The Yetzer’s Playing Field

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14 Responses

  1. Ori says:

    Are there more Charedi women looking for husbands than men looking for wives, and if so why?

  2. tzippi says:

    Rabbi Rosenblum is 100% correct in that the greatest tragedy might be the poor guidance the boys are getting. One doesn’t have to be a Rav Dessler to give good advice, in the best interests of all parties. I realize that we have to rebuild (cf Chemotherapy as a Metaphor) but essential to the rebuilding is instilling in our children that the major goal of marriage is to build a bayis ne’eman b’Yisrael. Why has that fallen by the wayside?

  3. Bob Miller says:

    This article is discussing an attitude that works against the shidduch process. How is it, considering who the bochurim are, what families they come from, and where they learn, that such an attitude has become too common? Are parents and teachers obligated to buy into a common but wrong mindset, to ignore it…or to combat it?

  4. Jewish Observer says:

    he added, “Still, maybe I could do better.” The Rosh Yeshiva cut him off. “When you enter the realm of dimyonos (imagination), you are playing on the yetzer hara’s field. Your focus should be on her, and only her.”

    – I think there is a more fundamental problem than dimyonos. The whole notion of “doing better” is selfinsh, wrongheaded and un-Jewish. To think in terms of nabbing a “better” wife is to make it selfinsh, all about me. The only measure of “better” should be chances for success of the marriage. The Rosh Yeshiva was acknowledging that if not for the fear of dimyon it would make sense to try to do “better”. This is a problem.

  5. Yehoshua Mandelcorn says:

    Traditionally the biggest area of giving that comes from the husband is working to support the family. Hence, a major preparation a would be husband does for marriage is learning a trade or profession.
    Those who look down upon such preparation end up weakening marriages.

  6. Nathan says:

    The first paragraph of this article said every boy
    has a long list of young women eager to meet him.

    Boys/men who are: gerim, baalei teshuvah, Sephardim,
    below average height, ADD/learning disabled, or
    suspected of possessing below average wealth potential
    *** DO NOT *** have many women eager to meet them.

    The men in these categories can go for months without
    a date, even if they call many shadchanim.

    Last but not least, those who are also kohanim are
    often beyond help or close to it.

    According to the common wisdom, a male baal teshuvah
    must marry a female baal teshuvah. But this is VERY
    difficult for a kohen, for many reasons, all of which
    are beyond the scope of this discussion.

    According to the common wisdom, a divorced man must
    marry a divorced woman. But a divorced kohen?
    He is FORBIDDEN to marry a divorced woman.

    Older single kohanim are also in big trouble because most
    women in their age category are divorced. Remember that
    divorce is just one of MANY conditions that can forbid
    a woman to a kohen. A complete list of women forbidden
    to kohanim is beyond the scope of this discussion.

    A kohen who is also below average height has a double
    obstacle to overcome.

    No matter how difficult a man’s shidduch search is,
    it is even more difficult when he is also a kohen.

    CONCLUSION: <> is a myth.

  7. Steve Brizel says:

    Great article! R Zvi Sobolofsky, one of the younger RY in RIETS, recently described the whole list phenomenon as right for a cheftza, but inherently wrong for a gavra. Anyone who reads the letters to the editor in the Yated will see that there is a crisis, but that the solution seems to escape the writers. One can suggest that networking beyond shadchanim, shidduch circles and the sociological baggage that is unfortunately part of the proceess is necessary. Your best network are your friends.

  8. Observer says:

    Jewish Observer wrote: “The Rosh Yeshiva was acknowledging that if not for the fear of dimyon it would make sense to try to do “better”.”

    I suspect that what the RY meant, at least in part, is that the ideas that the bochur’s comment was based on is “dimyon”. The idea that there is such a thing as a “perfect” spouse is fantasy, as is the idea that one can look at a potential shiduch in terms of “more” or “better” features, rather than on suitability and compatibility.

  9. L.Oberstein says:

    Once again, you are on the mark. There is a shiduch crisis in the Jewish world, not just the orthodox Jewish world. Men who won’t committ are in great suply ,but men who will actually marry a young woman are harder to find .If you doubt it, just go see what is going on in those areas of Manhatten where the non-yeshivish singles congregate. Outside of orthodoxy , it is even worse. Those who complain often are afraid to do anything about it because they need a shiduch for their child, they don’t want to make waves.Did you ever notice how few people sign their real names in letters to Mishpacha, Yated or hamodia,etc. This is because we are afraid to be out of step and say anything that will cause someone to say we are “not with the program”. Our gedolim are not the cause of this problem, they are only listened to when the masses already agree with them. The myth of daas torah having absolute sway is simply not true. The main motivator is “prevailing community standards”.
    How many young men in Lakewood are going to high schools with no secular studies whatsoever and are bored out of their minds being forced to learn Gemara all day and night. Is it something they want or their parents afraid to not follow the herd? How many girls are forced to sublimate their ambitions and play a role by their parents so as to get one of the above boys to marry them. There are a lot of normal people in the frum world, but their voices are drowned out by those who are extreme. Any godol who would stand in their way would be “ois godol”.

  10. Barry says:

    As a Reform Jew, clearly not a part of the hareidi community, I read the post and assumed it was a parody of some sort that I just did not understand. But the comments seem to indicate that it wasn’t a joke or parody at all.

    So I must ask: is this REALLY the way you folks live?
    The advice to the young men seems good enough, but there is something wrong in the culture, if this is the attitude that “young men” have, and must be strongly (and correctly) counseled against. The Rosh Yeshiva surely gave good advice. But how in the world are the rest of you, who have not achieved the learning and status of a Rosh Yeshiva raising your kids?

    I am certain that the author didn’t intend it this way, but he presents and amazing indictment of your culture, and something that is very sad.

  11. Leah says:

    I read an article years ago in a frum magazine re: shidduchim. There was an interesting comment from a rabbi whom mentioned when he counsels young adults looking for shidduchim he usually asks them, “What are you looking for in a mate?” They, in turn, provide a list of qualificaations that they are looking for. Rather, it should be, said the rabbi, that the young adults should respond with a list of their own qualifications that they hope to be able to provide for their potential spouse as well as their sincere desire for that potential spouse to accept him or her for who he or she is.
    This is a totally different perspective from what “appears” to be the mainstream thought process of what can the other do for me. I am not saying that someone should marry someone who is abusive or the like in an effort to be selfless. I have on the other hand seen many a person turn down another because -and I am not kidding, “he was not wearing the clothing that the other one preferred.”
    It seems that we have lessened on much of what we value as a society in terms of the spiritual and replaced it with material or perfection in many areas of life like finances and the like. Other problematic areas include looking at the faults of others verses building our own spiritual account of problems addressed and worked on til we refine our own characters. Just some thoughts……..

  12. Leah says:

    Comment for Barry:
    I hear you. Looking from the “outside” as you imply would make someone say, “Huh?” to our shidduch crisis and the characteristics of our dating scene and the like. Each Jew has his/her struggle in finding a mate-period. Thankfully not all JEWS fall into this category.
    Yes, the indictment is very sad because it infers that we as a people perhaps have gone off of the derech of our ancestors better ways and understanding to the importance of our own culture with regards to what it finds important in a mate and all that this relates to in marriage.
    I do think and feel that I also must mention another aspect to this crisis. This is not meant as an attack, yet when you mentioned that you are in the reform movement. I could not help but to think, “Ok, and how many jewish men or women have even married another Jew?” It’s not meant to be a snide remark or some sort of cut down in response to your thoughts, yet it is a reality. The entire Jewish Nation needs help in this most vital area because THIS area,marriage, is the most holy, I believe, of all the areas in Jewish life. It is the continuation of Jewish life into the subsequent generations. It also influences the quality and the way in which the generation will lead. Neither side can afford to take matters lightly, selfishly(marrying souly for looks, $ or whatever else), or without regards to jewish law and it’s ramifications. Yes, Barry it appears WE need major help. Once again, not meant as an attack, yet this must be mentioned.

  13. Robert Lebovits says:

    The problems with the shidduch process begin even before a match is offered, and they are not just an outgrowth of poor guidance. They start with the very basic concept of “The BEST..”, as in “The BEST bochur” or “The BEST girl”. When looking for a shidduch young men & women are given to believe that they ought to accept nothing less than “the best”, and that there are some objective measures by which to make such a determination about a given prospect. In fact,if we truly subscribe to the construct of Eyzer K’Negdo, what is RIGHT for someone is completely dependent on that individual’s own unique strengths and weaknesses as well as their goals, values, etc. Some pre-formed list of ideal attributes is less than worthless – it is a distraction.
    Of course, to ascertain who is the “right” life partner requires a significant degree of self-knowledge and honest appraisal. I would suggest this is where bochurim are least well-served by their mashgichim and roshei yeshiva. For any number of reasons, bochurim are not given regular and accurate feedback about their personal qualities and development, the information most critical in the search for a shidduch. Instead, they are told what they OUGHT to be and what sort of girl they OUGHT to find. Consequently, the potential for misdirection and erroneous judgements is huge – often with very destructive consequences.
    If we want to really make an impact on the future direction of our children, let’s start by asking our educational institutions to lok after the entire student, not just his intellect or her tzidkus.

  14. tzippi says:

    Barry (#10), you are right, to a degree. All I can say in defense is to read Gila Manolsohn’s and Wendy Shalit’s books. With all the inadequacies, the observant community is still doing a lot to give our kids more than a chance at healthy, fulfilling marriages, and protecting their dignity along the way.

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