Da’as Torah

Shimmy is a divorced ba’al teshuva with obviously nerdy tendencies. His five-page introspective dossier describes everything remotely important about him and his dream future spouse, qualified anything about him that might seem unbecoming, and apologized gently for his shortcomings. “Because of this, I have been advised to only look for a girl from a whole family. I think I would like her to be from a very special family.” Further along, he explained that he’s been advised not to date ba’alei Teshuva or divorced women or women from broken homes.

“Basically, he’s being a bit of a snob, and he’s justifying it by saying his rabbi told him so?” I asked. I wasn’t very impressed by that. Granted, I wouldn’t have been impressed either if he’d just been a snob without justification. But you get a smidgen more respect if you stand up for your snobbishness, instead of hiding behind someone with a wide beard.

“That’s nothing,” DIT said. She’d once gone out with a guy who had liked her so much he’d asked her out for a second date at the end of the first. Later on in the week he called, ostensibly to plan the when and where, but… “My rebbe tells me I shouldn’t continue to date you, so I don’t want to go out again after all.”

My response: “You should have said, ‘But my rabbi said to marry you! Maybe we should call a bais din so they can decide what to do.'”

The cyborg yeshiva guy is not as unusual as you’d hope. Somehow too many step beyond the “having someone to ask” position to the “keeping a manager on speed dial” state. When a guy talks about his rebbe’s vision for his life in his shidduch profile, you can just shake your head and move on. But sometimes the influence is a little more subtle. Like the woman who found herself on a date with a Chofetz Chaim boy… and his entire hanhala.

We believe that there’s nothing more important than strengthening the community,” he said. We also had beliefs on internet, child-rearing, and current events. If every Chofetz Chaim boy is like this then dating them is especially easy. You merely verify that your hashkafos match up with the yeshiva line, and then speed date your way through the student body until you find a personality that you like. It’s actually not a bad thing.

But there does come a point when you want to tap a guy’s head to check if there’s anything inside, and demand to know, “Yes, but what do you think?”


21 thoughts on “Da’as Torah

  1. I went to a number of yeshivos, and have always been taught to think for myself. Not by everyone, but by enough that the point gets across. The problem is the people who don’t want to think for themselves, so they find people who are willing to think for them.

  2. bad4, right on target. i’ve found that whenever a guy takes a long time to give an answer to the shadchan, it usually means no–it takes a while b/c he was trying to reach his rebbe. incidentally, i rarely receive feedback in this kind of circumstance, and i’ve learned that thats most probably because there is none. rebbe said no. Im all for asking for eitzah and guidance, but this mindless, spineless running around that our “boys” do is a massive excuse for “daas torah”.

  3. My Rosh Yeshiva in Israel really encouraged that all the guys learn to properly think for themselves. I’ve seen far too many people, both guys and girls, who default to whatever their rabbeim/teachers/mothers tell them to do and don’t develop any sense of their own personality and decision making. It’s a terrible thing to be so controlled by someone, and often, I’ve heard that these people in turn will be very controlling of their spouses – forcing him/her to follow the opinion of that dominating authority figure. This has got to stop.

  4. Oh well, but a loser like this makes it obvious what he’s like and you can stay away from him. It’d be worse if someone taught him to hide the fact that he asks his rabbi before he blows his nose….

  5. Oh, please.

    I get this far more often from girls who cannont make a move, or make inexplicable moves, based on what they were told to do by their (pick one: dating coach/dating mentor/rebbetzin/newly married brother). Among thousands of shidduchim red, I have repeatedly gotten this from girls, never from boys, including the several Chofetz Chaim boys for whom I’ve red shidduchim.

  6. Yeah, I thought this was much more common with girls. But I do often talk to my rabbaim about dating, especially when it gets more serious. I think it’s always a good idea to have another opinion, especially a religious one, who may see things you do not. If my rebbi told me not to keep dating someone for certain reasons I would weigh those reasons and speak with others to see if he was perhaps correct. Often one gets lost in “love” and tends to ignore certain things. It could be his rav pointed certain things out to him and let it known to him that perhaps these are signals. And once the boy saw it, he agreed. If he just stam got a no from his rav with no reasoning or thought from his own side, then he’s a fool. But I still strongly believe that a rav is a very important tool.

    Lol, but I actually was dating this girl and on the second date she asked to take a bite from my plate. I happen to be a bit of a germaphobe so I said absolutely not. I told this to one of my rabbaim later and he said I should break it off because I’m a germaphobe, so it will not work out. I did not listen to this! I still speak to him because he is very bright and often can help me along with things, but certain things he says are quite humorous, i.e., that comment.

  7. It is definitely a wonderful thing to ask for daas torah about dating uncertainties, but one has to use one’s common sense and make sure that this is not done at someone else’s expense. A friend of mine was dating this guy and they had already gone out on 5 dates, when the guy took 3 days to get back to her about a 6th date because his rav was on vacation and he could not get through to him. The Rav had ordered him not to give an answer before consulting him first. Is it fair of the Rav to demand such a thing if he knows he cannot always be available? What about the girl? It’s almost as though she is a prop in the play instead of a main character…

  8. (I Mean this in the Nicest way possible =constructive criticism)
    So you do not like going to Shiurim or guys who ask Rabbis even though basic logic would say to seek out other people who are older and wiser and have dealt with Shidduchim and or Sholom Bayis problems thereafter with experience (Being the Rebbi they tend to know your Dates personality better then himself as people do not see their own short comings) but that’s not for you Maybe your smarter then everyone or maybe there is a larger problem Here?( I suggest you reflect on the point in the earlier parentheses and maybe even look into Pirkie Avos)

  9. It’s really unfair for a rebbi to tell a guy to end a relationship when he has only heard the guy’s side. It takes two people to have a relationship and the people involved should be able to have a conversation about where the relationship is going.

  10. YUer – you have a very valid point but i think what bad4 is talking about is when people constantly refer to rabbanim on issues that are basically common sense. and the sad truth is that sometimes the rabbanim make mistakes as well – this doesnt mean that you shouldnt go to them for guidance but rather you should not ignore your gut. after all, Hashem gave us our brains for a reason…

  11. Best4:

    First of all, because she seems to imply it is an unfair thing done only by males.

    Number two, because the boys she refers to are asking rabbanim, who presumably are in a position to give advice. The girls to whom I referred are asking self-appointed dating coaches, mentors, woman who happen to be married to men with smicha, and siblings who became “experts” as soon as they got married. I can appreciate the value of daas Torah, and have never seen a rebbe do any of the unreasonable things mentioned here (although I am not denying that individuals had the experiences mentioned). But I have seen coaches, mentors, etc. suggest that couples are not meant to be if the girl is not feeling as excited as she was 2 dates ago (the couple is happily married) or that the girl insist on dates 2 nights in a row (“really, it’s better that way”!), or that girls really resent meeting a boy’s parents before the couple gets engaged (because this individual’s wife did; the girl in question, however, was really happy to), etc. To me, there is a large difference between asking a carefully chosen wife, and speaking to a self-appointed expert, whose advice may break off a shidduch that is meant to be, or, worse, push together a couple that is not.

  12. Random Shadchan:

    I think Bad4’s point here was that many boys are either not thinking for themselves or they’re hiding behind someone else’s authority – and lack their own conviction.

    I highly doubt Bad4 would argue with the point that both boys and girls commonly receive bad advice while dating.

    And it’s important for a guy / girl to be able to think for themselves because even if the person they ask is wise – the only source they have to go on is what the guy / girl tells them.

    Not sure we’re disagreeing at all, frankly.


  13. Best4:

    No, we’re not. I’m just pointing out that it’s not as one-sided as it appears to be in the original post, and that whom you ask is important. The truth is, the boys who don’t make any decision, large or small, without consulting daas Torah should marry girls who respect that way of life, and are looking for it themselves. I’m just not sure whom the girls who don’t move without consulting their brothers should marry!

  14. Hmm. None of my three sisters have that quality.

    (Ahem, ahem, Bad4. Maybe that’s a new direction you should consider. Everything in moderation, of course.)


  15. Pingback: The Final Word in Halacha | Bad for Shidduchim

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