Thursday, June 07, 2007

Another Home Run for Chananya Weissman

Rabbi Chananya Weissman is the director of End The Madness, an organization dedicated to combating the angst and hardships associated with dating in the religious Jewish community.

You would think that in these days of the Shidduch Crisis, people would be doing anything (within reason, of course) to facilitate people in their goal of getting married and not throw additional artificial and unnecessary roadblocks in their way. And yet, as Rabbi Weissman reports in this week's Jewish Press, that's exactly what is happening. What are the new rules?

As he writes: minhag in the shidduch world has been widely implemented: a younger sibling is forbidden to pursue marriage until all older siblings have been spoken for. If the younger sibling is not comfortable with waiting, he or she must ask for permission from the older sibling to date. If the younger sibling is successful in finding a shidduch, he or she must then ask for forgiveness from the older sibling.

Rabbi Weissman rightly trashes this new "minhag"in his piece. Personally, I just can't fathom why people want to put additional roadblocks in the way of people who want to get married. If a person (of marriageable age, of course) finds their bashert, they should go forward. There's no reason to toss the bashert aside simply because an older sibling hasn't yet found theirs.

Yet another reason that the world of shidduch dating needs a major overhaul.

The Wolf


Anonymous said...

A minor point--the first link is not correct.

Another issue beyond those that R. Weismann mentioned is that this "minhag" of Lavan can put pressure on the older siblings to agree to an unsuitable match, so as to permit their siblings to get in the game.

Of course, the way things are going we may see older siblings being shunned on the shiduch scene because one of their younger siblings violated this "ancient and holy minhag"

The Hedyot said...

Such idiots. But you know, this isn't just another shidduch stupidity. Like most of the problems related to the shidduch issue, this is actually rooted in frum society in general. It's based on the fact that people are so ashamed of the fact that someone is not married at the crazy old age of 23. So when a younger sibling gets married first, they feel it just underscores that fact and it’s as if that older sibling (and the family in general) is having everyone see their shameful disgrace ever more blatantly.

Morons! It’s not bad enough that you have such warped values which cause so many people heartache for no good reason. No, now you have to take it one step further and spread the dysfunction even wider.

A person stands up and says I will not be ashamed of something that is not my fault, and let it hold me back from making progress in my life. But frum society says, no, no, no! You should be ashamed! And if you aren’t, well then we’ll just have to remind you by forcing the shame on you.


Anonymous said...

In the late 1920's, in a shtetl in Poland, my father could not marry the girl he loved as her father would not allow marriage until her older sister had married. My father met me mother a week later, they were married a month after that and on the advice of his rebbe, he left for the US. I came along 10 years later in NY, my parents were married for over 60 years, and I learned not to follow customs that made no sense. Hopefully my presence is an indication that some good can come of mishegas.

SaraK said...

I have 2 younger siblings who are married, and neither asked me before they started dating or when they got engaged. And I could not have been happier for them. A simcha in the family is a joyous occasion, no matter how old people are. Utter nonsense.

Ezzie said...

Worse yet are the people who make incredibly dumb comments to the older sibling in such a situation. My sister-in-law used to joke with her sisters about throwing up from all the pity. "Oh, you must feel terrible!" "Um, I'm happy that my sister is engaged. What are you talking about?" "But she's younger than you!" "Okay, so? I haven't found my bashert yet. She did. I should feel bad?!"


Anonymous said...

I header a shiur from Rabbi Frand 20 years about this topic. It is not a new minhag and has serious sources.

That said, I think in today's climate it would be foolish for the younger to wait too long.

Anonymous said...

It's one thing if the older sibling is 23 and the younger, engaged sibling is 21. But if the younger, engaged sibling is 23 and the older one is 28 and s/he's been dating for 8 years, you can bet there will be a lot of pain on the older sibling's part. It's a very nice gesture for the younger sibling to apologize and/or ask for the older sibling's permission, so to speak.

BrooklynWolf said...


It may be "nice gesture" but it's also wrong.

I understand the need to avoid hurting someone's feelings, especially an older sibling. But the fact is that one person shouldn't have to put their life on hold because someone else hasn't found their bashert?

You may say that it may be nice for the younger sibling to ask permission, but then what if the older sibling refuses... and doesn't get married for another year, two years or five years? Should the younger sister be held hostage to the older's refusal or inability to get married? And if the younger is not going to abide by her older sister's wishes, then why ask for permission in the first place? Or is it simply a meaningless gesture?

As to the notion of apologizing... that's even more absurd. The only time the younger one should have to apologize if if her simcha came *at the expense* of her older sibling's. However, unless the younger sister stole the older one's chosson, there is no reason that she should have to apologize. If the older one feels pain at the younger one's simcha, then it's regrettable, but not a cause for apology.

Or, let me put it this way... would you advocate that a sister that had a child apologize to her sibling who is having difficulty conceiving?

The Wolf

Holy Hyrax said...

Cripes, where do you people live? I never heard about stuff like this in LA.

Jacob Da Jew said...

Wolf, the link is not working.

BrooklynWolf said...

Link fixed.

The Wolf

Anonymous said...

"what if the older sibling refuses"

I don't think any older sibling would do that. Like I said, this is more about acknowledging hurt feelings than an actual asking of permission.

"would you advocate that a sister that had a child apologize to her sibling who is having difficulty conceiving"

Sure, why not?

BrooklynWolf said...

You think she should say "Oh, I'm sorry I have a baby while you dont???!!"

The Wolf

Anonymous said...

"You think she should say "Oh, I'm sorry I have a baby while you dont???!!" "

No. Gee, how about a little sensitivity? This is obviously something men will never understand.

BrooklynWolf said...


Yeah, my "apology" was a bit over the top. Nonetheless, the point remains.

Of course she should display sensitivity. But showing sensitivity and apologizing are two very different things.

Or did you mean just an empty, meaningless apology?

The Wolf

Anonymous said...

Did you ever get a present that you didn't really like, but shrugged and said, "It's the thought that counts"?

Try to think of it like that.

BrooklynWolf said...


Even if I didn't want the gift, the one giving it to me presumably meant to give me something meaningful.

In short, unless there is some bizarre set of circumstances, I can't imagine anyone apologizing for having a child just because someone else doesn't have one. Of course, you should offer encouragement and empathize with the one who is suffering, but apologize for having a joyous event occur to you? Sorry... not for me. I know that if my sister wins the lottery (for example), I certainly don't expect her to apologize for it. If (God forbid) I didn't have any kids, I certainly wouldn't want her to apologize for having one.

The Wolf