Silent Agreement Not To Share?
By Goldy Krantz
I’ve recently written about social media. In keeping with the technological age we seem to be in (yet I’m hopeful ink and paper will gain popularity like in the good ole days), I will continue along with that theme. Many times, I find what to write about by browsing through social media. I would see a “trending” topic or post, and I would write my opinion/reaction to it. This time, the topic found me. A friend of mine took a screenshot of what appeared in a Facebook group she is a member of and sent it to me and another friend in our small yet entertaining WhatsApp chat. I will not mention which Facebook group this article or the screenshot is from in order to protect the group, the poster, and my friend.
In a nutshell: A woman posted that her daughter went on a date and the fellow acted very inappropriately. I will not go into detail, as this is a family newspaper, but use your imagination. The mother of the girl posted exactly who this fellow is, his age, where he lives, his occupation, and what her daughter reported happened on the date. The mother went on to post that when she contacted other shadchanim (especially the one that redt the shidduch) and rabbanim about this incident, they didn’t seem surprised because they are “aware” of this fellow and his antics. The mother found it appalling that shadchanim and rabbanim know when someone has a history of acting inappropriately and are still redting them to unsuspecting people. The mother went on to say that since she posted the original post (I guess a few days earlier), she received several communications from other women whom this fellow dated in the past and learned that he has a history of this. One woman wrote that she had dated him a year ago, another wrote that she had gone out three years ago.
I remember writing about this topic a few years ago, but I see it must be revisited as nothing has changed. When I was in my late 20s, I had a similar experience with someone I dated one time. I wrote about him in the last chapter of my book (for all of you who still have my book, you can look it up). Being the type of person I am, I shook off the date and what transpired, but I told my friends so they would be aware and not to accept a date from him. One friend advised me to write to a shadchan who contributes to a newspaper offering dating advice, asking if I should alert shadchanim about this “boy.” I write “boy” because his actions were that of an immature teenage boy. I figured it couldn’t hurt, so I briefly wrote what had happened on our date and asked what to do. The columnist was of no help and quoted from the Shulchan Aruch and other places. I ended up doing nothing.
A couple of years later, my alma mater high school hosted an event called “Meet the Shadchan.” It was geared towards older, mature graduates who had not yet found their bashert. It was a wonderful event and there were about two dozen or so shadchanim. Each had a sign on his or her table as to what type of shidduchim they specialized in, so you knew who to speak with and who wouldn’t be able to help you. I spoke with several shadchanim that day. Without mentioning the name of the shadchan, one suggested the particular fellow that I warned my friends about. Being the person that I am and try to be, I thanked him for his suggestion, told him that we had already gone out and I didn’t want to revisit him to date. He pressed me for a reason “because he’s a great guy from a wonderful family.” I finally got fed up with the shadchan pushing this one fellow on me. I told him that there was absolutely no way I was going to date him again and if he didn’t have another name for me, I would stop wasting my time and move on to another shadchan.
The shadchan looked defeated and asked how long ago was it that I went out with the fellow. I told him it was a couple of years earlier. What happened next shocked me. The shadchan slammed his hand on the desk and said, “I told him to stop doing this!” I had never mentioned or alluded to why I didn’t want to date him again, I just kept refusing. But this man seemed to have known exactly why I refused to date him a second time.
Now it was my turn to ask the questions: How long have you known about his behavior? Why do you still redt shidduchim to him when you know there is an issue? What if it was your daughter being redt to him and the shadchan knew all this, how would you feel if something happened during the date? Why do you still tell me “he’s a great guy from a great family”? The parents and grandparents may be amazing, but the son/grandson fell far from their family tree and the example they are trying to set for him. That’s why, when I was single, I always told shadchanim, “Don’t tell me about his parents or what high school teachers say about him. Tell me about HIM.”
Apparently, this shadchan strongly advised the boy to “get help” specifically because of his behavior years earlier. Years!! But the shadchan never followed up if the boy sought out a therapist. I asked if he did. The shadchan admitted that he didn’t; he just assumed that the “boy” followed his advice. I guess the shadchan figured he did his part: He told the boy he needed help. I wondered if the shadchan, this man in front of me, patted himself on the back for a job well done by advising him to “get help”? Yet, he never asked about it and still went on redting shidduchim to him.
The point of writing this article is to tell the shadchanim, rabbanim, and rebbeim redting shidduchim for people who they know are far from perfect – and may harm someone on a date – is 100 percent wrong. No matter how you look at it, it’s wrong. It’s unconscionable! Yes, I know people have issues, but I am also aware that there is help out there for all, even for those who can’t afford to pay for it. There are organizations that will pay for it if the one in need can’t. This is more than people sweeping the truth under the rug or remaining “hush-hush,” which allows the behavior to continue and unsuspecting innocent people walk into his den of prey.
There may be women who act inappropriately on dates, but this article is about the post, the woman, and this fellow her daughter went out with. Please understand that what I am writing applies to both genders. I do not think men are the only ones acting this way. I don’t care about being blunt or even rude by asking this next question to shadchanim and others redting such types of shidduchim: “Is the shadchanus from the family so important to you, that you are willing to put someone in harm’s way?” If the person has gotten help and has changed his/her ways, I don’t think I or anyone else would have an issue with them being redt to singles whom we love. But if you know about a serious issue and do not know if the individual has sought out help for it, or if he or she even thinks they have a problem that needs to be dealt with, then why in the world are you setting them up?!
And don’t say because everyone needs a chance to marry or maybe whoever they date and marry will change them. That is ignorant and irresponsible of you, and if there were such a thing as a shadchan license, I would start the process of having yours revoked! (There should be some sort of shadchan license or permit, because many out there are not doing right by singles and have their own motives for trying to set people up. People like that should not be shadchanim.)
Back to the post that my friend sent me several screenshots of (since I am not a member of that group). The mother who wrote the post said that her daughter was nearly traumatized, but was not hurt in any way, baruch Hashem. The mother referred to the one her daughter dated as a predator. She posted the name and number of the shadchan who redt the shidduch, warning others to be wary and do their homework if she tried to redt their child this shidduch. She also posted the name and number of a rav in Lakewood for others to contact if they have had similar experiences with this fellow (or others like him), and the rav will “handle the situation.” I’m not exactly sure what that meant, but the mother seemed confident that this rav could help.
Of course, I think this man should get help. I think his parents should be made aware (if they aren’t already) and try to convince him to get help. But I was so shocked (as were my friends) to see it on Facebook with his picture, so all can see. Is the public shaming (the posting and sharing of his picture and personal information) correct? Was posting the information of the shadchan correct? Is this considered a PSA (public service announcement) or is this considered some type of lashon ha’ra? I don’t know. I’m not saying that this man/boy didn’t have some sort of karma coming to him, but is this it? Two wrongs don’t make a right.
I know that the mother of this young woman is trying to protect other young women with this post. I also realize the anger she must have felt to know that others were in “the know” about him and no one informed her or her family when the shidduch was being redt. It was alluded to in one of the responses that it’s almost as if this is an “honor among thieves” type of thing – even those who are the lowest of the low abide by a set of rules (the movie John Wick comes to mind). In no way am I comparing shadchanim with thieves and criminals, but the fact that one or more shadchanim have such information, says nothing, and keeps redting shidduchim is wrong.
With this information being sent out and others “sharing” the information, it not only embarrasses the man (as he should be embarrassed), but his family, as well. If his friends and co-workers didn’t know about his shameful behavior, they do now! I’m not saying that “he should have thought about this before he did what he did,” but the repercussions of this woman’s post will have a snowball effect on many, not just this fellow.
I’m torn. Yes, what this fellow has been doing (and what the fellow I dated and what many others have been doing) is very wrong, and he should have gotten help years ago. Shadchanim, rabbanim, and rebbeim should not have continued redting shidduchim for him, especially when they knew there was an issue with his behavior. I can’t believe that all who are close to him (family and friends) are going to be taken by surprise to find out about his actions. I’m sure one or two people knew about it. Maybe they tried to get him to stop (as in my case) or maybe they chose to ignore it, I don’t know. But what I do know is that this man’s parents and siblings are or will be embarrassed and infuriated by this. I’m sure his family may be sweet, heimish people. Now the family name is being dragged through the mud and lashon ha’ra is being spoken. His friends may be shocked to learn of this darker, dangerous side of him (if they didn’t know it by now) and it may affect their relationship with him.
Although how many times in “the news” do we see and hear neighbors of criminals saying, “I had no idea. She/he was normal. Always said hi, walked his dog...” Maybe this boy has done a good job at hiding his actions from others; again, I don’t know. This social media post will affect his life and those around him. But is it correct to punish those who really truly didn’t know about what he was doing and to suffer the embarrassment? What action will this rav in Lakewood take to rectify the situation? The mother felt that this was her only solution, as those “in charge” of the shidduch world seemed to have just stood by and did nothing. Again, I ask: Do these two wrongs (first, the behavior exhibited on the date, and second, if it was wrong, to post the information) make anything right?
I just don’t know in this situation.
Hatzlachah to you all.