Letter: Why Isn’t “Good” Good Enough?

I am a BMG bochur currently in shidduchim, and I was recently told by several shadchanim that I have made an “awful” and “terrible” decision, and that I “shot myself in the foot.”

Let me explain. I come from a family of extremely limited means; my parents have no way of paying for my future wedding and they don’t have the ability to support me once I get married. This has not taken me away from learning – I continue to attend every seder and have not missed one since I came to BMG and I plan to continue in my learning for as long as possible once I get married.

But here’s my “big mistake,” as yet another shadchan told me on Thursday: because my parents have so little money, I decided that during my free time, instead of hanging out with friends or whatever, I would get a small job to bring in some income and eventually use that money to help pay for my wedding and household expenses when I am in kollel.

I have not tried hiding this – why should I? As far as I’m concerned it’s a smart and responsible decision. I am very open with shadchanim and prospective dates that I have a small, part-time job that doesn’t interfere with my sedorim.

But, so far, every shadchan I’ve spoken to said that I’m hurting myself.

“What girl looking for a learning guy wants someone who is working?” one shadchan said to me.

“I understand why you’re doing this but think of the impression you’re making on the families looking into you,” another said.

The number of negative comments I’ve gotten for this sensible decision are endless. The number of girls who have been redt to me has dwindled and more than one shadchan has openly told me to essentially “shape up” or forget about getting more dates.

I don’t care. I know that I am doing the right thing and I know the right girl will come along and see past my decision to bring in a small amount of income, or even better, appreciate that I am being responsible and forward-thinking. I won’t let others’ negative comments knock me down.

But it still hurts. I’m not wealthy, my family isn’t wealthy – far from it. How do all these shadchanim and girls looking exclusively for a guy who has no income-producing ability square the idea of wanting a full-time learning guy with the need to pay rent every month? Or grocery bills? Or diapers? Why would you turn your nose up at someone who is trying to make it work, even while he is learning full time? How does that make any sense?

I know that I’m not the only one that finds myself having to make a tough choice. There are many other bochurim who don’t have the support necessary to allow them to get married and stay in kollel for any considerable length of time without getting a job. They are all being hurt by this twisted mindset.

A wise man once said, “Perfect is the enemy of good.” In other words, obsessing with perfection and criticizing the imperfect for not living up to certain ideals is ultimately a bad thing.

I feel that is exactly what is happening to me. I am in a “market” which is geared towards perfection; good isn’t good enough. If you’re not perfect, if you have the slightest, most minor blemish, or in my case, if you are doing something that is not considered 100 percent ideal, you’re thrown directly into the trash pile.

Why is it this way? Why can’t our society understand that people make their own choices based on what is best for them and that not everyone fits into the exact same mold as everyone else? Why are we tearing down people because they are making a smart, good, wholesome, responsible decision? Obsession with idealism isn’t a good thing, it’s cultic.

Editor’s note: Photo does not depict the bachur in the above letter

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  1. You should – and will – be gebentcht for so many different reasons. For that and more you will definitely be zocheh to a wonderful girl from a family who will cherish your learning, your middos and your yashrus!!! please share the good news, bez”h.

  2. If you consulted Daas torah before making this decision then you did not make an “awful” choice.
    If you did not consult daas torah before making this decision then… why didn’t you??
    Either way,the shadchanim are not the barometer for whether this was a good choice or a bad choice.

  3. While I’m sympathetic to the plight of this bochur, he needs to understand that perception is the reality with shidduchim.

    Right or wrong is irrelevant. There are bochurim that have work study jobs in yeshiva. This bochur probably feels he is doing what’s responsible.

    Does he think his expenses will increase or decrease after marriage? Such a bochur will be perceived as prioritizing his parnansa over hus learning and will quickly looking for the exit from Beis Medrash.

    Again, right or wrong is irrelevant

  4. 1 point is missing from this letter. If what you’re doing has the backing of your Rebbe or Rav (and I suspect it does) than everything you wrote is correct.

  5. You are doing the right thing. Hashem will send you the girl that appreciates your qualities.

  6. Continue doing what works for you. People with a pea-sized brain will continue berating you. Don’t pay attention. The chofetz chaim himself owned a small store to survive off of. (This is what I’ve been told, I’m no historian.) Apparently he was still able to write the Mishnah Berurah

  7. You’re doing the right thing! Ignore these ignorant shadchans and go find some non lakewooder shadchans.
    I truly feel bad for these lakewooders they need to go open their little lakewood minds up!
    Kol Hakavod ???? and keep shteiging and doing your hishtadlus and may you find your bashert very soon!

  8. Seriously? A bochur who isn’t lazy and entitled, thinks about the future, can quote Voltaire, can spell and get his thoughts across in a clear and coherent manner? I wasn’t sure there were any of those left…I think he may be the last one. He should’ve posted his name and number, he’d have the phone ringing off the hook now.

  9. The real reason there is a shidduch crisis is not because there aren’t enough boys there are so many amazing and qualified boys who are in shidduchim, rather it’s because all girls want the boy to fit in a specific box that their seminary teachers and society told them the boys must fit into even though that box isn’t healthy nor the right choice for lots of boys. Boys are humans and need to take care of their emotional needs they can’t just stay in unhealthiness for years in order to satisfy society #my2cents

  10. Let’s say the boy comes from a millionaire family and doesn’t need the money but struggles to stay in the Beis Medrash the whole day why can’t he go out to work why are we pushing boys to stay in an environment that isn’t the healthiest for a lot of them? Why aren’t we pushing boys to be healthy and productive. Most humans can’t sit and learn the entire day. The goal should be healthy boys not just a system where everyone hangs around a specific institution with lots of them being unproductive

  11. Yakov @ 5:57 – the reason we have a shidduch crisis is because the MOTHERS of the boys are pathetically ridiculous in their mindset. I myself am B”H happily married for years however I have a friends (of all ages) who are still single. A lot of them apparently have me listed as a reference and I can tell you that the questions these mothers ask range from the pathetic to the biz are to the downright DISGUSTING. Sometimes I feel like telling them that they are killing their son’s chances and if I was the girl I would never want to be married to their son as he probably comes as a package deal with his mother. HASHEM YERACHEM!!!

  12. First and foremost, the girl that gets you is going to be very lucky. You are doing what you feel is the correct thing to do. You should become a very big talmud chochom.

    Please contact me.

  13. Your mistake – my friend, is being too ahead for your stage.

    I left Kollel (yes, with guidance of a Rebbi) at 30, with 4 kids and a frustrated wife at home.

    No skills, no confidence, no direction, and a pile of bills that needed to be covered – yesterday.

    I spent the last half decade in the working field working my way up from the starters level and getting my head where it needs to be for forward success.

    You sound like you come from a healthy family who has their ideals straight. You care about your parent’s feelings. You care about your parent’s abilities. Fortunate are parents to have raised a family in healthy environment despite being of limited means.

    You have confidence. You’re a go getter. You’re out hustling while your sleeping buddies are out vaping, eating cake, and catching up on the latest hock.

    You’re on the right path.

    All these shadchanim are looking to dress you up and sell you off as the next Chazon Ish. That’s not who you are, and that’s not who you need to be. Your service and place in society and in yiddishkeit are as valuable.

    You want to marry someone who appreciates you for who you are, not for who they think bochrim should be.

    Let all these girls marry their dressed up gedolei hador, and let all these shadchanim earn their handsome pay for finding the prized catch of a bochur. They all deserve each other.

    YOU are the prized catch. The truly deserving girl will be led to you. Find a shadchan who cares about seeing YOU HAPPY, instead of one who cares about their next shadchanus envelope.

  14. I feel bad for all the girls and Shadchanim who don’t appreciate a good boy . I have a lot of married kids and I see a very spoiled generation who feel their parents owe them everything . My husband tutored during Sedarim so we wouldn’t have to take from our parents . This Bachur is going to be a great husband and treat his wife properly . He seems to have great Middos . Unfortunately now a days wearing a black hat and suit and going to BMG and not working between Sedarim is no guarantee for a good Bochur ( as you don’t know what he is doing between Sedarim !! .. as one of my son’s put it .. there are Bochurim who admit that they are in BMG because that’s what the girls want ( and those are the coffee room guys who don’t work ) ..

  15. Nice job stirring the pot. I don’t believe for one second that this letter is real. Of course it could be based on reality but if that is the case then just say so.

  16. Hi,
    Your a great boy don’t be scared by nobody you will do as good as everyone else or better just do the right thing and you will be matzlich what ever you do wish could contact you will try to help you be in touch with the scoop they have my email if you would to contact me

  17. If you are a serious Ben Torah, why do you address your concerns via the internet? why not with Dass Torah that way you can be correctly confident in your decisions.

  18. I don’t agree with your comment about a girl looking past your decision, you should date a girl who is with you 100% not look past you,
    There are plenty of good solid intelligent girls out there who will appreciate your responsibility, may Hashem help you find your bashert quickly.

  19. Hi,
    Your a great boy don’t be scared by nobody you will do as good as everyone else or better just do the right thing and you will be matzlich what ever you do, wish i could contact you will try to help you be in touch with the scoop they have my email if you would like to contact me

  20. This is not written by a Bochur! Someone is trying to bait all those anti-yeshiva people to voice their wisdom. Look at the way it is written we wish bochurim today could express themselves so well in writing.
    I’ve helped employ boys like this and they never expressed such difficulties or worries. If a bochur is really keeping his sedorim, families may want to verify that, when confirmed, there are many people who can’t give full support that would take this as a first choice. This letter is fake.

    • I agree, this letter is definitely a fake.
      I just take offense to one thing you wrote.
      I am an English teacher, and I would say a nice percentage of my students could write a decent letter and express themselves very well!

  21. If this letter is real- and I’m questioning this only because I’m a bit of a cynic and it is so well written- GO GET EM! Like so many others have said – lots of families and girls would love a guy like you. As for the rest- don’t worry about them but you’re right. Our mentality doesn’t make any sense.

  22. Stop it now!
    Stop packing groceries in a Lakewood supermarket or standing as a cashier checking people out!
    Stop driving as a cab driver bein hasedarim.
    There are enough very respectable ways for a serious bochur to make a few dollars. You chose a low skill job in a public place which is justifiably hurting you.
    Tutor boys = big demand, great pay, great experience & great for shidduchim.
    Offer to Substitute in local Yeshiva, good pay, good for the resume.
    Work in a private environment out of the eyes of the public, decent pay, no harm to your marriage prospects.
    Stop being so paranoid about paying for your chasunah. THere are enough chessed organizations to help you with that.
    This is a critical time in your life & if the job you’re doing is considered demeaning for an aspiring talmid chochom then stop it immediately!
    You might not like society’s expectation of you right now but you need to be smart & stop hurting yourself!
    You are acting very foolish right now just to make a few pennies.
    Quit the stupid job, get back on track with shidduchim, & trust in Hashem to provide you with parnassah.
    You are making a tragic mistake that will cost you much more in the long term than the few pennies you’re earning today.

      • I happen to own a large successful company & was once very poor myself.
        The intention of the letter writer is to be commended & if someone needs parnassah then there’s no bizayon to taking any available job. However,a bochur in shidduchim needs to be very careful about his public image. Plenty of BMG guys have part time jobs without hurting their name because they keep a low profile & work in private. If the shadchonim are telling you that you’re hurting your chances then I have no doubt that you are doing something in public view, something not very respectable. Trust the shadchonim! They know the shidduch landscape much better than you do. Ask them what kind of side job wouldn’t hurt your name. The people who are cheering you on as you are redt fewer & fewer shiduchim think they are smarter than the professionals. They aren’t.

    • How dare you demean cashiers and cab drivers. Have you no compassion nor respect for others who are created in Hashem’s image no matter their station in life. You are a fool in a serpent skin.

  23. Dear BOCHOR.

    First, I would like you to know, that I am very proud of you, and keep up your good work, and IYH you will find your right girl BKROV.

    That said, I do believe that you are making one mistake.

    Why are you telling the SHADCHONIM that you have a small job on the side?

    Do you really think that whenever you get information from SHADCONIM they are telling you the truth, ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!!!!!

    I think that you should ask your Rav or Rosh Hyeshiva, if you can skip that part of working out until the 5th of 6th date, and if the girl likes you, them tell it to her in away that she won’t be shocked, say in a smart way, and you will see that she will like you, because you are doing the right thing.

    And just as a side note, if you don’t have a Rav or Rosh Hyeshiva to ask, then that’s even a bigger problem then anything else.

    I wish you a lot of HATZLOCHA.

  24. It’s very simple. When someone is off the beaten path it warrants further investigation. Parents are justifiably sensing that more investigation is warranted and looking at other ways that are simpler. It doesn’t mean you aren’t an amazing boy but it does mean That a parent is not going to give a yes at first glance without further research. As a responsible parent I agree.

  25. Sometimes it’s appropriate to go to work if struggling in yeshiva, and his Rebbi recommends it. However your case is very different.
    1: Don’t blame the shadchanim, they’re only informing you of the reality, they’re not creating the situation
    2: Last I checked it’s the girls parents who worry about supporting, not the boy’s parents, and if they can’t make a wedding, they’ll figure it out, and if necessary there’s organizations that can help.
    3: The girls are hashkafically correct that a Bochur who is in the work force, isn’t the same involved in his learning, it’s impossible, there are other girls who aren’t looking for a devoted learner.
    4: A bochur who needs to turn to a website to find clarity is definitely not a mainstream devoted learner
    5: If you do need to go to work, why don’t you do it quietly like someone who needs therapy, instead of being so vocal about it, maybe you being so loud and proud of it is what’s shooting yourself in the leg.
    Stop being so self rightous and ask daas torah if you should go to work, how to go to work and if to do it more inconspicuously.

  26. It’snot you it’s not the girls it’s IDIOT Shadchanim who are MORE-ON’S who want quick $ and anyne even a mashehu out of the box isn’t worth the time unless they are lesheim SHomayim which many are not!!!

    Keep it up!!! Shivisi hashem L’negdi Tamid, keep living your life with Ratzon hashem for they yachid and not based on what society does!!!!!!

  27. It’snot you it’s not the girls it’s IDIOT Shadchanim who are MORE-ON’S who want quick $ and anyne even a mashehu out of the box isn’t worth the time unless they are lesheim Shomayim which many are not!!!

    Keep it up!!! Shivisi hashem L’negdi Tamid, keep living your life with Ratzon hashem for they yachid and not based on what society does!!!!!!
    Follow your rebbi not the blog comments here!!!




  29. I am very impressed with you and I will be glad to see if you are a good shot for my daughter who is looking for a learner who can also help support!

  30. Hi nothing to add. This letter is really well written. It probably wasn’t written by a bachur but may very well been written by his mother. So for those who think it’s all fake please take that into account

  31. Prob not good for Shidduchim to be posting on the scoop.
    # just saying
    The Shadchanim prob already figured u out
    I always say , do what you think is right and not what the Shadchanim say.

  32. I have a hard time buying this because my name was once given as a reference for a learner/earner boy, and you can’t imagine how many phone calls I got from mothers of girls desperate for boys davka in that category.
    (not to mention, it’s a boy’s market. You can do whatever you want.)

  33. Oey! Terrible!
    It’s nothing new, maybe it got worse now.
    I had started dating in 1981and it was the same exact thing.
    However my case was unusual: All my siblings were married, I lived with my father ז״ל whom was an elderly Holocaust Survivor with a heart condition ( my mother ע״ה was niftier from the machla a few years prior) .
    At age 17 & 18 I learned in Yeshiva during the day and went to school evenings, at age 19 I got a good job, continued school at night and learned in Yeshiva Kesser Chaim (Rabbi Berl זצ״ל) on Sundays.
    At age 20 I started my own business and I ב״ה בלי עין הרע was very successful .
    Than I started dating: like my father said in Yiddish: “men voyst eihm nisht kein sichora” which means they don’t show me merchandise.
    I was a young good looking boy running a successful business and it was disgusting to whom they had reided me to: all kinds of פסולת (left over) crazy girls, midgets, girls 5 years older than me, divorced girls, etc, I couldn’t get married in NY at the end I got married to a nice young Lakewood girl (my wife).

  34. When I read articles like this, I remember the unfortunate truth: our community can be cult like.

    If anyone has an issue then they will also have an issue with the chofetz Chaim who owned a grocery store!

    I am so impressed with you!! You are an example for the rest of Lakewood!!

  35. Shadchanim are shluchim of Hashem. They should stick to their jobs and not overstep and try to play G-d. Same with doctors. Same with bosses. etc. As long as you are doing what you are doing after consulting Da’as Torah, you have nothing to worry about – Hashem is in charge. B’Tach B’Hashem V’Asei Tov.

  36. I would tell you to run run run as fast as you can away from a shadchan that tells you this garbage. A shadchan who thinks they are Gd, is someone you should stay away from. They have no HKBH in their lives no matter how much they want to tell people they do. Besides, with such an answer, they show they are in it for themselves and not in it for you. They’re probably very concerned about how they look if they suggest a boy who heaven forbid is doing something bain hasedorim to make a little bit of money.

    I guarantee you, I guarantee you, your decision will not affect what happens. Keep having bitachon in HKBH and NOT in the shadchanim.

  37. The Rosh Yeshiva Reb Ahron Zatzal was very against his bochurim taking jobs even bain hazmanim! and that was in that generation, those bochurim some of them yesomim really needed the money, I don’t think the Rosh Yeshiva had superficial reasons such as image..the girls in those days would have had no problem with it.

  38. If this letter is real? My only question to you the fine bochur is , why did you even mention the working thing?

    And if this story is true in the way its been presented, then we don’t want to hear about a girls shidduch crisis ever again
    Leave it home and give it up already after 15 years.

  39. @POZ when boys are locked in a system that encourages them to be takers and they get redt so many names due to the fact they are poster boys even though they barely learn and all they are looking is to be takers of course their demands are going to be ridiculous. So it’s not the boys who are causing these ridiculous demands it’s the mother of the girls who will take a poster boy as opposed to a quality boy thus enabling those insane demands.

  40. Did you ever hear of Krias Yam Soof ?
    Shiduchim are just as wonderous as KYS.
    However, no one talks about the bonus of KYS which Applies just as well to Shidduchim (Without those idiot). There was so much gold and silver there up for grabs that Mosheh Rabbainu had to actually rip them away from the Yam Soof..
    So keep on doing what your doing your shiduch will appear shadchanim or no Shadchanim .

  41. I’m a bochur in shidduchim. I’m experiencing the identical thing as the writer of this letter. For everyone saying it’s hyperbole or false, it’s accurate. 1000% accurate. Right down to the part that nobody cares if you spend 3 hours a day following sports or politics, but if you’re using those 3 hours a day productively to enable yourself to be self sufficient, suddenly you’re untouchable.

  42. Go see the Heilige Shadchan in Lakewood, Mrs. Nechama Saslow, ba’h Hashem blessed her with an uncanny ability to be the Shliach to put 2 people together. She will likely be able to help you. And she DEFINITELY would never say something like that.
    In my experiences, the overwhelming amount of Shadchanim are Lsheim Shamayim. Don’t let your experiences with the ones that arent slow you down.
    R Reuven Feinstein shllit’a told his Rebbitzen a’h (while dating) that he would be a garbage man/shlepper if they needed Parnassah. (He felt that he could be good at that due to his physical make up. I also believe R Dovid Feinstein z’l had a printing press/side hustle, as a Bachur. So dont worry, you’re in GREAT company).
    -p.s. -MAYBE-There might be a serious character flaw you struggle with, but people are to shy to tell you to your face, so instead they ‘blame’ it on the fact that you work Bein HaSidarim.
    Wishing you Siyata Dishmaya. Keep Davening.
    Dont Forget-go visit Mrs. Saslow.

  43. Great decision. If you are a truly confident you wouldn’t need to post this letter to hear everyone’s ideas. As someone once said I can’t give you a recipe that works 100% for success, but if you want a sure way to failure then try to make everyone happy all of the time. As the chazon ish told a father that wanted to send his daughter out of eretz Yisrael for shidduchim ( there was a shortage of yeshiva boys those days) he told the father” you only need one”. Shadchanim told me I would never find a girl that had the background I was looking for , that would also want a learning boy. But even with their decades of experience I only needed one. So take pride in being responsible and be open like you are and you’ll find the one. Hatzlocho

  44. I would love to offer you a job – part time and respectable
    I’m extremely impressed with you
    Please get my e-mail address from the scoop

  45. I am extremely impressed with you
    Please contact me for a job, I may have a perfect well paying in between sedarim job for you
    Tremendous respect for you
    Please ask the scoop for my e-mail address

  46. On behalf of all bochurim and bnei torah in the USA, I hereby take umbrage at the notion espoused multiple times in the comment section that a bochur who can write coherently is an extreme rarity, to the degree that it was postulated that it was more likely to be his mother who had written the submission than the boy himself. Believe it or not, there are plenty of chashuve bochurim and yungeleit that have exceptional vocabularies, articulation, and communication skills, both verbally and in writing. The stereotyping, like the stereotyping that the submitter was discussing, is unfair and damaging.

    Like Voltaire said, prejudice is the reasoning of the feeble minded.

  47. Editor, please give my email to this bochur. I have a wonderful daughter, bright, attractive, geshmak, capable at home and looking for a serious boy.
    I would love to support this boy in learning if he marries my daughter.
    Although as a serious person, she already has a great job and won’t need much help b’siyatta dishmaya.
    If the shiduch happens, TLS gets shadchanus!

  48. This is not an anti yeshiva bachur letter
    It’s merely pointing out a wrinkle in the shidduch system
    However I would like to keep something in perspective
    There are hundreds of girls who would go out with such a guy
    Shadchanim are telling this fellow what he needs to do for a wealthy shidduch because that is what he is looking for if he wants these 100s of girls all he has to do is tell the shadchan that he wants a girl who is realistic and has her head screwed on straight
    When he does that he will find himself inundated with names

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