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Lo Sachmod for a Shidduch?

I just heard this week that one is not allowed to harass someone to sell or give something to him as it is an aveira of lo sachmod. When my older daughter, in shidduchim, gets a no from a boy, may I ask friends and prestigious acquaintances to keep on suggesting the shidduch, in the hope that they won’t be able to say no?

Answer:

The prohibition of lo sachmod, applies specifically to the coveting of somebody else’s possessions, and harassing the owner, in ‘convincing’ him to sell it. The prohibition therefore applies specifically to coercing somebody to sell, and not in pressuring somebody to buy.

In shidduchim, there would therefore appear to be two reasons for which the prohibition would not apply to harassing the boy into going out. First of all, the boy isn’t owned by anybody, because parents don’t own their children. Secondly, the boy is being harassed into ‘buying,’ for in the act of kiddushin the groom ‘acquires’ the wife, and not vice versa.

It is fascinating to note that this question is actually found in Chazal, who discuss it in Mechilta (to Devarim 5:18). Chazal note that the details mentioned by the verse in the prohibition of lo sachmod, meaning a house, wife, slave, ox, donkey, and so on, are all items whose ownership cannot transfer of its own accord. This definition, write Chazal, excludes the coveting of a boy for one’s daughter or a girl for one’s son from the prohibition of lo sachmod.

Aruch Hashulchan explains that one might have thought that children are indeed considered a type of ‘possession,’ their being ‘owned’ by their parents, and therefore included in the final words of the verse: “and everything that belongs to your neighbor.” Therefore, Mechilta explains that the prohibition only applies to those items that require the conscious act of the owner to transfer ownership, and not to items that can transfer of their own accord, such as sons and daughters who can marry themselves (when they come of age).

Sources: See Rambam, Hilchos Gezeilah 1:9; Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat 359:9; Aruch Hashulchan 359:11.

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