The Matzav Rant: The True Crisis and Why Our Crises Are Interrelated

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matzav_networkBy Shmuel Miskin,

Among the recent topics that have generated much debate are seminaries in Eretz Yisroel and the amount of work that is given to frum high school girls. During a discussion of these and other crises with a colleague of mind, I postulated that, in truth, many, if not all, of our crises – yes, even the shidduch crisis – are interrelated.

Think about it like this.

Regarding the high school studying “crisis,” many have bemoaned the fact that girls are shteiging into the wee hours of the morning as if they’re preparing to become the gedolim of the next generation, or at least their future husbands’ chavrusos. However, what is the reason and the root cause of all this?

Why are the schools doing this?

Why would they subject our bnos Yisroel to what most of us agree is way beyond necessary, at the least, and possibly harmful and detrimental at worst?

The answer, in the words of one parent: “How else do you think she is going to get accepted into the best seminaries in Eretz Yisroel?”

I know of a girl who, after making a decision about which seminary in Eretz Yisroel to attend, was pressured by her high school hanhala to switch to a different, “more prestigious” seminary.  The school was concerned that if she wouldn’t make the switch, that seminary would not accept as many applicants from their high school in the future.

Let’s just face it. As long as we keep supporting the Eretz Yisroel seminary movement, all of our Bais Yaakov high school administrators will continue to push their teachers to pressure our girls to know every RambanOhr HachayimKli Yokor, etc, so that their school will have the largest roster in the best seminaries.

Now, to get to the point of today’s column, let’s apply this on a broader scale.

Your child is 4 or 5 years old. You are looking for a school for him or her. Which school? The best one. Why? Because, down the road, when it comes to getting accepted into a high school or mesivta – and of course you want to get into the best one – you’ll have to have a solid elementary school on your child’s résumé.

So, your child goes through elementary and now high school – only the best ones, of course. You are now faced with the next step. For a boy, he must go to the best bais medrash-level yeshiva, or, if he’s ready to go to Eretz Yisroel (assuming he is not staying near home and is not the type to be going to schooling), he has to get into Brisk, Rav Sholom Schechter or whichever other yeshiva you think is the best.

Hopefully, he gets in, because his next step, whether it is BMG in Lakewood or somewhere else, will be much easier if he got into a top yeshiva in Eretz Yisroel. For shidduchim, of course, it’ll probably better to go to Lakewood, lest someone ask, “Why didn’t he go to Lakewood? Is there something wrong?”

On the girl’s side, she better get into BJJ, Hadar or wherever, because when it comes to shidduchim, you want to be able to answer that question in the affirmative. I mean, can you imagine if, G-d forbid, she stayed behind to attend Bais Yaakov Intensive in Boro Park? Wow, what a terrible mistake that would be, right?

“Is she a neb? I mean, I heard she’s a nice girl, but should I subject my son to a girl who didn’t go to Eretz Yisroel? I mean, what will people say? People know we only look for the best.”

Moving right along, we come to shidduchim. Both the boy and the girl come prepared with that résumé they’d been working so hard to compile basically their whole lives. They went to the “best” yeshivos and schools, slaved away during high school, and did umpteen other things to create their “reputation.”

In looking for a shidduch, once again, only the “best” and the most “prestigious” will do. I mean, what will people say otherwise? What kind of affect could a regular run-of-the-mill shidduch have on the long-term wellbeing of the family? It could be a disaster.

So, shadchanim quickly get the message: only the best. No, it doesn’t necessarily mean money, but it has to have ‘chashivus.’ A nice boy or a nice girl won’t suffice.

Fine. They look, the date, they marry. Boruch Hashem. Mazel tov. Lots of nachas and gezunt.

What happens now? The cycle starts all over again. Where to live, what school to send the children to, where to daven, what to do, etc., are all decided based on status. What will people say if I send my child to this-and-this yeshiva?

Everything’s got to be tops. Only the best. The cream of the crop. You don’t want to, chas veshalom, be thought of as nebby, second rate, or anything like that. That would be a travesty.

Do we realize what we’ve created?

{Shmuel Newscenter}


  1. The girls are good kids. The bochorim are mainly damaged material. We have raised them on a plateau that they don’t deserve. Most and I say most cannot learn. When I say learn, remember, if someone can learn a blatt gemorah, that does not mean he can learn and is a talmud chochom. Learning means finished 10 – 15 mesechtos, with the meforshim, etc.

    Boys should be put back in their place. They should have to beg and plead that our wonderful eidaleh girls should want to marry these pompous individuals who happen to be wearing pants.

  2. #1: I agree with you about the boys. However, the girls are taught that those are the only boys worth marrying. The girls need to be taught that there’s nothing wrong with marrying a boy who works to support his family.

  3. I am currently learning in BMG and I must agree with Flatbush Bubby. I am a “great guy” I am a “catch” if you can even get my parents to agree for you to date me you must be “High Society”. For this reason I have the shadchanim call my Rebbi and by-pass my parents.

  4. I agree with you Flatbush Bubby. There are many more “GOOD” girls out there than “GOOD” boys. That’s from a father of both.

  5. Frankly I am tired of all these schools ridiculous standards. We only want the best, top of the class. In other words, it stopped bing about Chinuch a long time ago. Its this-I am running a business and I need to have the top name-whats in it for me-sick-what about all the average students-cant we be mechanech them-maybe the gvirim should make it clear I only give where you service all Kids not just the bright ones-maybe then we will see a change from this sick gaava

  6. everyone already has they’re zivug made by Hashem 40 days Before they are born. but to find her/him a person needs to prove that he/she is ready to be with him/her and be a role model together to raise a family in the right ways starting from right after they leave the chuppa of they’re wedding. Then Hashem can send a shadchan agent to match them up

  7. B’h my husband was like one of these boys. I did go to a top girls high school and decided to go to a less academic seminary in Israel against my school’s wishes. They tried very hard to get me to go to a more prestigious seminary but I didn’t want to. When I dated my husband he asked me why I choose the seminary that I went to. I explained the reasons and not only did he understand my reasoning but he agreed with it also

  8. 2 of my daughters went to 2 different High Schools and both gave much too much work. One was taking 19 subjects at once! Ridiculous.
    And why is it this way (in all the schools)? Because they want to compete with each other.
    There should be public outcry by Rabonim and laymen alike. All the girl High Schools should lower the burden on the young ladies. Allow them to spend more time helping out at home and getting a good night’s rest.

  9. The title of this article is “The True Crisis- and Why They Are Interrelated.” For me the true crisis is that so many people allowing others to choose the path they should take, and not doing what is best for oneself. Whether it is choosing a school, camp,or seminary, it seems to be most important to pick the “best.” There is no “best” only what works for each individual.
    As for the boys: How would you feel if you were an eight year old boy struggling in yeshiva and you were told that the “best” thing to do for a good part of your life is to “learn.” Is it any wonder that there are so many problems? A mature person will try and find the path that works best for him; not what works best for others.

  10. Maybe some of us choose the best yeshivos, having nothing to do with shidduchim!? Maybe we just want our children to have the world open to them down the road, and simply want thme to be as prepared as possible…! And I’m not only referring to limudey kodesh (I am NOT from Lakewood)

  11. This article is a complete waste of time because it’ll never change! The situation is completely out of control. It is not important to me that my daughter know how to learn a Ramban and other Meforshim. Let her read the “Medrash Says” and hear hashkafa outside. We can talk till we are blue in the face.

    Any ideas for real change??

  12. Our son attended Skokie Yeshiva (HTC) for high school, KBY for two years after high school, and back to HTC for Beis HaMedrash and college when he came back.

    He is now a Charedi Posek in a suburb of Bet Shemesh, Runs a night kollel in another suburb of Bet Shemsh, and a paid Shoel U’Meishiv in the Mir (Yerushalyim) – after being in their Kollel Elyon for several years (Over 17 years in the Mir total). He was also Mechaber a Sefer on Taharas Mishpacha (Shaarei Tahara) with many Haskamos.

    He has few peers in his knowledge of Shas and Poskim – including those who learn in any of the Brisks. In 1993 at age 23 he married a BJJ girl and now has 7 children.

    So much for going to the ‘right school’.

  13. This all would sound very familiar to anyone in the secular world looking to get their kid into Harvard (except maybe the shidduch part). So where are we getting it from? It’s chukas hagoyim, IMHO.

  14. #1- I couldn’t have said it better! A side-effect of this phenomenon ( many more good girls than good boys) is that girls end up dating boys that to a certain extent, are on a lower calibre than them. After all, if Mr. Average boy has a list of twenty names, Miss Above average (who rarely dates because she isn’t drop-dead gorgeous or the daughter of a millionaire) just may be Zoiche to get a date with him. This crazy matzav of girls chasing boys results in the manner of which even the ‘mediocre’ boys have many high calibre girls chasing them.
    A message to SOME boys ( not all guys are hot-shots):
    It’s not you that’s so special and rare, it’s your gender.

    On a different note, after all this hack ‘n talk about the shidduch crisis, can someone please shed light onto the Chazal- “Arboim yom kodem yetziras havlad…. bas ploni l’ploni”?
    I understand the technicalites of the age-gap but doesn’t everyone have a zivug???

  15. In my opinion they should be teaching 4 subjects and only 4 subjects
    Cooking sewing home management

    That’s it no plays, dances,ivris, ivrah, or all the other shtussem they teach them

    A girl has to know how to take care of a family be responsible have a skill if she decides to get a job and most of all to be an erlichah balas middos that’s it
    That’s what my wife is abd that is what she is busy intilling in my daughters and thus far she is doing a beautiful job may hashem help us continue

  16. While I’ve heard many times that you need the right seminary to get the right shidduch, I really haven’t seen that to be the case. I see that in NY a large percentage of girls don’t even go to sem in E”Y and they do fine shidduchim. Here in Lakewood, probably because of the high cost, fewer girls are going to sem in E”Y every year. Many go to Bais Yaakov intensive. They also do very good shidduchim. (Actually, a good shidduch means an appropriate shidduch, but that’s not what I mean when I say they do good shidduchim!) I have a wonderful daughter who went to BJJ and I don’t see that it makes a difference for shidduchim. We sent her there because she is very smart and we thought it was appropriate for her (my other daughters went to different sems). We never considered shidduchim when we made the choices.
    I think the connection between sems and shidduchilm is overrated.

    I think the shidduch connection to sems is overrated.

  17. I am amazed about all these comments, does anybody beleive in G-D,

    I think you all need CHIZUK in AMUNAH, dont try to interfere,or help or second guess what G-D, has in store for you. as nobod has ever been able to change that no matter what school or seminary your child attended or did not attend.

  18. Rav Chaim Mintz famously said you should not be looking for the “best” yeshiva. That is like going into a suit store and saying “Give me the best size.” There is no best size, there is only the size that fits you.

    This applies to schools, seminaries, yeshivos AND shidduchim!

  19. We need more dorming options in America, including NY (not everyone is cut out for BYBP). It’s all very facile to tell girls to stay home but if there’s no option in their city, or there’s only one and it’s not for them, they have to go somewhere else.

    Let’s start supporting and creating US sems.

  20. This world is so Olam Hasheker. Everything is so backwards! It is about time that someone should stand up and say something to the Minahalim and Minahalos. This is why Mashiach is not here. Our society works backwards. Things need to change.

  21. Its time to forget about the Joneses. Its 2010 already, why doesnt anyone come up with something to get rid of peer pressure?

    Very true about the boys. Somehow its easier for a guy to get away with things that should never be allowed. And the “cute” part about it is that ALL these boys are considered “top.” Do we have messed up priorities or what?

    May we all be zoche to greet Mashiach Tzidkeinu quickly and end all this madness!

  22. As a parent of both boys and girls, I feel that we are doing a great job with the girls. We are raising competent, productive young women. Why are you all concerned about over-educating our girls, and not concerned about the fact that we are under-educating our boys?

  23. 1. Hashem makes the zivugim; so it really doesn’t matter IF she went to seminary, WHERE she went to seminary, WHICH seminary she went to.
    2 When are we going to understand that “Hu asa, ve’ose, v’yaaseh lchol hamaasim.”
    3. To think otherwise is a total lack of emunah in Hakodosh Boruch Hu.
    4. Plenty of boys don’t go to Lakewood, and do wonderful shiduchim. Try it, watch them get tzuchapped BECAUSE they are not frozen solid!
    5. I for one, will not send my daughters to Seminary for the “experience”. It’s a waste of money. I don’t think at this age, I should be taking out mortgages for tuition, for crying out loud!. When will this shtuss stop????
    6. I will send my daughter if I feel she needs another year of maturing or growing up, but I don’t think a girl has to go to E.Y. to grow up. She can grow up in America just as well.
    7. Only girls that want to become teachers should go to seminary. That is who Seminary was really made for. The others are going to a. follow the crowd, and b. have a good time c. experience the experience! What a waste of money.
    8. If enough people start doing what they feel is right, instead of what other people feel and think is right, then this craziness will stop. If you think that if your daughter goes to EY she will get a better shidduch; how silly. Look around you. Rich girls get married, poor girls get married, girls who went to Seminary get married, girls who didn’t get married. Tall ones get married, as do short ones. Skinny ones get married as do heavy ones.
    Wake up people. Hakodosh Boruch Hu runs this world. not hadar and not bjj and not anyone or any principal or any human, only Hashem.
    We think we can control, we try to control, only to grow up and learn: we control nothing.
    9. As far as making these girls talmeidei chachomos: this is a cause of sholom bayis trouble. Teach the girls to cook, bake, sew up a button, do a hem,swim for safety reasons,fold laundry like a mentch and keep a clean and organized house. That’s all that really matters. All those Rashi’s nebech, save them for the boys. All those meforshim: anyone remember them after the test is finished?

  24. author of comment 17- with due respect, you’re ignorant and naive. i don’t have time to spell it all out, but what about enriching the girls’ lives, and making them more round?

  25. From Comment 30:
    “4. Plenty of boys don’t go to Lakewood, and do wonderful shiduchim. Try it, watch them get tzuchapped BECAUSE they are not frozen solid!”
    Funniest comment ever.

  26. I did not go to seminary AT ALL. Shock! Gasp! I was a good student at my Bais Yaakov, but I didn’t see the point of spending another year with “The Torah says that a girl should support her learning husband.” A man who is learning full time is exempt from marriage, so that’s a bit of a contradiction.

    People are also a little to eager to give schools all the credit for messing up things. The three shitfim I believe are: mother, father, and Hashem. If I came home with some crazy expectation from school, my mother said, “Mammelah, I pay the tuition. They can’t make you do anything I don’t approve of.”

    I regularly attend shiurim, like Rabbi Reisman’s navi shiurim, and I find them to have waaaaaaaay more of an impact than seminary would have.

    What does “the best” mean? It’s really all subjective. I want the best for me.

  27. One of these years people will realize the shidduch situation is overwhelmingly due to AGE GAP.

    70 R”Y signed to that.

    It is very very obvious.

    Until then we will have rants like these………

  28. To comment 31
    You are the arrogant one make them more rounded in what ? When a mapik hey is used and when a shvuh is used if they learn these four subjects they will be the most rounded level headed young women you have ever seen

  29. 17(smart2), you forgot – general knowledge – basic literacy in tanach, and pirush hamilim for davening.

    BUT, an important point: as girls are going for higher secular education, it is important that they realize that they can have access to sophisticated learning (such as hashkafa inside, on a higher level than they may get in HS) and seminary will do this for many girls. And it shouldn’t be learning for the sake of learning, arcane details and busy work, but tochen that will accompany them through life.

  30. All this crisis talk is actually creating a PANIC crisis where kids get engaged when they are not ready and which unfortunately is leading to a DIVORCE crisis in the frum community!

  31. #37 is spot on. Girls are terrorized that they’ll be lucky to find a guy, so they marry anyone just so they don’t become me, the nebach. And sometimes that anyone is REALLY below them. (I’m not saying that girls can’t also be the problem, but such divorce rates among the young is not good.)

    I also think that in the first year of marriage the young couple should not go to Israel. They need the support of their parents nearby to adjust to their new life, to help them to learn how to deal with all this newness.

    And anyone someone says “crisis,” that is tantamount to saying, “G-d doesn’t exist.”


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