Tuesday, May 25, 2010

There is no shidduch crisis!

Received via e-mail:

Reb Hirshel Tzig:

I am writing to you with the hope that you will spread my message to as many people as possible. As you shall soon see, what I am about to tell you is not something that will be readily published in your local Jewish newspaper or magazine. Of course, news about tragedies and hardships sometimes make for “newsworthy” material – but with a limit. Some tzuros are deemed to be ignored and don’t make for good reading for someone lying in bed on Shabbos after the chulent (and three types of galah, herring and too much mashkeh). Hopefully, you, who often write about subjects that others push under the rug, will have it in your heart to publicize this email. Reb Hirshel, I am an “older” single. My age is irrelevant. What does matter to me is that in the society I live in I am considered “old”. I get the stares, occasionally, and sometimes the kids say ‘you are __ old’, obviously parroting what their parents say behind close doors. I am a quasi-outcast; I am too old to hang with the singles and obviously limited in my interactions with my married friends. Sure, I get the occasional phone call, but the bulk of their time is occupied with driving to and fro the baby sitters, putting their kids to sleep and actually spending (quality?) time with their respective spouses. Maybe on Shabbos they will have me over and donate some of their time to me as I watch them conduct a Shabbos meal with their families. Don’t get me wrong, I have no personal taynes on my friends - I understand that a man’s priority is his wife and family and not old friends, regardless of all the good times we shared in the past and the many times I was a “shoulder” for them to cry on – literally and figuratively. That doesn’t make it any easier. >I know, everything I wrote till now, is common knowledge. Yet, I would like to highlight the degree of loneliness I feel and how I am deemed a pariah by the rest of society.

You see my friend, I have several married friends who don’t have children, r”l. I see the looks of despair and hopelessness on their faces. No, I can’t say that I truly understand the hell that they are going through, but in my own unique way, I understand. They also lack status. They still live in their first apartment; in a building with neighbors that are only getting younger and younger. Their friends have moved residents several times, looking for larger houses or apartments to accommodate their growing families. They have no reason to move. I feel for them.Yet, my unfortunate friends have the benefit and comfort of knowing that society is “with them”; people feel their pain, they are not just a topic of conversation. They are looked at with pity that is mixed with a heavy dose of empathy. The reason for this is: it is not their own fault, nor the fault of their parents, in-law or general community that they have to suffer the way they do. They are totally blameless. Consequently, Lakewood (as do many other cities and neighborhoods - HT) has an organization called Bonei Olam that has a huge turnout by its dinner and the baby count gets higher by the day. Everybody feels for these hapless couples, subconsciously fearing that their kids could be next, r”l. Everyone is potentially vulnerable, and by donating money for an expensive procedure – even without a high chance of success – they are protecting themselves. Contrast that with the plight of me and my fellow “older” singles. We don’t feel your empathy, even though many of you go through the motions of helping us; you call us and redt us shiduchim that you would never in a million years consider for your children, and then when we don’t return your calls you label us “picky”.

Sure, the Rabbonim signed the Kol Koreh saying the girls should marry older boys and the “crisis” would be solved. How many of those Rabbonim have their sons marry older girls? I don’t blame them and I am not pointing fingers. However, the truth is that most of the choshi've families don’t have older singles. In their communities and their subcultures they are considered “catches”. They don’t really understand what an older single is all about and it is virtually impossible for them to truly commiserate with our plight. For example: Malkiel signed on the aforementioned Kol Koreh. Did he marry an older girl when he was onto his second zivug? No, he married someone more than a decade younger than him. Do people like him know what it means for an older bucher to still be sharing a dorm room with kids ten years younger than him? With the young ones who get engaged a few weeks after the freezer opens and then decorate the room with streamers? How much leeway do they give the older bocherim with regards to having more “private” living accommodations in the dormitory? This just underscores my point that it is hard for someone who is immune from the type of suffering we are enduring to put himself in our place.To digress, to say it bluntly and candidly, there is no “shidduch crises”. There is a group of singles, that is not small, that is largely comprised of boys and girls (or ladies) that were not the biggest catches right when they entered the market – way before they became “old”. The influential families with the trust funds which “guarantee” no dayges of parnassah for generations to come have virtually no older singles. The “shayneh Yidden”, the Roshei Yeshiva and more respected Rabbonim don’t have older singles living at home. Of course, those who are blessed with very good looks obviously don’t “stick around” too long; a testimony of the current values that people have.

So which families are more “prone” to having older singles? The “regular” and average ones; the shtileh people who actually are bnei aliyah and don’t get recognition from most of us. Those who are struggling to make ends meet, are very ehrlich, but are not nitztayen in any noticeable quality. They don’t have big heads, they aren’t honored by the dinners, they just continuing growing and making their share in Olam Haba larger. These are the people with the older singles; with the daughter who might have been looking for a short term learner, but is now is hovering around the dreaded thirty mark. She is stuck between the proverbial rock and a hard place. The boy she really is looking for doesn’t exist. Mimu nafshach, if he is older and still holding by learning than the odds are he is much more serious than a “five-year” fellow or the peculiar “year or two” guy – and he is too good for her. On the other hand, if his geshmak in learning is something of the distant memory and he is just treading water in yeshiva, he is obviously not what she is looking for either. This poor girl, or woman, like I said before, was probably not the greatest catch even right after seminary. For the same reason she didn’t go to Bruriah’s place (BJJ seminary - HT) she is still singe. She, or he, might be bright, articulate, kind, caring, contentious, and decent-looking and more importantly – really possess Yiras Shomayim and the values, goals and aspirations of a true Ben Torah and Bas Yisroel. In a certain way, all of that doesn’t make a difference. Unlike other problems which might happen to the shensteh mishpuches – this one doesn’t. Society looks at us and says Mazluch Gurem. Just as the less fortunate don’t have the same quality health care as the faynshmekers, can’t get their kids in the same schools and are regulated to the proverbial back of the bus of society, they can wait their turn when it comes for shidduchim.

Reb Hirshel, I must go. My phone is ringing, I think that this time they are going to redt me a Lubavitcher girl…. (I suppose that's a shtuch of some sort - HT)


Shlomo said...

Very interesting topic.
I do think that most of the Tzigs comments in brackets are kol hamosif gore'a though, for example the one about boneh olom having branches in other places besides Lakewood is irrelevant.
The last comment by Tzig about the Lubavitcher shidech being redt, is not meant as a shtuch against Lubavitch, rather at a shtuch against the frum worlds "care" about older singles.Without realizing it and with no malice intended apparently, the writer slipped up and gave away what is common knowledge everywhere, besides for Tzigs daled amos,that a Lubavitcher shidech is offered after "koli kol hakitzin" i.e Lubavitchers are considered bottom of the barrel

Feivel ben Mishael said...

Hahaha bottom of the barrel. On the one hand I wouldn't want to even be in a barrel close to yours. Of course, I would come into your barrel anyways because I love you.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if there's any connection between the shidduch crisis and the drop out one. I know for me, I gave the dating process more than a decade before I gave up and moved on. Am I happy? Well, I still visit Jewish sites about the world I left behind. Am I happier than I would be if I had stayed though? Again, it's hard to say. I am no longer crushingly lonely, but my life has a lot less meaning than it used to. The only thing I can say confidently is that I empathize with the writer's pain.

Friendly Anonymous said...

Who is the writer blaming, and what is his proposed solution?

Anonymous said...

Why do you have a picture of a Yekkishe Chuppah? The Kallah doesn't make Hakofos, the Choson doesn't wear a Kitel, no canopy, no Mi Adir or Mi Bon Siach & - worst of all - no Niggun Arbah Bovos!

CR said...

Frankly this fellow (or woman?) needs to start working outside the "system". In my case, I plied the shidduch scene for a number of years (this is back in the Nuns) only to find that I was being redt with people unkempt, fanatical or not so true to frumkeit. My zivug came as a surprise when we, independently, attended an event at the home of mutual friends. We started talking across a table and, now 15 years later, we are still talking. ;-)

G-d alone makes the matches. Sometimes human "assistance" can be much more hindrance than help.

Mordy said...

My phone is ringing, I think that this time they are going to redt me a Lubavitcher girl…. (I suppose that's a shtuch of some sort - HT)

I think I found the problem. You're clearly a glib -------. Maybe if you start to have respect for other people you'll learn how to handle an actual relationship and find that shidduch you're so desperately pining over.

russian chusid said...

This is an important topic.
The only thing i can add to it , is theh shiduchim issue of a baal tshive- especially if you are a Russian one.
And, belive it or not, the kids of Russian chasideshe baal tshives who already went thrugh the system, do not talk Russian, have a big problem too. S past nish tsi mishadech mit a rusishe...So why are you so into kiruv ???? To bring people in klal isroel which are outcasts????

Tzig, and do not tell me in Lyu bavich is better- the only difference is that there is a huge amount of baal tshuves there.

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

1) Lubavitch IS much better, with many FFB families marrying BT kids.

2) If you don't have many BTs, and cannot provide for them when it comes to shidduchim, then get out of the kiruv business!

The Bray of Fundie said...

might be bright, articulate, kind, caring, contentious,

I think he meant to write "conscientious". Contentious is a synonym for argumentative...a shvera baal dovor, Please correct.

BTW very misleading title. The author was not tayneing that no crisis exists but that the upper crust is immune.

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

no, not misleading. At least not intentionally so. Sometimes creating a good title just doesn't happen. As far as your correction goes; I'll need to ask the guy who wrote it.

russian chusid said...

1) Lubavitch IS much better, with many FFB families marrying BT kids.



Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

You'd be quite surprised. Even such names, yes.

You're right about those that come on their own, however. But they still should have some sort of achrayus.

The Bray of Fundie said...

If you don't have many BTs, and cannot provide for them when it comes to shidduchim, then get out of the kiruv business!

I don't get this. You're saying if a mekurev/mekureves ends up an old bokhur or spinster but otherwise completely shomrie Torah Umitzvos that they are worse off than having stayed frie, spent a lifetime being mekhalel Shabbos, eating treif and being boalei niddos/ shekotsim/shiktsez?

Please explain/ elaborate.

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

no, genius
I'm saying find him a shiddukh!

russian chusid said...

You're right about those that come on their own, however. But they still should have some sort of achrayus.

Not achrays, but emine and betuchon.:)
To all my friends eventually that helps.

nsker said...

I think Lubavitch is much better indeed in this respect, especially for the Russians. They are an elite of sorts, at least geographically if not in yichus, and shun the "aboriginals".

Anonymous said...

I find it ironic that there is such an effort to make ba'al tshuva's but no corresponding one to help us find mates. They sell us on the beautiful Orthodox family, and then expect us to live like monks and nuns. No wonder thare is such a bitter ba'al tshuva drop out movement on the internet.

Anonymous said...

I was feeling so sorry for you, really trying to understand your pain, where youre coming from.

But then you go ahead and call RMK "Malkiel" - and for what purpose? Why the need to push him down? And in a public forum? Was there a need for it?

I dont want to get mean, because I do sense that you are speaking out of pain, but before you put down other peopls frumkeit, and make fun of a system that is not perfect, perhaps take a look in the mirror, and see if an emmes'dik ben aliyah would call RMK "Malkiel"

Just something to think about.

Good luck !!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I am not so sure this can't go into a frum publication. Except for the Malkiel reference, I would say its a moving article, and would have a good chance to published. Of course with minor צופוצען.

Yosef 718

Anonymous said...

Most people that call Malkeil, "Malkeil" are takheh bnei alyiah, in comparison to others.

The Bray of Fundie said...

Nu Tzig...were you mevarer the spelling mistake?

The Bray of Fundie said...

I find it ironic that there is such an effort to make ba'al tshuva's but no corresponding one to help us find mates.

I hear the taynaeh but find the indictment somewhat unfair. the talents and material needed to be mekarev someone and those needed to be a matchmaker are not identical. If you believe the old joke about krumeh kep they may even be antithetical.

Would you indict Roshei Yeshiva who may be talented at giving bokhrim a derekh in l;earning or in getting them "turned on" to learn with geshmack and hasmada for not redting successful shiddduchim?

There has to be division of labor.

schneur said...

Why would anyone want to be a memebr of a society with values like these ?
In Europe many of these values reigned supreme and the youth by and large left this scoiety and joined modernity where a sense of equality, fair play, bildung Romance and bechiras libo, .And 100-200 years later we wonder why Orthodoxy in Europe fell part shtickerveiss. What chances did the shoemakers son or daughter have in such a community ?
What is described here is a rigid class based egocentric society , based on materialism with little real compassion for the poor, and those who are not well connected. Why the need fro all the color pictures of gedolim and the new style of the same pictures ar private simches of weell connected gvirim !
As a friend of mine observed the Torah and Rabbinic Judiasm are true , but those who practice this Torah Judaism and their society are hard to take unless you are in the "IN CROWD".
This is the main reason the Besht came along.And today we need a new Besht , because this bluff will collapse one day soon too.

A Prince in the Kingdom of Song said...

We had the new Besht but rejected him.

His name was Shlomo Carlebach z"l.

The Bray of Fundie said...

bildung Romance

please state plainly what you mean. I;m not lazy. I googled and wikied and can't grasp if it means shape-shifting or something to do with Biedermeir or education in general.

Please enlighten.

ConsumerVigilante said...

Wow....painful to read.

The Bray of Fundie said...

for a lighter touch check out this humorous and finely written /designed blog:


halevai oif mir gizugt

CR said...

bildung Romance

please state plainly what you mean.

I think it has something to do with love stories committed to film. ;-)

russian chusid said...


This is the main reason the Besht came along.And today we need a new Besht , because this bluff will collapse one day soon too.


dudy said...

Russian Chusid,
You are talking out of your rear end, zay moichel.
Your "facts" have been taken from the National Enquirer or from Tzigs favorite "newspaper" Punem Chadushes

מענדל said...

בנוגע צו די אזוי גערופענע גזע אין ליובאוויטש צי זיי טוען שידוכים מיט בע"ת וכיו"ב.
דער ענטפער איז יש ויש. מען דארף אויך פארשטיין אז דער וועלטאנשאונג Weltanschauung (ווי שרייבט מען דאס?) פון א בע"ת מיט איינער וואס איז אויפגעוואקסן פרום איז גאנץ אנדערש. איך שטאם פון גזע און אין מיין משפחה איז דא די וואס האבן חתונה געהאט מיט בע"ת, ב"ה פרייליכערהייט, אבער עס קאן מאכן שוועריקייטן. וכידוע וואס דארף מען לייגן א געזונטע קאפ אין א קראנקע בעט. לענ"ד אין צווייטן דור בייט עס זיך שוין. דאס זיינען געוואקסן חבירים צוזאמען אין ישיבה קען מען שוין רעדן א שידוך מיטן שוועסטער.

Anonymous said...

I don't see where Russia Chusid deserved such a aggressive response

russian chusid said...


Kish mich 20 muhl in der rechter und 10 in der linker- rechter is cheishiver :)

Nether- i know enough garbage from Lakewood itself.

You are right, but then do not make baal tshuves!!!!You guys can not make kehilos mamzerim- lo sischaten bom...

I can not blame anybody however...:)

Anonymous said...

Of course Bray, you are right. That said, if the kiruv rabbis are unable to handle shiduchim, it seems to me thay should find shadchans who can. Otherwise, a few years from the ba'al tshuva's initial encounter with the kiruv rabbi, you are going to be dealing with a lot of buyer's remorse. That's been my experience, anyway, and the experience of many (dare I say most?)of my friends.

Anonymous said...

We had the new Besht but rejected him.

His name was Shlomo Carlebach z"l.