web analytics
August 31, 2014 / 5 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



Going Back To The Old Ways

 According to the Talmud (Ta’anit 30b-31a), on the 15th of Av unmarried girls would dress in plain white clothing, so that  those from wealthy families could not be distinguished from  the poorer ones. Once suitably attired, they would go out to sing and dance in the vineyards surrounding Jerusalem.

 Joining them were  single men who would mingle with said maidens and pick a wife. This  very possibly was the earliest version of “speed dating” – but it worked.  The young men and women would eventually pair off and happily build a bayit ne’eman b’yisrael, and thus contribute to Jewish continuity.

 There is a valuable lesson to be learned from this, one that obviously was condoned by the gedolim of that era as an acceptable way for singles to “meet.” You endorsed what needed to be done to ensure the future of the nation.

 Why then, the question begs to be asked, is the mingling of eligible men and women – once done with the blessing and approval of  the  gedolim of  ancient Eretz Yisrael – now considered “treif” by the frum establishment?

 Don’t we as a community take upon ourselves the minhagim of our ancestors? Why not this one? Why don’t we celebrate Tu B’Av as we do, for example, Tu B’Shevat?

  Why is having singles of both genders meeting each other on their own so frowned upon? This near total isolation of the genders is a relatively recent phenomenon, since most of the middle-aged people reading this article likely met at coed events  sponsored by their shuls and schools. There were dances, bowling and skating parties, kumzitses, and post-Shabbat get-togethers that gave young people the opportunity to get to know each other and eventually pair off with a compatible future spouse – unimpaired by preconceived biases that prevented them from  having that initial date. Today, getting approval for a first date can take weeks, even months, – dragged on and delayed by intensive checking and interrogation of “references.”

 During Tu B’Av, the boys had no idea which girls were rich, who came from big yichus, or who (gasp!) had a mother who used plastic silverware on Shabbat and served the cheaper brand of frozen gefilta fish. Without a lengthy shidduch dosier and detailed background check to influence their choice, the young men and women of yore were provided with an equal-opportunity environment to meet, get to know each other and pair off.

 I know of many marriages that resulted from two individuals meeting on their own who never would have ever accepted a shidduch based on the “facts on the ground.” Bachelors met and married single mothers with several children; taller women chose shorter men; frum-from-birth married ba’al teshuvah – you get the idea!

 Sadly the children of baby boomers who met  at “mixed” events have been denied this golden opportunity to meet and find their soul mates, to the point that there are thousands of  men and women getting older with each passing year who are still single – and increasingly frustrated and depressed.

 I recently bumped into a friend who has been married since she was 19. Though she knows many unmarried people, she had no idea of  the sheer number of older never-married singles. I was taken aback at a recent Shabbaton I attended where everyone, as an icebreaker, got up and introduced and described themselves. Out of a crowd of about 60, only a handful (perhaps five) mentioned having children. Most were in their upper 40s and 50s, and the pained sadness in their eyes belied the smile on their faces as they described their hobbies, jobs, activities and pets.

 For them, Yom Tovs are not “good days.” Most older singles dread holidays because they have no idea where they will spend them. Some have no parents or siblings, or if they do have brothers and sisters, often they are not geographically or emotionally close. Others feel uncomfortable being the only single at a table full of couples – even if they are family.

 Some, already experiencing health issues like arthritis or hearing loss, increasingly worry about who will take care of them if they become feeble in their old age. They know that they will have to “buy” care from strangers.

 The community and religious leaders cannot  let the current crop of  singles – still in their upper 20s and 30s – become the future, older never marrieds. It truly is a travesty in terms of the decimation of the Jewish people when a sizeable portion of the frum community never marries and never bears children – who, in turn, launch future generations.

 Why not reinstitute coed programming? If necessary, people could meet under the watchful eye of “chaperones” – shadchans if you will – and other married couples who could serve as facilitators. I’m not saying we should have dancing in the streets, but what is wrong if  shuls, religious colleges, etc. offer activities where young men and women can meet and mingle? Obviously the “shidduch parshah” is not working for everybody. Just like in medicine, if something doesn’t work you try something else – even  if some in the medical community consider the approach a bit “unorthodox.”

 You must do what you can to save the afflicted. In terms of the viability of the  community, everyone must take their head out of the sand. As a people, we are literally talking pikuach nefesh.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Going Back To The Old Ways”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
US Marines walk a city street in Fallujah, heavily damaged by the fighting. (2004)
Netanyahu Says Making Gaza ‘Israel’s Fallujah’ Was Too High a Price
Latest Sections Stories
LBJ-082914

What better proof do we need than the recent war with Hamas in Gaza, dubbed “Operation Protective Edge,” that transformed the pain and suffering of three families into a sense of unparalleled unity and outpouring of love of the entire nation of Israel?

Katzman-082914

So many families are mourning, and all along we mourned with them.

Astaire-082914

In addition to his great erudition, Rabi Akiva was known for his optimism.

Kupfer-082914-Chuppah

She told me that she was busy and that he could sit in his wet clothes for the rest of the day. It would teach him to be more careful.

What can we do to help him stop feeling so sad all the time?

Children with dyslexia or dysgraphia frequently have problems in social relationships.

Israel’s neighbors engaged in hostilities from the onset. The War of Independence was a hard-won battle. Aggression and enmity has followed for 66 years.

The contest will include student-created sculpture, computer graphic design, collage, videography, PowerPoint and painting.

David, an 8-year-old boy on the autism spectrum, recently attended a Friendship Circle event. As he entered he told his Dad, “I love coming to the FC programs ‘cause everyone loves each other.”

Goldsmith himself went on his own “voyage of discovery” to the places where his grandfather and uncle landed and were sent.

Frank proclaimed himself Zvi’s successor and the reincarnation of King David.

Almost immediately the audience began singing and clapping and continued almost without stop throughout the rest of the concert.

As of late, vintage has definitely been in vogue in the Orthodox community.

Stroll through formal gardens, ride mountain bikes, or go rock climbing.

More Articles from Cheryl Kupfer
Kupfer-080114

Unpleasant happenings are quickly discarded if they do not affect us directly.

Kupfer-071814

I have always insisted that everything that happens to anyone or anything is min Shamayim.

It is so hurtful to heighten people’s sense of inadequacy and guilt in a matzav that is already horrendous and difficult to bear.

Make no mistake: in the wrong hands cars are weapons of mass destruction.

Where once divorce in heimische communities was relatively uncommon, nowadays every family has a son, daughter, sibling cousin who is divorced – sometimes twice or even three times!

Many go about the business of living frum, observant lives, but they are only going through the motions.

Lately I have been hearing quiet grumblings from people who admit that they regret not encouraging their sons to get a post-high school education after a year or two of learning.

While it would seem from his question that he is being chuzpadik and dismissive, I wonder if its possible, if just maybe, he is a struggling, confused neshama who actually wants to come back to the fold.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/on-our-own/going-back-to-the-old-ways-2/2008/09/10/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: