We Heart Shidduch Questions


“Is she spiritual?”

The MF who fielded this one brought it up with me one Shabbos afternoon. “Are you spiritual?”

“No,” I replied immediately. “Spiritual” means colorful scarves, Carlebach minyanim, and Chabakuk reading lists. It means having an “amazing, inspiring experience” whenever there’s a critical mass of people singing. It means Tzefat, Bat Ayin, and Meron.

“Oh,” said the MF, who had found the question puzzling. “I said you learn regularly and stuff, but that wasn’t what they meant.” No indeed.

Not an absurd question, considering. Apparently the caller was asking on behalf of a happy chossid. Of course it would have been simpler to just ask if I’m the happy chossid type, but I’m not going to nit-pick.

What the confused MF had answered was the “What does she do for spirituality” question. Similar words, but a world of difference in meaning. I don’t really like this one. Yes, granted, there are people who go to shiurim with their friends a couple of times a week. But not with their MFs. (Try getting an MF out of her house after 7pm. Good luck.) And there are also plenty of people who go to shiurim without their friends. Or who get their shiur in their inboxes. Or who do it over the phone or via podcast. Or any number of other acceptable options that MFs (or SFs) wouldn’t know about. (Then there are people who don’t bother with this stuff and don’t seem to need it either. Is “she has an impeccable moral compass” a good answer to that question?)

I’ve also never understood why people ask my friends about my siblings. “Can you send me a roster of your siblings, where they live, and what they do?” one Friend asked. “People always ask and I never know what to answer.” Honestly, folks. This is why I gave you the aunt’s phone number and the neighbor’s number. My friends are my friends. They don’t know what seminaries my sisters went to. If they did, I’d be a little creeped out. Maybe even jealous.

13 thoughts on “We Heart Shidduch Questions

  1. I think the kind of spiritual that you describe is more, i guess like you put it, chassidish. Now that im thinking about it, i guess the word people might be looking for is “connected”? Because i would ask if someone is spiritual – but id be referring to their connection with Gd, whether they acknowledge His presence in all situations, davening, etc. That’s MY definition of spiritual.

    And in terms of asking about siblings and who they’re married to, etc. – that’s one of my biggest pet peeves. I guess theyre trying to figure out whether u have a sibling going through some stuff or “trying to find him/herself…”

  2. So why couldn’t they say chassidish in the first place … after all there are also gurus and yogis in America from the Far East who are very spiritual too. .and our Torah tells us about them when Avraham gave the B’nei Pilagshim matanos … and they went eastward to eretz Kedem.[Far East?] and just before it says Avraham gave everything to Yitzchak.
    Another thing is we are so picky as to who we want that we may have missed the shidduch that was intended to us by Hashem.

  3. Hmmm, I seem to having been using “spiritual” incorrectly. My perception of the word is based on my upbringing, which means someone quietly getting up early to make minyan so he can calmly daven. It means taking one’s time over bensching. It means having Hashem constantly in one’s sights.

    At least, that’s what it means in my house. I don’t think I have been answering questions right.

  4. That’s quite a way to use “spiritual”. Coming from the perspective of a chaplain, everyone is spiritual- all human beings seek connection to other people, to something higher or bigger than themselves, to doing good as they see it, etc. Some people have more obvious ways of framing these things than other, but we all have spirituality, whether we’re religious or not. But “acting spiritual” is definitely a specific thing- I just wish that that weren’t the only thing people seem to think of when they hear “spiritual”.

  5. @Princess Lea: I consider for the most part that type of person you described and would classify myself as ‘having a genuine commitment to feel and live a Jewish life the way the One above intended’….and the reason I say that is because I feel that everyone SHOULD take time to be aware what is coming out of their mouths when benching & davening, and attempting to think of H constantly – to be constantly aware of His presence even when you are off doing things.
    I would consider myself far from being hippie though – kabbalah etc. doesn’t resonate strongly with me.

  6. “What does she do for spirituality”

    How about, “Nothing. She is more concerned with halacha than with spirituality.” That’ll quickly weed out the type you are trying to avoid.

  7. Hey isn’t halacha [the way to walk] spiritual?If Hashem commanded us to do this then it stands to reason that it is a way to connect to HIM [which is the derech Hashem]

  8. gab: I’m no hippie. Nor am I chassidish. And kabalah? Noooooo.

    There is a difference between being frum and being spiritual, and there are some people who hook into the davening better, who really see the Eibishter with them in everything. Not all frum people are like that. Just because everyone should be like that doesn’t mean that they are.

    Being spiritual has nothing to do with haskafa. It’s really a personal thing. And gadzooks, I think Bad4 may be spiritual.

  9. I guess “spiritual” should get added to the “list of words not to use when you’re talking about yourself or others in shidduchim because they’re too open to subjective interpretation.” Case in point being “open-minded”, which can mean anything from “actually thinks about why he’s does what he does” to “doesn’t bash people from other sectors” to “watches movies.” All in the eye of the beholder – which makes it useless (and usually harmful) to use as a description of yourself or the person you’re looking for.

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