Aug 20, 2011
The 7 Shidduchim Methods
Illustration photo by Yaakov Rosenthal

How do shaddchanim, both professional and dabblers in the field, think? Here are the 7 methods they use to make a match.

By Rabbi Yair Hoffman, Five Towns Jewish Times

How do shadchanim, both professional and dabblers in the field, think? What methods do they use to present possible shidduchim to would-be clients?

The shidduch crisis has certainly been a dominant theme of conversation in religious Jewish circles. This article represents an attempt to help address the crisis in a small way. The best way to address it, however, is to explore exactly how we think about shidduchim.

A brief survey reveals that there are no fewer than 7 different methods employed by shadchanim. What follows is a brief synopsis of each of these methods and a modest suggestion:

1. The "working memory" method

It seems that many shadchanim have about five or six candidates of each gender in their working memory. Working memory is defined as the information that the person can access immediately. Often the shadchan will choose the best available candidate in his or her working memory that would be compatible with the person the shadchan is currently thinking about.

2. The "just bumped into the other person" method

Often a shadchan (generally among the dabblers) will have met a person of the opposite gender right before they encountered the person they are now discussing. The shadchan will often view this as a directional signal of sorts from above and will attempt to put together the shidduch on this account. What is interesting to note is that the method is often successful.

3. The "similar nuance or trait" method

At times the shadchan's subconscious mind will notice a trait, a nuance, or even a turn of phrase that both candidates share. This similarity, in the shadchan's mind, will cause him to put both of them together, for some reason. This too is a method that will often produce results. By the same token, a shadchan may put two people together because they share a similar struggle or difficulty.

4. The "first person that pops into the head" method

A shadchan will at times have a name pop into his or her head in what seems to be an out-of-the-blue idea. It is unclear, exactly, how this mechanism actually works. When questioned, the shadchan cannot identify why he or she thought of it. They just did.

5. The "opposite trait" method

A shadchan (usually the professional ones do this) might often view a trait of the candidate and decide that this person requires someone with the opposite trait. The shadchan will then look for someone who exhibits that trait.

6. The "most benefit to the shadchan" method

At times a shadchan will present to his or her client a prospect that brings the shadchan the most benefit. This benefit could be a personal, family, or social benefit, or even a financial benefit. This is not necessarily a negative thing. Real-estate agents, when meeting a prospective buyer, will only show listings that they themselves have listed at the onset. There is nothing wrong with this. Shadchanim who do this are no different.

7. The "database/sort by" method

This method is a most effective one. All possible candidates are perused by the shadchan, limited only by what would be beyond the parameters that would fit the candidate in question. After this short list is determined, the shadchan will sort them by the preferences that the candidate voices. For example, if the person needs someone who is "warm and loving," the short list of candidates in the parameter guidelines is sorted by the shadchan's perception of this quality within them.

Addressing The Crisis

The shidduch crisis is indeed real. Young ladies suffer from something that can be termed "the six-to-one ratio." The particular sociological rules we follow have created this problem, notwithstanding that the total numbers of boys and girls are nearly equal. From a mathematical perspective, consider the following example:

A boy who has decided to date at the age of 24, for example, may date a wide range of girls. He can date a girl who is 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, or 24. The available pool of eligible young ladies is much larger than that of young men. Men start dating later and it is not so acceptable for a young man to marry an older girl.
This crisis calls for us as individuals to do what we can to address it.

I would like to suggest that even the dabblers among us adopt method #7 along with whatever other method that we employ when thinking of shidduchim. This means that we should sit down and compile a list of all available people that we know, of both genders, so that we can best meet the needs of our fellow members of K'lal Yisrael.

Doing such a thing might be considered a hiddur mitzvah in our performance of chesed. Baruch Hashem, our community offers Torah classes. Our shuls are brimming to capacity with minyanim. These thankfully are daily occurrences.

The third pillar upon which the world stands is chesed. If we were to make such a database of the single people that we know, and if we were to spend 10 to 15 minutes per day working on this database to come up with matches, we would be doing a remarkable thing.

Finding shidduchim for others is a fulfillment of the biblical commandment of Ve'ahavta lereiacha kamochaŚloving our neighbor as ourselves. It is a means of coming closer to Hashem, our Father in Heaven.

It is also a remarkable chesed, an act of kindness. Since chesed is one of the pillars upon which the world stands, in an almost unprecedented year of tragedy in our community such an initiative on the part of individuals might make a difference in a world in crisis.

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Opinions and Comments
limitations of female shadchanim
Part of the problem is that most people who put time into shidduchim are women and women think in terms of shidduchim when encountering a single person. Most men don't see a bochur and go home to ask their wives to find a girl for him. The shul may be filled with eligible boys but they won't be noticed by the men that daven there unless those men have daughters to marry off. Those men might be motivated to find out who the bochrim are.
Basically what I am trying to say is that those people who are most dedicated to making shidduchim are the people least likely to have access to boys.
(8/21/2011 12:22:09 PM)
all i could think was...
here we go again.... another shidduchim blah blah which has a lot of words but essentially says nothing. But I guess the ending lines of how everyone should try to think of someone, is enough to make this article worthy if its only purpose is to remind people to continue this chesed.
(8/21/2011 1:03:54 PM)
I'm not a fan of the "opposite trait" method
My ex and I drove each other crazy with our opposite traits. My new wife and I are super similar and it's such a blessing!
(8/21/2011 1:44:36 PM)
the opposite trait method
Yes, the professional Shadchan of CH, a generation ago, did countless Shidduchim like that. It's HORRIBLE!!! He took dominating, overpowering and bossy individuals, and matched them up with quiet, gentle and sweet people. Since from our generation, noone divorced unless it was Pikuach Nefesh. He'll never know how many nightmarish and miserably unhappy and TRAPPED individuals he has to his credit.
(8/21/2011 1:55:32 PM)
well said
now who's gonna DO something after reading this article?
(8/21/2011 2:00:42 PM)
What's hard for the bochurim and the girls its to be dependent on others...
The end of this article is remarkable. Helping young people having shiduchim is a true form of Aavas Isroel. Put yourself in the shoes of these young people, and imagine that you want to start your life and get married.....
In general, when you face a problem, you can find solutions by yourself without asking for help.... But in the case of Shidduchim, you can not find a solution by yourself (which would be a lack of tsnius), your are dependent on others!
So please, help bochurim and girls. They need you!
(8/21/2011 2:03:36 PM)
The headline had me thinking
Nice article, and you make a good point. Incidentally, when I saw this article I was thinking the list was going to be about the different ways shiduchim are made and pros and cons of them, maybe someone should write an article about that..

1) Parents make the shidduch, they call around for names, do the research etc.
2) Going to a shadchan who doesn't know you personally but they have connections.
3) Where the individuals meet in person randomly, say at a Shabbos table, or chabad house event.
4) Friends who set up friends, so they know both sides well
5) Individuals who try to do it on their own, like using dating websites
6) Community events created where people can meet but it's not outright singles events that are uncomfortable but people can meet
7) hmm can't think of one, maybe "arranged" where the parents meet like other groups do.
(8/21/2011 3:19:37 PM)
Yeah I usually use method 6 and surprisingly I have made 2 successful shidduchim. Thanks, this article is really enlightening
(8/21/2011 4:05:43 PM)
Great article, a little ofensive....
(8/21/2011 4:15:16 PM)
Too Much Controlling
The problem still remains that too many people, parents and shaddchanim alike, pick the person who they think fits best often times disregarding what the bochur/girl want. A bochur can say, "I am looking for such and such a person" and the parents or shadchan will say "no, that's not the person for you".
(8/21/2011 4:46:02 PM)
the early bird
start looking for a shiddich when your children are very young, even when the start high school for girls, and mesifta for boys, start looking around, maybe even younger too, make a deal with another family, I think that method works best
(8/21/2011 6:19:52 PM)
I need any shadchan to contact me. Please any, writte to my email: thnks
(8/21/2011 7:22:44 PM)
Right on target
this article really and practically hits the mark! I have been using most of these techniques and they work b"h! If you make the right Kaili and if your heart is in the right place these tedhniques will work! The bottom line is and this is key for all shadchanim singles and parents alike to know is that Hashem controls the world and when Hashem wants A shidduch to go ahead He will make the shidduch work through the shliach who will eventually use these techniques!! Much hatzlacha to all those who will put their heart and soul into helping others from now on! You will be a partner with Hashem who afterall sits and is MEZAVEG ZIVVUGIM ALL DAY!! May we hear many many many more shidduchim bekorov!
(8/21/2011 7:41:23 PM)
You dont have a very high opinion of these people. Someone who doesnt adopt number seven isnt a shadchan at all, but a pretender.

Get out the way, you pretender! Go buy EA Sports Super-Shadchan 2012 and let the experts unfurl their sails.

Who goes to these people? I have a feeling that its the same people who only go to one shadchan!
(8/21/2011 9:31:34 PM)
#6 #6 #6 #6 #6
Oh #6 is so so so right!

It is the worst part!

This is never ending, your friends are like "dunno... I'm not a professional shaddchen, I dont know how to set people up, dunno.... have to think"

And shadchanim have limited .... time and resources..

And the worst is that we can't do ANYTHING to help ourselves.

And then people have the brazenness to critizces the "evil love boat" that happened last chanukah.

Married people have no idea how much older singles suffer... can't even begin to imagine...

You are not doing a "hiddur mitzvah" as the author writes, you are not doing a tiny "chesed," you are saving lives.
(8/21/2011 9:32:18 PM)
New Shidduch Idea
Did you try looking at
(8/21/2011 11:50:21 PM)
resident 5 boros
Meanwhile stop thinking, just make it happen, pick up the phone and make suggestions exchanges profiles and set up dates. Yes it takes a lot of ahavas yisroel to put 2 neshamos together
(8/22/2011 12:49:13 AM)
hakaras hatov
if you are happily married,show some hakaras hatov by working hard to help some of your friends be happily married too!
(8/22/2011 3:01:35 AM)
The 8 th method
FAMILY matching....if the families are of same backround, like they are both upper middle class ...Geza... etc...etc...

I wonder how you forgot on such a common method.
(8/22/2011 10:15:38 AM)
8th method is part of #7
and also #3
(8/22/2011 3:52:58 PM)
method #6
is evil and the cause for so many divorces. shadchenim are misleading naive young people into a life of misery for their own benefit
(8/22/2011 6:02:37 PM)
A girl has choices too
a 19 yr old can date some one who is 20, 21, 22,23, 24, a 20 yr old can date someone who is 21,22,23,24,25, and so on...
(8/23/2011 10:38:25 PM)
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