Dear Readers: The following letter is representative of the views expressed by many concerned parents and grandparents who called, e-mailed and wrote to me regarding the shidduch crisis as it pertains to Torahdik young men who earn as opposed to learn (full time) – an issue that was brought up in an earlier column.
To Parents Involved In Shidduchim
If you do not like the system, then do not perpetuate it!If you feel that your son should be preparing for parnasa before he is married, then make sure that you only send your son to a high school and post-high school yeshiva that will allow and encourage him to attend college or a vocational program. Do research – speak to the administration and speak to other parents. If you put your son on a certain path – that will hopefully be the path he follows. There are many “frum” options available for frum young men today (college at night, all male colleges, vocational schools, etc.). If you wait till he is “older” to put your foot down on this issue, it will be too late. He will already be in a certain system that will not honor your viewpoints.
If you do not want your daughter to marry someone who has no concrete plans for parnasa after marriage, then do not send your daughter to a high school and seminary that encourages girls to marry boys who have no plans. By the time they have gone through the system, they will not want to listen to what you have to say because“they know better.”
If our generation can start producing more bnei Torah who will take concrete financial responsibility for their future families, then our daughters will hopefully begin to realize that there is nothing wrong with – and everything right with – marrying such boys. Parents will no longer feel the pressure to have to “buy” full-time learning husbands for their daughters and accede to their every demand. As a matter of fact, maybe the tide will turn and it will be the parents of the girl who will insist that the parents of the “full-time learner” provide support because their son is not bringing in any income to the family unit while their daughter is working so that her husband can learn full time.
Do not be ashamed that your son will be able to provide for his family so that your daughter-in-law may have the option to stay home for some time and raise her babies. Do not be ashamed that your daughter will marry a boy who will provide for her and the family. This is the Torah way as is evident from the kesuva and from many statements in the Torah. Ask a knowledgeable rabbi and he will provide many sources for you.
To Administrators, Principals, Rebbeim And Moros
With all due respect, please stop driving a wedge between your students and their parents. Shalom bayis and kibud av v’eim are being compromised – sometimes in very major ways.
The ultimate personal and financial responsibility of a married couple will not fall on your shoulders, but rather on the parents on both sides. Unless you are willing to take full legal financial responsibility for your married students forever, it does not seem right for you to encourage your students to live a lifestyle that may prove to be very burdensome to them (and their parents and in-laws) in the future.
Ask a knowledgeable rabbi if there is something wrong with a husband/father working to support his family, while still being “kovei itim” – or a mother having the golden opportunity to raise her babies herself if it is financially feasible.
Speak to your friends who have been married for more than a few years to get a better sense of reality (both financially speaking and what life is really like when you have to juggle children, work and household responsibilities).
And most importantly, listen carefully to the thoughts and advice of your parents who not only speak from personal experience – but who know you and love you more than anyone else.
Do not be afraid of what others will say, as long as you know you are following a Torah way of life.