The Answer to the Shidduch Crisis: The Yeshiva Boy Auction

59

shidduchimBy Frum n’ Flippin Out

The boys wait in the wings. Their fathers stand beside them, wearing the same hats and suits, indistinguishable aside for the beards they sport. Their mothers are also there, even though they won’t be joining their sons and husbands on the stage, for the obvious tznius reasons. Still, the women are needed, and often only with their nod, spotted on the sidelines, can the deal proceed, be finalized. For who can know a boy’s true worth, if not his mother?

The Rosh Yeshiva stands behind the podium. He welcomes the middle aged couples, spanning the rows of the auditorium.

Yaacov Hirsh strides on. Hirsh has no official title, but without him the yeshiva would collapse in a day. He initiated the auction, later copied by all the top yeshivos. He is to thank for this blessedly steady income. He’s happy to explain the reasoning to any man who asks.

“It’s fair trade. A four year stint in yeshiva increases a boy’s net value to $50- 250,000, payable in property. Any yeshiva graduate can typically fetch this much in the marriage market. And it’s all thanks to us, thanks to the yeshivos. By all rights, the yeshiva should be reaping some of the profits too. We take raw goods and turn them into valuable commodities.”

And so the Yeshiva Boy Annual Auction came into being. The boys were sold, based on the traditional criteria of yichus, intelligence, and diligence in learning. A percentage of the price they fetched went to the Yeshiva.

The Yeshivas were happy, no longer needing to send fundraisers abroad. The parents were happy, for it enabled them to see the boys on offer, without resorting to desperate measures. The only people to suffer were the matchmakers, now out of a job.

“Cutting out the middle man” is what Hirsh said. “And rightly so, for these are our bochurim, on the market. Why should matchmakers be getting a cut, instead of us? What did they ever do for the boys?”

Shlomo Greenbaum is led on stage, flanked by Reb Greenbaum senior. The chatter stops, the air is still, filled with nervous tension.

In the audience, Ruchy Kahn says a short Kapittel of Tehillim. There has to be one boy here, for her. There had to be one boy, with a low enough asking price. Mammy and Tatty have already explained to her, as gently as possible, that they only have a small amount put aside. It sounds like a lot of money to Ruchy. But they look worried.

Hirsh consults with Reb Greenbaum, in a hushed tone. They come to an understanding, a price they can both agree on, taking into account the Greenbaums boy’s average intelligence, and the time he spends learning, three full seders, no more, no less. $100, 000, the price of an apartment in Kiryat Sefer, is the starting price they settle on.

Hirsh starts the bidding. Ruchy’s parents don’t raise their hands. The amounts flying across the room are more than they can ever offer. Totty is in Kollel, Mommy teaches, this is the most they can spare.

The Greenbaum deal is closed. The next boy is offered up. He is a top Bochur, from a Choshuve family, learning night and day. He is out of Ruchy’s league entirely. She doesn’t even aspire, for him.

There is a dimmer of hope, at one point. A skinny boy appears, in a wrinkled suit. He stands there alone. His parents are divorced, his father is abroad. He leans too close to the microphone, and his voice echoes through the auditorium, as he answers Hirsh’s questions. His stutter is audible, as he stammers out the answers. He isn’t a catch, by anyone’s standards.

Perhaps he is the answer. Perhaps Ruchy will be a Kallah this year, after all.

But no, it is not to be. He fetches an apartment in a development town. He will be learning in a small Kollel in the south, next year. It is still more than the Kahns can offer. For the first time, Reb Kahn regrets not going into business, not making a good living, like the other men in the room. He wanted to learn Torah, his wife encouraged him, they managed to make do, from month to month. But now, they have a single daughter on their hands. How are they to marry her off?

As the participants stream out of the hall, Ruchy and her parents remain seated. None of them want to go, want to give up on this dream, of finding her a husband.

“Next year, please God.” Reb Kahn says, eventually. “We will put some more money aside. I will go to the Gemachs, see how much they can lend me. We will come again, to next year’s Yeshiva Boy Auction. Next year, with Hashem’s help, we will be able to afford a Yeshiva boy for you.”

Brachy nods. She is a good, sweet girl. Together they walk out.

{From flippinout/Noam Amdurski-Matzav.com}

59 COMMENTS

  1. Maybe the auction should be in an EBAY format. That way there could be a reserve price and a buy it now feature.Also,there could be feedback from previous bidders. The prospective bidders could also compare the items on auction.Free shipping and PAYPAL could also expedite the process.Plus bids could be made from worldwide locations.

  2. Answer to the sidduch crisis is 3 words to all boys & girls but mostly to the parents “STOP BEING PICKEY” your kid is not as great as you think they are, and the other side is not as bad as people making them to be. and from a professional in this field i can tell you one fact (doesn’t take a genius either to figure this out just look at yourself) the person you are living with today is not who you married and you’re not the person your spouse married.

    Case closed. and once we realize this then the entire sidduch crisis will be over.

  3. Excellent satire!!!!!!
    People, this is happening now – just not so formal and people are still embarrassed to talk about it this way.

  4. Thank you Matzav for posting this wonderful critique that hits the nail on the head about the unfortunate realities in the current state of our shidduch system.

    It is both eye-opening and truly sad at the same time!

    Please continue to find and post similar articles so that eventually they may make a strong enough impression on the broader community and bring about the much needed changes we yearn for.

  5. You can’t get an apartment for $100,000 all the way up north in Rechasim, much less in Kiryat Sefer. If you know of such a steal, let me know!

  6. What is the point? The point is that we who went into chinuch cannot marry off our kids! Thank you very much to all the Baal Habatim who made sure that we got ridiculous wages all the years….and now you too “claim” not to have money…hmmm… I still see outlandish vorts, and weddings…not to mention those necessary vacations mid-winter….hmmm…but we can’t pay any bills and our kids do not have new clothes….

    So you want us to give up teaching and go get a real job? Sure, but we never went to college…want to support us through college now, with all of our kids?? And by the way, if we do leave, who will teach your kids? Some 19 year old out of Seminary? Some 21 year old who will take off one seder from learning??? Can’t wait to see the results of that!
    Meanwhile, Rebbeim are having heart attacks or nervous breakdowns due to their situations….

    And while I am ranting, I am sick and tired of hearing about those poor rich people who now are embarrassed that they cannot keep up with the Jones’. I am so sorry for them… but hey, it is the life we chinuch people have always had. So see now for yourself how demeaning it is not to be able to buy food for shabbos, or a bike for your kids…or a stamp for an envelope….or buy your wife a new outfit for Yom Tov…see for yourself what it is like to walk around with holes in the soles of your shoes…see what it is like to say NO! to your kids for almost everything…no it is not pleasant at all.

    Most of the time we handle it – what is our choice at this point? But I get mad when it is throw in our face… and now with the parsha of shidduchim that is what is happening and it is just the whip cream on the cake as they say.

    AND by the way, you can only sell a good boy to the highest bidder if that boy does not want to stay in the chinuch world…it is extremely rare for a “sold” boy to stay in learning…the shver soon pushes him out to work! I only know of yechidim who are supported by rich shvers for a long time!!

  7. to #19 and all those unsophisticated enough not to “get this” – YOU are missing the point. #14 hit it right on the head. If anything, the comments here go to show us that the general readership of Matzav can only respons to low-brow entertainment/writing and fail in the extreme to comprehend things on a greater intellectual level befitting of those who claim to be learned.

  8. I actually think this is a very well written story and some of the other commenters need to think before they write nasty comments. I don’t know if I understand the authors intent, I can’t speak for her. It seems to me that while it’s a fictional story it is drawing parallels to the shidduch system in some communities and how a girl can get left out because she doesn’t have enough money and yichus. I can understand how someone would see this story as funny or sad but I don’t see why so many people are upset.

  9. Just because it is sad and frightening doesn’t make it any less true. I’m sorry so many readers didn’t “get” that. The purpose of satire is to exaggerate a social ill so that readers may be moved to fix the problem. So, NU?????

  10. Reading this hit a sore spot in my heart, and made my stomach churn. Myself, with 3 daughters of marriageable age, and not much money in hand, I wonder how my story will play out. I’m hearing now that even offering 100K is not such a “metzia”, and I should expect to pay at least 130K!

    Hashem who gave me these will wonderful daughters will surely make things work out in the best possible way. However the ride is not an easy one…

  11. why doesnt everyone get. This is what the shidduch scene is like, without the actual auction. If you think that this article is Nauseating then hello welcome to the real world. The shidduch scene became Nauseating! Is it normal that the cream of the crop boys of the next gen. yidishkeit are asking not $1000 for ten years, but $1700-$2000???!! if they are so special were is their emunah in Hashem that Hashem takes care? This scenario is 100% TRUE! Welcome to the real world.

  12. Its satire, but its bitter and pointed. Her point is succint and the intelligent readers here know good stuff when they see it.
    There are no good answers to this issue. I hope that someone gets a kick in the pants and works on a few shidduchim or davens a bit for the girl/boy down the block. Myself included.

  13. #’s 1-19
    You’re ALL right!
    It’s a joke, it’s stupid, disgusting, sad, disgraceful, embarassing, eye-opening, & yes, a satire. But the worst part is that it’s true. And anyone denying it just isn’t in the shiduch game yet. Wait, your turn will come. And we’re not yet talking about the extortion if the marriage CV doesn’t work out.

  14. “A skinny boy appears, in a wrinkled suit. He stands there alone. His parents are divorced, his father is abroad. He leans too close to the microphone, and his voice echoes through the auditorium, as he answers Hirsh’s questions. His stutter is audible, as he stammers out the answers. He isn’t a catch, by anyone’s standards.”

    This is nasty and mean sprited. How do you think skinny boys (or heavy girls!) children of divorced parents, and stutterers feel reading this? How can you set a price on Hashem’s children, and decide who has more or less value? I understand that this is meant to be satire, but please take into consideration the feelings of people who you clearly consider imperfect. This has no place on a frum site.

  15. This sad story or joke is so sad because it is the truth- and the truth HURTS!
    well this is the products of our wonderful society. Our children are led by their parents and ….. example.Our establishment are producing sell-able products not human beings. No way this is a sense of pride for klal yisroel!

  16. If you have single daughters and don’t protest the current system, you deserve what you get.

    EIN SOMCHIN AL HANEIS!!!

    If we turn it into an auction and you don’t have the cash, how do you exactly plan on getting your daughters married?

  17. what in the name of sam hill are the yeshivas putting out these days. of 27 comments only 5
    five or six understand what was being said

  18. I’m assuming that the people who didn’t get it don’t know much about marrying children off in Israel. This is exactly how it happens, minus the stage. Less convenient that way, really.

  19. To comment 27,
    you will manage with bitachon bitchon bitchon and davening and a bissle hishdaldus.

    I think these problems are mainly in the litvish world no? Seems in the chassidishe world they match kids accordingly to backgrounds and dont sell them market style. Not only that but both sides are expected to pay half half all the way on the full expenses down to the toaster oven.

  20. Love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! More people need to stand up to stop this nonsense!!! There is more to a girl than the amount of money her parents can provide!! thank you for addressing this point

  21. TO Comment #8 from In my opinion

    the answer is really in 7 words: “to be happy with what you have”

    if someone is happy with what they have, then they look to reasons to say YES, instead of reasons to say NO

  22. This article makes a good point. I actually got rejected by a guy because my parents were not willing to pay half of everything. The other side wanted that there should be no limit to the “half” that my parents pay. It’s just really sad how Yiddishkeit teaches us how we are all very special and unique individuals and that have so much potential and yet when it comes to shidduchim we are sold like cattle. For the people that don’t agree with the point this article is trying to make, please open your eyes and ears because you’re all living in lala land!

  23. THE SHIDUCH CRISIS THE PARENTS ALONE DO IT AND IST FOOD FOR THE SATAN!!! MI WIEW THE LADIES IS MORE VALUABLE THAN MEN CUZ SHE DEFINE THE IDISHKAIT THE BOY SORRY IST NOTHING BUT THEY WRAPS IN THE TORAH AT EXCUSES BUSHA!! THE GIRL IST THE FUTURE FROM KLAL ISRAEL AND YES THE LITVACK MACHO PUT HIGER THE BOYS AND IN THIS IS THE FAUL THE TEACHERS I HAVE A NIECE SHE WENT ON A CHASIDISHE SCHOOL AND HER MOM WANTED NOTHING MOORE A LITVICH SO SHE SEND HER IN A SEMINARY A TEACHER BRAIWASHED HER AND NOW SHE IST 35 YEAR STILL WAITHING THIS IST A CRIMEN THE ALL SO CALLED RABANIM FROM LEIKUD HAVE PLAI INFLATED EGO!!!!! TORAH JA MOSHE RABENU COME DOWN SEE WATH THE AMERICANS DO WITH THE HALIGUE TORAH AND BELIVE ME HE GO BACK WERE HE COMEONE THING WITHOUT GIRL NO KLAL ISRAEL!! NO MATTER HOW A BAT ISRAEL IS MUCH MUCH VALUABLE THEN BOY SORRY I HATE BOYS!!!

  24. Leah: Please do not SHOUT. CAPITAL LETTERS are more difficult to read than lower case.

    It might also help if you wrote in a known language; English would suffice.

  25. This post cut cruelly to the bone. As someone in chinuch who barely makes it month-to-month with daughters (not yet in the parsha) – the glib treatment of the matzav was a ‘punch in the stomach’. I’m so glad I first saw this AFTER Rosh Chodesh.

  26. Whether or not this is true is not the point.Those of you up in arms, instead of belittling klal yisroel, do something – red shidduchim. I am sure you can find lots of families with their priorities intact.

  27. If you think that looking for money is something that only boys’ parents do, you are mistaken. People for whom that is the focus (as well as those who are turn up their noses at skinny boys) are people you’d do well to avoid anyway. Be happy that they are identifying themselves!

  28. Perhaps this money should be put in escrow and be dispersed based on the boy’s performance. Let’s put the role of the man back to where it belongs.

  29. To the moderators:
    I am truly disgusted by what you choose to print and what you omit. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the comment I submitted, even if it’s not necessarily what you want to hear. I have seen far worse on this site. Shame on you for your narrow mindedness! For your information, it doesn’t say anywhere in the Torah that every bachur must stay in yeshivah forever, or mooch off the shver to enable him to do so. On the contrary, it strongly warns against marrying for money. There are also very clear halachos regarding the responsibilities of a husband to support his wife. If actual halachah does not suit your sensitivities, you have no business running a supposedly Torah site, and you should close up shop immediately!

  30. lakewood guy i couldn’t have said it better!
    And to allthose who are so disgusted by it, this article must have touched a sore spot, no?
    This satire truly depicts the shidduch scene today. Great job Matzav!

  31. THIS IS CERTAINLY ONE OF THE VERY, VERY, VERY BEST ARTICLES THAT HAVE BEEN PUBLISHED HERE AND IN THE YATED AND IN THE HAMODIA!!!

    IT REALLY, REALLY, REALLY HEAVILY SMACKS RIGHT IN THE FACE AND IT REALLY, REALLY, REALLY TOTALLY SMASHES RIGHT DOWN ALL OF THE SICK, MEAN, VICIOUS, OUTRIGHT WICKED “SHTICK” THAT IS BEING DONE IN SHIDDUCHIM TODAY!!!!

  32. At http://matzav.com/the-matzav-rant-tuition-and-seminary, I posted the following remark, which is exactly the same issue here.

    Both Matzav and the Yated have posted many excellent articles along with numerous excellent comments and letters to the editor about the Shidduch crises giving many different reasons for the problem.

    Specifically, at http://matzav.com/a-reader-writes-shidduchim-the-best-is-not-always-the-best and the comments there, there was discussed in detail the phenomenon of people wanting only what is “the top of the line,” and thereby wrongly rejecting many good shidduchim.

    In Comment #7 by Mr. “Rosh Yeshiva,” in Comment #12 by Mr.or Mrs. “Emes,” and in Comment #15 by Mr. or Mrs. “HAPPILLY MARRIED” at http://matzav.com/opinion-shidduch-crisis-dont-look-to-the-age-gap, there is brought out a similar problem of people demanding exorbitant money amounts.

    Now, we have added to this problematic picture the problem of countless parents — who do not have anywhere near the financial means for this — being compelled to spend ten or even twenty thousand dollars to send their daughters to seminary in Eretz Yisroel in order to give them the possibility to “get” a “good shidduch.”

    At http://matzav.com/opinion-frum-divorce-rate-is-up in Comment #14, I posted some remarks. They were quite sharp but were what desperately needs to be said about this issue, so I will say them again here.

    The underlying problem of these phenomenon is that of Ga’ava. What do I mean by Ga’ava? Please, allow me to relate the following.

    I was once privileged to briefly teach Parshas Noach to some children in a local yeshiva ketana. To this day, I have great regrets that AFTER the school year was over and the class was gone, I discovered what would have been an exceptionally superb visual aid for the students: an excellent picture of a modern day contemporary Nimrod.

    How did I come across this picture? Well, I was privileged to spend a Shabbos at the home of one of the rabbonim in the area; at the house was a set of the World Book Encyclopedia along with a number of its year book supplements, which I looked at. I am pretty sure that it was in the volume for the year 1987 that there was an article about divided countries. In that article was a really beautiful photograph. It was of a long, marble floored hallway; its far side wall is covered with a painted mural of an endless stretch of gray mountains against a backdrop of a pinkish colored sky. In the middle of the hall just inches off of the wall mural stands a huge — rising several feet above the peaks of the mountains in the mural — a huge white stone replica of a cube shaped fancy padded arm-chair. In the large white stone arm-chair is sitting a large white stone statue replica of the wicked leader of North Korea. (The same man who in a few years would be boasting that he was going to turn the capital city of South Korea “into a ’sea of fire’!!”)

    Yep! It was just beautiful! There was no need for a caption on it, for it itself clearly projected its own caption:

    “WHO AMONG THE GODS IS AS POWERFUL AS ME!!!”

    Yep! As long as our little Mikes and our little Johnnies — excuse me, our little Moshies and our little Chaiyimies, are taught to be Ba’alay Ga’ava — mean arrogant people, with the word “humility” totally not in their vocabulary, and as soon as one of them can say a little “Chabura” applying a sevara of Rav Chaiyim to a peshat in a Tosafos, he is suddenly a little “Rosh Yeshiva” who can thus parade around the Beis HaMedrosh with the air of: “WHO AMONG THE GODS IS AS GREAT AS ME!!” And of course, of course, of course he WILL get a very, very, very, good, best of the best of the best shidduch, with one million dollars being on the “low end” of the scale!

    Then, obviously, Chas V’Shalom, their rebbe is not Rav Moshe Feinstein or Moshe Maimonidies or Moshe Rabaynu! Obviously, Chas V’Shalom, L’havdil, their “rebbe” is the dictator of North Korea or one of the dictators of Medieval Europe or one of the dictators of ancient Rome or one of the dictators of ancient Babylon or Nimrod and the like.

    Then, obviously, Chas V’Shalom, we are NOT creating Bnei Torah — we are creating TERRIBLE MONSTERS!!!

    And, along with our spending ten or even twenty thousand dollars to send our daughters to seminary in Eretz Yisroel, and along with our putting out one hundred thousand or one million or even two million dollars for the holy, holy, holy, dowries, we will also need to spend fifty thousand dollars or even one hundred thousand dollars for FACE OPERATIONS! Yes, to make it all perfectly perfect, our daughters and our sons, whom we have all raised up to be such superb Ba’alay Ga’ava, will need to HAVE SURGERY — to move their arrogant noses to way up above on top of their heads!!

  33. Wow. Maybe because I am from “out of town” (HATE that term) I was unaware that I am actually ENTITLED to exorbitant sums of money from my future in-laws, especially if I choose not to support myself, and that my decision on whom to marry should be based purely on financial and learning-time reasons, and not anything that actually matters such as enjoyment of the other person’s company, whether I find her likable, and her possession of personality traits that I think complement me well and are appropriate for the type of home/family I want, etc.

    Listen, if a family lets a guy marry their daughter, that’s about the most he can ask of them. And anyway the man should be paying the woman’s family and not vice versa because he needs her more than she needs him.

    There seem to be a lot of people who aren’t thinking.

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