If you could change the Shidduch System

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    So a lot of people say the Shidduch System has a lot flaws, and it should be changed. Which may be true… But I’m just curious what would be a better way. And by system I mean (resumes, boy saying yes first, shadchanim etc…)


    Father of boy makes deal with father of girl to marry off their children to each other.

    Mazal Tov.


    Both say yes at the same time. Shidduch videos.


    Leave the parents far far far away from their children’s shidduchim


    I don’t think it’s the shidduch system that has flaws. I do think people corrupt it but then again, if you avoid those shadchanim and groups of people, you don’t have what to worry. I personally would never send a picture so I would avoid a shadchan who said they needed a picture and I would tell a shadchan that if the mother/boy needed a picture then she should redt him to someone else. As for everything else, if you think what someone is asking for is stupidity then chances are that person isn’t for you.


    I am with those who feel the system is flawed and needs to be restructured. I notice that even the well-known shadchaniot who have columns in local Jewish papers, have started revising some of their thinking.

    There is no question in my mind that the system does not work well. We have never seen such a plague of unmarried Jewish children as we see now. I think the shidduch “rules” are mostly ridiculous and a waste of valuable time. The things that people check out to death are often naarish and shallow or self-serving, and the notion that a boy is old enough to get married but not old enough to call a girl to arrange his own date with her after she has been suggested to him, is another means of infantilizing our children. If they are old enough to date,they are old to speak on the phone like WE did, and arrange the dates for themselves. If they are unable to carry on a normal conversation with each other, that is a serious issue.

    All the people who think it is untzniusdig to do this,are people who were brought up with that mindset, so naturally they believe it to be the only proper derech. But our parents had a different mehalach and it worked really well for them AND for us. It is OK to meet someone on your own in a safe and structured environment, such as a Shabbaton or other Singles event. It is not OK to make a negative assumption that all such events are “treif.”

    Girls should be encouraged to wear makeup and learn how to do their hair nicely and dress attractively in a tzanua way, if Nature needs a little boost. Much as we like to proclaim otherwise,realistically NOT ALL BNOS YISROEL ARE BEAUTIFUL on the outside, even if they are, on the inside. It is wrong to brainwash girls to believe otherwise, because then many of them who are plainer of face and form, think it is assur to get made up. Guys AND their mothers, make some initial choices with their eyes. Guess what! So do girls. Which brings me to the guys.

    PLEASE be clean, brush your hair and teeth after showering before every date. Dress neatly, even if you have a small budget for clothing. There is no excuse for a dirty shirt, missing a button, or an unkempt look. The girls for the most part are trying to look their best for you, please offer them the same courtesy. This is NOT untzniusdig. When people go shopping, they look for an attractively designed package. There is a whole field of marketing devoted to this. Is buying a box of cereal more important than appealing to one’s bashert?

    Don’t keep a shadchan waiting with an answer of yes or no. And the girls should be told about the guys just as the guys are told about the girls. And they should be told about more than one suggestion at a time, so they can get a date with at least SOMEONE appropriate on the “list.” Waiting for a yes from one boy before moving forward with someone else, when another one might be as appropriate a shidduch and more available, is a huge waste of time. I have seen girls I know personally, who lost out on shidduchim (yeah, so it wasn’t bashert, I know, I know), because while waiting for a boy who ultimately said no, the boy who WOULD have said yes, went out with another girl.

    I look at shidduchim like this. It is a mitzvah to marry and make a bayis ne’eman b’Yisroel. Mitzvah haba-ah l’yadecha, al tachmitzena. Don’t lose a chance because of stupid non-halachic rules,that have created a climate in which our shidduch crisis flourishes. We have to do everything we can to use common seichel as well as Halacha, to turn the tide on this epidemic.

    I am sure that there are individuals who will strongly disagree with me in whole or in part. That’s ok. I respect your opinions, too, even as I disagree with them.



    If Chazal said that it is forbidden for a man to betroth a woman

    before he has seen her, they must have considered her appearance

    a significant factor for many (perhaps even all) people.

    Can you not then accept that it may be a significant factor for the boy

    in question, and so, he may not want to spend time and money on dating

    without making sure that this one factor has already been verified?

    Of course, if you refuse to send a picture because

    you feel that sending a picture is not tzanua,

    you don’t think they truly reflect personal appearance,

    you don’t think it’s boys but their mothers looking you over, or

    you are not interested in a boy to whom this factor has such significance,

    I can’t argue with your decision.


    Thumbs-up, Oomis.


    All the people who think it is untzniusdig to do this,are people who were brought up with that mindset, so naturally they believe it to be the only proper derech

    That is absolutely not true.

    I am sure that there are individuals who will strongly disagree with me in whole or in part

    Well, yes, but I’ll just link to my responses the last two times we debated this.

    How to answer questions regarding a shidduch



    Thumbs-up, Oomis.



    DY, I should have bought a lotto ticket – KNEW you would be the one to answer right away! πŸ™‚

    “That is absolutely not true.”

    That is where we disagree the most, probably. If you grew up with the exact mindset that I did, you would not think that certain things are untzniusdig. I am not talking about unquestionable issues of tznius, where there can be no compromise. There are however, people who think it is i.e. untzniusdig for a boy to speak to a girl altogether, unless they are already dating. How is he supposed to have a conversation with her when it IS the perceived proper time, if he has know idea how to speak to her normally, to begin with? Dating should not be so intimidating for our young men and women.

    Rus, the great-grandmother of Dovid Hamelech, who was KNOWN for her tznius, did something that by some folks’ way of thinking would have probably been considered extremely scandalous, when she went to meet Boaz in the night. Never mind that it was for a tachlis. To me this is a no-brainer. Something’s gotta give. We cannot afford for ANY of our young people to not be married and produce a new generation of klal Yisroel.


    DY, I should have bought a lotto ticket – KNEW you would be the one to answer right away! πŸ™‚

    Didn’t want to disappoint you. πŸ™‚

    That is where we disagree the most, probably.

    Absolutely, because this isn’t even a matter of opinion, you’re simply factually wrong. Many, many people (I personally know plenty) grew up in homes where boys and girls’ socializing was acceptable, but changed their approach. What you’re essentially saying is that your perspective is so undeniably correct, and mine so absolutely wrong, that it is impossible to see things my way unless one has never been exposed to yours. Not only is this dismissive of the opinion which you don’t agree with, it is simply not factual.

    As far as boys and girls not being able to marry because of lack of social skills, I’ve addressed this fallacy before, but I’ll add a statistic which S.Y. Rechnitz recently reported, based on conversations with Lakewood shadchanim: 20% of Lakewood boys marry the first girl they date, and a large majority (although I don’t recall the percentage) are married within a year of starting shidduchim.

    The facts simply don’t bear out your theories.

    At least we’re in agreement about what we disagree about. πŸ™‚


    i would keep mothers of the boys out of shidduchim. From my personal experience, the mothers make the decisions who their sons should date and included in the decision-making is her dress size, the wealth of the family and of course, her beauty. That all seems to negate the middos we try to encourage people to admire and strive for.


    It should be left to the father.


    Rus, the great-grandmother of Dovid Hamelech, who was KNOWN for her tznius, did something that by some folks’ way of thinking would have probably been considered extremely scandalous, when she went to meet Boaz in the night. Never mind that it was for a tachlis. To me this is a no-brainer. Something’s gotta give.

    You’re making it sound a lot more scandalous than it was. They did get married first.


    I found the article I was referring to:

    The Progress Report On The ‘Shidduch Crisis’ – By Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz

    Here are the quotes I mentioned:

    “From interviews with the busier shadchanim in Lakewood, I gleaned that approximately one boy in five gets engaged to the first girl he meets.”

    From the paragraph before (this is different than I remembered; it refers to the average, not the majority):


    “…I, along with Rabbi Aaron Kotler of Lakewood, did an exact study on the average length of time it takes for a bochur to get engaged, once he enters shidduchim. The average time is approximately ten months.

    Average is worthless without knowing the standard deviation.

    And he doesn’t have that, because he didn’t do an “exact study”–he is just guesstimating. Hagah atzmecha, if he did an exact study, why is he giving the results in approximation?

    pants on fire hanging from a telephone wire.


    Haga atzm’cha: how many normal yeshiva guys do you know who aren’t married by 26, and how many that are? (In other words, how many alteh bochurim are yeduim to you?)

    I’m not using it in context of the shidduch crisis here, BTW, in case you didn’t read the thread; I’m just pointing out the obvious, that whatever flaws it has, it’ a whole lot more successful than the free for all Oomis suggests.


    The free for all that oomis proposes is also very impractical. How much time do you want everyone to be spending socializing so that they can find all these people to date, in addition to dating them?


    Especially since one quick phone call to popa’s shidduch consultant service can get them straight to some Manhattan hotel lounge.


    (Not a full response to this thread)

    Actually, Boaz and Rus were not married when Rus

    went to where Boaz was staying the night alone.


    Let’s not start making comparisons from Tanach, it’s a dangerous road to start on – Remember, Yaakov kissed Rochel when he met her, and there are some meforshim that say Avrohom Avinu never directly looked at Sarah. We do not claim to understand their actions, and so any comparison is doomed to be unworkable.

    Just sayin’.


    I guess we will have to agree to mostly disagree, DY. And you did not disappoint me. By the way, I for sure do not advocate a free for all. I just think boys and girls need to demonstrate maturity prior to dating and one way of seeing that maturity is in the simple ability to communicate with each other, without the need to be spoonfed each line by someone else.


    There is plenty of chance to demonstrate maturity on the date, without having to predate the actual date before the date of the date with a mini-date on an earlier date to arrange the date.

    The system of shidduchim being suggested and arranged, ensuring compatible people meet, and then they can determine if they are suitable for marriage, is not broken. There may need to be more networking among shadchanim, different ages getting married, whatever, if there is a need to be met. But more networking between the actual participants before the dates commence is unnecessary, unworkable and problematic. On the dates they can communicate with each other without any barriers being necessary.

    Just sayin’


    Meh. We manage to get married just fine, maybe it just takes an extra date or two the first time to get over the nerves.


    Have the women contribute something. Currently the men do everything: calling, driving, thinking of things to do, paying. The women need to make a picnic, think of things to do, meet halfway – something, anything. The imbalance ruins many shiduchim and is unfair.


    “It should be left to the father.”

    It should be left to the boy and the girl.


    Should they split the cost of each date or should they switch who pays from one date to the next?


    Oomis did not propose a free-for-all, just ways that the system could

    be helped to work better, unless you count singles events as such.

    (Popa’s second post appears to be guilty of straw-manning.)

    Having all messages go through the shadchan creates

    a buffer zone for everyone involved, ensuring that no one has difficulty

    saying what they need to say because of who it is being said to.

    I think we can assume that the shadchanim stay on top of things.

    f he did an exact study, why is he giving the results in approximation?

    Because nobody really cares to hear that it’s 10 months and 4 days, etc.

    However, he does appear to compare the amount of time

    a yeshiva bochur’s full shidduchim process takes with the amounts

    of time non-Jews or chassidishe bochurim spend on one person.

    DaasYochid, can you say with full confidence that the

    matter of daters not being comfortable in each other’s

    presence has nothing to do with the shidduch crisis?


    “Somehow, I find it all so confusing. For 18 years it gets

    drummed into my head that I’m not supposed to talk, to look

    at, or even think about boys. Then all of a sudden, literally

    overnight, I’m supposed to be able not only to go out with

    boys but also to feel relaxed on a date.”

    -Anonymous girl quoted by Dr. Meir Wikler in “Preparation for Marriage: A Prevention for Divorce,” Jewish Observer, January 1979, p. 11.

    Source: Professor William Helmreich’s The World of the Yeshiva,

    p. 254 (2000 edition).


    “Should they split the cost of each date or should they switch who pays from one date to the next?”

    That’s one possibility but does present other problems. Less problematic possibilities include the women thinking of a place to go (cheap one), meeting the men half way, making a picnic. The point is, if one is only giving, and the other only taking, you are not going to have a healthy situation. Also, she can make sure she eats before the date and they can just go out for a piece of cake.


    “I am sure that there are individuals who will strongly disagree with me in whole or in part. That’s ok. I respect your opinions, too, even as I disagree with them.”

    Well as long as you are chewing out the young people (strangely mostly for their hygiene and dress habits), what do you have to say to the shadchanim? Maybe some of them can learn a little more tact, can return phone calls, can help move the shiduchim along in constructive ways rather than handing out a number and saying you are on your own.


    Isn’t the minhag in Eretz Yisroel for the boy and girl to meet at a mutually agreed place rather than him picking her up?


    Owl, I certainly did not mean to chew anyone out. I DO agree with virtually everything you had to say about shadchanim. I think that they should take courses in sensitivity and tact, because telling a girkl she needs to drop thirty lbs. or she will never get married, is onaas devarim, among a whole host of other things (even if it’s true that she needs to lose weight). Not getting back to people who call is a function of the process. One person who is networking for 100s of young people at one time, cannot be relied upon to get back quickly. There are just so many hours in the day. They also conversely have a vested interest in sealing the deal, so often a shidduch is proposed (by a pushy shadchan), when it really is not appropriate. If the girl or boy say no, then then are berated for not being serious about wanting to get married. That, too, is onaas devarim.

    I stand by everything I said earlier. If a boy and girl are unable to do what their parents and grandparents most likely did before them, and have a simple conversation on the phone to arrange a date, they are socially hobbled by something that has NOTHING whatsoever to do with tznius, and everything to do with not allowing them to grow up.

    I remember going out with a nice fellow around 7 or 8 times, but I was not feeling anything about progressing further. Did I ask my mommy or the person who set us up to tell him that? No. It was uncomfortable, granted, to tell him that it was not working, but there are MANY uncomfortable scenarios in life where we need to say no to someone nice about something that is potentially awkward, and the sooner kids learn how to handle these social issues, the better. As I said earlier, this has become a mindset with which our frum youth have grown up. Things were very different decades ago, and IMO, much better, with all due respect. We surely did nto have such a crisis. It was a rarity to see an unmarried person in their 30s and 40s or more. Now, it’s epidemic, along with the early divorce rate (a whole ‘nother issue).

    Popa, seriously?????????


    One major item:

    Similar to Yeshiva tuition, money should not be discussed until after the wedding. Furthermore, the parents should not discuss with each other what they give, as it is neither sides’ business how much the other gives (or doesn’t). As an extension of this, only the couple should discuss how long they will stay in Kollel, not the parents, who would be limited to checking out family & personal issues.

    Get the money out of shidduchim and you will see many more of them.


    @ gavra_at_work

    As much as I would love to have a system that wasn’t affected by money that is just unrealistic. If the couple is self-sufficient then you definitely have a point. So if the boy and the girl have jobs and salaries then money should not be discussed. If, on the other hand they will need support while in kollel or school or tuition paid, then money MUST be discussed before they get married!

    Money is part of life and although people might place undue importance on it, ignoring it’s importance is not the solution.


    ChizukGedarim – each child can certainly discuss the issue with their own parents, to make sure that they are able to move forward with getting married. Furthermore, the couple can discuss during the engagement (a small modification) between themselves what their finances will look like and how they plan on going forward as a couple.

    I believe that would solve your concern without affecting my main points, which is to remove the pressure of funding and financing from the shidduch scene, as well as the need to match up parents with similar financial abilities to support or worse, throwing all of the responsibilities onto the girl’s parents, thereby creating many more shidduchim.

    P.S. As I have told others, I’m a Gavra@Work, not an @Gavra@work πŸ™‚


    There are some really great opinions here. Seems like everyone is hurting and really wants to help single girls and boys out.

    Just to add my two cents. As a girl, I can really only speak for girls.

    I feel that the ridiculously insane pressure for shidduchim is the worst problem. It pushes girls into a state of desperation, hopelessness, and despair that has to be seen to be believed. I’ve been there and its awful.

    The only advice is to have meaning in your life that is only for you. If you hate your job but you’re doing it because you can leave at any time if you get engaged, then quit and do something you love. Go fun places, do fun things. Busy, exciting people are attractive. You will have something to offer, have what to talk about on dates, and present a picture of a unique and attractive individual that a boy will want to know more about. Also, if you have meaning to your life besides needing to get engaged as soon as possible, you will have a clearer head to make the decision to marry someone.

    Also, think about money, if you want a learning boy you need it. If you want a working boy, you need it. That’s just the way it is. Secretaries and assistant teaching jobs don’t make money. You don’t have to be rich but you must have a plan.

    I think it would be great if boys and girls could treat each other as adults. The initial few dates are just much easier and more comfortable with a shadchan in between. But after the couple feels mutual interest, they have to progress and treat each other as mature adults. Communicate directly, discuss where to go on dates, be mindful of the boy’s finances.w Don’t shy away from difficult conversations. Cover every topic as a mature adult and not a sweet aidel maidel who would rather her mother ask the hard questions for her. Life is hard and you need to know if you can trust this boy with your life and your deepest secrets. Just not on the first date, wait till later dates.

    I know some people felt that girls should pay on dates because of….? So that they can show that the girl has money? So the girl can demonstrate her feminist side? So the girl can show that she can budget?

    Let me pose to you then, boys. Would you like the girl to pick you up in a fancy car and then pay for the date? If it works for you go for it.

    To my understanding however, most girls want to be taken care of by their husbands, i.e, taller, stronger, kills bugs for them. Girls wooing boys is counterintuitive and not what any girl I know wants.

    Most of all though, I feel terrible that we are stuck in such a formal and costly system. Expectations are super high and extremely regimented and cause a lot of pain. Remember that you are a valuable person and that if the system is not working for you, you can change it. The shidduch system is not halacha, it is artificial.


    ironpenguin +1, even though you are discussing a societal, not a shidduch, issue of girls wasting their life waiting for the phone to ring.

    bais yakov maidel

    I agree that parents should have minimal shaychus in a shidduch. And yes, I agree with oomis that the current shidduch system infantalizes young men and women who are presumably ready to get married.

    As for external apprearances, I know many beautiful, thin girls who cannot get dates because boys’ mothers asphyxiate their own sons by “deciding” what their sons need.

    Young men – take control of your life and handle your own shidduchim.

    Also, it wouldn’t hurt for everyone to understand that shidduchim works in our world in a way that’s analogous to how it works in the secular world. Think, “mate value”, attraction, etc… This is just a reality. So in the secular world a young man with a high-paying job has a high mate value and in the frum world a serious learner has a high mate value. So it’s different things that contribute to mate value, but the concept is the same.

    It’s important to understand this so that you don’t fall into the trap of thinking that “frum people are above this”.

    And as for attraction – the COUPLE needs to find eachother attractive. What the boys mother thinks is irrelevant.


    There is no such thing as a beautiful thin girl.


    DaasYochid, can you say with full confidence that the

    matter of daters not being comfortable in each other’s

    presence has nothing to do with the shidduch crisis?

    That probably depends on how you define “the shidduch crisis”.


    G@W: money should not be discussed until after the wedding

    As you tend to do, you’ve expressed an admirable ideal which is, unfortunately, impractical.


    — aside first – @Rebyidd23 – at best your comment is irrational and wrong, as beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Your comments are doubly wrong because the typical [defined as anecdotally observed interviewed and stereotyped by me] male beholder strongly disagrees with you. – so ends aside —

    If every mother who had a child in shidduchim, would abdicate the work they are doing for their own child, and instead put in an equal amount of time on another child (or two because the narishkeit isn’t as all encompassing with other people’s children) I believe the crisis would be greatly lessened.

    If people would stop determining their own and other people’s adult status based on whether they are married, there might be no crisis – only people that want to get married. That might help too.

    Lastly, if people insist on making getting married as important to one’s maturing as schooling, it should be institutionalized (like school) with fees (like school) and it would be more efficient. Today’s shidduch system seems analogous to yesteryear’s melamed system. Just doesn’t work that efficiently with large numbers. Either it’s a public problem or a private problem. The word “crisis” implies public problem. Public problem implies public solution. Public solution requires powerful, unafraid, accepted leadership. I see no such leadership today. Granted, my vision is flawed but whose vision should I go by, yours? Those (non-hasidic) leaders that are unafraid tend to get marginalized, because very little works for most people.

    In sum, I expect no public solution, don’t see lack of marriage as defining a person, and think that parents’ selfish short-term interests systematically undermine their selfish long-term interests and think that each individual is a different story and should be treated and act as such. So ends my rambling.


    G@W: money should not be discussed until after the wedding

    As you tend to do, you’ve expressed an admirable ideal which is, unfortunately, impractical.

    Why is it impractical, especially as I explained it to ChizukGedarim?

    P.S. Thank you for thinking my idea is admirable!

    Public solution requires powerful, unafraid, accepted leadership. I see no such leadership today.

    Stam that doesn’t exist in the Klal, so don’t hold your breath.


    Ironpenguin and BYmaidel +1

    You both expressed yourselves very maturely. If you are looking for shidduchim, I hope you both find the right ones b’korov.


    I think the biggest thing that could help was mentioned by oomis – allow boys and girls to meet sometimes outside of the standard shidduch system!

    R’ Yosef Breuer zt”l once said that he was against separate seating at weddings. But, even if people insisted on doing it, he stressed that single people who were “in the parshah” should have mixed seating. Why? Because, he said, “Mitzvah goreres mitzvah. We want to make shidduchim, and we want the boys and girls to meet each other! We want dates to come out of this wedding!”


    i wouldn’t change it; for those who feel comfortable with the current set-up, bruchim tihiyem. I’d add to it by going back to basics.

    My parents met at a single’s weekend in the Pine View Hotel put on by the Zeirie Agudas Yisroel in the ’30’s. There were at the time no other ways for frum singles to meet. Now, B”H, for many, there are. However, for singles over thirty, the ability for meeting the right zivug grows very difficult. I think it’s time we realized the need for more innovative approaches, including setting up carefully screened (and shadchan-attended) weekends or singles events under the auspices of recognized rabbonim or frum organizations (as Rabbi David Cohen did, once, many years ago).


    The shidduch system is not really a system, it is a set of socialised norms that have evolved over time. That is why shidduchim are done differently in different parts of the world. Note that there is a wide world beyond NYC!

    The problem is that what has evolved has evolved because of social pressures and agendas that have nothing to do with creating healthy marriages. For example:

    1. Money. The reality today is that people want to live in comfort. Let somebody else pick up the tab… The “system” now legitimises this.

    2. Social status. The Satmar Rebbe said many years ago that in all his years in America he met very few people who made shidduchim for their childrens’ sake. If we are honest about it, things are far worse today.

    3. False Righteousness. Today, we are too fahrfrumpt for our own good. Nothing is good enough and we keep “chumras” that our ancestors would have laughed at. Unfortunately, as a whole (even though there may be exceptions) we have not become better people than our ancestors who were less fahrfrumpt then we are!

    The result of this is a “system” that is almost purpose built to ensure that two young people have no idea who they are marrying! All the checking out beforehand in most instances (where absurd questions are asked)is counterproductive as in most cases, there is no way to verify the voracity of what is found out.

    The result is the mess and the pain that we see today. The answer is to relook at our values…


    Popa, seriously?????????

    Oomis, quite seriously.

    What are you looking for? That we should open up pool halls for bochurim and girls to go hang out every night and try to socialize? Guys socialize within their yeshivos, and girls socialize within their circles of friends–they aren’t meeting each other organically.

    If you mean to have occasional singled events, well, that is already existing, and is not all what you are advocating, since you meet them once and then either go out on a date or not–you don’t socialize for months and then decide to ask her out, like “our parents did” (my parents didn’t, but maybe yours did, I dunno. My grandparents didn’t either, FTR, in America. My great-grandparents didn’t either (blind arranged marriage in Russia)).

    Unless you mean that we should have coed yeshivos so that the social circles will overlap. And I don’t think that’s a good idea, even if it would solve every crisis in the world, including the not enough herring at kiddush crisis.

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