On Arranged Marriage

 Posted by on May 31, 2012
May 312012
 

 

on arranged marriagesA Date

 

It’s wonderful that the young Hasidic boy or girl is asked “do you like him/her” of the future spouse before an engagement is finalized. The couple spends on average half an hour together on their one and only date, mumbling about absolutely nothing important while the parents hover anxiously outside the door. Usually, the couple would not even be interacting with first person pronouns out of respect for the stranger; they would be punctuating the formal Q&A with painfully awkward silences while unable to will their virgin eyes to make eye-contact. And then they are to announce a liking for that to-be fiancé’!

I spent more time deliberating if I like the pet frog we adopted than I did deliberating if I like the husband I started a Hasidic family with.

It’s a sly trap they got because it’s hard not to like someone you only shared a table with for half an hour, at age eighteen, fresh off the gender separated boat. Girls are promised balloons and flowers and a fancy white gown and boys get to throw around pens and cigarettes and get released from yeshiva. So there’s some nebech sitting across the date table clacking teeth like a nervous wreck. What’s not to like in a poor person like that?

So you like him or her. Just like on Facebook. One little “like” you give. That’s it. And boom, married.

There, mazel tov, mazel tov. Or as my pet frog says it best: ribbit ribbit.

Frieda Vizel

Frieda Vizel left the Hasidic community, the Modern Orthodox community and the Formerly Orthodox (OTD) community. She now lives in Pomona and is actively looking for a new community to leave. She deals with the perplexities of the communities she left by drawing cartoons about them, a habit that gets her into an excellent amount of trouble.

  20 Responses to “On Arranged Marriage”

  1. great stuff, however think of how scary, awkward and painful a real date would be for chassidish kids – probably with the same results anyway

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  2. I totally disagree! stop bashing the Chasiddim already!! The minority of us only have 1 date for 1/2 an hr!! The rest of us are perfectly content the way it is!!! I have a secular friend that was asking me how frum relationships last so long, and how we are always so happy! The reason is because we dont spend so much time before the wedding getting to know all the ins and outs abt each others lives!! we have all the years of marriage to discuss and grow from it.

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  3. most of us do have a few dates!!

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  4. and its very interesting that all the stories lately have been from 1 hasidic sect! they shud go to that specific rabbi and sort it out!!

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  5. yes, the rest of us are very happy spending the rest of our lives with complete strangers who may be mentally ill, abusive, of a different orientation, controlling, or unemployable. We are particularly happy because we don’t have enough of an education or a career to even think of a way out. Yay shidduch system!

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  6. Fedup, how stupid can you get? The reason why there are less divorces in the Chassidishe world has nothing to do with happy marriages. There are less divorces because our women are not taught to be self-sufficient and independent, often have a few children, are stigmatized if they get divorced, and often do not get the encouragement from their parents which would allow them to move back home. That can really skew the results. So stop blathering on about how happy everyone is.

    It would do everyone a world of good to know the ins and outs of each others’ lives before getting married. Most of our friends have admitted that they have absolutely nothing in common with their wives, but they’re not getting divorced. They’re living like two CEOs of a company, that company being their many children – which she wants and he doesn’t.

    Stop spewing nonsense.

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  7. fedupofhasidimbashing :
    most of us do have a few dates!!

    A few meaning …….. 2 or even 3 in some cases!!!! Now is that actually sufficient enough to be able to choose your bashert and answer the fatal “do you like him/her” question????

    Let’s say we are happy and maybe our marriages are far better than of those who really date and choose, but can anyone prove or even explain that the reason is because we don’t date properly? Why can’t we let our kids really choose? What are we scared of? Are we scared that they will choose differently than we think they should? So the solution to that problem is to take away their choice? Is it morally right to take away our kid’s choices whenever we feel that they should make a better choice? And if it is morally right, is it our obligation? And if it is our obligation, then why do we try to trick them (and the whole world) into thinking that it is their own choice?

    Just food for thought, and BTW Shpitz, great piece as always!!!

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  8. Miriam Pearlmutter :
    yes, the rest of us are very happy spending the rest of our lives with complete strangers who may be mentally ill, abusive, of a different orientation, controlling, or unemployable. We are particularly happy because we don’t have enough of an education or a career to even think of a way out. Yay shidduch system!

    After my half hour date my mother asked me how do i know if am ready to marry her I told her I am looking for a normal looking and and normal sounding girl I saw her she looks normal she spoke to me she sounded normal she behaved normal her family looked and sounded normal that was fourteen years ago now I have a normal wife and a normal family. I read an article a few days ago about gaydar which means the ability to detect gay people I think most normal people with average iq can detect any abnormalities in a person very quickly.What might still be a problem that takes longer to detect might be ethics or middos as we call it but I think most normal people do not have extreme behaviour problems so most normal ppl who marry to normal spouses should end up being happy with the marriage. those who have the bad luck to marry someone who has those i feel sorry for them but it doesn’t take away from the happiness of the majority. As to why there are fewer divorces in our community and i believe our marriages are happier I think the answer is because our marriages are geared to establishing families which we are all very capable of. A marriage that is for sex or because of commen interests or other criteria would be a complete failure if you use our system And it doesn’t fare much better in the secular system.

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  9. Sheny, by “normal” you mean “average,” correct?

    Has it not occurred to you that not everyone is average? Expecting and requiring everyone to be average – excuse me, “normal,” is מדת סדום.

    How can you defend something that we all understand in the beginning can’t work for many, many people? At the very least, provide some alternatives for them.

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  10. Shpitzle, these cartoons speak a million words each so why add a whole article beneath it?

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