Friday, April 16, 2010

Shidduchim: A Kapara For Klal

At a recent simcha, I came across a lovely woman, with several children, who is moving back to America after her recent sojourn in Israel since she got married. We schmoozed, and eventually played Jewish geography. People from my hometown came up, including a certain woman who is still looking for her shidduch. She is a wonderful person, sweet, smart, charming, kind; in short, all the good qualities one would look for in a shidduch. Yet she hasn't met her match yet. The woman across from me remarked, "Maybe it’s a Kapara (atonement) for Klal Yisroel (the Jewish people)."

I was a bit taken aback by this statement. Then the woman next to me commented that she believes that there are two types of older singles out there. There are those who are being reasonably too picky, as they might be looking for something they can't get, or is exceedingly hard to get. The other, simply, hasn't met the right one yet. And those are, in her words, a Kapara for the entire Jewish nation.

Again, my brain started working overtime. You mean to tell me that there are women and men out there in this world who are waiting to meet their match, through no fault of their own, but as a general atonement for the world?

It came as a sort of shock to me, so I headed home to ask Mr. NMF about it. He remarked that he doesn't know too much about it- as atonement, as a general rule, is Kabbalistic in nature. But, one thing he does know, is that a person doesn't go through suffering only for the nation as a whole, but also for themselves- for some trait/action of their own. In addition, he threw in the Gemara that states that the death of the righteous (not to compare the lack of a shidduch to death of course, just for comparison's sake) does atone. Therefore, one person does have the capability to atone for the Klal.

So what do you think? Are there those out there who are waiting for their match due to a Divine decree, not specifically against them, but for the nation as a whole?


harry-er than them all said...

the ability of someone's death or suffering being an atonement isn't only a jewish thought (think about the christians and the death of their leader).

I recently heard something very interesting: the Torah gave us 613 mitzvos, of which it is impossible for a single person to perform every single one. There are some which are for Kohanim, Leviim, the Kohen Gadol, Yisraelim, women, men, etc. The reason that there is such a Torah is to show us that we are all responsible for each others welfare (arvus).

So while the concept might be true in theory, it doesn't help the person who is suffering. The pain is still acute and it won't matter how you explain it. Also, while it may sound good to this woman, it shouldn't be as an abdication of responsibility; you should feel responsible to be a better person to alleviate their suffering by being a better person too.

mekubal said...

I will weigh in on this one. If a person isn't being too picky, kabbalistically speaking, there are a couple of possibilities.

The Zohar states(Parashat Tazria 43b)(I hope this isn't too trippy) that HaShem creates every soul male and female, and when the soul descends to this world it is split into male and female, blessed is the one who finds his other half.

It goes on to explain that the two halves cannot come together until they are on an equal level. They will actually repulse one another. For instance if one has done tikkunei middot and the other has not, they cannot come together. This is also a reason for divorce, if one soul grows and evolves while the other does not they will repulse one another.

Added to that some souls have gone through many gilgulim and thus may be on a variety of different levels as well as there being more than one "one."

All that to say that the tikkun/kaparah could be that of the lady or the man.

Second to that, yissurim are only counted as a kapara if one accepts them with joy. Rav Yaakov Hillel Shlit"a explains it like this. If one has a favorite coffee cup, and it falls and breaks, and you get upset, annoyed or angry, and then only after that initial rush of emotions do you come and say, "Let it be for a Kapara." There is no Kapara. One must say from the very start, "Baruch HaShem may it be for a Kapara." It takes an incredible tikkun middot to come even to that level.

So while yes that could be an answer it is nowhere near that simplistic.

Bas~Melech said...

I'm a believer in everything happening at the right time for each person... Everyone gets the set of circumstances that are supposed to shape them in a certain way in whatever order is best for them. Because G-d is good and He knows what He's doing.

Which doesn't preclude other ideas. Our good G-d is also awesomely complex and can certainly work it out that the circumstances that are best for a person also serve as a kappara for them or the klal or whatever. But it's not because the sufferer is a sacrifice, it's what they need. And we don't have to know why, just trust that if we're doing the best with whatever situation we got, then the outcome will be right too.

itsagift said...

I've never heard of this concept in reference to shidduchim before and I don't think I am qualified to give my opinion but I think that is quite a scary thought! A girl or boy could be doing everything right and just get nowhere? It hurts to even think about it!

ProfK said...

Not at all sure that I buy into the idea that a single person is in that position because they are a kapara for Klal. We know that Hashem is m'zaveg zvugim. But we don't have His words for any kind of time table for that zivug to arrive. The time table presently being pushed is one that humans have devised, not God. It sounds like something humans have devised to say that if a person is not married by a particular age, there has to be a Divine reason, such as being a kapara.

It sounds more like a lack of emunah that Hashem has everything in hand and we need to have patience. In Yiddish there is a saying that people utter when they wish for someone that they should get married: "Die richtige shidduch en die richtige tzeit"--the right shidduch at the right time. Sounds like a whole lot of people need to have more bitachon that things will work out as God intends them to work out and when he intends them to work out.

nmf #7 said...

Harryer- Very true point- that it doesn't really help in any case. I don't think I would ever go up to the actual single person in question and tell them that it's a Kapara and they should accept it. (It sounds horrible to me to even think about it.)

Mekubal- Hmm- I seem to remember that in Shaarei Teshuva it says that it doesn't matter whether or not you accept the Yissurim with Ahava for the Kapara to be effective. But thanks for the weigh in on the first part- very interesting Zohar.

Bas~Melech- Yes of course. Of course it is suited for them and their circumstances, but why them?
I guess that's rather a 50th level of understanding type of question- why bad things happen to good people.

Itsagift- I also think it's scary. It's horrible for me to think about some of my wonderful single friends and this comment.

ProfK- Hah, you said what Mr. NMF said when I told him about this. It's a lack of bitachon thing- as I euphemistically phrase it all the time, right? If we trust in G-d it'll all work out for the best anyway.

mekubal said...

I seem to remember that in Shaarei Teshuva it says that it doesn't matter whether or not you accept the Yissurim with Ahava for the Kapara to be effective.

I didn't think he mentioned being mekable im ahavah/simcha.

However he is a Rishon(Rabbeinu Yonah), R' Chaim Vital(Shaarei Kedusha), R' Eliayhu De' Vidas(Reshit Hokhmah), the Ramhal(Mesilat Yesharim), Rav Yaakov Hillel(his pirush on Mesilat Yesharim) all state that it is necessary. My understanding was that with Hashkafa, just like Halakha, we are posek on the Ahronim, not the Rishonim.