May a Jew be involved in matchmaking [i.e. Shidduchim] for gentiles?

May a Jew be involved in matchmaking [i.e. Shidduchim] for gentiles?[1]

Matchmaking between gentiles contains several Halachic challenges. In Halacha A we will analyze the several Halachic issues that this touches upon. In Halacha B we will present the final conclusions of the Poskim.

 

The Halachic issues and challenges:

  1. Lo Sichaneim:[2] It is forbidden to give a free present to a gentile that one is not acquainted with.[3] This applies even if the gentile is not an idolater, such as a Muslim.[4] It is likewise forbidden to sing praise of a gentile, even to say how beautiful he is.[5] Does match making between gentiles transgress this prohibition?
  2. Increasing idol worshiping population:[6] It is forbidden for a Jewish woman to nurse a baby of an idol worshiper, even in exchange for payment.[7] It is likewise forbidden to assist an idol worshiper[8] in giving birth [i.e. to be her midwife], in order so one does not engage himself in increasing the idol worshiping population.[9] This is with exception to if refusing to do so can flame anti-Semitism, such as if the gentile woman knows that the woman is a midwife, and she will be paid for the work.[10] Does match making between gentiles transgress this prohibition?

 

The law:

Some Poskim[11] rule that it is forbidden to be involved in matchmaking for gentile couples.[12] This especially applies if they are defined as idol worshipers.[13] However, the majority of Poskim[14] rule that there is no Halachic prohibition involved in arranging Shidduchim for gentiles, to assist them in meeting each other and getting married. Doing so does not contain a Lo Sichaneim prohibition[15], nor a prohibition of assisting in increasing the idol worshiping population.[16] [This especially applies if it is in exchange for money and to avoid anti-Semitism.[17]] Nevertheless, there exists a tradition that one who marries off gentile idol worshipers is endangered of having his descendants become heretics.[18] For this reason, the Poskim[19] conclude that one should abstain from being involved in such matters.

 

Summary:

It is permitted to be involved in matchmaking between gentiles. Nonetheless, it is best to avoid doing so, as tradition states that it can have a negative effect on one’s descendants and cause them to be drawn to heresy.

 

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[1] See Chavos Yair 185; Yehuda Yaaleh Y.D. 230; Darkei Teshuvah Y.D. 154:6; Chelkas Yaakov 1:174

[2] Michaber Y.D. 151:11; Avoda Zara 20

[3] Michaber ibid

The reason: As this brings closeness amongst the Jews and gentiles and can cause him to learn from his ways. [Chinuch Mitzvah 426]

[4] Shach 151:18

[5] Michaber Y.D. 151:14; Rambam Avodas Koachavim 10:4; Rav Avodas Kochavim 20b;

[6] Michaber Y.D. 154:2

[7] Michaber ibid

[8] However, gentiles who are not idol worshipers, such as a Muslim woman, one may assist her in giving birth. [Admur ibid]

[9] Michaber Y.D. 154:2; Admur 330:2

[10] Michaber ibid as explained in Shach 154:4; Admur ibid

[11] Kneses Hagedola 154:6 on Tur initially leaves this matter in question “It is questionable whether it is permitted or not” and concludes that it is better to not protest against this being done as “Mutav Sheyiyu Shogegin..” This implies, that ideally, he feels the matter is forbidden; Shut Rivam Shneitach Y.D. 40, brought in Darkei Teshuvah 154:6; Beis Shearim Y.D. 227 [student of Chasam Sofer]; See Darkei teshuvah ibid and Chelkas Yaakov 1:174

Opinion of Noda Beyehuda and Rambam: The Noda Beyehuda has been quoted to rule in a Teshuvah that it is forbidden to matchmake between gentiles even if they are both impotent. However, after searching, I have not managed to find such a Teshuvah, and it is not mentioned in any of the Poskim who wrote on the subject [see Darkei Teshuvah ibid], hence lending to the probability that the matter is simply a misquote. The Rambam is likewise quoted to have made such a statement prohibiting matchmaking between gentiles [see Book Ki Nachash Meimis p. 93 by Yisrael Segel who states that it is explicit in the Rambam], although here too no corroboration can be found, and it thereby should be dismissed as hearsay.

[12] The reason: This is due to the prohibition against assisting in birthing an idol worshiper [Michaber Y.D. 154:2], and also due to that matchmakers end up praising each prospect to the other person in order to make the match, which transgresses Lo Sichanem. [Beis Shearoim ibid; See Michaber 151:11]

[13] See Admur 330:2

[14] Teshuvah of Maharam Chalvah, brought in Kneses Hagedola ibid that the custom is to permit doing so; Chavos Yair 185, based on Rashba 120 and 167 who writes that the Ramban [who was a physician] helped a gentile woman conceive, “There is no prohibition to do so”; Zera Emes 2 Y.D. 106; See Yehuda Yaaleh ibid; Drakei Teshuvah 154:6

[15] No mention of such a prohibition is recorded in Chavos Yair ibid, and he simply writes “There is no prohibition.” It is likewise not recorded in the other Poskim

The reason: As usually matchmaking is performed in exchange for money, in which case the Lo Sichanem prohibition does not apply, as it is similar to a sale. Furthermore, even if one is doing so for as a favor, without expecting compensation, there is no prohibition of Lo Sichanem if one knows the gentile, as one expects to receive a favor back from him or is repaying him for a favor, and hence certainly in matchmaking [where the matchmaker becomes acquainted with the couple] this prohibition does not apply. [See Michaber 151:11 and Taz 151:8]

[16] Chavos Yair ibid based on Rashba 120 and 167 who writes that the Ramban [who was a physician] helped a gentile woman conceive; Zera Emes ibid

The reason: As although there is a general prohibition against assisting a gentile woman to give birth or to nurse a gentile baby [Michaber 154:2; Admur 330:2], nevertheless, it is not prohibited to simply bring them together for marriage, as there is no guarantee that they will be successful in having offspring. [Chavos Yair ibid] Alternatively, today’s gentiles are not considered to be real idolaters, and hence the “non-birthing” prohibition does not apply. [Zera Emes ibid]

[17] See Michaber Y.D. 154:2; Rashba ibid; Zera Emes ibid

May one do so for free, without exchange for money? No mention of money exchange is recorded in Chavos Yair ibid, and he simply writes “There is no prohibition,” however perhaps he refers to a case in which one receives payment from the gentile, and not towards when it is done as a mere favor. Likewise, the questioner in Zera Emes ibid explicitly writes that the matchmaking is being done for money and to avoid anti-Semitism, however from his response it seems that these criteria are not necessary.

[18] Chavos Yair ibid that so he received from Gedolim and elderly women; Brought in Darkei Teshuvah 154:6; Yehuda Yaaleh ibid [See that nevertheless from the letter of the law one may do so], Chelkas Yaakov 1:174; Teshuvos Vehanhagos 1:730

[19] Chavos Yair ibid; Yehuda Yaaleh ibid concludes to be stringent as matchmaking will lead to attending the wedding and being led to eat non-Kosher foods and intermingling

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