Volume 15 Number 54
                       Produced: Thu Oct  6  0:30:46 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Dating in the Frum world
         [Benjamin Boaz Berlin]
Frum Dating (4)
         [Shaul Wallach, Shaul Wallach, Shlomo Engelson, Sam Juni]
Sanctity of the Synagogue
         [Seth Ness]


From: Benjamin Boaz Berlin <bberlin@...>
Date: Mon, 3 Oct 1994 09:24:53 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Dating in the Frum world

> I find this rationale eerie.  It sound almost like shopping for modular
> furniture -- all basic goods are interchangeable.  I think the above
> checklist is one of prerequisites, necessary but not sufficient to call
> a match.  Indeed, if the list is all there is, why bother meeting a
> prospect at all? Just go by the data!

	Since I am in the process of Dating in the Frum world, and I
plan to make a transition to Engagement and Marriage in the frum world
in the near future, I found the remarks of this gentleman to be
intriguing.  While I commend him for his concerns over the due diligence
required before one enters into a lifetime commitment, especially in
light of the growing use of the Laws of Gittin and Divorce within the
Jewish and Frum world, I would submit simply two points.

	The first answers the question as to why a meeting is necessary.
Simply put, the Gemarah in Keddushin forbids marriages between couples
who have not at least met once.

	Secondly, While I do not personally meet this level of Kedusha,
I recognize that some are able to rise to a level that I am not.  This
is a level, not really a hashkafa, where one respects the world around
him (or her) and is grateful for everything in it, including Breathing,
waking up in the morning, and being able to function, not to mention the
materialistic needs that we desire.  To such a person the entire dynamic
of marriage changes, and one will by definition, roll with the punches
of life, insuring compatibility.  TO these people I say, Kol HaKAvod.
It is I who is weak.  The need to check out compatibility, which is well
near imposible without a means of seeing the future, is a lower level,
one that denies Bashert and the Bitachon that Gam Zu LeTovah.

	Indeed, by extensive dating, we not only open the door for the
Yezer HoRah, but we rely on a crutch which will not be there in the
future.  If this world in the antechamber to the next, then we delude
ourselves into thinking that we have choice.  Our share in the Olam
HaBah is mandated By the one above, as is our ultimate partner.  Choice
is not an option.  We do not have an opportunity to shop around.
Instead we are happy if, we are happy with our portion.  Learning to be
grateful for that which we have is a trait that we should learn while
still in the antechamber.

	On one last note: As I aim to become engaged soon, I am
naturally interested in any thoughts on marriage, from the mundane to
the philosophical.


From: Shaul Wallach <F66204@...>
Date: Mon, 03 Oct 94 13:27:45 IST
Subject: Frum Dating

     Eli Turkel presents a number of examples in which he believes
the traditional courtship system is lacking. Among these, he has the

>   Especialy for a woman her individual characteristics are relatively
>unimortant. The shidduch begins with yichus (importance of the family),
>money and other such considerations. Only after these are settled do the
>prospective couple meet. Hence, a very talented woman but from an
>average family without money has little chance of marrying an equally
>talented man.  For the boy if the Rosh Yeshiva says he is very bright it
>helps his chances if the head of a seminary says that a woman is very
>bright it usually doesn't help. I even remember one rabbi suggesting
>that a man should not marry a woman who is brighter than him as that
>would lessen the respect of the woman for the man.

     While I must reserve comment on the monetary issue, I do wonder
about the second example. Did not our Rabbis tell us (Yev. 63): "Hut
darga we-sav itata" (go down a step and marry a woman)? As Rashi says,
a man should take a wife who is "less important" than him, because
otherwise he will not be accepted by her. It seems to be important for
the success of the marriage that the wife accept the authority of her
husband. It does not necessarily follow that if she is brighter than he
is, she will also be "more important", but unless she has a lot of Yirat
Shamayim (fear of Heaven), she will not be wont to respect someone less
intelligent than she is.

     I am probably much too naive, but it seems to me that the "rank"
our Rabbis talked about here has more to do with family, money, etc.
than with intelligence. A man could presumably take a wife who is
more intelligent if he were "more important" than her in other ways.
But I'm still confused - to whom do intelligent women get married,



From: Shaul Wallach <F66204@...>
Date: Mon, 03 Oct 94 17:37:33 IST
Subject: Frum Dating

      Sam Juni continues to voice his disapproval of traditional Jewish
courtship in the following language:

>While on the topic, let me add a point which has been sitting on my mind
>some time.  One poster (some time ago, I forgot who) told the story of
>of a religious engaged couple where the mother of the groom suddenly
>died, whereupon the father of the groom elected to usurp the bride from
>his son; the bride agreed, and so did the son, and all lived happily
>ever after.  The point of the story had something to do with the
>"proper" hashkafa toward marriage. To me, the story has a haunting
>theme. It illustrates the interchangeability of parts and the lack of
>stress on the partners as individuals (rather than role
>fulfillers). Most of the people I know would show more attachments to
>their cars.

     The posting to which Dr. Juni is responding appeared in Vol. 14,
#95. Unfortunately, however, the details he gives here do not tally
exactly with the original version. Thus, the couple was not engaged,
the father did not "usurp" the bride, and the couple did not "live
happily ever after". This was a real-life story, not a fairy tale.

     Furthermore, Dr. Juni reads into the story a meaning which was
not at all present in the original posting. The point of the story as
posted was not to demean the individuality of the marriage partners.
Rather, it was to show that marriage is not an end in itself meant for
one's own self-gratification, but a part of one's serving Hashem, and
that a person motivated by this desire will indeed have a happy

     Dr. Yuni also wholly ignored the setting of the story in Yemen
and consequently - unfairly, in my opinion - passed judgment on this
venerable Jewish community. Let us recall that in Yemen, in particular
in the capital San`a, women were hardly seen and the bride and groom
did not meet at all before marriage. The boy barely caught a glimpse
of her while she was cleaning the courtyard or drawing water and gave
his assent to his father, who arranged the match with the bride's
family. For the father to change the bride because his needs - taking
care of his children who were left without a mother - came first, would
not have been seen by the son as an injustice at all, because the father
was the one who arranged the match in the first place. The whole
emotional attachment between husband and wife began to form only after
marriage. For pious Jews who believe that their match is made in heaven
40 days before they are conceived, there would be no difficulty in
accepting such a course of events and making the necessary adjustments.
Thus in this story there was no love lost because none had even started
to begin with. We need only read the story of Yizhaq's marriage with
Rivqa in the Torah to see when love really starts (Genesis 24:67).

     Dr. Juni is, of course, entitled to his own opinions on how
courtship should be managed today. Even I would hardly advise people
to do things now the way they were done in past generations, since
nothing can be taken for granted today. However, in the interest of a
fruitful discussion, I would kindly advise him to make the necessary
effort and quote things in their proper context.

     Back in the 1970's, when Jews were not allowed to leave Syria,
the Syrian Jewish community in New York sent messengers to Syria in
order to arrange marriages of Syrian girls by proxy to men in New
York, in order to get the girls out of Syria. A considerable number
of marriages were thus contracted, and the authorities let the women
out in order to join their new husbands. As I recall, most of these
marriages were successful. Perhaps people living among this community
can fill us in on the details.



From: <engelson@...> (Shlomo Engelson)
Date: Tue, 4 Oct 1994 09:43:33 +0300
Subject: Re: Frum Dating

As someone still in the process (know anyone? :-), I'd like to comment
on one thing Yaakov Menken (mazal tov!) said recently:

  Well, yes!  Each side was probably suggested over a dozen possibilities
  before agreeing to go out with one.  They investigated the other's
  "frumkeit," first and foremost.  Their plans for the future.  Even
  personalities, senses of humor, anything they could possibly check first.

How can you *possibly* check out someone's personality without meeting
them?  Speaking from experience (I have quite a few "notches on my
belt"), it's nearly impossible to trust anything anyone says about such
things as someone's personality, sense of humor, or similar qualities.
People's evaluations of these qualities vary greatly, as someone's
perception of another's personality is largely dependent on their own.
And despite the claim that "frum people have a far longer list of items
which they absolutely _must_ have in a Shidduch," that "list" is only
those things easily determined.  It rarely says anything truly
fundamental about a person (unless that person is so shallow as to be
described by the list of rules they follow).  If it works for you,
gezunt aheit!  However it's not for everyone.  On which topic, I find
the "Juni-an" sentence below in Yaakov's post somewhat out of place:

  Some Chassidim insist on having the couple meet only once or twice -
  and that leads to a lot of unhappy matches.

Maybe those Chassidim are even better at checking things out beforehand
than you are?


From: Sam Juni <JUNI@...>
Date: Tue, 04 Oct 94 21:58:21 EST
Subject: Frum Dating

Yaakov Menken (15:46) discusses pro's and con's of abbreviated dating sche-
dules.  My reactions:

      Yaakov sees the fact that couple who live together before marriage
      get divorced as often (in fact, more often) than others, as proof
      that getting to know each other well does not help a marriage. I see
      two problems in this QED: 1) Divorce rates are not ipso facto indices
      of negative marriages. Rather, they indicate a decision to dissolve a
      problematic marriage.  In some cases, not getting divorced is the
      problem. 2) The fact that cohabiting couples indeed show higher divorce
      rates (if they marry) can be taken as supporting the notion that they
      simply take divorce as more of an option and less threatening, weak-
      ening the QED further yet.

      Yaakov finds merit in couples who marry their first dates reciprocally.
      His rationale:
  ***       ***           ****             ****
Well, yes!  Each side was probably suggested over a dozen possibilities
before agreeing to go out with one.  They investigated the other's
"frumkeit," first and foremost.  Their plans for the future.  Even
personalities, senses of humor, anything they could possibly check first.
By the time he agreed to go out with someone, he had done a detailed
investigation that demonstrated his seriousness about finding a match who
was appropriate for him in terms of their future service of HaShem, building
a Bayis Ne'eman B'Yisroel.
 ***        ***            ****            ***

     Here, again, I find the supposed adequacy of the "check outs" troubling.
All the factors which Yaakov cites are not simple 'Checklist" yes/no items;
e.g., frumkeit, personality, sense of humor, plans for future are not simple
issues -- one does not simply have a personality (or not), ditto for the
other chracteristics. How in the world one can make an informed judgement
about any of these without a comparison base is beyond me.


From: Seth Ness <aecom.yu.edu!<ness@...>
Date: Mon, 3 Oct 1994 19:55:13 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Sanctity of the Synagogue

Does anyone have any idea where i can buy a book called
`the sanctity of the synagogue'(about mechitza)?
I've seen it twice in my life and have never seen it in a bookstore.

Seth L. Ness                         Ness Gadol Hayah Sham


End of Volume 15 Issue 54