The Divine art of matchmaking requires more than introducing two people to each other. God did not merely introduce Adam and Eve -- it would have been hard for them not to meet under the circumstances, even without God playing the matchmaker! God presented Eve to Adam. The Midrash [1] tells how the Almighty adorned her like a bride with 24 different items of jewelry before allowing Adam to glimpse her. That's presentation.

Many people are doing a lot of introducing, but that is not enough to address the growing singles challenge. What we don't do enough of is presenting people to one another. There's a big difference between the two. Let's look at why the need for presentation and how to do it.

Why the need for presentation?

Finding your soul mate involves a miracle. It is natural for people to exaggerate both their own virtues and the flaws of others. This tendency makes it nearly impossible for a person to find someone truly worthy of him or her! But miraculously, people fall in love and the tendency reverses: the individual, blinded to the flaws of their beloved, sees only their virtues. (Based on Tiferret Tzion, B.R. 68:4)

We can help people not only to meet one another, but to also notice one another and become attracted to them.

We can play a part in facilitating that miracle. We can help people not only to meet one another, but to also notice one another and become attracted to them. We can do this by presenting people to one another instead of merely introducing them.

What is presentation?

Presentation is the art of helping people to overlook flaws and discover glory. We know how important the art of presentation is when we want to create desire. Chefs go to mighty efforts to present otherwise unappetizing bits of animal or vegetable as culinary masterpieces. We present ourselves well when we want to make an impression, masking our defects and accentuating our strengths. Shopkeepers and marketers seduce consumers with enticing presentation.

In romantic, social or business matchmaking, the same applies. If we truly want to create a connection between two people we need to do more than introduce them; we need to present them in ways that make them desirable. In short, we need to market them. It is much easier and more tasteful for us to promote one another than it is to promote ourselves: "Let a stranger praise you rather than praise yourself with your own mouth" (Proverbs 27:2). It is a great kindness to present others in a way that positions them well and saves them from having to promote themselves -- an action that the Torah reluctantly allows when anonymity is the alternative (Nedarim 62a).

How to present

Here are a few simple guidelines.

  1. Presentation never entails misrepresentation. Presentation means highlighting the positives that may normally take a new contact a long time to discover. It does not mean making up positives that are untrue, nor does it mean concealing the truth when a serious shidduch inquiry is made.
  2. If necessary do some research. Get to know the person you are presenting. Question them to learn about the more subtle and unusual aspects of their life experience.
  3. Think like a salesman: you get your "commission" for closing the sale, not for a mere introduction! If you apply your mind, in an instant you can develop a marketing strategy. Figure out how best to present the individual. Create the right conditions and timing.
  4. Create the opportunity in conversation and interaction, to "showcase" the person at their best. Facilitate opportunities for the person to shine in their own rights.
  5. Demonstrate palpable enthusiasm for the qualities of the person you are presenting. Avoid lack of authenticity and exaggeration, but do not shy away from superlative description where appropriate.

Let's go beyond introducing people to one another and present them to one another. Even if it does not result in marriage, you will have elevated a person's dignity instead of watching them lose it in the conventional dating scenes. Yes, it does take some thought and some effort. If it didn't, it wouldn't be the mitzvah it is.

[1] Bereishit Rabbah 18:1