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December 05, 1986 - Image 20

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-12-05

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

PURELY COMMENTARY

`Shadhan' Role Again On Horizon

Continued from Page 2

males, that were kept in mind by
parents and the Shadchan in the
course of selection.
Whoever marries a woman
for her money will have disre-
putable children. (Kiddushin 70a)
A man is forbidden to take a
woman to wife without having
seen her, lest he afterwards per-
ceive in her something objection-
able and she becomes repulsive
to him. (Kiddushin 41a)
A tall man should not marry
a tall women lest their children
be lanky. A short man should not
marry a short woman lest their
children be dwarfish. A fair man,
should not marry a fair woman
lest their children be exceedingly
fair. And a dark man should not
marry a dark woman lest their
children be excessively swarthy.
(Bechoroth 45b)
Marry one who is about your
own age and do not introduce
strife into your house. (Yebamoth
101b)
Descend a step in choosing a
wife. (Yebamoth 63a)
He who marries a rich
woman with the idea of inherit-
ing her wealth will pre-decease
her. (Tosephta Sotah)
One should not marry a
woman to please her relatives or
for the sake of advancement (To-
sephta Sotah)
Young man, raise your eyes
and see whom you will choose
for your wife. Pay not attention
to beauty, but rather to family.
(Ta'anith 4:8)

Every man gets the wife he
deserves. (Sotah 2a)
He is rich who has a refined
wife, for everything depends
upon the wife: she can make her
husband good or bad. (Shabbath
25a)

Thus far, the "matchmaker" was in-
troduced as a character in history's ex-
perience. There is also the critical, ex-
posing the shadhan as a buffoon. The
distinguished author, historian and com-
piler of Jewish legends, Nathan Ausubel,
has a remarkable critical analysis of the
Shadhan. In his entertaining and in-
formative The Book of Jewish Folklore,
Ausubel provides the following;
Matchmaking,
practiced
among many peoples, has had a
venerable history among Jews. It
had an honorable tradition for
countless generations, and served
a socially useful purpose besides.
It received serious discussion as
far back as the Talmudic trac-
tate, Baba Kama. But then, unlike
modern times, it was not re-
garded as a business but as a
pious practice to be carried on
for the love of God, the perpetua-
tion of the Jewish family, and the
increase of Israel. As a distinc -
tive calling, matchmaking was al-
ready in existence among Euro-
pean Jews during the Twelfth
Century. The shadchan was even
then a clearly recognizable per-
sonage. In fact, he was an impor-
tant Jewish communal func-
tionary, who collected his modest
fees prescribed by rabbinical de-
cisions and by the legal statutes
of the realm.

Hastings-Farnsworth

Continued from Page 2

Asked last year about his
relentless pursuit of money,
Boesky said: "As far as whether
my system or formula will con-
tinue to work or not, the jury is
still out. It's quite possible that
tomorrow you'll see my epitaph
and it will be something, like
`News Pending — Stop Trad-
ing.' "
Commenting on the fact that
people who work with him are
used to big numbers, Boesky
said, "I tell them, we are talking
about $500 million. You are
treating it as though it were
nothing. Imagine it in one-dollar
bills, or better yet, in a pile of
silver dollars. I wonder how tall
that would be. It would be like
Jacob's ladder, wouldn't it? A
Jacob's ladder of silver dollars.
Imagine — wouldn't that be an
aphrodisiac experience, climb-
ing to the top of such a ladder?"
Marvin Davidson, a stock
speculator who introduced
Boesky to the notion of invest-
ing in the stocks of possible
takeover targets, said competi-
tors wondered about Boesky's
uncanny knack of picking
stocks just before takeover bids
were announced.
"Ivan's critics say he's too
smart, too well-informed, that
his research is too- good. His
timing seems to defy the laws of
chance."

Boesky had a T-shirt that he
didn't wear but sometimes
showed others. It said, "He who
owns the most when - he dies,
wins."
- On his ability to sleep two
hours, a night and work round-
the-clock, Boesky said his body
is like "a Mercedes on the Au-
tobahn that doesn't stop run-
ning. I don't brag about that.
I'm not proud of it. I've often
thought it would be nice to
sleep a long time."
"This is my plasma," Boesky
said last year, pausing to drink
a cup of coffee during a speech
to Washington's financial com-
munity. "I was thinking, vam-
pires live on blood. Well, I live
on coffee. This is vampire's
plasma."

Such is the wisdom that gains
momentum as the new image from
greater Detroit makes its way from the
Hastings corner Palace of Corned Beef
on a climb on the ladder of Wall Street.
The clever in the media have chosen to
designate the financial genius after a
Russian by the same first name, as
Ivan the Terrible. It provides as much
glory for Ivan Grozny — Ivan the terri-
ble who was the first Czar of Russia,
1547-1584. Unlike the latter, the new
Ivan is (was?) a ladder climber, the
glorifier of the delicatessen dynasty,
but the rungs he is reaching are not
greased with mustard.

It was the Crusades which
spurred the growth of Jewish
matchmaking throughout
Europe. Wholesale massacres,
persecutions, and the constant
flights of Jews hither and thither
before their enemies, made nor-
mal social life impossible. In such
circumstances, the shadchan be-
came a pillar of national survival,
an important instrumentality for
the preservation of the Jewish
people.
He was among those brave
souls who devoted themselves to
the vital task of establishing and
preserving contact among the
scattered remnants of Israel. It
was a labor of devotion on his
part, involving many risks to life
and limb as he traveled through
hostile territory from town to
town and province to province.
No mere hucksters or busi-
ness 'agents" were permitted by
the Jewish communities to de-
vote themselves to the "sacred"
union of youth. Only high-minded
rabbis and scholars were chosen.
It is interesting to note that such
celebrated scholars and rabbis as
Levi of Mayence, Jacob Molir
and Leona de Modena were shad-
chonim; and they were honored
for this work by their com-
munities.
In time, with the growth and
permanency of Jewish settle-
ments in ghetto-towns, the tradi-
tional integrity of the shadchan
began to waver. By the time of
the Jewish "Dark Ages," which
began at the end of the Sixteenth
Century, there were already mus-
sar (moralistic) writings in which
the shadchan was roasted over
the coals for his venality and
gross misrepresentations. With
pointed sarcasm he was re-
minded that, in olden times, only
unselfish scholars and great rab-
bis were privileged to practice
his profession.

One of the principal reasons
for the decline in the moral sta-
ture of the matchmakers was the
fact that usually men with un-
stable backgrounds and occupa-
tions were tempted into its uncer-
tain undertakings. The peculiar
persuasive and social talents re-
quired drew toward it, and even
stimulated, the development of a
unique type. It would be an un-
derstatement to say that the
shadchan became the Jewish
counterpart of Figaro. Even more
than he, the shadchan was a per-
petual chatterbox, lively and im-
pudent by turn, good-natured
with raillery and guileless with
malice.
The shadchan is a classic type
in the great portrait gallery of
Jewish folklore and in the works
of fiction writers as well. He is
drawn vividly and in broad
satiric lines, dressed up in all the
fine plumage of his humbug, tal-
kativeness, and genius for
euphemistically glossing over the
physical and character defects of
his clients. Yet, with it all, he is
touched with a certain comic
pathos which belongs to the
schlimazl, a trait Figaro did not
possess.
In The Book of Jewish
Folklore, Nathan Ausubel also narrates
a number of anecdotes about the
Shadhanim. Here are samples of the
stories he compiled:

The Aristocrat

SHORTLY after the Bol-
shevik Revolution, a shadchan
called on a lady client in Minsk.
"How much dowry have
you?" he asked delicately.
"Two thousand rubles."
The shadchan then took out
his little black • book and said,
"Well now, let see! H-mm. For
two thousand rubles I can give
you a doctor."
"No, I don't want a doctor."

Righteous Interdenominaton

Continued from Page 2

manifestation of hatred, combine in the
creation of a masterful liturgy.
In her definitive prefatory note,
Alice Littell provides this key to the
liturgy:

In the early 1970s Yom
Hashoah was observed by a few
dozen congregations in America,
but the number grew rapidly. On
7 October 1980 the Congress
enacted Public Law 96-388, estab-
lishing th U.S. Holocaust Memo-
rial Council and providing for
appropriate ways to commemo-
rate the Days of Remembrance as
an annual, national, civic com-
memoration of the Holocaust.
Thus Yom Hashoah became a
public event.
The President of the United
States, the governors of all fifty
states, and the mayors of all
major American cities and hun-
dreds of smaller communities
issue proclamations declaring the
official Days of Remembrance.
The American interfaith ob-
servance known as Holocaust
Remembrance Day (Yom
Hashoah) is observed each year

on the 27th of Nisan on the
Jewish calendar, which falls on
the fifth day following the eighth
day of Passover. The purpose is
to recall the Nazi destruction of
European Jewry and to point up
the moral and religious issue
posed by genocide in the world
today.
The aim of Yom Hashoah is
not to place guilt or blame, but
rather through recollection of
this human tragedy, inflicted
upon the Jewish people, to seek
reconciliation and to renew faith
in humanity and commitment to
life. Those who offer Yom
Hashoah observances share the
hope that people of all faiths will
gain insight and understanding
of the Holocaust and the lessons
of the Holocaust — an event in
the death and life of the Jewish
People and an event in human
history which speaks to the con-
science of the world.
The Anne Frank Institute of
Philadelphia is pleased to be able
to provide this anthology to

Continued on Page 22

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