The Matzav Shmoooze: Why Solving the Shidduch Crisis With the Age Gap Misses the Boat

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shidduchimDear Editor,

With all due respect, the recent discussion here about shidduchim is sorely lacking, because there is a serious flaw in the scaling calculation of the age gap.

Suppose 100 boys 24 years of age marry 100 girls of age 19. Then 100 boys of equal number – in that same age group of 19 – are now at a surplus when they hit the age of 24.

While those surplus of 100 boys now have an even larger pool of younger girls to choose from, should they all choose girls of age 19, once again you have the same 100 surplus of boys when they hit the age of 24, and the cycle stays the SAME.

Simple math states that so long as there are equal number of boys to girls, there is an equal number of unmarried boys as there are unmarried girls.

The question then really is this: Where are those unmarried boys. And the answer is NOT that they went off to marry girls of a larger pool – because that is not answering the question of where the unmarried boys are. As noted previously, the age gap does not compute.

The 1 and only marketing rule is always supply and demand vis-a-vis the price for supply in respect to demand.

The fact that many more girls are looking for the same quality “ben Torah” boy than the market supplies for in a timely manner is by and large the major contribution to the “catastrophe.” This becomes compounded by the age gap, since the girls hold on to their value system much longer then the market retains the product (the “ben Torah boy”).

While I’ve conceded that the age gap plays a role in this issue, the real problem is much more complex.

To explain a different way:

The popular belief about the shidduch crisis stemming from the age gap is more like an optical illusion.

So long as the population for boys and girls is more or less the same, it is mathematically impossible for the population growth to have any role, whatsoever, in this crisis.

The population growth only has a snowball effect on an already existing problem, but it itself is not the source to the problem.

While I concede the age gap and rapid population growth perpetuates the problem, it is not the source to the problem.

The major contributing factor is a supply and demand cultural problem and that is the fact that hundreds more girls are taught to seek after the relatively few ben Torah boys, and by the time they turn around (at 24 which happens very quickly) and realize that there were only a few such boys around, it is late in the game, and their age becomes one more consideration against them (since most boys do in fact prefer younger girls).

Compounding this problem is our cultural stigmas which is further which is further compounded by the age gap and population growth.

Think of two Russians playing chess, each of them takes an hour to make a move. The game becomes “never ending”. Our society is busy snooping under every judgmental corner, and as the clock ticks the chances for these girls to find those few, high quality boys become dimmer and dimmer.

I know because I sat on shidduchim panels, and I heard from 26 years old girls how they still wanted that ben Torah boy, or wished they had thought about it differently from the get-go. Go ask any honest shadchan and he will tell you that this is the source to the problem!

By way of illustration, add to this the fact that, r”l, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of boys who are “at risk,” on the streets or working, and hundreds more enrolled in “at risk yeshivos.”Ask yourself honestly: How many girls entering the shidduch market are willing to consider those boys?

Now ask yourself another honest question: Suppose we close the age gap to 19-20, what will happen to all the girls who were not willing to consider any other such boys when they reach the age of 21+ and there aren’t boys around to marry them? Hashem yishmor.

The solution to this problem is to effect a change on the cultural stigmas that have swept us, so that the chess pieces move around faster, and we avoid what we have today in our circles – a stalemate.

Saying the Truth

Somewhere, USA

{ Newscenter}


  1. Ignoring one major point: Population growth. Compare the amount of kindergartens and 1st grades in girls shchhol and you’ll get your answer.

  2. I understand the point of this article, but what are the hard facts of how many eligible older boys are still out there on the market? and if there are many, why cant we solve the crisis by figuring out a way to pair all the older boys out there with the older girls?

  3. YOU MISSED THE BOAT! The 23 year old boy doesn’t ONLY pick from the 19 year old group of girls as you claim. He is picking from 19 through 22 year old which leaves a pick pool of girls unclaimed.

  4. I have read all these wonderful articles about the shidduch crisis and all the wonderful theories and etc. The simple answer is…my Rebbe, Parents, Brain tells me only to look for wealthy girls
    The problem from the girls side is they are not very realistic either, not every boy can learn Gemara or is interested in learning (a topic for another time).

    And finally, the shaddchanim make it worse, if everyone would stop using them and rely on our friends and neighbors, the professional shadchan would need to find a real job and the parents would be able to put 5-10K more into either the chasunah or the new couples pocket. Just my 2 cents.

  5. Short & to the point
    AGE-GAP is the only problem
    5% population increase is;1000 born this year 1050 next year,1100,1150,1200,etc.When boys start @ 23 & girls start @ 19 the result would be every 1000 23 year old boys come to shidduch island with 1200 19 year old.(20% are c”v destined to stay single). Since the U.S. census figures are 5% more boys than girls are born every year, the crisis is reduced to 1000 boys have 1150 girls to choose from.(150 are c”v destined to stay single. Boruch Hashem some (about 5%) do marry younger & same age the net, net results are at least 10% of every grade r”l stay single.(The actual survey was shown at the Aguda convention 5 years ago.) These are self inflicted wounds by boys waiting until 23. To “STOP” the crisis Yeshiva boys must start younger. Our message to the boys & their parents “Some day you will also have to marry off a daughter”. No one knows who will be from the 10%.If a boy starts shidduchim at 20 to 21 as Reb Shlome Yuda recently requested, he knows that he is not guilty of this crime. Please accept the mussar , Lman Bnos Yisroel
    [email protected]

  6. Not sure if he really understands that age gap- it’s not 100 22 yr old boys and 100 19 yr old girls. It’s 100 22 yr old boys for 105 19 yr old girls. There are an equal amount of 19 yr old boys (105), but they’re not going out for another 3 years. When they do, there will be 105 22 yr old boys dating 111 19 yr old girls. Simple math says that as long as there is population growth,there will be girls left out.

  7. I’m sorry, but this article is misleading. If the number of girls and boys would continue to grow -for arguments sake by 100 per year. And each 24 year old boy would opt to marry a girl that is 19 the surplus will grow as well. You are correct in stating that the number of unmarried boys- all under the age of 24- would be equal to the number of unmarried girls- all over 19. The only issue is that those boys are not looking to get married till they are 24. Subsequently we have and uneven number of “dating” boys and girls. Even thought the number of “unmarried” boys and girls is equal. Hence the CRISIS.

  8. Am I the only one not getting what in the world he means??? If the boys 23+ keep marrying girls that 19, then there will always be enough girls for the boys, but not enough boys for the girls!!!

  9. and if they keep doing that, (the 23 year olds marring the 19 year olds) then it comes out like this, out of every group of 150 19 yr old girls, ONLY 100 have boys (23 yr olds) to marry, leaving 50 of them without shidduchim chas v’sholom., and as time goes on, it just becomes more and more. So I’m not really sure what this article is saying!!!

  10. You are denying the facts. The are more 19 year olds than 22 yr olds so if 22 yr old boys marry 19 year old girls there will be leftover girls. You have a point but your foolish argument denying the age gap issue drowns out anything you say

  11. Wow! Talk about missing the boat. That’s whats happening when you write

    “Suppose 100 boys 24 years of age marry 100 girls of age 19. Then 100 boys of equal number – in that same age group of 19 – are now at a surplus when they hit the age of 24”

    There is no surplus because their “equivalent” in terms of the shidduchim is a pool of 120 19 year old girls. This issue has been beaten to death and everyone now understands it.

  12. Parents-if you want to see your daughters get married and you want to save a bundle too, tell your daughters that they are not attending seminaries.

  13. good point, if i may add 80 percent of the ben torah boy comes from middle income families that expect full support from the girls side whitch 7 out 10 girls cannot afford, and the ben torah takes at least 2-3 years until they agree to take less support then expected, at that point those girls who cannot afford the support are already to old because the boy is still looking for younger,ignoring this issue is ignoring the truth i was a bochur once and went the typcal good yishvos and i know what i an all my friends were looking for

  14. this is a bizarre letter the write has no idea mathematically what he is saying I think someone needs to explain the mathematical issue here more clear so he can understand. everything said makes little sense not likely that more boys or girls are at risk, frum, etc.. once there are equal numbers of both genders dating everything will automatically have to work out better

  15. This seems pretty accurate. The current Boy Yeshiva System vs. the Girls B’Y system are not running on the same path. Even if you say an even number of boys and girls are born at any given time, the boys yeshiva’s are not creating the same product as the girls schools thereby tightening the field of boys available with the same values as the girls. It’s not the quantity of boys, it’s the quality. Not judging, it’s just a reality.

  16. ” Where are those unmarried boys.”?

    Well there are plenty of them but they are 18 and they don’t want to marry 32 year old girls.

  17. While you make some good points in the second part of your article the math is in fact correct and it is you that is mistaken.

    Let me explain the math from a different perspective.

    If a Bochur marries at 25 and the girl at 20 after a hundred year period you will have four generations of boys (4 x 25 = 100) and five generations of girls (5 x 20 = 100)

    After WW2 the frume oilom started from scratch so the difference did not exist. The more time passed the bigger the gap became and it will continue to widen as long as we continue marrying at different ages

  18. This article is brilliant. He (or she) makes a valid and intelligent point. It makes a lot of sense and the question that remains is what the solution can be. Changing the society is not the answer. If girls legitimately want to marry b’nei Torah, then that is a beautiful thing and it would be terrible to say that the girls’ schools and seminaries should try to teach or convince the girls otherwise. In addition, on the other side of the fence, I don’t see how we could somehow all of a sudden start producing more b’nei Torah to fill the demand. Lastly, according to the reasoning in this article, there should be a surplus of older “non-B’nei Torah” single boys, be it working, or more modern etc. I don’t know that this is the case.

  19. I believe this commentary is missing the boat. As our communities grow each year, each year there are more boys and more girls being born (look at the school problem in Lakewood!). Therefore, when older boys are marrying younger girls there leaves a gap a certain number of girls over as the older boy is coming from a time of less children being born….

  20. If I read this properly, it proposes that there is a shortage of bnai Torah (but not a shortage of Orthodox young men in general) so that many girls who insist on marrying a ben Torah but can’t find one will end up aging themselves right out of the “likely marriage” pool. If, from the start, those girls would be also OK with baalei batim serious about learning, their success rate would increase.

  21. This article makes no sense. The 100 boys who become 24 are up against 500 19 year old girls due to population growth. 100 of those 500 marry the 24 year olds, and 400 are left over. There will always be fewer of the 24 year old boys than the 19 year old girls.

  22. “Suppose 100 boys 24 years of age marry 100 girls of age 19. Then 100 boys of equal number – in that same age group of 19 – are now at a surplus when they hit the age of 24.” – This logic would have been correct if each generation had the same population. The fact is that the frum population grows at about compounding 3.5% a year, therefore there is always additional 15% growth between groups with an age difference of 4 years, or 19% between groups with a difference of 5. So we end up with about 15% of the yeshivish community girls overboard. Even if all of this “surplus” yeshivish girls would sensibly decide to marry into other frum non-yeshivish communities, there still will be the same number of broken lives “surplus” girls – except that statistically instead of 15% of yeshivish community, there will be 3% unmarried girls of the overall frum community. Having said that, I don’t necessarily disagree with your point of “cultural mishigas” – in fact, the above silly insistence of waiting till 23-24 and marrying davka a 4-5 years junior, is the best illustration of a harmful shtik that not only has no basis in Torah, but goes against it.

  23. Then when those 500 boys turn 24, they will be up against 900 19 year old girls. (Obviously these numbers are artificial but the author totally misses the concept of population growth).

  24. While there may be truth to your main point you fail to explain why the shidduch crises is not nearly as prominent in both the Israeli yeshivish world or the chasidish world- both of whom have plenty of boys that reject the mold that they were born into.
    Furthermore,it would seem logical that girls from out of town would be much more open to consider alternatives since they are not as surrounded by “the system” yet their problems are very much the same as in town girls.
    The bottom line is that under desperate circumstances the frum community has to consider all solutions even if their impact will ultimately be inadequate. If someone is willing to put his money out to alleviate the situation even somewhat, it is doing alot more than ten articles that do not propose at least a partial solution.

  25. They are both contributing factors and it is complex. Therefore, it’s not so simple to say which issue is playing a bigger role or that the amount of “ben Torah” boys is the problem. Who says there is not a similar amount of girls looking for working boys, or a even a boy who will learn for a year but has a plan? I hear a lot of boys complain that there are not enough girls who want a real learner. You make a point here but it is a little one sided.

  26. you are correct but this needs to be expounded alittle more
    the reason the boys are going after the 19 year olds is that they are fresh out of seminary and under the influence of the madrichot who taught themthat either your husband is learning all day or hes “just a balaboss” and they use the word balaaboss as it were a plauge
    the girls who go to work for a year or two and see what it means to have to answer to a boss ,be on time etc
    realize taht a boy that works and is koviea etem will sometimes learn more then the “full time learner”

  27. Dear sir:

    While you are raising valid issues that contribute to the Shidduch Crisis, your math may be incorrect.
    The number of boys to girls does change from year to year as the number of children born is increasing tremendously each year. The boy vs girl numbers is not the same. A 5 year or even 4 year difference between the ages of boys and girls does create all by itself a shortage of boys vs girls. and this shortage increases from year to year.

  28. These “at risk” aren’t really at risk. They are solid in midos but aren’t typical white shirt guys shtieging all day. They are in the workforce but will make great fathers. However, many of these girls refuse to look at them and these guys only get second tiered girls (I know a guy who was redt to girls with the machla R”L and a girl with a drinking problem only because he wasn’t a top learner). The modern orthodox doesn’t have this crazy of a crisis.
    I know of another solid guy who has had 80% of the girls he said yes to say no- before a first date. Great guy. He works and makes less than six figures so the girls won’t consider him. Girls need to stop being picky- especially the older ones

  29. If the root of the problem was that there are not enough bnei torah for all the girls who want to marry the bnei torah, then there should also be a “reverse” crisis – that college/working boys should have no one who wants to marry them. I have not heard that such a crisis exists, or that working boys have trouble getting dates and marrying. This would seem to indicate that your analysis is incorrect.

  30. Whoever you are I feel that it’s your responsibility to write a retraction. Before you voice your opinion about something as sensitive and painful as the shidduch crisis you better make sure that you know what your talking about! You’ve missed the whole point. Because the orthodox community has a higher percentage of births each year, there aren’t enough 23 year old boys for all the 19 year old girls! It’s very simple. If you still don’t get it go speak it over with someone who’s semi intelligent and doesn’t have a bias against bnei torah as you seem to have!

  31. $ 15 – you are right.
    The seminaries in Israel have to shoulder some blame.
    They put in the girls’ head some new form of religiosity.
    By the time the girl, age 26 and unmarried, wakes up, she is out in the cold.

  32. Sorry, math is math, unlike other posts, where different opinions can be expressed, a travesty of simple math computations is not up for debate. I’m surprised this post was even allowed in the first place. In a perfect world (just to bring illustrate the point clearly) where all 24 year old boys marry 19 year olds, we face a severe crisis. If one thousand 24 year old boys decide to date and marry ONLY (perfect world) 19 year old girls, we would end up with 1150 girls in a market with 1000 boys. Hence a severe crisis. 150 girls that must marry either, a 25 year old boy or a 23 year old. But since the BULK of shiduchim these days are on average 23-24 year old boys to 19-20 year old girls. Or at the very least a one or 2 year gap. That leaves us with about 150 girls per year per year destined for igun r”l. In addition, the numbers increase since the population grows(although the percentage stays the same)

  33. How does the author equate “at-risk” or “on
    the streets” with “working” boys? There is a BIG difference. it is VERY
    insulting to categorize them together, especially when the author just made the argument that the shidduch crisis comes about because all girls are seeking the same type.

  34. Everybody’s right – the problem has a lot of causes. However, numbers are numbers and the age gap is real. But there are a lot of other contributing factors, and the most difficult is – the _mothers _. Mothers of the boys, that is, who won’t take anything less than perfection. One sometimes wonders if it isn’t a status thing, too. Maybe one important question in the mothers’ eyes is – will I be able to brag about this girl? And maybe a bit of fear, too. If the mother is seen as “settling” for a match for her boy, is she then going to have a reputation that will give her an even worse time with her girls? Fear of “what _they_ will say” is the greatest driver of conformity.

    And of course the prejudice against working guys (if they’re working they’re not boys any more) is making things so much worse. (Again, status anxiety is a factor here). Plus we really are missing a significant number of boys who really are OTD and not just wearing the wrong color shirt.

    We’ve got to work on all the aspects of the problem.

  35. I am glad we are all finally getting to the understanding that all these singles are nothing but ones and zeros. They are numbers without personalities. They have no personalities because our school and communal system discourage the development of personality and individuality. Therefore I have difficulty understanding why there is a shidduch problem. If everyone is the same, we should just throw names into age stratified hats and match people up at random. I mean there is not a whole lot of difference there.

  36. Imy extensive experience as a mathmetician I can say without a doubt the person who wrote this letter erred in his mathematical calculations and there will be no surplus of boys.

  37. Both theories have merit. The age difference causes the discrepancy but the hashkofa discrepancy is bigger. In the “best schools” in Monsey, 50% of the 8th grade class is shteiging 10 years later but 80% of the girls want a shteiger. I don’t have an good solution except to daven to the one above.

  38. Why is age-gap important? In our Orthodox Communities, the baby population has been growing by about 4% a year. If you have a school with 100 children currently starting fifth grade, you will find that in that same year there are also 104 children starting fourth grade, 108 starting third grade, 112 starting second grade, and 116 children starting first grade. This phenomenon can be seen in almost all growing Orthodox Communities, and is true for boys’ schools as well as girls’ schools. If you wanted to pair up fifth grade students with first grade students, you would find that 16 first graders cannot possibly find a pair. No matter what you do, or how hard you try, or how quickly you get to work, 16 will have no partner. Now let’s move on to shidduchim. We will also move the clock forward by 13 years. You now have 100 boys (the fifth graders in our example), that are now 23 years old starting shidduchim . At the same time you also have 116 girls that are now 19 years old (the first graders in our example) that are starting shidduchim. The community is now left with the impossible task of matching up 116 girls with 100 boys. It is obvious that no matter how many shadchanim are involved, no matter how rich all the girls’ parents are, and no matter how not picky the girls are, it is impossible to get 16 of those girls married. Of course you look forward to next year, and hope that the next year’s group will be the answer. However, next year (with 4% baby population increase), you have 104 new boys entering shidduchim, with a corresponding 120 new girls entering shidduchim, again leaving you with the impossible situation of matching up 120 girls with 104 boys, again leaving 16 girls with no match. Now, let us also assume that 3 new boys get engaged to last year’s girls (they get engaged to 20 year old girls). You now have 13 girls left over from the first class, and 19 girls left over from the second class. The net result is that 32 girls are still single.

  39. The “age gap” TM is hogwash.
    IT ignores facts.
    Dating occurs in the following order Shadchan/someone redts girl to boy -> boy agrees -> girl agrees -> they go out -> get engaged -> get married.
    Shiduuchim isnt just pairing up boys and girls to gewt married, they have to follow this strict and rigid process (in our circles).
    To solve the “shiduch crises” first the problem must be identified. I.e. where in the baove process does the backlog occur. Anecdotal evidence indicates it occurs at the “boy agrees” step. The boys are getting names, but girls ar not getting dates.
    Now the “age gap” TM is based on a 1:1 match which allegedly would leave girls unmarried. HOWEVER dating is NOT done 1:1. Boys dates many girls. Dating is not done 1:1. Based on my admitedly limited research average is about 4 girls per guy.
    Now if 100 guys can provide 400 dates. IT doesnt matter if they are dating a pool of 125 girls, granted some will get more dates and some will remain single. But all should get SOME dates. Yet this is not the case, ask around.
    The “age gap” TM is simply not the casue of the crises.

  40. Israeli boys at 19-20 are ready to get married (& ready to go to the front lines with mega guns to protect their country), American guys 19-20 are in camp, on SEED programs, doing sports, summer school or jobs, hanging with friends and as far from marriage as can be imagined.

    START A NEW SLOGAN, boys, boys marry girls your own age. WHen begin dating at 22-23 or 24 marry girls your age or older. The fresh stock coming from seminary are under ripe, funny frummies or ditz heads. The girls in their lower 20s are mature, secure, educated and balanced.
    BALANCE is the essential word for happy marriages, happy spouses and happy parents.

  41. It seems to be implied that girls want bnei Torah for reputation only and that non-learning boys aren’t good enough for them because of cultural stigma. I would give the girls a little more credit and say that they are idealistic and truly want to be married to bnei Torah. Whether or not it is realistic is a separate discussion. Boys’ Chinuch certainly has a role that is out of the girls’ control.
    Also, if the article would have discussed only the discrepancy in hashkafa and not in age the point may have been better received.

  42. on a purely statistical basis , the mathematical computations that need to be directed require a computer bigger than big blue. on a societal level the juxtaposition of random factors unite anti synthetically to create a difficult situation.

  43. This is all terrible for the girls, evident in all the numbers and facts presented but there are plenty of single older boys out there (not nearly as many as the girls) who are dying to get married. why is no one sensitive of their feelings and only talking about the girls. Dont we have to care about their feelings as well and discuss how hard it may be for them for their various reasons???

  44. From observing the total “frum” scene, over more than 40 years frum myself and also knowing “the other side”, I see unreality in boys and girls, in schooling, (including seminaries and yeshivos) which produces young men and women not prepared to live with another human being of the opposite gender, youngsters unable to know what is giving more than getting, parents (who are NOT going to be the spouses) in a dream world, yetzer hara busy seducing us with non-Torah “ideals”.
    Start digging into Rav Avigdor Miller’s books and tapes and CDs and learn what Hashem wants of His children, rather than what we want of each other. The crisis is our lack of enough personal guides who are not just academics, but knowledgeable of the world and able to deal with it in Torah terms.

  45. there are definitly older single boys (upper 20s) out there yet for some reason they arent marrying the older single girls even the ones a few years younger then them. at some point the remaining pot of singles either arent compatible with each other or cant find each other. so why wont we assume the same thing will happen if the boys ang girls are equal amount and the same age. the first 80% will get married and the remaining 20% either wont be compatible for each other or wont find each other.
    obviously then there is a problem beside the age gap.
    the solution might have to be to help them become compatible( as in people changing the criteria for who they wil date) or helping older singles find each other. i think this is what the author here means.
    any other solutions?

  46. I’ve always had this question. I’m seriously looking for an answer.

    If a neshama is split into halves, male and female, how is it possible to have a surplus? When it’s time for the girl to be born, does the bas kol not call out the name of her basherte?

    I have alwyas learned that 40 days before a child is conceived, his/her spouse is announced. Is it possible one can be born without such an announcement?

  47. How is it possible that for more than 3,300 years, the age gap was causing shidduch problems, but nobody knew about it until five years ago?

  48. Concerning the Age-Gap or Age in general: most of the times it’s not the boys who really care about the age of the girl. They wouldn’t really mind if the girl is 20 or 22. It is their MOTHERS who don’t want an “older” girl for their son. The mothers who choose only a younger girl. Chas Veshalom when her 22 year old son will have a 22 year old girl.

  49. The problems in the shidduch world are not mathematical, and cannot be solved with algebra and legislating who is allowed to date whom and when.

    Besides, if the situation were really so dire for single women, they would not be so dismissive of men and dating opportunities due to petty considerations, being busy with work, and the other similar reasons one typically hears. They would not turn down eligible suitors because they wear a hat or don’t wear one, they are an inch or two shorter than their preference, they don’t have quite enough “earning potential”, or a distinguished enough career, or attend the highest shiur at some yeshiva, et cetra, et cetra.

    The behaviors and attitude of people who truly want to get married are markedly different than the behaviors and attitude of people who don’t — especially if the deck is supposedly stacked against them. The behaviors and attitude of many, many Orthodox Jewish women today who are supposedly victims are not the behaviors and attitudes of people who want desperately to get married and feel they have no prospects.

    There is absolutely no shortage of eligible single men out there who want to get married and would make fine partners, and they don’t have hordes of maidens just desperate to meet them — despite the oft-regurgitated propaganda to the contrary.

    The real reason why this age gap stuff is so popular and readily accepted is that it takes the onus off people for having shtick and corrupt values. If instead of encouraging men to marry older women they encouraged women to marry men who are are educated and working individuals, who don’t wear a black hat, and who aren’t 5’9″ or taller, do you think this campaign would have quite the same support? No chance.

    A far better idea than playing with numbers is to ease all the rules and restrictions of the shidduch world, create more and better meeting opportunities, and let people marry whoever they want, regardless of the age difference between them. Who really cares? If they are happy together, it’s a GOOD thing. This really doesn’t have to be complicated.

    The age gap trolls complain about how hard it is for older women, yet their proposals are invariably to create even more rules and restrictions. It is irrational and entirely counter-productive for society.

    Instead of stacking the deck against younger women to “even the score” for older women, let them encourage younger women to not make the same mistakes as their older counterparts — not to reject perfectly good suitors for trivial reasons. The older women were once younger women too, and in most cases they had their opportunities. Harsh, perhaps, but true.

    Chananya Weissman

    A real person who signs his real name


    Author of EndTheMadness Guide to the Shidduch World

  50. #54 because even the older boys who were left behind control the show. For example, a good 28 year old boy will have girls from ages 22-32 all willing to date him in many cases and his problem is not a lack of options. Now, I am not saying he is necessarily to blame – it could be that there are other factors, but his issue is not the lack of a list at his disposal and the girls do have that issue. So the focus is on the girls problem.

  51. @#60 Chananya Weissman

    I am an “older guy” shaddchanim tell me that I am one of the best guys my in my age bracket. I do be’h have many suggestions. However, the truth is that the multitude of inconsequential reasons young women give for stopping to date me makes me wonder about their commitment to get married.

    • tell me about yourself. Are you learning? Do you have good middos? Yirat shamayim? How old are you? Are you looking for a million dollars? Where do you want to live?

  52. @ #57

    My understanding is that it is absolutely possible for someone to be born w/o that announcement. What that Gemara means is that a persons Bashert is part of his very essence. a persons wife or husband is like an extension of their body, no different than an arm or leg (or basic character attributes and IQ). However we know that sometimes people can be born with serious physical defects, and it is there role in life to fulfill hashems will to the very best of their (sometimes limited) abilities. So too a person can be born w/o a
    Bashert. Obviously no one should assume or even suspect that he or she is one of those people, and everyone has a duty to try their very hardest to get married.

  53. As the writer of the above-quoted article (originally posted and intended as a comment in the comments section), and with the moderator’s permission, I ask to offer an effective solution to the shidduch “crisis”, one that can be implemented immediately.

    In preface, I wish to wish to apologize if my comment regarding “at risk” boys was misinterpreted. There are MANY, wonderful great working boys (not “at risk”), that girls would, should, and some in fact consider, precisely part of my point, but there are also “at risk” working boys which girls would never consider. The main point being – there are merely a few “at risk” girls compared to the “at risk” boys, thereby a shortage of boys by virtue of the shidduch market but not by virtue of population.

    In further preface, I wish to reiterate one more time, that if there is an equal amount of boys to girls, and older boys are marrying younger girls, then by definition there HAS to be a surplus of younger, single boys (offsetting the older single girls), and this is not the case.

    HOWEVER, if there is a market shortage of (“quality”) boys, as noted, then YES, THE AGE GAP WILL CREATE A SEVERE CATASTROPHE.

    It is noteworthy to mention, that there was a time, in the Satmar community, where, indeed, there was a surplus of single boys. The Rebbe said there must be a surplus of girls elsewhere. It turned out that the Sefard community had a surplus of girls, and he got shadcanim to red them shidduchim. I have seen, first-hand, the children of those Shiduuchim.

    And while I do support closing the age gap, it is equally imperative to make a drastic change to the shidduch mentality, to effectively resolve this problem. In order to do so, we have to consider equally drastic measures to those proposed by Shlomo Yehuda.

    R’ Shlomo Yehuda, in his original article quoted the Mishna in Tannis:

    “There were no days among the Yidden more festive than the 15th of Av…. For on that day, the girls of Yerushalayim would go out to the fields in white gowns that they borrowed from each other, so they would all appear as equals…”

    As the girls of Yerushalayim would say every year on Tu B’Av: “Bochurim, look up and choose one of us. But remember, don’t choose based on meaningless virtues. Sheker hachein v’hevel hayofi.’

    This aforementioned Mishna in Tannis has prescribed to us the very problem we face today and the solution.

    Our collective problem is twofold:

    Firstly, we have very strict guidelines separating the genders even when it comes to shidduchim. While strict guidelines are a fundamental to our Yidishket, they can impede on the time it takes to make a Shidduch and even on our decision making progress. Going through the process of shadchanim , the research , the back and forth of phone calls, the long dating process becomes one big, painful, and dragging frustration that leaves serious wake and turbulence for everyone involved, including future generations. (It IS part of the root cause of the crisis, like the analogical stalemate of the chess game I previously described.)

    There MUST exist leeway in the shidduch market scene to meet prospective matches in a quick and mature setting, similar to the way the Mishna describes, and how chasidim date, or what’s commonly known as “speed dating”.

    Our second problem is the fact that we live in a judgmental society. As such, we focus on all the meaningless virtues. Not just the gowns, but every other meaningless, mundane virtue: money, hat style, “balla batish”, cars, houses, height, weight, Brisk, BYA etc… etc… All of which has NOTHING to do with real life – women being pregnant and having babies – and their husbands trying to make a parnassah while also trying to find time to learn.

    Both these problems work together to mushroom into a much bigger shidduch problem, but the solution is right in front of our faces:

    The aforementioned Mishna in Tannis gave us parents the very, best advice we can imagine.


    If we want to solve the shidduch crisis, we need to follow the Mishna’s advice and effectively coordinate a system of “speed dating” for all ages and from all across the spectrum. (With one critical rule: “age” should be a forbidden word.)

    And we need the Askanim like Shlomo Yehuda, AMV”S, to continue sponsoring the girls who need tickets to fly in to such events and meetings, for ”makeovers” etc… Exactly as the Mishna describes – making sure that every single girls get a fair shot.

    PS: As a side point: offering boys a nominal incentive for dating older girls will go a lot further then offering a large sum of money to a shadchan, who has no say, whatsoever, in the final decision regardless. Think about a boy deciding between dating a 26 or 23 year old girl with a money incentive for the older one.

    Saying the truth

  54. Every shadchans experience is that the girls are far more discerning and choosy then the males especially in the older age groups of 25 and older ( Mr Rechnitz’s emergency ten thousand dollar bailout age group). They drop dates for any and every reason possible including that the boy dosnt have a college degree and is only in business successfully without PHD or ESQ after his name .

  55. BTW, here in Eretz Yisrael there is a huge shidduch crises among the Dati Leumi crowd where the age gap is very big ( the boys need to go the the army, travel and start studying before they consider marriage) There are many older single dati leumi girls. It is true that there are other factors that make the shidduchim scene much worse, but the age gap is where it starts.

  56. FINALLY ,AFTER ALL THESE YEARS ,someone comes and reconfirms the real problem for those of us who, strongly unpopular as it was/is,refused to toe to the pervasive propaganda!

    FOR ALL THOSE WHO ASK ,where then are all those older boys
    THey are world over!

    Reportedly,in the West Bank :There are 10,000 plus more eligible males than females!
    (sorry,#66 Malki)

    Lots of them are american born ,went to our schools ,did poorly or mediocre somewhere along,
    so chose to “head out west”
    As males have always done/do (e.g.Alaska)
    but females rarely do (it goes back to their primal natures)


    For a variety of causes and trends (e.g lower % of teenage boys throwing off their garb than in the recent past) ,the “crisis”
    is actually lessening and getting better for tne soon to be coming of age girls

  58. #52. Comment from Meir

    #55. Comment from Josh from Brooklyn

    Well said

    For all those who desire to blaim the seminary or school system:

    It’s High Time to move on

    Had you done so 15 years ago ( as some of us indeed did ).when it was popular sing peons to system, you could be within your rights now.

    By today , the system has for the most part already recalibrated and redressed the problem

  59. math is math

    PLEASE explain this:

    How come in the more liberal/modern /traditonal syrian community, 26 year old males marrying 19 years old girls is the norm ,still has there been a crisis?

    Paradoxically, in the more yeshivish grouping of the abovementioned sector,where the avg. marriage is generally, say, a 24 year boy to a 22 year old girl, there largely is/has been a cisis?

  60. Among the “frummer” syrians,where there is a narrowing of age,there is a greater crisis

    To be explicit

    Would someone attempt to explain that with the numbers?

  61. Instead of boys marrying younger, when they may not yet be ready for marriage (for whatever reason- lack of maturity or otherwise), maybe the girls should just wait a few years and marry boys their age.
    And those desperate “older” (22+) single girls should look for their bashert in the boys who may be searching among the “younger crowd”, and that “younger crowd” should back off a little, get a job, save up some money, and be able to start a married life much more comfortably than the wat the current girls are, who race to the chuppah, and then sort of stand there helplessly trying to figure out where to get money from for an apartment, food, etc.
    B’kitzur, efshar that its a gevaldige eitzah for the meidelois to wait instead of for the bochurim to hurry up.
    And I don’t think that it is so geferlach to lose two or three years of married life.
    I think that this is sort of poshut, and I don’t really know why everybody isn’t doing it already.

  62. The “crises” would be greatly reduced if more boys were willing to marry older girls, and if more girls would be willing to marry older men.

  63. 100 percent true. The shidduch crisis is not a “math” problem, it’s an economics problem. Price relative to supply or demand. We shouldn’t be consulting actuaries, we should be applying the most basic economic laws.

  64. What would happen if the girls married men up to 10 years or more older then they are as did Sarah, Rivkah, Leah, Rachel…………?


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