# WATCH: Rabbi Yisroel Lichtenstien Explains His View And Solution On The ‘Shidduch Crisis’

25

SHARE

1. Could not be clearer. Yet I can’t tell you how many people think this is either made up or not the cause. It is the most simple mathematical fact as is clearly explained. Anyone denying this is essentially saying that 2+2=5 This advice must be heeded as the alternative is not a pretty picture. Please

2. Please don’t say ‘his view’ and put shidduch crisis in quotations as though this is arguable. Every statement that he made is indisputable mathematical fact

3. The numbers and issue may be 100% true, but the solution is disputable. He states that the solution to close the age gap is for bochurim to date at a younger age. Maybe you can achieve the same result by 22 or 23 year old bochurim dating 20+ year old girls and not 18 or 19 year olds. This would also bring the number of available boys and girls closer together.

4. He says there are more boys born then girls, yet he sites that counting 9 year old girls and 13 year old boys, that there are more girls then boys. So tell us were did those overabundance of boys go??!!
I am sorry I don’t agree. Having boys marry younger, will not solve the issue. First of all, these boys have no employment skills. How in the world will they be able to sign a Kesuba, that they will support a woman?? Is Rabbi Lichtenstein ready to support all those young couples, then by all means encourage boys to marry younger.

5. Se vet helfen a toiten bank!

People do what they feel like and make 100 excuses for why they cant or dont need to do as told by Gdolim. If ALL Gdolim would stop going to LChaims Vorts and Chasunas of Chasanim and Kallahs with a wider than suggested age gap, then the people might take heed. Otherwise its not happening. Gdolim have to prove how strongly THEY REALLY feel about this!

6. To #4 Who is going to stop a girl from starting shidduchim at 19. A “maybe” guy that calls himself A Stone. Hashem created humans with an inclination to want to date & get married. Besides she will do more harm to herself by waiting till 20+. The lopsided figures of putting year after year 15% more girls than boys on Shidduch Island has got to stop. MAYBE when you will need to marry off a daughter maybe then you will understand it.

7. To # 5 The overabundance of boys is only by Chasidim because they marry same age.(Listen to the video again)As far as getting married @ 21 Know the facts. The whole world is already in Shidduchim @ 21. Is it only the American Stupids that need till 23? Or is it the American Goyishkiet that is in these boys that they think they can wait till 23? (and do Tchuva on their avairois an hour before Yom Kipur)

8. The math is fuzzy and imprecise.

Not everyone marries with a 4-year age gap.

But let’s pretend there are 1050 boys for 1200 girls.. what happens to the girls from Years 1-3? None get married according to this example, cuz ALL 1050 married girls from year 4…which of course isn’t true.

9. Mr mazel, I am just wondering where the 23 year old got his skills to support a wife?!?? What more skills are gained by doing nothing.
And Ilif he is learning then he could do so anyway. How do chasidim manage without any support?!!!!

10. To all those with children “in the parshah”. How many of your friends, former classmates, neighbors, fellow mispalilim, or coworkers have suggested a shidduch for your child? How many even know you have a child in the parshah? The “shidduch crisis” would be solved if we start taking our achrayus for our street, school, and shul.

11. I can’t watch videos on my phone but I’ve read enough articles on it, all saying the same thing.

The math is totally flawed. Yes,
Most yeshivish girls start shidduchim at 19 and most yeshivish boys start at 23. But a much higher percentage of boys get engaged within the first year of shidduchim than girls. Usually one or two girls per class will get engaged the first year, and only afterwards will it pick up. Just because they start shidduchim at 19 and 23 respectively, doesn’t mean that most shidduchim are made with a 19 year old girl and a 23 year old boy.

Another thing, I was 21 when I got married to a 25 year old boy. You could say we contributed to the crisis. But my husband dated dozens of girls of all ages, his age and a bit older, although most were younger. He started shidduchim at 21 and I also started at 21. Should I not have been allowed to date him because we are 4 years apart?

if there is a discrepancy in numbers it has a lot more to do with the fact that more boys go otd than girls and a huge percentage of girls from families that are not necessarily pro kollel, come home from seminary refusing to look at a boy who is not learning full time.

12. Of course blame the boys.

Maybe the problem is also that every girl wants a ‘learning’ boy since it’s easier to want something than to be something.

I know many girls who won’t take decent shiduchim because the boy is working (and kovea itim) or even plans to work in 5 years.

13. The truth is the shadchans need to change. It’s one thing to encourage boys to date older girls but you really need to encourage shadchans to suggest older girls . In addition it would help if shadchans would spend some time to get to know the people they are setting up, not just rely on family or yeshiva reputation

14. The math behind the problem may be indisputable but the proposed solution certainly is.

I won’t criticise because I don’t have an alternative one. In fact he deserves a yasher koach for trying to resolve a problem others are just complaining about.

15. Once again missing the deeper picture.

1. According to what he’s saying there should be no single boys…yet there are which ruins his numbers.

2. What about the geirim and baal tshuvas who can add to the girls yet the yeshivish wouldn’t consider as suitable match.

At the end the bigger problem is the same issue that’s causing all the other issues…elitism. while at one point it was a nice luxury to be able to only date the perfect child from the perfect family that luxury is no longer viable. A more suitable solution would be to start explaining to parents not to ask stupid irrelevant questions when looking for a shidduch and to start treating each jew as is they are on the same level as you ( we know they aren’t but treat them as if they are;))…..bottom line parents wait until their kids are are much older before realizing they shouldn’t of been so picky in the first place. Now nobody should marry anyone for just the sake of it but at least give everyone a fair chance until proven otherwise. There could also be an age limit where parents are no longer allowed to say no to a shidduch for a stupid reason. For example after age 26 they must get rabbinic approval before saying no to a shidduch. All suggestion should be made on a first come first serve basis as long as it’s coming from a reliable shadchan. Which could also be regulated. If certain professional shadchanim make a suggestion they the boy and girl must go out unless there is a rav who is willing to say there are legitamite reasons not to. Not just because the mother stacks her dishes.

To say it’s a number issue I believe is to not have emunah because any issue that is not by our own hands should be trusted that hashem will take care of. This has never been a problem before and the world didn’t start 50 years ago so how could it possibly be because of the amount of boys or girls being born???

Or just ignore everything I just said and simply start allowing polygamy.

16. To # 9, & 11 see response #7 . It`s all percentages (if its 1050 to 1200, or 1700 to 2000. Evan if they are mentioned in shul so it`s another shul so its out of town Rachmona Litzlan 15% just remain.

17. Years ago, people in the Litvish/Yeshivish community noticed that it was much harder for a girl to get engaged than it was for a boy, and that many more girls were remaining single then there were boys remaining single. The term shidduch-crisis was originally coined to give a name to this phenomenon. No one really understood its cause. A number of (mathematically inclined) individuals studied this phenomenon, and determined that the problem was real, and the cause of the problem was an age-gap. To properly identify why age-gap is the cause of the shidduch crisis, and also explain why Chasidim seem to have the opposite problem, namely that boys are having a harder time finding a shidduch then the girls, we will have to analyze some numbers.

In censuses all over the world, it has been observed that there are more boys born each year than there are girls born in that same year. This is not a very recent occurrence. The US government has been tracking births by gender at least as far back as 1942, and the census has found that every single year there are approximately 5% more boys born than girls in the US. Based on an Avi Chai Foundation 2014 study, we now know that this phenomenon of more boys born than girls also holds true for our Orthodox community. The Avi Chai Foundation studied how fast the Jewish student population was increasing at each grade level starting from the first grade through the 12th grade. They surveyed all Jewish schools, and broke down the numbers by grade level, ten different levels of affiliation (Litvish, Chasidish, Chabad, Modern Orthodox, etc.), and also broke down the numbers by gender. Although the survey did not intend to study the overall percentage of boys enrolled vs girls enrolled in Jewish schools, the foundation noted that they happened to notice that of the approximately 250,000 students enrolled in Jewish schools, 48% were girls and 52% were boys. We therefore now know that what we observe in the general world population, whereby more boys are born every year, also holds true for the Orthodox community. So, we have now established that there are approximately 5% more boys born each year than there are girls born in that same year.

In studying the shidduch crisis it is also very important to know how fast the child population is increasing every year. Once you know how many are in 12th grade, and how many are in 1st grade, it becomes very easy to calculate the yearly growth rate. Thanks to the Avi Chai study we now know that in the Orthodox community, (both Chasidish and Litvish), the child population is increasing by just about 5% each year be”h.

We will now work with the two known numbers, namely: 1) that there are approximately 5% more boys born each year than girls born that year, and 2) that the number of each gender is increasing by approximately 5% a year. We are now in a position to explain the shidduch crisis. To make it easier for the reader to follow, we will work with whole numbers (no decimals). Also to make it easier, we will deal with an imaginary community where 100 girls and 105 boys were born in a particular year, let’s say 1990. In 1991, because of 5% baby population growth, we have 105 girls born and 110 boys born. Let’s put all these children in school, and draw a box to show how many children are in each grade.

Year Girls attending school Boys attending school
born from that year from that year

1990 100 105
1991 105 110
1992 110 115
1993 115 120
1994 120 125
1995 125 130
1996 130 135
1997 135 140

These school children eventually graduate and start looking for shidduchim. For everyone to find a zivug, the number of boys looking for a shidduch has to be approximately equal to the number of girls looking for a shidduch. As you can plainly see, if the age-gap is one year, meaning that on average the boys marry girls that are one year younger, then the supply of the girls exactly meets the supply of boys. As the population grows year by year, it grows in equal numbers on both sides of the aisle, and there is no crisis. It makes no difference if 21 year old boys on average marry 20 year old girls, or 23 year old boys on average marry 22 year old girls or any other combination; so long, as, on average, the age-gap is one year, there is perfect harmony in the supply of boys and girls.

Now, let’s first analyze what happens when on average boys marry girls that are the same age; an age-gap of zero (a situation we are currently seeing by Chasidim). Since there are more boys born every year, we have a small but not insignificant crisis of 5%. Truth be told, even by Chasidim there is usually an age-gap on average of a few months, so that instead of being a full 5% problem, it is more likely something like a 3% problem, meaning 3% of boys are in danger of never finding a zivug.

Now let’s an analyze what happens when the age-gap is four years, meaning that on average, the boys marry girls who are four years younger. So when the 120 girls born in 1994 turned 19 years old in 2013 and started looking for shidduchim, only 105 boys born in 1990 who turned 23 in 2013 started looking for shidduchim. Since you cannot possibly matchup 120 girls with 105 boys, at the very best, 15 of those girls cannot find a shidduch. Of course we hope that the 15 girls will find a shidduch with next year’s boys. Next year, however, a new batch of 125 new 19 year old girls are starting shidduchim along with 110 new 23 year old boys, again leaving 15 girls with no matchup. In two short years, we are already dealing with 30 girls who cannot be matched up. This goes on year after year, and the number of single girls continues to grow year after year. If, on average, the boys would be actually be older than the girls by four years, then 15% of all graduating Bais Yaakov high school girls would never get married. Of course, not every 23 year old boy marries a 19 year old girl. Some actually marry girls of the same age, or even girls who are older than themselves. However, if all boys were actually marrying girls who on average, were four years younger, we would have a 15% problem on the girls’ side.

So we can now safely draw the following chart.

Average Age-gap Problem for
zero (both same age) 5% of the boys
Boys 1 year older Perfect harmony
Boys 2 years older 5% of the girls
Boys 3 years older 10% of the girls
Boys 4 years older 15% of the girls

Average age-gap means just that: average. Some couples can have an age-gap above or below that number, but on average there is a number, and that number determines how many girls (or boys) will stay single. In Litvish circles we are seeing an average age-gap of almost three years, resulting in about 10% of all girls staying single al pi derech hateva r”l.

We used a made-up community consisting of 100 girls and 105 boys born in 1990. Thanks again to the Avi Chai Foundation study, we know that in 2014 more than 2,000 girls graduated Bais Yaakov high schools. In 2015, more than 2,100 girls graduated. Without itemizing the numbers graduating each year, we know that 25,174 girls will be graduating in the next decade. If age-gap is not meaningfully reduced, we can unfortunately forecast, that another 2,500 of these graduating girls will be destined to remain single forever r”l.

Age-gap can be reduced by either boys starting shidduchim earlier or girls starting later. It is quite convenient to say “Let the girls start later.” In theory it would work. However, unless an issur (ban) is issued by many Gedolim for any girl to start shidduchim before age 22 (a situation we cannot imagine ever happening), any girl that voluntarily withdraws herself from seeking a shidduch until age 22, is doing great harm to her chances of ever getting married. Therefore the effective way to reduce age-gap is for the boys to start younger.

So what can you do?
1) There are Batei Medrash that allow dating at least by the last scheduled zman. You can send your sons there.
2) Ask your son’s Rosh Yeshiva if he will allow your son to date. Do not assume that since it was not previously encouraged, that the Rosh Yeshiva will not allow it.
3) Send your son to an American Yeshiva for 4th year. If he is here, the shadchanim, neighbors, and relatives will notice, and will redd him a shidduch.
4) If your son is currently in Eretz Yisroel, you can actively look into shidduch prospects you find interesting while he is in EY, so your son can pursue the shidduch when he is back bain hazmanim.
5) Make the following statement “If you know a good shidduch for my son, don’t wait, just redd it”. This single statement made by you has the potential to stop the crisis, as others emulate you, and do the same.

Gedolim and Roshei Yeshiva are calling for this change of starting shidduchim for bochurim at a younger age. The sooner we, as a community heed the call, the sooner we will see the day when each and every Bais Yaakov graduate can realize her dream of building a bayis ne’eman b’yisrael.

18. To #12 Your individual case does not change the big picture of 15% annual more girls than boys being put on Shidduch Island. Also please listen again to confirmed numbers while they are still young. Rachmana Litzlan if some become OTD it only adds to the problem.
To#13 Of course blame the boys. Every 100 boys that wait till 23 bring with them 115 girls. The 15 girls may very well be their sisters.
To #15 Please don’t blame the Shadchonim. They are overworked as is. Trying to redt the xtra 15%. TO WHOM????

19. To #18 1-)There are very few older single boys compared to over 3000 Bais Yakov girls over 26.
2-)Bal Tchuva boys do get married (to regular Bais Yakov girls) Balas Tcuva girls have it very very very hard. Find out from the many organizations in Israel such as Aish & others.
Yes you say to ignore everything else you wrote I should. However once we know of a problem that we can take care we should not blame Hashem. Do your Hishtadlus. A good example is Dor yeshorim.
If you think the problem of old girls did not exist 100 years ago. Find out!. There were a lot of older girls around, but there were no computers to collect the information. All old girls were in places where boys got married late.They had to go to the army,& had to have a Parnosa before they got married. Net result was the same.

20. To look at the math and THINK you can change it just by having boys date younger is irisponsible and plain stupid. We will end up with a divorce crisis in 10 years. I don’t think G-d needs an accountant to figure out how many shiduchim he needs to make. The same way he gives everyone Parnasa he also gives everyone a Shidduch. Why are there people that are not married? I’m sure if they thought back carefully they could find the reason, and maybe even the one it “could have” worked with. Don’t blame everything on statistics, there are some people that get remarried two and sometimes three times. The answer is – some people would rather live single then compromise on their dream spouse. Fix that and you’ll get rid of the Shidduch crisis.

21. I also think that if Hashem needs to even out the numbers he could make every child born the opposite of these statistics. Having an increase of 20% of boys would cancel out every leftover girl thereby disproving these statistics. It’s not a gaurenteed science it’s a 50% chance of a baby being a boy or a girl.