The situation out there really bothers me, and I've been thinking about what the real causes are, because then we can come up with the real solutions. I want to share my views, and you to share yours. Together, we can and must come up with solutions.

Monday, January 17, 2005

we have an optimist...

Anonymous said...

People dont get married because...

a - they are picky perfectionsists who are shooting too high

b - they are ugly, pathetic losers with bad habits

Everyone in between does Ok.

(reposted comment)

20-20 hindsight

Anonymous said...

As an "older" single, who just recently got engaged, I understand where this question comes from. When I was between the ages of 20 and 23 and ALL my friends were getting married, I was very sad that I was not in that same position. As I grew older I realized that I would have been MISERABLE had I gotten married so young and am so happy that Hashem did not introduce me to my fiancee until now. I was happy being single and enjoyed finding myself and finding out who I really was. Everyone around me was unhappy for me and that is the problem. There is so much pressure from the RELIGIOUS society to get married at such a young age that when you reach 26 or older and are still single you become a nebach. Why can't our society understand that for some it may take longer to actually know yourself so that you can work in a relationship and build a beautiful home with your spouse? Maybe that's the question that needs to be asked!!

9:39 AM

it's in the more modern circles...

Anonymous said...

First off, it is important to note that truely yeshivish circles (which have not changed much over the last 30 years) are not finding it any harder to get married than before. The problem lies only with in the more modern community. In my opinion, the governing body of orthodox society (schools, shuls, etc.) place tremendous emphasis on separating the two genders during their teenage years, which definently has its benefits. However, once the proper time comes along, we lack their forceful hand in helping us mingle with one another. It seems as though, social events for young orthodox jews are not part of main stream reality. The day that orthodox 20 year old's mingling takes on the same social importance as yeshiva high school, and spending a year in Israel, is the day that we will not need to use this blogger.

12:04 AM

a little sociology....



The blog has just begun, people have just started posting answers, and already I see the same ideas/ comments that have been repeated ad nausim on the subject (and are obviously getting us NOWHERE).


The question of why a “singles problem” exists is a complex problem that needs to be examined at a number of levels… Unfortunately, it can not be ascribed to something as simple/ idealistic/ or (excuse me for saying so) naive as “singles need to have more faith in Hashem who is the shadchan of us all” Or as superficial and steriopically incorrect as “all singles are picky &/or unrealistic”


I can only offer my observations as a single 20 something female with a more “right wing” background (and yes, the distinction is important)... If you’d be interested, I can e mail u what I think but I warn you.( J )…its going to take a long time to get it all down on paper (electronic or otherwise) and will require several e mails broken up into a number of subtopics that, I believe, are all pieces of the “shidduch crisis puzzle”

. Subtopics would definitely include, but may not be limited to:

Understanding how radically frum demographics have changed in the last 20 years and how that has strongly influenced dating for singles 25 -35

How much women’s’ role (house wife vs. bread winner) have changed (& continue to do so) and how that’s influenced young women of dating age

The influence of college education on the “Right” (and no, this is NOT a rant on the evils of college waiting to happen)

Our society’s conflict between appreciating the necessity of “marry off” young frum singles early vs learning to accept the fact that not every 19 year old girl and 21 year old guy is ready to get married at such a young age – aka PARSAH PRESSURE

Communication barriers…for the first 12 years of school the yeshiva/ school system does everything in its power to keep the sexes from mixing (and rightly so)….Seminary/yeshiva then follows. There we learn the importance of a wife’s/ husband’s role in a house. The beauty of growing spiritually and finding a partner in life who will grow with us. Many of us grow in frumkite while attending seminary/yeshiva. Once that’s done BAM – time to get married!...One problem: no one, not our high school morahs or our Yeshiva rebbes, prepared us for COMMUNICATING with the opposite sex! - Think this has nothing to do with the shidduch crisis? Think again…I believe its one of the biggest underlying reasons young singles land up being Older (read 25+) jaded singles….

The shadchan / single  dynamic-  We all need a lesson in proper behavior: How to act, how not to act. How to set people up and how to make decisions on who to go out with…. Dating just anyone is seriously adding to burn out… being overly picky is having the same effect.  Acting like an insensitive, unsympathetic, irresponsible, pushy shadchan is hurting singles everywhere…Responding like a ungrateful, picky, aloof, or unapproachable single is discouraging shadchanim the world over…. Being unable to distinguish when the other really IS acting badly, or whether  YOU (as a shadchan or a single) is the one who needs to wake up and change your ways is hurting us all…..

Phew! I could keep going…but I think I’ll start with those…as all of them are adding to the ongoing singles crisis…

In order to rectify the current problem and stop it from being a repeating cycle for future generations, we really need to back up and start identifying how these, and many other factors are adding to the growing ranks of unmarried, yet perfectly “normal” frum adults…

TO be continued…if you’d like me to elaborateJ


Single Frum Female

checklists vs. the person

Anonymous said...

Dear Rabbi ZAK:

Here are two opinions: (Not Mine)

1) These are not in any specific order. It's stream of consciousness.

Parents/Shadchan seem to get overly involved in the screening and ongoing dialogue process.

Guys/Gals/Their Parents have all created a criteria checklist that is way too extensive and is not reasonable. At the end of the day, it's about two people interacting on a personal level and quite frequently the meeting never takes place because some checklist item was not satisfied. And even if the meeting takes place, if the checklist creates a perfect candidate, and the candidate turns out to not be perfect, then there is disappointment and no additional dates. I guess you could say you're doomed to failure if you create unrealistic expectations.

Orthodox Judaism is rarely practiced in moderation anymore. You have to be at one extreme or the other in order to fit in - either far right or far left. People like to be able to compartmentalize other people and if you're floating around somewhere in the middle, it's tough to figure out where exactly you fit. That's at the individual level. Try now to get two people to have a meeting of the minds about how they want to conduct their religious lives together for the rest of their lives. Both people may be Orthodox. But if one is leaning to the left and one is leaning to the right, it creates a push and a pull that certainly complicates matters.

I guess because these came to mind quickly and easily, they make up my BIG THREE REASONS.

2) as we all know, for religious singles shiduchin is basically the only way to meet someone. this process is stacked in favor of wealthy & healthy people and against all others. when people meet on their own, this issue does not arise until later when the couple already love each other.

for example, my niece had Hodgkin's disease about two years ago and has fully recovered. it is extremely hard for her to get a shiduch date because her illness comes up and if someone has a choice between someone who had this illness and someone who didn't-all other things being equal- the girl who was never sick will get the date. my niece will probably be set up only with people who had similar illnesses, notwithstanding that she is pretty, good personality and very intelligent (she's going for her PhD in psychology).

in my opinion, this is a terrible, terrible situation. it puts extreme pressure on girls and their families for no reason.

bottom line life got to serious for our young folk! its all about the merger!

3:54 PM

4 points

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, there are many reasons why people have a hard time getting married. Too name just a few:
1) Men are always looking over their shoulder for the next girl they could date instead of looking at and appreciating what is in front of them.They always want more.

2) Men do not always present themselves in a truly confident way which is a big turn off to most women. They think because they are male, they are the prize and can be a shloomp.

3) Most men that I have dated can not be honest with themselves and can not name a specific reason as to why they would not go out again when they had a perfectly nice time on the first date. Until they can be honest with themselves, it is a big problem.

4) Communication-Is key! when guys do not know how to have a conversation and wait till you ask the questions, it is like pulling teeth. Communication is a two way street as is marraige.

I could go on and on but will stop and listen to what advice , solutions or reactions you have.
Thank you

3:44 PM

focusing on just one at a time

3:35 PM
ben torah said...

One of the simple reasons people have a hard time getting married in shidduchim, is that even in frum circles, people are open to considering and dating more than one person at a time.

How many times have you been talking to someone in more modern circles, and their eyes are wondering around the room looking at other people they could potentially date?

Even in frum circles, people might not do it on the actual date, but many times they're doing it in their mind, as they're often not able to fully focus because they are either planning to date more than one person at once, or are looking into other people after they have agreed to date someone.

To me, often it really comes down to significant commitment and integrity issues, that either people have themselves, or have been burned by others on, thus unfortunately causing a tremendous collective jading of the generation. This is so pervasive that even many shadkhans and rebbetzins promote these ideas of multiple dating and multiple considering after agreeing to a date. Where is the emmunah and bitachon that HaShem is the real shadkhan and will send your basheret in a second, the moment that you're really zoche/have merit for it?

As a result, a lot of people don't go into a shidduch having confidence from having researched the other person on superficial and deeper levels, and with a real expectation and strong desire that they will marry the person they are about to go out with. Although it may be emotionally draining, to do otherwise, and especially to agree to date more than one person, cheapens the entire experience, and will prevent one from being able to have the total focus, commitment, and patience needed to really giving the other person a chance.

3:38 PM


Anonymous said...

From a female point of view, you have 2 choices either you date the old ugly guy with more hairs on his arm than on his hand or you stay single. The dating scene nowadays is awful. The girls officially compete for men. Most of my friends took the decision to not date New yorkers because there is too many girls in NY and the men don't know how to choose anymore.
The big problem of this world is of course MEN!!!!!

1:06 PM


Anonymous said...

I have been happily married for over 20 years. But, I still have single friends my age (who have never been married).

I think part of the "problem" is that many singles (those that I know; and I assume others have similar leanings) don't want to admit that they're no longer twenty-somethings. I try to tell them that by *changing* thier "list of requirements" they are not lowering their standards (just being realistic). But, they seem to still want to marry the twenty-somethings. And, as they age, obviously the situation deteriorates further.

They say they still want to have a family. That, my firends, in in the hands of Hash-m. You hear stories every day of men and women in their 60's, 70's--even 80's, having children. Sure, it's unusual. But, it happens. And, if it was meant to be, it will be.

I don't have a solution, other than--as another post says--perhaps education: practical and religious.

10:45 AM

assimilation, trust, jaded

anonymous said...

There are many reasons that I can think of why people are having trouble getting married, or perhaps I should say do not seem to want to get married.

First, there is the problem of assimilation.

It is now the way of the "western world" to view marriage as a burden, a set of shackles, the end of the road. Something to be entered into with reluctance, and deferred as far as possible. Just watch "Married with Children" (a TV show) and you will see what I mean. Than there is the divorce rate that is well over 50%, and most of media talking about failure of the marriage institution. (nobody says "why do smart people fall in love")
As people who received Torah at Sinai, we should know better than to fall for such attitudes, but what can we do, foreign attitudes have crept into many frum looking homes in America, not to mention the recent ba'al teshuba universe where these influences are understandably stronger.

Second, there is a problem of trust.

Even though everybody knows that it is Hashem who makes the matches between people, not everybody actually believes it in their heart. Why? In my opinion, it is a sense of disappointment. They look at a large number of marriages that are so far from perfect, and wonder what could Hashem possibly have to do with such a mess? If they took trouble to understand the process, and find out exactly how does the matchmaking happen in the heaven, how are the souls paired, what is the point of the pairing, etc. they would see the astonishing precision and beauty of Hashem's work. There is no lack of printed or online materials on the subject. Numerous authors give wonderful overviews of the subject, with references to Gemara, Scriptures, etc. But this material has to be read to be of any use

Third, the problem is that too many people are jaded

After a number of unsuccessful attempts, people tend to get discouraged. They don't believe anything anymore, and tend to develop a jaded outlook. With this attitude, they could easily meet their sole mate and ignore, repel or reject them. The cure for this, in my opinion, is in being able to forget the past experiences. The ideal, I think, is to approach each date as if it is the first and the last one. If you read financial papers, you may notice that mutual fund advertisements will usually tout their superior returns over the years, and then they will have a line of fine print that says something like "past returns are not an indication of the future earnings" or something like that. I think the challenge is to stay innocent despite of everything, because there is value in being innocent (not to mention a mitzvah. See Bamidbar(Numbers) 18:13).

But the biggest problem, I think is in lack of education.

How many of us understand what marriage is all about. Why is it that Hashem said "it is not good for man to be alone" Gen. 2:18? Why is it that father of Moshe and Aharon, the great tzaddick who never committed a sin in his life, was reprimanded by his little daughter because he divorced his wife and by his example cause others to separate from their wives? Can we really blame him? He saw children being drowned in the river, and he gave up, that's it, enough, no more point in this – he said. But Miriam, who was already a prophetess and a young age, saw clearly that there was more to this than met the eye. And in fact, after he remarried, Amram fathered Moshe. Do we really understand what it means that Hashem's presence dwells in Jewish homes, do we know what it is like to be roommates with the Creator of the Universe? There are many questions that should be asked, and many answers that should be sought out. I think somewhere in that process of questioning and learning, we will get a sense of what is our mission, and why marriage is crucial to it. If, however, we fall into the "All American" non-inquisitive, couch-potato passivity, than we will reap ignorance and bitterness.

Good luck to all.


10:10 AM

recommended reading...

Anonymous said...

Rabbi Zak,

If I may recommend a great book, that could help "How to win friends and influence people" by Dale Carnegie.
It takes away a little of the ME ME ME of OUR world.

9:09 AM
(reposted comment)

a little more bitachon...

(reposted from comment)
__ _____ ____ _-_
“Who is like Thee among the mighty, Hashem”

I think very few people have trouble getting married today. I think the real problem people are having, is actually finding their Basheret. Hashem is the Head Shadchan and if we can't find our matches then its an issue we each need to bring up to Hashem personally.

Once we have full love and bitachon (trust)in Hashem then we will all be able to find our Basherets and march down the aisles of Jerusalem.

If anyone has found their Basheret and is finding a hard time getting married please contact Hashevaynu as I am sure they can direct you and assist you in getting married.

___ ___ ______ ___ ___ _____
"Hashem is God; there is nothing besides Him."(Deut. 4:35)

Sunday, January 16, 2005


The situation out there really bothers me, and I've been thinking about what the real causes are, because then we can come up with the real solutions. I want to share my views, and you to share yours. Together, we can and must come up with solutions.

Because this topic is so important, I started a blog (an online web journal) hoping to be able to hear comments and share ideas. I will be writing my ideas in the next couple days, but feel free to post a comment on the blog in the meantime.

Thank you very much,

Rabbi Yehuda Zakutinsky

(all comments have been reposted as entries in the blog)


we're not all looking for dr. phil or mary poppins on testosterone.
but, then again...