Unraveling the Shidduch Crisis: A Fresh Perspective


shidduchimBy Avrumi Weinberger

In this short essay, I will not assault your senses with ominous graphs and dire predictions about the state of what has been dubbed  the “Shidduch Crisis” that is currently plaguing the American/Yeshivish community. Rather, I would like to focus on a different community, namely the Chassidish community and explore the reasons why the crisis doesn’t exist there. Whenever there is a problem, it is always helpful to explore if there is a model of success one can follow in which the problem doesn’t exist and to examine the reasons for that and to hopefully utilize and implement them.

Much has been written on the subject in recent months and it is encouraging that so many people are contributing with so many different perspectives and ideas. Yet, it seems that the one avenue that should have been explored with more depth has been largely ignored. No doubt, a fear of the unknown and a natural aversion to foreign social changes have contributed to this lack of interest. But an honest community that wishes to save itself from this horrifying trend must confront the difficult realities that helped spurn it on and seriously contemplate solutions, however difficult they may be so as extricate itself from its visceral grip.

1) I would like to start with the misguided idea that has been expressed of late in many different venues, that “to become a true ben Torah takes several very solid years of learning at a beis medrash level (about five or six years post high school)”, not because it is the most important issue, but rather because it seems to be the most absurd. Aside for there being no historical or Halachic precedent (see below) for this idea, it is also factually untrue. I would encourage  everyone to visit the hundreds of chassidishe kollelim that are scattered throughout the tri-state area and beyond, such as Skver, Belz, Vizhnitz, Satmar, Ger, Bobov and many more. There you will find thousands upon thousands of strongly committed bnei Torah whose extraordinary scholastic achievements are readily available in the form of hundreds of sefarim, Torah journals, kovtzim and periodicals. The vast majority of these young men were married by the age of 19-20.

Besides, to claim otherwise is contrary to daas Torah. The Gemara in Kiddushin 29b clearly states that one must not marry later than age 20. The reason given is that the longer one waits to marry the more prone he is to improper machshavos, and this has obviously never been more true than in our morally depraved generation. We see that Chazal prioritized quality of learning over quantity of learning. This halacha is brought down in the Shulchan Aruch (E”h ch.1 se.3). The only hetter given is if someone feels that if he marries he will not be able to learn because he will have to provide for his family. But that is largely inapplicable in today’s generation for two reasons, a) the Beis Shmuel (ibid.) rules that it is only true when one is certain that his yetzer hara will not get the better of him, which would be a dishonest and quite delusional assumption for any 20 year old to make in 2014 America and, b) all of the so-called “learning boys” demand full support from their parents and in-laws so they will not end up having to provide for their families anyway.

2) Another attitude which seems to be the conventional wisdom in the yeshivish community is that boys are just not mature before age 23. However, may I suggest that the reason that is so is precisely because they do not get married at an earlier age. You may be raising an eyebrow or two but any chassidishe young man or woman knows exactly what I’m talking about. The average 18 year old chassidishe bachur knows that it is but a matter of time before he is “on the market”. That thought alone can serve to thoroughly sober anyone up. As a result, even 17 year old boys are more serious because the idea of getting married is already on the not-so-distant horizon.  I again invite you to visit a chassidishe kollel, for there you will find that the majority of the young men (ages 19 and up) are on the most part, very refined, responsible, disciplined and thoughtful individuals.  Chassidishe Yeshivos (at least the ones I attended) greatly stress the importance of having respect for another human being and of having a significant but not too large a dose of self respect and to know that the eyes of the world are on an ehrliche Yid and that he has to conduct himself as such.

In addition, a chassidishe chosson goes through intensive pre-marriage counseling, is offered books and comprehensive lectures on the various pertaining subjects and thus enters the marriage with a heightened sense of awareness and responsibility. There are numerous workshops for chassanim that cover a vast array of topics, ranging from Shalom Bayis to economics.

However, if the boys don’t even begin thinking of marriage and responsibility until age 22-23 then yes, a 19 year old will be on the same maturity wavelength as a 16 year old. Hence my suggestion: stop treating your 18-19 year olds as two year olds and they will naturally reciprocate.

The oft repeated and uneducated refrain that making boys marry earlier may lead to shalom bayis related problems has finally been laid to rest in last week’s edition of Mishpacha Magazine (Issue 531 p.23). In a guest article, Rabbi Moshe Pogrow, Director of the North American Shidduch Initiatve (NASI) Project writes as follows:

“… I reached out to Shalom Task Force (an organization that deals with domestic abuse within the greater Orthodox community) and asked them whether, based on their vast involvement and expertise in dealing with  shalom bayis issues, they would say that boys getting married at 22 are more likely to end up in marriages with issues than those who marry at 23. Their unequivocal answer was that they have absolutely no reason to think so and they had no reason to discourage the efforts for this adjustment in our community (emphasis is mine).”

Obviously, the NASI Project is attempting to implement small changes one step at a time, the point is still clear, and collective experience by the Chassidish community bears witness to that fact.

3) Not everyone is going to grow up be a “ben Torah”. That is just the way Hashem created the world. We  in the Chassidish community try to raise our sons to be ehrliche Yidden for that is what Hashem wants of us. Therefore, we don’t prepare our daughters to marry the Reb Akiva Eiger of this generation as do the many seminaries that most American/yeshivish girls attend. Rather, we prepare them to be ehrliche, G-d fearing b’nos Yisrael who will be equipped to provide a safe, nourishing and homey mikdosh me’at in which they will be able to raise the next generation of ehriche Yidden. This approach, if adopted by the yeshivish community, will no doubt help alleviate the Shidduch Crisis. It will eliminate many of the unreasonable expectations that (many mediocre) girls have of (equally mediocre) boys, and it will allow mothers to stop pretending that their sons are anything but what they really are. It will also eviscerate the “two year” “five year” “ten year” learner labels that have no substantive value and will rather place the focus on the important issues such as yiras shomayim, middos, etc.

4) We in the Chassidish community have not allowed for non-Jewish dating practices to infiltrate our society and mesorah (such as romanticizing the dating and engagement process which some have poorly euphemized as “chemistry”, “proposing” etc.). This point cannot be overstated. These practices are tearing apart at the kedusha and innocence of our children. I need say no more. Any shadchan, though they may not overtly denounce these practices, will readily attest that that is ultimately the biggest hindrance and impediment to successfully concluding a shidduch.

I strongly urge that the leaders of the American yeshivish community consider these (not so radical) ideas and to make an honest cheshbon hanefesh as to the true reasons behind the Shidduch Crisis and how they can be fixed.

{Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. Don’t totally agree with these points. I think that you need to add that the guys who are working shouldn’t be considered am haraztzim. Many yeshivish girls refuse to consider these guys.
    In regards to romanticizing the dating process, well that’s how the non-yeshivish community is set up and we are not as sheltered. In theory you’re right but it will never happen.
    And please stop with the age- how is that going to help all the 25+ year old girls get married? Most want to date older. Which would be fine as long as they are open minded. There is a lot of rejecting done by these girls in the age group

  2. 1) I will not go into the differences between the two communities, but the position of the Yeshivish community is based on the the same Gemara, as there are two schools of thought, and is brought down in several places in the writings of the Chofetz Chaim. Once a bochur is married, it is more difficult dedicate the amount of time and energy required to become a Talmid Chochom
    2)In my experience, Yeshivish boys when they are ready to be married are more independent minded than Chasidic, and I would like to know if the amount of issues in the Chasidic community is lower than the Yeshivish community
    3) It is incumbent upon all to aspire to become Bnei Torah, even if they eventually do other things. I am a product of the Yeshiva world, and and maintain a number of professional certifications. I attribute the fact I have a desire to learn more than just a daf yomi daily to the fact I spent a couple of years after high school in a full time yeshiva enviroment
    4) This is also not necessarily true. The Yeshiva approach is also based on mesorah, and has roots in Gemara sources, as noted in R’ Falk’s book on the Choson and Kalla during engagement (I am not discussing dating too much – rather the concept)
    5) As noted awhile back on this website, there is a shidduch crises amongst the Chassidim, as there are a number of older boys. To fault the Yeshiva system, run by Gedolei Hador, and say the Chasidic system is perfect, is untrue and biased

  3. Excelent post.
    I want to point out that the goyim recently tried the Chassidush way of dating. A program was produced were 3 couples were married immediately (even without seeing each other) based upon psych evaluations.
    Two of the couples are still together.
    I’m a litvak who is convinced the chassidum know what they are doing

  4. sorry but..bad machshavos don’t help people to get married sooner,you cant dictate an age for people to be married by, it takes two remember?; not everyone demands full support or actually get it if they do; daas torah means asking YOUR rebbe;

  5. Why is everyone and. Anyones oponion stated except rav chaim kanievsky rav shteinman rav reuvain feinstein? Shouldn’t we. Be following the gedolim?

  6. Daas Torah does not mean the ability to quote a source. Daas Torah is the totality of the Torah’s approach to a topic. It is said that when the Ro”sh said v’nireh li, that is better that when he brings a raya. when there is a source, then one place in the Torah indicates that pshat. But when the Ro’Sh says v’nireh li, that means his entire daas Torah knows this to be true.

    When one says that the hanhagah that gedolei Yisroel have instilled into their talmidim is a “claim . . . contrary to Daas Torah” because he found a gemara in Kiddushin that virtually every 15 year old knows, he totally misunderstands what Daas Torah really means.

    Rabbi Pogrow is a man who’s heart is surely in the right place. But he is also a man with an agenda and is on a mission. to quote his article as an objective source is a bit weak.

  7. You are absolutely correct on all four points. Unfortunately, this will never happen because they all need to be implimented together and nos. 3 and 4, and to a limiited extent no. 1, ask for nothing less than the dismantling of the current litvishe “derech.”

    But kudos to you for analyzing the issues and crystalizing the solutions. Conventional wisdom notwithstanding, the Chassidishe community is far more advanced and sophisticated in the area of shidduchim. The burden of proof is now on the non-Chassidishe community to explain why we shouldn’t be more “like them.”

  8. COuld not have said it better!!!

    BTW, the Yeshiva world never “dated girls”, its a new phenomenon!!!!

    Marriage is work, and the more work you put into to it, the greater the reward.

    Reb Moshe writes (in drash moshe) if people were to believe that their wife is given to them by Hashem, and its the best thing for them, they would not have Sholom Bayis problems!!

  9. Excellent article.
    I would also add that the issue being swept under the rug and never mentioned in the community crying about the shidduch crisis, is the extreme pickiness of the older singles. This creates difficulties any would-be shadchan can describe to you after trying to get them to consider going on a date.
    In response to another article (dated Monday, October 27) on shidduchim, a poster named “Curious” wrote about Singles who demand more than they ought to, singles who turn down a date or a second date for the flimsiest of reasons…
    This illness preventing many older singles from marrying their bashert, would at least partially be cured if community members would read paragraph #4 above, and make some changes in current dating practices.

  10. An absolutely amazing article!! I agree with every single point made by the author, and sincerely hope that many more people will read this essay and see the light. There really shouldn’t be such a shidduch crisis, and I think that once people will start leaving their “mishugassen” behind and start focusing on what is really important in a Jewish home, it will be so much easier for everyone to find their basherte.

    Kudos for a fantastic essay!

  11. Bravo!! Finally someone speaks the truth. It is obvious that all the pundits are in agreement that the “shidduch crisis” is not applicable to the Chasidish and even Litvish crowd of E”Y.
    It is something unique to the American “Bnei Torah” community. That’s called “creating your own problem”.
    Your point on the acceptance of the “non-Jewish dating practices” is also a direct hit. One truly wonders how that crept into the Yeshivish society, and thus infecting the entire community.
    Well said, and abolutely all true.
    Time to return to our “mesora”, as those that continue with the mesora, don’t seem to have these problems B”H.

  12. How about this !

    I have a NEW idea!

    A “Takana”!

    The Takana will be….

    All shadcunim get a FLAT fee.

    This way they will not be chasing only the RICH.

    And all will get an equal chance!!

  13. make a takona that support is not negotiated up front and there will be no more crisis. try it for 6 months and you will see. its not how old the body but how deep the pockets are

  14. this article is based on the premise that there is not crisis within the Chassidishe shidduch world. That is patently false. I have lists of boys who need shidduchim. It happens to be that within the Yeshivish world the crisis is hurting the girls. Within Chassidish circles it is many boys who are suffering.

  15. You can argue the validity of some or all the points mentioned. However, this article makes no mention of the rate of “adults at risk” in chassidishe communities. I’m not sure that just because there is no “shidduch crisis” that everything is hunky-dorie after the chasuna…

  16. I also heard that there is an issue with older boys in the chassidish community.
    There was an article recently about chassidish leaders meeting to confront the issue of older boys in their community.
    So perhaps the genders are just reversed from chassidish to litvish

  17. While the overall message of the article is correct, here is one important fact that the writer missed…


    So contrary to what was written, the chassidim do have a shidduch problem, with their boys, (albeit not as serious as the litvishe problem).

    The reason for this is more bachurim than girls in the chassidishe oilam because the boys begin too early. In essence a reverse age gap issue.

    Just saying…

  18. Really folks. Who are we aiming to please? Torah or our own fetish for a perfect future. Torah is not going to marry every child right out of the yeshiva. And Torah is not going to be your stepping stone to a better future if you do not perform the mitzvah.

    So this shidduch crisis suggested is just men who fear the reasoning of last resort over their own fear of G-d.

    This is not Torah and our future is in G-ds hands. Not the shadchan and not the merit of every student we wish to see at the chuppah.

    Give yourself some credit though. This is incredibly funny to see that so many are afraid that the waters of heaven are restricted! We are very much tasting different days where this new age has difficult meetings and difficult experiences.

    And by that, we may even grow higher in Torah ourselves.


  19. There is a shidduch problem by the Chasiddim also. It is just not advertised. There the girls have the upper hand. I just had a discussion with my chasidish friend . Her son is 19 and she keeps on calling shadchanim. They all say the have tons of boys but no girls.

  20. Another smokescreen article written by an anonymous author.

    We’re making ourselves and everyone around us crazy to try and trying to guilt trip the world to overhaul an entire system and schedule of the boys education that has been in place for 45+ years,

    All for what?

    We are told , it is to balance out the number of girls to get it equal to the number of boys , so that a generation of girls will not remain single for life.

    What if instead , we got the girls to postpone dating till the same age or close in age to the boys? Would that not be easier? And at the same time give them a chance to earn some money to start out on an easier financial path once they do marry?

    But no! They need to start dating at 18/19 immediately off the plane from Israel.

    So who are we doing all this for? A bunch of girls and their families who will not to anything collectively to help themselves and their own cause by postponing dating?

    Sure ! why not? Let’s blame everything on the boys and they mothers!

    What a sham !!

  21. Even Ezer 1:3 Only someone with ALL 3 qualifications may delay learning A-)Immersed in learning as Rav Shach explains going to sleep with a Torah question & getting up with the answer.(who learns like that?)
    AND B-)He is afraid he will not have “food”,(between family,wife, and Feter Shmuel`s programs everyone has food.)
    AND C-)His yaitzer is not misgaber on him.(the Chazoin Ish said “who can say that on himself.)
    Above halacha clarification is taken from kuntris Torah Betohara written by Rabbi Krohn with the Haskoma of Reb Kaniesky Shlita. A PDF of this is available at 21Libbi@gmail.com Years ago people were very poor and were not able to learn after they got married. Today anyone can learn a few years after the Chasuna.We have no Halacha heter to go shtieg in Erets Yisroel thus causing 15% of Bnos Yisroel staying single.
    Thanks to Matzav for printing this beautiful article fron Avrumi Wienberger
    Lman Bnos Yisroel
    Yisroel L.

  22. we need some proof that the age gap is causing the shidduch crisis.

    take the 3 minute survey at bit.do/shidduch and help the community get some facts.

  23. “There is a shidduch problem by the Chasiddim also. It is just not advertised. There the girls have the upper hand. I just had a discussion with my chasidish friend . Her son is 19 and she keeps on calling shadchanim. They all say the have tons of boys but no girls.”
    Let him take a litvishe girl, he won’t know the difference anyway.

  24. The article is not claiming that there are no boys/girls in the Chassidish crowd that are having problems doing shidduchim – that would be ludicrous. What he IS saying is that there is no crisis. That’s because the majority follows the mesora and gets married as indicated by the halacha. It works by and large (no more divorces than by the Yeshivesh crowd) and there is no crisis. Contrast that with the American Yeshivesh crowd that has a major crisis.

  25. @ #37 let’s see you marry your daughter to a chasidish boy.

    I looked at the survey at bit.do/shidduch what do you make of it? Is there really no data to back up the crisis?

  26. ” I would encourage everyone to visit the hundreds of chassidishe kollelim that are scattered throughout the tri-state area and beyond, such as Skver, Belz, Vizhnitz, Satmar, Ger, Bobov and many more.”
    For some reason Lakewood is the biggest and most successful Kollel… So let’ss first look there and see how its done.
    This essay was written with audassity. Audassity of someone that thinks he has all the answers. I have seen from the inside the ravages of Chassidic youngsters that got married tasted freedom and divorced and went off the derech. Hundreds. Shtreimel on shabbos but no tefillin during the week!
    I cha”v am not bashing Chassidim- they are all wonderful and fill the lives of their adherents with Kedusha… YET no one conered the market in Yiddishkeit! Some should learn Torah and those that need or find fulfillment in Chassidus should do that.
    Your brazen statment that this or that way of life is right is preposterous silly and shallow at best.

  27. We put too many roadblocks in our paths. Here are a few to think about:
    1. date having same name as parent- see a Rav (dates are rejected needlessly when only on this premise) 2. date coming from a BT background (dates are rejected even when the person is fully frum)

  28. If you boy really understood the q’dushah of Q’dushim, how could this challenge exist?

    One comment above hints at a third approach. It has even worked for goy’im.

    Two sets of mature, stable, devout PARENTS! Focused on their child and its needs. Finding a suitable candidate, they “sell” to their child. Sheqer Khayn v’Khevel yofi. Young people are immature “above the belt” (a big key for the yetzer ha-r’a. And shadchanim have so many business and client pressures. Marriages fail because parents and shadchanim (AND “spiritual advisers”) have failed. Yir’eh should precede Ahavah in any situation.

    The author’s intelligence and fluency are terrific. Kol ha-Kavod. “STaM Yidden” is an insightful expression.

  29. One of the reasons it works so well by the chassidim is that generally the boy and girl come from the same community and have the same hashkafas. they both share the same rebbe, same minhagim and generally have the same idea of how they want to be mechanech their kids and how they want their homes to look.

    Until you have that kind of uniformity in the yeshivish world you can’t start.

  30. I might add that a trade-off for getting married early should be modest weddings and use the savings to support the couple for more time.

  31. The shidduch crisis of 15% of girls staying single does not exist by brand name Chasidim as mentioned in the article. It does not exist by followers of the Chazoin Ish where boys & girls start shidduchim @ 18. It does not exist by Yeshivish in Erets Yisroel where boys & girls start shidduchim at 20. Nor does it exist in Europe where both start at age 20. It`s a man made tragedy in America only, because boys start only at 23. Is it only the American stupids that are not ready until 23? Or is it the American goyishkiet that got into the system under the name of shtieging???

  32. This article is so so true, and every word of it, but it has to start where the parents of the boy or girl has to bring them up with this setting that we are going to find a ehrliche spouse for you, without you doing this stupid every day and night dating meshigaas, which is against every ounce of kedishe one is supposed to have, and then after the parents do their research and present their choice to their child, he or she meets and talk and see if it’s a fit, which it will probably be, same as in the chasidishe world, and then all these shidduch problems will gradually disappear

  33. Rediculous!

    1. There was just a major shadchan meeting to resolve the chassidish crisis – too many boys.

    2. The problem in the Litvish world is not that there are too many boys learning, in fact, most of the problem is that too many girls WANT a boy who is learning and there arent enough boys filling the need.

    Those of you who dont want to learn – no problem. Hashem has your zivug. But don;t tell other what they should want & what they shouldn’t want.

    3. The Chasidish world has a higher divorce rate – so I would exactly encourage their dating system


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