(For the whole story leading up to the list & the list itself, please see the original article: Searching for Your Soulmate? 5 Tips from Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky)
Here are the 5 tips:
1) Take upon yourself to be extremely careful of speaking or hearing gossip.
2) Don't criticize anyone.
3) Don't bear a grudge (be makpid) against anyone.
4) It is also very important that nobody is makpid on them. So if there is a suspicion that they caused somebody pain – they should appease them, ask for forgiveness and ask them not to be makpid.
5) They should pray for friends who are searching for a shidduch.
We All Know Some Crazy Shidduch Stories
And just to be clear, I did NOT say that there are no desperately-seeking-shidduch situations in Eretz Yisrael (there are, unfortunately). However, I'm not seeing the mass-crisis proportions they apparently face in America.
I know way too many stories of unlikely meetings & marriages between people for me to take derech-hateva theories lock-stock-and-barrel.
My own Israeli husband is a few years older than me & started dating when I was still an assimilated high school girl in America. Would a round of 40 days at the kotel have helped him when I was in tenth grade?
Well, he did it. And yes, it helped!
But not immediately.
Another friend of mine was an American chassidish girl in her late 20s who met her bashert in America right after he'd gotten off the plane from Tehran. And they met in the waiting room of the office of a Reform rabbi!
(She was passing through for business & having just arrived in America, he didn't realized this wasn't a real rabbi. Noticing the serious young man in a kippah & tzitzit who clearly didn't belong there, she quickly got him pointed in the right direction, and then they married a year later. See? You don't NEED a hotel lobby. It's nice, but Hashem can set up your meeting anywhere.)
That's just two examples of situations in which the derech-hateva solutions would not have helped. We all know others.
I know people who are overweight, not extremely attractive, people who are jerks, obnoxious people, and decent but eccentric people, physically disabled people, and even mentally disabled people who got married without a long wait.
We all know people like this.
I know people who are not so attractive with some pretty bad middot who are happily married because their spouse has bad middot in the same way and they have a Bonnie 'n' Clyde compatibility.
And again, I think we all know couples like that.
Watch Out for Those Hakpadahs!
I personally know people who traced their delayed zivug back to people they'd hurt.
In one case, an engagement broken without proper consideration or apology delayed the ultimate shidduch.
How did was that figured out?
Well, prior to their ultimate marriage, one spouse was on the brink of coming to a BT institution in Eretz Yisrael, but an odd experience cast the possibility out of mind.
Two years later, that partner finally arrived at the same BT institution, and via a staff member at this institution, this couple finally met and married.
"Why did that happen to me?" said that partner later on in the marriage. "I was all set to go – and it would've been GOOD for me to go there earlier – why did I suddenly decide not to go?"
After determining the approximate time this sudden refusal happened, the other spouse reluctantly admitted that not only had the broken engagement occurred around that time, but it was broken in a way lacking in derech eretz. Not intentionally hurting anyone, but lacking the courage to deal with the situation correctly, the partner just ditched.
Now think about that. Because of a broken engagement handled poorly, the ultimate shidduch was pushed off by at least 2 years.
Finally, my husband's nephew and one of his mother's co-workers (a much older woman) decided to daven for each other that the OTHER should get married first.
My husband's nephew is a very sincere and temimusdig person. He truly davened that she would marry first. (Also, let's be completely honest: He was still younger than she and likely feeling less pressured about getting married already.)
Not long after he took on this davening, my husband's nephew met his wife who is such a wonderful young woman. It was an unusual shidduch because she was FFB from a chashuv family (my husband's nephew was secular until he decided to go to yeshivah for 9th grade), but they are quite compatible and have been producing beautiful Jewish children at a rapid clip. (Their first 2 children are only 11 months apart.)
Derech Hateva: Only be a Small Slice of the Hishtadlut Pie
These theories & solutions exist for a reason.
But based on the above & many other stories like all the above, I really feel that tefillah & cheshbon hanefesh MUST be a MAJORITY part of the solution.
In all the above examples, only tefillah & cheshbon hanefesh could help.
All the derech-hateva solutions do not help one whit if your bashert is in Tehran, high school, and so on.
God willing, may all our singles (whether never married, divorced, or widowed) please find their good & true shidduch b'sha'ah tovah umutzlachat.
(This is a nusach I personally heard from the late Dayan Fischer ztz"l, who advised the girl I accompanied to daven that Hashem should bring her shidduch hatov v'hanachon b'sha'ah tovah umutzlachat.)
When Giving Results in Receiving: A Love Story