Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Smartest thing in the Yated!

The following is a letter to the editor in the Readers Write forum in the Yated. It is by far one of the smartest things I've ever seen written in that column. I have no time to add any personal comments.

Anyway, enjoy:

Plastic Tablecloths and Stacking Dishes

Dear Editor,

Much has been said already about the shidduch crisis we are currently facing. It has been suggested that the bochurim these days are "marrying the wrong wife" by marrying girls who are younger than them. The undeniable truth, however, is that the Gemara teaches us that before a child is born, a bas kol declares that "So-and-So's daughter will marry So-and-So." The Gemara does not say, "So-and-So's son will marry So-and-So." The reason for this is because at the time of the birth of a boy, his wife has usually not been born yet. Thus, at the time of the boy's birth his wife's name cannot be proclaimed. It is only upon the birth of the girl, in which case the husband has usually been born already, that the bas kol can call out the name of the husband. Thus we see that the boy is usually older than the girl.

Secondly, we cannot argue with the otehr lesson of this Gemara, namely that a person's wife is predetermined from Heaven. It would seem nothing short of blesphemy to claim that all or most bochurim, by marrying "too young," are not marrying their beshert. Is the Eibishter not doing His job? Can we even claim to be able to "pick up the slack" (so to speak)?

Thirdly, the claims that there are too many girls being born, or too few boys, is likewise ridiculous, because it is impossible to calculate all the Jewish communities both in the New York City area and beyond it, inlcuding England, Australia, etc. Can we deny the fact that many bochurim marry out-of-towners and out-of-countryers? Can it be suggested that Eibishter is making too many Yidden, chas veshalom, for Him to marry off?

Isn't that what is really being said?

So, you're asking, why, then, are there so many unmarried boys and girls in the frum yeshiva community?

The answer can be found- and you can verify this for yourself- in the reasons people give for turning down shidduchim or not even considering them in the first place. Questions about whether people are "stackers" or "scrapers" are determining the marraiges in our community. And the questions get even more outrageous than that! The absurdity and true insignificance of these factors do not require elaboration.

In addition, many bochurim and bachuros unfortunately do not have anyone to turn to for advice. Instead, they turn to their friends and colleagues who-sorry to say- really know from nothing when compared to a rov or rebbe who has helped hundreds or thousands of bochurim and girls. These freinds, in contrast, offere counsel based on their minimal life experiences, which is exactly that- extremely limited, and ruin many shidduchim.

Bochurim during their high school years must be told that they need to acquire a rebbe for life, someone who they will be in contact with for many years to come, guiding them through life's challenges. In addition, this will give them a clear mehalech hachayim that is not just a self-made one combined from many other mehalchim from the various yeshivos he attended. When a bochur comes back from learning in Eretz Yisroel and goes to Lakewood, it is really too late at this point to begin finding a rebbi.

With proper reevaluation, we can hope to dance at many more happy chasunos this year. Amein.

Sruli Gross


Moshe said...

Don't forget the "one night stand" dating model used by most people where they reject the girl/guy after one date, usually based on appearances.
Unreasonable expectations on both sides. Rabbis and shadchanim, not friends, telling people about dishes, shoelaces, shirts, kippas, etc.
People having too much fun dating. Every time you meet a new person. Going to different restaurants, having fun. All this gonna end once you're married so why get married and ruin your fun.
Nothing pisses me off more than hearing from a guy who's 50lb overweight reject a girl who's 10lb overweight. Go look at yourself in the mirror first, if you want the girl to look like a supermodel, maybe you should look like one too.
Too fat, too tall, too short, too smart, too stupid, talk too much, doesn't talk enough, etc.
Even the secular dating doesn't have this much bs and vanity.

Jessica said...

Impressive. Very enjoyable to read and nice to see someone with a good take of the situation writing into the Yated.
What interests me the most, though, is the first thing on his list. About the bas kol. What if the wife is older than the husband? What happens then when she is born?

Jessica said...

oh, and moshe - "Even the secular dating doesn't have this much bs and vanity." Yeah right! I know several people in the secular dating scene and its just as bad.

Moshe said...

If the wife is older, the bas kol proclaims, "error, illegal function call"
And if she's a lot older you get the Blue Screen Of Death.

You know several, and how many not secular you know?

mlevin said...

Moshe - to be fair for the guys, most of the rejections are done by mothers and not by the guys themselves.

Moshe said...

Late teens and early 20s FFB, yeah. BT and mid to late 20s FFB, I doubt that the mothers have too much input. And if the guy is a spineless, gutless loser who at 25 still lets his mommy decide his life for him, he deserves whatever happens to him

mlevin said...

Moshe - you should read more Yated. There is a whole in-and-out-of-the-freezer thing. There are specific days in a year when Yeshivah boys are allowed to go on a date. There are rules about how many girls one guy can meet. For example around Chanukah time (not sure exactly) these guys are out of the freezer, but can only see one girl. Then they are back in the freezer for many months. If he likes that one girl, they get married, else they are waiting until the next dating period.

So, while he is freezing, his mother is busy finding the perfect girl, else he is stuck being unmarried.

As you know, if he's unmarried, his younger siblings can't date either, so there is a lot of pressure to find that perfect girl in as few dates as possible and pass a green dating light to the next sibling.

I know it's a lot of BS, but there is also a lot of pressure. Thank G-d I'm not in this world

Moshe said...

Then they deserve what they get.
My friends and people who read this blog prob too are not like that and they tend to be the way I said in my 1st comment.
I have friends in their late 20s and early 30s who still continue looking for someone who exactly fits what they want. And they gonna continue doing it until they get smart.

mlevin said...

Or they don't really want to get married and just go through the dating motions because it is expected.

Moshe said...

Instead of shidduch "crisis" lectures and articles and what not, they should line people up and beat the crap out of them until they get smarter, parents too.
- А может не надо?
- Надо Вася, надо

Jessica said...

moshe - i'm a baalat teshuva. i dont keep track of how many friends are frum and how many aren't (of the ones that I keep in the best contact with, I'd have to say 3 -- which is about the same amount of frum friends I keep in good contact with). but even if i had no secular friends at all, my sister is secular and in the dating scene. I just love it how I have to prove myself to other bloggers, yet I should take what they say at face value.

Moshe said...

What I was asking is how many of your secular friends are having one night stands every week.

FrummeYenta said...

Yes Yes Yes Yes finally someone with his head screwed on right!

Jessica said...

One night stands? That's the one comment you were referring to? I assumed you were talking about how hard dating is, how shallow each of the sexes are when looking for a mate, etc. Didn't realize you were focusing strictly on one night stands. If that was the only thing you were referring to (though the words you used, "bs and vanity" point to things other than just one night stands), then my answer is, I don't know. That's not really something I would ever ask someone.

Moshe said...

My point is that I don't think dating has been taken to such a level in secular world. Some people, yes, but in general, no. Granted, they can live together before getting married and get to know each other better.
Ask your secular and religious friends how many people each dated. I think you'd be surprised at the numbers.

realistic viewer said...

The first problem is that the person writing this article is gearing it to boys who come back from learning in Israel and go to Lakewood. The problem isn't with the author but with us as commentators as I don't think we can comprehend (obviously not agree) with their world.

I used to know a really nice, sweet girl (who is now many years married) who when she was 18 was rejected by a boy's family because her family wasnt "machshiv torah" enough.

Mlevin - are you sure you understand the yated correctly about the boys' dating situations? I think you should go out more and meet FFB's instead of learning about them from the Yated?

Jessica said...

Why does it matter how many each have dated? I'm sure if my secular friends were at a point in their life where they wanted to get married and start a family their number would be just as high as my religious friends (if it isn't already), but I fail to see a correlation between "bs and vanity" and how many first dates you've been on.

Moshe said...

The correlation is going out with a 100+ people and bitching about every little detail that doesn't fit the image in their head.
Had a friend who went out with a girl, said she's fat. I know her and saw her at a wedding a month before. She was maybe 5lb overweight. He, on the other hand was fat big time.

mlevin said...

Moshe - you are overlooking a fact that in the secular world there is a constant socialization between sexes. So, when it comes to dating, when it's not a blind date, both people were subconsciensly pre-aproved. Frummies, on the other hand do these pre-aprroving on a formal date.

Moshe said...

Socializing in college and work. Simchas. Our shul has suedat shlishi every week with separate sitting but same floor. Actually, in my shul, most of my friends married w/in the shul. Everyone knows each other and goes to each other for shabbat. Also, most were not officially set up.

Jay said...

Gee Whiz...times have sure changed . I grew up in the 60's which means that I am in my 60's now. In Crown Heights the YI of E Pkwy had friday night oneg and Thursday night dance. Is was easy and non pressured. You asked a girl to dance, I mean a slow dance, this way you had the opportunity to get as close to a stranger as possible. You spoke into each others ear and if she pressed against you you might see her again. Don't for a minute think that this is so alien. The girl might have been your mother or Tante Ethel

The Babysitter said...

That was a really good letter. Very True.

On a side point, in my school the principal told us to stack up the plates and stuff because then its easier for the garbage man to take out. Also to spill out the cups into the sink, so it shouldn't be heavy for the garbage man.

Mlevin: I never knew they can only date one girl when their out of the freezer.

Moshe: I see what your saying, it could be that by secular people their less nit picky and don't disregard people for silly reasons, but their like that because for them dating doesn't have the same meaning, it isn't for the sake of finding a soul mate.

Mlevin: another good point.

Moshe said...

Second time I'm seeing the word and still no idea what it means.
What does stack or scrape mean?

The Babysitter said...

Moshe: Stack means, to stack up the plates. If you have a table of 10 people eating a meal and each person has a dirty plate, they would scrape off the leftovers from one plate, put it on another plate, then put that "clean" plate underneath. Then they would do the same thing for all the other plates, so that you have a stack of neat plates with just a pile of leftover food on the top plate, which can be scraped off into the garbage, and then the plates would go into the sink if their china, or into the Garbage if their plastic plates.

Overall, they shouldn't be a shidduch criteria.

Moshe said...

Isn't that the logical thing to do?
I have guests every week for both meals. An average of 14 people per shabbat. We use plastic plates and no way would there be enough room in the garbage can if we didn't put them in nicely. 28 plates, 7 soup bowls, serving plates, etc.
Same for pouring emptying the cups before throwing them out. If you'll do it at home, you should do it everywhere else too. Just because you're not the one cleaning up, doesn't mean you should behave like a pig. At least that's how I was raised.

The Babysitter said...

Moshe: right, exactly. So I guess its a measure of someones thoughtfulness to make it easier for other people. Like in a pizza shop too, those who clean up after themselves are doing a favor and being a mentch.

Moshe said...

To go on a tangent, some of my friends complain about tickets and curse the cops. If you park at the beginning of a bus stop, you deserve the ticket because the bus can't come to the curb and old people will have trouble getting in. If you run a stop sign, next time you can end up hitting somebody or running over someone on a bike. Most tickets you deserve.

frumskeptic said...

I completely forgot about this post, and just read the comments, and I have to write something about the stacking thing.

We happen to think its nasty to "scrape" infront of people, 'cause just the sight of all that leftover food on one plate is gross! But thats just us, and until about a year ago, I wasn't even aware that this was a "criteria" for shidduchim. What we do, is we just take a few plates out, scrape the food out first, then throw the plates in...just so we don't have to look at it... its just us.

Anyway, I went to a friends house for shabbos a week after i discovered the stack/scrape thing, and so we discussed it and she was like "we usually scrape and stack. Then came the meal, and her mom did NOT do that. so I didnt thnk anything of it, and a few hours later, when we were abotu to go to bed, she was like "My mom didn't scrape/stack today because she was worried that as a guest you would pay attention adn tell someone, and it would ruin mine and sisters shidduch"

I was cracking up!!! :) As if ME of all people would care what they do with the plates!!

Moshe said...

Now I'm even more confused. What's the "proper" way to remove plates according to frummies?
Someone should just make eatable plates, problem solved!
In bissaleh they had this awesome onion soup which was served in a bowl made out of bread and sealed with cheese.

frumskeptic said...

Moshe: proper way to clean the table is to take like 2 plates off, come back, take another two, come back, take another 2... u know... In such a way that shows you're not lazy. So if you haev like 14 ppl at the table, you have to go back a few extra times.

Always fun to be frum...

Its kinda like when they ask the guys what kind of shoes they wear, ones with laces or w/o. Becuase if he wears laces, it means he's not lazy.

However, if you're in another community, you may want the guy to wear the loafers, because it means he's extra strict not to break a melacha on shabbos... YOu really cannot win with these frummies. I usually smile, nod, and call a friend and laugh (now blog :))

Moshe said...

I always wear shoes with laces, love leather shoes, but I never untie/tie them. I tie them once and then just take them off/put them on without untying.

The Babysitter said...

FrumSkeptic: I was confused too, I didn't know which is "good" to stack or scrape or not. But now you answered my question.

I heard that laces v. slip on once in sem, I thought it was funny, he also said both sides, so you can never win. But he said the laces as good cause he's not lazy, but then bad because its bitul torah. lol

Moshe: I thought your not supposed to do that cause then it ruins the shoe. I have sneakers with laces and I just slip them on and off like that. My mother said it stretches out the shoe and ruins it.

Moshe said...

It somewhat does, but so is wearing them at all ;-)
Just go to Syms and buy new ones.

As far as bitul torah, I can't believe girls believe that or the rabbi is stupid enough to say it. There are very few people, if any, today for whom shoe laces would be more bitul torah then everything else they do. And none of those people are below 30, or 40, definitely not those you'd date.

The Babysitter said...

Moshe: he was telling it to us as part of the 10 ridiculous questions people ask for shidduchim. He wasn't encouraging that question, nor the others.

frumskeptic said...

In my opinion the whole thing started like this...a girl was talked into going out with a guy she realy didn't want to go out with. But her entire family was pressuring into going out with him. So she went on the date, didn't particulary like (for whatever reason),and so she found a "flaw" with him, and it was abotu his shoes. So she came home, and made up somethign to her mom "he wore loafers,mean's he's lazy, i dont want a bum!"

Mom was like "OMG!! My daughter is so brilliant, didn't even think about the shoes."

A few months later, that daughters friend goes on a date she doesn't want to go on. She remembered how her firend rejected the guy, but the guy showed up in LACES! OH NO!! what was she to do...so she made up the whole bitul torah thing, and BAM! she got out of an annoying thing...

mom spread the word, and it became a new shidduch question. The original girls mom overheard that, didn't want to be outwitted with thse questions and decided "na-ah, this is perfectly kosher, the guy is just lazy!"

And now it created yet another divide in the frummy community, as well as another stupid question.

Gotta love them frummies.

frumskeptic said...

sorry I didn't write that very clearly... But i bet you got the point. lol

The Babysitter said...

Frumskeptic: That was so funny, I could totally see that being the case!

Moshe said...

You know, if you think about it, this perfectly shows the law of natural selection. Those stupid enough to carry around these checklists will never get married and never breed. Too bad it takes too long and they'll be around to annoy us.

frumskeptic said...

babysitter: :)

thats how all these mishegases start!! lol... did u hear about the girl in seminary who said that whole chicken wasn't kosher?