KOSHER DELIGHT - YOUR JEWISH ONLINE MAGAZINE!
Your Son, Marry Off Your Daughter
By Rabbi Shea Hecht
and mentor of mine has a saying, "Marry off your son
when he becomes independent, marry off daughter
before she's independent."
This thought is interesting to those of us who live
in a world who hope to marry off our child with the
assistance of a Shadchan whose job it is to suggest
a suitable match for a marriage-ready child.
100 years ago a marriage deal was made between the
two sets of parents using the Shadchan without
giving the children much of a choice.
As things evolved we got more to the point where the
Shadchan was a "list provider" and a link to reach
out to prospective families for marriage.
The children dated on their own and made all their
decisions with the guidance of their parents and
It seems that we are slowly drifting away from this
process. Children are telling their parents that
they refuse to go out with someone that was
suggested by a Shadchan and they will only date
someone suggested by friends or family.
Family and friends have always been part of the
process, but it was primarily the Shadchan that made
the wheels turn when setting up a date based on
suitable backgrounds, goals, age etc.
Incidentally, wherever I go in any circles - married
or single, parent or child, Jewish or non-Jewish,
religious or secular - one topic that surfaces as a
burning issue is marrying off the kids.
Everyone has a story. Many of the stories are filled
with pain and disappointment. Many parents feel that
their older and unmarried children are left out of
the marriage scene; on the other hand, many children
feel that their parents don't care enough.
I believe that because of the high rate of divorce
parents are telling their children to wait until
they are a little more mature, more settled and more
financially sound before making a move toward
marriage. They are also less likely to push their
child into marriage.
Where as once we married our girls off at the age of
18-19 and our boys at the age of 21-22 today we have
raised the age of marriage by a good few years. The
younger our children get married the more they will
trust our opinion not only in the dating process but
also in setting up their lives, homes and their
futures. They will turn to us for advice for the
success that they need in these trying times.
What's interesting is that with these precautions
the divorce rate has changed. However, instead of
bringing down the divorce rate (specifically within
the Orthodox community) it has increased the divorce
To oversimplify a complicated situation: it's often
better when two people grow, develop and mature
Many of the older girls and boys who are not married
can unfortunately point fingers at the adults in
their life. The fact is that if you allow your
children to wait the extra year or two it completely
upsets the process, quite often by that time our
children don't know what they want anymore. The
child ends up losing focus or changes focus from
idealism, shlichus (outreach), chinuch (education)
to a base materialistic lifestyle.
We should take a few steps back and return to
marrying off our girls at 18-19 and our boys at
21-22. Particularly when that is what they want, we
should be supportive and encouraging in their effort
because all they need is one person to make them
happy for the rest of the lives.
|Rabbi Shea Hecht
Chairman of the
National Committee for
Furtherance of Jewish Education .
His web site is:
KOSHER DELIGHT MAGAZINE