Marriage Brokers

"Matchmaker, Matchmaker, make me a match!"


Once upon a time, our mamas and papas turned to marriage brokers to do the hard work of arranging relationships, which must have been a cause for considerable parental concern–but provided plenty of material for Jewish humor writers. Nowadays we leave the matter to the children themselves. Is JDate an improvement over the old system? Hard to say, but you’ll have to wait a while until we get a whole category of Online Jewish Dating jokes. In the meantime, here are some marriage-broker jokes.  The following selections are reprinted with permissionfrom the Encyclopedia of Jewish Humor, compiled and edited by Henry D. Spalding (Jonathan David Publishers).

It Never Hurts to Exaggerate (a Little)

An old marriage broker who found it increasingly difficult to get around because of his arthritis and other afflictions that accompanied his advanced years, hired a young assistant.

“Do you know anything at all about this business?” asked the aged shadkhan [marriage broker].

“Not a thing,” replied the young man truthfully.

“Then give a listen. The main point in the matchmaking business is that you should always flatter the merchandise. It never hurts to exaggerate a little. In other words, spread it on good!”

“I understand perfectly,” the new assistant grinned.

The next evening the old broker took the young man on his first call. “We have a chance for a good match,” said the elder. “And there will be a substantial fee involved. The father of this young man is very wealthy. Just remember my advice: Exaggerate, be enthusiastic and spread it on good and thick.”

Seated around the table in the rich man’s home, the broker started his pitch:

“Have I got a girl for your son! She comes from a long line of famous rabbis and wealthy bankers. Such yiches [family lineage]you never saw!”

“Wealthy bankers?” interrupted the assistant. “She’s a member of the Rothschild family!”

The old broker experienced an uneasy moment–membership in the Rothschild family was too easy to check. Perhaps he should have cautioned his new helper not to get carried away.

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