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.

  17 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

  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.

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

  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!!

  5. 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!!!

  6. 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 ??? ????.

    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.

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

  8. no mottel I dont mean average talented and gifted ppl can also be normal clever ppl can be Normal what i meant was ppl who are mentally stable and i realize that its not good for everybody I was just trying to explain why lots of hassidic ppl are happy in marriage even though they didn’t spend many months getting to know each other properly

  9. I hate these arguments for a couple of reasons. I hope we can stipulate a couple of things. 1. the divorce rate in the Jewish community is not a good indicator of successful marriages. However it is an indicator nonetheless. 2. Scientific data is available for the general population regarding happy marriages. 3. Nobody knows what percentage of married couples in any Jewish community or sect are or aren’t happy and content. There is simply no scientific or any other valid evidence to come to any conclusion. I may say 90% are happy because this how I perceive it, somebody else may say 90% are not happy because this is how s/he perceives it. 4. dating or living together even for years does not make for good marriages or better marriages than not dating or living together for a long period, see all the scientific evidence for that.

    Therefore, I ask you all to please stop bashing the chasidim, satmars, pupa whatever sect you disagree with on this issue. You can make fun of them as you can make fun of anything whether good or bad. There is nothing wrong with a laugh but recognize it is only a joke don’t get all worked up and condemn them for something that you don’t know any better solution.

  10. ” 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. ”
    Well then mab find yourself some better friends! All my friends and family are happy with their spouces which were brought together throught the chassidishe shidduch scene! And no thier not jst putting on a happy face. mab the prob lies with the ppl who are making the shiduchim, or the couple arent mature enough.(Im talking as s1 who got married @18 but was very mature)Im not saying that its a perfect world and e1 is happy, but it aint any better in ANY other sector. Goyim are also looked down upon whn they divorce.

  11. By The way Mrs shpitzel from your previous blogs It seemed that your marriage was a good one till your religious practice started to slip

  12. I’m still in shock when th “Voos zugt ir” promt appears at the bottom of the comment section. Moments seeming like eternity tick slowly by….Nu? Zug shoin! Haaa… ‘chherrr nish…
    No. I’m frozen. I feel like I’m being yelled at here.. What Zug? Like i’m supposed to have an opinion… What exactly am I “allowed” to have an “opinion” about? To join hatzula or shomrim? rccs or koillel shoimrei hachoimes? Kaffs or weiss kokkosh?
    Marriage? Haha.
    I can’t even be trusted with a damn smart phone.

  13. You are all missing the point!!!

    shpitzle did NOT discuss in this article and she didn’t try to convey via this cartoon that married people who went through the chasidish dating process are more or less happy and content than the rest of the world. Shes also did not vouch for higher or lower divorce rates in the chasidishe or any other communities.

    The issue here is about the mentioned question …… “DO YOU LIKE HIM/HER”.

    Is this -innocent sounding-question some kind of inside joke? Do the parents really care if they “like” each other? Is it possible at all? The more appropriate question would be “CAN YOU TOLERATE HIM/HER”.

  14. To defend this system, it all comes down to “if you’re normal” “get new friends.” Ich, me, *I* am happy. Hooray for you. You can conform, you are average, you are wonderful. So nice!

    Like I said before, midas sedoym.

  15. shame on antwerp shame on the idiot schiff shame on pscheervosk that idiot leizer shoiulb be put in a n institution hiw can can a town remain silent when someone sells his never marrieddaughter to someone who is of doubtful mental stability who is already been divorced?

  16. sheny :
    By The way Mrs shpitzel from your previous blogs It seemed that your marriage was a good one till your religious practice started to slip

  17. yum, so good.
    keep up

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