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The Solution To The Shidduch Crisis

Tu B'av is coming up and we know from the mishna at the end of taanis that this was the time [together with Yom Kippur] that single Jewish men [ONLY single men - no married men would go to "check it out the chicks" - Rav Dessler] would go to the vineyards, the girls would dance and the men would choose wives. No dating for 9 and a half months followed by a five month engagement but, as they say in these parts, "chick chack" [no pun intended] - quickly and smoothly. Choose a girl and live happily [we hope] ever after.

Therefore, it behooves us to talk about the current "Shidduch Crisis" - thousands of frum [why does "spell check" tell me I spelled "frum" wrong? How would you spell it?! Frim? Phrum?], single people who would love to be married but are not. I have a deceptively profound solution to this problem!!

Drum Roll, Ringo...........

Get married!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sweetest friends, let me explain. I once read a good point. A guy starts going out and wants a girl with blond hair and not black hair, tall and not short, skinny and not fat, wealthy and not poor, sophisticated but not too much so, accomplished but not overly career oriented, frum but not too extreme or too lax, aliyah oriented but flexible. In the end he DOESN'T get a girl with blond hair OR black hair, tall OR short, skinny OR fat, wealthy OR poor, sophisticated OR overly-sophisticated, accomplished OR career oriented, frum or otherwise, aliyah oriented or not so. He ends up with NOTHING - but heartache [not to mention his poor mother...].

You want Miss Perfect - I will tell you where she is! In the cemetery. Our flawed world doesn't house perfect people [DON'T TELL MY WIFE I SAID THAT - 15 YEARS AND I'M STILL TRYING TO KEEP UP THE FACADE THAT I AM PERFECT. Unfortunately, it lasted about 10 minutes from the time I first went to her house to meet her - and for 8 and a half of those minutes she hadn't yet come out to meet me]. EVERYBODY whose respiratory system is in working order has issues. Ameobae have no issues, but would you want to marry one? Is the girl you are going out with a little crazy? I have news for you! The next one will be crazy, too. And if you don't find out before marriage you will find out afterward. I have more news for you - please don't take it personally, it is being said out of love and care - so are you! So am I. So is everyone. Who is completely perfect and has NO mishagossen? The Lord. Can't marry him. He's already taken - He's married to Klal Yisrael as a whole.

OF COURSE, you should make sure that you are compatible but people go too far - to their own [and the Jewish People's] detriment. There are MANY singles in their late thirties and older who look back and say "I shoulda married that girl I went out with when I was twenty four. But I rejected her because she wasn't the beautiful movie-star I had always dreamed about, so I ended it. Now I spend my free time watching movies - and those women aren't for me either...."

Sometimes I meet a couple who married at a very advanced age and frankly I don't sense that he couldn't have gotten such a quality girl had he married 15 years before. Sometimes the opposite is true. A person ends up settling for a lot LESS than he could have gotten earlier. As people get older they often get MORE complicated and set in their ways - not less. Also guys, she doesn't get PRETTIER [in the "sheker hacheyn vi'hevel hayofi" sense] as she gets older...

While on that topic, I will note that there has been no recorded marriage in world history that has been successful solely because she was pretty. Yet, there have been countless marriages that broke up because they were based on the false premise that beauty is the most important trait. Sweetest friends, beauty is important but HIGHLY overrated. If she has bad character she looks very ugly, regardless of her hairstyle. I know people who are happily married to GREAT wives and mothers who are [to be polite] uhhhh, less than bombshells and others who are married to beautiful women [we try not to look..] but RACHMANUS on the husband and children.

To the ladies: The female species is not so superficial to care so much about his external appearance but there is another obsession I have observed which gets in the way - MONEY. OY, MONEY!! Will he support me?

NO! He will not support you! Hashem will support you. Your husband will go to work every day and try his best to do his part, but there are NO guarantees. I have yet to meet a guy who said, "I want to get married, but I have no intention of exhibiting the slightest concern as to whether my wife and children have food to eat." Part of the male self-esteem is based on our success in supporting a family. The better we do it, the better we feel about ourselves. [One of the great Rabbonim of our generation explained that the reason many people in Kollel feel lousy about themselves is because they are not supporting a family. A male doesn't feel like one if he isn't earning his own keep. We at Alleyways generally encourage men to eventually get a job after 2 and a half years of learning, if possible.]

So don't worry about it. We know of communities where a man will have 11 children a drinking problem and no job. Then one day he picks up never to be seen again, leaving his poor wife to support everyone herself. BARUCH HASHEM [!!!] this doesn't happen in the frum world. Raizy, Chani, Blimy - I promise, he will do his best to provide for all of your needs [unless he is severely mentally ill and off his meds]. Maybe he won't be a millionaire, but hey, that won't make you happy. If he is a mentsch, then you WILL be happy. You will be a wife and mother with a husband who loves and cherishes you. Money is likewise OVERRRATED.

I once read a powerful article written by a completely secular woman in her late thirties/early forties who lamented the fact that she had insisted all of the years on Mr. Perfect and now all she wants is a regular normal guy - and can't find one! Her friends have similar feelings. She even told about two women she knew who had children through artificial insemination, and frankly, kids without a husband and father just doesn't give them fulfillment.

But we are Torah Jews. The Torah mandates that we get married. A mitzva like all other mitzvos. According to Chazal, a mitzva MORE IMPORTANT than almost any other mitzva. We don't need to think only about our sense of fulfillment but our sense of OBLIGATION.

So, let's set people up, daven for them, and hopefully cry at their chuppahs!!


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About me

  • I'm Rabbi Ally Ehrman
  • From Old City Jerusalem, Israel
  • I am a Rebbe in Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh.
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