07 Nov PAYING THE SHADCHAN
There is a great
mitzvah for one to be
involved with making
shidduchim between a
boy and girl. Hashem
was the first shadchan
in the world who made
the shidduch between
Adom and Chavah. The
Chozeh from Lublin
is quoted as saying one who is involved
with making shidduchim will merit having
children who are talmidei chachumim.
Therefore, it is important for one to try to
match people up with each other even if one
is not sure if it will work. One is permitted
to arrange a shidduch on Shabbos, and if
necessary even to speak about financial
We all know that a person who is involved
with trying to pair up two individuals is
called a shadchan. However, where did this
term come from and what does it mean? The
source of the word shadchan means peace
and harmony which the wife will have when
she finds her match and establishes a home
with her husband. The Aruch says the word
shadchan comes from “tying” since the
person involved with pairing up two people
is tying them together as one couple.
Paying a Shadchan
Just as in other business dealings, a shadchan
must be paid a fee for arranging a shidduch.
There is no difference if the shadchan
was asked by one of the parties or if he
volunteered his services on his own. Even a
non-professional shadchan must be paid for
his services. Furthermore, a shadchan may
ask bais din to force both parties to pay him.
Where the shadchan said that he or she does
not want to get paid, no money is given to the
shadchan by any party, even if the shadchan
later changes her mind and decides she
wants to get paid. Some Sefardisha circles
have the custom not to pay a shadchan for
her services. If the shadchan told the boy’s
side that he does not want to accept money,
this does not exempt the girl’s side from
giving money to the shadchan.
Who Is Obligated to Pay the Shadchan?
There is a discussion in the poskim as to
who is obligated to pay the shadchan for
the shidduch that was made. Some say since
the favor was done for the boy and girl,
they are both obligated to pay the shadchan.
However, others say that the boy’s and girl’s
parents pay the shadachan, and this is the
overwhelming custom today. In a situation
where the parents did not pay the shadchan,
the boy and girl are still not obligated to pay
The amount to be paid to the shadchan is
based on the local minhag of each specific
place. When the fee is agreed upon, the
shadchan may not ask for additional payment
for costs he may have incurred during the
process of making the shidduch. If one side
cannot pay the shadchan then he has no right
to go to the other side and ask for the money
due to him from the first side who could
not pay. A shadchan who did not discuss
a fee before arranging a shidduch may not
demand an extraordinary high fee (out of the
ordinary) when the shidduch is completed.
There is a discussion in the poskim if a
shidduch was made between people who live
in different countries which local custom one
must follow when paying the shadchan.
When to Pay
There is a discussion in the poskim when is
the correct time that the shadchan should be
paid. Some are of the opinion if there is no
custom when to pay the shadchan he should
be paid after the wedding. Those who have
the custom to make a t’nayim should pay
the shadchan after the t’nayim is completed.
Those who do not have the custom to make
a t’nayim should pay the shadchan when the
shidduch is completed, although some have
the custom not to pay the shadchan until
after the wedding is over. If the shidduch
was broken, the shadchan does not have to
give the money back as long as he did not
give false information about the boy or girl
which caused the shidduch to be broken. In
a situation where the money is not given
until after the wedding the shadchan does
not get paid if the shidduch was broken. If
the shidduch was not completed then the
shadchan does not get paid even if he spends
a lot of time trying to put the boy and girl
The Importance of Paying a Shadchan
It is stated in the name of the Chazon Ish that
one who does not have children for many
years after their marriage it can possibly
be because the shadchan who made their
shidduch was not paid.
Using Masser Money
In most situations one may not use masser
money to pay a shadchan for his work
regarding the shidduch.
The poskim are in dispute in regard to
dividing payment in a situation where more
than one person was involved in a shidduch.
There is a discussion in the poskim on how
much has to be paid if one shadchan started
the shidduch and another one finished the
shidduch. This issue has many details and
one should consult with a Rav when this
Making a Shidduch between Non-Jews /
It is preferable to avoid
making a shidduch between
two non-Jews. One may
make a shidduch between two
non-religious Jews if there
would otherwise be a risk of
intermarriage and one will be
getting paid for his services.
Can a Shadchan be a
Relative or Friend?
Many times a relative or
friend wants to make a shidduch between
two people and the question arises if doing
so is permitted. The custom is that a relative
or a friend can be a shadchan.
Mentioned a Shidduch
Many times it can happen that a person
mentions a prospective boy to a girl’s family
or vice versa and they are not interested at
that time. Then as time passes another person
mentions the name. If the second person
only knew about the boy and girl because
of the first person then they both get some
amount of money. However, if the second
person thought of it on his own then the first
person who mentioned it does not receive
anything (unless the reason they are going
out is because it was red by two people).
“It’s not For Me but for My Friend”
It happens very often that after a boy goes
out and it does not work he suggests
shadchanas since he did the work to make
sure they go out.
Being a Witness
A shadchan is permitted to be a witness
by the t’nayim or kiddushin (if he is not a
Many questions one gets about a prospective
boy or girl can involve loshon hora. Is one
permitted to tell derogatory information for
shidduch purposes? Below we will discuss
some things which may be said and other
things which may not be said.
The poskim say that one may tell an interested
party about a serious physical or mental
illness, a lack of religious observance,45 if
there is an adoption,46 or the party’s financial
status. The reason why revealing this type of
information is permitted is because if the
other party would find out this information
they may hold back from going ahead with
Information which is not so important
should not be told over to the other party.
This includes information regarding a minor
illness or physical weakness. One who is
specifically asked information must tell the
other party the information (unless it has
nothing to do with the shidduch).
Serious information should only be told if
it is to benefit one of the parties, it cannot
be exaggerated, and there must be a good
chance that the information will be taken
seriously and acted upon.
One who was not asked a specific question
does not have to answer anything he was not
asked. For example, if one is asked “does the
boy wears a hat in the street”? he may say
for davening yes, but for going to the mikvah
One who is asked if a boy is nice looking
may answer honestly because the girl can see
for herself anyway.
Whatever may be permitted to say in regard
to a shidduch must be said only to a person
who has wisdom, and one who will not
spread the information to other people.
There are a lot of other cases which can
arise regarding this inyun,54 and anyone
who is unsure whether to give over certain
information should speak with a halachic
Lying about Age
A question arises if one is permitted to tell
a shadchan he or she is younger than their
age in order to facilitate a shidduch.55 Some
poskim say if one of the sides is already
looking for a shidduch and is having a hard
time finding one then he or she may lie about
their age. Horav Elyashiv zt”l says that one
who is twenty can say he is nineteen.57
When this question arises on would discuss
it with his Rav.
“Younger before Older”
Many times when a shadchan presents a
shidduch to one party they say that it is a nice
shidduch but it is not our custom to give the
younger child before an older one, and we
have an older child that has to get married
first. This idea is what Lavan said to Yaakov
when he gave him Leah and not Rochel,58
and is brought down in halacha as well.59
However, some say that there is no concern
of a younger child getting engaged before
an older one.60 Nonetheless, one should
discuss this issue with his Rav.
It should be pointed out that when dealing
with questions of shidduchim one should
consult his Rav.