A Reader Writes: Learning in Eretz Yisroel & Shidduchim


readers-write4Dear Editor,

I would like to bring up a topic which I think needs to be addressed.

Over the past 20 years, it has become standard for most yeshiva bochurim, following 4-5 years in bais medrash in America, to go to learn in Eretz Yisroel. The typical bochur doesn’t go to Eretz Yisroel until he’s at least 21. He then stays in Eretz Yisroel for a year-and-a-half to two years. That means he does not return to America until he’s 23. At that point, often times, he goes to Lakewood and is “placed in the freezer” for three to four months.

To sum things up, your average bochur isn’t starting to date until he is 23-1/2! And then we wonder why the shidduch situation has become so difficult. Of course the situation has spiraled out of control. The system that we created has forced it to. The bottom line is that the girls are returning home from seminary at age 19 and starting to date immediately while the boys do not begin to date until 23-1/2. That’s unacceptable!

There has to be some change in the current system. It wasn’t this way 20 years ago and there wasn’t a shidduch challenge then. Why? Because the bochurim began dating at a much younger age. Most began at age 21. Yes, at 21 a boy is ready to get married. “Ben shemonah esrei l’chupah” may be too tough for us to swallow, but is getting married at 21 or 22 so difficult?

Of course, we are mevatel daas to our daas Torah, the Roshei Yeshivos, who feel that bochurim need to go to Eretz Yisroel to learn. But perhaps it would be possible to have the bochurim go a bit earlier, maybe after only 3 years in an American bais medrash. Perhaps another possible solution would be to have the bochurim only learn in Eretz Yisroel for a year.

I don’t have the answers. I only see a problem and the cause for it.

Kol tuv.

A Concerned Yid


  1. this is the #1 issue facing our community in particular. we need more awareness of the causes and eventually we will realize the necessity of somehow convincing boys and their parents to consider older girls. there are obviously many other benefits to marrying someone closer to ones age. i beleive anyone who is able to help and doesnt is in violation of lo saamod alm dam reyecha which according to halacha does not only apply to actual death and certainly should apply when over ten percent of girls are left single.

  2. I couldn’t agree more with the writer. Ask any Shadchan & they will tell you that the present system needs change. We have to do our part to help!! Anyone who is able to send their son to Eretz Yisroel younger – please do so! If your son is 22 – bring him home from Eretz Yisroel this pesach Bain Haz’manim! WE NEED CHANGE!!

  3. If more people would take this letter to heart – it would be a huge Chessed. The Parsha of Shidduchim is difficult enough without this problem. If the system is restructured to give girls a better chance and to help them, we will be doing something phenominal.

  4. Dear Yeshiva Bochur,

    One of the worst kept secrets amongst yeshiva bouchurim is that the time in EY isn’t what it’s cracked up to be for many many of the boys.

    Torah Ma Tihei Alecha is exactly the reason why shouldn’t go to eretz yisroel or at the very least they should go only for a short time.

  5. So ask your son’s Rosh Yeshiva, and he will tell you that your son needs to go to EY if and when he will shteig from it, when he is mature enough, when his friends are going. If the Roshei Yeshiva believed that the system needed changing, they would have said so at the meeting held a year or two ago – AND THEY DID NOT!

    Also note most bochurim are going after 3 years of Bais Medrash.

    It’s just ridiculous the way so many people think they can make suggestions for gantz Klal Yisroel because they think they’re smarter than everyone else.

    Of course it’s good if a mother ocnsiders girls close to her son’s age. But, if he tries 2 or 3 and it’s not working, you can’t blame him if he goes out with a 19 year old.

  6. Yeshiva Bocur, where does it say it that one can’t learn Torah in America??? Let’s remember that there are many choshuve Yeshivos here in the US which are packed with thousands of Talmidim.

    And for your information, Torah can be learnt after one’s marriage as well….

  7. yeshiva bachur: many roshei yeshiva including r” elya ber wachtfogel feel that the learning in eretz yisroel causes a large rifyon as bochurim have no supervision. also i think a greater seriousness would be required of bochurim if they would not be able to slack off and still have a “list” of girls to choose from.

  8. thank you for posting such a wonderful letter! i hope all the readers take this message to heart and do something about it. may we share only simchos in klal yisrael!

  9. moshe – I think the writer makes a few good points. Why should he blame himself? He is pointing out some problems with the current system. Anyone who you disagree with or don’t understand needs help? Why?

  10. rebetzin: all the roshei yeshiva at the meeting did agree the system needs to be changed including all the lakewood roshei yeshiva and mashgiach. r shteinman also agrees saying this is the biggest tzara facing the american frum community. after four girls you havent quite exhausted all the 21 yr olds and if 21 yr olds in general are not for you that can only mean the boy is quite immature and maybe shouldnt be getting married. ridiculous is when people try to save the lives of a large number of girls in klal yisroel and people actually try to stop it and blame our gedolim.

  11. I agree with this wholeheartedly!!!! I am 20 year old girl and I am having a very hard time getting a date. Guys want to go out with fresh out of seminary.

  12. Is this saying that boys shouldn’t try the option of EY, or that they should consider it earlier? I think it depends on the boy, but the author is most definately right in the fact that something must be done.

  13. lets keep in mind one more thing – most bochurim come back from eretz yisroel to lear in the lakewood yeshiva – in years past bochurim would come back around tisha baav time – now that same bochur doesnt start dating until 7 months later – because lakewood doesnt accept anyone for elul zman and then hes in the freezer

  14. The boys who are suited to learning should continue to do so, especially in Eretz HaKodesh. They should go on Shiduchim in Eretz HaKodesh as well, if they are on the proper darga. The many who are learning because “it’s the societal path of correctness” might consider getting a job instead so that they can pay for those who have the acumen and attitude to learn and have a chelek in their learning. There is so much mediocrity sitting on couches … everyone thinks their child is a potential Rogechover.

    Ah, but if my proposal is too radical, here is the answer. Let Daas Torah come out and say that a boy may only go out with a girl who is at most 1 year younger than him. Watch that fix up the Shidduch scene.

  15. If Baalei Batim and internet commenters would be able to decide what is Daas Torah, well then it wouldn’t be Daas Torah anymore, would it?

  16. I am a shadchan, and have dealt with hundreds of people. Never had I spoken to a boy (or a boy’s parents) looking for a girl “fresh out of seminary”, but I have heard from many who will only consider an older girl. And many boys are dating at 22 or younger; in fact, I am seeing quite a few younger boys dating at 20 or 21. Additionally, it is hard for me to understand how we feel that we should be offering advice to the Roshei Yeshiva, who are advising these boys. They are aware of the situation, and perhaps they believe that the Ribbono Shel Olom is able to be meshadech girls who are 20 (or even much older!) as wll as 18 year olds.

  17. Regarding the age disparity, a major obstacle today’s 22 year old bochurim need to overcome is their lack of maturity. Today’s 19-20 year old woman is educated and has shouldered more responsibility than most boys. Consider this: How many of your neighbor’s 5 year olds are “raised” by their 12 year old sister (while mommy is working / shopping / chasseneh hopping). Teen boys are asked to pick up their shirts from the cleaners (if that). So you are correct; the age gap does need to shrink. But at the same time, so does the maturity gap. It should come as no surprise that 25 year old bochurim feel outclassed by girls their own age. They are! Pair them up with a 19 year old, and they can come across as suave, savvy individuals, but with little to show for in the world beyond their daled amos.

    Does this mean we should send our bochurim to work after 12th grade? Of course not. But 6 more years is also an extreme. Make our boys smarter, demand more responsibility and they will see the value of people in their own age.

  18. I’m told there is talk about a group of Roshe Yeshiva and Rabbonim strongly encouraging boys to only date girls who are almost 21 and above. That would be a nice start towards closing the age gap.

  19. babbe-the chassidishe oilam does not have this problem because their boys get married older and the age gap is much smaller. This proves the point of the writer- that the age gap is the cause of the shidduch crisis and that changes need to be made.

  20. rebbetzin- a major reason roshei yeshiva have not done much about this crisis is becuase they think that people will not listen to them. if we increase awareness on the issues, you’ll see they will act when they feel it will be effective.LETS KEEP THIS IMPORTANT CONVERSATION GOING

  21. samm: you say that “all the roshei yeshiva at the meeting did agree the system needs to be changed including all the lakewood roshei yeshiva and mashgiach”

    Really? ? Were you there?

  22. AL PI HALACHA, we as a community are OBLIGATED to help the girls get married, and the only way to do so is by closing the age gap. anything less is a violation of basic gmilus chasadim, ahavas reyim, and lo saamod al dam reyecha.

  23. rebbetzin- your emuna is commendable, but its application is misguided. as is said in the name of the kotzker: the capacity for apikorsus [not thinking about hashem] was meant to be used when a poor person is at the door don’t say i don’t have to do anything hashem will help. no, think if i don’t help this person could die. same here.

  24. rebetzin: i was not at the meeting but i spoke to r’ g. ribner who attended as well as ALL the lakewood roshei yeshiva except for r malkiel i also spoke to r’ salomon. every one agrees change is needed. in the words of r’ dovid shustal the velt wont listen unless there is a hisorerus from the velt to do something. that is what many are trying to accomplish. please stay tuned for a kol korei signed by r’ elya ber and others that will iyh be coming soon. and please dont try to stop it. i want to be able to declare yodainu lo shofchu etc what will you say?

  25. Re Lkwdlamdan, our obligation is to make sure that all our children have what it takes to build a bayis neeman, and shoulder the responsibilities of life. I don’t think that starting off boys YOUNGER will contribute to that, nor that artificial age restrictions will contribute to shalom bayis. We need more and more batei neeman.

    And I think that as we’re turning out more capable young women, we need to be raising our boys to become men.

  26. I think everyone agrees boys should start dating a little younger,however,unfortunely the children in this generation are being brought up with less independence than the earlier generations(hameivan yovin).Mimeilla,we must wait until they grow up until they are ready to get married.

  27. re stam bachur: IF boys don’t go to E”Y to learn till after they’re married it is almost 100 percent likely they will need some additional support. Even if they marry an older girl, established in her profession, these professions are not so easily transferable to E”Y. So where is the independence in that?

    By pushing off E”Y and setting arbitrary time limits on the boys learning there before shidduchim we are creating two new problems:
    – the necessity for support, which is getting to be more of a problem than ever
    – our boys not necessarily developing in their learning the way they should. Perhaps some boys should start dating LATER so that they will be able to shoulder the burdens of life knowing that they have the learning under their belts necessary to live as true bnei Torah.