Today’s Solution to the Shidduch Crisis

Instead of relying on matchmakers, years in seminaries and other inducements I want to remind people of  simpler solution for the 15th of Av, which starts at nightfall.

Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel says, “There were no better days for the people of Israel than the Fifteenth of Av and Yom Kippur, since on these days the daughters of Jerusalem go out dressed in white and dance in the vineyards. What they were saying: Young man, consider who you choose (to be your wife).” (Mishna Taanit 4:8)

 Update: 5 p.m. EST: I spoke to soon. No simple process involving human agency can be left alone. A huckster is selling, — er I meant — willing to accept donations — for segulas (magical effects) to secure matches. Move over boys, girls, and shadchanim. The matchmaking magical music man has arrived in town. Act now or die single!

tu b-av segula ad 2014


30 thoughts on “Today’s Solution to the Shidduch Crisis

  1. There are vineyards in the Hudson Valley. Somebody ought to be able to make a lot of money from this ….

  2. The problem with this is that it could lead to mixed dancing.

    Oh, you mean mixed dancing was not assur in those days? Sorry, I just didn’t know. And here I thought halachah was unchangeable. You learn something new every day…

    • It doesn’t say mixed dancing was allowed in those days. But clearly mixed talking was allowed and girls could dance in front of boys.

      The more shocking revelation is that unlike Barbie Dolls, the maidens of yore had flexible joints and enjoyed showing off their moves to guys.

      But like they say about all such revelations: “that was then and now is now.” You can’t argue with their statement of fact and they won’t allow you to argue about the implications of that statement that things change. Because after all they insist all seemingly needless restrictions are because Torah is timeless (unless of course it isn’t). Of course all mere mortals, unlike “daas torah” cannot make determinations about when things should be changed and when they should stay the same.

      Mind you, segulah hucksterism is old but its widespread proliferation is new. I have thought of making real money by selling a segulah for getting parking spots in NYC in less than 5 minutes. Any takers?

      • LOL, you don’t need to sell a segulah. As it happens, Hashem in his ultimate wisdom has endowed me with terrific parking Karma. I will park cars on the Upper West Side (north of 79th st. for 50% of a parking garage, with the guarantee of at least 24 hours. The rate will be based on the number of legal hours I obtain for the “chanyan”.. I am willing to give YL a 25% cut on this income, al t’nai that the Torah allows it, and that I do not have to report it to the IRS……..
        Halevai that he had blessed me with such phenomenal Karma in other aspects of my life. But there was no masa u’matan, i was not given efsharut l’hitmakeach. Ya take what you can get…..

        .But then he destroyed my car during hurricane Sandy…..freeing me up for this new proposed enterprise with YL as shutaf…… You game, YL?

    • How could they have? Girls were not taught Torah according to the Gemara in Sotah 21a. They only knew some Tzenna Renna in those days.

      A change was made for girls to be formally taught Torah with the Bais Yaakov movement of Sara Schenirer in the early 1900’s. Why? Because when there is a Rabbinic will there is a Halachic way. But only when it comes with elaborate excuses and apologetics, and only when it serves the interest of Rabbanim.

      In the case of the Bais Yaakov movement, there was a big crisis where there were no girls for the yeshiva boys to marry because Frum girls were schooled only in public school, where they were secularized and sophisticated and didn’t want or value super-frum, unsophisticated and secularly uneducated yeshiva boys. They just weren’t valuing Torah or a Frum lifestyle. Formal Jewish Education for girls was a way to save Frum life, so the Rabbanim agreed to it. But there was a clear Gemara against it, as well as a Mesorah for 3,500 years of specifically NOT formally teaching Torah to girls. But halachah never changes. Ever. Except when Rabbanim want it to.

      • “Halachah never changes. Ever. except when Rabbanim want it to.”
        Yes, indeed, which is why the agunah situation will never be solved. Our “gedolim” have zero motivation to use their seichel, logic, pilpul or whatever to aid women.

        • Rav Mordechai Willig proposed a halachic prenuptual agreement. This solves the “agunah” crisis for those who sign it.

          • Somehow, (as reflected in my name) I am suspicious. The husband can find ways to declare the prenup invalid. Maybe the Israeli rabbinate will come out with an “after the fact” list enumerating which rabbis are allowed to witness the prenup and which not, thereby nullifying the prenup. Where there’s a will (or, rather, a marriage), there is fraud, corruption and creativity. and retroactive laws, rabbinical “kashrut” list.
            . And does this solve the issue of heter meah rabbanim.

      • As an aside, for those knowledgeable re the culture and sociological phenomenon in Crown Heights of today, there are similar parallels to the crisis that you describe, albeit the girls are religiously trained and secularly trained and many are professionals, afilu. There is a huge problem finding guys on their level, for some reason, they are “couch potatoes” for lack of a better term…..I do not know why this is the case, but it is from an extremely reliable source. (Not someone currently involved in the shidduch scene). EMES. A serious Shidduch problem due to stated reasons.

      • I have a great deal of respect for all those who advocate for victims of abuse, and who are making efforts to change the current system, which has protected molesters for way too long. Sometimes that may require being critical or cynical regarding those who defend, enable, or cover up for abusers.

        However, general cynicism regarding Rabbanim, Gedolei Yisrael, the Halachic process, or Yiddishkeit, posted online for anyone to read, can have serious consequences (unintended, I hope, but serious, nonetheless). Not only that, but such attitudes undermine our anti-abuse advocacy, because they create the impression that the only ones fighting abuse are “off the derech” adults, and the response is likely to be “who cares what they think?”

        • I appreciate your interest in maintaining legitimacy for anti-abuse advocacy. But I do not agree with the rest of your comments.

          You seem to assume that because I am cynical and critical of rabbonim, gedolim, the halachic process or even Yiddishkeit, would mean that I am off the derech. Perhaps knowing nothing about me other than my criticisms, you might reconsider assumptions about my religious practice and what my proximity is vis-à-vis “the derech.”

          Next, let us imagine, for argument’s sake, that the only people fighting abuse are “off the derech adults.” Why would the response be “who cares what they think?” I would think it would be quite the OPPOSITE. Frum people see that there are obviously sexual abuse problems – problems with covering it up, dealing with it, preventing it, etc etc. If numerous adults who used to be Frum went off the derech and are now putting their time, effort and energies into fighting ABUSE in the Frum community – the logical conclusion is that they must know from whence they speak since they are investing a lot of their time and effort into trying to prevent something that is clearly very close to their hearts, and it’s clearly not the actual practice of Frumkeit that is close to their hearts, since they are no longer practicing Frumkeit. It is rather the fact that within the Frum world where they grew up and still obviously feel connected even if they are not currently practicing, myriad vulnerable people – namely children and women – are getting regularly sexually abused (which incidentally is sakanas nefashos). In other words – these are the people who were most likely either Frum victims of abuse, or closely related to victims of abuse.

          Furthermore, if abuse is so widespread, and it sends people off the derech, one would think that Frum people would say “LET US WORK TO REMEDY THIS TERRIBLE PROBLEM so that we don’t have more and more people going off the derech!” rather than say “who cares what they think?” (As an aside, preventing sexual abuse in the Frum world could potentially be THE biggest “Kiruv Kerovim” movement, even bigger than the “Kiruv Rechokim” movement. And in terms of dollars and cents, when you think about how much is invested in each Frum child from the time they are born, it seems like a bargain compared to the cost of Kiruv Rechokim.) Listening to those who LEFT Frumkeit – those who left due to issues of sexual abuse in the community, evidenced by their advocacy – are specifically the ones that the Frum world should GO TO in order to help them solve the abuse problem, and prevent future abuse problems. The wholesale rejection of OTD people is anti-Torah values in general, but it’s ludicrous when it comes to Abuse Advocacy as it should be exactly the opposite! Besides for the fact that they could help the Frum world with first hand accounts of what the problems actually are, and how to remedy them, those who went OTD due to sexual abuse should be those we should feel MOST responsible for, as our community has absolutely FAILED them. When speaking of “Achdus” – it is those who are OTD who are the challenge for us to embrace and include, rather than those who are Frum like us. To subject them to wholesale rejection is anti Torah values and unconscionable considering that it was our community which failed them. Even if the OTD people wholly rejected Frumkeit, why act the same and wholly reject them from our midst? Who is supposed to be the “better” ones, the “bigger” ones, the ones that are following Emes?

          In terms of the “serious consequences” you fear from general cynicism and criticism of rabbanim, gedolim, the halachic process or Frumkeit, it is my thoughts due to how much I have both witnessed and experienced in areas of widespread rabbinic fraud, deception, perversion of Torah for personal gain, and similarly for the halachic process and gedolim. If these ideas offend you, you are free to not read them or to disagree with me. There is no danger of “serious consequences” other than having a thoughtful discussion and hopefully coming up with solutions to remedy all that is problematic with Frumkeit as we know it.

          • To “Seriously?”

            1.) I didn’t mention you by name, because my comments were not directed only to you (although they were written as a reply to your comment). I do respect you a great deal as an anti-abuse advocate, albeit an anonymous one (which I am as well).

            2.) I wasn’t saying that you, or anyone in particular, is “off the derech” (OTD). However, it is not far fetched that people will assume, correctly or not, that someone who is cynical about Yiddishkeit, in general (and some of the other things mentioned), is OTD.

            3.) I agree that even if someone is OTD, that is not a reason to ignore their constructive criticism. However, realistically, it is more effective to try to implement change from within the system, rather than trying to change a group that you are no longer part of.

            4.) Your point that abuse is sakanos nefashos is a point I’ve made numerous times. No arguments there, but that doesn’t detract from the point I was trying to make.

            5.) You may have certain things that have made you cynical, but it’s important not to throw out the baby with the bathwater. If not for yourself, than for the sake of those whose Emunah and commitment to Yiddishkeit is not yet rock solid, whom you may influence negatively. Unfortunately, not having been abused is no guarantee that an impressionable person will stay on the derech. Take it from someone who has one close relative who is a recovering victim, and who is, B”H, very much ON the derech, but who has two sons who were not victims of abuse, but are, unfortunately, let’s just say “not with the program,” due to various negative influences.

            • To Joe,

              1 – Your comment was in answer to mine and therefore led me to believe it was directed to me. Thank you for clarifying.

              2 – It is not in my control what people choose to assume. I can challenge their assumption if they present it to me, but otherwise, we can’t control how or what other people think.

              3 – You wrote: “However, realistically, it is more effective to try to implement change from within the system, rather than trying to change a group that you are no longer part of.”

              What I find interesting about that, is that it is taken for granted that someone who is OTD is “no longer part of the group.” This is an idea that is widespread in the Frum world, but is extremely mistaken. Unless you ASK someone who is OTD if they are no longer part of the “Frum group” – for all you know they identify AS still being part of the group. It is a subjective “group membership.” Some Frum sub-groups consider anyone who doesn’t practice Frumkeit EXACTLY like them, or who doesn’t LOOK like them, to be OTD. The whole US/THEM dichotomy is emphasized to the point of exclusion of those “not in the group” who may very well BE in the group! Where is the line? Is it with a woman covering her hair, a woman’s other clothing, a man’s attire, a person speaking lashon hara, a man who has an affair? I am questioning the whole in/out of the group notion here.

              Regarding your assertion about what is more effective in terms of implementing change – I respect your opinion, but I do not agree that it is a fact. I’m simply not sure what is “more effective” in terms of implementing change. Who would have thought that anonymous bloggers would be the ones to propel all of this change in the arena of Sexual Abuse? The widespread awareness began with the Kolko case and a then-anonymous blogger who went by the name of UOJ – Un-Orthodox Jew.

              4 – Glad we agree on that 🙂 Perhaps it didn’t belong in the discussion. I included it as a point of taking seriously the opinions regarding abuse of those who are OTD. If “Chochma ba’Goyim ta’amin” then surely we can take seriously the chochma of those OTD who we no longer consider in our group, ESPECIALLY when it comes to an area of sakanas nefashos in our communities.

              5 – For some, the bathwater is so toxic to their wellbeing and their life, that they cannot continue to search for the missing “baby” in that ocean of murky, toxic waters.

              I am sorry about your sons. But have you considered that perhaps their exposure to either what the other relative experienced in terms of abuse, or other abuse that they witnessed, or the hypocrisy of rabbanim and gedolim going out of their way to advance issues which are important to they themselves, while there are so many in their flock whose lives are in danger, who they refuse to stand up for and protect because it doesn’t serve their own interests, is what may have turned them from being “with the program”?

              Hearing other people discussing these flaws may not be what sent them off the derech, it may have been that we extensively and communally try to HIDE these flaws when people’s lives are in the balance, and the hypocrisy in our Torah leaders doing so, that may have set them onto a path of seeking out “negative influences.” Teenagers are natural truth seekers, with their quest for knowledge and their looking to forge their own identities. Their black and white thinking can get them into trouble, but not without widespread hypocrisy and corruption by leaders of Klal Yisrael. Teenagers can smell bluffers and fakers a mile away. The “It’s not fair” whine of a child becomes the battle cry of the teenager and young adult. If Torah Leaders are not being fair or true to Torah values, the teens are going to look elsewhere for truth, or they will simply look elsewhere for something else to fill the void. But they wont sign on to a program in which they see leaders corrupting truth and hurting people to serve their own purposes, or in which they see the hamon am MOSTLY only caring about how Frum things LOOK without a care for how much things follow the values of Torah.

              For better or for worse, the OTD phenomenon did not start in the past 20 years, it started long before the Holocaust. The Holocaust shocked people to such a large degree, but one of the positive side effects for Frumkeit was that it shocked those who were upholding Frumkeit to continue to do so with a new sense of purpose and meaning. This was “good for the Jews.” But it’s era is over. Today’s teens barely know or remember their relatives who experienced the war. There is nothing in the Torah world which is moving them, inspiring them or providing enough meaning to keep them attached. Add to this the NEGATIVE issues that bombard them and the unfairness and extreme travesties of justice carried out by those who are supposed to be “Torah True Jews” or “Gedolim” representing the highest values of Torah, and it’s a recipe for a disaster of OTD teens.

              That is my personal thoughts on the matter.

              Again, I’m sorry about your sons. I really am. That must be very, very painful.

              I understand that you are trying to protect people of shaky commitment or faith by asking me not to disparage our leaders and how our Halachic system is used. But the leaders disparage themselves by their actions, and by their complacent inaction when our Halachic system is abused by their friends, other rabbanim.

              Sheker ain lo raglayim. I strongly believe that if there were more Emes to our Frumkeit , Yiddishkeit, and to our Torah leaders’ behavior, we wouldn’t be seeing the extreme OTD wave that we are seeing today. And “We didn’t start the fire.” There is a big world out there with a lot of wisdom in it. If the Torah World is going to claim it is the holiest of nations, it better be sure it’s leaders are leading with the holiest of ethics and Torah values and putting Torah before all else. Because when they don’t, the result is kids who can see right through it, and see the world and all it’s wisdom, and they will leave and go OTD for something that isn’t so filled with hypocrisy, or for something that is hypocritical, unethical and immoral, but at least doesn’t claim to be holy. It’s not pointing out that there is a fire that burns down the barn, it’s the fire itself.

          • Abraham Isaac Kook said everything has a noble purpose, even atheism which induces serious thought. In the fight against orthodox abuse I feel that way about OTDs. They are often the ones who who will testify in criminal trials.

            • “They are often the ones who who will testify in criminal trials.”

              The likelihood is they have already been rejected for their own not practicing of some of the mitzvos of Bein Adam L’Makom which the Frum world uses to define “Being On The Derech.” So being OTD and considered an outcast of the group, they’re not worried about their shidduch prospects or those of their children, so they don’t mind bucking the trend and testifying in criminal trials. Hopefully they matter in other positive ways to the Frum world as well. At the end of the day, they are still a Jew.

    • Girls quoting Tanach to boys is even more scandalous. Though maybe even then only the girls learned Hebrew grammar while the guys learned Aramaic from the Pharisees. We really need a movie blockbuster, “The Dancing Maidens of Jerusalem and Their Vineyard Conquests.” It is perfect for release each year after Tisha B’Av during the summer movie doldrums.

      Readers, any nominations for cast members? Definitely Mayim Bialik.

      Maybe they can mix eras and genres so the gals have the borrowed white dresses of yore while the guys wear yeshivish fedoras. Could make for a great Bollywood production with dance numbers and hats thrown in the air. For tznius, the girls voices could be on a special track only available to female audience members who rent the headphones.

  3. The advertisement seeks donations for “pidyon shvuyim.” Who are the captives to be ransomed? Prisoners of reality? Captives of klipot?

    • Can you get them to say that in writing? Does he have a good record of financial accountability and transparency?

      Normally, that sort of thing is stated clearly (e.g., “100% of all proceeds will go to Yad Lachim”).

    • How is he going to save them, “kidnap them” as some parents have done with kids who have gone far far far astray to “save” them from cults? Please, how will he save these women, and, furthermore, there are so very very many worthy causes, many of which have a far greater chance of benefitting from donations than kidnapping Israeli women married to Arab men.. Sort of interesting, he’s into segulot and saving Israeli women who have gone over to the dark side. His segulah is also the dark side. Ripping off the weak and superstitiious and vulnerable, People like abuchatseira or however he spells it, should be run out of town, literally. And, Ahron, i am not presuming that you support or sanction his action, I assume that you are just a reporter here……

    • Not according to Yad L’Achim:

      Below was a statement by Yad L’Achim about a similar campaign in 2013

      …Please note, these emails and robocalls from “Yeshuos Amuka” have absolutely no connection to us whatsoever. They are a new organization of some sort and have bombarded the Jewish media world with these type of ads. You will never see anything we write have the word “promises” anywhere. You can agree or disagree with the whole concept of the daven for you concept, that is up to you and your readers to decide and we respect that. However, we want to reiterate that we – Yad L’Achim – have absolutely zero connection to this organization, emails or ads with Yeshuos Amuka.…

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