What to Look for in Shidduchim0

The Talmud states that Achav was the most wicked person that ever lived, and that his wife Ezevel brought it all about.
Ezevel was the daughter of a non-Jewish king who brought idolatry with her into the marriage, thus bringing into question her conversion to Judaism.
One could just imagine the conversation when the Shidduch was proposed.
"Is she pretty?"
"Yes she's very pretty"
"Does she have money"
"Oh yes, she's a princess."
"There's only one problem, she's not Jewish"
"Oh don't worry, that can all be worked out."
Unfortunately, many people do not know what to ask regarding shidduchim. The most important thing is Yiras Shomayim, fear of heaven. You can tell if someonse is a Yiras Shomayim when he or she prays. Middos - character traits like modesty, respect of others, humility, controlling anger, etc. are important. One should look at a person's family ties, but middos can outweigh that. Having a good time on the phone and dates are not a major criteria. Having a limp is of little importance. Successful marriages do not hinge on whether the person limps or whether the couple can shmooze for hours. The ability to raise children and the abillity to accept and give criticism, on the other hand, are honorable questions to be asked regarding a potential spouse. Love before marriage only makes the partner seem perfect, which leads to disappointment when they inevitably are found out to be flawed. There are four reasons people marry... physical, honor, money, and for the sake of heaven. It would be good to honestly ask oneself his/her reasons for marriage, and if those three negative ones are getting in the way of a suitable match for him/herself or his/her daughter, to recognize that he/she will have to answer in olam haemes, the world of truth, to that behavior.

- Adapted from Rabbi Reisman's shiur 5/1/99

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