Telling the Rough Truth About the Shidduch Crisis

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Dear Editor,

In response to the recent article on Matzav by Rabbi Rudomin, I would like to point out two things about the crisis:

#1 I find [as a part time shadchan] that the same people who complain very bitterly [and are full of taynos] about the crisis when their own daughter/s can’t find a shidduch are exactly the same ones who cause the crisis by being so picky for their sons, asking for ridiculous amounts of support, the skinniest, the prettiest, etc.

They make believe their son is the next king, and they forget that there is a crisis and that they should be fair and give the average girl a chance, even though she might not have money or the best looks, etc. [I know this for a fact as a part time shadchan.] So stop complaining, because you are part of the problem, and you live in dreamland.

#2 The system of holding back bochurim from dating for a few months after they return from Eretz Yisroel is one of the worst things ever invented. It equals “gezeiras Paroh.”

And it’s a very big part of the crisis, as the boy sits a few months locked down, and the names pile up on his list, and his parents think they are the kings. They can demand and get whatever custom-order-girl they want. After all, they have 100-plus names on their list. Some are rich, so why not go out with the rich ones? [Regular girls from good homes… who cares about them? That’s the attitude.] This causes the average family not to get a first shot at a good boy, and this is causing tremendous upheaval and greed and sadness.

I know of one shidduch where the boy’s parents agreed to it, but at the last minute they said that he should go into the three-month-lockup first. Then, when he came out, they refused to look into the girl, since there were many more offers with much more money on the table ($1200 per month for seven years was not enough). So this fine girl lost out this fine boy. All due to the beginning-of-the-zeman-lockdown on new bochurim.

This is terrible. We can’t let this go another minute. It’s totally ruining us. And if we are quiet, we deserve what we get…

[P.S. If these young boys would only know the truth, what awaits them with the rich girl, they would run for their lives, but unfortunately they don’t know – and no one is telling them. They think that they are getting something special, while usually they are getting a spoiled brat. Hence the shalom bayis crisis, divorces….]

With best regards,

Yaakov Goldberg

Lakewood, NJ

{Matzav.com}

 

38 COMMENTS

  1. how right he is, the lockdown disrupts the market the give-and-take gives everybody a chance to sit back and watch contemplate rehash and dream… all without being in touch with reality . The normal market forces you to join in not just on the side and wait since you might lose out .

  2. If the girls- who have no obligation to get married- would just all agree to start going out at 22 – like in the old days- there would be no crisis.

  3. My son went into the lockdown when he came back to America. He said it was a good idea as it let him get settled in his learning first. Oh, yeah, he married the first young woman he met, my wonderful daughter in law

  4. The lockdown gives a bochur the opportunity to truly “get into learning” before being involved in shidduchim. The bochurim are in a new yeshiva and the way they establish themselves in the beginning will affect their hasmodah, certainly during their “bochur” period of life and probably during their years in kollel and onward. A few months of being totally immersed in learning establishes a true foundation for future learning. Perhaps they know something that you do not know. Certainly they are aware of the “gezeiras Paroh.” and do not feel they are recreating that situation. I am impressed by your truthfulness in signing your name and I will do the same – Nosson Reiss

    • You are wrong. I just got married, but am still that age. Most bochurim do not think that the lockdown is good for their learning. Just ask around and you’ll be shocked to find that most bochurim are dying to get married as early as they can. Sorry i’m not brave enough to sign my name.

  5. Thats ridiculous. They were “truly into learning” while in eretz yisroel or wherever it was that they came from, too, and if they werent, 3 months in lockdown is not going to change that. The “lockdown” is simply a way to discourage those who show up because they feel it enhances their shidduch profile (which is eaxactly how it was in the late 80s and early 90s when I was in shidduchim).

    Also, way to much tome is spent on number 2, when in fact, number 1 is a much bigger problem. some people feel that since I get killed by the system with the daughters, let me do the killing with my sons.

    I think a fair solution to number one, which should apply equally to parents and shadchanim is:

    Parents of daughters should turn away all shadchanim who throw piles of “resumes” (I hate that word as it relates to shidduchim) at their sons and ignore their daughters, while shadchanim who throw those resumes at parents of boys should make sure to spread those same peoples daughters name around as well. In fact, I think the entire concept of giving the name of girls to the guys first is outdated and stupid. No girl is going to cry if a boy says no to her. They are more mature than that.

  6. you are right that the lockdown makes no sense
    and Mr reiss if a boy is serious about learning he will do so even if hes going out

    the bigger issue is the whole support and money issue

    those girls just home from seminary whose father cannot afford this ‘Adopt a kollel” program wont be chosen by these boys and they can allways wait for the next crop
    and these girls get pushed to the side

  7. Her hut gut gezugt and its all 100% true. Sure there will be those that disagree and use the excuse of “getting into learning” but that’s all it is – a lame excuse.
    You make your own bed. Sorry

  8. Why do the boys need a 3 month lockdown? Weren’t they doing exactly the same thing before – learning undisturbed?

    I do think the girls should wait till 21 and the boys should not wait at all. It would be much better for everyone.

  9. The last paragraph is false. Just because a girl comes from a wealthy family, it doesn’t necessarily make her a spoiled brat. If the parents put the emphasis on Tziddaka and limud hatorah and they don’t go to some ridiculous exotic Pesach “vacation” every year, then most likely the girl will be fine. I wouldn’t mind my sons getting some of those. Don’t paint with a broad brush.
    P.S. money can’t buy happiness but it sure pays the mortgage (and the tuition).

  10. Come on Mr. Reiss, it gives a bochur the opportunity to “get into learning”?? We are talking about bachurim who supposedly have been learning their entire lives and they need a few months more?? and that will do it??? What about bachurim who are already dating and are coming to the yeshiva. they also need this to get into learning???
    I was there when this was started.
    It should be stopped once and for all.
    Sorry can’t leave my name, my kids need shiduchim.

  11. I married a rich girl, big mistake. Nothing is ever good enough. She dumped me and then went OTD, her parents support her and my kids. I live in a damp basement apartment with leaky pipes. My neighbors make a lot of noise. Just terrible. Next time a poor girl who is happy.

  12. Anybody that is or has been TOTALLY into learning should also understand the benefit of waiting three months. This not a “lockdown “. It is a way to acclimatete into a new place.

  13. The article bothers me on three fronts:
    A. The tone of it – accusing people of ”gezeiras Paroh.”
    B. Why are Yeshivos the “catch all” for all social problems? If parents (and boys) are unrealistic in their demands or expectations, why blame the Yeshivos. Aren’t parents ultimately responsible for raising their children? (Saying this as a proud parent that have adult children and boruch Hashem went through the Yeshiva “system”.)
    C. Finally, would an experienced, highly qualified accountant begin a new job and immediately take off considerable “personal time” before settling in on the new job? Why is Torah treated “second rate”?

    • B- Your right that parent are responsible for their children, but the sad fact is that basically all social pressures do in fact come from institutitions.

      1- “learning”- the idea that if you have a job your not “learning” regardless of how much you learn. and if you are “learning” it doesn’t matter how much you learn. This keeps people from being successful because they are afraid to do what is best for them.

      2-learning slow- many many many bochurim would much rather cover ground when they learn if not for the system

  14. Gezeiras Paroh?
    Actually its worse
    As Miriam said
    Paroh was only gozer on the zechorim
    This is a gezeira on the zechorim and nekavos

  15. It seems that most people here take more credit for their decisions then they deserve. We believe in Hashgocha Protis. We believe that arboim yom kodem yetziras havlad bas kol yotzeis umachrezes. If no one is doing aveiros, but rather acting in the best intrests of their avodas Hashem, then there is no one to blame. It is a gezeira min hashomayim that we can daven for, but to think we can solve it is like thinking we can solve a drought. Most of the disscusion here is influenced by American ideals of Kochi veotzem yodi.

    • Right. So during a drought R”L, the right thing is not to go get water from where there is? I don’t know why Avrohom and Yitzchock did not follow that advice from you. They went to Mitzrayim Gror.

      You do make some valid points. But please don’t go overboard; it’s counterproductive.

  16. The entire idea of boys getting married at mid twenties is ridiculous. Why not get married at 18 – the way Chazal demands it. Learning Torah is not an impediment to fulfilling other mitsvos: you put on tefilin, shake a lulav and keep Shabos while in Yeshiva – why getting married should be different then? Do you refuse to sit in a sukka because it takes away your learning time?! It’s limud al menas laasos that counts! Obviously such young marriages might result in some financial strain – it is worth to sacrifice expensive chasunas and fancy cars for the proper shmiras hamitsvos. Oh, and if people are supposedly not mature enough at 18, what makes them mature at 23?! Maturity depends on the societal expectations – if boys are expected to marry at 18, they’ll mature fast enough; lechavdil, goyim get married at 40 or so – and they claim that before that age they aren’t mature enough – a ridiculous notion. We can’t have a chatzlacha in limud haTorah if it comes at a cost of violating other mitsvos.

  17. I would like to add my two cents, Australian currency. One – this business that people cannot marry before their older siblings, is one of the most ridiculous nonsense I have ever heard. My younger brother married before me, and I was astounded when so many people quietly whispered to me if I was ok with that. Why wouldn’t I have been…? That is not a tradition or respect, that is utter nonsense.

    Second, this word – dowry. I have read countless stories of parents turning down matches because the dowry was not enough. Personally, I wouldn’t even dream of wanting / expecting / insisting on a dowry. I wouldn’t give a garden of fig trees whether she came with a dowry. I don’t give the slightest care for it. It’s enough that I could find the right lady.

    Third, parents. Parents make or break a wedding. There are parents who think they are marrying the young man. They are not. Their daughter is. If they have (ridiculous) issues with the man, that’s their problem. Their daughter was happy with him. Of course, we don’t know what baggage was carried over from reincarnation, but on the pshat surface, many a parents have destroyed their kid’s engagement because of their own issues. And it usually comes down to not being honoured — their majestic pride was not honoured enough by the man, they were not the center of attention.

  18. Dear Yaakov Goldberg,

    Thank you for your shadchonis work. Setting someone up with their zivug is the greatest favor one can do. However, your letter, while heartfelt, is IMO too absolute in a few of your statements:
    1) “…the same people who complain very bitterly [and are full of taynos] about the crisis when their own daughter/s can’t find a shidduch are exactly the same ones who cause the crisis by being so picky for their sons…” Perhaps that’s been your unfortunate experience, but that isn’t what those who I know are like.
    2) “The system of holding back bochurim from dating for a few months after they return from Eretz Yisroel is one of the worst things ever invented.” It isn’t clear if you’re referring to the lockdown or the parents’ personal decisions. If the former, the reasons of those who established it shouldn’t be dismissed in those terms. If the latter, you may be right, but the parents, who know their own son best, may also have valid reasons for wanting them to wait.
    3) “…with the rich girl… …usually they are getting a spoiled brat.” This is just horribly unfair. There are three possibilities with a rich girl:
    a) A completely unspoiled girl.
    b) A girl who may be spoiled but is intelligent enough to realize that not everyone enjoys her parents’ standard of living and good enough that she’s willing to live less luxuriously in a loving marriage.
    c) The type of spoiled, selfish girl you described.
    IMO, there are far, far more category “a” and “b” girls than “c”s.

    Keep up the good work and don’t get discouraged.

    -A parent with “in the parsha” progeny.

  19. I hate to parse someones comments, but here goes.

    A. The tone of it – accusing people of ”gezeiras Paroh.”

    I think the tone is proper, albeit for the wrong reason. This has zero to do with “getting into learning” and everything with fostering a reputation. The reputation of “the worlds largest shteebele” is long since gone and this policy can be done away with. If a bachur who has already spent 3 or 4 years learning full time elsewhere needs until Tu Bshvat to “get into his learning”, I would queston what he has been doing the last 3-4 years.

    B. Why are Yeshivos the “catch all” for all social problems? If parents (and boys) are unrealistic in their demands or expectations, why blame the Yeshivos. Aren’t parents ultimately responsible for raising their children?

    This is valid to a point, and that is. As long as Yeshivos continue to foster the mentality that unless one sits and learns in kollel for the next X years he is not a ben torah and seminaries push the same drivel on girls, they are every bit as much a part of the problem. In fact, it is a problem that is growing bigger and bigger, like a giant runaway snowball with both parents and the chinuch system equal partners in the blame.

    (Saying this as a proud parent that have adult children and boruch Hashem went through the Yeshiva “system”.)

    C. Finally, would an experienced, highly qualified accountant begin a new job and immediately take off considerable “personal time” before settling in on the new job? Why is Torah treated “second rate”?

    This is a red herring. As 23 year old bachurim, this is part and parcel of their life. Furthermore, since you are using highly qualified accountants as your standard, what highly experienced accountant would take off considerable personal time during tax season? Dating should not be allowed during elul or other “busy” times of the year.

  20. Moving up the day that bochurim can date by three months will only have the effect of moving all those pressure points up the exact same three months. All that will happen is that the list will pile that much earlier, while the bochur is still in Eretz Yisroel. He will think a given girl is a good idea, then when he lands in the US, he will change his mind the exact same way. The reason he was so open minded the first time is because the real decision was far down the road. When it gets closer he rethinks. Changing the start date won’t do anything more than adjust the time that he begins to think seriously, and make the same decision anyway.

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