Thursday, April 18, 2013

Publicity of Shidduch crisis backfiring?

We've all heard the scare tactics and fear mongering from the ads proclaiming a certain amount of girls wont get married R"L if the boys dont start shidduchim earlier. The analogy of shidduch island with 100 boys and girls yet there will be more married boys than girls etc. Blaming boys who get married at 23 as the reason one girl will be single forever. The shidduch crisis has been used as a propaganda to scare and try to change the current approach to shidduchim in the yeshivish baal habatish circles.
The Yated Neeman Pesach issue featured an article by Shadchan Reb Tzadok Katz of Lakewood, where he takes those spreading these fears, to task. Whether there is or isn't a shidduch crisis is not the point, he says "lets concede there is a crisis and the numbers of the age gap theory are correct, still the fact that it is being pushed into everyone's face has exacerbated the issue. Simply put the more scared and worried girls and their parents are about the shortage of boys the more vulnerable they become. The result is they allow themselves to be taken advantage of and threatened by those redding shidduchim to give answers within 48 hours after getting a yes from a boy. Worried that they wont get another yes they give an answer with out doing as much research as they would like. The feeling of desperation causes parents to lower the bar and compromise in areas they should not compromise in. They must be allowed and comfortable to say no and given the time to thoroughly validate their decision with fact checking and research. Messages that One out of ten girls will never get married are hurtful, lacking in sensitivity and do nothing to help those in the parsha. Such messages play on the hearts of girls and have parents crying asking weather their daughters will get married.
 The campaign has made the situation worse by causing boys and their parents to be pickier, boys are taking advantage and going out for longer and longer since they are told they have an upper hand in this heavy girls market.
Rabbi Katz agrees that boys should be getting married at a younger age but the way it is being presented to the public is backfiring. He stressed girls should not panic and worry they will never get married. They should not allow themselves to be taken advantage and terrorized by someone redding a shidduch, the stress and panic has changed the dynamics of the frum dating scene. It is time we go back to the way it used to be when the threatening and competitive atmosphere that prevades todays shidduch  world was almost non existent.
In response to the article it appears the ads regarding the age gap issue have been toned down.

More shidduch websites HERE


  1. Fotheringay-PhippsApril 18, 2013 at 5:36 PM

    There's some truth to what R' Katz says about it having a negative consequence (though he's misusing the term "backfiring"). But the alternative is to do nothing and consign 10% of girls to never marry. Not a pleasant thought.

    Thing is that R' Katz clarified in a subsequent issue that he doesn't believe in (the extent of) the age-gap problem altogether - and thinks it's k'fira to believe in it. So naturally he comes down on the side of toning it down. Someone who is more reality-based might have a different perspective.

  2. r'f-p,
    what does it mean to say it's kfira to believe in it?
    BTW if the community were really interested, it would be easy to study the issue and see if the gap exists.

    Joel RIch

  3. I'm not completely sure why he thinks it's k'fira, but he's not the only one. I think it has to do with Chazal saying that 40 days before a child is created it is decreed that "the daughter of so-and-so to so-and-so".

    IMO, this is another example of modern ignorance, in which theology is invented by the ignorant masses with no real basis, as long as it either feels good or sounds frum.

    I think it's fairly obvious that the gap exists, so there's no real need to study it. R' Katz himself is aware of it in general terms. What's confusing him is that some categories of girls have a harder time finding a shiduch than other types, so he thinks the whole issue is isolated to those categories, and he misses the bigger picture.

    Meaning, he's observed that, for example, "out-of-town" girls have a much harder time finding a shiduch than in towners. So he, the shadchan, thinks "OK, this is an out-of-town problem, and no need to alarm the in-town girls". But what he's missing is that - because of the overall boy shortage - out-of-town BOYS are not having a problem at all (which exacerbates the problem for out-of-town girls). So what's happening is not a problem that is specific to out-of-towners, but it's an overall problem that is concentrating itself most strongly at the weakest links.

    He's a shadchan, not an actuary ...

  4. This sounds like a NASI advertorial post.

    This does not at all represent the primary points Tzadok Katz addressed.

    #1: He mentioned the fact that the supposed Shidduch shortage girls are facing is not across the board. He mentions the fact that NASI is very well aware of it, but refuses to publicize the information. In fact, their advertisements and claims are pure lies, once the numbers are thoroughly analyzed.

    In certain schools and communities there is no shidduch crises facing the girls. Period.

    Does NASI have a clear response to this, without veering off-topic??

    # 2: Tzadok took very strong issue with the word agunah being thrown around carelessly - in Madison avenue fashion. Running around and accusing a guy who gets married, to a girl three years his junior of causing "igun olam" is absolutely preposterous.

    # 3: He took very strong issue with the pain NASI is inflicting upon people. They know they are lying/misrepresenting the truth. They know they are paining people through falsehoods, yet they do it anyway.


    The quote in the article atrributed to Tzadok is very out-of-context.
    Kindly post the articles. Thank you.

    1. How is quoting the Yated an advertorial for NASI??

      The Article mentioned, is only the Pesach issue NOT the follow up ones in the next issue of Yated where Tzadok responds to critics.

      The articles never mention NASI by name in fact its a different org who responded to the Article.

    2. The Yated in this weeks issue published the kol koreh in full page ad on page 28-29 about boys marrying younger and preventing girls from becoming agunos.

  5. he is trying to divert blame from himself and other shadchanim for basically doing nothing about the problem (and creating a system that degrades girls) by finding someone else to blame.

    1. Tzadok Katz degrades girls? Really now?
      He doesn't spend his time helping girls?

      Do you know why he began making shidduchim - what his motivation was?

      How insane to throw baseless accusations at a person without knowing anything about the person. This is precisely the case where Chazal teach us "kol haposel, mimumo posel".

    2. The shadchanim are in the trenches and hard at work.Rabbi katz brought a good argument, he should have at least named some Rabbonim or Roshei Yeshiva he quotes.

  6. To Mr. Anonymous April 21, 2013 at 9:02 PM -

    Diverting blame??

    Doing nothing??

    Creating a system that degrades girls??

    If you read the article - you would see that the last thing that he's doing is degrading the girls.

    He works all day & night to help them. Both in-town & out-of-town. Younger & older. I know this from personal experience.

    You owe him a public mechilla.

  7. Fotheringay-PhippsApril 22, 2013 at 3:19 PM

    Anonymous: "He mentioned the fact that the supposed Shidduch shortage girls are facing is not across the board. He mentions the fact that NASI is very well aware of it, but refuses to publicize the information."

    I myself addressed this, in my second comment to this thread.

    FTR, my understanding is that R' Tzodek Katz is a VERY fine guy and good person, and he is doing his best to help make shiduchim (I believe he also waives his fees and even raises money for some poorer people he works for.) So it's not a personal issue with him.

    Nonetheless, he is not someone who is particularly equipped to make this type of assessment, and if anything his background is more of a hinderance than a help, because he fails to see the forest due to his focus on the trees.

  8. The age gap spread beween chasanim and kallahs does cause some girls to be left behind without a shidduch.

    The solution is to reinstate pooygamy/plural marriage and allow some guys to take two wives. Sefardim can do so immediately and Ashkenazic gedolim should remove cherem rabbeinu gershom.

    1. There had been another article in the Yated the week after Pesach which directly addressed this thought. It was written by Yossi Rosenberg.

  9. Fotheringay-Phipps - R' Katz stated very clearly in both his article, as well as in his follow-up letters the following week, that he agrees that there's an age-gap problem. One doesn't need to be an actuary to see that. What he is saying is that the methods being used to solve the problem aren't working.

    1. Incorrect. That's not what he said.

      He mentioned the fact that by Chasidim, there is a large shortage of,,,,,, GIRLS! Correct! Chasidim have a large shortage of girls. He briefly mentioned how it's due to the schools they go to.

      If you look around, you will notice that many chasidisim have Yeshivos, but don't have girl schools. A lot of "heimish" people send their sons to chasidish Yeshivos, but send their daughters to Beis Yaakov type high schools. The brothers in these heimish families wear fur hats (Shtreimels) and marry chasidish girls, while the sisters marry guys similar to their friends and schooling - who have learnt in Yeshivos. That creates a surplus of girls in Yeshivish circles, and a SHORTAGE of girls in Chasidish circles.

      He also clearly explained how its not the supposed age-gap.

    2. Fotheringay-PhippsApril 23, 2013 at 5:43 PM

      That's probably a part of it, but not the major part.

      The shortage of girls in chassidish circles is not nearly as great as the shortage of boys in Litvisher circles.

      There are many parts of the dynamic, but pointing to one factor doesn't eliminate all others.

  10. He acknowleged in his article that he thinks it's a good idea for boys to get married younger. He did not specify why, as far as I remember. He objected vehemently to the idea that the results of the age gap are a surplus of girls. He suggested in one letter that it borders on k'fira and in a subsequent letter said this is k'fira.

    It's true that he also said the publicity is causing it's own problems (which I agree with) but he also denied (at least by strong implication) that the age gap was not the problem.

  11. Fotheringay-Phipps - the k'fira that he referred to is to say (or write ads saying) that 1 out 10 girls will not get married. To say that, means that one doesn't believe in the RBSH"O.

  12. Fotheringay-PhippsApril 23, 2013 at 1:46 PM

    The idea that 1 out of 10 (or whatever the number is) girls will not get married is the same thing as saying the age gap is a cause of the shiduch crisis. These mean the same thing (ever since Rabbeinu Gershon). If you say one is kfira, then you're saying the other is kfira.

    The real truth is that neither is kfira. I base this on two things. 1) there's no basis whatsoever for saying it's kfira. 2) it's mathematically true, which would preclude it from being kfira.

    As I said in my earlier post to this thread, it's a sad commentary on today's generation when people invent ikkarei emuna with no basis in mesora, classic sources, or logic, and based only on feel good emotions or perceived frumkeit.

  13. Fotheringay-Phipps - The Gemora (Sotah 2b)clearly says that a Bas Kol announces who will marry who. To say that someone is left out of that Bas Kol or won't get married is k'fira.

    Yes, there is an age-gap problem that makes today's shidduch scene a challenge.

    But to market the problem through scare tactics saying that 1 out of 10 girls won't get married is k'fira.

  14. I raised the bas kol issue in my second post to this thread.

    There are any number of reasons that this bas kol does not mean that every girl has to have a shiduch. Including but not limited to that some meforshim say explicitly that the bas kol only only calls out for male children, so there's no bas kol for girls.

    But beyond that, you can't make an agadita gemara into an ikar emuna. Anyone who is at all familiar with how the rishonim and classic meforshim (e.g. Maharsha, Maharal etc.) learned these sugyos know that they had broad interpretations. Unless you find some source which says that the implication from this sugya is that everyone has a shiduch, you can't establish this principle yourself, let alone establish it as an ikar emuna to the point of calling other people kofrim.

    It's clear from rishonim and gedolim from all the years that they did not assume that everyone has a guarantee of a shiduch, despite this gemara.

    And I also don't think anyone else took this idea seriously either. For example, it was widely said that Alter Mirrers couldnt find shiduchim because of the lack of Bais Yaakovs and the war, and no one dreamed up the idea that hey what about the girl that was in the bas kol. This is just a new hashkafa dreamed up by people nowadays who object to the shiduch issue. It's not to be taken seriously unless an adam godol expresses it, and so far I've not seen any evidence that any one has.