My daughter is in shidduchim and goes out on a regular basis. My husband has taken to “farhering” the boys who come to our home to take our daughter out. He asks them for a vort or questions in learning. I have a hunch that boys are getting scared off by his farher tactic, while he insists that it is common practice and well within his right to question a boy. Is it indeed common practice and is my hunch off base?
It is common practice that when a prospective father-in-law meets a Yeshiva Bochur as a possible prospect of a son-in-law, yes, he will engage in a discussion revolving around Divrei Torah. However, to “ask for a Vort” and to outright “Farher”, is outmoded and isn’t routinely done. We live in the ‘Age of Information’ at our fingertips. It is very simple to reach the right people to ask about a Bochur’s learning capacity, his depth, and his committment. Therefore, an outright Farher is not necessary these days and is definitely putting an already pressured, tense Bochur, on the spot. However, it is important for the girl’s father to meet the boy and see for himself if he can form an opinion if this boy is possibly a suitable match for his daughter in all other ways so he and his wife can be there for support when needed. A non-farhering Torah discussion is a good setting for that.
A good idea when engaging in a Torah discussion between the girl’s father and the Bochur, is to preface it with asking the Bochur what he’s presently learning. Instead of the ‘farhering tactics’ that you describe, it is a lot wiser to base a ‘tactful’ discussion on the Sugya in Shas that the Bochur is presently learning. This way the father is asking questions that the Bochur can answer. If the father is not well versed in that Sugya, he can always initiate a vort on the Parsha which shouldn’t be too dificult for either of them. Many prospective Shvers make the mistake of engaging in a Torah discussion that involves what they themselves are learning, which can really put the Bochur on the spot, especially if he never learned it.
Your husband must remember that this Bochur might become his son-in-law and he should do everything possible to make him feel comfortable and relaxed. Whatever he needs to know about his learning he can easily inquire about. When these meetings take place it is not enough to prepare the table and the seating arrangement. We must also prepare ourselves mentally as parents to be focused and in the right frame of mind to receive the young Bochur properly in order to maximize on the meeting and get some clarity as far as the Shidduch is concerned.
Please take note, that it may not be your husband’s ‘fathering tactics’ that are getting in the way of your daughter’s shidduch. It may be just anything else, and for sure it is the fact that your daughter’s Basherte Zivug has not yet arrived. From being behind the scenes very often, I can tell you that usually whatever you think it is that is holding back the shidduch, it is usually NOT! However, when meeting anyone for any reason, it is always wise to be warm, welcoming, and tactful.