Remarkable Replies

We often make fun of dumb shidduch questions. Because, let’s face it, they can be strange. What animal would she be? Why did his grandparents move to the USA? Why did she go to that seminary if she’s supposed to be smart? But sometimes the answers you get are even stranger.

Like the mother of a son who was somewhat put out to be told: “She would scrub toilets to support Torah!”

An excellent sentiment, no doubt. The sort of thing aidel bais yaakov maidels are encouraged to anticipate with great joy on a regular basis. But the mother of this son had not graduated bais yaakov recently. Thus, she found the image of her daughter-in-law on her knees enthusiastically scrubbing toilets for a living while her son learned a little off-putting.

While investigating a young woman for Also4, my mother once found herself listening to a description of the perfect family: nine children, the mother a loving housewife, the father in the bais midrash studying. A charming family portrait in muted oil colors. Only one thing was missing.

“Uh, how do they pay their bills?” Mother asked.

“The apartment is paid for,” the neighbor said. “There aren’t many expenses after that.”

“Really,” the Mater said. The conversation was beginning to leave the world she knew, but had not yet dived into the Twilight Zone. “But even so, they must have some sort of income. Nine children?”

“Well, not all of them are still at home,” the neighbor pointed out. “Really, they don’t need much.”

My mother raised a mere five children herself, and never got the impression that we didn’t need much. Especially when we were teenagers and it was supper time. Or lunch time. Or breakfast time. Or snack time. Or any time between.

“Not much, but something!”

“Well, it’s not for you or I to ask,” the neighbor said primly.

Okay, we have arrived. Play the theme music.

“Really,” said the Mater.

“That’s code for ‘he sends naïve yeshiva bochurim to Japan with drugs,’” I suggested. (I was at the kitchen table having a mid-morning, post-snack nibble.)

“They do live in Bnei Brak,” the Mother said thoughtfully.

We tried to put a positive spin to vagrancy. It was difficult. I  mean, that was a common conviction of Jazz era gangstas. It bodeth not well.

Of course it is possible that they wear clothing from a gemach, eat out of Yad Eliezer packages, use electricity only for emergencies, and live off their child tax credits. That would be better than trafficking illegal substances – by a photo-finish margin.

So Also4 went out with the Future Convict’s Daughter.

Nothing came of it.

We were all very relieved.

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Back to Kollel

I recently looked around at all my non-kollel friends and did a little count. The count was to find how many, among these non-kollel couples, are predominantly, equally, or at least sufficiently supported by the husband.

Granted, it’s hard to be sure without nosing into people’s finances. But then again, not as much as you’d think. I mean, sometimes a guy is pretty obviously not raking it in. And sometimes it’s pretty obvious that a woman is.

The results were disappointing. I dunno if it’s men in general or just my friends’ men, but guys seem to get a slow start in the income department. Which left me wondering, if the learner-earners don’t earn, why not go the kollel route?

I know that’s entirely the wrong thought process, but the main reason I lean away from full-time learners is because I don’t think it makes much sense for mothers to be full-time workers. If I’m doomed anyway, might as well let the hubby spend his time learning…