The Matzav Shmoooze: What a System!


hatsDear readers,

I’ve been following the intense dialogue on regarding the shidduch crisis and the various solutions.

Let me get this straight. We currently have:

– Separate seating for weddings, all other simchos, and all community gatherings and events.

Bochurim in yeshiva not allowed to eat Shabbos meals at homes where there is any above-bas mitzvah age girls in the house, even if the boy is related to the family.

– Girls are discouraged from expressing any individuality by wearing anything besides the “new normal” of tzniyus – all black clothing all the time, and nondescript hair styles.

– Girls are not allowed to attend post-high school courses or college.

– Dating must be done in a way that is totally private and through intermediaries who dictate every step of the way.

– The process clearly favors the boy, of any age, even if he is clueless, planless, and mediocre.

– Girls are “in shidduchim” or “in the parsha” merely by virtue of the date on their birth certificate, without any attention given to whether they have matured, have life or employment skills, or are otherwise “ready.”

Bochurim are “in shidduchim” or “in the parsha” merely by virtue of the number of years since they finished mesivta, without any attention given to whether they have matured, have life or employment skills, or are otherwise “ready.”

– We have a system that caters to the elite, meyuchasim, the wealthy, or the size 2’s.

– Parents and Bais Yaakovs discourage the girls from doing anything to help themselves, and hishtadlus has been reduced to mothers answering the phone for their daughter and complaining when no one notices their daughter and the shadchan calls only once every 5 months.

– We live in a generation that represents a blatant historical departure from what was always considered to be acceptable…and the great solutions have boiled down to NASI and other throwing-money-at-the-problem fixes, narrowing the age gap, Tehillim at chupahs, Kupat Hair, and Amein parties.

Mi ke’amchah Yisroel!

A Yid


The Matzav Shmoooze is a regular feature on that allows all readers to share a thought or analysis, long or short, one sentence or several paragraphs long, on any topic, for readers to mull over and comment on. Email submissions to

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  1. thank you for a great rant im surprised this was printed as cencorship is alive and well at matzav

    we will have to give a din vchesbon on the nightmare they we’ve created

  2. “Girls are not allowed to attend post-high school courses or college.”

    Except through TTI, Sarah Schenirer, Bulka Seminary, or Touro (for some)

  3. There does need to be a change. We should not have a system where there MUST be an intermediary for a couple to meet. There needs to be more opportunities for young people to meet on their own and for relationships to develop organically. Let’s start a movement encouraging that as a community rather than just throwing money at problems.

  4. “We live in a generation that represents a blatant historical departure from what was always considered to be acceptable”
    – That is if you consider what was normal in the 40s in America the historical norm. There are those of us who have a deeper sense of history. Everything that you describe was the norm for hundreds of years.

  5. This list reminds me of an outsider looking in (which it probably is). Yes, no system is perfect, but healthy kids/teenagers/adults in the Shidduchim ‘Parsha’ will read this, and think ‘and therefore?’ There are plenty of people who are unmarried (and it hurts, as many of them are close family members!), but it all depends on how you look at it. What we need is not a revolution society ,but evolution of how we look at ourselves. So one is unmarried. Is life over? No! So you didn’t get engaged straight out of the Lakewood Freezer or the day the plane from seminary landed (or even back in Eretz Yisrael). Does it define who you are? Some people need the time (days, weeks, months or years) before they can get married. A little trust in Hashem that he is running the show never hurt. Mature. Learn what it takes for real life (dealing with rejections, running a family, managing money, etc.) As is (falsely) attributed to Bill Gates, life isn’t (on the surface) fair – get used to it. Maybe Hashem is telling you there have a few lessons to be learned.

    A former Lakewood Bochur who unwilling took awhile to get married

  6. Is it Purim today? I can go to the Jewish Week, Forward or Pravda to read this assesment of our life style.

    Let the author travel to the upper west side and meet the Hundreds (Thousands) of single Heimish & mod orthodox College graduates. They disregarded all of the above RULES and aren’t ahead in the game. Just more confused, and they can’t even blame the SYSTEM.

    Meanwhile, our SYSTEM, while in desperate need of a tune up, has a majority of its offspring doing Hashem’s will AND leading happy & productive lives. The Torah, Kedusha, and Chesed are unparelled by these other communities.(Same can be said of the Chasidishe circles). I will trust our Gedolem to correct our deficiencies.

    As an aside, I think we will solve our problems sooner than others because we have all these good intentioned brothers pointing out our mistakes and constantly offering (unsolicited) advice 🙂

  7. “- We have a system that caters to the elite, meyuchasim, the wealthy, or the size 2’s.”

    Yes. It’s part of mesorah. Check out the gemara on Tu be’av. the pretty girls would mention their beuty, the richgirls would mention their wealth, the meyuchas ones would mention their yichus, the others would say “sheker hachein vehevel hayofi”.

  8. The first 4 points are positive. Regarding the Shidduchim points, take a deep look why most Chassidishe communities have non of those issues…. We can all learn from each other.

  9. Emes! thank you matzav for posting what we all know to be true, yet for some bizzare reason are afraid to say publicly. Its time to scream the emes from the rooftops

  10. The chumra-of-the-month club mentality shoulkd be junked anyway as just as there is no power to permit the prohibited there is no power to prohibit the permitted. Moreover, those who do not wish to keep these chumrot are unjustly labeled as sinners and those who do develop a “mirror, mirror on the wall: who is the frummest of them all” attitude.

  11. #3
    Actually there is a photograph hanging in BMG (Lakewood Yeshiva) office taken at a dinner for the Yeshiva with mixed seating, Yes mixed seating! Reb Ahron is seated on the Dais! Reb Ahron had no problem speaking out on issues he held were inapropriate.

    I dont suppose you are suggesting we all live the same way they did for hundreds of years in Europe. Now Im not suggesting we resort to anything that is not proper in accordance with Halacha, however we dont have to put ourselves in a situation that binds & stunts our children’s growth more than necessary, and avoid the proper way of dealing with chalenges.

    We should ask Daas Torah how to correct the issues of the day. I dont think that segulas etc. is the answer to the problem eitgher.

  12. amazing that MATZAV didnt censor this!
    R. Pruzansky from teaneck has a great article that he wrote regarding this shidduch crisis. well worth reading

  13. Yashar Coyach!!!!!!!!!!!11
    As a mother of a daughter who is in shidduchim I couldnt have said it better. They have been put into a mold and have to somehow fit it or be left on the shelf……
    by the thing was left out- the girl needs to have a degree (speech therapy preferably!!!) or its not worth a phone call to the shadchan.
    Where does it leave the rest of us??? And what about the other criteria a marriage SHOULD have which is: middos of course and not to mention the fact of being able to juggle home and work. My daughter can run a home like clockwork ( when I had to go away for 2 weeks).should I put that on the resume?????
    NO- just get her the BA and offer to pay for a Dira and she’ll be okay!!!

  14. Can someone please explain to me how “mixed seating, mixed Shabbos meals and more colorful clothing etc..” will create more boys to solve the crisis??? (Although the author does have a valid point that “We have a system that caters to the elite, meyuchasim, the wealthy, or the size 2’s.”)

  15. The gemara in Kiddushin says “Darko shel ish lachzor al haisha” Perhaps we need to fashion a dating sociology that reflects that truism.

  16. Farshtei nisht:

    You’re absolutely right, everything is just fine and how dare anyone criticize us! So what if we have more older singles, OTD youth & adults and unhappy people than in our entire history.

    Long live the SYSTEM!

  17. First of all – who today will C’V go out and possibly be seen with a size 2? 🙂

    #7 – Please share with us your version of what happened on Tu B’av. Can you imagine a seen today where we simply show boys a picture of a girl?

    #11 – YES!!!! (or at east a lot of it!)

    #6 – The Shulchan Aruch has a few pages on Hilchos Shadchanus. Must be for a reason no? Your idea will lead to terrible Nisyanos and problems.

  18. #3: Yes, things changed. Everything used to be mixed seating. When R’ Aharon Kotler married of his children, there was mixed seating. At yeshiva dinners, conventions, pretty much everything – there was mixed seating. Only the chassidim had separate seating. As years went by, people adopted the chumra of the chassidim and started having separate seating.

  19. Imagine the following hypothetical situation:

    Yankele is a typical yeshiva bochur in his early 20s and starting to go out. He is given a choice (assuming of course that it is possible to know upfront):

    1. A girl from a wealthy family with yichus. The downside is that with this girl, he will grow to be average in his ruchnius, not achieve his potential and half his descendants will rebel and become frei.

    2. A plain (although presentable) girl from a well-balanced, healthy, normal family but not endowed with money or yichus. Along with this girl (who has been given a very special neshama) comes a guarantee from H’ that the boy will become a gadol in torah and every decendant theirs(of which there will be many) for the next 4 generations will remain frum in all the best senses of the word. The downside will be that they will always struggle to make ends meet.

    The problem today is that most of our Yankeles have been brought up to want the first girl.

    It is this superficiality (which is reciprocated by the girls) that is at the root of the problem.

    The crisis is compounded by the fact that too often the shidduchim that are made are between two unsuitable people and for the wrong reasons: status and honour, rather then the best intersts of the couple.

    In addition to this, all these takanos that are introduced have created an imbalance in society which aside for driving an ever growing portion of the youth to rebelion has made it much harder just to simply enjoy yiddishkeit. Imagine that!

    Therefore, it is not the shidduch system that needs to be reformed, it is the value system of the society.

  20. This was nasty, mean-spirited, and should not have been printed. You want to date the way the modern orthodox do, go ahead. You think they have fewer singles and divorces?
    Am also not sure what you have against saying tehillim at a chupa…

  21. I’ve got news for you. There is no shidduch crisis in the Chasidishe communities, where everything is done with the greatest degree of tznius. The reason is very simple: Chasidishe boys marry girls who are either the same age as they are, or up to a couple of years older than them. The couples are, for the most part, all young when they marry, with a healthy dose of parental involvement, and our values of tznius are preserved.

  22. You’re right, but there’s another side to

    The problem is that you date like Yidden but your Hashkafas on shidduchim is goyish: Looks first, money/yichus second, quality a distant third.

    ?? ??? ??? ?????? ?? ??? ????????

    WADR, you must get your act together.

  23. This is a great article. I don’t agree with all the points, but definitely with many of them. And anyway, it gave me a great laught. Especially the “Mi Keamcha Yisroel” at the end.

  24. Reb “Yid”,
    why are you hiding your name? You complain about dating a “birth certificate” but you will not even give us a hint as to who you are!!

  25. This sounds like talk from a very confused individual.

    No one got up and created a “system”. It’s mearly the sum-total of good Jews trying to follow their tradition – and you can do whatever you want!

    Girls way back didn’t get married with any more than good old mom’s houshold ‘experience’, and they didn’t deliberately hang around boys as “hishtadlus”. Naturally, if a boy worked around town there were more oppertunaties to bump into him than sitting in Yeshiva, but the degradation of the street has forced more of us to Yeshiva as a shelter.

    It’s prety evidant you can use a dose of Emunah. Go get some. Siriously.

  26. . Tznius is really important but we have gone too far. No question the world around us has gone too far…in the wrong direction.

    We need to be strong. To Courageously make sure our children both boys and girls can take care of themselves as adults. This means, to be educated Bnei Torah, to be able to marry a suitable partner to raise a family and provide for them honestly.

  27. Articles like this one are enough of a reason to asur the internet. Let’s add another to your list “R’ Yid” – mechitzas in shul. How is anyone suposed to marry if we can’t see each other during davenin?

  28. Number 10, you seem to imply that the only purpose of the “system” is so that you have something to blame your troubles on.

    A true believer accepts his or her “troubles” as part of their path in life. Hishtadlus is required, depression is not. Get over yourself and make the best of it.

    Just because one person gets married and another doesn’t does not make on any better off. I know some very content older singles and miserable young marrieds.

  29. As a parent whose children will be “entering the parsha” within a short couple of years, all of this comes as “perfect” timing (or not?).

    The question remains. So what? What do we do?

    I would humbly suggest that it takes someone to start a network/support of non-bitter, positive, frum people. Will it be me? Most likely not. I know my limitations, and I’m not the guy for the job. I’m raising what I believe to be beautiful and happy B’nei Torah. But, alas, I’m neither rich nor powerful, so my kids will be second tier in the system. I have bitachon in Hashem that there are lots of other “second tier” families, but I don’t want to have bitachon at my children’s expense. I’d rather be a part of an official move away from the “system.”

    So, any Sarah Shenirers out there?

  30. hooray for #10!

    We follow our gedolim! There are many wonderful married couples continuing with this system. Look at the rest of the world where all rules of tznius don’t even exist yet what’s their marriage rate? And their divorce rate- (Is it already at 60%?)

    Pray tell, what system is better that we are not doing? I’ll follow the mesorah over any Hollywood style any day!

  31. Excellent Point.
    Let’s begin mixed seating, encourage fraternizing, and discourage modesty.
    Then let’s end the current shidduch system in favor of the “hooking up in a bar” system which is serving the non-Jewish world so well.
    If a bar doesn’t work we can send our girls off to a frat house in any of the wonderful college campuses in the country where will be sure to find an outstanding husband all the while taking part in the ideally healthy education and culture that is college life.
    I have no doubt that this will end the shidduch crises effectively and immediately.

  32. Shidduchim are very hard to come by in the MO and Yeshivish communities equally. The UWS is full of disillusioned people who stay single into their 40’s, lo aleinu. We need to overhaul the system. It’s just a matter of how.

  33. Obviosuly the letter is just bringing out points and we can do away with all that we adhere to.


  34. The easiest solution would be for everybody get a good education while still in yeshiva and marry a girl for her middos and not for the money

  35. I applaud Matzav for posting this!
    Mr. #10 — replying cynically and twisting the authors words do not properly address the problem. I agree that fraternizing doesn’t help, and I doubt that the author is suggesting that we emulate the Upper West Side.
    Why don’t you deal with the rest of the points?

  36. Mostly excellent points in this article although I don’t believe that the lack of mixed seating at simchos is our problem. Unfortunately, we have developed a system that encourages, or should I say “forces”, all individuals to put forth identical “shidduch resumes” even though not all individuals are alike. There is now only one acceptable “mold” for boys and one acceptable “mold” for girls. Those who do not fit that mold must either pretend to fit(as many do) or face the prospect of being unmarketable in the current shidduch system. Ehrliche b’nai Torah and b’nos Yisroel can legitimately have distinct aspirations and “plans” and should be able to honestly express them when seeking “der richtigeh zivug”. (Oh, I forgot; we aren’t allowed to discuss “plans” when looking into a shidduch. Never mind…)

  37. #45 and #46 are dead on the money,and the only point i agree with is that certain circumstances like a shabbos table can be a relaxed but kosher way to meet,but otherwise you will get caught in the pitfalls of secular life

  38. To those who tried to draw immediate comparisons with the MO or UWS, that is a convenient way of deflecting attention from the problems that exist in the current System and its symptoms. Of course there are problems with the UWS. But, those are unique problems that call for their own solutions and tikunim. The author was merely pointing out trends that 99% of those who are intellectually honest admit that exist, but “there is nothing that we can do about it; that’s the way of the community today”. Well, if it were just a Rightwards trend of frumkeit with no shidduch crisis, great Shalom Bayis and no divorce in the Yeshivishe community, I don’t think that any of his points would be striking such an enthusiastic cord and we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

    The writer is certainly not suggesting or promoting immodesty, or violations of Halacha. He is merely pointing out that these trends (and shidduch problems) did not exist in the past. The hishtadlus of today puts so much energy in the wrong places (research and investigations that would make the CIA jealous) to the extent that Hashgacha Pratis is stifled. Yes, there does seem to be an age gap. But the reasons of how that became so is more of a symptom of the problem than the problem itself.

    One recent trend that we see in the print media is the new policy (read cherem) on women’s pictures in magazines, be they news stories or ads. While this and the writer’s identification of the other trends and developments of course are not alone the cause for the Shidduch crisis, they are indicative of a crazy System that is different from what was acceptable in the past. These are not Halachic concerns as no reputable Posek could ever go on the record with a Teshuva that requires women to wear black clothing all the time. The trend is merely a statement that anything with color, even if appropriately covered up, would be rendered as “flashy”. Everyone has to look the same. So, the midda being expressed is more about “conformity” than it is tzniyus. So, without Yichus, a model’s figure, or wealth, there is nothing really to differentiate one single young woman (age 20-23) living at home with her mother waiting for the phone to ring, and all of the thousand others.

  39. “and the great solutions have boiled down to NASI and other throwing-money-at-the-problem fixes, narrowing the age gap, Tehillim at chupahs, Kupat Hair, and Amein parties.”

    Now that is the only part of your rant that is actualy true! All the rest just sounds like your jealous! Stop complaining & get married already! Stop being so PICKY!!!

  40. So you want to let the boys and girls meet on their own without 3rd parties? They’ll meet alright, just I doubt anymore will be married

  41. It is a form of a silent holocast.

    The emptiness one feels.

    The lack of an authority to turn to for assistance.

    People who are in their fifties feel entirely worthless and meaningless.

    We lack a Central Address with which to communicate.

    On these long nights we can accomplish much, however there is no one to communicate with, only a Profound, Strong SILENCE!!!!!!

  42. The reason people want to marry into money, besides needing money to live, is that our society values money and wealth so much – sometimes it’s seen glaringly. Idealism is in really short supply…but that doesn’t mean we can’t change.

  43. I cant believe what Im reading here. None of this is ‘new’, this is how frummeh yidden have lived for thousands of years. Our heilige Torah tells us how to live, and how to separate from woman, and how to make a simcha of course with seperate seating, and how to do shidduchim, even the gemoro tells how meyuchasidk gos with meyuchasdik, and how good parnossoh gos with good parnossoh. And Torah tells us how woman takes care of the house and the children while man learns as much as possible. Only Torah can guide us in everything we do!

  44. how can any jew sugest we do away with tznius and have mixed simchos.
    part of tznius is girls dressing modestly and not interacting with boys, im shocked

  45. The separation of genders has nothing to do with the current shidduch crisis. One never loses by emphasizing kedoshim tihyu. The way couples used to meet i.e. in America in the 1940’s was a bediyeved, and not something that any of the gedolim at the time would have sanctioned had they had a choice. Mike Tress zt”l wanted to once have a Bnos and ZAI convention in separate wings of the same hotel in order to provide a boon to shidduchim, and R’ Reuven Grozovsky said no.

    Whatever went on on Tu B’Av in the time of the Beis HaMikdash has no bearing whatsoever on what happens today. To say we live in a different world would be the grossest of understatements.

    Pointing to the fact that divorce has risen in our communities and therefore we should go back to boys and girls meeting casually is fallacious. The divorce rate in the entire world has risen dramatically; it is unrealistic to expect that our divorce rate should stay the same, although we would like it to.

    It has been rightly noted that the Chassidishe velt has no shidduch crisis. While we can all – Yeshivish, Sfardi, Chassidishe – use some work on not emphasizing wealth and not focusing on external values, it would probably be a good idea to see just why that is, and try to emulate it.

  46. Is the person who whote this article unaware of what he is encouraging?
    He claims to be promoting marriage but it would actually promote kareis.
    Of couse there’s the possibiltit the shiduch process csn be loosened a bit (meet first check later)but this is outragous.

  47. Reb. Ester Jungries already said in the J.P. that too much mingling and socializing is counterproductive to getting married. The Talmud at the end of “ben soreh umoreh” (sanhedrin) says the same thing. Rashi says that if hangouts would cause marriage it would be a mitzvah, not an avaira. The problem is that hangouts don’t generally cause marriage. They cause a lot of other things.

  48. It was not long ago that the best introductions, shidduchim, and chance meetings were made at weddings. They were made by friends, relatives and, yes, self.

  49. The problem with us is that we think we are control and if people arent getting married we must be doing something wrong but guess what hashem runs everything and not us at least the writer of this article is just making some practical points about people meeting each other he’s probably wrong but that’s a side issue the real problem is the people who take the. Scientific atheist approach and say that there is an age gap in other words were in control its just mother nature acting up again but we will fix it. Maybe there is a god who wants us to daven to him and not some scientific explanation what happened to our emunah isn’t that what seperates us and the goyim not our mechitzas by chasunos we need to reconnect to the poshter shtetl yid lifestyle and not the atheist lifestyles around us I’m shocked to hear supposdley very smart people uttering this age gap blabber


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