Means and ends (part 2) – Mazal Tov edition
In one of my first posts to Cross-Currents I discussed the pros and cons of attending singles events on Shabbos and Yom Tov. I suggested that Shabbos and Yom Tov need to be ends in themselves and not just means to some other end, even the laudable objective of finding a life-partner. Those who use most Shabbosos as dating opportunities risk depleting their spiritual reserves and robbing their religious lives of transformative power. Interested readers will find the original post here.
In that post, I offered a specific (true) example:
A woman approached me recently for advice about attending a Purim party. She knew that there was only a slim chance of meeting someone suitable there, yet she felt that not going would leave her wracked with guilt. She took my advice and didn’t attend, instead devoting the evening to Purim pursuits: she later mentioned that focusing on the day alone enabled her to experience her most meaningful Purim for years.
Well, I am delighted to report that last Purim turned out to be more remarkable for the woman concerned than any of us could possibly have hoped (I am writing this at her request). Very late that Purim evening, she visited my home to help prepare for the Se’udah (Purim banquet) the next day. While I was reading the Megillah for my wife in another room, she got chatting over the kitchen sink to a fellow who was also planning to celebrate with us the next day.
As frequent visitors to our home, they had the opportunity to bump into each other on other occasions, and got to know and like each other, although for certain reasons it was not possible to consider furthering the relationship. Until recently that is, when they began to date in earnest. They became engaged this week and the wedding is likely to be in Israel in the summer. My wife and I are absolutely delighted for both of them and we feel honoured to have been instrumental in bringing them together.
It’s an astonishing story, especially as they only met each other because she decided to hang out in my house instead of going to a Purim party designed to enable singles to meet. God works in mysterious ways, and all of us who know the choson and kallah well know quite how extraordinary their relationship is; it has definitely served to remind us of the inscrutability of the Divine matchmaker.
Be assured that this is not an attempt to bash singles events, even those held on Shabbos and Yom Tov. They have their function and serve to bring people together who may not otherwise have met. Yet we should remember that they are only one of many ways in which God can make matches. We are not party to the Divine plan, but must allow Him to work through us in whatever way possible to bring singles together. Perhaps by simply recognising this fact, we open new vistas for His match-making and thus can become partners with Him in this holy work. May we all be blessed with the foresight and inspiration to grasp every opportunity to help others create new Jewish families.