Me Ibn Him Ibn Him Ibn Him

Who cares about yichus?

Just wondering. I can see where Chassidim would consider it a big deal, and maybe (maybe) some rosh-yeshivish families, but does anyone else really care?

My mother tried adding some family self-tooting to my shidduch profile (she said it couldn’t do any harm), but I deleted it very permanently (I think it looks too desperate). I think I have very cool (and even impressive) ancestors, but fairly mediocre yichus. (A few above average rabbi grandfathers/cousins/uncles doth not yichus make. Everyone has those, I suspect.) Besides, I’m not convinced it matters. And it rather lowers the tone – like I have nothing special to offer myself, so we need to drag the dead out of their graves to help.

Does anyone here look for parentage in their prospective dates? Do you know anyone who does? Anyone who’s been turned down for lack of it?

28 thoughts on “Me Ibn Him Ibn Him Ibn Him

  1. You are right that yichus is important in chassidish or certain yeshivish circles. Certain guys may say no to a girl if he thinks there are family scenarios he doesn’t want to deal with, like divorce. I have heard this a while back and I repeat it all the time: Yichus is like a bunch of zeros; worthless unless you have a ‘1’ in front of it. A guy can have beautiful lineage but if he himself doesn’t live up to it, then it’s all for naught.

  2. Heh, I was turned down once.
    I’d gone out with a guy a few times, and he was definitely interested in continuing, when his parents got a little nervous that he seemed so interested in a girl they knew very little about and so they called up a reference and started asking very specific questions about that kind of thing, and well, my family’s status just didn’t measure up to what they were looking for.

    Funny thing was, a few years later my sister married into a family who truly does have connections to real yichus, and they could care less about the lack of it in our family.

    It’s just so silly. You are marrying the person, not their grandfather or whichever ancestor. (And when it comes to something like a divorce, Sara K, everybody has some kind of “scenario” in their family.)

  3. I personally know a woman who married into a family with yichus. It didn’t work out and ended in divorce. It seems he just didn’t know that you cannot strike your wife.

  4. I know people who had trouble due to yichus, especially those who are themselves baalei teshuva or their parents were. It makes a difference to some people.
    And then you have the flip side that some baalei teshuva want yichus for themselves, for a stable and profoundly Yiddish family life.

    Yichus is who your ancestors were- but if you don’t reflect that, then it’s a bunch of 000 without a 1.

  5. A good friend was pursued for years by a guy who was very into her yichus. (She eventually married him, but I’m convinced that was because she was in her late twenties and was worried that she’d never find someone she really loved who loved her.) He liked other things about her as well, but repeatedly expressed particular interest in her exceedingly elite family tree, although it’s on her mother’s side, so going back to her grandfather, g’grandfather, gg, etc. To be honest, I found his interest in my friend’s family a bit creepy – I’d have preferred that she marry someone who loves her for herself, rather than for her great-grandparents.

    I have no particular yichus. My husband definitely does, and is quite proud of it – we occasionally get asked about it when we meet people, as he’s a direct male-line descendant of the rav in question and so has the same last name. I personally couldn’t care less, and am much more impressed by the learning and personal growth accomplished by my husband than I am by the (definitely remarkable) achievements of his great-grandfather, who died fifty years before my husband was born.

  6. Yichus? I’ll just repeat what my RY said. “So your great-great-great-great-great-grandfather was (insert famous gadol). That’s nice. But you also had a dozen other great-great-great-great-great-grandfathers. What about them?

  7. I don’t tell anyone about my wonderful Yichus. My grandparents were truly tzadikim. I don’t tell anyone because I am embarrassed that I am not worthy enough to lick their shoes clean.

  8. Hm, I don’t care about yichus, would also date a girl who comes from a very modern family, if she’s more frum/heimish ( not sure if that counts, but in the end of the day it probably does). But recently somebody offered a girl who’s mother is a giyoret but they are otherwise apparently a quite normal frum family, and my parents ( both! and my father is not normally that type) were sceptical about it. I must I also have some slight prejudices…
    The argument was, that if you’re already playing the shidduch game you don’t go into such a thing (as oposed to if I’d meet her somewher and like her etc. it might have been OK) – what do you guys think?

  9. I don’t think anyone cares whether there are tzaddikim in your yichus. They just want to know that you’re a pedigreed Jew. Some will insist that the parents, maybe even grandparents, be FFB. But rabbanim? Though name recognition could help you get around, I haven’t heard anyone ask for it.

  10. Yichus – n – Yee-khus: A name likely to be recognized, if not immediately, then with little inquiry. Generally associated with status, eg: the rabbinate or comparable community influence.

    Sometimes more generally described as acceptable ancestry, but that’s too amorphous and subjective to define. In shidudchim, it is the case where the doings of your forbears is heavily weighted alongside your own.

  11. My dad’s answer way back when about yichus was a simple one: Yichus atzmo was what was important.

  12. vayzata; Going out with a baal teshuva or someone from a very modern background is a very personal thing; each person/family has to decide if it’s something they would be comfortable with or could make work. However, when it comes to geirus, there are a lot of halachic inyanim that can have very serious ramifications. I think that’s why people may be more hesitant to get involved…

  13. I don’t know for sure if I’ve ever been turned down because of my (lack of) yichus, but then, I don’t date in Shidduchville, so it’s a little less of an issue. My sister was, but it led to her meeting her actual husband, so she was glad in the end. 🙂

  14. I think the value of Yichus is a little like rooting for a particular team because of their history, even though a new generation of players may have arrived. Sometimes it makes sense; other times, it’s meaningless.

    I do think sports teams have personalities and pedigrees, but only if the expectations, methodologies and victories remain consistent.

    If not, you’re just rooting for a ball club because it’s your hometown and therefore an accident of birth.

    Sometimes you are automatically elevated because you’ve been traded to a team with a rich history, but that means nothing, and is fleeting, if you don’t produce on the ball field. At the end of the day, it’s all about personal stats.

    If I’m a ballplayer, I can be proud of being on a particular team, but I may not want a lot of scrutiny if I’m having a bad year or career.

    If you want someone for whom yichus is important, then by all means, mention it, if you think you can get a second look by a talent scout, and get a better contract.

    But then you better deliver. Personally, I think people are more impressed by those players with less bluster and who quietly become leaders by example and hard work.

  15. According to B4’s def, I don’t have yichus, but I think most of us have yichus.
    When I heard about my Zeidy at his funeral, known as a “regular Orthodox American businessman” I realized that he may not have “name recognition,” but I certainly have Yichus. EVerything he did for others made me my yichus.

    Considering my [other] grandmother’s happy-go-lucky attitude after surviving the holocaust, losing her husband at a young age, and having her young son taken from her before his 10th birthday, and the amount of Bitachon and Ahavas Hashem and Ahavas Chayim that she maintains: THAT is Yichus.

  16. Ahuva K – I’m inclined to agree with you. An extraordinary person ought to count as yichus. And in that way, I’ve got more than enough. But in the shidduch world, they don’t.

  17. (And when it comes to something like a divorce, Sara K, everybody has some kind of “scenario” in their family.)

    There are absolutely guys out there who insist that a girl’s parents be married before they will date them. Believe me, I’m not making that up.

  18. Oh, I believe it, Sara K. It’s just so short sighted, anybody has some kind of skeleton buried in their family’s past if you dig deep enough.

    Also, just to add onto my above post, my parents are typical yeshivish, my family is FFB from way back, so yeah, the guy’s family was looking for something extra, not just a pedigree– so yes, there are people like that, Bas Melech.

  19. Ari, I liked that way od explaining it.

    Ahuva number 18 and Bad4number 19, I definitely agree with you.

    Coming from a family with *huge* Chassidish yichus on both sides, (most of which I didn’t know abou until a few weeks ago), I definitely have a lot to say about this.
    My personal family- that is, my wonderful parents, never focused on it nor told us that we were elite becasue of it. Rather, they told us that because we come from such great people, we have a lot to live up to. My mother in particular believes in spiritual DNA-
    “Torah chozeres l’Achsanya Shelah.” I definitely see that happening, but as Ahuva and bad4 commented, there can be many extraprdinary people who just never got the “name”.
    Outside of my immediate family, the yichus was a big deal in an interesting kind of way: we always joke that we are of royal blood etcetera etcetera, and it is a huge source of entertainment for my equally wonderful close-knit family, but thank God it never played itself out of much importance in shidduchim. We definitely have some members of the family who take the yichus and use it as an apportunity for condescension and other-derision… But listen- we humans are not perfect.
    Personally, to tell you the truth, I think it very difficult to say that some people are more special than others simply because they have the “name”. I definitely think that people who stand in positions of Torah leadership deserve the respect for their scholarship and avodas haKlal, but every person has their own destiny in life, and passes their own stuggles and challenges. Not neccisarily is the person who lectures in front of the dias more of a self-developed person than the one who is listening quietly in the corner. Again, this is NOT NOT NOT saying that we should treat our Torah leaders as one of us, because their Torah knowledge sharpens their perspective in the perspective of truth(Humans are finite. By attaching ourselves to God’s infinite wisdom we gain clarity)and yes, are on a higher level than us in that respect, and don’t deserve the constant disrespect that we give them. Is our ego so frail that we cannot take when someone is a step or two higher than us?

    Back to yichus- I think you should appreciate who you are and where you come from. In terms of shidduchim- well, you want a person who comes from a nice family because that is what he will emulate. But there are nice people all over, not all of them have names. It’s nice, as a side point, but you’re marrying the person, not his yichus.

  20. By the way, a true fan of the game of baseball, for example, will appreciate the player who quietly gets the most hits, or is on base most often, or has good fielding skills.

    Yes, the fellow who gets the most home runs will get everyone’s attention, and their team will run commercials about their slugger. But that’s just a small part of the game, and is marketing designed to appeal to the masses.

    Yes, shiduchim is an exercise in marketing, and if you’re in it, you have to play the game, but think carefully about who you want to appeal to and how you want to play the game and market yourself.

  21. “However, when it comes to geirus, there are a lot of halachic inyanim that can have very serious ramifications. I think that’s why people may be more hesitant to get involved…”

    Well obviously yeah in terms of first generation geirim (cohanim etc), but in terms of yichus (ie. if someone has a gyoret as a parent)???

    In the context of a standard orthodox conversion what precisely would those consequences be for the second generation? None that any of my learning has ever encountered…

    Myself, I come from a family with seeerious yichus on my father’s side, but my mother is a geyoret… and hardly anyone knows – and my mother told me point blank that she wasn’t going to have it mentioned in reference to shidduchim; she felt that it was both halachically irrelevant and indeed improper to mention it.

    But coming from an established family in my community I never thought there would be many who would seriously see an issue in it… but apparently not!

  22. A Ger/Gyoret might actually have thought about why they are Jewish. Hmmm, might be too much to handle.

  23. Pingback: Friday Repost: Seriously? Yichus? | Bad for Shidduchim

  24. Syrians don’t marry gerim or anyone descended from gerim. I could rant about it, but what’s the point? I’m against basing shidduch decisions on yichus, but maybe that’s because my family is full of gerim, BTs, and OTDs. Well, if they want to make their decision based on my family, I don’t want to marry them anyway.

  25. Pingback: Repost: Listing Yichus Lowers the Tone | Bad for Shidduchim

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