Solution for the ‘Shidduch Crisis’

Once when Mark Twain was lecturing in Utah, a Mormon acquaintance argued with him o­n the subject of polygamy. After a long and rather heated debate, the Mormon finally said, “Can you find for me a single passage of Scripture which forbids polygamy?” “Certainly,” replied Twain. “‘No man can serve two masters.’”

ProfK posted a really long compilation of statistics to prove that indeed, there are more men than women around, skip the fluffy ‘generation gap’ explanation. Reams of numbers and statistics are always impressive, so I’ll be impressed.

Well, it seems to me that there’s a logical solution to “more men than woman”, and it’s not through paying men to marry women older than them. It’s an age-old practice and it’s called polygamy.

The cherem outlawing polygamy for Jews has, I believe, expired. So the only thing holding us back is civil law, an issue I’m sure can be dealt with. (Cults get away with it all the time…)

The beauty of polygamy is that it will actually reverse the “crisis”. First of all, it opens the shidduch scene to include married men. Immediately, that will fix the ratio problem. And since the ratio of men to women is nowhere near 2:1, if every second man marries two wives, there will, very soon, be less women than men looking to get married. Girls, instead of chasing men, will get chased. Within a single generation, women will have the luxury of sifting through lists of applicants to select the most favorable potential spouse. Nirvana!

In order to make this work, we just need some women to take the plunge on behalf of their sisthren. (Or whatever the equivalent of brethren is.) I would say sacrifice, but who says it is one? Can’t know unless you’ve tried it, right? Polygamy is an institution that has existed around the world for generations. It can’t be worse than being an old maid. With all the other shidduch crisis activism going on, isn’t it time we gave polygamy a spin?

Post below if you’re willing to join a new initiative based on the ideals of the past. When we get a staff together, I’ll commission a nice, .org website. JewishSpinstersForPolygamy.org or DaysOfYoreDating.org have a nice ring to them, I think.


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20 thoughts on “Solution for the ‘Shidduch Crisis’

  1. Youch! If this is written tongue in cheek or as satire, okay. But as an actual solution? Sorry, would not work. In the very few societies where polygamy is not forbidden the first wife is the head wife and has protections that subsequent wives do not have. If you are wife number two your position is shaky. I do believe that it was Sarah Imainu who, recognizing a threat in Hagar’s son to her own son, told her husband to get rid of Hagar. And Hashem concurred with Sarah. No job security in being the second wife.

    Do you really want to settle for only half a loaf? Half of the companionship, half of the income, half of the affection, half of the relationship? Do you really want your children to come second in their father’s eyes? Is pilegesh status really your dream come true? And do you really think that your best friend, if she had to share her husband with you, would remain so friendly? Dream on.

    The rabbanim settled this issue about ten years ago–they said “absolutely not.”

  2. Ahhh! No! No sharing. No no.
    Truthfully, in this day and age, things are a bit different that in the time of the Gemorah. This might help the shidduch crises but would not help marriages at all. There would be a shalom bayis crises, instead.

  3. Statistically there are more boys born. However historically, since men went to war (and due to childhood illnesses, and boys tend to have weaker constitutions), thus, there were more women of marriageable age in traditional societies. And then you add the whole agrarian society dynamic: more wives –> more hands to work the fields (and if you are an affluent member of society you can afford multiple wives).

    It is interesting to note that in some segments of Orthodox society, today, there are indeed more elligible men than women (i.e. in several of the Chassidishe sects and maybe in the Syrian community as well).

    Rabbeinu Gershom’s cherem lasted for 1,000 years — but why has the gender ratio of mainstream Ashkenazic Jewry shifted so dramatically?

  4. lol…

    for those of you who are taking this seriously, even way back when, most people did not have more than one wife. it was mostly the wealthier crowd.

    and even then, they were called senuah – they usually hated each other, or at least greatly disliked. the competition was immense…

  5. profk, just as a side point (tongue-in-cheek withstanding:)- the second wife was not necessarily a pilegesh. A pilegesh is a wife with no kesubah. It’s a status thing, nothing to do with the order.

  6. Interesting, the current issue of esquire had an blurb about legalizing polygamy. Their comment was that all the wealthy, desirable guys would wind up with 5 or 6 wives while everyone else would be “left out in the cold”. But hey, then you could have a reverse “shidduch crisis” and all the guys could have blogs.

  7. btw- did you know that in some old sefaradi comunities today (iran…) poligamy isn’t so unusual, there are actualy ppl who havr probs immagrating into western countrys cuz of it…

  8. Taking the married woman’s perspective, it would be nice to have others to share household and childrearing duties. However, jealousy would arise if the husband showed preference to one wife over the others (gifts, attention, etc.). Plus, although it would be nice to be able to “have a headache” sometimes with no resulting grumpy husband, cause he has a few spare mares in the barn – what wife would want to hear her husband banging the headboard with his other wives on a rotating basis? Nah! It would never work.

  9. …Reminds of the incident in Roughing It by Mark Twain where he visits Brigham Young and tries to offer a child a gift. Young immediately stops him, saying guests aren’t permitted to give any of his children gifts. Because once someone gave a whistle to one kid, and the mother of another kid accused him of favortism, and then the mother of the next kid and so on until he eight angry mothers and 35 kids blowing whistles and the trauma of the incident has never left him.

    It’s a great story, unfortunately marred by the unlikelihood of Twain getting to meet Brigham Young.

  10. Gotta love Twain 😀

    I don’t think the idea is that bad, to those of you who are shouting. The only glitch is that what was once an “expired cherem” is now an established practice among Jews, so it’s not as simple as some people taking the plunge.

  11. Well, at the time Young was the much-revered leader of the Mormon community while Twain was a gentile with an ironic attitude toward the Mormons bumming around the West doing anything for a penny. I suppose he *might* have met Young, but I suspect it’s more likely he heard the story or made it up and couldn’t resist telling it over. Surely you take your Twain with a bit of salt?

  12. I see you were weak in maths when you were attending school.
    There are more men than women.
    If you let men marry more than two wives…..this will decrease the number of women available. SO….you will still have more men than women.
    Your analysis=weak.

    Dan..good shidduch in your Syrian community= your cousin.

  13. Pingback: Endangered: The Male Specie « Bad for Shidduchim

  14. Pingback: My Solutions to the Shidduch Crisis « Bad for Shidduchim

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