Thursday, May 13, 2010


My little boy is on the phone. He sounds upset. Something's wrong.

"I lost my yarmulka," he said, his voice breaking. "And today is picture day."

My heart sinks. I'm busy at work. It's the end of the week, and there are so many things I need to finish before I leave today. And I walked to work today.

I stall.

"Well...what are you wearing now?" I ask.

"Nothing. My hand."

"I'm sure they have something in the office," I suggest hopefully.

"They do, but it's so big it almost covers my eyes." He's near tears.


Twenty minutes to his yeshiva if I walk fast. Twenty minutes back. Plus some time to stop at a store and get a new yarmulka.

"Can you do something?" He asks plaintively.

Of course I can.

It's so easy when they're nine years old.

But then they grow up. And they enter the world of shidduchim.

The amount of parental involvement in a shidduch differs among the different communities.

In the chassidic community, the parents choose the child's spouse. The child has veto power, but that is rarely exercised. The children trust that their parents know what is best for them, and have the maturity and life experience necessary to make this decision.

In the yeshivish community, parents are involved. They look for the best mate, ask a lot of questions, and gather information. But the decisions are left to the children. Boys and girls go out and see if they are compatible. If a shidduch doesn't work out, the parents go to the next in line. Dating a number of potential mates is the norm.

I am somewhere between the chassidic community and the yeshivish community. My children will 'date' and spend time with a potential to see if they are compatible. The number of dates will be more than in the chassidic community, but a lot less than the yeshivish. The decision is not completely up to the parents. But by the time boy meets girl, most of the work, as far as background, family, personality, goals, etc., is done. It's a match on paper, and now it's up to them to decide.

Sounds simple enough.

But sometimes things don't follow the script. Sometimes, you find what seems to be a perfect match, they go out, and then some new information comes to light.

In the chassidic community, the parents would make a decision. They would seriously consider the issue, maybe take their child's feelings into account to some extent, but at the end, the decision is theirs.

In the yeshivish community, once they've gone out several times, the parents will have input, but the ultimate decision would most likely be the child's.

Where I am, things are not as well defined.

We have a decision to make. My son's opinion will tremendously affect the final decision, but the burden rests on us, his parents. It is the most agonizing, gut wrenching decision I've ever had to make.

What to do? What to do?

It was so much easier when he was nine...


  1. :-( Best of luck to you Mystery Woman, maybe be shoel eitzah, and daven daven is the day to daven for your children. Hope you're granted clarity and peace of mind...

  2. Good luck with that! I can't really say I understand this, I don't get the whole parents involvement at all, but it must be hard for you to have to make a decision like that.

  3. Forgive my lack of knowledge: I don't understand "between chassidishe and yeshivishe". I always though chassidishe means your family (or your husband's) descends from chasidim, while yeshivish is more of a lifestyle description. So I thought you could be yeshivish and/or chassidishe at the same time. What do you mean by in between?

  4. You have a single son???????



  5. Sis...

    Thank you. We're doing both, and clarity will come, one way or another, but meanwhile, it's hard.


    I think there are some decisions that are so big that you want your parents' input. Sometimes it's too big to figure out on your own.


    I guess you can be both, if that's how you see it. I'm not even going to try explaining this one. Too many nuances to get into here.

    Something Different...

    A PERFECT single son. (I sound like his mother lol.)
    Thank you.

  6. Hard to answer when the details you provide are so vague but I agree with SIS. Asking a rav and davening are the two keys...

  7. MW: I agree parental input is valuable, what I don't get it when it's more than just input, when they actually make the decisions for their kids.

  8. BJG...

    Although I wouldn't make the decision for my son, I can understand those that do. It's part of how they are raised. They trust their parents fully to know what is best for them using wisdom and life experience that they do not yet have at 18 or 20.
    That's not how we are going about this, but the fact works.

  9. Daven....

    Also, I hear Ruchama Shain say that for extra hashgachah pratis, one should be careful not to get angry and watch their speech.

    Do you guys have a rav you all respect who can give you an eitzah? or are you past that step?

  10. You present yourself as someone "in between" the two approaches to shidduchim. Almost as if you were chasidish it would be easier, but I doubt it.

    I think that since the process in your family involves a mix of both approaches, the solution to that problem should be handled in the same way. Sort of like a "hybrid". You don't make the decision instead of your son, but that doesn't mean laissez-faire either. Perhaps you arm him with all the information you have, then set a firm time to pause the shidduch and digest the info. Maybe a few weeks of contemplation will flush out if he's caught up in the moment and the feelings he has for her is only superficial, yet if after a few weeks the feeling didn't dissipate then you know your son is in this with a clear head and open eyes, and you can sleep at night knowing you have a wonderful daughter in law who was picked by a rational mature boy.

    The rest is in hashem's hands. HATZLACHA!

  11. Just wondering. Did you buy the yarmulka? Or do you have a picture in your album of an adorable tiny nine-year-old with a huge yarmulka the size of Dolly Parton's bra cup? :-)

  12. Staying Afloat...

    We do have a rav who we spoke to. He put some things in perspective and gave us some advice, but he didn't make the decision for us, of course.


    Right. That's what we're doing. But a few weeks for a boy who feels like his life is hanging in the balance is a very very long time. And I can only imagine what it's like for the poor girl.


    lol...I actually bought the yarmulka, ran over to his yeshiva to deliver it, and...turns out, he already found it!