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Since it is considered to have been foreordained by God whom one will marry, one's spouse is considered to be one's bashert by definition, independent of whether the couple's marital life works out well or not.The first recorded shidduch in the Torah was the match that Eliezer, the servant of the Jewish patriarch Abraham, made for his master's son Isaac (Genesis Ch. Abraham gave him specific instructions to choose a woman from Abraham's own tribe.The Medieval Rabbi Nissim of Gerona (commonly called Ran) traces it back to the Aramaic word for "calm" (cf.Targum to Judges ), and elaborates that the main purpose of the shidduch process is for young people to "settle down" into marriage.The prospective partners either date each other or in stricter communities they go to a "bashow" or sit in.
A shidduch often begins with a recommendation from family members, friends or others who see matchmaking as a mitzvah, or commandment.Also, the decision as to whether or not the mate is good can be made with the emotional boundary of the shadchan who, if so desired by the couple, can call and talk to either side in the beginning stages of the dating to iron out issues that can crop up during the dating process.Usually as the couple see more of each other the shadchan backs away and lets the couple manage it themselves.Those who support marriage by shidduch believe that it complies with traditional Judaism's outlook on Tzeniut, modest behaviour in relations between men and women, and prevents promiscuity.
It may also be helpful in small Jewish communities where meeting prospective marriage partners is limited, and this gives them access to a broader spectrum of potential candidates.
After the match has been proposed, the prospective partners meet a number of times to gain a sense of whether they are right for one another.