Daily Archives: July 26, 2009

Heinous or Harmless – family yichus* in dating

Where to start with this one? Sadie desperately wants to be a married lady. She meets and falls in love (without a shadchan {matchmaker}, tsk tsk) with Hershel. He is everything she wants in a man, and more, and will be the perfect father for her future children. He proposes, she accepts, all is good, right?

No. All is not good. See, Sadie’s parents didn’t get the chance to approve the match, as Sadie met him socially, not through them. As if this isn’t bad enough, Hershel’s father is currently imprisoned for a criminal offense (not white collar crime, one must know where the line is drawn). These two things together have given the parents the message that poor Hershel is a bad match and he should be given his walking papers. Nothing personal, you know.

Sadie, of course, is refusing to listen to her parents. She lives at home but works and supports herself and could afford to move out if she wishes. In the religious world this isn’t such a common occurrence. Hershel is a fine upstanding citizen training to be a doctor (even I am kvelling {bursting with pride} over this) and wants nothing to do with his criminal paternal unit. But Sadie’s mother and father have told her that if she marries him, they will not attend the wedding nor pay for anything to do with it. They will wash their hands of her. Completely.

Sadie has a little brother who will soon be of dating age. They are worried that if they are known to “associate with the criminal element” that their son will no longer be able to find a normal shidduch and his sister will have ruined any chances he might have had at making a decent match.

Are Sadie’s mom and dad right in forbidding her to marry Hershel? Should Sadie listen or strike out on her own, with the courage of her convictions, secure in her personal knowledge that Hershel is the one for her? Are Sadie’s parents being narrow-minded and bigoted? Do they have a right to be concerned that their prospective son-in-law might have crime in his DNA? Should they have been “dan lechaf zechut” (judge the situation based on its’ merits)? What would you do in their shoes?

(*Yichus – lineage)

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