The Shidduch System

It works.

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Comments (41)

(41) Anonymous, November 14, 2012 11:02 AM

Great movie - says it all

Hi, I saw a great movie the other day about this topic, it's about a Hindu man who believes in the idea of an 'arranged marriage' and he explores all the benefits spoken about by Rabbi Yaakov Salomon in this video. It's called "When Harry gets married". I'm committed to the Shidduch system and writing more here:

(40) Kanwarjeet Singh, December 23, 2010 6:35 PM

Well said

Dear Rabbi - I belong to the Sikh faith and I agree 100%. Well said. Some of us in the Sikh faith follows the same arranged marriage system where in the parents do the formal introduction and then it is left to the children to make their choice.

(39) Anonymous, December 7, 2010 12:43 AM

agree with author of "the real problem"

I wholeheartedly agree with the poster of "the real problem", unfortunately this is not a problem that is getting the attention it requires. Too many women being pressured to sell themselves short and get treated as objects. This is a by product of secular values but somehow got passed on as an expectation with regards to shiduchim. I don't think that we are creating better Jewish homes in enabling this sexist/ageist model as the ideal. The only way this is going to change is when " good frum women" en masse learn to say no. I am confident that such a development would propel klal Yisroel to a higher spiritual stature.

(38) Anonymous, June 1, 2009 7:31 PM

Consult your Local Orthodox Rabbi

I read a few interesting comments here. Consult your local Orthodox Rabbi before taking anything too seriously on this board.

(37) Jane, April 27, 2009 8:27 PM

actually, I agree

I do not come from a religious family, yet I think Rabbi Salomon has a point -parents and other members of the community should be involved in looking for good matches for their grown children (assuming the children are amenable to the idea). It drives me crazy how my mother always nags me about getting married, yet she has never set me up with anyone despite her large social circle of friends with sons my age. I've met boyfriends on my own, but my mother is often critical about them, saying they're not good enough or whatever. I feel like my parents have my best interests at heart, and I would appreciate their participation instead of their criticism!

(36) Suzanne Adler, April 26, 2009 10:01 AM

Yes, mostly

I agree with the caveat that the person being set up should be the one to choose those who do the setting up and not be socially pressured into accepting the dates set up by anyone who has decided that they "really know" the person being set up. I actually told my parents when I was a teenager that I would prefer an arranged marriage (and yes, I heard you when you said these are not arranged marriages. I just can't go back in time and change what I said to my parents) because while my friends were busy dating, I did not feel I had the maturity to read a guy well enough to avoid the myriad of dangerous situations nor was I sure that what I valued at that point would be the same 5, 10 years later. I knew my beliefs would hold steady but values, dreams, etc. change so I preferred that someone else make the choice for me. Wisely, my parents declined the offer. (Although, I think when I hit 30 with still no pursuit of marriage my mother was beginning to wonder if she should have taken me up on it. :-D) On the flip side of the coin, I have struggled all my life to maintain proper boundaries while surrounded by well-intentioned people who insist that they know me better than I do and that I don't "really" know what I want. Most of these people had spent less than 2 hours in conversation with me including the exchange of niceities. They would say, I've known you for six months or a year or more but if you add up the time they actually spent "getting to know me" it was miniscule. So my one caution in regards to this is that they needs to be some system to restrain those who will take advantage of someone else's compliant nature or desire not to offend so that they can have fun playing dolls with that person's life

(35) Anonymous, April 26, 2009 8:46 AM

The Real Problem

isn't necessarily the systems, but the parties involved and their expectations. In the observant Jewish community, you have men (yes, it's mostly the men) with grossly inappropriate expectations, when it comes to age and looks, and who do not understand, or are not willing to "admit" what or who is "suitable" for them. Then there are the shadchans, who try to bully women (who often simply just want to marry someone compatible, of their own age, etc.) into meeting men old enough to be their fathers, and then are denigrated because they refuse to do so. The system is corrupt because of the actions and expectations of certain people involved.

(34) Anonymous, April 26, 2009 2:34 AM

I agree- it comes after the wedding

My husband and I were set up through a shidduch, my friend and her finance just "met and fell in love". I have to say that if you would have looked at both us couples when we were engaged, you would have said they were way more "in love". They were goo-goo eyed and all over each other, while we were sincerely happy, but still had the distance that comes through being shomer nigiah and having certain barriers. 7 years later, they are still married, but their romance and passion has unfortunately petered out- what can beat that newness of being engaged and "in love"? We, on the other hand, feel our love and closeness gets stronger and deeper every day. Same with the passion aspect. It takes dedication, but it's what you build with after the wedding.

(33) Me, April 26, 2009 12:53 AM

No, it doesn't

It doesn't work. Not well enough. Too many wonderful girls are suffering in this system. Sitting home for months, without dates. OPEN YOUR EYES!!! Too much checking is happening. Not enough actual meeting.

(32) Anonymous, April 26, 2009 12:04 AM

we need a balance..

i was totally shocked to find out that in my small neighborhood alone, 3 recent orthodox/shidduch marriages had ended in divorce in the first year. i grew up modern frum, but we also "met friends" on our own. i agree that we have to find a balance between the shidduch world and the "old fashioned modern" way of setting up our friends and meeting in "kosher atmospheres". i cant believe that the shidduch crisis would be as bad as it is right now, if shidduchim was the only way to go. we truly need to find "kosher venues' for people of all ages and backrounds to meet. i applaud Gateways and other kiruv organizations that organize shabbatons and attempt to blend the two different ways of thinking!!!!

(31) Anonymous, April 24, 2009 3:28 PM

Her role His role

Reb Yaakov, We live in times that people don't know the purpose and goal of marriage. As a great Godol said: most people spend more time planning a 2 week vacation than they spend planning thier lives. Couples need to spend time and understand what love is, and what their roles are. That would surely lower the divorce rate(as well as the marriage rate since people will now be afraid to get married). Keep up your great work.

(30) anonyomous, April 24, 2009 12:12 PM

I would like to think that we live in the 21st century. I think a marriage is based on mutual trust and understanding between husband and wife. Not between husband, wife, and a shadchan. When it comes down to it one depends on their spouse in marriage. If thats the case you should rely on yourself when finding your spouse. Its your life. Who is living it? You or the shadchan. You know whats best for you. Sometimes someone can suggest something for you, but its up to you to decide not someone else. Its your life not theirs.

(29) Esther, April 24, 2009 9:51 AM

Call it a "blind date" and it's less scary!

I was set up with my husband by a friend who knew that we were both looking to find a partner to marry. Was this a shidduch or a "set-up"? We're both frum, so we had marriage as our goal and got engaged after a few months. Again, I'm not sure if this was a shidduch or if we were "dating". Certainly, we were going out on dates with the goal of finding out whether or not we wanted to marry eachother - not just to pass the time! We've been married now for several years, bli ayin hara, and I can attest to one thing that's true for any marriage, no matter what its origins: LOVE GROWS WITH TIME. Oh, I was crazy about my husband when we got engaged. I would have said I was "in love". Well, many years and kids later, all I can say is - I had no idea what "in love" really meant back then! Love is something that develops (further) when you commit yourself totally to someone and they commit themsleves to you, when you work your fingers to the bone to make a nice home with them, when you face adversity and happiness together. The only advice I could give young people seeking to get married is - find someone you like, and someone who is a "mensh" - a good person - and make sure you share a vision of what you want out of life. Then get married - and work very hard on your marriage, because 90% of the "love" you'll feel for eachother as married partners is developed after the wedding, not before!

(28) a b, April 24, 2009 1:37 AM

Shoshana S. #27, couldn't find your reference to the Yaavetz, what does he supposedly say?

(27) Shoshana S., April 23, 2009 11:53 PM

Maybe love before marriage and even more after

I became religious in high-school, and didn't start dating until after college. I was told by several people that "falling in love" is not the Torah way, and it doesn't work. I think that, as Orthodox Jews we may have spent so much time proving the secular way is "wrong," that anything right, which may be associated with the secular way is also wrong - like throwing out the baby with the dirty bath water. It is a difficult balance between shutting out the negatives of secular society and allowing the positives in, and there are many ways of allowing the positives in or not at all, it depends on the person. My main point is that being in love before getting married has its place, and is necessary for some people. Also see the commentary of the Yavitz on Avos 6:1

(26) Sarah, April 23, 2009 11:09 PM

It's not so simple

I think that there are a lot of things 'wrong' with people in our generation and the shidduch system does not fix it. Therefore, it doesn't always work. Additionally, I was set up with my husband based on the fact that we are both sefardi, so sometimes the suggestions are random. I think that it boils down to HaShem. It's our job to go into marriage, or any relationship, with the question of what can I do for this person and do we have the same goals. NOT, what can this person do for me.

(25) Anonymous, April 23, 2009 2:48 PM

Completely agree

Worked for me, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Saves a lot of heartbreak. And to the feller who said Shidduch dates are like emotionless interviews, may I venture to suggest that all dates reflect the personality of the daters...My Shidduch dates were quite lively, sometimes fun, and certainly impassioned, to say the least. If you feel your Shidduch dates are emotionless interviews, I don't think you would fare any better with the more mainstream idea of dating either...

(24) Anonymous, April 23, 2009 2:18 PM

Response to many responses

I don't think the Rabbi is suggesting the online dating process, I think he is referring to "real" shidduchim, where family and friends or Rabbis and Rebbetzins make connections between people who could be compatible and let them meet in person to find out. The online dating process is neither personalized nor very "Jewish", just another way to make money. Although I did not find my husband through a shidduch (although one could argue that all religious Jewish marriages based on love, committment and children are a shidduch from Hashem), I believe shidduchim are a tried-and-true process and wish only the best in this kind of process for my children when they are grown.

(23) Works for the young, the FFB, and the Ashkenaz, April 23, 2009 1:36 PM

Works for the young, the thin, the FFB, and the Ashkenaz

B"H But, for the Ger, the BT, the over-25 crowd, the over-size-3 crowd, and the Sephardi . . . not so much. We need some serious attention to this broken system before we condemn any more Jews to a lonely, incomplete, and disappointing life without a mate.

(22) Anonymous, April 23, 2009 11:17 AM

I Agree...It Is Tough "Out There"

I have friends who have been married 3 and 4 times. Some divorced some widowed. My one friend has been widowed 3 times. Another divorced twice. All divorced at least once. But none are ever alone. I've wondered how can some women have 3 and 4 husbands and some other women not find even one to marry? The women I know aren't picky or choosey. They find something good in every man. And all the men they pick want to marry them. The women are fun and light. They aren't necessarily in love and neithter are the men. So the matchmakers (the shidduch) work on the same premise. Get the two people together and each benefits something from the union. The woman wants children and a provider. What exactly does the man want? Fun and a good wife.

(21) Anonymous, April 23, 2009 10:08 AM


sometimes this system works.  However, if a baal teshuva doesn't have a parent or someone who knows them well to do the research, then there is a problem.  Also, sometimes the shadchan doesn't know or reveal basic information.  Also, I wonder if this is an effective system for older singles.  Basically, they are dependent on others, who may not think ot them and have very busy lives. I know of very tznius , abit "older" girls, who are not  particularly interested in going on-line and searching and are consequently not set up.How do you address these issues?

(20) Anonymous, April 23, 2009 5:07 AM

It ought to work

In theory the shidduch idea but the practice is much harder. As a mother of few grownup kids in the shidduch game , I can tell you its really tough out there.

(19) Marc, April 23, 2009 12:16 AM


I just wanted to say that I agree. I notice alot of people like arguing with Rabbi Salomon. He is only trying to speak the way of the Torah! Give him a break!

(18) E.S., April 22, 2009 3:35 PM

Shidduchs are not perfect!

I had a shidduch from a shadchan team on Saw You At Sinai. Shidduchs save the work of searching online dating profiles but doesn't mean that that person ends up being compatible for you. This is a trial-and-error process or what feels like it. I'm not one who dated that much in his life since I was shy and was about to give up on dating, so this matchmaking service was a good option. My shidduch ended after six months with a dumping and a breakup because there was an emotional disconnect being that this was a long-distance relationship. We had different priorities. I put my eggs in one basket by not having a balance (doing different activities). Toning down the intensity and having a balance would work in the future for me. If that person felt the same way about me, then bumping up the intensity, the passion, would be appropriate. I'd say that this person that I dated was more of a dating friend than a girlfriend. I wanted more, a companion. It wasn't meant to be. I still have a lot to learn until I find my bashert. It'll take time and patience to find the right person for me and vise versa.

(17) Anonymous, April 21, 2009 7:57 PM

Having just started dating after being married 25 yrs. & now, unfortunately a widow...

I find the Jewish dating sites not only expensive for the results (they match you w/men who have already married within the last few years, obviously the site is not updated often!), but the people on it lie about themselves & although they say they are interested in finding a wife, most only want to date forever! No one in my community ever tries to help widowed or divorced women find anyone. I would be thrilled if someone at least tried! Most of us don't even get invited to social events anymore - a friend told me we are a threat to other married women! It's not easy being excluded from society just because we don't have husbands - some of us did not choose to be single! Someone told me to be grateful I at least HAD a husband that I loved & just deal with the loss! I am in my 50s - it would be nice to have a companion. I would love for a matchmaker to find me someone!

(16) Anonymous, April 21, 2009 7:27 PM

I Whole-Heartedly Agree

I met my husband, dated for 2 years, and married him because we were "in love." It is unfortunate that I was more in love with the idea of being in love than committing my life to this man. It was only after we were married did I realize how poorly I had chosen. My husband suffered for years from mental illness and refused treatment. The financial indiscretions have been too numerous to count. The physical and emotional abuse have left permanent scars. Had I gone through a Shidduch, even IF I had gone through the wedding, I would have realized early in the marriage that this man was not healthy enough to be a good husband and father. Instead, I was blinded by “love” and chose to stay. By the blinders of love fell off, it was too late. The children had arrived. I was stuck. He has recently begun getting treatment, but how much suffering could have been avoided had I GROWN in love (after marriage) instead of FALLING in love (before marriage)?

(15) Joe Boxer, April 21, 2009 3:55 PM

Ever hear of E-Harmony?? J-Date??

No reason to defend the shidduch system anymore. So many dating websites for Jews, both observant and not, and many more for non-Jews. This is exactly the shidduch system.

(14) Sam, April 21, 2009 2:50 PM


I'm glad Rabbi Solomon thinks it works. I'm involved in shidduchim and see how often it doesn't work. For every man who puts himself out there to be considered there are 10 women submitting their shidduch resumes. I keep seeing perfectly wonderful young frum women who are in their 30s and 40s who have been trying for years and are still single. I keep hearing from them and their mothers. It seems to me that we did better statistically in the 1960s and 70s when young people were allowed to meet at events meant for that purpose. Maybe the pendulum has swung to far to the right and it's time for it to move back a little toward the center.

(13) Dr. Michael Zidonov, April 21, 2009 2:02 PM


Better a Shadchan than a Shotgun ...

(12) ANA, April 21, 2009 9:45 AM

When you trust HASHEM you achieve total lifetime happiness

I thought that due to my education and life experiences and teachings I knew so much. That changed quite amazingly. Since I read the book by Rabbi Weinberg, What the Angel thought you I've become complete, content and calm about the storms of life. Regardless to the challenges I am presently facing I have achieved a total trust in HASHEM and understand that my prayers are answered one by one simply by appreciating all that I have and the daily miracles entering my life and the life of my loved ones. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and soul.

(11) Yael Levy, April 21, 2009 9:39 AM

Not Quite

Rabbi, While I agree with aspects of the shidduch system, and of course the need to date for the purpose of marriage, I must respectfully disagree with the impression that "we've got it right." Not sure where you researched your statistics, to my understanding the divorce rate in the frum community is at about thirty percent, and consistently on the rise. While marrying without feelings of love could work in closed environment like the Chassidishe world, where the couple will be nurtured and helped through the difficult first year (and beyond) by family and community, no other group has that kind of resources, and all other groups are exposed to such a constant barrage of "falling in love" from the media, etc, that is nearly impossible to ask to young kids to get married in this day and age, without feeling like they are "in love." Even if they can jump in, the minute there are problems, they will doubt if their match is their true basherte. The renowned psychologist Dr. Solomon wrote in his book "The Shidduch Crises" about how feelings of love increase in a marriage-- based on the level of where the feelings were at when the marriage began. Furthermore, many questions people use to "check" to see if compatible, I find are usually inane, and has little to do with a succesful marriage. How a couple communicates, reacts when angry and compatible ideas about money are more telling on a marriage's success than exactly how a wife will cover her hair or which yeshiva a bochur studies in. Ideology, politics and exact religious beliefs, I find, are not good reasons to marry. People grow and change throughout life, and often do not have the same philosophies as when they were young. It is more important to respect each other's differences and decide on a common approach to raising a family, than searching for someone exactly alike. Couples who come together (or reject) for these reasons, without real feelings of attraction and general enjoyment of being with each other, are asking for trouble in the future. Yes, shidduchim are good in the sense that everyone knows why they are meeting each other. But the current climate is far from perfect, and I'd like to see couples spending 200 hours together before jumping in, and being comfortable with each other's communication styles, how they disagree, mutual agreement on each other's roles, and how to manage finances before marrying. And that's the ones who do get married. We have thousands, and thousands of kids who are not marrying, across the entire Jewish community. The system is far from "right."

(10) Anonymous, April 21, 2009 9:28 AM

Response to JLG

Your questions are both valid points. In answer to number 1, there is definitely some attraction and chivalry present in shidduch dating. They are not the focal points, however, but a side product of a male and female meeting who would like to see how compatible they are for marriage purposes. In answer to number 2, when people date with the express purpose of getting married, they are not looking for a wider circle of friends. They are looking for a marriage partner. The relationship they begin, therefore, is on a different playing field than any they may have with friends. They want to know what the other's goals are, if they can get along well with others, if they have interests in common. They want to be open with each other from the beginning and are not interested in wasting each other's time.

(9) Anonymous, April 21, 2009 9:25 AM

99% of my Pre-Marriage Dating was a waste

As a newly observant Jew coming from a very secular background, I only learned about the shidduch system about 5-6 years ago when I was already happily married with 3 children. As a mother of 5 now and raising my children as orthodox Jews, the shidduch makes more and more sense. Provided the young people still have the final decision, I think the idea of knowing from where they come, something about their families, etc. is an essential part of who someone is. Having dated ALOT as a youngster, I will say that it was wasted time and even harmful for me. I am fortunate to have married a wonderful man and together we became more observant but all the dating when you're not really even thinking about marriage is not necessary. While my oldest is only 12, I think more and more that the shidduch system may make sense - that helping my children by providing some basic framework for making THE MOST IMPORTANT DECISION OF THEIR LIVES just makes sense.

(8) Anonymous, April 21, 2009 9:00 AM

Response to JLG

Shidduch dating is not at all like an "emotion stripped job interview!" I almost laughed out loud when I read that line. I got into such emotion-filled passionate discussions (and arguments) during my shidduch dates! Shidduch dating is an amazing system because you have all the discussions, conversations, arguments, and emotions about your ideas, goals and plans - without physicality or intimacy getting in the way.

(7) rachel, April 21, 2009 8:20 AM

it does work

I was set up and am married for 42 years, thank G-d. My children were set up and are marrying off thier children the same way. Its not perfect, people do get divorced but I wouldn''t have it any other way.

(6) Michal, April 21, 2009 8:18 AM

The real Shadchan is Hashem

and Hashem is the one, who knows, which people belong together. I met my husband by accident (wanted something from his mother) We talked and talked and I was so excited about him as he was about me. Then one day he asked me all the questions, which in a shidduch are all talked out between the parents. I prefer o u r way! We fell in love with each other and knew we would marry. Ok, it took some month, but we saw each other nearly every day and we talked and talked and when we married, we knew each other. (And went on talking, and did it for 38 wonderful years, till he left me forever, dying while windsurfing. If somebody had "pushed me", when I met him for the first time, I am not sure of the outcome. I wish all unmarried young people a marriage like I had. Till the last hour of his life. And I am looking forward to meet him again in heaven to be together forever in the presence of Hashems eternal light. There are just different ways. Shidduch, after all, is only a "try", isn't it? Yes, something to think about.

(5) ross, April 20, 2009 11:37 AM

The altar still cries

One might argue that perhaps the system really doesn't work, and the reason that divorce rates are so low is because it maybe it's such a stigma in orthodox circles to get divorced (and be divorced) and really it's too hard of an option. People would need to be convinced that it's not true (at least entirely), but still, it's better to stick with other reasons why this system is better.

(4) NM Rosen, April 19, 2009 9:43 PM

good idea, but...

That's a very good idea, but it may be rather ideal, where families have to commit to it. If only my family and Jewish institutions were more helpful in helping to find my bashert, instead of scraping at the bottom of the barrel with what I currently have in my social networks and having to shell out $$$ for fairly expensive Jewish dating and matchmaking websites. Therefore, more families and more Jewish institutes should definitely provide a free shidduch system, mine in particular as well.

(3) s, April 19, 2009 6:42 PM

my advice

I agree, there is more to a relationship than being in love. - when going out, people need to focus on whether they are compatable in regards to beliefs, values, & common interests. Feeling a connection is also important because the person could have everything, but you don't feel anything. Of course, that connection might come later, so it's good to give it some time. The main thing is to get to know the person and with that info, ask yourself, can I live with him/her?

(2) Sammy, April 19, 2009 4:23 PM

shidduchim isn't a perfect system either

Yes the shidduch system is genius! Thats why there is a shidduch crisis. Some of these shadchanim, while well meaning, couldnt hit the side of a barn when setting people up. What do you expect when they've known the people for all of 30 minutes.

(1) J.L.G., April 19, 2009 12:49 PM


The question I have regarding the Rabbi's statement that "love", "romance", etc. comes after the marriage ceremony is two-fold: 1.) If we simply share values and goals with person (which is admirable, no doubt), how do we know that they are not simply a friend? The idea of shidduch to me sounds more in line with picking a great circle of friends. Western society is wrong with its emphasis on the physical attraction as being the most important aspect of dating, true, but I think that values are merely one piece of the puzzle, and that dating should not be like an emotion-stripped job interview - there should be some feelings and chivalry involved, otherwise we cannot possibly begin to make the important distinction between a friend and a mate. 2.) Some of my friends in the religious community have told me that after a few dates, maybe 3 or 4 months, that the couple will get married. I personally believe that people cannot begin to open up and show the person their true selves in such a short time. I have friends of 10 years who I still haven't told everything to! (and maybe won't for the distant future). How does Shidduch attempt to answer one of the truths of human nature - that is, we require time as human beings to acclimatize and familiarize ourselves with another person, only then showing them who we are. Perhaps it can be fairly criticized that people who date for 8 years are simply "drifting" and have no goals, but there is a medium, whereby people establish a certain level of trust before making that "big jump" towards life-long fidelity, and support of their spouse. I feel like while 8 years is too long, at 5 or 6 months, the person is still a friend.


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