Readers’ Matzav: Two Solutions to the Shidduch Crisis – The Theoretical One and the Practical One



At the beginning of the year, there was a kol koreh, an open letter, which was widely publicized, and signed by nearly every major American Rosh Yeshiva. It stated that they finally have pinpointed the root cause of the shidduch crisis. They wrote that the “primary cause” of it is the age gap, the fact that boys marry girls that are several years younger than them. Since in any growing population, there are always more younger people than older people, there are many more girls on the market than boys, and therefore many girls cannot find a shidduch. This was stated as a fact by our Roshei Yeshivos. In other words, the next time you are sitting by a table, and someone says, “You know why there’s a shidduch crisis, it’s because…” and they give one of the many explanations that have been tossed around over the years – “It’s because nowadays the girls are too picky” or, “there are more good boys than good girls”, or “it’s a gezeirah from shomayim, and there is absolutely no hishtadlus that can change the situation”, you have to carefully examine what they are unwittingly saying. They are saying that although there was a kol koreh signed by nearly every leading Rosh Yeshiva (66, to be exact), and they wrote that they had finally found the “primary reason” for the crisis – however this person is saying – “I disagree with them – that is not the primary reason, there is another explanation for it.”

We are left with a “mathematical” problem – the age gap of four years between the boys and the girls in the shidduch market – is just too large. There are only two mathematical solutions – either the girls wait until they are older to enter the market, or the boys enter the market earlier. There is no doubt that either of these would drastically improve the current shidduch situation. However there is one very important point to consider – the fact that something makes sense mathematically is not enough; which of these things can actually happen in real life?

The first option: The idea to have a “freezer” for the girls makes sense, and would definitely help tremendously- but it is very unlikely for it to ever occur. How will it happen? Which parent will volunteer that their daughter should be the “korbon”? Even if the gedolim sign a letter forbidding girls to date until they are 20, it is something that would be very hard to enforce. Parents are so nervous about their daughters becoming an “older single” that it would be very painful for them to have their daughters stay out of the shidduch market.

There is a variation of this solution which has been widely proposed, and that is that there should be an unofficial freezer. It wouldn’t be the girls that would volunteer to be “frozen”, but they would be frozen by the boys – in other words, the boys shouldn’t go out with younger girls, rather they should be encouraged to date girls who are closer their age. Additionally, the shadchanim should try to suggest older girls to the boys, instead of suggesting younger girls. This solution however, is only a partial one, as many boys will want to go out with the best girl that they can find, even if she happens to be a younger girl.

The second option: The other way to reduce the age gap is for boys to date when they are younger, perhaps when they are 21. They wouldn’t be the exact same age as the girls, but it still would drastically reduce the intensity of the shidduch crisis. This would require a major change – that most boys would not go to learn in Eretz Yisrael before they are married. This change would remove the tremendous pain of thousands of girls who are desperate for a shidduch.

The advantage to this solution is that it is very practical. It can happen in real life. Let me explain.

Most boys who go Eretz Yisroel, go the very large yeshivos. Usually the majority of the boys from their American yeshiva stick together and go to a specific yeshiva. Every few years there is a new smaller yeshiva that opens up – usually from the Brisker derech – and there will be a core of bochurim from one or two yeshivos that form the nucleus of the yeshiva. If you ask around – why a particular group goes to a specific yeshiva in Eretz Yisroel, you will usually hear expressions like this:

“Reb Reuven sent his oilim to ….. this year”

“Reb Shimon told his oilam not to go to ….. this year, but instead to go to ……”

Although the boys’ Roshei yeshivos are usually not very forceful in suggesting a specific yeshiva, nevertheless most bochurim take their suggestions very seriously. Bochurim have tremendous respect for their Roshei Yeshiva, and they will follow his advice. Although many boys can sometimes lose their close connection after many years – nevertheless, at this point in their lives, a bochur’s Rosh Yeshiva has an enormous influence on him. If a Rosh Yeshiva would tell his boys that the shidduch crisis has reached a breaking point, and the boys should stay in America – it is hard to believe that a bochur would violate a direct command of his own Rosh Yeshiva.

If thousands of boys would stay in America – it would have an unbelievable impact on the shidduch market. It is hard to even imagine – but it would be possible for a girl’s parents to get a few phone calls a week, suggesting shidduchim for their daughters.
This solution is not just a mathematical theory. It is very practical. It can happen this year. If our Gedolei Yisroel – our Roshei Yeshivos – would each tell their talmidim to stay in America – and the bochurim would listen – that would immediately resolve most of the pain of our shiddduch crisis.

Y. L.

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  1. the boys at age 22 are too immature to get married & you want them to get married earlier? let them learn for an extra year or two.

  2. Our Roshei Yeshiva have already established a mehalech in limud hatorah which involves a certain number of years of learning before they get married. It is largely based on what the gemara asksm, “Rechayim al tzavaro, v’yaasok batorah?” These practices have been established by years of maase rav, not just one letter signed at one time by a bunch of gedolim which suggeted very loosely that bochurim should try to minimize the gap. Roshei yeshiva are NOT gonna suddenly say that “Lets reduce the amount the boys learn before marrainge.”

  3. your second idea is worsening a different problem: how do younger boys support a wife and family…? Parental support? Those days are nearing an end and CERTAINLY are not sustainable starting families even younger! Maybe they should skip E”Y and learn a skill, and learn to work Bzeyas Apecha?! sorry, chas vshalom!

  4. 1. 70 signatures (i actually have the originals)

    2. this writer gets it… there is actually a even more effective way to accomplish the same end-Boys starting to date slightly younger- without needing “all” the roshei yeshiva to constantly encourage their talmidim to go to EY earlier.

    3. The day that post EY yeshivos in America set a enterance age limit of 23 (for returning boys) is the day that will be the TU Ba’av of our genearation. It is the day that will immedaitely save hundreds and hundreds of girls.

    4. the long term impact of such a institution is immeasrably benefical for the devatsing problem facing the community.

  5. So in short, cut out the Brisk(et), and the Sems. Done deal, It would also be a finacial saving that can add to the newly married couple.

  6. Ok, I’m trying to figure out what type of person wrote this(guy, girl, father, mother) but I can’t for the life of me figure out who can possibly write something so absolutely stupid and nieve!! You obviously have no clue the value of going to Israel for a year or 2. There is so much to gain other than just learning for a year that you can’t possbly be for real when you say that you want the guy’s rebbeim to tell them to stay in America so they can date earlier. Going to Israel allows guys to clear their mind, get away from all of the external influences they have in America (not saying that there aren’t influences in Israel but I am referring more to family and friends who even if they are good influences, Israel allows them to totally removed themselves for the simple purpose of going to Israel to grow for themselves and noone else).
    Additionally it gives them an opportunity to grow up and be independant as most guys have been living at home their entire life which is very conducive to being lazy and relying on everyone else to do everything for them. It is a year for growth in every aspect of life! To take that away would only hurt girls because it would take guys that much longer to grow up. This is coming from someone who took that path, lived at home till Israel, went for a year and had a chance to be independant. And for the record plenty of guys are still immature and not independant after 2-3 years in Israel so taking that away would just be even more ridiculous. You people have such a warped thought process its unbelievable!!

  7. Many of these articles are missing a critical point: most non-chassidic roshei yeshiva will not tell bochurim who are learning well to start going out much younger than 22. Most often, the most intense, uninterrupted learning is only able to be undertaken before marriage- especially for Americans learning in the avira d’machkim of Eretz Yisroel. It doesn’t matter why this is, but the fact remains that most boys do not marry their “first girl,” and the tirdos that go into the shidduch process do hinder that critical retzifus in learning. The roshei yeshiva will not be the trigger for the rifyon that is sure to occur if time spent in Eretz Yisroel were cut short to start focusing on shidduchim.

  8. After years of articles at this site and from the other charedi media, extolling the growth of Torah learning in general, and the growth of the many yehivas in Israel in particular, you have now done an about face, blaming them for causing the shidduch crisis by accepting American boys.
    Aside from the fact that the market, (an abhorrent term for parents with children waiting to get married), has long placed a premium on the prior attendance at certain yeshivas, who gives you, or anyone else for that matter, the right to determine where a boy should pursue his studies, or what priorities he and his parents should place on his future life.
    A person’s life partner is just one element in his future life and it is his decision and that of his parents as to how and when he wishes to enter the “market.”
    Even if their is a crisis, it will not be alleviated by mindless intrusion into the lives of young men, who, after all, are individuals not mere statistics.
    Having “done”several shidduchim myself, in my view the two main cause of this crisis, if one exists, is that boys are more willing than girls to marry partners who are less observant than they are. The ripple effect of this anomaly, felt throughout non-chasisidic orthodox community, has caused girls, at each micro-level of observance to be left behind.

  9. So please the Rosh Hayisheva of every Yisheva should start telling their bacharim to get married at 19 or 20 that would solve the problem. I don’t believe trying to force bachurim to marry girls that they don’t want to i.e. older girls will work.

  10. I’m curious. Is it considered a fact then, that if a boy marries a girl more than 2 years younger than him, that she is not the bas plonis that the bas kol said is for him?

    That would make an impact, I think, if all those roshei yeshiva signed to a statement that says: If you marry a girl more than 2 years younger than you, she is not your bashert!

  11. hey, I thought proposal #1 was already in place- to discourage boys from dating the younger girls, but you can’t force it. I can tell you choshuve shidduchim I’ve attended weddings of who allowed their daughters to date young. You can’t force anything but rather encourage people to do otherwise.

    And who says the roshei yeshiva want the boys to date earlier? why do you think you are smarter than they are? When you learn as much torah as they do, then you can tell them how to deal with their bochurim.
    I think boys gain a lot from learning in Eretz Yisroel, it’s their last stint to learn before being weighed down with family pressure.

    Please don’t force anyone to do something, you’ll just create new problems.
    Now, you can bring it to the roshei yeshiva and ask them what they think.

  12. And who’s to say that this suggestion won’t actually cause an even greater crisis: namely, a divorce crisis (Chas v’shalom). There is a reason many boys don’t date till they are older, and it’s not simply to have the chance to go to Eretz Yisroel – THEY ARE NOT READY FOR MARRIAGE AT 21! Pushing boys to date before they are mature enough to handle the responsibilities, can be a recipe for disaster. Additionally, can we be so quick to write off those extra years of uninterrupted and unburdened limud Torah?

  13. Dear Editor,

    While I enjoy and appreciate your articles immensely, i feel that the thumbnail/image you have chosen for this(image of”Womens Finger””) violates the Gemara Mfureshes in Meseches Shabbos 64b which clearly states that “Its forbidden to look at a Etzbah K’tana.

  14. I take issue with your basic premise. One who disputes the flawed math that concocts a false crisis does NOT claim that (s)he knows more than the “roshei Yeshiva”. I haven’t the time, or the space, to point out all the flaws, so I will limit myself to three points: one, the roshei Yeshiva specifically did NOT say that the ‘age gap’ is THE ONLY problem. Nor did they write that they accept it is a problem AT ALL. They merely pointed out that, since a group of askanim – notably, those behind the well-motivated (but in my humble opinion misguided) NASI project – showed them a series of charts (that the roshei Yeshiva can neither verify nor challenge, since they are based almost entirely on assumptions of which the roshei Yeshiva have no independent knowledge) that indicate there may be a demographic problem; and since, if there IS an unusual discrepancy, it might be a factor that can be addressed; therefore, it would be APPROPRIATE or BETTER for boys to marry girls closer to their own (the boys’) age. This was phrased as a RECOMMENDATION. The roshei Yeshiva offered a BRACHA for those who do so, but (for good reason) did NOT issue any specific ‘takanos’. They certainly did not declare that this IS the problem. They would not know. They saw what was showed to them, and, assuming it to be accurate (again, they could neither confirm nor challenge it), concurred that it would be a good idea to marry closer in age. Two: there has always been an age gap between husbands and wives. If anything, the gap is smaller now that it historically has been. The percentages have not changed. If this demographic difference is the ’cause’ of ‘so many’ unmarried girls, why hasn’t it been a problem until now? Third, and most important: do you not believe that Hashem knows math? Do you think He can’t count? Do you think He made a MISTAKE by making too few boys? Come on! It borders on kefira to think that the ‘problem’ is one of demographics! Just because the gedolim are condescending to an individual (or a few individuals) who have concocted statistics (NASI will readily admit that their figures are based on ‘estimates’, and not on specific, verified figures) to ‘create’ a ‘shortage’ of boys, does not mean that one who doubts it fails to accept what the gedolim say! The solution to the ‘crisis’? Bitachon! Stop panicking when your daughter reaches 20! Everyone has a bashert – or not – and agonizing over it won’t change anything!If no one panicked, there would BE no crisis! Trust in Hashem! Make a hishtadlus – talk to shadchanim, redd shidduchim, date, DAVEN, DAVEN, DAVEN, and then TRUST IN HASHEM! May you all (even those who scare others needlessly, and the fools who are needlessly scared) be zoche to the proper zivug (for yourself or your children), TO THE RIGHT ONE, AT THE RIGHT TIME, whatever age (s)he may be!

  15. let’s do it the easier way
    no boy is to go out with with any girl who has not finished her degree. This way the couple starting out has a fighting chance of making ends meat as well.

  16. Hishtadlus + Emunah = Menucha

    Shidduchim + Statistics = CRISIS

    Relying on falsified, biased, and refuted statistics to help Hashem be mezaveg zevugim is THE recipe for disater, crisis, and behala.

    Don’t listen to the nonsensical promotions of the agenda based organization and the ONE promoter who posts here on Matzav. Sheker is sheker no matter how many times repeated or how loud you scream!

  17. Using the same logic why can’t bochrim be told to go out with older girls. This would allow the bochrim to have their time in Eretz Yisroel (which is very beneficial to their spiritual growth)and would alleviate the problem. This would also give the girls the time to finish their education so that it will be easier for them to support the family financially which then also eliminates the pressure of having parents of the girls who can’t afford to – commit to supporting their sons in laws.
    This option seems to make more sense than having boys get married earlier – and having the young couple have to go on govt programs and live off parents in order to survive. That should be Bdi-Eved – not a preferable way to start off a marriage. The Lichatchila way is for a young couple not to have to come on to other people (govt, parents, or Gemach!). It is possible – healthy and immensly rewarding to live your own life without depending on others!

  18. o.k… keeping men from learning in eretz yisroel is the worst idea that any right minded person could come up with. just look at what chazal have written about eretz yisroel.
    additionally. being that you are talking about the learning group- the girls will get better dates if the get better jobs that make more money- that is a fact. the girls that are able to help their husbands learn and balance life as a whole are much more attractive on the shidduch scene. let’s think….nurse or secretary,when all other factors are the same??
    may hashem bring us to clarity of life- b’karov.

  19. A boy who marries at around 21 has less of a chance of “shteiging in learning” than one who marries at around 23! That is the reason in the first place why bochorim marry later rather than earlier. All the real gedolim feel like this anyway, so these solutions will probably not work as long as we have our yeshiva system! Also, a girl marrying at 21 is less likely to marry a yeshivishe bocher than at 19! The only eitzah is DAVEN and DAVEN again!!!

  20. You are confusing cause and effect. I sent my son to Israel because at 21 (and 22) he is too young to get married. This is an excellent time for the best bochurim to focus primarily on learning.

  21. Instead of trying to pay for shidduchim with older singles which fizzled out rapidly for lack of funds, we could incent boys to go out with older girls by NOT freezing boys who are dating any girl 22 or older.

    That would work and create an active market for the 22+ girls.

  22. Sure, the solutions could be implemented.

    The reason they are not being implemented is because by and large people don’t believe in the age gap theory.

    The frum community is constantly mined by opportunists and others who take advantage of the public trust (and naivete). The difference here is that you haven’t succeeded in duping a critical mass.

    As you note, no one wants to make their kid into a korban (and no ‘kid’ wants to be a korban). Which is why as long as there are still sensible people out there, your attempts to manipulate the masses will fail.

  23. here is a copy of part of a letter i sent to one of the biggest askanim of our times………….
    Dear_________……..about an idea I had, that might be able to stem the shidduch crisis. This idea would also be able to remove a big burden to father-in-laws who have to support their son-in-laws and daughters when the couple spend their first few (and sometimes more) years learning in kollel. In essence, this would be killing two birds with one stone. Sounds too good to be true, no?
    One of the main issues of the shidduch crisis is the age gap. I imagine I don’t have to explain the whole issue to you, and you know what I’m talking about. However, if you don’t know what I’m talking about, please let me know.
    Anyways, I was thinking as follows; these days most girls come back from seminary when they are about, give or take, 19 years old. Bochurim are about 22+ when they start shidduchim. So were looking at, a three year age gap, minimally.
    The goal would be to encourage girls to start dating a little while after their return from seminary. If we can get Lakewood (and as many other yeshivas as possible) to implement a “rule”, along with “the freezer”, that when Bochurim come out of the freezer they can not go out with a girl if she is not at least 19.5 years of age , so we just brought the gap a little closer. Instead of 3 year age gap, we are down to 2.5 years.
    A year (or two) down the line (depending on how slow we want to do it), the age goes from 19.5 to 20, meaning, a bocher coming out of the freezer can start going out only with girls over 20. Another year and we bump it up to 20.5. And so on, and so forth.
    If this rule can be implemented, the girls have nothing to fear that they are “getting old” because all the other girls in their age bracket (or most, at least) are also not going out, thereby, relieving the social pressures these girls and their parents feel, which cause them to start dating as soon as they get off the plane from Israel.
    What would happen is, when girls come back from seminary, they will go to some program/college or whatever you want to call it, where they will learn to earn a living, thereby, when the get married they can support themselves, to a much greater extent than before. Perhaps it would be wise to implement some sort of night seminary for the girls to prevent a “down grade” in their ruchnius and keep them as they were when they returned from seminary.
    What we are looking at is in 3-4 (or 6-8) years down the line, the bochurim are starting shidduchim with 21.5-22 year old girls, and these girls are either done with their education and earning a living, or pretty close to it. So we bridged the age gap, and we have these young couples supporting themselves, to a great extent.
    I don’t think this is such a far off idea. It’s just not what we are used to right now. If we can look 15 years down the line, if this would be come the accepted custom, I think it’s very doable. We just need to be open minded and ready to make some changes.
    In Israel, the system has it that girls go to two years of seminary and this has become accepted by everyone. And the point I am trying to bring out is, just like now we don’t have a mindset that “girls in 11th grade have to wait 2 more years” and that is so because its not even our mindset for girls at that age to go out, so too, once we get this rolling it would become the norm and it wouldn’t be looked at as “now, these girls have to wait 2 more years”, it would be standard procedure.
    Obviously, this is not going to happen by making one or two phone calls, and this can’t happen over night, but the situation is only getting worse, and if we don’t take some drastic measures (for a drastic problem!) soon were going to be deeper and deeper in the hole, with many many single girls sitting at home on their beds crying, davening, wondering and dreaming about that (unlikely) day when they will be walking down the aisle.

  24. and about ur idea, i think it is a good idea but limaysa making the boys go earlier wont bridge the gap TOTALLY and also a real big issue ur looking at is, by default bochurim will be learning full time 2 years less than previously bec that is pashtus the metzius, that guys learn for x yrs after they get married, not always, but often… take that into account and its not so pashut

  25. Summer so it’s time for reruns. Here goes.

    I don’t know if it’ll work.
    There are actually roshei yeshiva who don’t encourage their boys to rush to E”Y but would rather keep them long enough to develop a kesher and mehalech on the beis medrash level.

    Not going to learn in E”Y after marriage is fraught with peril, IMO, and may lead to shalom bayis issues. Do you know how stressful this is for the many young couples whose wives can’t get jobs in their professions? What kind of learning and growth opportunities will these boys have? Will they be stunted?

    The boys dating younger will mean boys who may have excellent middos but are less mature, resourceful, and will need that many more years of support. E”Y also is often more difficult and some boys might just be better off getting in their growth there before marriage.

    How to put the girls in the freezer without creating girls who are jaded, freezer burnt, or too career minded. Fine and good that most families need the second income. But the long term prognosis in this approach is not healthy.

  26. How practical is it for a 21 year old boy to get married? Do you not think that emotional development, besides that of monetary concerns, be important factors into this decision or are the boys simply automatons who, when they reach a certain age, must begin to date and be ready to marry? You are certainly correct that if boys would begin to date at a younger age the age gap will be significantly reduced. However, it is vital that a boy be psychologically and emotionally ready to marry. In my humble opinion, I think that most 21 year-olds are not ready for marriage.

  27. A good idea in theory but it’s still not practical. One of the complaints people have against bochurim is how unprepared they are for marriage. I can tell you from experience that those 1 or 2 years in e.y. can do wonders for a bochur as far as making him more independent and mature.

  28. That is exactly the reason why chasidim do not suffer from the same shiduch crises problem. Chasidim marry young both girls and boys they marry with their ages usualy. True, it is arrainged marrige, but all the above chasiddm would do even when dating. They say CHASDDIM have it right. They get married young, they have more children, they get together so tuition is much less then avarage regular yeshivos. More from alll of this they go to work early in their life, latley this is stoping and we are seeing the roots of problems. So chasidim are not perfect but they have it right.

  29. y’know, the reason why most bochurim go to eretz yisrael in the first place is because its good for them and they grow tremendously. therefore, it is hard to beleive that any rosh yeshiva would tell a bochur to do something not in his best interests – shidduch crisis notwithstanding. also, its not a guarantee in any way that the bochurim would listen, at most all the rosh yeshivos do is give a suggestion.

  30. I am a senior well old enough to know the truth so no one can can give me the “It’s because …” line. Everything was working well for a very long time and then along came greed AT THE HIGHEST and MOST EXTREME SHAMEFUL LEVELS. Amazing how the same people who created the “crisis” are now giving advice on how to fix it. Yell Fire in a crowded room and then sell fire extinguishers (very nice). Well, intelligent people do not want to hear anymore. You have practically destroyed an entire generation of youth (more so for girls). May G-d have mercy on you.

    For the life of me and many others – you messed with a good thing. HKB”H warned not to mess with the shidduch process. You did not listen. Now let the girls marry responsible young men.

  31. totally disagree. as a bachur,(i am currently in 6th year and dating) my best years were the first few in EY, eliminating that would be catastrophic to a boys growth process. Why not let them go to EY for 2 years and then return wait the summer and then start dating which is much quicker than before. At the same time, girls should be forbidden from starting until age 20 and all shadchanim should agree not to redt them until then. Why would it be so hard to enforce this on girls? if they all start the same time then there is no disadvantage to them. I think it is up to the shadchanim to enforce this freezer on them until it becomes the socially accepted norm.

  32. How about letting everyone date when they are ready. Each person should try to find the correct shidduch regardless of his or her age. If there is a crisis we have teffilah. Hashem makes shidduchim not us.

  33. Why do you keep repeating this lie? There is NO shidduch crisis! These immature boys & girls lack emunah and betachon, are to indecisive, refuse to listen to daas Torah, & are just too picky! They are creating their own hardships and then they try to impose it on others. “Keep your chesronos to yourself”!!!

    What about all the 100’s (if not 1,000’s) of mature boys & girls who ARE getting married every night? All the wedding halls are full, B”H.
    THERE IS NO SHIDDUCH CRISIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  34. What happened to “shmoine esra lechupa”? Does it only apply to chassidish boys or to everyone?
    And why does “A year in Israel have to be on he resum’e? I’m a shadchan….and the whole thing is a farce!!!!!It’s just a fad, a new style. Never mind Israel, how about, “and which yeshiva or sem did he/she attend? Well, it doesn’t matter, because I’ve seen all sides of it. Midos tovas above all, and Israel won’t teach you that.
    So the boys and girls who cannot afford to go to Israel are of inferior quality, huh…..
    what a joke….!!!!!
    The whole things a joke. Get me a reliable, responsible ehrlicher boy/girl with a heaping dose of responsibility and good heart and I’ll show you marriage material…..!!!!!

  35. Dear “Y.L.” (author of this “open letter”):

    Why have you not submitted your suggestion directly to Gedolei Yisroel and the Roshei Yeshiva?

  36. This problem will mathematically sort itself out in a couple of generations. However until that happens we have a real problem. The reason I say this is simple, we have an absolute starting point for the start of the growth of Torah Judaism in America, 1946, until then there was no growth but rather loss or break even. With the advent of R’ Aaron Kotler and R’ Yitzchock Hutner, and R’ Yaakov Kamaentzky and R’ Ruderman as Roshei Yeshiva (If I left someone out excuse me. The Yeshiva mehalach reached critical mass and began to grow and grow and grow. Since we are only 3 generations removed from that starting point the dividing lines between generations are clear and this exponential difference has been magnified with the result that a 1999 12th Grade had 1000 students and a 2003 12th Grade had 1200 (these are made up numbers)However as the years go on and there are larger numbers the numbers should even out. this would occur becauseas an example. If the 1st Generation is Avrohom and Sora and they have 6 kids the oldest being Yitzchock and the Youngest Yishmael, 15 years apart Then Yitzchock has Yaackov at 23 and Yishmael has Aisav at 23 when Yitzchock is 38 and Yackov is 15, If 8 Years later Yackov has Reuven while Aisav is 8 tHe younger geneartion wil eventually cross over into the older one diluting it and lessining the dramatic growth. Additionally If a girl gets married later she will have less children which should slow down the growth rate, as well. However this is all theoretics until this occurs we have a real problem affecting real people and we should do everything we can to fix it. If that means getting married earlier or for boys to marry a girl older than them Ais Lasos LaHashem, this is a chessed and requires our hishtadlus to do. Parenthetically in this day and age I have yet to see a serious bochur who got married early suffer in his learning because of it. I have only seen growth in Yiras Shomayim and Torah. and in this day and age the best shmira for a bochur is EARLY marriage. Vehamavin Yavin

  37. to #17

    Point #1

    please re-read the letter signed by 70 R”Y. It clearly stated the following 3 points.

    1. the primary cause of the shidduch crisis is age gap. There is no two ways of reading it.

    2. boys should give preferance to girls who are 20+

    3. shadchanim should put their primary efforts for girls who are 20+

    If you think 70 R”Y were “duped” into signing somthg that they didn’t believe or independtly verify then I think you are accusing our leaders of something that I don’t think you would want to.

    Point #2

    G-D certainly knows math. It’s not HE who created the problem it is us. He didn’t dictate that boys should start dating at 22/23 and girls at 18/19. Let not blame HIM for a problem we self created.

    Point #3

    The popultation growth statistics are no secret and anyone who cares to research can see for themself. No need to “rely” on research being put out by a organization.

    Point #4

    you write it borders on kefira

    Please clarify which of these two statemnts are kefira

    a. younger grades are larger than older grades because of population growth

    b. girls start dating at 18/19 and boys at 22/23

    (neither of these two statements sound like a contradiction to any of the Rambam’s ikarim)

    well my friend – if the group of 18/19 year olds are far more numerous than the group of 22/23 yr olds (becuase of popultion growth- i.e. younger grades are older than older grades-



    to # 5 BRILlIANT!!!!!!

  38. Your simple sentence

    Do you think He made a MISTAKE by making too few boys?

    clearly shows you don’t grasp the basic idea of the age gap explantion.

    No organization every claimed to few boys were “made”

    If i may be so humble as to ask that you first make sure you understand the issues at hand and then discuss whether the argument (which is frankly pashut) is flawed.

  39. See #5

    the brillinace of that idea. (Which for the record is being worked on seriously)is that each and every boy will make a personal decision based on his individual situtaion when to go to EY, How long to stay etc.

    All he will have to factor in is that by age 23 (a very reasonable age) he will have to be back in the yeshiva that he will choose to learn in post EY.

    Some boys may go earlier, some may stay shorter, some may choose to get marreid and only then return to the stated. some perhpas will choose not to go to EY.

    It will be “to each their own” based on his own situation.

    And hundreds and hundreds of girls will get saved.

    That’s a plan!

  40. I want to say something which has not been said enough. There are plenty of older girls who are not married, yet have dated a lot. I know a girl who is only 21 and she told me she dated over 30 guys, so girls not getting married is not necessarily due to lack of shidduchim. (I know this girl’s case is unusual, but I do think that the amount of dates available doesn’t necessarily mean someone will marry earlier) I think people are misguided in dating and there are many boys who date a lot but can’t make up their minds.
    I think more pinpointed dating- with more hadracha is needed to be focused on- not just the numbers and statistics.
    If boys would know what they want and not just date disposable girls, that would certainly alleviate the problem.

  41. Sure let the boys get married younger.

    Next Crisis: The Divorce Crisis.

    Unfortunately todays 23 yr. old boys are hardly mature enough to marry… I hate to see what happens when you knock off 2 years.

    Don’t tell me Europe, Chassidim etc. Boys in Europe were working for years before 23. Chassidim have different expectations in marriage.

    Don’t go down this path.

  42. If you who wrote this article are so loyal to the gedolim, that you even forbid and chastise anyone who would dare to think otherwise after they have determined the root of the problem, then why are offering your own creative solution to the problem as they see it. Go to those 66 gedolim (to be exact) and ask them to explain what the solution to the problem is. If they have poskined that we have to think in these terms then they will now have to also poskin on how to act based on this and we have to ask them on a case by case basis not pontificate on what we should do now. Every yachid now has a chiuv to ask a shaylah to these gedolim about what they should do with their children based on the fact that the problem has now been determined. What are you suggesting? to let everyone figure it out on their own, if that is what you are suggesting then why would someone listen to this kol koreih. BE CONSISTENT PLEASE

  43. In Frum USA in 2010, a Crisis can mean lots of things: To boot: we have A Tuition Crisis ,a Parnassa Crisis, A Shidduchim Crisis, A Teens at RIsk Crisis, a Tznius Crisis, a Divorce Crisis, a Broken Engagement Crisis, and the list goes on.

    If we CREATE some many crises for our selves are we not guilty of what Reb Moshe called the cause of American Jewry going off in the early 1900’s – “Its shver tzu zein a Yid”?

    I am sure taht I will be called insensitive, but I will tell you the truth anyways: They aren’t crises!!! Let me say that again: There is no Shidduch Crisis!!

    There are issues, problems, perhaps challenges. Why must everything be labeled a crisis?? The younger generation completely tunes out already when they hear middle-agers trumpeting a crisis- because its been used too much!

    IN closing, look at Websters definition of Crisis. Does it fit this issue? You decide:

    crisis |?kr?sis|
    noun ( pl. -ses |-?s?z|)
    a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger : the current economic crisis | a family in crisis | a crisis of semiliteracy among high school graduates.
    • a time when a difficult or important decision must be made : [as adj. ] a crisis point of history.
    • the turning point of a disease when an important change takes place, indicating either recovery or death.
    • the point in a play or story when a crucial conflict takes place, determining the outcome of the plot.
    ORIGIN late Middle English (denoting the turning point of a disease): medical Latin, from Greek krisis ‘decision,’ from krinein ‘decide.’ The general sense [decisive point] dates from the early 17th cent.

  44. Can anyone please tell me why boys are looking in the first place for very young ladies?
    For the most part, they have not started a college
    education which only gets harder after marriage and children.
    Most of them have not even had the opportunity to obtain any meaningful employment upon which most bochurim are planning to sit and learn for a few years.
    And finally a year or more past seminary can allow a girl to really decide for herself without the pressures of the seminary and her peers, what kind of guy she really wants.

  45. I’m not against young marrieds living in E”Y, ch”v. But imagine a boy who’s never been, knows NOTHING about the system, has no makom in any yeshiva nor a kesher to a rav/rosh yeshiva there, and now is dealing with the multiple, albeit happy, stresses of being newly married and having to navigate life in a different culture with all sorts of red tape, etc.

    If for whatever reason it was best for a certain bachur not to learn til that point in E”Y and he happened to have met his bashert, well, Hashem’s in charge of the timing. But to program this arbitrarily into the system? Not a recipe for success.

    (BTW, I was comment 28, assuming the numbers don’t shift; I forgot to sign in.)

  46. Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time there was a crisis in Klall Yisrael (a real one!). Paroah was killing allllll the newborn boys. So the gadol hador (fellow by the name of Amram) decided to seperate so that no more children would be born. Being a Gadol Hador, most of Bnei Yisrael followed his lead. His daughter convinced him and he got back together with his wife, and they had a beautiful baby boy named Moseh, who just so happened to be the one who led us out of Egypt.

    Miriam was a younger girl, and yet she had good marital advice, showing that you dont need to wait till your 22 to start dating if you are a girl.

    And once were on the topic, Moshe Rabbeinu didn’t start dating till he was almost 80 years old. Now THAT is a freezer…

  47. ok, social scientists out there, why is it that a 19 year old american male is immature, unskilled socially and generally wet behind the ears, and unprepared for marriage. Is not our education system and parenting to blame? Why is the ‘finishing process’ so late and davka needing the EY experience ( a recent blip on the historical record)If we can program the girls to be ready, why cannot we program the boys, or develop a system which works? In certain times and places, one would marry at 14, move in with the mahatanim, and the shvigger would mold the matana into the mensch she envisioned. Think out the box people!

  48. to #5, almost all (I would say 95%+, I was in the Mir) boys coming back from Israel are 23 or under.

    To the people that think that 21 is too young to be married-Firstly, I was 21 when I got married. B”H we are ok!
    Second, The reason why people are immature at 21 is because they aren’t even thinking of marriage for another two years.
    Take a look at the non-Jewish world where people are wholly unready for marriage till way after 24.
    E.g. it is known that boys avoid too much jumping around from yeshiva to yeshiva after about age 21-22. This is because people will be curious about his stability. So if we knock back the system two years, boys will be equally prepared.
    I don’t think there is a problem for boys to get married young.

    I have a little experience with teenagers that have problems.
    Most of their issues would be solved if at 17, they didn’t see marriage as something years and years away. Think about this last point. Many young people will agree.

    I would love to hear feedback and constructive criticism.

  49. #53 —

    My thought is to emulate the Frum Yemenite and part of the Sephardic communities and allow men to marry multiple wives.

    That is how traditionally the age gap problem of too many girls was fixed.

  50. Not every boy is suited to learn full time. They should be encouraged to start working right away (or earn a degree) so that they will be prepared to earn a living and support a wife and family. They could, posibly marry at a younger age to a younger girl. the serious learner, however, who wants a wife who can support him (and have a little rachmonus on his future inlaws) should only date girls who are a bit older and have had the time to go to Seminary and get some professional training to be able to get a well-paying job to support her learning husband and earning some money before marriage to support her husband (again sparing the poor, overburdened parents.) It is not important to make young men or women wait for a cut-off age; what is important is to marry within one’s own age bracket. And, by the way, it says “bas ploni l’ploni”. It does not say “ben ploni l’plonis”. The bas kol is for boys only, and girls have nothing to be someich on.
    To #17: Hashem makes the same number of boys and girls at any given time. No one contests that. If boys and girls marry spouses from their own age bracket there is no problem. (As is the case by Chasidim.) However, everyone recognizes that we are not at zero population growth. Most parents have more than 2 children, so with each given time span, time span B will produce more boys and girls than in the previous time span. Therefore, if, for example, in year A, 90 boys and 90 girls were born, then in year B 100 boys and 100 girls are born. If the 90 boys born in year A marry only younger girls from year B, that leaves 10 girls from year B with no one to marry. Carry the same logic to year C, and the hundred boys from year B will marry 100 girls out of the 110 that were born) from year C, leaving 10 girls from year C without a spouse. As time goes on the problem increases incrementally. The birth rate for both boys and girls is equal each year, but it is the boys jumpingdown to the next age level when looking for a shidduch that causes the disparate numbers, and hence, our current shidduch crisis.

  51. Boys are not mature at 21? whose fault is that? Just 40 years most boys got married at 21-22 just as they were finishing college. What happened in the intervening years? Most of my friends (married between 1984-1986) were between 21 and 23.

  52. to #41 and #42, and all the other ‘ratio’ adherents:
    Your math (which I’m sure you did NOT research yourself, but instead relied on the ESTIMATE put together by the NASIs), is just plain WRONG.
    The latest statistics (US government, as of June 2010) show that the worldwide ratio of male-to-female births is 1.07 to 1. This means that for every 100 girls born, there are 107 boys born.
    Do the math, braniacs. If there is a 3-year average age gap between boys and girls – which is what all the NASIs say, and which is probably an overestimation anyway – that means that the frum population would need to grow by almost 5% EACH YEAR, for the number of girls to exceed the number of boys!!! (This is because just over 1/2 of the population increase will be boys; I hope I don’t need to spell it out in greater specificity, but ask and I will).
    And that does not even take into account that we are unfortunately losing more boys than girls ‘off the derech’, lo aleinu…
    Do you really think the frum population is growing by 5% EACH YEAR? Just speak to your local Yeshivas: the increase is more like 2% (on average) each year… (At 5% per year, the frum population would DOUBLE every 14 years, and that’s just not happening…)
    And to address the obvious next question,”What about Lakewood?” (which IS clearly growing at more than that rate:) The people moving TO Lakewood are moving FROM elsewhere. While you used to see young married couples in every frum community, they are now a rare sight outside Lakewood – because they just CAN’T AFFORD to live elsewhere! Want to address a ‘crisis’? How about the housing crisis – young people can’t afford to buy homes in most existing frum neighborhoods…
    I can go on and on, but the bottom line is this: Hashem knows what he’s doing. Throughout our history, boys have married girls younger than themselves. To suggest that now, for the first time in history, WE have to change our marriage patterns because only WE are blessed with the ability to ‘determine’ the ‘root cause’of the ‘problem’, is preposterous and downright lacking in emunah in Hashem.
    Sorry if you don’t see it.

  53. I think we have a Sheep Crisis.

    People don’t have the ability to think for themselves.

    In a few months is Succos, and we will have a shortage of Esrogim – an Esrog crisis. If many people said that the main reason for the Esrog crisis is that the Esrogim were taken off the tree too late in the season and therefore they are dried out and weak, does that mean the cause is so?

    Ask any farmer and he will tell you the real reason – drought.

  54. Words, words and more words. Rules about EY study, age to date, parnassah. Have we all lost the ability to think al pi sechel ha’yashar? Must every action have to legislated in order to improve a seemingly painful situation.
    The same with chasanah takanos. Couln’t people have the moral courage to say, “Enough. The expense is insane and I can’t pay for it.”

  55. For all those who are having a problem with the picture,let not your hearts be troubled. It is me, a male, putting the ring on my other hand, as my friend, also male, took the picture.

  56. For those who think that E”Y is the cure for “immaturity” – some of the stories I’ve heard…. well… If they’re too immature to get married they’re certainly too immature to be turned loose thousands of miles from home.

    And for that matter, I don’t notice that the older bochrim are any more mature. They start to mature after marriage, not before, when they have to start the give and take of living with a spouse and having a family.

    There may or may not be advantages as far as learning goes to going to E”Y, but maturity isn’t an issue – it’s irrelevant. I think the best tactic would be for the boys to live at home until 17 or 18, where they can learn to be civilized from their parents, rather than be part of a gaggle of teenagers in some dorm. Kids can’t raise each other. The parents have to do it, and they can’t do it by cell phone from fifty miles away. Living in a bubble in a yeshiva is not going to prepare a boy for living in a world where he has to schedule his life, make allowances for other people, and learn with brenn despite distractions.

    We are doing our boys a disservice by putting them in a bubble and leaving them there long past the age when they can mature properly.

  57. Allow 2nd wives, and the too-many girls crisis is gone. The Yemenites and some Sefardim have been always doing this.

  58. #1 Class sizes in yeshiva stlye schools are growing at conservativley 4%. As per recent studies of progressive class sizes.

    #2 Average age gap (hard to get a exact numbe on this) is roughly 3.5 years (or had been until NASI came on board) – just as a sample of this concept – boys start dating on average at aprox 22.5 and girls on average at aprox 19.

    #3 Boy/Girl ratio for Cacausian births in North america is roughly 104 males to 100 females which is why a ultimate average age gap of one year is fine it doesn’t need to be closer that that.

  59. Chavi:

    To #17: Hashem makes the same number of boys and girls at any given time. No one contests that.

    Actually, statistics contest that. There happen to be more boys than boys born every year. Look it up.

  60. You all really don’t get it.
    There are so many single girls because the girls are constantly REJECTING perfectly frum and nice guys. I am a nice, frum guy and the girls reject me for the most ridiculous reasons ever!

  61. I just want to point out that Rav Chaim Kanievsky, arguably one of the greatest Torah authorities in our generation, encourages and urges every bochur to get married young. (I’m afraid to say how young.) That should say something. I’m also maskim that going to Eretz Yisroel is for the most part a big shtuss, especially for girls, and for too many boys. Develop independence and responsibilty? Responsible, thinking parents should allow their sons to grow in this area while at home, just like girls do for some reason.
    I notice chassidishe bochurim marrying at 18-19-20 with no issues. It’s all in the upbringing. Ask most honest people, it’s just fads, peer pressure, go with the flow etc. Shtuss Vahevel.

    BTW,this is coming from someone who actually went through the regular system.

  62. You can find your Bashert on

    There is no sign-up fee or monthly fee at Shidduch world and we don’t charge a fee for meeting with singles.

    Shidduch World was created with one primary goal; to help singles and their parents in the process of Shidduchim!

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  63. Many proposed solutions for the Shidduch Crisis advocate for the manipulation of the regular pool of Orthodox Jewish daters. These suggestions could prove valuable, and I don’t mean to disparage them at all, but they seem to go against free market principles and the human nature to strike the best overall deal, or at least the deal which an individual desires most; or they create new problems, both financial and sociological.

    How about adding boys to the pool? In addition to our current approach to kiruv, we could launch a campaign specifically designed to attract non-Orthodox Jewish men to become frum (and to some degree, a halachically acceptable, similar program could also result in an increase of male converts). Such a campaign could offer events and speakers that are more attractive to men, and/or it could be promoted and advertised in locations — physical or virtual — which naturally draw a higher concentration of men. The campaign could even target men of specific age groups, and the approach could be adjusted as needed.

    Of course, women who are interested in joining the fold wouldn’t be turned away. This supplemental kiruv program would simply draw more men.


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