My daughter comes from a choshuve home and family, she is a very good eligible girl, and we are offering money. And yet, in the two years+ that she is back from seminary, she only got one yes! What is going on? My friends and neighbors tell me that they have the same problem with their daughters.
So I looked into the matter and I found out a “shocking” thing. In Bais Medrash Govoha, there are only 1,400 bochurim. But there are currently 5,000+ girls just in Lakewood, and another few thousand around the rest of the United States. So how are 1,400 boys going to marry 7,000+ girls?
People who married off children a few years ago say that the situation now in 2020 is an impossible market. What practical solutions are there for our girls to find a boy? It’s not just a matter of tefilla and bitachon anymore. We need action.
Before addressing this vital topic on a societal level, please allow me to express my sincere sympathy to you on a personal level. There is no doubt that sustained periods of time with little to no opportunity at one’s disposal is one of the most profound and pronounced nisyonos for those in shidduchim. May Hashem see your anguish, and that of the myriad other families confronted by this very same affliction, and bring you all a yeshua b’karov.
Communally speaking, though I can lay no claim to being an expert statistician, and bastion of bountiful and brilliant bachurim that BMG in fact is, it is by no means the sole repository of marriageable young men. Not in the country, and not even in Lakewood itself. Accordingly, there is simply no need for BMG to be the lone supplier of suitable husbands to the women of the world.
As such, while the reality of a numbers imbalance between single men and women is entirely possible, and perhaps even plausible, I am highly skeptical of it being nearly as prominent as the gaping chasm suggested by the narrative above. We should all be aware of the collective issues that threaten us, but just as they should never be underestimated or dismissed, they should never be overstated or bloated either. Doing so serves only to create waves of unnecessary and painful public panic, ultimately making the process exceedingly harder for the single men and women who are in the thick of it, as all who surround them uproariously proclaim portends heralding the end of times.
Is the shidduch system of today unwarrantedly absurd and arduous in numerous regards? In my opinion, most definitely. And I think we are all to blame for that in a certain respect. We all feed that system, and we are all participants in one way or another in the singular focus on uniformity, “normalcy,” and the expectation that anyone and everyone can follow the same path to the same successful end. Intentionally or otherwise, we have carefully cultivated our own inertia. We can all be the change we want to see, but that demands that we all loosen up on the reigns and be willing to – reader, prepare yourself – be a little less standard and be a lot more individual. It is impossible to shake things up without rocking the boat.
That said, insofar as large scale changes and overhauls will certainly not be taking place overnight, what I would like offer is perhaps a note of hope through the lens of reframing. Disastrously problematic though our shidduch universe is in oh so many ways, by hook or by crook, the vast majority of daters entering shidduchim get married in a rather reasonable and normative time frame. Some after scores of dates, and many others after but a few at most. That is to say, as agonizing as a dearth of dates truly is, it is no harbinger of interminable singlehood. Furthermore, a great deal of daters who have been at it for far more than a fair amount of time do get married soon thereafter. Now, is eight years a long time to endure the drudgery of dating? Absolutely. But on the other hand, to perpetuate a belief and a feeling that an unmarried 27-year old is an old maid is all but criminal.
Lastly, and most importantly, we must never unwittingly convince ourselves that a broken structure is the sole arbiter of a person’s displeasing status vis-à-vis shidduchim. If a mechanism is in want of fixing, we ought to fix it because that is the right thing to do, and because that is proper hishtadlus, but doing so produces no guarantee for any one person that their journey will look any different, or that the results they desire and expect will be achieved.
We must remind ourselves honestly and steadfastly that every trial to be found in human life is the Borei Olam’s decree. Each generation encounters its unique challenges from G-d to his people, and we must do our utmost in endeavoring to improve our conditions and those of all Klal Yisroel, while remaining consciously and keenly aware that HaKadosh Boruch Hu is overseeing everything. We do what we can and we do what we must, but quite to the contrary of the closing words of the question presented, it is always a matter of tefilla and bitachon.
May the Tiferes Yisroel Shomeya Tefilos unite all the yechidim of His nation with their counterparts, and may they together experience more happiness and celebration than ever could be imagined.