Photo Credit: Lara Savage/Flash 90
A Jewish wedding.

The sharply rising occurrence of divorce in the Yeshiva world was not mentioned in this article, but certainly needs to be addressed when considering an overhaul of the shidduch system. I am not convinced that encouraging “pre-mature” marriage would not have potentially calamitous side-effects.

So much for my comments on the ideas that Mr. Rechnitz raised. I will refrain from discussing the arguments that he made regarding the rebbe-Talmid relationship (Many people find their Rebbi as someone other than their Rosh Yeshiva; sometimes later in life), or the different types of yeshivos that are needed. But I did want to raise some ideas that might also be helpful in this important discussion:


If, in fact, we want to encourage young men to marry earlier, it would be helpful to begin preparing them for marriage earlier as well. I once heard a mechanech in Eretz Yisroel telling his 18 year old students that during their years in Yeshiva, one of their main goals should be to make themselves into the type of man that a girl that they respect would want to marry. While this certainly includes becoming a Talmid Chacham and Baal Midos, it also ought to include awareness of what it takes to be a good and caring husband and father. This should be reinforced in many ways during Yeshiva years, and not left for the “Chassan Shmuz” two weeks before the wedding.

This should certainly include much discussion and one on one consultation about the important qualities that this particular bochur should seek. It should emphasize that the main thing Klal Yisroel needs now are good, vibrant marriages and families, and not just many children. I know of too many cases where young men, (and even older men in their thirties and up) have been told that they need to marry someone no older than 21 because (a) they can thus have many children, and (b) they will have a wife that they can still “mold”, who is not set in her ways. This attitude is, in my opinion, misplaced in that (a) the quality of the husband-wife relationship as equal partners is more important than how many children they will have, and (b) it is immature, condescending, and paternalistic to say that the wife must be molded to the husband’s whim, rather than that they grow together into a mature relationship.

I have often heard it said that “there are so many quality girls around, while there are relatively few quality boys available”. This has little to do with the familiar statistics that regarding birth rates and marriage ages. Rather, in the opinion of many, the mosdos for young women are doing a better job preparing their talmidos to be mature, responsible wives and mothers than the yeshivos are doing in preparing young men to be husbands and fathers.

It is not so much that there are so few young men around; it is that there are relatively few quality young men who are being competed for by the many young women who deserve first quality husband material, and are having difficulty finding them. Too many young women are being taught that the only worthwhile husbands are those who will be learning in Kollel. I am not arguing here that Kollel is not appropriate for many young couples, but it is not necessarily for everybody. I am arguing that there are many fine young men who are Yirei Shomayim, Kovei Itim L’torah, wonderful Baalei Midos and Chessed, who, for whatever reason, are not learning full time. These young men should not be seen as second rate material, but as first class potential husbands for many fine young women. Girls are often not getting this message from their mechanchim and mechanchos, as Kollel life is being pushed as the only desirable goal for a serious Bas Yisroel. This needs to be tempered; Kollel life should be viewed as a wonderful aspiration, but not as the only one that young women should consider.

There is obviously much more that could be said on this topic. I did want to at least begin to address some of the important thoughts that this article raised, and hope that you allow the larger public to consider these ideas.

Once again, I commend Mishpacha magazine, and Mr. Rechnitz, for shining the spotlight on this issue


Rabbi Yehuda L. Oppenheimer


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Rabbi Yehuda L Oppenheimer, former Rav at several congregations in the United States, lives in Israel and is an educator, writer, and licensed tour guide. He eagerly looks forward to showing you our wonderful land on your next visit. He blogs at and can be reached at [email protected] or voice/WhatsApp at 053-624-1802.