In honor of Rav Shmuel’s yahrtzeit, today.
One day a Jew from Yerushalayim traveled to Bnei Brak to ask the legendary Rosh Yeshiva of Ponevezh, Rav Shmuel Rozovsky, about a boy in the Yeshiva for his daughter who reached eligible age.
He asked the Rosh Yeshiva the following:
- How many hours a day did the boy learn?
- Was he punctual in arriving to Seder and did he spend his time diligently?
- Did he come to davening on time and did he actively participate in Shiur?
- Did he ask relevant questions and did he understand the answers?
After receiving a favorable report in regard to his questions he thanked Rav Shmuel for his time and began to leave. At that point Rav Shmuel in his gentle and noble manner turned to father and said, until now you asked me questions, is it okay if I ask you some questions? The father agreed.
“It seems to me that you are inquiring about the boy for your daughter and you seem happy with the report I gave you. You obviously think that all your daughter needs to know is whether he comes on time and he is a Lamdan. However it is entirely possible that your daughter would like to know if he is a mentch.”
It would seem fitting that you ask me:
- How often does he brush his teeth?
- Is he pleasant to sit near?
- How does he behave in the dining room?
- Does he arrive first to the dining room and take the biggest portion, or does he linger after mincha for a few minutes to learn with a Chavrusa and eat whatever portion is left?
- What does he do when the pitcher is empty on the table? Does he sit patiently waiting for someone else to fill it up for him or does he run to fill it up himself?
- Does he occasionally go into the kitchen to thank the staff for preparing the food?
- Does he eat the food even if he doesn’t like it and thank them graciously for preparing it or does he just go to the nearby kiosk to buy something he likes?
- You came to the conclusion that he is a masmid, did you ask what he does when he finishes learning late at night and his roommates are sleeping? Does he take off his shoes and tiptoe in so as not to wake them or does he walk in noisily? Does he make his bed and keep his things neat?
“I think,” said Rav Shmuel, “that you need to check these things out. If he is spoiled and he arrives home in the afternoon and does not like the food your daughter worked hard to prepare, his face will crumple in obvious dissatisfaction. Will your daughter then be happy that her father checked the boy out with the Rosh Yeshiva who told him that he knows every Ktzos and Rebbi Akiva Eiger in Bava Basra? Will you daughter say, it’s true that he has no manners and no social skills but I respect him anyway because he knows all the intricacies of the sugya of the bees and the mustard in Bava Basra?”
This was Rav Shmuel’s approach to finding a fine boy for your daughter.
The boy is not marrying a Shas, he’s marrying a girl.