In Orthodox circles, it is common practice, before going out on a date, to make inquiries about the person you will be dating. Usually these inquiries are made by a parent or by a Rabbinical figure, who is close to the person who wishes to do the research. You often hear people who are not from Orthodox backgrounds comment that it is distasteful. In other circles, people may meet each other in social gatherings, singles events, through friends and so on, and form a relationship without knowing anything about the other person.
Is there any advantage to checking out a person before meeting them and going out with them? Or is it, perhaps, preferable to meet your future soul mate in a romantic place such as, "on top of the Eiffel Tower", as a young lady told me?
Hakham Yosef Hayyim, 'a"h, writes to mothers and pleads with them to carefully check the boy their daughter dates. He speaks of cases, when the mother, who is anxious to get her daughter married, neglects to gather important information about the Shiddukh (date). He also warns parents not to be overly impressed with a rich or famous family, overlooking the qualities of the young man himself.
When we look into a potential Shiddukh, it gives us a preliminary idea of whether that person has the basic important attributes we are looking for. One of the most important areas to look into is the person's character. Is he kind, good hearted and a happy person? Is he patient, slow to anger and considerate? These are, of course, some questions one may want to ask. We certainly, would like to find out about the physical health and mental state of that person.
Entering into a relationship after making such inquiries, as opposed as to meeting "on top of the Eiffel Tower", gives logic precedence over emotion. Why go out with a person, who at first glance seems attractive, but lacks some of the essential characteristics, which are important for you?