Chareidi Engagement?

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  • #615762

    The Rashbak
    Member

    I’m posting this question out of genuine concern and confusion…

    My wife’s cousin just got engaged (Mazel tov! Mazel tov!). His family is orthodox, but the boy left his family 3 years ago, enrolled in a Chareidi yeshiva in Yerushalayim (don’t ask which one, I won’t tell you, but it’s an offshoot of Brisk), and barely has contact with his family. He’s been to our house in Yerushalayim a couple of times to say ‘hi.’ We found out last week that he got engaged. Here are the details that are scaring us, and he claims this is normal for his community, please calm or affirm our fears…

    He went on 4 dates with the girl. That in itself isn’t unusual, we’re modern orthodox and I only had 6 official dates with my wife of 10 years. They were set up by a shadchan… all good. The girl is from a respected family from New Jersey, she is learning in a Bais Yaakov seminary (don’t know which) and will be a teacher. She’s fully behind the boy’s learning full time and supporting him. OK so far. Anyway… on 3 of the 4 dates, the girl said NOTHING. Did not utter a word! They went out to eat, but she ate nothing but water. It wasn’t until the last date that she said anything, and it was brief “small talk” from what I’m told. After 4 dates he had to decide whether to propose, and based on what he saw “on paper” and probably the recommendations of his rabbeim, he proposed. Now, they’re only allowed to see eachother at 3 Shabbat meals, and talk once for 45 minutes each week until their wedding in August.

    Is this normal? I guess it could work out, but it just doesn’t sound right. Either he’s not telling us something (like he was pressured), or he’s not being told something (there’s something wrong with the girl), or we’re that out of touch with our Chareidi neighbors.

    Thanks for the serious advice. Only 30% smart-alek answers please.

    The Rashbak

    #1085463

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    If she stays that way throughout the marriage, they should be fine.

    On a more serious note, what scares me here is the lack of parental input. I would be terrified if my kids got married this way, but people do it, based on solid research and brief meetings. Many chassidim have a half hour meeting, and mazel tov. If there’s solid research here, and she’s just shy, this might not be any worse.

    My question for you is, what input do you have? If none, I would say you can only do harm by voicing your qualms.

    #1085464

    The Rashbak
    Member

    I know on his end there was NO parental input. Everyone in our family was surprised. We knew he was dating in general, but didn’t know he’s reached the 4th date with anyone. More importantly, his parents didn’t know. She could just be shy and have a beautiful neshama inside. Like I said, it could work. But he confessed to us that he doesn’t know the girl at all, and he’s worried. But… he was told this is normal.

    Our input… In the past he came to me for life advice. But that was years ago. My father-in-law is his Sandak, so they’re very close. But he wasn’t in on this engagement.

    I don’t plan on insinuating my opinion unless I’m directly asked. He invited me to the vort next Motzei Shabbos and I’m happy to go and b’simcha the chassan.

    Is this structure of this process sound?

    #1085465

    it seems with what you wrote that he was ready & proposed only because his rav says its normal to be nervous & therefore you can propose already. (even though he didn’t feel ready) which means he is still not in a relaxed mode for makin the decision to propose & nervous that anything can happen

    Hope everything goes smooth & great at the end MAZEL TOV

    #1085466

    golfer
    Participant

    Rashbak, my concern is not with the amount of dates or any other protocol issues you mentioned. My concern is with an aspect of chareidi shidduchim that many people prefer not to discuss or take into consideration. In my experience this is just how things are, but I may be ducking some virtual rotten tomatoes if anyone bothers to read this. I suggest that you do, Rashbak. Let me explain:

    Although chareidim do allow the parties to meet and see each other, and as a result there is an element of considering whether they find each other attractive or feel comfortable with one another’s personalities, there is much more of an element of mekach u’mimkar- more of a business deal if you like. Guys and girls are graded (by shadchanim and by society in general) based on their family’s social standing, wealth, yichus, and also based on their own achievements in yeshiva/seminary, their appearance and popularity. Physical traits, intelligence, personality will move them up or down the shadchan’s desirability scale, but their family will also have a big influence on what shidduchim they’re being redt. Even a sibling who is divorced or ill will move them down a few notches.

    Your relative comes into this at a disadvantage due to his coming from a “different” type of family. Even if he himself is an outstanding Masmid and a great guy, he’s not coming to this from the top of the ladder. You have to wonder if the girl has any disadvantages (she probably does) and what the nature of those disadvantages is. If she’s from a similar background, that’s your best picture. If she’s from a solid chareidi family, I would suggest you try to do a bit of inquiring to determine whether she has any issues that may have made her less suitable for someone from a mainstream “chashuv” chareidi family like her own.

    Mazel Tov, and hope all goes well!

    #1085467

    rew
    Member

    If the boy says he doesn’t know her and is nervous, then he was pressured in to it. That does NOT mean it cannot work, but your fears are understandable. This is the norm for some shadchanim but not necessarily the norm for chareidim. Not all shadchanim pressure but it clearly seems that this one did.

    Mazal Tov!

    #1085468

    crgo
    Participant

    major red flag. No, it is not normal that he has no idea if he thinks she’s for him nor does he know anything about her and is marrying her on someone else’s say so. He is not chassidish and his parents have not checked her out. Sure, it could turn out OK…just like you could cross the street blindfolded and conceivably get to the other side in one piece. Not highly recommended as the preferable way to cross the street.

    #1085469

    The Rashbak
    Member

    I have a bit more info… forgive me, it’s late at night here in Ir HaKodesh.

    The parents have met and the boy’s parents are very fond of the girl’s parents. The boy expressed his reservations to his parents, and his parents are naturally concerned. But based on the girl’s family and having spoken to the girl over the phone, they think everything will be OK.

    This is not to say that the parents had input BEFORE the shidduch, which is a big concern.

    Someone above mentioned the politics of it all. And this is something I warned the boy about before he went to Israel. I’d been down a similar road as a chozer b’teshuvah trying to get into the yeshivish world. They may invite me for a Shabbos meal or say how impressive my scholarship is, but when it came time to marry, all the doors slammed closed (and boy do I have a bad story to tell). This boy comes from an orthodox family who were BT when he was very young. But they were not born into the Chareidi tzibur. Also, he’s Sephardi and wanted to marry and Ashkenazi girl. He thinks he converted. So he’s been told that he has “strikes” against him, as great of a young man as he is.

    We learned what the girl’s “strike” is… one of her brothers is off the derech. Not, G-d forbid, a bad person, just no longer observant. SHe’s the first of their daughters to get married, and it sounds like they had a hard time.

    I’m going to see the boy at his yeshiva on Motzei Shabbos (what liquor should I bring?!). I want to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth.

    They should have all the bracha and simcha HKBH can bestow on a young couple.

    #1085470

    theprof1
    Participant

    My kids are all married, 6. BH for many years. They met their spouses twice. Once for maybe an hour or so. The second time when we made a l’chaim. The 3rd time at the vort. The 4th time after the chupa. That’s a normal chasidish way of getting married. We did our homework and that’s about it. And relied on Hashem.

    #1085471

    The Rashbak
    Member

    He’s not chassidish, but litvish chareidi. And I question whether the homework was done, at least on the side of the boy by people solely interested in his well-being (his parents and grandparents). We’re not saying it CAN’T work, we’re just not sure if this process was on par.

    #1085472

    rew
    Member

    That make me question is SHE interested or just feels she has to settle because of her brother? Because if she is not interested, how can she be a good wife doing her job willingly when she actually doesn’t want to be married to him. Some Sfardim and Ashkenazim are happily married but i guess they wanted it and not just pressured into it.

    My question though is, why does he davka want to be Ashkenazi? Why didn’t he look for a Sfardi? What does he have against Sfardim?

    #1085473

    oyyoyyoy
    Participant

    Sounds off. does he talk? youre right to be concerned but have no clue what you can do. Assuming he spoke to his rebbi/rosh yeshiva about it but if he didnt then that’s probably the best place to turn.

    #1085474

    I think the point here is not the amount of dates and how many the Chassidishe have, but the fact that the girl did get a few dates and said nothing on most of them – which I don’t think would be the norm anywhere. It definitely doesn’t have to indicate anything serious ch”v, but it does call to be looked into. Mazal tov and Bsuros tovos!

    #1085475

    bais yakov maidel
    Participant

    On three of the four dates the girl said nothing? Red flag.

    This is not usual shyness. Effectively, he went on one date with her. And then got engaged.

    I would be very concerned about the personality of someone who doesn’t speak on the first three dates. Is she perhaps selectively mute?

    Also, it’s great that the parents get along, but that’s like 10% of the shidduch, and that’s being generous. What about the other 90%? Shared goals, attraction, liking the other’s peronality, communication, ability to navigate disagreements…?

    It seems like he doesn’t know much about her at all. Why get engaged like that?

    #1085476

    bais yakov maidel
    Participant

    I retract. Girl not talking on the dates is not a red flag. It is a MAJOR red flag, IMO.

    #1085477

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    I retract. Girl not talking on the dates is not a red flag. It is a MAJOR red flag, IMO.

    How do you know? This is a different culture than you live in.

    #1085478

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    I retract. Girl not talking on the dates is not a red flag. It is a MAJOR red flag, IMO.

    How do you know? This is a different culture than you live in.

    #1085479

    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    I retract. Girl not talking on the dates is not a red flag. It is a MAJOR red flag, IMO.

    How do you know? This is a different culture than you live in.

    #1085480

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Someone I know went out quite a few times with hardly a word passing between them. They were advised to continue, and eventually they were as to open up.

    They are both very normal, though their initial “chemistry” seemed to bring out the shyness in both.

    They are now b”H happily married and raising a beautiful family.

    So, no, awkwardness and shyness doesn’t have to be a red flag. In American yeshivish culture, in such a situation, they either end it there, or agree to keep trying for longer.

    In Israeli chareidi culture, perhaps it’s never allowed to go that far. I may not agree with or fully understand that approach, but it’s not a huge red flag to me, and I don’t know that there’s any shidduch crisis or sholom bayis crisis in that community any more than any other community.

    #1085481

    In what culture would this be the usual? Just wondering. I’m not familiar with the yeshivish norms, but I’ve never heard a story like this in Chasidish circles, with our limited dating practices and all.

    #1085483

    The Rashbak
    Member

    So much to answer…

    Why does he want to be Ashkenazi? I have no idea. He comes from a very proud Sefardi family with a history of great rabbeim in the “old country.” I think he was influenced early on to think that if he’s going to be a great Rosh Yeshiva and be taken seriously, he has to be Ashkenazi. While his family speaks Farsi, he learned Yiddish.

    Did the girl settle? I don’t know. He is VERY outgoing and talkative. A very friendly guy who will talk to anyone. But I’m told that when she talked to the boy’s mother she was friendly and wanted to know more about her son. So I think there’s some genuine interest.

    They’re Americans dating in the Israeli culture. I don’t know how much that plays into the awkwardness. I know that when I was in yeshiva and the guys were dating, if the couple wasn’t talking after 3 dates, it usually ended, but could continue for a few more if it’s a good match on paper.

    How does he know that they share similar goals and values? It’s all on paper. How much of that stuff is sincere, one never knows.

    We’re going to meet the girl in a few weeks and actually see them together. I think we successfuly manipulated them into a double date.

    #1085484

    healthcrazy
    Member

    i believe you should wait until you meet them together. then decide once seeing their relationship/and way of communication if it is shayach or not. but I still feel that not talking on 3 of the 4 dates is more than shy and a little weird/perhaps a red flag. I feel that she might be a great girl but isn’t fully set/emotionally comfortable in her belief of chassidus or judiasim or Hashem. but this is all just my opinion.

    #1085485

    Who told you she actually didn’t say a word on the first dates? What did they do the entire time? Are you sure there was no exaggeration?

    Also, I am quite familiar with the Chareidi Israeli dating culture and in my opinion it’s not that different from yeshivish norms in America.

    #1085486

    Toi
    Participant

    ha! i figured out the yeshiva in about….a second

    #1085487

    rew
    Member

    Toi: What are yoou trying to say? You were matzliach in getting the op to speak Loshon Hara.

    #1085488

    rew
    Member

    This is not a red flag if she gets along well with his mother.

    #1085490

    abogado
    Participant

    Girls are made out of jello, they mould into whatever they marry (sometimes into the same shape, and sometimes into the border shape). Makes no difference that she didn’t speak on dates if he is sufficiently happy to commit to her.

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