Singular Agony: A Letter to Klal Yisroel


cell-phoneBy Yeshiva Guy

Note: I must apologize in advance for the pretentious writing style used. I feel that due to the heavy nature of the topic at hand, any attempt to deal with it in an offhand, light manner would only serve to detract from its weightiness.It is deep, and searing. Elemental, in ways I will not, cannot, describe, but those of you who have experienced this sort of pain can understand, and know all too well how to relate to this sort of pain.

I speak of real, true emotional agony. Boruch Hashem, many go through life without experiencing this. And even the people who do occasion encountering this emotion more frequently often enough shelve it deep in the closet of their minds, where they dust it off and examine it only twice, thrice, per decade. This is out of necessity, more often than not. For after all, who among us can stare into that abyss for long, and not be adversely affected in the most basic way?

The pain I speak of, and for, is not specific. It has no particular name, nor are there any criteria by which it can be defined. It is better this way, I think. It should not be lightened by pithy tag or convenient handles.

There are many within our community and many without who know this sort of pain, R”L. Today, however, I speak of one sort in particular. Some of the people who have met with and live with this agony are the older single men and women in our community. They, perhaps more than anyone else, are most familiar with this foe. They do battle with it daily. No vacation, no sick leave, no Shabbos or Yom Tov.

I hear every day of yet another older individual not yet married.

I confess plainly, I cannot think about them. I dare not. Quickly, I file their names in the musty box that resides deep in my mind’s closet, and shove it back, back where it belongs. Back where I need not think about it, or them.

This is wrong.

Painful as it may be for me, for us, I refer back to elemental pain. I have, perhaps, experienced it on a passing level. Perhaps not. But they, these Yidden- and I do not adjectivize them here for lack of a suitable term; heroes does not do justice to the mountains they’ve climbed in life, or to the peaks they scale and stare at us from- they know no respite from it.

I do not point fingers. I do not say, “Why is everyone silent”?

They, we, are not. True enough, the pages of Jewish dailies throughout the world are awash with the “crisis”. Good. Let them be. But the natural corollary, aside from the desensitization it engenders, is the alleviation of personal achrayus it provides. See; others are handling it. Shidduch groups abound. The Letters to the Editor page is rife with their plight. Look, it even has a name. Now we must be making progress.

Am I bitter, too bitter? Maybe.

Imagine how they feel.

The truth is, we think, that we are not at fault. We don’t know people, or if we do, we don’t know enough people.

Anyway, single people, as everyone knows, are notoriously difficult to deal with. A professional shadchan is called for anyway.

The facts, however, are not so. We do know people. And if the pain affected you, even just on a fractional level, you would be working the phones, all day, every day.

So I guess I am pointing fingers. We are all responsible. We are all culpable.

In closing, I ask only this:

Have you actually picked up the phone yet? Just once, have you lifted the telephone receiver and placed a call? Do you realize that people around the world are desperate to hear the ring of the phone, your ring? Anyone’s ring? I think it not hyperbolic to state that someone’s life may depend on it.

Make the call.

Someone’s life depends it.

{Yeshiva Guy/ Newscenter}


  1. Please get yourself help! There are profesional people who can help people who are going through emotional problems. Writing on a new ssite will not cure your problems.Hatzlacha! keep on smiling!!

  2. I am not a professional shadchan and I have at best 1/2 a successful shidduch to my name. I pick up the phone on a steady basis, for older singles and for younger singles. Problem is, in general it is moving mountains to get two people to date in this system. I have found the women (particularly the older ones) just as difficult to convince to meet as the men. I do not generate random suggestions – e.g. pants meet skirt – but there is a bias for inaction (aka not going on a date) in this community.

  3. As one with a great deal of experience in this area with someone I know, please don’t just throw up a name that has no relation the other person just because they are both single.

    Don’t make a gezeirah shava of old with old and say that that is enough of a match criteria.

    Please try to find some logic in the match, otherwise the suggestion is a burden and not a help.

    Thanks to all for their good wishes.

  4. I’m not trying to diminish the crisis or the pain, but can we all take ONE SECOND and think about 90% of the Jewish people who don’t even have a relationship with Hashem???? At least these frum singles have an eternity!

    Priorities people.

  5. kiruv guy,

    I think your comment is out of place. The fact that there is a kiruv crisis does not mean that we should ignore everything else.

    Kiruv gets plenty of attention and plenty of money.

    Many people who don’t have common sense would do more harm than good by being involved in kiruv.

  6. I try. It is not so easy. People ( I guess rightfully so) have real criteria that must be met and it is hard to convince them to “think out of the box.” I’ll keep on trying.

  7. to refuah shlema your the one who needs a refuah but I fear you are too far gone if you cannot sympathize with someone`s agony.Comment #5 you are 100% right.People assume that once you are a little older if they mention anyone of the opposite gender to you and you really wanted to get married you`d just spring for it .As I see the problem it is that people do not try to match people up .I think it is also important that people really listen to what a girl or boy are saying they are looking for.

  8. I think this article is beautifully written. And it seriously saddens me that a commenter here just thinks O this is his not his burden its the achrayis of the psychitrist and then mocks the suffering party by telling him to keep on smiling, how selfish can one get? We have become a generation that tries to ignore the verse of the torah of kol yisroel arevim ze luze, and truth be told, well very often a friend could help a person way more then a professional. So lets get on to those phones, and make those phone calls with tsugipasti suggestions now!!!

  9. the tzora is getting worse and worse. We currently have at our shabbos table 3 single girls that are 48 or older and a man that is over 60. 1 is a pharmacist and 3 are teachers. all are decent looking with pleasant personalities that get along very well with our children. so what is the problem why aren’t they married. The easy answer is because that is their goirel in life. But looking deeper each one had something in common.
    their parents were quite unassuming people who didn’t mingle with the in crowd,didn’t have big bucks and didn’t harress the shadchens to find a shidduch for their kids.
    my wife runs shidduch meetings and people above 30 are rarely mentioned as if they don’t exist. Except for the organization invei hagefen I don’t know anyone else that deals with older singles. If anyone knows any other organization that deals with older singles please post their contact info. you will be saving neshomos

  10. To Editor:

    Please, if not much trouble, put the beginning “Note” in italiacs, and a paragraph break after “weightiness” / before “It is deep…”. Thanks.

  11. I’ve tried to make a few shiduchim for these older singles but I’m somewhat frustrated because they just have (very) high & sometimes unjustified expectaions and they are not even willing to make a phone call. I use to be one of those older singles but I never said no to any offers and I davened every day and B’H I’m happily married. my wife is not 100% what I was looking for but if you are looking for 100% you will never find it & those who are married long enough will tell you the same thing. Hatzlacha Rabah

  12. Thank you for writing and highlighting the plight of older singles.
    BTW even if you think you can’t help (bc you don’t know any singles etc) you can still help.
    Gateways has one shadchan (she is amazing) who works only with the older singles- but their budget is tight and that part of their shidduch program needs support- donate to them and tell them you want to see more shadchanim working on older singles. Or offer to support the amazing Invei shadchanim- Invei is defunct due to lack of funding- which shows just how little awareness there is really is when it comes down to $$$.
    I have many friends that really relied on Invei to set them up- what are they going to do now?
    So if you really feel the pain, but can’t bear to talk to these singles because it’s so painful to you then donate money and support those organizations who employ experienced shadchanim, who do know how to help.

  13. I think the biggest problem is that singles either the boy or girl create a picture in their mind of the perfect person they will marry. They don’t know that this is the best for them but this is what THEY want. Many times two people go out on a date and it goes well but it’s just not that picture perfect person that they imagined themselves to marry, and sadly they break off. If singles would be more accepting to something “different” than perhaps this crisis would not be lik it is today.

  14. im one of those “older” singles 30 plus and female from out of town. i hate to dispel myths, but NO ONE calls to redt shidduchim. if i dont put myself out there, i get no response. i hate selling myself, i am shy by nature, and calling shadchanim is really not my forte. i graduated with over 85 classmates about 12 years ago and i dont even think 3 tried to redt shidduchim in the last 10 years. i went to ur typical bais yakov schools, worked, then went for a little bit of secular education to change careers. i went to ur catskill mountain camps, i will fly at hte drop of a hat to NY to date, and b/c most of my family is in NY will probably get married there too. It’s not that we’re picky, we’re not getting calls!!! i have 2 other sisters in shidduchim younger than me and guess what thin pretty skinny tall fat BA’s Masters, or no schooling it makes NO difference. AND i’m not alone. I have 4 good friends sitting here with me!! Please don’t make it out to be OUR issues alone. We’ll go out with decent guys if they’d actually come our way.

  15. May I….a small piece of Mussar…that may help a little…

    The Man In The Glass

    When you get what you want in your struggle for self
    And the world makes you king for a day,
    Just go to the mirror and look at yourself
    And see what that man has to say.

    For it isn’t your father or mother or wife
    Whose judgment upon you must pass.
    The fellow whose verdict counts most in you life
    Is the one staring back from the glass.

    You may be like Jack Horner and chisel a plum
    And think you’re a wonderful guy.
    But the man in the glass says you’re only a bum
    If you can’t look him straight in the eye.

    He’s the fellow to please-never mind all the rest,
    For he’s with you clear to the end.
    And you’ve passed your most dangerous, difficult test
    If the man in the glass is your friend.

    You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years
    And get pats on the back as you pass.
    But your final reward will be heartache and tears
    If you’ve cheated the man in the glass

  16. As a shadchan, I am getting tired of hearing the accusation that greater attention is given to people with money. I have never taken that into account when redding shidduchim, and am sure that many or most other shadchanim don’t either. It is hard to understand why the same people who ask us for help are busy speaking badly of us.

  17. We should all be very thankful to the staff at MATZAV for giving this extremely important issue the attention it deserves and requires.


  18. Kiruv guy – you’ve got it wrong. A major reason for baalei teshuvah going back off the derech is the shidduch problem. Many have become frum because they saw how beautiful a Torah-style family can be. Then imagine how they feel when they are paased over for shidduchim, or at best considered as “damaged goods.” I have known and known of people who just gave up – or became embittered. It may not be too much to say that this shidduch crisis is endangering our existence as a community. We are judged by how we treat the less fortunate and the friendless (“the widow, the orphan, … the stranger”) and we are not doing too great a job right now.

  19. The indisputable fact, available to anyone with their eyes open, is that their is a constant massive influx of new Baalei Teshuva — far more than any perceived going “off the derech” numbers.

  20. I think that # 4,9,16 have addressed the real issues going on. I try on a weekly if not daily basis to redd shidduchim to older and younger people. I could write a book about the experiiences that I have dealing with people. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO DEAL WITH SOMEOF THESE PEOPLE. They make it like they are doing you the biggest favor for going on a date. Bh I have successfully made about 9 shidduchim, but lately people KNOW exactly what they need, i laugh, because we all know that all marriages are a compromise, its a give and take! But these people day Ive waited this long, how can I just look away from whatever it is theyve been holding out for…

  21. response to #19 Let me tellyou why shaddchanim are spoken badly of.I have married off B”h a few childreand yet I still shutter to think of the obnoxious way I was treated when dealing with most shadchanim,Naturally there are a few wonderful shadchanim who treat their prospective customers in a gracious and honorable way.I understand that being a shaddchin is a very difficult and many times frustrating business,but those of us in need of your services appreciate your efforts on our behalf,but do treat us like menschen .

  22. I don’t understand is there anything wrong with being a baal teshuva if not if your a baal teshuva why can’t you marry a baal tshuva

  23. I disagree with you #23,Look around at the unfortunate divorce rate,I don’t think you can just settle in marriage because it will always come back to haunt you.Most people are not so naive to imagine they are going to get a perfect person because most people are not so confident to think they even deserve a perfect person,or even believe that the perfect person exists.But face it people know themselves better than anyone else knows them so please listen to what a person tells you and believe me there is someone out there for them.As a member of klal Yisroel I thank you and appreciate all your efforts on making shidduchim,It is not an easy task