Matzav Shmooze: Who Will Stand Up For The Kavod Of Bnos Yisroel?

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Dear Matzav Shmooze,

I have spent the past week crying on and off and I don’t know if I will ever get over the embarrassment of what happened to me.

I am a 19-year-old girl and I just started shidduchim a few months ago, ready to look for a ben Torah to build a bayis ne’eman b’yisrael with. I may be a little naive, but I was very surprised when a shadchan asked for a photo of me to show boys’ mothers. I was told everyone does this and it’s considered the norm in this day and age.

Despite all the cajoling I turned down the request because I felt that it was a breach in tznius.

A few months later (a few weeks ago) I was redt a boy who looked very promising. He went to top Yeshivos and all his references raved about his middos. After giving a yes we waited for a response with bated breath. When we received a negative response we were only told that the family said we were  “not for them.”

I was disappointed but I moved on.

Unfortunately, it got back to me that what happened was that the boy had gotten hold of a picture of me and decided I didn’t look “his type.”

Now I am completely devastated. Besides for the incredible busha of knowing a family looked at a picture of me and turned me down, I now know that there is a photo of me that is being passed around to prospective mother-in-laws for them ogle at and judge.

How could bnos Yisroel be treated in this manner? After an entire upbringing of being taught that kol kvoda bas melech pnima and that it is our essence and middos that are of importance, me and my fellow Bais Yaakov graduates are made to suffer this indignity that is more dehumanizing than anything I ever experienced. Why are mothers requesting pictures and why are boys comfortable with looking at pictures as well?

Why is no one standing up for our embarrassment?

A devastated Bas Yisrael

63 COMMENTS

  1. Very well written tou can thank the SHIDDUCH column in the YATED for making a totalליצנות of all the קדושה וצניעות that there should be in שידוכים. However you should know although unfortanutely this has become pretty “regular” there are still many true בני תורה ויראי שמים out there and IY”H You will soon be זוכה to meet yours without having to lower yourself tothe “new normal”

  2. curious do you care what your prospective husband would look like? do you look at the boys pictures?
    if the picture is of a girl dressed tznious what is the breach?

    womens pictures arent forbidden defacto. they arent published nowadays in Jewish papers so more people will buy papers otherwise you cut out chassidem from readership.

    The Jewish Observer. the magizine/paper of the Agudah had no problem publishing pictures of women.

  3. I agree 100%. I, too was uncomfortable sending a picture of me out. But of course, because it’s “the thing” to do, and shadchanim say you won’t get a shidduch of u don’t send out pics, I sent one out. The boys family never did get back to me either. He saw the pic and also, not for him.

    Another thing that disturbs me but is part of the package is heavy girls not getting shidduchim. I am 19 years old and I have not received one phone call from shadchanim. Yes, I know I have to meet them too, but why does weight play such an important role in shidduchim? I am embarrassed to walk down the block because ppl will think “I know why she’s not married! Cuz she’s fat!”
    Also, why do fat people have to feel like everyone judges them when they go to a bakery or bagel or pizza shop?
    I hate being fat but I am and I am 19 and half, never went on one date..

    • There are guys who are only interested in rich girls, which you may not be.
      There are guys who are only interested in slim girls, which you may not be.
      There are guys who are only interested in tall or short or red-headed or modern or bais-yakov or litvish or who knows how many other things, all of which you may not be.
      BUT…
      Plenty of guys are interested in someone who has the maalos that you have, and all you need is to be redt to the right one. Iy”H may you and all others looking for the right zivug find that person quickly and with minimum difficulty.

    • So go to a nutritionist and start learning how to eat properly and lose weight! We aren’t living 200 years ago when fat and pale were in style! Oh, and let me guess, you have no hangups of what turns you off?? Stop whining

    • Your shidduch is not dependant on your age, weight or interests etc…. Your zivug has already been chosen for you directly by Hashem-the KING of kings-40 days before you were born.

      Therefore
      We need to stop depending on humans and shadchanim etc…. For help and instead need to go directly to Hashem for help. Take out your Siddur/Tehillim and turn directly to Hashem for help. Hashem is waiting to HELP YOU and is just waiting for your call out to him for help (in any needs, from shidduchim to parnassa to children etc….)

  4. Y
    I have been overweight all my life. I was officially “on the market” for 2 years without getting redt a single shidduch. At that point in my life, I actually looked very presentable but not a size 2. I was 21 years old when I went on my first date. Almost 7 years and 2 kids later I can say it was well worth the wait….
    Remember, all you need is 1.!

    • so many skinny girls are also waiting (no pun intended!), Don’t blame it on your weight. The right one will come, you don’t need many dates,you only need one who is the right one for you.

  5. I won’t comment on the letter, but I wish to respond to the anonymous commentator who wrote:
    “The Jewish Observer. the magizine/paper of the Agudah had no problem publishing pictures of women.”
    This is not accurate. I was Managing Editor of the JO for close to 20 years. We only published pictures of women who were deceased i.e. Shvester Selma, Sarah Schenirer, and other such holy women. There may have been rare exceptions, but I don’t recall any.
    Whether you agree with that policy, or not, that was our policy. Just setting the record straight.

  6. Why is it a breach of tznius for his mother to see a picture of a girl?
    I recommend that you have a professional photo taken of yourself looking your very best for your shidduch resume.
    We are living in a world where externals are considered important. You will find chein by the right one but this is part of the hishtadlus today.

  7. To be honest, I don’t want to believe that the boy oggled the picture. However, I’m not sure it’s terrible. If he will meet the girl and to his eye she isn’t beautiful and someone he can look at, them why be mezalzel in Bnos Yisroel and bother dating her. That’s the other tzad.
    My question is although a picture is worth a thousand words, do you really see anything in the picture? Most of those pictures are carefully selected and in real life they don’t necessarily look like that…. just two perspectives.

  8. You are all a bunch of idiots, if you are supposed to divorce if you are not attracted to her why start? Just to hurt? Or the theory it will grow on you? A physical attraction is a requirement!!!!!

  9. When I was in shidduchim only 7 years ago looks were obviously very important but there was a basic understanding that even if the girl didn’t look amazing on the first date then you would still give her a second date unless there were other factors involved in compatibility. There reason for this was A) it is insulting to her of you didn’t give her a second date B) because if you got to know her then you might get past her physical “flaws” because you were attracted to her personality.
    To all guys out there who are single. Dont be so shallow. After Shanah rishona you aren’t as physically attracted no matter how beautiful she is. You will get used to how she looks and it won’t phase you anymore. What keeps your marriage (and personal life) alive is your relationship. Look for someone who will stand with you through thick and thin and whom you can RESPECT and enjoy being around. You don’t want to be that guy wondering how he married her.
    If you are shallow though and find yourself snickering at this comment then you’re either marrying a miserable person like yourself or going to make someone decent very miserable.

    PS any guy who needs to see a picture to go on a date is clearly not one of the better guys in yeshiva. To be an Adam Gadol you have to see the pnimius of the Torah. If you can’t even take the time to look for the pnimius of a person over her exterior then you completely missed the boat in yeshivah. Start learning some mussar.

      • ANONYMOUS. I THINK, I SAID I THINK…DIDNT ADAM RISHON DRAW A PICTURE IN THE SAND OF HIS DREAM GIRL? I COULD BE WRONG…BUT…
        Oh by the way..look at the seder table just after its set up…..how pretty it is…..
        like a lot of pictures…beautiful….
        look at the table AFTER the seder…..
        MASHAL IS……….
        TEFILA AND A PICTURE
        THEN TEFILA FOR A BEAUTIFUL FAMILY LIVING IN THE WAY OF TORAH…
        RESPECT LOVE TRUTH
        REMINDS ME I THINK I WILL READ SHIR HA SHIRIM
        AMEN
        where’s my black hat and suit? I guess i have to wear my white Sephardic robe….
        at least where’s my staff like Moses had? Do ya tink me prayas will be good enough? oy vey

  10. Also women that only get all pretty to go out but never in the their house is considered modest, I thought they get that done for their husbands,????sure

  11. Y, if a shidduch is important to you, you can make your self look presentable and if weight is an issue you may want to consider a diet.

  12. That’s an old problem. When they go shopping they get all ungiputzed but when they come back home, it’s faded snood and Lands End shmata time. Let me put on my dirtiest ugliest robe that I can find. “My husband doesn’t mind”. “I need to be comfortable”. What they fail to realize is that their husbands are human and if they can’t get what they need at home, they will get it elsewhere. This is a fact of life. This is how HKB”H created man.

    • When are young engaged Kallahs explained this about Men and the role of a wife??? Ever???

      This is the whole concept of Shana Rishona, (not vomiting in San Diego)

  13. to let’s talk emes
    Not everything you think do I need to say and not everything you say needs to be written and not everything you write needs to be printed or POSTED!

  14. I’ve had daughters in shiduchim. As soon as people started asking for pictures of them, I began requesting pictures of the boys. I don’t need some unkempt, ugly, zit faced Bochur knocking on my door to pick up my daughter.

  15. If I had based myself on a picture, I probaby would have never married my spouse and I would have passed on the best thing that ever happened to me.
    Sometimes getting to know someone allows you to get past the physical.
    Yes you have to have attraction, but I can testify that this attraction can develop from good chemistry and a love for someone’s soul.

  16. In this day and age when pictures are photo shopped and edited, I doubt that many of these mothers are getting the real deal in these photos. I know of a photographer who specializes in head shots for Shidduchim and she normally does at least 3 edits with every photo like thinning out her face, smaller nose, fixing skin blemishes, adding hair so what’s the point of requesting a photo, seeing a gorgeous girl who’s been all shpitzed up thru editing but dosnt look nearly as good in real life and being let down on the date?

  17. It seems that to some readers of the letter (who are from the 50% of the world’s population), the issue is so obvious it doesn’t need to be stated.
    It could be because I am a male. But I don’t get the issue.
    Please explain your pain: What is it exactly that bothers the letter writer?
    Is it the fact that men care about looks? – you better learn pretty quick!
    Is it the fact that a picture is not a real chance to get to know the person? – neither are most things that people want to know in the shidduch.
    Is it the fact that this is somehow a breach of your privacy? – would you rather they point you out a wedding, or at any time you’re in public, and eye you over there?
    Let me prepare you for marriage (which will hopefully come soon): don’t assume that your husband will understand what’s bothering you if you don’t explain it. He’s a man, and men just don’t get it. You have to explain it.

  18. First of all, pictures only started recently because os the ease of sending them, email, WhatsApp וכוי.
    Also, stop with the pnemius business. Learn some chumash. Constantly praising the beauty if the נשים צדקניות. Don’t say it’s the beautiful midos. Sure, when Sara came down to מצרים, the mitzrem wanted her for Paroh for her beautiful character traits.
    While your at it, check out the גמרא at the end of תענית. Each girl would call out what they had.
    The beautiful ones said look at beauty, wealthy girls said look at wealth. The girls who had neither said it’s the inside that counts.

  19. If you don’t want to send a picture, why are you going on a date, he’s eventually going to see you?
    If you think it’s improper, do it chasideshe style.
    Parents check everything out , the boy and girl meet for a little just to see if they can handle each other .
    They have wonderful marriages as well.
    If you think you were turned down because of your looks, you’re probably right. But I am pretty sure the boy didn’t ogle your picture then.
    Why make the boy go out if he’s going to say no because of the looks.
    Before they go out, everything should be cheched out before hand. Why burden them with unnecessary dates and more girls to meet?

  20. There is a BIG divide with the issues of photos, and if this girl is getting red to boys who ask for photos, then perhaps she should look for a more yeshivish boy. The yeshivish families do NOT ask for photos. None of my yeshivish friends and relatives ask for photos. In fact it is considered embarrassing to do so, and if a mother of yeshivish boy does want to see what the girl looks like, she has to figure out a way to do it without the girls side finding ou. Furthermore, if they do get hold of a photo, they would NEVER show the boy. Ask around, you will see.

  21. I cannot state it enough how very right she is. Numerous people look very different in a photo than what they do in person. What about when a girl opens her mouth. How many pretty faces do we know who when their mouths are open the tone of voice and content is highly unappealing. A boy must meet a girl no picture can tell anything about her. She might be a bit on the homely side but when she opens her mouth its like a symphony. A man and a woman are marrying an individual for their middos not their looks. If this is not the Hashkafa then the marriage is doomed

  22. What “the boy” finds attractive and what “the Mother” finds attractive usually aren’t the same. Thus the whole picture business is actually counterproductive as the Mother turns down perfectly appropriate suggestions. This is aside from the writers concerns.

  23. I’m embarrassed to read some of the responses here. Matzav where are your editors?! Tznius is not just in dress. As another poster noted not every thought needs to be verbally expressed. Once upon a time a bachur would have been vilified for expressing the thoughts posted here. Now you defend him. Oy vavoy!

  24. i just married my oldest 2 children in the past year ” oif yedem gezugt bekorov”. i was not excited about the pic idea and as a klal were not “picky” about looks BUT i did find the pics helpful in both ways for them looking at mine and us to theirs ( a pic does say something ) and i also felt terrible when we said no to a girl after meeting her .. and had we seen a pic we could easily have spared the agmas nefesh of saying no the whole meeting tc.. (we are chassidish) .the same way resumes are helpful pics are also..if you took a photo for your yearbook nothing to be ashamed that someone has your pic 60 girls and their families have your pic before you even turned 18
    rav pam zatzl- attitude toward looks was explained with a mashal to an esrog – vu es shtayt hadar.. ” der gidul is nisht di ershte malloh ” men zucht “NAKI” gidul oich a malloh

  25. As i stated in the very first post on this topic you can thank the Shidduch column in the YATED FOR ALL LOSS OF STANDARDS IN THE INYAN OF SHIDDUCHIM now the (anonymous) online version of the YATED has taken the topic to a whole new level, by allowing open discussions of the most sensitive ענייני קדושה in a public forum (by people who are mostly דעת בעל הבית היפך דעת תורה) .So please let this be the last post and take down this ugly thread RIGHT NOW ,

    זכור אל תשכח אש של גיהנוהם נעשה יותר חם בכל בן אדם מהאלפים שקוראים את זה ומה יענה ליום הדין על זה

  26. i never ask for pictures of the girl. and my son is not so yeshivish at all. i don’t want my opinion of a picture to have anything to do with my sons opinion of her. beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. when you ask for info on the girl you can ask if she is pretty, skinny etc but a picture is not necessary and can be harmful in my opinion.
    On the other hand i have a daughter too and the shadchanim do ask for a pictures. we have gorgeous pics of her and i do send it if i have to. and she is tall skinny and gorgeous and has not gone out yet. don’t feel bad please
    Hashem will send the right one to you bekarov!!!
    So to the writer of the letter: get a stunning professional pic done. if the types of boys you are interested in are looking for pics, you don’t have much of choice. rather get a nice one done then have unprofessional ones floating around.

  27. The letter author is 100% correct. There are horror stories of girls’ pictures being circulated around yeshivas for the boys to ogle and worse….she should continue resisting sending a picture, and she will find her zivug because she protected her tznius not in spite of it.

  28. Please do not be devastated. Instead, be proud that you are principled, and are prepared to stand up for those Torah-true principles. As Chazal say, הוי עז כנמר, be strong to stand up for what is right. As far as your shidduch, the Ribbono Shel Olam was already gozer who you will marry, have no fear, he is out there.
    I have had several sons in shidduchim, in the past and recently as well. I have been offered pictures and have refused them. Yes, a husband must be attracted to his wife, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder. A mother in law does NOT have to find her daughter in law attractive. Nor should a ben-Torah be so hung up on looks that he must see a pic in advance. He will see her when they meet. A face to face meeting is much more effective then perusing a pic.
    Nebach, we live in a very, increasingly superficial age.
    Hatzlachah rabbah and hold your chin up!

  29. I agree with the writers thoughts. I have married 2 girls and one boy. My experience is that the MOthers control the boy. It is many times what the Mothers think and not the boy. THe Shadachn should be speaking directly to the boy or girl. I think this would help end the Shiddich problems and divorces.

    • Agree. And yet the dummies promulgating the age-gap hoax won’t admit that it’s the dumb parents who are causing their daughters to remain single. Those who are not picky, GET MARRIED.

  30. I am a bochur in shidduchim and told my mother that any resume that comes attached with a picture is an automatic no. If a girl feels comfortable with sending her picture out – nothing wrong – but not on my level of tznius. And we got plenty of very good suggestions that are on my level. Be strong; and happy that you did not end up marrying someone who feels comfortable looking at the face of a girl and saying no. I sing every friday night “sheker hachein v’hevel hayoify isha yiras hashem he tishalal”. Iy”h I will find the right one that I will find chein in because of all her maalos, inner and outer.

  31. Pictures are a great tool that we have availble now days. Pictures say much more than just attraction and physical looks..
    Dating sometimes requires much travel for the boy and Shadchanim lie about looks and even age often.. while every girl is not required to provide a picture it’s not fair to judge a boy for wanting a picture before going on a date. The problem here to me it seems wasn’t that he saw the picture but rather that anyone other than the boy knew that the issue was looks.
    I one time heard a boy asking a rab if he is allowed to talk to a girl in a date after he knows he is no longer interested in her or if it is not longer tznius because there is no longer a need. The Mishnah in Avos says don’t be too much of a tzadik ( whatever that means ) if apicture is tzniusdik then sharing it is tzniusdik.
    Some not all hide their insecurities under the umbrella of tznius and then they get depressed when someone rejects them because they had an insecurity in advance, just work on the insecurities. This seems like an exaggerated “Busha”
    In psychology “should” statements , people should do x or y are leading culprit of depression

  32. I can’t adequately express how disturbing these comments are. The shidduch parsha is a mess and this girl is crying out in pain. And this is the empathy that she gets?
    I will say that a girl who is beautiful (outside and inside), size 2, alle gutte mailos who was 20 (!) and refused to give a picture. Categorically. Because she didn’t want a boy, or his mother, to be biased by her looks. She knew that there was more to her pnimius than her chitzonius. BH she was zocheh to marry the first boy she went out with.

  33. I am the father of two married girls (rest of kids too young for shidduchim) and your words perfectly and exactly describe my thoughts and feelings back when my girls were dating and I was emailing their pictures to requesters.

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