Marry Younger, My Son, Marry Younger

This isn’t new, but I was hoping I’d feel capable of providing a comment other than “oy” when I posted it. After sitting on it for a few weeks, I’m just going to go with “oy.” (It’s such a perfect, general purpose word of despair.)

A kol korei signed by a whole bunch of big names calls for boys to marry by the age of 22.5 (yes, highly specific it is). Boys being the right word, given their age. The actual words in the text are “bochurim” and “girls.” (In the Hebrew it’s “bochurim” and “banot.” Why did I title this post “my son”? It should be “my bochur.” Am I being an angry feminist for thinking that the females should be given the honor of being referred to as “bachurot” or something equivalent?)

I suppose, from some perspectives, it makes little difference whether you’re in yeshiva at 23 or in kollel. Certainly, there are plenty of people who marry at 22 and manage pretty well. It might even get some young men ahead of things; instead of discovering they have three starving children and need a job at 30, they can do it at 25. And, most obviously, looking for a wife at the age of 20 doesn’t mean you’ll find one. Honestly, I don’t know why this bothers me at all.

…Oh wait. Could it be maybe that this is a rather crazy controlling reaction to an alleged shidduch crisis? (I mean, must we control our children down to the 0.5 year they marry? Really?)


HT to the Overland Parker


19 thoughts on “Marry Younger, My Son, Marry Younger

  1. I don’t usually comment, but the tone of this post really disturbed me. While there are definitely plenty of men who persist in staying in kollel longer than is good for their families (often at the insistence of their wives), to imply that this is the norm is unfair and

    Also, you can’t have it both ways. If being in yeshiva is the same as being in kollel, that means they are getting support (which has its own issues, don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan), in which case their children are not starving.

    I am not a fan of bachurim being pressured to consider shidduchim at any specific age, before they feel they are ready. I think it can lead to myriad problems down the road. I do understand where the motivation for trying to encourage it comes from, however.

  2. I found that recommendation of 22.5 to be highly destructive. When youngsters (whether working or learning) are being told to get married in the height of their untested youth, we are ignoring and exacerbating the current divorce rise.

    Divorces are no longer unheard of, and I think one factor (among many) is that marriage is not the simple enterprise it once was (because most people, in order to live, needed discipline. And our discipline is coming at a later age now, if at all. Marriage requires discipline in spades).

    The community continues to focus on symptoms of our own lack of emunah and bitachon instead of acknowledging that hey, even in Europe 100 years ago people did not get married at 21. So why are we pushing it now?

    Hashem spends all day arranging shidduchim, it is said. So why don’t we get out of His way?

  3. People should start dating as soon as they are ready to settle down & get married (obviously with certain age perimeters, say late teens to late twenties). Yeshivas should facilitate the process by teaching bochrim important life & marriage skills and not make up random start dates. This norishkat will not lead to anything good!

  4. Completely agree with SG above. Parents kicking kids out of the house so they can fend for themselves will speed up the maturing process.

  5. I agree that creating more rules is not a good idea, but I suspect there is a benefit to bous marrying younger. With many boys already doing things they shouldn’t as teenagers, I doubt most 30 year old single men have really managed to stay shomer negiah all that time.

  6. @b – I think it’s better for one to be single longer and sleep around than to enter marriage before one is ready and have a terrible marriage. There shouldn’t be a baseline age for getting married; it’s not like starting college at 18 where there’s one age for everyone. Some people take longer to mature and sort their priorities, and they shouldn’t feel pressured to make commitments for which they aren’t ready.

  7. “with many boys already doing things…”
    I fail to see why the message that they can’t be expected to control themselves when single, does not risk some kind of infidelity as well.

    By the way the k.k. says boys should *start* their search by 22.5 – not try to complete it by then.

  8. I guess I don’t know if they managed to break shmirat negiah, because for that you need to find a partner, but 2 men I considered dating- mid-20s and early 30s- were doing unsavory things online that could’ve led to offline actions. Both were yeshivish type, or morthodox machmir, one a BT.

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