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What Happened To Faith?

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I’ve actually heard that a few rabbis advise their students to only date women who are at least 6 years younger than them. I’m assuming there are qualifications to this rule, but in any case I’m sure these rabbis would not be happy to hear that most of their older students have dated many women below the 6-year limit but have rejected them because they weren’t pretty enough, thin enough, intelligent enough.

Enough already. Men, if you’re that serious about having a large family, then drop your unrealistic expectations and marry the next “young” woman you date. I’m sure your rabbi will agree and be very happy to dance at your wedding. But I guess you don’t listen to everything your rabbi says, only the things you agree with.

Unfortunately, lack of bitachon is not confined to men. Orthodox women are just as guilty. I’ve met with many over the last couple of years and they pretty much all have extremely high expectations regarding the level of parnassah, or financial means, of their potential basherts. Of course, no woman wants to come across as caring too much about money, but the reality is they do, and they do so based on what they feel is solid logic and rational thinking. Here’s how it goes:

I want to have at least three kids, which means three yeshiva tuitions. I need to buy a house in either Teaneck, the Five Towns, or another major New York metropolitan area community.

We’ll need at least two vacations a year – Florida and Israel. Then there’s summer camp for the kids. And of course cars, clothing, food, entertainment, etc.

Am I leaving something out? Probably. But everything I just listed is considered a basic requirement for any self-respecting Orthodox woman in the New York area. You do the math. Men earning less than $200,000 a year need not apply.

I might be exaggerating a bit with my description but, unfortunately, I think I’m well within the limits of reality. The older women get and the more accomplished they become, the more rigid they become about their financial requirements. As a result, many women are postponing or completely giving up the opportunity to marry and have children and are instead waiting for the “right guy” who they feel will give them what they rightfully deserve. What happened to bitachon?

Don’t you know parnassah is MiShamayim? Don’t you know there are people who lose their fortunes and others who make their fortunes at a later age? Just because someone is wealthy today doesn’t guarantee he or she will be wealthy in 10 or 20 years. Are you aware there are wonderful Jewish communities outside of New York with affordable housing and schooling? There’s even a Jewish state that offers free Torah education and a more affordable standard of living!

Being a religious Jew doesn’t only include the rituals we are so careful in observing. It also means having bitachon that Hashem is leading our destiny in a way that is best for us and that He will provide what we need, when we need it.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not telling you to marry someone to whom you’re not physically attracted or with whom you don’t connect. But be open to giving people a chance – even if they don’t exactly fit your fantasy list, and if you do meet someone you like, don’t let your calculations regarding children or finances stop you from enjoying the awesome blessings and joy of marriage and parenthood.

Rabbi Arnie Singer is a dating and life coach on the Upper West Side, directs the Manhattan Jewish Experience Shidduch Project, and is founder of JCoach.com. He can be reached at arnie.singer@gmail.com.

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