Opinion: It’s Tu B’Av – Put the Girls in the Freezer


freezerBy Elisha Ferber, Matzav.com
We’ve heard it over and over again: there are too many girls in the parsha of shidduchim, and too few boys to match them up with. There is a disparity in the numbers of boys and girls.

Some have disputed or distorted the depth of the problem, attributing the crisis to insufficient community involvement in shadchanus, picky parents of boys, and “dollar-seeking.” While all of these may be true, we must realize that these are a results of the shortage problem, not the causes of it.

Consider the following. The same parents who are picky when their sons are in shidduchim, suddenly become very easygoing when their daughters are in shidduchim. While support makes all the difference for their son, money, to a certain extent, is of no importance for their daughter.

While it is difficult to come up with hard numbers to support any percentages, claims, or representations being made, by simply analyzing the situation, certain facts become glaringly obvious.

If a boy in the parsha is going out on a steady basis and a girl in a similar situation does not go on a date for months on end, then there are obviously a lot more girls available than boys.

If shadchanim can get a “Yes” from girls within hours of the shidduch being redd, while they have to wait weeks before getting an answer from a boy, then we all have to admit that there is a problem.

The recent surge of interest by the klal in alleviating this disastrous situation is heartening. But the sad truth is that as long as we don’t seriously address the vast “supply” problem, all that will result is a lot of wasted time, energy and sincere effort.  

No matter how many community shidduch groups we organize and convene, and no matter how many housewives turn into full-time shadchanim, not much would change.

If there are, say, 70 boys for every 100 girls, then only 70 of those girls will find a shidduch. While you may be successful in getting “your” shidduch to work, simple mathematics tells us that it will be at the expense of another girl’s engagement. While you may dismiss this as callous, this is painfully true.

What we first learned as 5-year olds playing the game of musical chairs is just as true today. If there aren’t enough chairs, then no matter how many times you play the game, and no matter how you continue to shuffle the chairs, at the end of the day, the same number of people will remain unseated. The only thing that may change is who was lucky enough to get a seat. The analogy to shidduchim is obvious.

What we have accomplished recently with these discussions is nothing more than the equivalent of turning up the music, picking up the pace, and making the eventually unsuccessful game of musical chairs a little more frantic.

The most encouraging solution suggested so far has been for boys to start dating at a younger age and with girls closer to their age.

This is an encouraging idea, but also not the answer. This solution relies on the unlikely premise that difficult decisions will be made by those most unaffected by the problem: the boys and their parents. This is painful to say, but it is probably true.    

The same mother who is having problems marrying off her own daughter sees no reason to “burden her son with marital responsibilities at such an early age.” The boy who is learning seriously in yeshiva at age 21 sees no reason why not to continue learning undisturbed until 23. “What’s the rush?” is the common refrain.

Even if boys would begin dating at age 21 or even 20, this will still leave a 2-year disparity between the boys and the girls, who generally begin dating at 18.

While the above suggestion may slightly alleviate the problem, it is not a complete solution.

If anyone has the power to solve the problem, it is in the hands of those we would think most unlikely: the parents of the girls…

The solution? Put the girls in a “freezer” until the age of 20. Very simply, girls would not begin to go out on dates until they turn 20-years-old. Yes, this may sound laughable at first, but think about it:

– Taking the 18- and 19 year-old girls off the “available” lists would drastically narrow the market. The number of available girls would be cut by thousands.

– Parents who don’t think their 18-year old is really ready to get married wouldn’t have to bend unwillingly to the pressure from those pushing to “marry her off anyway.” She would be protected from that dreaded “ticking time clock.”

– Coupling this with the suggestion that boys begin to date younger, boys would automatically begin meeting girls closer to their age, eventually bringing the age-disparity-gap to a close.

– The stigma of the single 24-year old girl would be gone. After all, she was only allowed to begin dating at 20!

If this would become accepted – and perhaps mandatory – in the community, then shadchanim would no longer redd shidduchim to those girls younger than the age limit. All people would focus their efforts on these, more aptly-matched, girls.

Girls coming out of seminary would have a year or two “without pressure,” during which they could put away some money for after marriage.

We would no longer have the sad spectacle of girls watching their friends get engaged while they are left behind.

When the boys’ “freezer” was first introduced, people said it was “impossible,” “far out,” and “could not be implemented.” That idea is now widely accepted, and has been successful.

The girls’ freezer it is not an ideal or even mildly conventional solution. But we are faced with a severe, and certainly unconventional, crisis.

There are those who would rather take a wait-and-see attitude and simply encourage people to become shadchanim. Some people are uneasy about implementing any kind of new approach, especially one of this magnitude. This is a sad mistake. Sticking our heads in the sand in the hope that this problem goes away is drastically unfair to all the eligible girls out there.

It is widely known that the DeBeers Diamond Conglomerate constantly, actively, and tightly controls the world’s supply of precious diamonds, never letting the supply outnumber demand. They rightfully know that if too many diamonds were to be available to their seekers, people wouldn’t consider them to be worth such immense amounts and their value would diminish.

It is time we begin to show that we treat our daughters like the diamonds they are.

{Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. Great idea if you can implement it. Unfortunately it will be difficult to enforce. The boys’ freezer is through BMG. You are bound by the Yeshiva. I’d like to hear suggestions how this idea can be enforced.

  2. You are right on target. Mathematically, even if each year an equal number of boys and girls are born, with natural population increase, the following year will produce both more girls and boys. This works out well for boys who are looking for a younger girl, since there are more of them available, but it does not bode well for the girl who is looking for an older boy, because there are fewer of them available. In the Chasidishe velt, where boys frequently marry girls a year or two older than them, this problem does not exist. It actually makes a lot of sense, even statistically, for a boy to marry a slightly older girl, since a woman’s life expectancy is slightly greater than a man’s. This would level the playing field, so that you would end up with fewer elderly almonos at that end of life.

  3. held that girls should get married immediately after they graduate, before they are influenced by the workplace. The only way to keep girls in the freezer and avoid outside influences would be by having girls continuing and staying in school, post high school until they get engaged. I think it is time to open Bas Medrasha Govoha.

  4. Leaving a boy in the safe surroundings of his yeshiva for another couple of years has become known as “going in to the freezer”. This is an apt name since the bachur is frozen in place, as it were. His hashkafos are maintained and even solidified; his ambitions in life do not change and he even gets to grow in his learning without distractions.

    A girl, on the other hand, returns from the heady spiritual experience of seminary (especially when it involves a year away from America witnessing the mesiras nefesh of the Kollel couples of Eretz Yisroel who are far removed from the level of gashmius prevalent in the US) primed and ready to marry a temimusdiker bachur whose weltanshaung consists of nothing other than Torah.

    Too often, after being exposed to the workplace and interacting with the savvy men who she comes to admire and look up to, a girl loses respect for yeshiva bachurim and what they represent. She is now a woman of the world and wants someone “capable”, “wordly”, “mature” etc.

    If the girl immerses herself in college courses (for parnasa reasons of course!) she can also become enamored with professors, proffesionals and other “accomplished” role models whose example serves to convince an impressionable young girl that one can be a Ben Torah AND a college graduate, law student, computer programmer etc.

    I have not even touched upon the introduction to the on-line world that beckons so assiduously. This leaves the yeshiva bachur she meets on a date looking like a batlan.

    I dare say that more “older” girls remain unmarried because they no longer can appreciate the average yeshiva bachur than because of the age disparity and other theories out there.

    We need to marry off the girls quickly and perhaps, in light of all the complaints being aired lately about the lack of supervision in Israel, we should push our boys to marry BEFORE they head off to Brisk and Mir.

  5. The freezer only works in Lakewood because it is for a very limited time period. Expecting a girl to wait two years is not going to happen.
    How about another idea? The girls are diamonda and don’t need to pay a boy off to marry them. If boys recognized that they aren’t such metzios they wouldn’t be so picky. They would also be happier to maryy a 24 year old girl who can support them in a way that an 18 year old can’t.

  6. Girls would have a year or two to put the money away? Not necessarily. What if they have to pay their students loans, or help the family?

    What are the girls going to be doing with their lives? Working at dead end jobs? Becoming more and more cynical? They will be older and may notice that while they are working on themselves, the boys are not necessarily equally substantial.

    Boys starting to date YOUNGER will just require MORE support. We are avoiding a LOT of the real issues here.

    Before we put the girls in the freezer, I would like to see an equally committed plan to be mechanech our children al pi darkam. Then we can talk.

  7. Girls do not belong to a yeshiva that would put them in the freezer.Who puts boys in a freezer? Lakewood and R’Tzvi Kaplan.Lakewood puts them in between 3 and 4 months so they shuold be able to learn better before they go out and R’ Tzvi is in E’Y he does not let a talmid go out for a year.

  8. Can we put the whole “Shidduch crises” issue in the freezer? I’m getting bored already! Let’s go back to the “troubled youth” issue.

  9. i put myself in the freezer until i turned 20, then i put myself on the market i dated only 5 boys in 2 years…but i got married at 22, now im very happily married, and sooooo happy i waited. I was able to finish school and grow up a little bit before i got married and real life started, i always tell girls to live a little before getting married

  10. This is the absolute definitive solution! A girl of 20-21 is physically and emotionally mature and ready to have a family. Marrying off 18-19 year old girls to 20 year old boys will create more young, immature couples with Shalom Bayis problems. The way to implement this freezer concepts is for all shadchans to refuse to work on girls younger than 20. As a shadchan working on “older” girls I am sick of boys aged 26-28-32 refusing to go out with girls their own age. They always want to know “Do you have someone new?” Do they want a wife or a toy?

  11. Do you really think HKB”H would create an impossible situation? It’s mamesh Kefirah! HKB”H knows and orchestrate’s the entire Shidduch scene!

  12. uh, mr. ! poster, did it ever occur to you that there COULD be such a thing as a ben torah with a parnassah? maybe THAT’S the problem, that the kids are being taught that unless they’re in yeshivah, they’re worthless. whatever happened to people like all of our parents, that worked to support themselves, instead of demanding money from their parents? maybe we need to teach our children responsibility.

  13. yes, i definetly agree with this article and with shadchan’s comment. Girls straight out of seminary are very immature, brainwashed to live a complete life of torah by only marrying a guy who will learn until his old age and they don’t have a cent to their name or any skills in which to get a respectable well paying job or a degree in which to support their family.
    I can’t imagine having gotten married at age 18. I was so young, did not really realize then what marriage and it’s responsibilies entail. Its just sickening for me to watch these young teenagers straight out of sem who are now getting engaged and since their so immature, they think marriage is just all roses and they very innapropriately discussing their dating career and what their chosson tells them, with their friends. Those friends are inside dying from jealousy and are now going to push their parents to get THEM married asap so they can have this fun too.
    I think that if every shadchan refuses to red a shidduch to a girl until age 20, this will work well to get another few hundred girls off the market for another year or too and they will be able to focus on the older girls.
    The rabbanim should put a full page ad in every paper that its forbidden for any girl to go on the market until age 20 or until they are back from seminary for a full year and the shadchanim cannot red shidduchim to girls until age 20.
    This is the only way to ensure that the growing number of older single girls will have someone to get married to.

  14. Most girls are not dating at 18 anyway. Those who attend seminary are first dating generally at 19, close to 20.

    My daughter was engaged at 19 and got married a few days after her 20th birthday (perish the thought!). She is k’ah very mature and very happy she didn’t wait.
    Stop controlling the world!
    When Rav Chaim Kanievsky announces to put girls in the freezer I’ll listen. Until then, let each person choose what works best for them.
    If you look at gedolim’s children and grandchildren, you’ll notice they don’t enforce the waiting either.

    One can encourage those to wait but it cannot and should not be legislated (unless of course you are a gadol hador and have a huge backbone and know all the repercussions involved).

    on a lighthearted note, my cousin who is a shadchan has a son who announced, “You know why boys get cold feet? They’re in the freezer too long!”


  16. I thought of an analogy- perhaps #17 would agree with me:
    Let’s say there was a marathon, where people began in stages. One man losing the race convinced the judges to institute a new rule: From then on- any new runners have to begin 2 miles behind everyone else- to give him a fair chance to catch up.
    Never mind that he began the race properly, but as long as he can’t win, the new people are not granted the same freedom he had.

    The same is with shidduchim (except that shidduchim is NOT a race)- ALL!!!! Yes, ALL of those girls who are 22, 23, 24… ALL were allowed to date at 18 or 19. If they were not zoche, for whatever reasons Hashem chose, can’t the new girls get the EQUAL chance the older girls had? It’s not like these girls are stealing anything away from them.
    Let’s keep the rules fair.

    My 15 year old daughter had a great solution: For the next year, only girls should date, to help them catch up to the guys 🙂

    All kidding aside, let everyone have an equal chance. No one is stealing your shidduch away. when my daughter got engaged at 19, at her vort we heard wonderful news of a friend who got engaged to a 35+ girl. My daughter didn’t steal away that older girl’s shidduch.

    I don’t know the solution- perhaps even more tefilos. But making it difficult for others can’t seem to be the solution.

  17. Rabbi Swift in Pittsburgh tried instituting putting girls in the freezer. The first girl that tried it was very sick the next day. They put a stop to it. He doesn’t know what to do now as he halready has 3 unmarried girls in the kehila.

  18. 12, define emotionally mature for BOYS to get married.

    Here’s another angle: if the boys are in the freezer, they are learning and getting tremendous sipuk hanefesh from that. (Theoretically.) Not to mention getting grounded in their learning before the tzei ulmad madness.

    What about the girls? True, they can and should get involved in chessed, which nourishes their souls. And for many girls, waiting to go out is not a bad thing at all. But not everyone needs to wait, and for those girls this will be such dead end time for them. They will be freezer burnt beyond belief.

    This kind of formal social engineering (informal is fine. You want YOUR daughter, because YOU know HER to wait, great.) should, IMO only be with the universal backing of the gedolim, like takanos in the time of the neviim. Otherwise we’re asking for disaster.

  19. As ! in number 6 says:
    She might want a boy who is “capable,” “wordly,” “mature,”
    “professional,” and “accomplished”

    OH NO!!! Heaven save us!!!!

    Am I wrong or right, Shlomo in Pittsburgh?

  20. This might be an example of how daas baalei batim is hefech daas torah – rav avigdor miller zt’l said a girl should get married as soon as possible while she still has the idealism the bY’s and sems equipped her with – to quote him, ‘every day she deteriorates after seminary’.