Friday, January 13, 2012

The Kavod Of A Bas Yisrael

“i tried looking into her, but i dunno anybody that knows her or what she looks like . . . i’ll leave her name in the pile and may pursue it later if i find more info. thanks, Ploni.”

What you have just read is a genuine e‑mail received by a shadchan after forwarding a resumé to a young man. The e‑mail reflects what is wrong with some of the underlying attitudes that are prevalent in our community—at least among our young men. This e‑mail, of course, is not atypical or unique. It reveals an outlook, a mindset that is rampant in a world that has lost perspective and direction.

The resumé described a brilliant girl imbued with genuine chesed—a girl that the shadchan knew well. No matter. The young man will leave her name in the pile, which he may or may not pursue in the future. Why? Because in his cursory and superficial investigation, he couldn’t find anyone who knew her or what she looks like.

The young man’s thought process? We can only extrapolate. “Sorry. Gave her a chance. Let’s move on. Plenty of fish in the sea for me.”

Jewish chivalry, it seems, is not just dead, it is dead, buried, and so completely obliterated that we shall be lucky if it ever rises again.[...]


  1. You could have also run a reverse story about the girl who puts the boy's name in the pile because he doesn't wear the right kind of kippah or black hat.
    Girls are trained to look for Oreo cookie outfits. Boys are trained to look for supermodels. Both are taught that questioning the process is like questioning the truth of the mesorah. Is it any wonder things are screwed up?

  2. If the guy investigated took every suggestion seriously he'd have no time to ever go on a date.

  3. Although I partially disagree with Garnel's assessment, he is much closer to the real problem than the Rabbi Hoffman, the writer of the article.

    The attitude expressed by the young man is terrible, granted. But the real problem is that every single girl (and/or her parents) is chasing after guys like that and ignoring large numbers of fine frum boys who don't fit preconceived notions of perfection.

    Hoffman writes that "statistical reality affords guys five to ten dates per month, yet affords our young women perhaps one date per month." While the statistical disparity exists, it is not even close to large enough to explain that kind of disparity. (If it were, then the only possible solution would be to reinstate polygamy.)

    However, when only a small group within the larger group of available men is considered to be truly "eligible", then this result is to be expected. And, in such a situation, the fact that many of these "eligible" men begin to feel both overwhelmed and also a bit arrogant, is also to be expected.

  4. There are many aspects to this problem. However, Rabbi Hoffman's article is an excellent example of one of the biggest problems. Rabbi Hoffman describes the women he is discussing:
    "These young women daven so very beautifully. Their davening is an inspiration to see. They work long, hard hours in school with the goal of supporting a Torah scholar. They attend shiurim; they learn and read Rav Pincus, Rav Dessler, Nesivos Shalom; they are fluent in halachah. They ask halachic questions whenever they need clarity."

    Over the years, I have known innumerable young men who fit this description perfectly, but are not considered good shidduch material. In some cases, they have left yeshiva and are working. In other cases, they are not known to be particularly diligent learners (although completely frum and sincere). Or any other of the thousands of things that render a bochur "inferior".

    Rabbi Hoffman's description points to a reality that has long been recognized by yeshiva bochurim: It is much easier to be a "good" girl, than a "good" bochur! A good girl needs only to be frum, value Torah, and have good middos. Such a girl is so "good" that she, and her family, will not even consider a bochur who has exactly the same virtues. If you have two young people, a young man and a young woman, working in the same business, sharing the same values, atttending shiurim, reading Torah works, etc., the young woman will be seen as the ideal catch for an up-and-coming rosh yeshiva from a prominent family (even ordinary yeshiva boys are not good enough for her), while the young man will be seen as a good match only for someone with no other options.

    Rabbi Hoffman's article is also a good example of oour tendency to over-romanticize the virtues of Jewish girls, "her lofty and precious value and significance", as if every Jewish girl is the eishes chayil of Mishlei. This would be fine if we looked at our young men with the same rosy glasses, but - on the contrary - when it comes to our young men we tend to see every flaw as a disqualifying "red line" for shidduchim. (A good example of this tendency is this article by Yonasan Rosenblum: - You can read my specific comments on that article there.)

    Rabbi Hoffman complains that, "We do not educate our young men as to the value of a bas Yisrael anymore. Our girls are taught the value of a ben Torah, but somehow the flip-side lesson has been neglected."

    I must disagree. Most of our bochurim do understand the value of a bas yisroel, but many of these bochurim are not even considered worthy of notice by these princesses. For we have taught our young women that they are too good for the ordinary frum boy, that only the "elite" is good enough for them. Yes, we have taught our girls the value of a "ben Torah", but in the process we have narrowed the definition of a ben Torah so that many true bnei Torah no longer qualify.


please use either your real name or a pseudonym.