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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The "Solution" to a Problem: Throw Money at It

I caught this article in YNet where a hesder Rosh Yeshiva urges higher pay for shadchanim: "[Rabbi] Shapira believes that if parents would be willing to spend more money to reward those who introduced their child to his or her future spouse, this could significantly change the matchmaking scene. ."

Quite honestly, I don't think that the lack of significant pay for shadchanim is what is holding back greater communal involvement. Both Baltimore and Queens spring to mind as communities that are holding out a $2000 carrot to entice more community members to become active shadchanim. Unless I'm mistaken, there has not been any tremendous changes although there might be some greater involvement.

What is holding back greater communal involvement? Possibly the red tape that shadchanim have to cut through. There is the red tape from the boy's parents, the red tape from the boy, the red tape from the boy's Rosh Yeshiva, the red tape from the girl, the red tape from the girl's parents, and the red tape from some who advise the girl.

Trying to get two people out on a date can be very time consuming and frustrating. Nearly every time, the effort results in nothing (often not even a date!). The way I see it is that being involved in shidduchim is an act of chessed. If a person wants to make money. . . . . . they should find a job and draw a paycheck that they can count on.

What is also shocking about this suggestion is that it calls upon parents to pay more as if they all can but are holding back: "The rabbi said that while families usually invest tens of thousands of shekels on a wedding, they are more reluctant to pay the matchmakers who made the event possible." Note: While we should all be finding ways to cut back on wedding expenses, let's remember that overblown smachot are a beast largely of our own making.

My Torah knowledge is not such that I can challenge a Rosh Yeshiva, but is not hachnasat kallah for the poor or orphaned? Is it wise to encourage a solution that makes one candidate more valuable than another candidate?

It has been a while since I have been on a date with anyone other than my beloved, but I do recall that when I was dating that a friend told me that Chicago had shadchanim who were paid a salary by the community and couples who met through the services of the shadchanim donated to the fund to help others. I like this model. (Link).

Anyways, there are so many issues surrounding shidduchim, but I maintain my stance* that throwing money at the problem is not the solution.

*Flashback: This post reminds me of a past post (one of my most popular to the date), where I reviewed a proposal from a Yeshivish couple in which baalebatim are paired with less desirable girls (i.e. girls whose parents can't cough up the big bucks) to help them get more dates.


Diana said...

A former roommate and I once devised an "Adopt-a-BT" plan. Instead of having secular parents with no clue about or desire to make shidduchim have someone who has either married off their children, take the parental role of trying to sell the BT, including making the phone calls, contacting shadchanim, and doing a pre-screen of potential dates to make sure they are not seriously mentally off-kilter. This is especially important since being BT, you don't grow up with a high school principal to contact, or other deep, long-term roots into a community.

jewchick said...

How sad that a hesder Rosh Yeshiva believes shidduchim are not being made because of money. I sincerely hope this is not the world in which we live.

Anonymous said...

One thing we've noticed is that, despite all the vetting and calling around, the two who actually go out on a shidduch date are often surprised to find that their personalities don't really mesh. So much preparation and so little result. I wonder how much of this is because no one can really be reduced to a resume, and how much is because reference people's fear of saying the wrong thing or torpedoing a shidduch makes them less candid.

Tamiri said...

I would take the whole article with a grain of salt, being that is was on ynet. I would prefer to read the original in the Komemiyut leaflet, see what the rabbi REALLY said.

ADDeRabbi said...

of course. who knows all of the eligible bachurim who don't meet girls on their own? yeshiva faculties. is it a shock that they think they should be paid more for their shadchanus services? no.
you want a better solution? let guys and girls meet naturally. let eligible single sit together at weddings. don't ban concerts. don't ban the internet.

Bob Miller said...


This "sheesh" is derived from the name of a famous Jewish boy gone bad.

DAG said...

Shadchannus done right takes time. I have met WAY too many Shadchaim (usually Yeshiva Menahlim in this case) who think, boy-girl...why not try it....

Halfnutcase said...

personaly I think that shidduchim done right means a shadchan looks in to it and suggests a seemingle suitable match (IE actualy have interests and thoughts in common) and then a responsable party (NOT PARENTS!) who knows basicaly everything about the child, represents each, and those two sit down and talk about EVERYTHING. All the bad, all the good, the kids entire hashkafa, and if they come out thinking that they cover up for each other and compliment each other right, and agree in all the right places, then they put them together and see if the fireworks fly.

Personaly I think this calling around to everyperson whos ever known them has got to stop, because its like playing a game with your childs future. Of course doings things this way means having maturity, one reason why parents aren't going to be involved and the decisions will be made by an interested party and foisted upon the parent. (and of course the interested party is obliged to keep things confidential.)

let the kids figure each other out, they have the rest of their lives together.

Anonymous said...

When the parties to a proposed shidduch don't live near one another and never did, the chances of the shadchan really knowing them both are low.

Halfnutcase said...

shadchan doesn't have to know them, just know enough of their proclivities to decide they're worth suggesting to the people who might actualy be able to decide (each of them together)

Anonymous said...

To anon 11:10AM:

The problem is not that the two kids don't have anything in common, it's that having something in common was never a criteria in the first place. You see, matchmaking is all about social status, economic status, and ethnic status. So parents are looking for some who is AT LEAST as far away from BT status as they are (preferably at least 3 generations or more), AT LEAST as wealthy as they are, and AT LEAST as "pure" ethnically as they are (whatever their particular sub-ethnicity within Judaism may be), and, of course, someone who mostly observes the SAME set of stringencies that they do.

After all that, there's not really much choice left - whether or not the kids actually have any points of interest in common is not really on the table as a deciding factor. Unfortunately for the parents and rosh yeshivei who went to all that work to find the "perfect" match, all of the socioeconomic, racial and observance criteria do not really mean anything to you when you're sitting there in front of someone you think is obnoxious, childish, or otherwise uninspiring.

(Especially in communities where you know you're going to basically be sold into slavery to support the bum.)

twinsmommy said...

I won't be financially supporting my grown children. My prayer is that my children's besherts will be financially independent from their parents.

If my daughter wants to marry a kollelnik, zei gezunt--- I hope he's worked for a while and has savings, or she wants to work and support him (and postpone having children because popping kids out and dumping them in daycare isn't going to help the situation). And certainly, I hope she meets him naturally--- I do NOT wish to be grilled on the color of tablecloth we use for Shabbos before she is even allowed to be "SET UP" with him. bleah.

If my son wants to BE a kollelnik, again--- zei gezunt--- but he's not doing it by getting handouts from us.

I have no problem giving my children (in the future when they're adults) a gift of $100 for a birthday or $200 for Channukah, or buying their baby's crib, or whatever. But hundreds of dollars in support every month? Come on. If you're old enough to get married, you're old enough to support yourselves together as a couple. If you can't manage with your incomes, there are credit cards, cutting expenses, and bank loans. My husband and I do all 3 -- we've got more credit card debt than anyone we've ever met--- but we're not living off our parents.

On another note--- Diana--- is it really so horrible to call your potential date yourself to see if you'd like to go out with him? As a BT, that would make me SO uncomfortable to have someone grilling my potential date on my behalf.

If I were dating and wanted to use a shadchan I'd want nothing but names and numbers of people who might be compatible. Let me make the calls and get to know the people--- if I'm mature enough to potentially marry him, then it's only fair that we do the legwork.

I am sooooo glad that I met my husband when we were not yet Orthodox. I am so not cut out for this Orthodox dating thing.

Ariella said...

Excellent post. I'm putting up a link.

Diana said...

Twins Mommy - When an online matchmaker is offering to set you up, and they've never met the person it is very helpful if they try to discern if the profile jives with the person.

Mo'ah Kemo Efro'ah said...


"I have met WAY too many Shadchaim (usually Yeshiva Menahlim in this case) who think, boy-girl...why not try it"

in an age of intricate checklists for potential shidduchs, i think there is something to be said for just sticking two people of the opposite sex together to see if they happen to click. worst comes to worse, it's just one date.


on the dating topic . . .

we tend to complain about the "basic necessities" that make weddings very expensive. this whole process of wasting money because of formalized (and expensive) expectations begins already on the first date.

triLcat said...

moah efroah, I agree with you. My husband and I were totally not a match on paper. When we talked, the first thing that connected us was the fact that we'd both gone skydiving - hardly the sort of thing a shadchan asks about.

I'm FFB, husband's a BT. I'd rate myself as "Modern Orthodox." My husband's "Modern Charedi." Plus, I'm overweight - so I shouldn't be set up with anyone... On paper, we just didn't make it. A friend set us up on a whim. It works.

These lists of things that have to match up are just a complete disaster.

Halfnutcase said...

depends on what the list contains.

DAG said...

I disagree. At some level the match has to make sense. Boy-girl is not enough

Halfnutcase said...

that doesn't mean the lists they use make sense or work particularly well either.

Mo'ah Kemo Efro'ah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mo'ah Kemo Efro'ah said...


"I disagree. At some level the match has to make sense. Boy-girl is not enough"

ok, maybe neither extreme works well. but if i had to choose between the two, i'd support my extreme.

1) sometimes (oftentimes?) these "checklists" boil down to three things: looks, money and outward religiosity. so imho, i'd rather just stick to putting a boy and a girl together and let them figure out for themselves if they're right for one another.

2) for all the intensive preparatory work that goes into ensuring the success of a shidduch date, what percentage (checklist or otherwise) actually turn into a successful marriage? i'll bet that the overall stat is in the very low single digits, probably about the same (or even lower?) than if you just blindly set up blind dates.

Mo'ah Kemo Efro'ah said...

TRILCAT wrote, "Plus, I'm overweight - so I shouldn't be set up with anyone"

(warning: hypocritical comment ahead)

it's funny how we put such a premium on looks when it comes to setting people up. what's really wrong with setting up a short overweight guy with a tall skinny model?

don't get me wrong. i understand human nature very well. but still, i wonder (at least from an idealistic perspective) why this is so important to religious people.

Mo'ah Kemo Efro'ah said...


"At some level the match has to make sense."

fine. but i also wonder sometimes whose perspective is the one that determines if the match makes sense. so many parties are involved in determing if a shidduch is appropriate: two sets of parents, a shadchan (or friend or other intermediary) or two, all the people contacted as references, etc. the two people who matter most are left on the sidelines to follow the script crafted by all these external factors. yet it is they who should be leading the show.

Halfnutcase said...

Um, most people that age are way to immature to be chosing who they marry.

and this comes from someone who is 22. I wouldn't trust ANY person that I know who is my age to chose who they should marry, most of them are to confused and stupid by right of youth to choose.

unfortunately parents are not much better at making those choices either. (money and status instead of character and proclivities) instead of youths obsession with appearance.

Mo'ah Kemo Efro'ah said...


"Um, most people that age are way to immature to be chosing who they marry."

i knew someone was going to say this.

a) if you are too young and immature to choose who are you mayyring, then you are probably too young and immature to get married to begin with. my god, you are spending the rest of your life with this person. this is one thing in life that should YOUR decision, and you should not execute it until you are ready to do so.

b) this attitude continues even for older shidduchim. i was once called as a reference by the mother of a 27-year-old girl. a 27-year-old is not capable of taking care of this by herself?

Halfnutcase said...

and yet to wait ensures that the person is to set in to his/her ways and incapable of properly adapting to a spouse.

Which would you chose? I see it all the time.

noone is ever properly ready for marriage, just like noone is ever properly able to judge those traits which will ultimately allow a couple to cooexist in marriage. Therefore there is only ONE trait that deterimines readiness for marriage: a commitment with a readiness and a willingess to bring that commitment to actuality. (this of course includes an ability to adapt and learn, obviously.)

once you have that, everything will follow it it's proper time. Without that the entire world would not be enough to keep the two of them together.

The only solution is to let those older and wiser choose for you, that which you would chose when you are older. later you will appriciate their wisdom.

(and incidently most people would say I'm mature enough to choose a spouse for my self, although they would probably brand me as crazy for wanting to specificaly chose a learned girl both in secular subjects and in torah, (darn it I want to be able to study gemorah with her from time to time) nothing more important than learning with your spouse in order to set the tone for the home in torah and hashkafa, and in order to facilitate growing together in torah matters, rather than apart.)

Mo'ah Kemo Efro'ah said...


those are some wise comments. give yourself some credit. you'll do fine if you choose a girl on your own.

zachdus said...

It's the blueprint that has to go. As if people don't change over time. Insane.