Where Does the Male Attitude Come From?

AllAboutHatAIt’s all about hatIt’s all about hat “Let’s Schmooze” letter to Country Yossi magazine detailed what happened when a man tried to withdraw his son from yeshiva to attend college. The rosh yeshiva explained that parnassa is min hashamayim, and college wouldn’t help. The man countered that his own rebbe, Rav Pam, zt”l, said everyone has to do their hishtadlus. The rosh yeshiva then suggested his version of hishtadlus: marry rich. The writer has a moment of epiphany: the self-serving attitude of modern yeshiva bochurim in shidduchim is the product of the attitude of their rabbeim.

 

Good morning, Anonymous (of course he’s anonymous. Giving his name would just shoot his son’s chances…) And kudos for taking the time to write about it in one of the few publications that would have the guts to print it. Can you see the Yated or Hamodia printing a letter that accuses roshei yeshiva of causing the “Shidduch Crisis”? And yet, the fact is that bochurim think they have the right to demand dowries (because lets call a spade a spade). And the fact is, that this attitude doesn’t rise in a vacuum.

 

I knew about this before Mr. Anonymous, because my brother recently entered shidduchim out of a very large and prestigious yeshiva. He explained that when boys enter shidduchim they go to their rosh yeshiva for advice.

 

What do you suppose the roshei yeshiva advise? Doubtless things like “Middos are the most important,” or “Understand that marriage is a compromise,” right? Wrong. They simply provide the bochur with his lowest bidding price. “$25,000 and a car,” or “$20,000 and an apartment,” or “Minimum 7 years of full support.”

 

“So what are you worth?” I asked my brother. Turns out he didn’t go get his asking price. He wants to marry an eishes chayil, not her father’s bankroll. Sometimes I’m proud of my siblings.

 

Now, I’m not lambasting roshei yeshiva. Torah study is essential – so the basis of their advice is sound. But bochurim very carefully follow the dictum “asei lichah rav.” They take their rosh yeshiva’s words as the word of G-d on high. And this puts the rosh yeshiva in a position of great responsibility. If they tell bochurim it’s OK to insist on full support, the bochurim will go forth with complete faith that it is the correct thing to do.

 

 But step out of the ivory tower for five minutes and tell me that someone who chooses a lifestyle of “pas bimelach tochal” deserves a car and seven years of complete support, worry free. Tell me that any given bochur is such an incredible masmid that his father-in-law should go in debt for him. Tell me that it is appropriate for bochurim to enter shidduchim convinced that they are G-d’s gift to the world (worth $30 grand for five years and a car!) and should filter their applications by income.  Tell me that it is proper and good to marginalize girls who are ba’alei middos, who appreciate Torah, who are n’shei chayil waiting to be proven, and who will make excellent, dedicated wives, simply because they don’t have the income of a venture capitalist.

 

Let’s not devalue our Jewish girls, showing them that their contribution to their bayis ne’eman is only equal to their husband’s if they come with $25,000 and an apartment. (As if earning the income, raising the kids, and doing all the housework isn’t enough for a single mortal. The wives these coddled bochurim get are worth $50k plus a weekly box of chocolate!)

 

Yes, Torah study is important. But let natural selection take its course. Bochurim who truly treasure their learning will marry girls who feel the same way—and are willing to support them in it, whatever it takes. And bochurim will learn to make sacrifices for their learning, living in the gashmiyus-deprived conditions that have fostered Torah giants for generations.

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20 thoughts on “Where Does the Male Attitude Come From?

  1. And tell me how you feel when shadchanim ask your parents what they are “offering”? Do they answer a wonderful girl and list all your good qualities or do they have to answer 30 grand and a car? I hate that question and many a time have told my mother that I’m not interested in a boy that will only go out with me if he is assured of full support etc..Like what about me??

  2. Managed to avoid shadchanim for the most part, but sometimes the other side brings it up. Like, “We insist on half-support for 10 years.” And I’m thinking, “My goodness, we haven’t even discussed if we’re compatible in any way – is this the first criterion: money?! Never mind age or goals or personalty. It’s all about the support.

    Personally, being a rather independent person, I detest the idea of leeching off my parents and in-laws for 10 years. If I’m going to support someone in kollel, I am darn well going to support him in kollel. And if I can’t – well, we’re not going to leech off our parents like some parasite!

  3. Awesome blog! I’m very impressed. I’m just wondering why YOU feel the need to publish anonymously?

    I don’t. Chananya Weissman doesn’t. If you have something to say and feel it’s right, you should be able to put your name on it.

  4. Because Chananya W is out to make a point, and maybe you are too. I’m not. I’m just doing this so that I, and those who are going through the same thing, can laugh, cry, and kvetch about the ridiculous and dumb things we do/are expected to do because of the shidduchim institution.

    Besides, when the armchair analysts come to their inevitable wrong conclusion about my psyche, at least they’ll pin it to an online persona, and not my real one. 😛

  5. (You forgot the most important thing: Being seen blogging could be… need I say it? Bad for… :p)

    Anyway, anything seen in Country Yossi is to be taken tongue with a grain of salt in cheek. Don’t believe everything you hear.

    I only know one person who was told by a Rosh Yeshiva to ask for money: He wasn’t asking much, and not for long. He really needed it because his family really didn’t have money at all, for very honest, practical reasons (i.e. they sure don’t waste anything and live very simply). And he is a real masmid, not a bench-warmer — worth keeping in yeshiva a little longer (as I said, he didn’t ask for much. I forgot the details, but I remember thinking “How are they gonna live on that?!)

    I am totally uncomfortable with the idea of asking my parents for support. They’ve raised me for quite a while already, I hope they’ll be able to help if it becomes necessary (c.v.) but frankly a person has to grow up sometime and I think it has to happen before marriage. I mean, if she’s going to start looking for her first job after the wedding, yeah, they’re going to need support. In more ways than one. I think it is necessary sometimes but it is neither positive nor ideal.

    (PS – are you ready for something really revolutionary? Not everyone is cut out to marry someone who is or to be learning in kollel and supported for years. Sh, don’t yell, I know this comes as a shock…)

  6. For whatever this is worth, my brother, who was a talmid in a well known Yeshiva in Flatbush was told by his equally well known Rosh Yeshiva to marry a rich girl, in response to what his plans should be regarding parnassah.

  7. Different Rosh Yeshivas have different opinions. I heard from Rav Pam that from his years he’s seen that the ones who don’t marry money always stay in learning longer. But Bad4 has a serious point. Seven years means 7 years of 14 hours a day, not 7 years of long term honeymooning. How many guys are really pulling that off? My experience has been that the one’s who marry money get 5 years worry free and then a job in the shver company learning free. The rest manage- between some help, a paycheck, a kollel check, a Dirshu Check, the stock market and Bituach LeUmi…to stay in learning much longer. Also, if it hurts- the’ll you’ll actually learn. If your wife is killing herself – it’s a much bigger motivator to become something. If she’s sacrificing- how can’t you?

  8. Hey, I have a girl for your brother! Is he still available? She’s 22, a true bas Yisroel who wants a boy who will learn as long as possible (forever) and will preferably live in Eretz Yisroel. She will do whatever she can to make it work. She’s beautiful inside and out and her tefillos are amazing to watch. Her only negative–her family has no money. They help as much as they can but that’s really not much. If this sounds right for your bro, let me know!

  9. A Western fallacy has crept into many of these posts. The writers individualize what’s happening, reducing the matter to hard-put-to shvers who are asked to support “their” avreichim. It isn’t so. It’s am yisroel supporting Torah and Torah supports us in return. A shver has to ask himself honestly: isn’t there more that I can give up for Torah? Why am I saving for retirement, to do bittul Torah (by taking their sons in law out of learning) for his own bittul zman (retirement)? And what’s the price that all of am Yisroel pays for this in ka’as ba-shamayim?

  10. Why is retirement bitul zman? My father looks forward to retiring so he can spend the day learning – which is basically what he does on vacations. Most people’s retirement funds can’t support regular trips to the Caribbean anyway. So it’s a swap of one person’s Torah for another, and a young strong fellow can better work than an old one.

    Am Yisroel can support Torah by putting twenties into the pushka, if you want to take the individual out of it.

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  12. 3 points: 1) Many rabbeim do NOT recommend marrying rich girls, for numerous reasons. Rabbi Reisman is probably a famous example. Several others rabbeim that I know of say similar things.

    2) How many people who are horrified at the idea of expecting in-laws to support learning, would be similarly horrified at a prospective son-in-law who wanted help while getting through med school?

    3) This IS natural selection. Girls who are willing to support (or have their parents support) are marrying the guys who want/need said support.

  13. Kol ha-kavod to your father, but that’s not the norm. Mostly we do it because our materialistic culture sold us on it. Retirement saving is justified only for exceptions like your father or people who work in jobs that have compulsory retirement. The rest is gneiva. We don’t get gashmi blessings from our work, we get it from Hashem. Then we take Hashem’s blessing, which He meant for the service of His Torah, and sock it away as if it’s our own. Finally we complain about how hard it is to support the son in law in kollel, and advise the son in law to do as we did.

  14. You claim to know what everyone is planning to do when they retire? And based on that, to decide when they can stop working?

    If gishmei brocha come from Hashem, why do you need the father-in-law to provide it for the son-in-law? Let him get his own gishmei brocha. The f-i-l can choose the charity of his choice for his money, instead of being forced to support his daughter’s charity of choice.

  15. Any man who chooses to be a ‘rabbi’ (‘true teacher’ of Torah) or a ‘dayan’ (‘judge’), or a ‘mekubal’ (‘kabbalist’) should be doing so Voluntarily. Out of his pure love for Hashem and the Torah. And his Ahavat Yisrael.

    If he refuses to do community work voluntarily, and wants and accepts payment for everything he does, such a man should not be leading a community. He should get a job and earn a living. He can collect milk bottles or clean the windows. That is what is called ‘earning a living’.

    Torah is learned, studied and taught: out of Love. Voluntarily. But the ‘rabbis’ have turned the Torah into their ‘Profession’, from which they earn money.

    We are commanded in the Shema to:

    ‘LOVE Hashem, your G-d, WITH ALL YOUR HEART, and with all your soul and with all your might.’

    ‘VE’AHAVTA et Hashem Elokecha BECHOL LEVAVECHA uvechol nafshecha uvechol meodecha.’ (Devarim, Vaethanan, 6:4-5)

    Is the ordinary man or woman PAID to pray to Hashem, or to say some words of Torah? No. Has veshalom! But the rabbis are. These men can give ‘lovely’ shiurim that they have rehearsed. But they would not give a shiur without being paid for it.

    The true hachamim and rabbis of old, all actually worked at proper jobs and professions.

    Wake up! Even a little child could have worked this out. These salaried men can never truly stand for the Torah, because in a case of conflict between a correct course of action according to the Torah, and the rabbi or rav’s pocket – his pocket and position will always prevail.

    Pirkei Avot: (2:2)
    “Raban Gamliel beno shel Rabi Yehuda HaNassi omer: yafeh talmud Torah im derech eretz, sheyegiat shenaihem mashkachat avon. Vechol Torah she’ein imah melacha sofa betailah ve’goreret avon. Vechol haoskim im hatzibbur yiheyu imahem leShem Shamayim……”

    “Rabban Gamliel, the son of Rabi Yehuda HaNassi, said: It is good to combine Torah study with a worldly occupation, for working at them both drives sin from the mind. All Torah without an occupation will in the end fail and lead to sin. And let all who work for the community do so for the sake of Heaven………”

  16. When ‘dayanim’, ‘rabbis’ and false ‘mekubalim’ use the Torah for their own power and commercial profit, this behaviour is abhorrent.

    No other ‘rabbi’ will ever act against another ‘rabbi’ – even when he knows his colleague is clearly desecrating the Torah. Each rabbi is only worried about losing his own position.

    Therefore, the ‘rabbi’, ‘dayyan’ or false ‘mekubal’ (‘kabbalist’) will never effect justice. And he will never truly stand for the Torah or the Honour of Hashem. His pocket will always prevail.

    The Torah must never be used for commercial gain and profit. Amm israel can only be lead by those who have the necessary love and respect of Hashem and the Torah.

  17. My son learned in beis medrash until age 24. Shidduchim didn’t click, for whatever reasons. He decided he lived off of his parents for long enough. He has started his own business and remains a good frum boy living at home. BUT, despite the fact that he is honest, wouldn’t fool anybody that he got distracted and did not want to simply warm up a bench, I think the girls and their parents still insist on someone in yeshiva. Full time. This is a result of chinuch and you can’t fault it. It is unfortunate however that there are holes in this education whereby bochurim with integrity and maturity will be de-valued by our traditional standards.

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