It’s Not a “Shidduch Crisis,” It’s a “Chesed Crisis” – Part VI


By Rabbi Yitschak Rudomin MA

(Definitions: Crisis, with the “i”  = singular or one; Crises, with the “e” = plural or many. The English word “crisis” that’s defined as a “turning-point” or “moment of danger” is taken from the Greek “krisis” that means “decision” — From the Concise Oxford Dictionary. )

In the Frum world today we are surrounded of talk about various types of “crises” ranging from the “Shidduch Crisis” also known as the “Singles Crisis” to the “Sholom Bayis Crisis”  and the connected “Divorce Crisis” to the “Chinuch Crisis” and its connected “Off The Derech Crisis” that’s a “Crisis of Faith” as well as the “Parnosa Crisis” and the connected “Housing Crisis”! So many crises, it’s Mamash a Mageifa!

But really, it’s all one crisis about people in crisis because no one ever said that life was supposed to be “crisis free” after all what we know in the Torah as “Nisyonos” [“tests”] is just another name for “crises” so that the “Ten Nisyonos of Avraham Avinu” could be called the “Ten Crises”!

The Torah, Tanach, Torah SheBeal Peh, and Jewish History are full of different types of crises that the Jewish People have faced since they began until this very day: Lefum Tza’ara Agra — the reward Min HaShomayim is according to the pain that can be called a “crisis”!

A famous person once said that “there is crisis, and there is opportunity” and with that we can all learn lessons about everything that happens.

What is causing the “Shidduch Crisis”?

With every article about it and with every comment written in advice pages and with every new piece of “research” there are so many explanations it’s very confusing.

Some like statistics and they talk about numbers of boys versus girls or girls versus boys under different scenarios.

Some people feel that promoting Kollel life is “the problem” because not everyone can live up to that standard while others say the opposite that it’s because there isn’t enough Torah, and if only more people were learning Torah and be Frummer or as Frum as themselves then all would be well.

Some say it’s because people are too focused on careers and do not have time to date while others say there isn’t enough emphasis on earning a livelihood and that people should have jobs and then get married.

Some say that too many young women are taught to only support husbands in full time learning, while others say that not enough women want to support their husbands full time in learning.

Some say people are getting married too early and are not mature enough to make a marriage work and others say that people are waiting too long and the older they get the harder it is to be married.

Some say that modern life spoils people and they have it too easy and they get bored and don’t know how to raise a family while others say modern life makes life easier and lets people focus on the important things in life like getting and staying married and it makes it easier to raise a family.

And on and on it goes, with everyone having their pet theories and no one knows why the problems keep on getting bigger and worse.

I learned some important things about what to look for in Shidduchim from one of my first Rebbeim in Yeshiva. His name was Rav Shmuel Brog ZT”L, and he would always stress to us Bochurim that the most important quality to look for in a girl was the Midda [quality] of Chesed [kindness, mercifulness], of being a kind and caring and loving person.

It seemed so simple when he said it so many decades ago, yet as I look back in my life to the many people I have counseled and the stories of people I have known and things I have seen, the words of Rav Shmuel Brog ZT”L always still ring loudly in my ears: Look for a girl who is a Ba’alas Chesed! Look to see how she speaks about her own family and other people. If she does not respect them then why do you think she will respect you and your family? Look to see how she acts and what she does, actions speak louder than words.

I have a very Choshuva old friend who told me that what clinched it for him was that on an important date when he did not know where they would eat that day since he had to go to out of town to meet the girl, she prepared a delicious picnic basket and took care of the food for that day without being asked. Of course she was very smart, capable and had the right Hashkofas, but by her act of Chesed, she proved that knew she wanted to take care of another person, that sent the right message loud and clear that she was a true Ba’ales Chesed, and not look at how fancy his car was or what kind of house and summer home his parents had.

Same thing with Bochurim, they may know a lot about learning and Gemara, and be super smart and “with it”, but no one marries a “computer” or a machine or a robot no matter how nice or Frum it looks. We marry another human being with a Godly Neshama and of real flesh and blood that we have to live with for the rest of our lives! And if that other human being has bad Middos [character traits] then there is no hope and we are headed for one crisis or other.

As one looks at the Parshios in the Torah how our Avos and Ima’os met each other and what qualities they looked for, then there is no doubt that they were on the lookout for people who practiced Chesed. Not people whose fathers had the biggest bank accounts or whose mothers wore the fanciest jewelry. They had the Midda of Chesed that is the very core of who Avraham Avinu since he is the Amud HaChesed [pillar of loving-kindness] that emulates HKB”H’s Middas HaRachamim [attribute of mercy] by giving a drink of water not just to a stranger but to his thirsty animals, having Rachmonus[mercy] on others and each other. Rochel Immeinu even had Rachmonus on her sister Leah and was willing to let her marry Yaakov first! Rivka and Rochel ran to feed sheep and camels, they did not ask for fancy diamond rings and luxuries.

That is what the Torah teaches, that the world is built on the foundation of Mercifulness and Kindness, that’s what Olam Chesed Yibaneh means, and all the breakdowns and crises around us today are all because there is a breakdown in doing Chesed or where one party does all the Chesed while the other party takes but gives little back. People have become “automated” and have lost the ability to be constantly doing acts of mercifulness and kindness, all the good things, since today as we know everyone is out for “number one” and now see what that gives us, one crisis after another all because we have lost the ability to do enough Chesed!

If we genuinely cared more about others and went out of our way to help them we would be on the way to solving the problems and there would hardly be any “crises”.

To be continued…

Rabbi Yitschak Rudomin lives in Flatbush and is the Director of the Jewish Professionals Institute and his wife Zahava, although they are not Shadchanim, have counseled many in the area of Shidduchim and dating. He can be reached at or 718 382 5610 and 718 382 8058.

Prior articles in this series on

1) The “Shidduch Crisis” Was Created by Humans

2) Shidduch Resumes & Shidduch Crisis

3) Shidduch Resumes and Bottlenecks

4) Shidduch Resumes and Reality

5) Shidduch Resumes and Geography

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  1. I agree that there is a crisis – but where are those that can say – ENOUGH ALREADY – and all sides of the Frum world attack the crisis – but the truth is that there is NO ONE – No one wants to ‘challenge’ the situation.

    NATO – Is the key word – No Action Talk Only

    I have several friends parents of young women in their 20’s – early 30’s – and they want EARNERS – why is it a shame today to be an EARNER.

    To point out my opinion in the NYTIMES yr 2000 Magazine they asked a young woman in Queens what shw wants in the new century – her reply and I want to marry a yeshiva bochur and support him.

    What happened to the concept of a young man going to College – Trade school – etc going to work during the day – and learning on his free time.

    This type of life is frowned upon today – that is the Crisis !

    • The Modern Orthodox world has plenty of singles events and they still have a singles crisis, or whatever they call a “shidduch crisis”!

      The Frum Yeshiva Velt will never approve of singles events and the truth is that it does not need them as long as the singles are living at home. That is because it is taken as a given that parents will be 100% involved in helping their children find their Basherts! It is definitely like that in the Chasidisha world, and the same is true in the mainstream Litvish Yeshiva world in America and Israel, that parents are 100% involved and responsible for finding and helping their children get married. That’s the way it is and in most cases it works brilliantly well because parents know their children best and can advocate for them and will look for the best spouses for their children.

      If by a certain age, not before 25, if by then the boy or girl is still single then they need to think of other strategies. But singles events is still not going to happen for anyone still in Yeshiva or part of a very Frum Kehilla. If a Rosh Yeshiva finds out that a Talmid in his Yeshiva of any age no matter how old has gone to a singles event then that guy will be told to leave! Correct me if I am mistaken please! Being in Yeshiva requires a higher code of conduct and there is no Yeshiva that I have ever heard of that would ever allow any Talmid who is single to go to any sort of social singles events.

      Yes, maybe to go to Shadchanim who may be having larger groups come to talk to them that is possible. But Charedi Judaism is pretty strict about no social mixing at social events even, that’s why they have those Mechitzas at Simchas!! It is up to parents and Shadchanim to act as “talent scouts” at Simchas and network and look around, mothers can look to see which single girls might be Shayach at a Simcha, while over on the men’s side, the fathers should keep an eye out for possible good guys for their daughters, that is called the Frum version of “singles events” I guess!

      If at some point the single person finally goes to work and/or moves out the parents’ house, then at that point they may want to go to “Kosher” singles events like special Yom Tov events in hotels that are run by reliable Torahdikka organizations, often connected with Kiruv events that have now also become “in-reach” events to help Frum people as well.

      Rabbi Yitschak Rudomin.

  2. The above article and other articles similar to it, lists many different annoyances, difficulties, and problems related to shidduchim, but no one wrote what the actual crisis is. The Shidduch Crisis is this: There are hundreds and hundreds more girls in the shidduch market than there are boys. It is easier to see clearly in the “older singles” market where there are a few thousand girls in their high 20’s and older, but only a few hundred older boys. In other words, it is a “Shortage of Boys” crisis. To put it bluntly, if we would marry off every last boy in shidduchim, there would be HUNDREDS of girls with no one to marry. THAT is the actual crisis. All the rest is byproducts, and results and reactions of the “shortage of boys” crisis. We should be discussing and addressing and trying to solve this aspect of the crisis, before we move on to the rest of the Shidduch problems. Before you propose a solution, ask yourself, “will this solution address the ‘shortage of boys’ crisis?” If not, then save it for later. THis and only this crisis is the most pressing, urgent and catastrophic of all the above issues, but if we refuse to face it, identify it, and be honest about it, we cannot solve it.

    • This statistic is true in the Litvitsh world, but among the Chasidim the problem is opposite: a shortage of girls. However, the Litvish girls don’t want to marry Chasidish boys. #1 Why this difference in numbers? #What can be done to create greater flexibility among young people to marry slightly differently, i.e. a bit more or less Chasidish than they might have imagined?

  3. All this nonsense pales in comparison to the Seminary crises, where they torture you with academic grades then they torture you with the outrageous prohibitive cost!

    • Good point, but the “seminary crisis” evidently contributes to exacerbating (fancy word for “it makes it worse”) the Shidduch crisis!

      Look at what we do, we take our daughters who are 18 and 19 when they are in their prime age for Shidduchim because that’s when a girl is most desirable for obvious reasons, and what do we do, we pack her off to seminary in Israel for a year or two, until she is 20 or 21. When she comes back from Israel her head is still in the clouds and it takes her time to land. That’s the girls’ version of being “in the freezer”!

      When girls go to seminary they are taken out of the Shidduch market and “frozen” in time. Some Rabbanim are now saying that boys should marry younger, but how can they if most of the girls are away in seminaries going on Tiyulim and hearing Hashkofa Droshas that they don’t really need.

      Once upon a time, when Chinuch was very Shvach in America a girl could get a real boost and Chizuk in her life by spending a year in a seminary to learn more. But today, girls spend at least 12 full-time years in Bais Yaakovs that are solid institutions where they learn everything they need to know for life. If not, then there is a problem, if after 12 years of great Chinuch HaBanos as well as many years spent in terrific Frum Summer camps where the Chinuch is also great, and if after all that they still need a year or two in Israel, then something is not right.

      Notice how Chasidim and Frum people in Eretz Yisroel do NOT send their daughters away from home for anything because they have their priorities right like saving for apartments and starting life. There is no real post high school seminary program for Chasidisha girls unless they want to become teachers, same in Israel in the Charedi world there. At 18 and 19 Frum girls in Israel are getting married and not sent 5,000 miles away to be under the care of strangers who teach them things they already know from home and from 12 years of Bais Yaakov!

      Seminaries are too expensive if you add in all the expenses of travel and clothing etc at $20,000 or $30,000 or $40,000 or even $50,000 or more per daughter for ONE YEAR!!!! They rip off parents who are struggling and who have more important things to plan like weddings and Shana Rishona and even Kollel for a couple of years to support for young couples.

      We need to stop sending our daughters to Israel where they are no properly supervised where there have been problems, and keep them home until they get married. 12 years of Bais Yaakov is a more than enough preparation for getting married. It is a shame to waste their prime of their lives of 18 and 19 when they are young, beautiful and fresh and full of life doing nothing in Israel when they could be dating and starting to think about Tachlis.

      Too many girls feel they are “entitled” (why? what did they do to earn it?) to fun-filled free year vacation in Israel all expenses paid by Daddy and Mommy, and that is not called a “preparation” for marriage that requires practical skills like keeping house, cooking, having and raising children and educating them on the right Derech.

      I told my daughters that I am not sending them to Israel (in any case I couldn’t afford it). I told them once they were married they’re more than welcome to go on Aliya with their husbands, but before they got married I did not owe them a one year luxury vacation in Israel.

      Time to change our priorities!

      Rabbi Yitschak Rudomin

  4. We need to learn from the Torah. The Tirah teaches us what to look for in adhidduch. Chesed with seichel. And a person from a family that is good.