The Matzav Shmooze: Give Due Respect Even if (Shidduch) Crisis is the Topic

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Dear Editor,

Reb Yaakov Goldberg of Lakewood, NJ recently wrote a letter to Matzav about the shidduch crisis entitled “Telling the Rough Truth About the Shidduch Crisis.” In it, he made two primary points. 1) Parents who act picky when it comes to suggestions offered for their boys should not complain when they face difficulty with their daughters. 2) The policy of “no dating for three months” is a big part of the problem. Much can and has been said (as we all know) about this topic in general, but, for the moment, it is important to make a particular point.

While the input of shadchanim is most certainly important in addressing the challenge of the shidduch crisis, it is not fitting for a shadchan to make a statement that essentially accuses people of committing a “gezeiras Paroh.” Even were we to accept Reb Yaakov Goldberg’s argument (which is certainly debatable), it seems to be an unacceptable act of disrespect to voice that opinion publicly, and certainly in the manner that it was expressed.

If institutions employ a “no dating for three months” policy, doesn’t it behoove us to at the very least give them the benefit of the doubt that they have good reasons for instituting and enforcing that policy? Isn’t that the very least that is demanded of us as Torah-true Jews?

Is this to say that they are necessarily infallible? That if something seems questionable we should not even bother to ask? HaGaon Rav Yaakov Weinberg zt”l held not. He stated, unequivocally, that an individual’s status being amongst the rank and file is not a reason to withhold voicing one’s concerns, questions, or even suggestions.

However, and this is the operative point at hand, common courtesy mandates that this be done in a respectful manner. Without accusations. Without arrogant assumption that “I know better.” And certainly without public proclamations of condemnation. Rather, humble-toned, private conversations are the right way to go about bringing up one’s concerns, questions, or suggestions to just about anyone.

Although it is evident that Reb Yaakov Goldberg was speaking out of genuine concern for Klal Yisroel, it seems that his empathy for the pain of all those struggling with the shidduch crisis brought him to speak in a manner that he probably did not intend.

Yehoshua Berman

Ramat Bet Shemesh

17 COMMENTS

  1. You are right that respect necessary, however it’s still a very very wrong thing to push off bochurim from gettin married. The tone isn’t everything. What matters i whats right.

  2. Well maybe just maybe, the internet is not the place to have these kinds of discussions. The internet is open and exposed to anyone and everyone. What, you were expecting only responses that show true derech eretz? I mean come on, do you really think that someone has serious shailos regarding marrying off a child and he will go on the internet to get aitzos??? “Oh, I haven’t thought of that”. “Let me try that”. Please! These issues have always been dealt with, privately.

  3. humble, private conversations have done NOTHING to fix the problem. The way of our community is to shut down discussion and to cloak the issue as a question of proper respect. This, in effect, shields everyone from criticism (r. Weinberg’s opinion notwithstanding). Everyone seems to agree that IN THEORY leaders are not infallible, but they are treated that way and anybody giving voice to genuine concerns is silenced right away. Things won’t change until the people with vested interests are called to account. (NOTE: I do not expect this comment to be posted, but maybe)

  4. 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.

  5. Opening the lockdown early for girls who are 21 and/or Out of Town will have a monumental impact on the shidduch crisis.

    900 guys a year will have their choice, no pressure, stay in the lockdown until tu bshvat/rosh chodesh av, or date a girl who is 21 plus or from OOT Chanuka/Shavuous time.

    THIS is the single biggest yeshua for all OOT communities. 1000x’s more effective than anything and everything they have tried to date (no pun intended).

    I pray for the day it happens.

  6. I stand with Yankel. Too many picky people out there want to marry a list, not a person. The proper way to discuss this is any way that will stop the problem. Too many are sitting waiting and too many OOT are sitting and waiting.

    I met a few that just up and found their own and told the parents to live with it. Is that what we want?

  7. We want mature Bnai Torah who are ready for marriage. The fact is that the boys get off the plane in a fog of “bachurdom”. They need time to get back in to the flow of America, of living between balebatim, of interacting with their families and communities. At the same time, they need to re-establish their learning situation. The three months wisely allocated to this period of re-entry has been proven to be brilliant. The overall ruach has been uplifted as the “shiduch market” aspect of being back in the US has taken a back seat to the growth of the bachurim in learning which is what should be the priority and what every Bais Yaakov girl should be thankful for.

    The suggestion that there be a dispensation to allow newly arrived boys to see girls of 21 or over is a wonderful idea. It has likewise been suggested that there be a similar allowance for local girls since a boy can be at their doorstep by 8pm without having to miss second seder. The OOT girls are certainly worthy of our concern but I don’t think the fix is to be found in a freezer exemption. Their problem is that it takes two days of time and $500 in expenses to create a single date. Obviously, a boys parents will prefer to try a local girl first.

    May those who are seeking zivugim be granted the siyata dishmaya to celebrate their bayis ne’eman at the right time, in the right place and with the right partner.

  8. The issue will not be resolved by blame, nor will it resolve easily, if ever. This shidduch crisis is a social response created by a society bent on numerous demands and unreasonable expectations. It reflects us in the stages of getting married and sadly, in many cases, on the way out of marriage. It is no one yeshivas fault, it just is. We all need to try to help individuals get married. In our society a shadchan is a powerful role to play. If we just deflect the blame onto someone or something it might make us feel better but it will not resolve anything. We tend to think that one person or one organization can solve all the bills that haunt us. But it is time to wake up and realize the truth. Only responsible, socially normal, acceptable standards will let out children understand and grow to be just that. Our hishtadlus is to do the beat we can.

  9. “HaGaon Rav Yaakov Weinberg zt”l held not. He stated, unequivocally, that an individual’s status being amongst the rank and file is not a reason to withhold voicing one’s concerns, questions, or even suggestions”

    Is this recorded? What was context? Parameters? Can rank and file challenge?

  10. 1.With all this talk about why we have a shidduch crisis, and what to do to fix….NEVER forget that the Ribono Shel Olam runs this world, and the shidduch crisis was foresure not put there so we can sometimes say things and act in ways that maybe we wouldn’t normally.
    2. Maybe, just maybe our problem is not technical but rather a spiritual one.
    3. Anyone who is a real Ben Torah knows that the LOCKDOWN is the #1 best thing for a boy who really wants to shteig.

  11. “HaGaon Rav Yaakov Weinberg zt”l held not. He stated, unequivocally, that an individual’s status being amongst the rank and file is not a reason to withhold voicing one’s concerns, questions, or even suggestions”

    Halevai,this is finally being emphasized

    ‘Is this recorded? What was context? Parameters? Can rank and file challenge?’

    Let the discussion start .Wonderful

    Halevai,this will start be being emphasized

  12. FACT: When 4 boys turn 23, 5 girls turn 19. This feeds 20% more girls than boys, year after year, after year, after year .
    As long as this Minhag of starting at age 23 goes on the crisis goes on. When boys will listen to Hashem and listen to Shidduchim at a younger age the crisis will Be`Ezras Hashem be over.
    Lman Bnos Yisroel

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