A Shidduch for Raizy
Last summer we joined the Bernstein* Family for a Shabbat meal. The Bernsteins are one of my favorite families, and their daughter, Raizy*, is one of my favorite human beings.
Raizy was the babysitter for our Tuesday night date for several years. She’s beautiful and responsible and kind and smart and deeply religious. The kind of young woman who is a role model for the kind of daughters I want to raise (and the kind of person I want to become one day!)
But at that meal, Raizy seemed down. At one point, her father requested that Hashem bless us that coming year with “Geulat haKlal v’Geulat HaPrat,” redemption of the Jewish people and of each individual as well. And when he said “Geulat HaPrat” he looked so pointedly at Raizy that she blushed and got up and started clearing the plates.
It was only then that I understood how nervous Raizy and her parents were getting.
When she had turned 18 several years before, Raizy showed up one Tuesday night without glasses on. When my daughters asked her why, Raizy teased, “I got contact lenses. I don’t want to wear glasses at my wedding!”
But since then, Raizy had finished seminary and had even started working as a teacher. She had already turned 21, but there was no wedding on the horizon.
Several months before, Raizy’s father had even asked Josh whether we know somebody for Raizy. At the time I had thought that was really funny. The Bernsteins are a Yerushalmi Charedi family—more open than some, but still. How would we possibly know somebody suitable?
But, in retrospect, I realized that this was a reflection of just how desperate they were becoming as the years passed.
A few days after the meal at their house, I called the father to ask him what kind of boy they were looking for for Raizy. He told me they were looking for a boy who was “Litvish light” and named a bunch of families in the neighborhood that, he felt, fit that description.
That was exactly a year ago, last Av. And for the next few weeks, whenever I ran into the wife from one of those families, I asked her if she or her husband knew somebody suitable for Raizy.
The reactions were always pretty much the same. Something like: “Raizy is a wonderful girl. If I had a brother or a son of marriageable age, I would scoop her up for myself! But we don’t know any unmarried boys, sorry.”
And then, right after Succot, I was walking by the Bernsteins’ house, and I noticed the older children carrying folding tables into the house. “Why do you need so many tables?” I asked them. And they just smiled swallowed-canary smiles and didn’t answer.
Hmmm, this was interesting! My excitement overcame my embarrassment, and I called Mrs. Bernstein and asked her if there was an event at their house that night…”Well, yes, we are having an engagement party for Raizy tonight, please join us!”
And I did. And I was so overjoyed!
And as silly as this might sound, I felt as though I was a partner in the simcha.
Maybe a wife I had spoken with had spoken with her husband about Raizy and he had spoken with somebody else, and the shidduch was made?
Or maybe on a spiritual level, my prayers and efforts for Raizy had some impact in Heaven which made this shidduch happen?
Possibly yes. Probably no.
But I do notice that this happens to me all the time.
Just this year….
I davened for a woman who had had several miscarriages, and then she had a baby!
I davened for a relative to get a job, and b”H she did, and in quite a miraculous way!
I davened intensely for many months that Hashem should send Nachlaot some justice, and b”H, after three years a second Nachlaot pedophile was finally convicted last month!
Did my small practical or spiritual efforts help the redemption come this year to Raizy and others?
I have no idea.
But I am still certain of the fact that my job is to keep on trying.
Summoning up the courage to do what I can to change the things I can, one teensy effort at a time.