Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.
One of the many new “minhagim” in the shidduch world concerns two or more siblings who are in the proverbial parsha simultaneously. This is an increasingly frequent phenomenon due to the ever-increasing length of the average dating career.
It can lead to the poignant occasion of an older single attending the wedding of a much younger brother or sister and the tumultuous emotions this is sure to arouse. The older single is likely to experience joy on behalf of his younger sibling, but is also likely to feel a measure of jealousy, resentment, confusion, self-doubt, fear – and embarrassment and guilt for feeling all these negative things.
The seemingly obligatory platitudes, reassurances, and half-baked set-ups offered as consolation prizes will only intensify the negative emotions and threaten to cause a rift between siblings who always enjoyed a loving relationship.
As a result of this potential tension, a new minhag in the shidduch world has been widely implemented: a younger sibling is forbidden to pursue marriage until all older siblings have been spoken for. If the younger sibling is not comfortable with waiting, he or she must ask for permission from the older sibling to date. If the younger sibling is successful in finding a shidduch, he or she must then ask for forgiveness from the older sibling.
While this minhag may come across as harsh on the younger sibling, it seems to be supported in the Torah. Our forefather Yaakov desired to marry Rachel, but Lavan tricked him into first marrying Leah. After all, Lavan explained, it was anathema in his locale for a younger sister to be married before the older one. Such a thing simply wasn’t done.
The careful thinker must observe, however, that Lavan is the antagonist in this tale, and is consistently portrayed in Torah literature as the worst sort of scoundrel. Barring any more compelling evidence to justify this practice, a Torah-true Jew should recoil from emulating a moral ideal associated with such a character.
While one must certainly be sensitive to the feelings of someone in distress, it is unreasonable and completely against the Torah for a young single of marriageable age to delay the fulfillment of this mitzvah due to such a consideration. To the contrary, the young single should learn from the difficulties of others that the opportunity to marry someone compatible is not something to be squandered or delayed until everyone can be all smiles about it.
Such opportunities do not come along all that often, and it is reckless to rationalize that Hashem can’t possibly have sent someone’s intended spouse while an older single is still waiting. Says who?
Further, there should be no expectation for the younger sibling to request permission before the fact or forgiveness after the fact. No one needs permission to date for marriage. It is an obligation and a critical component of Jewish life. If permission is granted it is redundant and serves only to confuse people regarding this concept, and if permission is not granted the denial must be ignored in any case.
Forgiveness is similarly unnecessary, because the younger sibling has done nothing wrong. An older single who resents the good fortune of a younger sibling is the one who should request forgiveness. Would we ever advise a younger sibling to seek permission to search for a job while the other is unemployed, or ask for forgiveness for making a good living while the other is struggling? Would we ever dream of advising a young married couple to put off having children until all the older siblings are blessed with children? What absurdity!
We must appreciate that things don’t always work out in the way we would presume to be ideal. If we were running the world, we might arrange for everyone to get married shortly after they decide they are ready and for those who have been waiting the longest to be taken care of first. In reality, of course, such conveniences can’t be taken for granted, and trying to force the issue by pressuring younger singles to delay their search creates a far greater problem than that of assuaging the feelings of the older sibling.
Some pain is inevitable. The only obligation on the younger single is to be mindful not to unnecessarily exacerbate the pain of those who are still alone. It is incumbent on the older single to handle the situation in a mature fashion. If he is unable to fully share in the simcha with genuine joy, he can be forgiven. Nevertheless, it is simply unacceptable for an older sibling (or parents) to exert any sort of pressure on a younger sibling to compromise his efforts to get married or to make the younger sibling feel guilty for receiving a blessing.
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Myth #1: It is easy to be a B’nai Noach. It is extraordinarily hard to be a B’nai Noach.
The question of anti-Semitism in Europe today is truly tied to the issue of immigration.
Polls indicate that the Palestinians are much more against a two state solution than the Israelis.
Emigration from Israel is at an all-time low, far lower than immigration to Israel from Europe.
Leon Klinghoffer’s daughters: “‘Klinghoffer’ is justified as ‘a work of art’…This is an outrage.”
Do you seriously think that as you kidnap our children we should medically treat and help yours?
Sometimes collective action against the heinous acts of the majority is not enough. The world should not only support the blockade of Gaza; it must enforce the dismantling of Hamas.
The Arab Spring has challenged Jordan with the task of gradual reform with regard to its monarchy.
Israel offered Syria the entire Golan Heights, only to find that the Syrians were demanding MORE!
Israeli hasbara too can be described at best as pathetic, at worst non existent.
A ‘good news’ story from the Nepal avalanche disaster to warm your heart. Take out your Kleenex.
Journalists see the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as morality play: Israel=evil; Palestine=innocent
Warsaw Ghetto: At its height, the Nazis walled in some 500,000 Jews within the1.3 square mile area.
While police officers face dangers every day on the job, Jews also face danger in their daily lives.
A great human tragedy is taking place before our eyes, yet few can see it.
A singles event in Jerusalem, co-sponsored by no fewer than five groups or organizations, advertised the following:
“Ask yourself this question: Do you really want to get married? If the answer is NO, then carry on having a good time going to all those parties, Shabbat meals, lectures, supermarket aisles . If the answer is YES, then we’ll see you at the MEGA EVENT.”
Since creating EndTheMadness seven years ago I have received all manner of correspondence, and it should come as no surprise that for every gratifying e-mail I receive there are plenty more that are disturbing in one way or another. But what if I asked you to guess which e-mails disturb me the most, even momentarily shaking my optimism that there really is hope for our society?
I’ve long maintained that the large number of people having a difficult time getting and staying happily married is only a symptom of deeper problems in the community. Consequently, efforts to get more singles to go out on more dates will be largely unsuccessful unless the deeper problems are addressed. This thesis has been validated in recent years, as more attention to the “crisis” and various schemes to create shidduchim have yet to result in meaningful change or much cause for optimism.
Moshe was looking for employment (he wasn’t cut out to learn full-time), and was having a difficult time finding the right fit. Sometimes he went weeks without even landing an interview, and he rarely made it past the first round. People began to speculate that there was something wrong with Moshe, and his self-esteem took a blow every time he heard of someone else who found a job.
It’s all too common nowadays for people to defend the widespread method of shidduchim by pointing to the biblical story of Eliezer finding a wife for Yitzchak. Apparently the Torah mandates this method as proper, and therefore there is little else to discuss beyond perhaps fine-tuning the way singles are set up by shadchanim and further shielding them from outside influences and one another.
I find the Orthodox Jewish approach to problem-solving fascinating, in a dark sort of way. It consists of a series of steps that looks something like this:
“And you shall rejoice in your festival” says the pasuk at the end of Parshas Re’ei (16:14), and this is actually a mitzvah. I suspect this is not intended to be one of the more difficult mitzvot for us to fulfill, yet for many hard-working Jews the Yomim Tovim are far greater sources of stress than joy.
Nothing is more elusive than perfection, yet perfection is a notion that frequently surfaces in the realm of shidduchim. For example, singles are often told by people on the outermost fringes of their lives, “I know someone perfect for you.” How preposterous, how presumptuous! Yet singles permit themselves to be excited by this declaration so that they may be further disillusioned when the shidduch invariably turns out to be anything but perfect.
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