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  • Rebbes to Bochurim: Marry Older Women

    by Rebecca Honig Friedman

    Yeshiva students are supposed to listen to their rebbes, but sometimes rebbes have to repeat themselves. Hence, a letter written last year, signed by today’s Orthodox rabbinic heavyweights, that called for young Orthodox men to marry “older” women, has been re-released.
    The letter quotes the halachic arbiter R’ Yosef Shalom Elyashiv as encouraging young men to marry older women in an attempt to combat the notorious shidduch crisis facing the Jewish community.

    The full English text is after the jump.

    This is to ascertain that when I met with HaGaon Horav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, Shlita, this past CHol Hamoed Sukkos and discussed with him the shidduch issue that is plaguing our country, he permitted me to publicize in his name that any bochur who marries a young woman who is “older” (past early marriage age) is ruach chachomim nocha heimenu. And with unusual enthusiasm, the Gaon blessed all who do so wuth extraordinary berachos in the establishment of their homes.
    Regarding those who do so, I heard that same from another of the most outstanding Gedolim of our time: “Ruach chachomim nocha heimenu.”

    (Signed)
    Aharon Feldman

    We join in the opinion of the above Gedolei HaDor and encourage bochurim to marry those who are close to their age (and even older), and we bless them that they merit thereby to establish botim ne’emanim in Klal Yisroel in which they dwell the limitless blessings of Hashem.

    What’s striking about this call is that, one, apparently not enough young Orthodox men have heeded their rebbes’ call. Otherwise, why would it need repeating?

    Two, while this may sound like an enlightened position on the part of rabbis, a man marrying a woman “close to” his own age, with the parenthetical addition of “(or even older),” shouldn’t be a chiddush.

    Third, R’ Elyashiv might have made more headway with the shidduch crisis if, instead of encouraging men to marry older women, he’d encouraged them to marry women whose dress size is larger than a 2, or whose families don’t have a lot of money.

    Lastly, if men do heed their rebbes’ encouragement, it could completely change the face of the Orthodox community. Women who get married older will have fewer years to have children — which could mean a stalling of population growth. Even a difference of one less child per family could be significant.

    Not to mention a woman who has spent some time as a single adult may have more of a chance, or more of a need, to develop marketable skills, and would be able to bring in a better income for her family.

    There is, of course, the danger that an older woman will become something of a mother figure to her husband, but, let’s be honest, some of these yeshiva bochurim could use a little mothering, so it might be a good thing in the long run.

    June 25, 2009 | Read more Newsdesk posts. 5 Comments »

    Comments

    5 Comments »

    1. THIS IS FAB! A) Because I’m a women who married someone a couple years younger and am so thankful that age was not an issue for him (after polling several friends that is). And B) Because I try my hand at shidduchim and too many times I think of an incredible match (and the guy agrees its perfect) but he poo poos it because of age. Such a silly reason. When you’re all at the same stage in life, what’s the difference! I know tons of the most incredible women, the best catches that any guy could dream of, that get turned down by guys because they’re a year older than them. So stupid! Sometimes though, even the smallest kick in the tuchus from their Rabbi can do the trick…

      Comment by Susanne — June 26, 2009 @ 8:39 am

    2. Suzanne – What is the rationale behind not dating women who happen to be a year older? Why do you think these guys reject that?

      Comment by Steven I. Weiss — June 26, 2009 @ 8:46 am

    3. Well, they’re already intimidated by how pretty the girl is and how great her job is, so I feel like a lot of times its a cop out. Otherwise, they honestly think that no one does it! When I guy turns down a match and says its perfect, but shes two years older so its a no, I cite my own marriage as evidence that Thank God these relationships can work. Off the top of my head, my last 10 friends who got married, 6-7 were to younger men. Its a growing trend that more people need to recognize.

      Comment by Susanne — June 26, 2009 @ 9:02 am

    4. Susanne – Do they ever expand on that?

      Comment by Steven I. Weiss — June 26, 2009 @ 11:33 am

    5. [...] got some interesting — okay, disturbing — feedback to this post over Shabbat. Two men, both in their thirties, one married and one single, agreed: the problem with [...]

      Pingback by Jewess » Are Older Single Women “Bitter”? — June 27, 2009 @ 6:07 pm

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