How Shidduchim became a beauty pageant contest.

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    It’s not a secret that externals have become a big factor in the frum shidduch world, especially for boys. Photoshopped pictures are being included with resumes of girls. Some boys won’t even go out without first seeing a photo. A perfectionist friend of mine is near 40 because he never met the perfect one.
    According to one professional dating coach, the Chareidi world is more obsessed with beauty than even the modern orthodox or non-Jewish world.
    The question is why & can anything be done about this.
    I’d like to propose 2 reasons.
    1) Chareidim view marriage as a lifetime commitment which is based on a meeting someone just a handful of times. People are too frightened to commit to someone they might not feel attracted to later. Looks become a central issue almost as an insurance policy. The modern Orthodox or non Jews divorce fairly often & therefore do experience the angst of the Chareidi bachur.
    2) The complete separation of boys from girls the first two decades of a chareidi boys life means that he often has little to be attracted by in a girl other than her externals. He has close to no idea about the feminine personality to appreciate so he’s left with her physical form. In addition, the only females he’s actually seen are usually that of models posing in magazines or online, not the average Mary Jane living next door. This creates a distorted fantasy world in his mind about how his future wife will look.
    Can anything be done?
    I think we need to be open with our boys & let them know that in the real world very few girls match the photoshopped models seen in an ad, etc. It’s a false reality they are seeing. We also need to describe to them the attractive sides of a girl that isn’t external but part of her personality. I also believe that R’ Yaakov Kaminetzky recommended that mesivta boys remain in town at least in part for this reason.


    Taanis 25b implies that people were always into looks


    Sarai Imeinu was described as beautiful. In fact, that’s the first thing said about her, other than she was childless.


    There’s nothing wrong with looking for looks per se.
    However, looks are highly subjective which complicates the boy’s quest. IOW- what exactly are you looking for?
    There’s also an issue underneath that’s not much talked about openly – “what will my family & friends think of how she looks?” So , automatically he might refuse to even date a girl who’s a little over the skinny side even though she has a “pretty face”. That’s a reason I dislike shidduch photos. Bocher’l : Take a chance.. Maybe when you see this girl with weight, nose, height, and gait, you’ll ditch all your preconceived fantasies, fall head over heels, feel you can’t live without her… family/ friends be plastered for crying out loud !

    I. M. Shluffin

    Whoah, whoah. Slow down. While there’s definitely truth to your second point, I don’t think it’s fair to imply that Modern Orthodox people (I don’t know much about non-Jewish marriage) don’t care as much about looks simply because they know they can divorce them if they fall out of love. No guy is standing under a Modern Orthodox chuppah thinking, “Let’s give it a try, and if it doesn’t end up working out it’s ok because she wasn’t that pretty anyway.” No one goes into marriage planning for divorce.
    I’m hoping I misunderstood your words.


    2 is true
    1 is absurd. Even assuming “The modern Orthodox … divorce fairly often ” Nobody gets married to someone they dont find attractive, telling themselves “Well if I don;t find her attractive there is always divorce”


    The rampant pritzus of short skirts is far worse than wearing pants.


    “Sarai Imeinu was described as beautiful. In fact, that’s the first thing said about her, other than she was childless.”

    Right but Avraham Avinu didn’t know this til they got close to Mitzrayim.

    So what’s your point?


    Haimy -“How Shidduchim became a beauty pageant contest.
    Some boys won’t even go out without first seeing a photo.”

    What’s wrong with that? (My second line.)

    “It’s not a secret that externals have become a big factor in the frum shidduch world, especially for boys.”

    I think the biggest factor is money! The girl or her parents need to have it or have access to it.


    As someone who grew up modern, I’d like to clarify something. Both modern and Yeshivish view marriage “as a lifetime thing”. The length of time one “dates” is not indicative of a difference in attitude towards the gravity of the decision.Though the dating style may be different, the attitude towards marital commitment is not.


    WB, mm22.

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    “The modern Orthodox or non Jews divorce fairly often ”

    That’s not just wrong, it’s ignorant. I don’t know how you can not be embarrassed to say something so off.


    The women are just as shallow in different ways. Don’t blame the boys for everything.


    Shidduchim being a beauty contest comes straight out of Megillas Esther. If the average girl these days doesn’t want to be a tzaddeikes like Esther, how are the girls ready for marriage?


    It’s wrong to say that modern and non Jewish ppl don’t go after looks. And I think ur over rating the whole situation.


    There’s also an opinion that Esther wasn’t all that hood looking, but she had chein, charm in the king’s eyes.
    He was most attracted to her anyway.
    So bochur, don’t limit your choice to photos only. Give it a shot unless you’re outright repulsed.


    A frum yeshiva boy is raised in a home infused with Torah and Yiras Shamayim. His Rebbes and yeshiva shelter him from the evils of the outside world. His mother would never allow the four walls to see her natural hair. His father wouldn’t think of allowing a secular newspaper in the house. He has little to no association or exposure to pritzus, no television, no movies or theater. Modern music is off limits. He listens intently to a musar shmuess weekly if not more often. His role models are gedolim, lamdanim, tzadikim.

    And here I learn that when it comes to finding his bashert for the purpose of building a home of kedushah and taharah, all he really cares about is …….

    The cheshbon nefesh required here defies quantification. Operating on this disease may kill the patient. Or, the charade will just continue. After all, almost everyone is doing it. But please, enough of the fake frumkeit, it doesn’t fly anymore

    Some Common Sense

    This is why I refused to require or send pictures in the resumes I deal with; just let the people find out for themselves.

    Uncle Ben

    When did this picture business start? I never saw a picture of a prospective shidduch before meeting.


    Uncle B
    I believe it started along with resumes with those online shidduch connection sites where singles meet. Unless you’re chassidish, it’s pics, resumes, asinine endless questions and nterrogations.. Add the restrictions that have been placed on just meeting at certain venues which have become treif..I feel the pain of singles of this generation .
    It’s a heartache that shouldn’t be.

    Reb Eliezer

    Doesn’t it say שקר החן והבל היופי אשה יראת ה’ היא תתהלל grace is false and beauty is vain, a G-d fearing woman is praiseworthy.


    better to see a picture & approve or disapprove a date , then to meet live & then say …


    ….And even in some chassidish circles, the questions are insane. My chassidshe friend told me some that were asked of him benogei’ah his daughter. You hair on your head will stand up if you heard them.

    🐵 ⌨ Gamanit

    ZionGate- I’m a big believer in asking lots of questions prior to first meeting. Can I hear what questions you felt were too intrusive/crazy?


    Combo from 3 people I know, 1 chassidish, 2 middle of the road yeshivish.. some q’s were from wives of questioners…
    – length of peyos… behind your ears or curled( gekreizelt) alongside the face. Mikvah? Every day? Which mikvah?
    – Boy wears hat? Ever see him without it? My friend’s response: Don’t know, never showered with him..
    – How long his Shabbos jacket? How many buttons?
    Friend’s response: Don’t know how to answer- if too many, we’ll take one off… If too little, we’ll sew one on.
    – Do they stack at Shabbos meals,? What it means is, if you have a maid removing dishes off the table, does she remove one at a time, or dies she waiter- stack all at once, which would indicate prust, coarse, boorish behavior.
    Enough??.. I’ m not making this up. This is from 3 people I know.


    This is not an issue in and of itself, it is part of a much larger and sickening trend among us “Yeshiva People” where all of our gashmius must be top tier. Look at the houses yungeleit live in today in Lakewood and other in-town kollel communities or the cars they drive or the furniture they buy (must be ordered from Italy!). Do you think for a second that R’ A’ Kotler imagined Lakewood becoming the trend setter for style in home decor, clothing, kiddush cakes, kitchens and (you’ll excuse me) the features and size to look for in the girl you are going to marry? The fact that Haimy doesn’t give credit to the MO for seeking more important qualities when they look to get married, but instead chalks it up to rampant divorce is both ignorant and failing to look in the mirror. His second reason is at least more on target.


    There’s more, but just to knock you out , here’s a showstopper:
    On Yom Kippur, does the mother wear a white kerchief( tichel) on top of the shaitel and a shirtzel ( apron) as is the minhag by many, or is she clad in just ordinary Yom Tov clothes?


    I request that Haimy retract his filthy statements about the Chareidim. In our circles there is a picture sent to get a general idea if it is shayich or not. Only the mother of the boy looks at the girl’s picture. The boy trusts his parents and obviously gets the final say or not. But “Haimy” is setting up straw men to knock down. How sad.

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    Baltimore – I think haimy’s OP was a bunch of lies meant to annoy and irritate people into coming on here and arguing (this is only one of many such threads of his). So yes, his statements about chareidim are just as ignorant and false as his statement about MO marrying with divorce in mind. BUT – your comment about only the mother seeing the picture is pure fantasy. I have tens of pictures of single girls on my phone sent to me by single guys close to my family asking what I think. And I am one of a handful of others getting them. They also go to sisters, cousins who coach them on shidduchim, friends who give “objective” opinions.

    I was actually sickened yesterday when one of the guys sent me a picture of a girl who was more average build sitting at a café with an iced coffee. She was a beautiful girl, possibly a bit overweight in the middle but still beautiful. What is his comment? I don’t know what someone like that is doing with an iced coffee with whipped cream, she sure doesn’t need the calories. This from a guy who would NEVER talk like that about another person. A soft spoken tzanua personality. but this shidduch picture thing is a scam. it’s just disgusting.


    Fat shaming is a separate issue; if someone would say that about a picture, it reveals something about his personality.

    catch yourself

    I’m so confused. Are we now making the argument that the increasing commonality of divorce is a good thing?

    I must attach myself to those who rejected the outright libel of the Modern Orthodox community. The premise that people marry in the same way they try a new flavor of soda is not only absurd, it would be rightly perceived by members of that community as hurtful and condescending, to say the least.

    Most boys, being human, do prefer to marry someone they find attractive. It has been this way since the beginning of time. The Gemara states clearly that a man is required to see the woman before marrying her to avoid problems stemming from a lack of attraction.

    It is true that our society has become obscenely obsessed with materialism and pleasure, and this certainly expresses itself in Shiduchim. Nevertheless, most Bochurim seek and receive guidance from levelheaded, objective, experienced Rebbeim, and are able to make appropriate decisions about whether or not to marry a specific girl, considering her physical appearance as well as a host of other factors.

    It is easy to assert that others are practicing “fake religiosity,” but this is no more than slander. The fact that many people purchase homes, cars, and many other things which are unnecessarily ostentatious is not, in today’s world, irreconcilable with sincerity in Limud HaTorah, Avodas Hashem, or Gemilus Chasadim.

    It’s worthwhile to make the effort to see the positive side of people; it makes your own world a much brighter place.


    The fact that many people purchase homes, cars, and many other things which are unnecessarily ostentatious is not, in today’s world, irreconcilable with sincerity in Limud HaTorah

    Incorrect. It is irreconcilable.


    How true.


    Looks are VERY important in a marriage and should not be diminished by ignorant statements of its pure personality. If a husband does not find a wife attractive, you have tzores!

    On that note, I also disagree with resume’s and pictures. Seeing the person in real life, you get to see her and her personality. Sometimes her personality is so beautiful it increases her overall attractiveness.

    However, from the perspective of a boy who lives far away from a girl, I can see the value of a picture. For example, if a girl has black hair, and the boy (yes, his preference and mishugas) is he only dates blonds, why would he fly to see someone who is not his type; regardless of the personality.

    But this has nothing to do with MO, yeshivish or chassidish. the importance of looks are vital and their are countless stories of the sad outcome one one ignores it.


    שקר החן והבל היופי אשה יראת ה’ היא תתהלל means that a person that ONLY has chein or yofi – that is sheker and hevel, but
    אשה יראת ה if she has yiras Hashem, THEN her chein and yofi are meaningful (as Chazal praise the beauty of several noshim tzidkoniyos – because THEIR chein and yofi IS praiseworthy).


    Anon1m0us, a boy who gets hung up on natural hair color is a fool. Hair color is changeable.


    And you Haimy, ? Why you got so quiet all of a sudden?
    Haimy, Haimy …


    Pictures in shidduchim are a wild breach of tznius and goes against everything that is taught in yeshivos and bais yaakovs. Yes physical attraction is important but that is something that grows on you as you get to know someone. If a boy has a mishugas about something like hair color one of the references can be asked. Lastly, what is the point of a boys mother seeing the picture. If there is anyone who is deciding if they should go ahead with a a proposed shidduch based on a picture it should be the boy.


    You want to know how it got this way? Because mothers and shadchanim let it. You think a 22 year old Yeshiva Bachur knows enough about girls to know what a pretty girl looks like? No, it’s the mothers who insist on pictures so that their yingele doesn’t get someone they consider a meiskeit or zaftig. This wrongly encourages the boys and soon they refuse to go out with a girl unless she can compare to a supermodel. And the shadchanim encouraged this practice so partial blame goes to them.


    I apologize for disappearing after posting this. I blocked the frum news sites from my phone because it was wasting too much of my time, so it’s harder for me to respond. I’m sure MO Jews get married with 100% commitment, but subconsciously, I don’t think they look at marriage as a one way door to the extent Chareidim do. MO Jews who are unhappily married hit the exit doors much sooner than A chareidi person would. My point is not to put down the natural need Hashem put into a man. Rather, that a combination of fear, a false fantasy being fed by the secular modeling industry, & near zero exposure to the feminine personality is creating this. I allow my daughter to invite her teenage friends over even when my boys are home because I want them to have some idea of how girls are, though I make sure they remain separate. I’m not proposing that boys & girls should mix Ch”v, just that we may need to do a better job educating our boys about how life is realistically.
    What I do know is that we Chareidim are making a bigger deal out of externals (as well as money) than other groups. Perhaps one of the readers can enlighten me why this is.


    “the importance of looks are vital and their are countless stories of the sad outcome one one ignores it.”
    First, basic English requires “there” and not “their”.

    Second, I say with confidence that the sad outcomes are greater in number and severity when one marries for physical attraction rather than when one ignores it. I venture that anyone over 40 will corroborate this.


    The yeshivish world is an exercise in self-delusion.

    Someone makes sure his teenage daughter’s friends remain separate and do not speak or look at the boys in the house, yet thinks this gives the boys “some idea of how girls are”. Self-delusion. The boys and girls should not “mix” (have an actual conversation?) “but we may need to do a better job educating our boys about how life is realistically. ” Good luck with that.

    Blaming the shadchanim but constructing the system so that the shadchanim control it is self-delusional.

    Telling the boys that the world continues to exist b’zchus their Torah learning, and allowing them to pick out the best physical specimen available as their eishes chayil is self-delusional.


    Also, If papa has a load of dough, the girl becomes better and better looking.

    Time Waster

    It’s definitely gotten out of control but in some situations pictures be very helpful. I dumped a girl that flew half way across the world for a date because of looks. Could have easily been avoided had I seen a picture. And yes, my mother had seen her but not me.


    Not the main topic here but materialism with the right intentions is not wrong in our religion we unlike other religions can take the material and uplift it , unless you are wealthy and not buying anything you can’t judhe others
    We had Amorim who eat the whole week Lekabod shbs , that means every day they enjoying gashmius ( they could have given it too the poor), how many maids do you have to get for your wife is a discussion in mishnayos today it would be criticized, etc etc an entire year before the wedding a woman would be preparing in spices ( takshisim) is also a mishna…
    On shbs mebarchim we ask for O’Sher bekavod not just parnasah… many other prayers like that. We are concussing what might be expected of talmidei chachamim to be able to learn from what we all should be living like.
    The Chafetz chaym it is sad had not nice kiddush cup etc for shbs , but what he did at his level might be wrong even according to him for others, there is a lot of judgement
    Showing off for the sake of showing off is wrong , living comfortable and with the material is not by definition wrong.
    The ram bam says that for mood a nice home is healing etc etc feeling obligated to have for others is not good but that’s on us to work on not on the ones who have to stop having or enjoying. There wealth with arrogance and their is healthy wealth even in all its glory including huge houses etc
    That’s my view based on everything I have heard about…
    If you feel that comfort and wealth are not going to bring you close to God that could be correct too. But for many serving God in comfort will be what brings them closer to God.
    The Mishnah also says if you served G-d in poverty you will end up serving him in wealth why would the Mishnah wish you wealth. You can judge the amorah for eating so much fleishigs gashmus lekavod shbs the whole week next time you judge someone for shopping in the fancy grocery store etc Nothinh like a nice shbs Nap to write a long post after shbs that might never be read ..


    A picture can say much more than how pretty someone is.
    You can hear some girl is overweight and look at picture and say she is overweight but I like the pic and I want to date her, some girls make faces ( as a joke ) in a shiduch picture and you can see personality in that , there is a lot to a picture more than looks and now that we have the technology is not crazy to want to see a picture. Sometimes moms think their daughters are not pretty and they get very upset about this but a boy would totally like the picture .. btw girls also ask for pics. It’s a very confusing time for everyone dating so many questions etc, a boy deals with a lot of stress too is not just girls and having a picture and knowing who they are going to will make it more human and less stressful


    The yeshiva world is facing a problem of epic magnitude.
    The rabbanim such as rav shach z’l rav kotler z’l rav kamenetzky and many other great zaddikim were all dissemenators of pure daas torah and would be sgocked by some of the things we are seeing today.

    I want to make clear that bli ayn hara the frum world is thriving in all areas and the huge growth is a credit to this success.
    However in terms of shidduchim
    What we are seeing, not everywhere, but in many places is shameful and very saddening.
    Most notably about the money issue.
    That is the fact that some parents are willing to marry their children to someone partially or solely because of financial status or profession of the other side is as mind boggling as it is depressing.

    I know a number of people who married for money when after the marriage either they lost their money, which made the person feel all the goodness of the partner was gone, so they divorced, or they were ruch but did bot share the money with the couple, again resulting in divorce.

    Are people that immature that when marrying a partner to fulfill a spiritual goal would primarily consider something as shallow and transient as money??


    It is generally very easy to find a real (aka unretouched) photo of someone online, whether through public records (in some states driver’s license photos are accessible), social media pages (Facebook etc.), photos of school events and honors, etc. Obviously, these opportunities are more limited in the frum tzibur but certainly not impossible. In the real world, looks to matter, and avoiding the issue up front is likely to result in the issue becoming a concern later on, albeit some other issue is used as a pretext for the “disappointment” one side or the other in a shidduch has regarding the looks of their counter-party.


    Beauty is only skin deep and you better believe it!


    “I know a number of people who married for money when after the marriage either they lost their money, which made the person feel all the goodness of the partner was gone, so they divorced, or they were ruch but did bot share the money with the couple, again resulting in divorce.”

    The other spouse can and should refuse to give/accept a divorce in such a case. This is precisely a case where it would be entirely justified to use the perogative the Torah gives to decline divorce.

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