the moon, his plan to embarrass Reuven was going better than he hoped.  Reuven told Shimon (after waiting enough time to keep Reuven from suspecting anything fishy) that all was arranged, he should be at the girl's home at 8:00PM the next evening.

Promptly at 8:00PM the next evening, Reuven shows up at the girls house.  Her father answered the door, Reuven introduced himself, and the father (who obviously had no clue what was happening) asked, "Are you sure you have the right house?"  "Oh, yes," said Reuven, "Shimon confirmed all the details with me."  Now the father (a ben torah himself) chahped what was going on and invited Reuven to join him in the living room.  The father didn't have a complete plan, but wanted to minimize any embarrassment to Reuven.  After speaking with Reuven for some time, he realized that this takah was a good shidduch!  The father explained that there had been a miscommunication and they thought the date had been set for the next night; he apologized profusely and asked if Reuven could come back the next night when his daughter would be prepared.  Reuven was happy to comply.  The date happened, the shidduch was made; Mazal Tov!

What's the sh'eila?  Shimon wanted shadchanus.  (Not forbidden, a chutzpah, but not forbidden.)  After the discussion calmed, R' Fuerst made another of his classic remarks.  "As with many things, but especially with Choshen Mishpat, there's what you think and what the Torah thinks.  Let's check what the poskim have to say about it."

The first source was a mishna in Bava Kama.  If someone Yehuda leaves his fruit/produce in a public thoroughfare, and Asher somehow damages the food, then Asher is patur from paying damages because it was left in a public arena.  If, however, Asher's ox ate the fruit, then he must pay for the benefit he received.  After all, he needs to feed his ox anyway, so that money that he would have paid someone else now goes to Yehuda.  If Asher would have fed his ox barley and Yehuda box contained (much more expensive) wheat, though, Asher is only obligated to pay barley prices for the food eaten.  Since Reuven would have had to pay shadchanus to someone, therefore, it would seem he is obligated to pay that money to Shimon.  (Only whatever the lowest going rate is, of course.  Also, nothing is owed from the father since Shimon never actually discussed the shidduch with him.)

That's not the final word, though.  There is a gemara at the end of Sukkos that the nations of the world will come to HaShem in the end of days and demand reward for helping Klal Yisrael; after all, they built roads, market places, and whole cities; all of which ended up aiding the Jews.  HaShem will answer them back, saying, "Rasha'im!  You did it all for yourselves.  The fact that it turned out well for my Klal Yisrael was not your intent; in fact, you wanted the opposite!"  We same the same thing here.  Shimon's intent was to harm Reuven; the fact that it turned out well for Reuven is not due to Shimon's efforts, but to the fact that HaShem runs the world.  If shadchanus is owed to anyone, it's to HaShem.

Lots to learn from all this.  I was particularly tickled that not only could Shimon's question be addressed with solid halachik reasoning, but also that the resolution to the sh'eila required input from all over shas.  There is no island in Torah, everything is connected to everything else.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Battling the Evil Inclination on all Fronts

Yom Kippur.  When I was growing up, there were three annual events that marked the Jewish calendar: eating matzos on Passover, lighting candles on Chanuka, and  fasting on Yom Kippur.  Major news organizations around the world report on the "surreal" and "eerie" quiet of the streets in even the most secular neighborhoods of Israel.  Yom Kippur.

As you know, I am observant of Jewish law.  Some have even called me "ultra orthodox" (not in a kind way).  Given that, I have a question.  How likely do you think that I would be tempted to eat on Yom Kippur, that most holy day of the year?  Let's make the scale zero to ten, where zero is "as likely as driving through McDonald's on Shabbos and ordering a Big Mac with extra cheese." and ten is "as likely as breathing regularly".  Take your time.  If you answered "zero"; thank you, but -- sadly and penitently -- no.  The answer is more like nine; I'd like to say lower, but i…

Thought for the Day: Coming Into This World for Torah, Avodah, and Acts of Loving Kindness

This TftD is so self-serving that I should be embarrassed.  But I am not... talking about grandchildren is always off budget.  I have, bli ayin hara, a beautiful new grandson; born at 6:11 PM CDT last Friday night.  The secular (aka -- by me, anyway -- slave) date is October 20, 2017 CE.  The Hebrew (aka Real) date is certainly Rosh Chodesh חשון/Cheshvan and certainly in the year 5778 since Creation.  The date, you ask... good question!

Sundown on Friday night was 6:01 PM CDT, which means he was born either at the end of the last day of תשרי or the beginning of the first day of Cheshvan; a period know as בין השמשות/twilight.  What's the big deal, you ask... I am so glad you asked.  We all deal quite handily with בין השמשות every week and every holiday; we're just stringent.  We start Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov before בין השמשות; that is, before sundown.  Likewise, we end Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov after בין השמשות; some 42, 50, 60, or 72 minutes after sundo…

Thought for the Day: Prayer II -- How?

Now that we know that the obligation to pray is nothing more (nor less!) than a divine decree, we are going to also need instructions from heaven on how to implement that decree.  I cannot stress enough how important it is to have instruction from heaven how to implement heavenly decrees.  One only needs to look at the shambles that one modern ism has made of the very important Torah principle of תיקון עולם/improving and fixing the world.  They have taken words out of context and used them to support their own nefarious schemes.  (To the point that Google Translate actually translates -- not transliterates -- תיקון עולם as Tikkun Olam.  Amelia Bedelia would be proud; we are not amused.

The Torah teaches us how to pray in two complementary fashions.  One is the way in which the concept is presented as an obligation, the other is by giving us examples of how to practically implement those instructions.

The obligation is introduced in the second paragraph of "sh'ma" -- וּלְ…