The Final Word in Halacha

Some people took issue with my Da’as Torah post, because it seemed to suggest that men are prone to handing their minds over to their rabbeim for safekeeping. This is hardly my position on the matter. As a woman, I tend to hear bad-date stories from women, hence most of my posts are from the female perspective “OMG can you believe this guy?” However, having attended a bais yaakov, I know perfectly well how far off the deep end women can dive.

One gentleman learned this himself on a date with a nice aidel girl. Conversation flowed until they had a hashkafic disagreement on a matter of ba’al tashchis. Suddenly, she withdrew and wouldn’t answer him with more than a grunt. After some monologuing at her, he gave up and dropped her off at home. He wasn’t sure what went wrong, but he had a feeling that she hadn’t been rendered speechless by awe and admiration.

“I think it’s a no,” he told the shadchan. “She went mute at 7:49pm.”

The shadchan did the post-mortem and came back with the results:

“While she was dating you,  and there was a potential for marriage, there was toeles to your conversation. But once she decided that she didn’t want to marry you, she had no heter  to speak to men, so she stopped.”

I have to say, I’m impressed by the strength of conviction  of this young lady, and I just hope she doesn’t work in social services or any sector where pleasant but unnecessary conversation is part of the job. Either way, she’s now happily married to a man she can talk to as much as she pleases.



20 thoughts on “The Final Word in Halacha

  1. Truth is stranger than fiction.

    How about teaching a bit of chochma / wisdom? In Mishlei, Shlomo Hamelech tells us that wisdom is knowing what trait to use when.

    Isn’t there a to’eles in treating another person with a bit of respect? To say some considerate version of “Thanks, but no thanks” so he’s not left wondering, confused and maybe insulted like that?

    Alas, it’s hard to teach wisdom. You need to see it modeled. And we’re far short on models.


  2. Someone once asked r yaakov kamenetzsky that question and his response was “you have to be a mentch”

    Tachlis would be the assumption that the guy or girl who was muted out has friends who may talk about how weird they were

  3. I second Ezzie’s comment.

    I also think that since girls are notorious over-analyzers, I find that they can’t (or won’t) form their own opinions until they talk it over with friends. But then, they talk it over with married friends because single friends don’t have the same perspective as marrieds. And then they talk it over with a teacher from seminary, because newly-marrieds have different perspectives than longer-marrieds. Yet, throughout all of this, the girl who is actually dating does not have the confidence in herself to say either yes or no, so she relies on lots of different opinions and doesn’t make a decision — or makes a stupid one based on what one person said that one time.

    Also, I feel like dating decisions seem to weigh way more heavily on girl’s heads than boys. Like, if a boy says no (or gets a no), he’ll always have another resume thrust at him and he can take as long as he likes. But if a girl says no, she might end up a spinster, which is seen as possibly the worst fate a frum girl can suffer.

    I’m not saying any of this justifies bad middos, but I do think lack of thinking (or misguided thinking) is prevalent amongst both of the genders, just for different reasons.

  4. @Ezzie – 🙂
    Agree with Mrs. Stupid Inventor, as well, for young girls. Some cannot make their own decisions at all and they think they will end up an old maid if they don’t get married within a year of starting to date.

  5. That story is insane, but doesn’t surprise me. It’s certainly one of those stories worth adding to the compendium of crazy dating tales, like the girl who takes the car keys at the red light to “test” the guy.

  6. this story is definitely classic! Reminds me- I once went out with a guy who shares an office with 3 girls who won’t talk to him, so that when the phone rings, if the line is for him they’ll send him an email to let him know

  7. @Mrs. Stupid Inventor
    I used to think that just in general, girls over-analyze more than guys. But in my “dating experience” it’s always been the guys who can’t get back to the person who set it up. I’ll get home, think if I had a good/reasonable/bad time and say yes or no usually by the end of the night or the morning after. Then I’ll be waiting forever for the guy to get back to the shadcan.
    So either the guys are just lazy or forgetful or over-analyze just as much as we do.

  8. @ observer- I’m not sure. He might have been exaggerating a little but then again, maybe not. He did say one of them was planning on quitting her job because he had joined the staff and she felt it was inappropriate to be working in the same setting as a guy.
    Interestingly, I argued his point and said he should respect someone who wants to maintain certain standards, even if they seem a little extreme. regardless of whether the standards are 100% logical/practical and based on halacha or something extra. The basis of my argument was that had it been the other way around, and the girls were being overly friendly with him, he probably would not have minded and just thought they were cool and fun. I think many people have a double standard… I may be wrong though

  9. @B&N – Oh, I one hundred percent agree, I was just commenting on girls since this was a crazy girl story as opposed to a crazy guy. 🙂 I find though that guys wont overanalyze as much as just put it off because they don’t want to deal with it. I’m sure some are getting advice from their rebbeim, but I feel like many are also just not proactive because as I mentioned, the stakes aren’t as high to them.

    Either way, there are many silly reasons why people are silly on dates.

  10. The biggest irony, of course, is that one she does get married she’ll find herself talking to far more single and married men than she ever talked to while single herself. Unless, I guess, if she is the type to hide in the kitchen or eat at a seperate shabbos table, but that doesn’t even happen in most yeshivish crowds.

  11. I personally would not ask my rebbe whether to marry a certain girl. To ask whether to go into the working field-that I would. Its not that I don’t respect da’as torah-just that I’m the one who has to make that decision, I’m the one that’s going to have to live with it, not him. I don’t understand those people who do ask their rebbe in this area.
    But in my “dating experience” it’s always been the guys who can’t get back to the person who set it up. I’ll get home, think if I had a good/reasonable/bad time and say yes or no usually by the end of the night or the morning after. Then I’ll be waiting forever for the guy to get back to the shadcan.
    So either the guys are just lazy or forgetful or over-analyze just as much as we do.”
    I think I can shed some light from my perspective…. If asked right away some guys might feel pressured. If they say no- then they have to have a good enough reason, If they say yes- not necessarily do they really want to go out- Its just that they haven’t had time to think about it, and shaddchunim call you almost right after the date asking you why you didn’t get back to them right away…..etc (but again- that’s just my perspective).

  12. Lol, that’s a great story! Wish that had happened to me!

    Remember how girls are too kind to express when they want something (i.e., the bathroom)? So here’s a way to get the guy to take you home without asking! Just shut your mouth until he gets the hint!

  13. Some guys just don’t get the hint even if you say it explicitly. I was once on an excruciatingly painful summer friday afternoon date, and once I’d completely had enough, I suggested we cut it a little short, since we both had to get ready for shabbos, and he just said, “Oh don’t worry, the shadchan said you were making late shabbos”!!

  14. A comparable story made the rounds many many many years ago. A very short time after a girl arrived in Israel, she was set up on a date with someone. She was new in Israel and totally unfamiliar with the streets in Jerusalem. They were walking around (I believe) Kiryat Moshe at night talking, when all of a sudden she realized that she was alone. In the dark. On unfamiliar streets. With no way to make calls (the days of pay-phones and asimonim [call tokens]). And no idea what to do or how to get back to where she was staying. Eventually she made it home. It turned out that once the boy realized she would not be for him, it was no longer “leto’eles” for him to be walking with her so he simply walked away without saying anything to her.
    Stupidity and self-centeredness are unfortunately universal…

  15. This still tops ’em all:

    I saw the guy, standing there with a gemora that he just had to bring with him just to make sure that I wont miss the fact that he’s into LEARNING.
    He approached me very shyly and indroduced himself.
    He never looked at me.
    Hmmmm, I thought.
    I followed him inside, wondering whether I’m dressed so untzniusly that he cant bring himself to look at me.
    I glanced down at myself, reassured that I was wearing a long-sleeved, high-collared shirt and a long, long skirt with no slits or even any designs, of a very dull colour, or at least not screamingly red; and not, as he made out, a bright yellow hi-leg bikini, and sat down.
    He still didnt look at me.

    And because he was looking down so studiously, and his black Borsalino hat was covering that much of his face, I could just about make out the general structure of his chin.
    Which is not enough for me. I mean, this guy might be my husband. We might have to have children together, and am I never going to know how they’re going to turn out??
    He was beginning to seriously piss me off.

    He spoke softly, and addressed me – in third person.
    Kind of like how I talk to my Rabbi.
    ‘So,’ he said to me, ‘can _____ tell me about herself a little?’
    Studying the table intently.
    ‘No,’ I said, ‘she cannot.’
    ‘But I can.’ I added pointedly.
    I told him a little about myself and when he persisted in addressing me by my name and STILL IN THIRD PERSON, I kind of hit the roof.
    I said, ‘So tell her, why does he talk to her as if he’s addressing his Rabbi?’
    He mumbled something about its being respectful, and he was a very respectful kind of guy.
    ‘Wonderful,’ I said. ‘But considering the fact that we might, just might, one day get married, dont you think its even a little appropriate to talk to me AS IF I’M HERE?’
    My voice rose slightly.
    He respectfully agreed with me, and apologized to the table very sincerely.
    He didnt even know what I looked like.

    ‘So,’ he continued, ‘what is _______ doing with herself besides for learning at seminary?’
    ‘You mean, what am I (I! I! I!) doing with myself?’
    ‘Yes,’ he replied, gently tracing the pattern of the tablecloth.
    I mean, I could have belly-danced around this guy for all the difference it would have made.

    I decided to be blunt.
    ‘So tell me,’ I said, ‘why dont you look at me?’
    He told me something about a personal vow he had taken, one that involved not looking at girls, anywhere, ever.
    I was understanding. I said, ‘Yes, but if you’re on a shidduch, and you may end up marrying the girl, dont you think its allowed and perhaps even necessary to look at the girl?’
    ‘Perhaps,’ he muttered, ‘perhaps.’

    I realized I was going to have to be a little harsher with him.
    I said some things to him, in a very strong tone of voice, about the difference between wearing yellow bikinis and high-neck, long sleeved shirts in dull colours, and about how one of the basics of marriage is being somewhat ATTRACTED to the person, and about how I was personally offended at the fact that he was treating me like some sheigitz off the streets… things to that effect.
    He agreed with me wholeheartedly from somewhere within his hat, and nodded constantly.

    When kindness and extreme bluntness dont work for me, I generally realise that
    a) this person has a very thick skin and
    b) I have to be even worse about things, which is usually unpleasant for both parties involved.

    I yelled some things about how dumb he was, how un-Toradik his behaviour was, how unacceptable the whole situation was, and how was he ever going to get married if he didnt look at the girl, with some asides about how he was going to have to rethink his approach to Judaism in general and girls in particular, and then I said Thank you very much for such a wonderful evening of Chizuk and Mussar, and I got up and left.

    Without ever knowing what he looked like.

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