Letters from the Where • What • When

December 5764 (2003) issue

Due to the catastrophic shidduch situation today, may I suggest the following: I call it "Our Shidduch Hour". There is a large gap of time from after the chuppah until the chasan and kalla come back into the main hall. We can use this time in a very constructive manner. I suggest that there be volunteers - as many as needed for a particular chasana - volunteer women in the women's section and volunteer men in the men's section, to record profiles of all the singles present at that wedding who wish to participate.

The volunteers would the make copies of these lists and give them to reputable shadchanim. The shadchanim would look over the lists to see if they can suggest matches. One advantage is that all the people on the list have something in common: Each onw knows either the chasan or the kalla!

Of course, this suggestion can be adjusted and varied according to the needs of each community. This idea is that, with this display of achdus and ahavas Yisrael on behalf of each community, may the Ribono Shel Olam (G-d) help the difficult plight of the Orthodox singles and send them their basherte.

If you are interested in expressing your opinion, and/or exchanging ideas about this idea, please call me and say "Regarding Our Shidduch Hour," at 410-358-4674. Leave a message and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

Let's Do Something

November 5765 (2004) issue

One of the best features of this magazine is that it provides a forum for people to discuss sensitive issues in a comfortable way. There is something that I have wanted to share with people for a while, and I felt this would be the most appropriate venue.

Frum communities are filled with kind and sensitive people. These are people who read books about middos and care very deeply about how their words impact others. Therefore, when I saw an area where well-intentioned people are causing pain to others, I felt that I could write in, and my words would be considered.

Single men and women have been the topic of numerous letters and articles, and everyone knows that many singles are hurting. I, myself, am a single girl still waiting patiently and davening that the right one will come along. In the meantime, I try very hard to be mesameach (make happy) other people at their simchas and to truly share in their joy. And when I go to vorts, chasanas, sheva brachos, etc., I also get a barrage of well-meaning comments - mostly in the form of brachos.

So what's the problem? Although I always appreciate a bracha, it is the timing of these brachos - at someone else's simcha - that can feel to a single girl like salt being poured on an already open wound. Imagine if the one thing that causes you pain and self-consciousness were referred to over and over again in the course of an evening. Each comment alone is beautiful and sincere, but as the comments begin to add up, the hurt and the pain add up as well. At one good friend's vort, I received close to 50 heartfelt brachos. Not one of those well-meaning people could have known that I left that vort early - in tears.

I am not, chas veshalom, trying to imply that people shouldn't wish each other well, but I am asking that at weddings, specifically, people just look at a single and say, "Mazal tov! So, how is everything going? You look beautiful!" I truly do appreciate your kind words. Please save them, though, for a less emotionally-laden time.

Blessed and Still Waiting

January 5765 (2005) issue

I must respond to your Dear Readers column, because I think it demonstrates a misguided mentality prevalent in the community. This mentality, which has become politically correct, and which is being perpetuated by the column, is that the single girls are the primary victims of the shidduch crisis, and that the brunt of the crisis hits them. This mentality undoubtedly has well-meaning, kindhearted people at its source. However, I fear this attitude actually exacerbates the problem.

You lament that "among those watching the dancing men [on Simchas Torah] were many, many girls of marriageable age - our girls." But what about the single men they were watching? Are they not "our guys"? This one-sided sympathy was no fluke: "For a lucky percentage of the girls, the present 'system' will work, and they will land a husband. Others, though, will not be so fortunate; years will pass as they wait and wait and wait....In every family, on every block, in every class, girls are suffering this nisayon (challenge)." I was beginning to wonder whether the writer knew single guys even existed, until finally, in the last paragraph, the reader is encouraged to ask himself, "How can I help the young woman or young man next door to get married?"

Now, you might actually be thinking that this focus on the female's plight is justified, because, as everyone in the world knows, there are so many more single girls out there than single guys. But there are two simple flaws with that tenet of shidduchim: 1) By definition, if there truly are more women than men, then that would mean Hashem has created girls without having created for them their bashert. - something that goes against our belief system. For the famous gemara (Sotah 2a) states: "Forty days before the formation of the fetus, a voice goes out and announces, 'Daughter of so-and-so to so-and-so.'" 2) If it is true that there aren't enough single guys out there to go around, then what are you complaining about! No $2,000 shadchanus incentive, no dating website, not even tehilim will facilitate a girl's finding her future husband, who does not exist!

Besides being hurtful to single guys like me, perhaps a worse symptom of this virus is that it puts these women on an even higher pedestal than the one on which our society has already placed them. People rightfully complain about the picky guy whose first questions are "What's her waist size?" and "How much does her father make?" But they do not as often complain about the picky girl who refuses a guy a second date because he walked her only to her steps - not all the way to the door - after he committed to hours of driving and/or spent a large sum of money to show her a good time. Nor do they admonish the girl who draws grand, final conclusions about a guy's personality, middos (character), level of maturity, future source of parnassa, etc., based on whether he gets lost while he's driving, or comes late, or neg1ects to open and close her car door, or because within the first 10 minutes he uttered one foolish sentence she didn't like. Ludicrous! Would a wife divorce her husband over one stupid sentence? Is it possible the guy was nervous on the date?

The truth hurts, but many of these poor single girls have only themselves to blame. And those who are in their corners reinforcing their unreasonable expectations, rather than encouraging humility, are part of the problem, even if they are trying to be part of the solution.

Thank you for this opportunity to express my thoughts to others on a vitally important matter.

One of Many Frum, Single Guys

I am writing in reference to the shidduch crisis currently reaching epidemic proportions in the frum community. My perspective is that of a mother of sons, one of whom is 26 years old and has been dating for a number of years. Even though I admit to being biased on my son's behalf, he is a wonderful young man. He is very bright, nice looking, responsible, with a good job, and is kove’a itim.

It seems that, lately, the girls he has gone out with have become more and more petty and lacking in seichel(sense). For example, after one date, a girl of 25 wouldn't go out again because she "didn't feel anything." Another girl wasn't interested because my son was only an inch or so taller than she was and not aggressive enough. This, after one date! Not only are these reasons ridiculous, but also, I believe that if these girls would ask daas Torah, they would be told how inappropriate this was. It makes me so annoyed to hear these girls of 24, 25, 26, etc. kvetching about the lack of guys calling them. My son always gives a date at least two tries, sometimes more, to see if there is any potential.

I know not all girls do this, and there are guys who behave this way as well. I can only speak from my son's experiences. So, come on, girls - stop kvetching and crying; stop saying tehillim for Hashem to send you your black-hatted knight in shining armor, and start making some responsible decisions.

There's a famous story of the man who was caught in a flood and kept saying that G-d would save him. The police come and tell him to leave before the water gets too high. The man says, "No, G-d will save me." The Coast Guard comes with a boat, and once again he refuses help, for the same reason. Finally, a helicopter tries to get him off his roof, because the water has risen that high. His response is still the same. He drowns and complains to G-d, "Why didn't you save me?" Of course, G-d says, "Who do you think was sending the police, Coast Guard, etc."

I know there are a lot of lovely girls who sit and wait for the phone to ring, but, as the mother of a really great guy, please know that your pettiness and lack of priorities in what is important in a marriage just may be the thing that is keeping you from building that sought-after "bayis ne'eman b Yisrael."

Championing Good Boys

Editor's note to the previous two writers: Please call the Where • What • When at 410-358-8509. We may have some possibilities for you.