By Yochanan Gordon
Anyone who’s had the good fortune, while single, of attending a friend or family member’s engagement party or wedding has been wished these very words.
While these are no doubt well-intentioned words, having been through that period of my life, I know with certainty that they aren’t always so appreciated. To be quite honest, they are reminiscent of the “shkoiach” one earns for getting an aliyah, pesichah, or any of the other kibbudim that are distributed in shul. Both wishes officially contain two words that have been merged into one.
I’m not about to diagnose the reason for the problem or suggest a new revolutionary solution. That has been done already on a number of occasions, and while men and women of all ages continue to get engaged and married, the problem persists.
I did, however, want to lend perspective to how the lack of shidduchim for some impacts the joy of those who have found their predestined soulmates, and if we adopted this perspective and intensified our tefillos on behalf of those still seeking, perhaps the situation would begin to change.
Chazal tell us that the Yidden weren’t obligated to give terumos and ma’asros upon settling in the land of Israel until after every tribe had settled into their own portion of land. The Gemara in Shabbos mentions Rav Yose as having referred to his wife as “my house” as opposed to “my wife.”
Furthermore, Chazal tell us that 40 days prior to the formation of the fetus, a heavenly voice rings forth: “Bas ploni l’ploni, Sadeh ploni l’ploni…” In light of the fact that the Gemara relates these two phenomena, the nature of interdependence that one had for another vis-à-vis his portion in the land of Israel would apply as well to the sense of arvus that we need to feel towards each other in the realm of shidduchim. While there are no practical ramifications to this as in the Jews’ exemption from giving terumos and ma’asros from their produce, it does refocus the sense of imperativeness and urgency that each of us should feel to facilitate the engagement and marriage of a friend of ours who is seeking.
During our first year of marriage, my wife and I facilitated a shidduch of two of our closest friends. I recall someone telling me of a Zohar that states that one’s involvement in the shidduch of a friend brings a certain measure of shleimus to one’s own marriage. This is very much consistent with the aforementioned idea that the juxtaposition of bas ploni l’ploni, bayis ploni l’ploni, and sadeh ploni l’ploni is teaching us that just as one tribe could not rejoice upon settling in their own land, each couple needs to feel that the fullness of their own union is dependent upon seeing to it that other people are brought together.
On the heels of Tisha B’Av and the destruction and sadness that is associated with it, it seems that the joy of Tu B’Av is in a sense a rectification of what was wrong with Tisha B’Av. If divisiveness is what caused the destruction of the Temple, then facilitating the match between soulmates would be the rectification of that. The Gemara states, “Anyone who brings joy to a bridegroom on the day of his chuppah is said to have rebuilt one of the ruins of Jerusalem.”
I could think of no more an appropriate initiative to be busy with on Tu B’Av than to participate in Tu B’Av Together, sponsored by Yad L’Achim. This Tu B’Av, over half a million people have pledged to daven that people seeking a shidduch and who are having difficulty finding him or her should merit, as a result of these selfless prayers, to build families of their own. May we collectively merit the complete and final redemption speedily in our days.