Thursday, March 17, 2016

Vayikra: Anti-Marketing

As has been seen in these pages, one possible reason that Parshas Vayikra is the first one taught to schoolchildren might have to do with the explanation regarding “adam ki yakriv mikem”—that just as everything in the world belonged to Adam haRishon because there was no one else around at the time, one should [or, more accurately, may] bring a korban that has absolutely no taint of misappropriation—hence, the ultimate educational message being imparted to said schoolchildren: no benefitting from what isn’t yours. 

[Especially not spiritually.]

One might—in however strained/”shver” a manner—apply this to the current “shidduch system”, or more specifically, how some men act entitled within said system while having their dubious tendencies enabled by the very matchmakers who should be using the system to rein them in.

More specifically: how older guys who set rather self-serving age limits for potential matches are catered to by the system, which is in direct contradistinction to the message that one should not further spiritual ends [making matches] through dubious means [feeding a sense of entitlement].

I described this tendency in some detail in my Beshalach piece, so I don’t need to really hash out further how objectionable one should find those tendencies. 

This time, my targets are shadchanim and singles coordinators.

Let’s make this simple:

If you’re gonna run a tachlis singles event—EVEN OUT THE AGES.


As a counterbalance to the Talmudic dictum that “more than the man want to get married, the woman wants to get married”, we have the story on Kesuvos 82b about women not marrying almost at all when they found the terms of the kesuva to be unfavorable.

Are the GUYS gonna stop if the market doesn’t cater to them?  In theory, it’s been proferred that if guys can’t “get” the kind of frum woman they like, they’ll “date out”…or go as far as marrying out.  But if that were so, should shadchanim who are operating under a tachlis principle as a driving force put these men in circulation in the first place?   Since when was “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World” “da’as Torah”?

Some market forces should admittedly apply.  I mean, there really is no good reason to never take ANY attraction factors into account, as one Rav once exhorted his troops [and my contracomment got me kicked off the frum facebook group where the article was posted approvingly.  This can be taken too far].

But if shadchanim are worried that guys wont show up if they don’t stagger the ages…hello?  Are you trying just to marry off guys, or everyone?  Last I checked the shidduch system hadn’t yet bough into Obergfell v Hodges.  Plus, if your goal really is tachlis, while you can’t toally ignore market forces, you shouldn’t operate as if they were the ikkar.  Otherwise…just let everybody go and date independently and get married when and how they want, like I wrote in 2008.

In fact, shadchanim SHOULD try their hand at anti-marketing: instead of letting a couple of older guys to slip in who didn’t quite come under the age limit in order to even out the numbers—why don’t they actually make restrictive age groups and keep to that limit?  If people want to network and set their friends up later, great.  At least there are other factors at play there and everyone really consents to the process.   There’s enough pressure in the system as it is.