Letter from Gedolim Urges Bochurim to Marry Older Girls


shidduch-hebrew-letter-smallMatzav report: Last year, a letter signed by various gedolim was released, encouraging bochurim in the parsha of shidduchim to consider marrying a girl who is “older.” The letter quoted the posek hador, Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, as expressing his support for this as well. The letter has now been re-released to the public in order to continue to raise awareness regarding the serious shidduch crisis and to continue encouraging boys to consider dating girls who are past early marriage age. Links for the Hebrew and English letter can be found below.

The letter, originally released on Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan 5768, was signed by (in order of receipt): The Novomisnker Rebbe, Rav Yaakov Perlow; Rav Aharon Schechter, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Chaim Berlin; Rav Chaim Dov Keller, rosh yeshiva of Telshe Yeshiva-Chicago; Rav Shlomo Miller, rosh kollel of Kollel Avreichim of Toronto; Rav Elya Ber Wachtfogel, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Gedolah Zichron Moshe of South Fallsburg; Rav Zelig Epstein, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Shaar HaTorah-Grodna; Rav Alter Chanoch Henach Leibowitz zt”l, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim; Rav Chaim Stein, rosh yeshiva of Telshe Yeshiva-Cleveland; Rav Simcha Schustal, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Bais Binyomin of Stamford; Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky, rosh yeshiva of Philadelphia Yeshiva; Rav Aryeh Malkiel Kotler, rosh yeshiva of Beth medrash Govoah, Lakewood; Rav Matisyahu Salomon, mashgiach of Beth Medrash Govoah, Lakewood; Rav Shmuel Berenbaum zt”l, rosh yeshiva of Mirrer Yeshiva; Rav Aharon Feldman, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Ner Yisroel of Baltimore; Rav Dovid Feinstein, rosh yeshiva of Mesivta Tiferes Yerushalayim; Rav Yisroel Belsky, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Torah Vodaas; and Rav Meir Heshkowitz, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Bais Binyomin of Stamford.

The text of the English letter is as follows:

This is to ascertain that when I met with HaGaon Horav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, Shlita, this past CHol Hamoed Sukkos and discussed with him the shidduch issue that is plaguing our country, he permitted me to publicize in his name that any bochur who marries a young woman who is “older” (past early marriage age) is ruach chachomim nocha heimenu. And with unusual enthusiasm, the Gaon blessed all who do so wuth extraordinary berachos in the establishment of their homes.

Regarding those who do so, I heard that same from another of the most outstanding Gedolim of our time: “Ruach chachomim nocha heimenu.”


Aharon Feldman

We join in the opinion of the above Gedolei HaDor and encourage bochurim to marry those who are close to their age (and even older), and we bless them that they merit thereby to establish botim ne’emanim in Klal Yisroel in which they dwell the limitless blessings of Hashem.

(Signatures in order of receipt)

Yaakov Perlow

Aharon Moshe Schechter

Chaim Dov Keller

Shlomo Eliyahu Miller

Elya Dov Wachtfogel

Aharon Zelig HaLevi Epstein

Alter Chanoch Henach HaCohen Leibowitz (zt”l)

Chaim Stein

Eli Simcha Schustal

Shmuel Kamenetsky

Aryeh Malkiel Kotler

Matisyahu Salomon

Shmuel Berenbaum (zt”l)

Aharon Feldman

Dovid Feinstein

Yisroel Belsky

Meir Heshkowitz

To view the Hebrew letter, click here, and then click on the image to magnify it.

To view the English letter, click here, and then click on the image to magnify it.

{Dovid Bernstein-Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. Anonymous, logic would seem to dictate that these girls will defacto end up in the freezer. But l’maaseh young girls are getting engaged these days. My daughter just came home from sem and said that she has a good half dozen friends (not all of whom left their towns to go to sem) who are engaged.

  2. to anonymous # 1- poor young 18/19 year olds aren’t getting yeses from bochurim because they want an older girl?! When i see that happening i’ll believe that were making headway overhere which i have hardly seen so for. When the freezer is going to open in month, that’s when the real test is going to begin. Will the boys go for all the young seminary girls who just came back or will they only listen to girls age 21 and up?! I hope that they will choose wisely….

    I think that you are a young girl who’s nervous that the older girls will “grab” the boys. If anything, its the opposite-the new crop of girls are a serious challenge to the slightly older girls. I hope the boys take this letter to heart and chose wisely

  3. I hope the gedolim realize that they have signed a letter that can significantly lessen the population on klall Yisroel. If a girl gets married at 22 instead of 19, it is very possible that she will have at least one less child , in her child bearing years. That is a significant impact. I wonder if they should rather consider writing a letter to cancel the years boys spend in EY.

  4. Notice how the gedolim have said it’s nice and is encouraged, but didn’t say one has to. Please don’t criticize those who don’t follow it since there is still nothing wrong with a 19 year old getting married to a 23 year old. Many choshuve rabbonim are still marrying off their daughters that young and their sons to young girls so it’s not assur either, just encouraged the other way.So don’t take it out of context and make others feel guilty. Plenty of young girls are scared of the shidduch crisis too and therefore want a jumpstart to the shidduch scene.

  5. let the girls go for older guys, I know plenty of guys in their 30’s that have it really hard. Why can’t a 27-29 year old girl marry someone 32-33-34??

  6. Preposterous.

    Boys should marry who they feel is the “right one”.


    Adam Ronald van Troeje
    President, PAJ (Partij van de Afrikaanse Jood-Liefhebbers)

  7. NOt every boy needs a girl older or the same age as himself .Some need a less mature girl so that they can grow together. Shidduchim is a very personal desicion, and nobody gets to tell anyone who or what they have to marry. The way I see the letter, it simply states and suggests to boys not to rule out a potentioal shidduch merely based on age.

    Trust me , any girl out there that percieves that she has buying power in the shidduch market, sets her standards as well and trys to cut the best deal she can for herself to. I personally know many girls in theyr high 20s who will not date older guys then thmeselves.
    Good luck!

  8. B”H one side of the equation has been addressed. I am hoping and waiting for the “other side of the coin” to be addressed – a boy doesn’t have to be Chasidish to enter “the parsha” at a younger age. If bochurim would leave to learn in Eretz Yisroel immediately after high school and learn for 1-2 years, they would return to America at the age of 20 and be ready for Shidduchim. Girls who get older are often “waiting” for their zivug to return from learning in Eretz Yisroel.

  9. you have to relize that each boy is diffrent some wantyoung girls some dont mind to have an older girl -also there is no rule you should say yes or no to some one because of their age just dont rule out anything because of the age look what person is best for your child some girlsmay be older but they are young at heart -and Dan you have one wierd mind dont marry some one cuz. they may have one less child who knows maybe the 19 year old will have issues having children or will get post pardom and us wont have kids for afew years or maybe she would have a c-section and wont have for 2 years can you plan out life to the T and if you think you can you have some thing coming you in for surprises

  10. Please note that the letter states that the Gedolim are “encouraging boys to consider dating girls who are past early marriage age”, which is not “urging” boys to marry girls older than they are.

    To “Correction”: As a shadchan, I routinely hear from boys who want girls as close to their own age as possible; many boys refuse to date the 18 and 19 year olds. (And yes, this has been going on since well before the NASI initiative.)

  11. Dan, the problem with cancelling E”Y is that if boys then want to learn in E”Y they will definitely need serious support, as many of the best paying jobs the girls have aren’t so easily transferable.

    To me, and I guess I’m a naive woman, I always thought that learning in E”Y was a more individual thing than for the girls, who have no choice but to go there for sem immediately after high school. What tends to happen is that the boys learn in beis medrash for a few years and then go. They are more mature (boys need this as there aren’t too many dorm and better supervised yeshivos) and may have a better idea of how to best maximize this precious time.

    And to Shwarma: can we stop calling young women in their late 20s girls? They are women, or young women if they prefer. Maybe that will help them better maximize this point in their lives too, as bedieved as it may be to them. They can and should be integrated into their communities, their skills and availability tapped.

  12. dan: please realize that as the situation stands now more than ten percent of all girls in our community will NEVER MARRY (tzipi i know when they are eighty they are no longer girls… whatever… very important) the amount of children that will be born if this reform were implemented would VASTLY INCREASE. do the math. to leave the situation the way it is is retzicha for the girls and their “children”

  13. Dan, What a foolish comment. These girls are already 22 and they need a shidduch. Perhaps you have a time machine for them?


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