The Matzav Shmooze: Adding Stress to Shidduchim


shidduchimDear readers,

The suffering of thousands – yes thousands – of single girls waiting for a shidduch is unbearable. And yet, we as a society are doing absolutely nothing about it. Everyone knows of an older single or two, whether its your neighbor, friend, cousin, or sister.

The problem is a difficult one to solve, and the causes of it are demographic in nature. But nevertheless, the added stress of requiring money to be able to afford a good boy only makes a bad situation even worse. While it is true that wealthy families are also affected by this, the money issue causes more hardship and difficulty to the shidduch process.

In the past, shidduchim were based mostly on the traits and characteristics of the boy and girl, and less emphasis on the families. It was quite common for a shidduch to occur between two very different “types” of families. Now, partially because of the need for financial support, it becomes more of a business partnership instead of a shidduch. The father of the girl needs to be reassured that his investment is suitable for his kind. And the boy’s parents want to really be assurred that their “precious son” is going to be well taken care of. So instead of opening up the market and easing access for the boys and girls to meet each other, another layer of complication is added to the mix, which takes time to be carefully considered, and often is the reason many matches are rejected.

In the past, shidduchim were often made between the boy and girl themselves, without any intervention of the parents. While that may not be feasible today, we should not lose focus on what is the most important factor in shidduchim – do the boy and girl actually like each other? Eveything else is really just icing on the cake. Shidduchim should not be sidelined with matters like money and support, which in the scope of a lifetime are really insignificant.



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. Very good and true article. But there are also many males who are looking and it is frustrating to see that females are frustrated with trying to find someone. Is there a better way to get the two parties to meet without solely relying on family connections? Our families, as loved and important as they are, may not always be the ones who know us best in our regular daily life. Maybe an article on organizations or people who can help facilitate matching males and females would be helpful.

  2. since when were shidduchim made between the boy and girl themselves? I’m not saying you don’t have a good point but with the real facts alone you have a good enough tayna.

  3. Not sure what you are getting at. You have presented yet another “issue” in the shiddich “crisis” with absolutely no thought on a viable correction to your “issue”. We all know that the “shidduch crisis” is a total farce if you are going to bring the arguement that there are more girls than guys since quite frankly there are thousand of single guys as well so there are plenty to go around. You may be right about more girls but come to me when there is not 1 single guy out there. At that point you might have an argument Therefore you are no better than the rest of the world. Sorry for yet another useless post about the stupid jewish world of shidduchim.

  4. In the scope of a lifetime, as you put it, parnassa, being able to afford to take care of our children’s needs, is actually very significant, as evidenced by how often we ask for help achieving this during our daily and Yamim Noraim Tefillos. We have to daven, but also to be involved in the practicalities of olam hazeh, to obtain parnassa. There is a new crop of young people in shidduchim who are second generation “non-earners”. It is frightening to consider them as prospective sons or daughters -in-law, knowing that the entire burden of wedding, furniture, rent, hopefully brissim, diapers and tuitions will be on our account, with no help from the other side.


  6. Money has been an issue in shidduchim for thousands of years. In Europe girls from poor families either did not get married or married the town shlemazel.

  7. You got stop shopping in this pond where the only people you will consider are ones that look and act like your yeshiva bochur brothers.

    Then all your problems will be solved and you will live happily ever after.

    A havtacha from Reb Shlomo Heights

  8. I’m not trying to disregard the shidduch crisis, nor disregard the pain that older singles go through, but to state that ‘In the past, shidduchim were based mostly on the traits and characteristics of the boy and girl, and less emphasis on the families’ or ‘In the past, shidduchim were often made between the boy and girl themselves, without any intervention of the parents’ is incorrect. It could be that in America it was like that, but before everywhere else, throughout the history of Klal Yisroel, money was always a factor, and parents (for sure on the part of the girl) were always involved.
    We see already from the Gemara that parents of the girl had to pledge a dowry to the new couple before the boy’s side would consider it. In Europe, too, it was like this.
    My own great-great-grandfather in Poland had no money to pay for a dowry for his daughters, so some he sent off to America hoping they would find shidduchim there, and others he married off to widowers who already had children. There wasn’t a chance that he would have been able to marry them off to single bochrim.
    I would just like to end off by repeating that I am not trying to negate the existence of this crises nor am I trying to disregard the pain of the singles, but to state that this is a ‘new situation’ is totally false and causes one to disregard the rest of the article.

  9. “Now, partially because of the need for financial support, it becomes more of a business partnership instead of a shidduch”.

    I would also be worried if someone changed the nussach of the kesuba from the chosson taking upon himself to support his wife vechulu, to the kallah’s father taking upon himself/
    It is not a need, it is a trend, and a dangerous one.
    If we went back to basics, the “shidduch crisis” would melt.
    Gut yomtov, and may we sit this year in sukkoso shel livyoson with Melech HaMoshiach at our head.

  10. The “demographic” issue i.e. age gap, which causes there to be more available girls in shidduchim than boys, is the cause of the money issue. It’s simple supply and demand. If there is an overabundance of girls, the boys can afford to be more picky- about anything, not just money. Who can blame them either. A good boy who has a long list of girls will, of course, narrow it down to who has the best midos (ruchnius related) and usually they are still left with a large choice of wonderful girls, so why not pick the one who offers money? This problem would be much smaller if there was an even playing field and the boys would have much fewer girls on their list, and the girls wouldn’t be so desperate to not be the ones left behind. They need work on a resolution to the age gap.

  11. the whole concept is terrible. The key is in the last paragraph, why is it not possible for the young people to make shidduchim themselves? I This problem is of our own making and can be unmade very easily.

  12. Great deal of truth to this post. Unfortunately, too many parents have lost all perspective on the qualities most necessary for building a Torah-true home.

  13. The truth is it’s even worse then this article says.
    Parents of Boys (many times the mother more then the father) are demanding money that simply isn’t there. The girls father says he going to give it and then after the wedding it’s not there because he never intended to give it ( because he doesn’t have it) and then the boy realizes that not only didn’t he get the easy life but he also didn’t get the “great” girl
    How good can she be if she grew up in a home that promises things knowing they can’t do it!!!!!
    All of a sudden the boy and his parents realize that if they would have agreed to a shidduch where the girl was indeed great and her father was ready to help with a doable amount then they would have been happy and able to live normal.
    The same is with the girls side. The father of the girl is looking for Reb Akiva eiger rather then a boy who his daughter can build a torahdike home with
    if anyone doubts what I am saying just go ask your rov

  14. I’m not sure what you base your statements on. Shidduchim are on many, many people’s minds; we are not doing “nothing.” In fact, statements like that create a frenzy in the minds of families raising children that contributes, in my opinion, to so much of the irrational approach that people take to shidduchim.
    Finances were also an issue in shidduchim for many, many generations, hence Rachel’s fathers indignation that his daughter marry a poor and unlearned Rabbi Akiva. Shadchanim made matches between families whose social status was similar, always. Why do we believe in hashgacha pratis for so many things in life, but not shidduchim? And only for one, maybe 2 generations did people meet themselves – after the war, when the frum society was still in the throes of re-establishing itself; before that, in Europe, it was not considered acceptable at all for frum boys and girls to meet on their own.
    I am not saying that the system is perfect, or even great. I was in it for a LONG time, and there are many, many pitfalls and we do pay more attention to externals than internals, to our own detriment. But please, regard your opinion as such, and don’t attempt to re-write history to prove your point.

  15. “And yet, we as a society are doing absolutely nothing about it. ”
    WRONG, WROnG WRONG…. How can you say that? We as a society are doing alot about getting our children married!!!

  16. This is one topic that makes me very angry because no one can tell me how or what happened.
    The Gemara tells us in several places not to fiddle with the process. They did not listen. They thought they could control and make money at the same time without consequence. Well, that selfishness was the birth of the ingenious shidduch “crisis”. How do I know? I was there. I saw it happen. Go from bad to worse.
    I have 4 daughters and B”H they are all happily married. Their husbands are talmidei chachachim and they all have good jobs The wives help too as needed. How did we do it? Simple. We did not play the game. We simply did the right thing al pi derech Hatorah.

  17. Go back another generation, before “shidduchim were often made between the boy and girl themselves, without any intervention of the parents”. Go back to Europe, where a “nadin” was the norm, and if a girl’s family could not provide a dowery, rarely were they getting a “top” learning boy. This situation is not a new one.

    I am not sure how a girl who is not able to provide, and whose family is not able to provide, expects a couple to make ends meet when the boy is learning. (And, of course, if the boy is working and not learning, this is not an issue.)

  18. I agree with your letter. I would just add that besides for the boy and girl liking each other, they must also be certain that they share common life goals and that their major lifestyle “musts” should align.

    Thanks for the letter

  19. If the couple intents to be in kollel for a number of years it is necessary for that to be financially feasible.




  20. I dont know,

    Im not asking for money, I have enough of my own. I find the girls demand the money and degrees even more then the guys. Many girls wont date me for not having a college dregree despite the fact that i do the hirring in my compnay and train in many guys who went to college.

    So while I feel the authors pain, I cannot agree.

    Alteh Bucher

  21. The problem is the boys’ mothers. They NEVER call back. i tried several ideas and had to chase down the boys’ mothers.
    It is very discouraging.

  22. But then we have to have the kids being able to be self supporting before going out. We can’t just say, do you like each other, get married.
    Kids today aren’t as resilient and money stress can so easily lead to shalom bayis issues.

    Basically, people are being very realistic. They know their children aren’t financially ready and they want to be sure they’ll be taken care of. Possibly too well taken care of, but that’s another shmooze.

  23. #8,10,26 nailed it. It’s the girls and their mothers that have the ski-high demands. They want someone who has “Title” either they will be a full-time learner with 5-10 years in yeashiva behind them and infront or a Doctor,lawer, CPA, (includes nice car, salary, attire, etc. etc.) etc. They want a guy who looks, acts, & thinks like her yeshiva boy brothers. This is all reality and I see things like this ALL the time being that I am in the situation. A girl refused to date me because she was in dental school & was looking for a more prestigious mate. The shadchanim know well about the latter case. Someone who has a solid plan although doesn’t have their degree yet (due to the years spent in yeshiva), and can learn better than many guys already in kollel, are dismissed instantaneously. I don’t have much sympathy for the girls anymore. whoever doesn’t believe anything I just wrote is far, Far removed from reality.
    You should break the third leg of a table which stands with already two broken legs in order to get it fixed. How spoiled have these girls become.

  24. How does the letter writer feel finances should be handled, in a case of a learning girl and a family that cannot support? There is no point in “opening up the market and easing access for the boys and girls to meet each other” if those boys and girls cannot then get married.

  25. I recently heard a radio program that interviewed the noted therapist Mrs. Yael Respler. She was asked if the shidduch crisis is as bad as people make it out to be. Her answer was terrifying. Not only are their thousands of boys and girls of marriagable age not married but in the city Lakewood alone this past year their was 29 divorces. The reason she gave for such a huge number was because people who are getting married are getting married for the wrong reasons. It either for money, looks, or yichus and has nothing to do with compatability. I would like to add that I think some of these failed marriages were done out of desperation, parents who can’t deal with the pressures of shidduchim, especially if they have a few kids in a row lined up, take the first person that says yes to them. This is the sad reality.

  26. The girls are all either too fat or too picky, stop blaming the guys for everything. I have personally been involved in shidduchim where girls said no for the dumbest of reasons.

  27. If you are the parents of a girl, hold out for a guy who wants to learn and doesn’t ask about money. While you are holding out, your daughter can get a job and earn some money, so as time goes on, it will be obvious that a learner can marry her and have bread on the table.
    I married a guy who didn’t ask me or my parents for money. It is not a coincidence that we are happy all these years later. I will not let my sons marry a woman for her money, nor will I let my daughters enslave themselves to a man who does not realize it is his job to support her.
    FYI, my husband did learn in kollel for years but then went on to work. If Hashem wants him to learn full-time again, he will send us more money to be able to do that. If not, he will work, as Jewish men have through the ages, but I do not want him to learn on the backs of all our neighbors, and so when he learned he did not take money for it and we did not ask for a tuition break.
    Perhaps the people with different values than the ones I have just described should ask themselves if they have been brainwashed by some strange culture and stop contributing to the madness –
    and those “boys’ mothers” are also the mother of daughters, since most families are blessed with sons and daughters.


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