This question is no longer relevant to us, as you’ll see, but it may be applicable to others.
BeforeYom Tov, our son came back from learning in Eretz Yisroel. We were unsure if we should have him go out right away or if we should wait until after the “freezer.” On one hand, he was being redd fine girls. On the other hand, he had just “landed,” and my husband and I thought that perhaps he should get himself settled before being thrown into the parsha of shidduchim. [In the end, because we were uncertain, we decided to wait and our son is now in the freezer.]
In general, what are the feelings of the panelists regarding this point? Should boys go out right after returning from Eretz Yisroel or are they better off waiting?
At exactly which age and stage of life one should begin dating, and under exactly which circumstances, is very much a personal decision. It is one that requires genuine introspection, and should a single man or woman find themselves in notable doubt, the determination then becomes one which ought to be made in concert with that individual’s parents, and a close rov, rebbi, teacher, or mentor. And insofar as the unique facts and features of each case will ultimately establish the proper path and prudent course of action, globally adjudicating on this inquiry becomes an impossible task. That said, there are three points to ponder which I would like to offer to those who stand at this particular crossroads.
First and foremost, is the obvious question. One must earnestly ask themselves whether or not they are actually ready to commence with shidduchim. That is to say, are they adequately equipped to be in a marriage relationship and begin raising a family? For some, the answer is a resounding yes, and they may have been acutely aware of that reality long before reaching this juncture. For others, they are quite conscious of their somewhat inchoate nature when it comes to matrimony, and thus, that the time is not yet nigh. And for those who remain uncertain, they may choose to hit pause and allow time to answer the question, or they may seek counsel from their most trusted and perspicacious confidants.
Second, even if one feels secure in their preparedness for dating, an equally important assessment is in order with respect to how that dating will affect their talmud Torah. Being fully primed for dating does not inherently mean that one’s mind is sufficiently centered and grounded in their learning, and especially so to the degree that it can withstand monumental distractions and being tugged rather hard in another direction. Accordingly, if starting shidduchim at that critical transition between two different countries and/or yeshivos will prevent a bochur from embedding himself into a strong position vis-à-vis his chavrusos and learning, that alone very well may be good enough reason to hold steady for a bit. A few months of restraint, for the purposes of potentially greatly enhancing many years of future learning is a trade-off that may be vital. On the other hand, if one will be so mentally scattered by their intense yearning to date that sitting down for 9-15 hours a day and wholly concentrating during seder will fast become an exercise in futility, getting under way with shidduchim may be just the right prescription for their intellectual ailment, and it may complete the recipe which will allow for one’s learning to reach its highest level imaginable.
Lastly, one must authentically evaluate the opportunities which have been presented at this intersection. Being redd shidduchim with outstanding young women does not mean that any of them are maatim for any one specific bochur, and dating simply for the sake of dating, or as a preemptive maneuver aimed at cozening the concept of the freezer for a few weeks, is ill-advised to say the least. Conversely, if an idea which has been placed upon the table appears to have real and lasting promise, utmost haste is often essential, as one never knows if another person can or will suspend their own time-sensitive dating activities on one’s behalf, or whether or not the prospect will ever reemerge.
May the Oseh Es Hakol Yafeh B’ito grant the necessary strength and wisdom to all those who approach the precipice of shidduchim.