Match Maker

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I remember watching the classic Jewish film “Fiddler on the Roof” and there is one scene where the sisters started singing the matchmaker song after the girls’ mother was visited by a matchmaker whose role in the community was finding a nice Jewish husband or wife for people to marry.

The song was about the concept of getting married, of course, and started from the view point the girl’s younger sisters who imagined that when it was their turn to get married the men they would marry would be great. But as the song went on it became clearer that the potential match made for them may not be as great as they thought when the older girl informed the others of the potential dangers and trials they would face in marriage that they had not considered. So in the end her sisters changed their tone and instead of singing about their hopes that the matchmaker would finding them each a match they wanted her to either not get them a match at all unless he was perfectly kind or that the match making process would be delayed.

Of course, it is risky if someone else is planning to find someone they think would be a good match for you as a spouse without your input, but is having a spouse at all regardless as to how you meet that important? Yes, I know it says “And Hashem Elohim said, it is not tov that the adam should be alone; I will make him an ezer (a helper) suitable for him.” Genesis 2:18 “He who finds a wife finds a great good; he has won the favor of Adonai.” Proverbs 18:22. Yet there are more scriptures that believers tend to ignore. “However, in my opinion, she will be happier if she remains unmarried, and in saying this I think I have God’s Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 7:40 “He said to them, ‘Not everyone grasps this teaching, only those for whom it is meant. For there are different reasons why men do not marry — some because they were born without the desire, some because they have been castrated, and some because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whoever can grasp this, let him do so.’” Matthew 19:11-12.

But for some reason we don’t tend to grasp that not everyone has to be married and let those who do grasp that live in peace. We push others into marriage and act as if something is wrong with a person who has come of age but is not in a relationship and think we need to “fix” them and find someone for them to marry, but sometimes the only person someone needs is Hashem. “For your husband is your Maker, Adonai-Tzva’ot is his name. The Holy One of Isra’el is your Redeemer. He will be called the God of all the earth.” Isaiah 54:5. I think Jewish people might be more likely to feel pressured into marriage and having children by family because of both tradition and the history of persecution. As a minority group that many people wanted to kill there seems to be a strong sense of responsibility to keep the Jewish people alive by finding a Jewish partner and having children with the hopes that they will do the same - which is fine and completely understandable. But for those who do not get married it is important to know there is more than one way to keep the identity of the Jewish people alive.

“’Sing, barren woman who has never had a child! Burst into song, shout for joy, you who have never been in labor! For the deserted wife will have more children than the woman who is living with her husband,’ says Adonai.” Isaiah 54:1. We can give God more children by sharing God’s love with others so they accept the God of Israel for themselves. “For the real Jew is not merely Jewish outwardly: true circumcision is not only external and physical. On the contrary, the real Jew is one inwardly; and true circumcision is of the heart, spiritual not literal; so that his praise comes not from other people but from God.” Romans 2:28-29

“’A foreigner joining Adonai should not say, ‘Adonai will separate me from his people’; likewise the eunuch should not say, ‘I am only a dried-up tree.’ For here is what Adonai says: ‘As for the eunuchs who keep my Shabbats, who choose what pleases me and hold fast to my covenant: in my house, within my walls, I will give them power and a name greater than sons and daughters; I will give him an everlasting name that will not be cut off. And the foreigners who join themselves to Adonai to serve him…I will bring them to my holy mountain and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all peoples.’ Adonai Elohim says, he who gathers Isra’el’s exiles: ‘There are yet others I will gather, besides those gathered already.’” Isaiah 56:3-8

“…An unmarried man concerns himself with the Lord’s affairs, with how to please the Lord; but the married man concerns himself with the world’s affairs, with how to please his wife; and he finds himself split. Likewise the woman who is no longer married or the girl who has never been married concerns herself with the Lord’s affairs, with how to be holy both physically and spiritually; but the married woman concerns herself with the world’s affairs, with how to please her husband. I am telling you this for your own benefit, not to put restrictions on you — I am simply concerned that you live in a proper manner and serve the Lord with undivided devotion.” 1 Corinthians 7:32-35 If you feel called to focus on bringing other people to the Lord regardless as to if they are physically Jewish or not and don’t think marriage is for you, you are not letting the Lord down. It is more important to serve the Lord and increase God’s spiritual children than it is to have physical children.

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