Opinion: What Are Bochurim In Shidduchim Thinking?


bochurimBy Rabbi Hanoch Hecht
I frequently have bocherim visiting us to lend a hand in the outreach that we do. Recently the bocherim that came to help us were all older and in the dating scene. After meticulously discussing the system of dating within our communities, we came to the conclusion that it is not the system that is failing us, rather it is the people within the system that are failing.

Everyone always complains about the system, how it is incomplete, ineffective or an absolute malfunction. Although singles shift the blame to the shadchanim (both professional as well as the others like family and friends), the bigger issue lies with the daters.

There was no bigger shock to me than hearing the following: one of the bocherim I was speaking (although maybe not the norm) shared with me that these days, a guy must have at least three girls lined up for him before he travels to his destination in order to date. Otherwise “it is not worth the trip.”

How can one effectively date, and by date I mean look for one’s Bashert, with another two or more possible prospects in the back of their head?!

The answer is simple: one cannot. Not only is it completely futile, but it is an immense disrespect to all the people involved! If you plan on having one spouse, then you only have to date one person at a time with the intentions of a potential mate. Dating, much like marriage, needs to be monogamous. Having more than 1 person as an option inevitably triggers your mind to compare your options and that is utterly destructive to your dating experience.

It gets worse: imagine being on a date with someone and they start telling you all the virtues and qualities they liked about their previous shidduch.

Sadly this is happening on both sides of the aisle and then people wonder why they aren’t getting married. More and more singles are staying single despite their dating efforts. And the reason is simple: we do not know how to date.

What I think we need to make available in every single Jewish community is a Dating Course. It would teach the daters what to look for, how to act on a date, etc. This could have a huge impact on people in the dating world and bring about many more matches on a basis of Torah and Chassidus.

This is especially important for the more “chilled out” daters than the more chassidish /serious learners ones. The need to understand that dating isn’t a fun pastime, it is a means of starting your life with your Bashert and fulfilling your life to the fullest as a Jewish entity is a great one.

May Hashem help that parents continue to do their job and teachers their part and surely we will see many more matches that will bring up “a dor yeshorim yivoroch.”

Rabbi Hanoch Hecht is the Director of Chabad of Dutchess County and the Rhinebeck Jewish Center in Rhinebeck, NY.


  1. Does Matzav really think that the Chabad-affiliated rov of Rhinebeck is in a position to diagnose the national dating situation of the Torah community?

    He is so far off the mark, as far as Lakewood and the Yeshiva world are concerned, that it does not pay to dignify his remarks. If he is talking about the products of the Morristown Yeshiva and Crown Heights, then he ought to direct his comments to the Chabad community.

    Lakewood boys generally leave shiduchim to their parents to arrange and NEVER travel out-of-town to see more than one girl. Indeed, I have heard of cases where a boy was about to return, from an out-of-town shidduch that did not get off the ground, and his parents were besieged by calls to take advantage of their son being in X to allow him to go out with a different girl. The answer was: We would not subject the first girl and her family to the embarrassment that would result should the new shidduch come about just a couple of weeks after the boy ostensibly was in town for them. This is the kind of middos parents are teaching their sons even in hard times when $500 airline tickets make a significant dent in the family budget.

    So please Rabbi of Rhinebeck, do not generalize, and in so doing, denigrate the wonderful bachurim our Yeshiva system and parents have raised.

  2. Girls cant be to blame bec. most girls dont have a list of boys lined up and therefore arent focused on their future dates.

  3. I don’t think, lulei demistafina, that you’ve made your argument.

    It is possible that kids today don’t know how to date, but the two examples you give are not enough for me to think it’s widespread. First, most dating goes on in NYC, so the out-of-town dating cheshbon is a side issue.

    As for discussing previous dates, I’m sure it happens. But I don’t think that’s a major contribution to the “shidduch crisis.”

    To make your argument you would need to cite at least three more examples of why daters are bad at dating before I’d be willing to consider its merits.


  4. Just wanted to make a couple points:
    1) There is a difference in which one views shidduchim when he/she first starts out, and then if he/she needs to continue dating more than a few years. This said, new daters can understand the view of dating one at a time so you can focus on that date alone (there is definitely truth to that and is a good point). However, when you’ve been there-done that, and none of those 100 dates have been ‘the one’, you’re simply burnt out. Please have understanding to those who don’t want to travel 10 hours by car just to have you’re heart broken (once again with one girl) and then have to drive 10 hours all the way back (or spend $700 on a plane ticket!).
    2) Great idea to have dating courses…it’s always great to learn new things and it’s also great to review. Not only that, it could be a means of networking (which so many of us know is so hard to do).

  5. Spot-on that the daters don’t know how to date! While we’re at it, we should also teach the parents how to date- for instance, explaining that by asking questions that are completely irrelevant to sustaining a marriage, they are keeping their children single for longer.

  6. I have a close friend who is an accomplished shadchan and the mother of several boys . She told me that she does not believe in lists for her sons as she considers it gaavah. She said she looks at each girl’s name as it comes up for her boys and if it’s good, she pursues it, otherwise if it’s not for her son, she moves on to a new name. But she does not allow the names to pile up. it’s not like a candy store where if you don’t like the red lollypop, you can try the green. With shidduchim,we have to consider each name as a gem and as a potential to build a bayis ne’eman biYisroel.
    Also a lot of mothers sabotage their son’s shidduchim by being way too picky. The long lists go to their heads and they think their sons are malachim. This shadchan that I’m referring to, has terrific- long term learning sons, but is realistic about what her sons need.

  7. I’m not sure what the chiddush of “dating courses” is. Everyone (in life but more so) in shidduchim has a rebbi or teacher they can talk to and get advice from, no? This is one of the most basic dating prerequsits!!

  8. Article is a waste of time vis a vis the crisis. The boys (lakewood for example) are married on average within the first year of dating. after three years of dating almost EVERY single boy is married.

    Sorry, Nice try

  9. most of the boys (rather their mothers) won’t even hear of their “heilege” son go out of town, coz, chas v’chalila, if it should come to something, than they would have to share a yom tov and it is to far if the shidduch is an out-of-towner!! So, rather they feel there are enough girls in N.Y. (tri-state area) which would make sharing a yom tov easier.

  10. Guess what? Plenty of out of town girls are getting married since boruch Hashem there are enough realistic mothers (like the shadchan I mentioned) who realize that their son’s potential shidduch might actually live a plane trip away. Kol hakovod to them! They look at each name realistically and not as part of a huge list.
    For those who don’t want their sons to date those girls, then it’s probably best that they don’t anyway.

    And what is the chassidishe way that is so much better than our system? Nothing is perfect on either side

  11. To ‘mazel tov’ – your friend is an exception to the rule, and should be applauded for her approach. Most ‘in town’ mothers choose the ‘in town’ girls first. If you take a step back and think of it from a practical stand-point, if on paper all the girls sound the same (bais yaakov, brown shoulder length hair, does chessed…etc..), and the only difference is one is a 15 minute car ride with almost zero expenses, and one is a 10 hour car ride each way (losing 3 days of learning for one date!), which one do you think is more apppealing? It’s only after they’re in shidduchim 2+ years that they are willing to give in – mostly because they’ve run out of local ideas….Just to note – I’m from ‘in town’ and all my siblings and I are happily married to ‘out of towners’.

  12. the solution is so obvious:boys have girls lined up girls don’t,the girls go out with a boy 5 times and then dumps him because she knows its a while til her next date and secondly the boys pay for it,so why not have a good time.The simple solution:MAKE THE GIRLS PAY FOR THE DATES

  13. I’m not so sure it’s a chisaron for in-town boys to want to date only in-town girls. As an out-of towner who lived in New York for a while, I found the Brooklyn mindset to be totally incomprehensible. I would suspect that in many – although not all – in-town / out-of-town marriages, both parties might be in for a little culture shock, not to mention communication problems between the two sets of parents.

    Perhaps this cultural difference is behind part of our increasing divorce rate – attitude incompatibility not just between the young couple but also between the families. Think of a shidduch between a Satmar and a Litvak and you may be able to get a picture of the differences, even when the boy and girl seem to belong to the same group.

  14. A great solution for the Shidduch Crisis would be for all older singles to learn Sefer Yetzirah and make a golem that is exactly what they’re looking for. I’m not sure if a golem can be trained to be a speech therapist or special ed teacher, though.

  15. To Rachel R:
    I live out of town (and I don’t mean 5 minutes past the Verizzano Bridge- we live a plane ride away from NY) and NYer’s are surprised when they come here for a chasunah how many people they know here, as a large percentage of the couples here have one spouse who comes from NY and they are boruch Hashem happily married.
    In fact, I’ve been living out of town for more than 2 decades and I myself come from NY- my parents were just openminded to that fact. We have quite a few people who grew up in the real Boro Park society and did well here too. It’s all a mindset.
    But generally out of towners do well with out of towners too (even if it’s not from their own city- they still share the same mentality)

  16. Shuey, I dont get it, whats wrong with girls that are doing speech and special ed? at least someone will support u in kollel!!

  17. Because im actually going to work. because A i want to support my own family and my wife take care of the kids. And B even if my wife works I will probably need to work as well so we can live. So I guess we wont cross paths.

  18. It gets quite annoying hearing boys say “Why does every girl do speech?” It would be nice if they respected that u are working hard for your degree!

  19. Im assuming he said it as an off handed comment and didnt mean it as an approach to the crisis. Because if he did, It would raise doubts as far as his qualifications in general.

  20. I find it interesting how most people blame other people as to why there are so many singles. The girls say its the boy the boy say its the girl. The shadchanim say its both. So Im gonna join the bandwagon and blame the mothers.

  21. Ya I know, Out of towners are openminded. No their not. their just not as record shattering close minded as their in town counterparts. If they were, How can you explain the whole batch of girls from cleveland whojust came back who are looking for learning