A young lady, fresh out of seminary, was traveling to Eretz Yisrael to visit friends and relatives in Jerusalem. She needed a break after the past few hectic and unsettling weeks. After her year in Israel, she had gone “into shidduchim” with a positive outlook and a quiet confidence that Hashem would find her just the right Torah-minded boy, with marriage, a family, and a fulfilling life all ahead of her in the near future. Unfortunately, it didn’t seem to be working out this way. None of the proposals that her parents were receiving came even remotely close to what she was looking for, and those boys she had gone out with fell far short of her expectations. At first, she took it all in stride, but soon her resolve began to crumble. Her parents were positively in panic mode! They needed a shidduch for their daughter and they needed it fast!
Many proposals came and went, but the last incident was devastating. A yeshivah bachur from out of town was proposed to her, and it all seemed so promising. He was kind, learned, and serious. She heard great things about him. She actually began to get excited about it, and she davened with all her might that this should be the one. However, after a few weeks, a negative response came back from the boy’s side – with no clear-cut explanation. Why? What was wrong with her? She cried and hurt so bad inside. Her friends told her she needed a break, and she decided to take a short vacation to Israel.
Sitting on the plane, absorbed in her thoughts, a flight attendant came over and served her a pre-ordered kosher meal. She wasn’t very hungry, and the meal just sat in front of her. A few minutes later, she overheard a conversation between the same flight attendant and a yeshivah bachur who was sitting a few rows behind her. Apparently, he had ordered a kosher meal, but for some unexplained – but all-too-common – reason, his name was not on the list. Sorry, the flight attendant told him; we do not have any extra special meals for you, and seemingly, that was that.
Minutes later, as the flight attendant made her way past the girl’s seat, she motioned to her. “Hi. I have a meal here that I am not eating. Perhaps you can give it to the person who didn’t get a kosher meal?” The flight attendant was happy to bring the portion over to the boy and he gratefully asked who had given away his or her meal. The flight attendant pointed to the girl’s seat.
Feeling a bit uncomfortable, the boy waited a bit until all the meals were eaten and cleaned away before he got out of his seat and headed in the direction of the lavatory. Of course, he had to walk past the girl’s seat and as he did so, he said to her, “Excuse me. I just wanted to thank you for giving me your kosher meal. It was really kind of you.”
The young lady smiled and said, “You’re very welcome. It was my pleasure. I’m glad you enjoyed it.”
The boy nodded again pleasantly. “Enjoy your flight,” he said, and then with a wave and a smile, he added, “The Levinson family thanks you.” He began to move away but she suddenly stopped him.
“Is your name Levinson?” she asked quickly. He halted in mid-step and nodded yes. She asked him his first name and where he was from. She knew who he was. He was the last shidduch proposal that ended inexplicably in a NO. She swallowed hard. She just had to know what happened, why this most promising proposal ended badly.
“I believe I was recently redt to you,” she began very hesitantly. The boy blushed and when she told him her name, his face flushed entirely. “Can I ask you why you said no to me?” How much more of a direct question can one possibly ask?
After a few uncomfortably long moments, he answered almost in a whisper, “We were told that you went to a seminary that was very career-oriented and that chesed was not a high priority. We were looking for someone with a bigger focus on chesed.” And then, recognizing the irony of the situation and pointing at the trays being cleaned away by the flight attendants, he mumbled in an embarrassed voice, “I guess we were wrong!”
A short impromptu “first date” took place on the plane, and now, happily married many years later, they’re still amazed at the “etzba Elokim” – the glorious finger of G-d!