Monday, January 4, 2016

Shidduchim VII - [?V’Lo?] Me’Eiver L’Yam Hee – Going for Broke


ולא מעבר לים היא לאמר מי יעבר לנו אל עבר הים ויקחיה לנו...

She is (not) across the sea, to say: Who will cross over for us across the sea and bring her here to us…

I am not getting paid enough for writing these posts. Truth is, I am not getting paid at all. What’s more, I am not being paid enough for anything I do. I sometimes do get paid and usually it is all that I am entitled to, but it’s never enough.

In today’s economy and with my limitations there is no natural way for me to earn as much as I need to cover primary expenses and this spells “difficulty”. One thing is certain: I must try to be as frugal as I possibly can. Of course some expenses are very predictable: mortgage, arnona (property tax), utilities, etc. Every month, like clockwork, the expected amounts show up (as debits) on my already overdrawn bank statement. Quite dependable. Even groceries I can more or less regulate.

But it’s the little ones things that kill you. Especially after they grow up into big things and start demanding things of their own. All of a sudden girls need things like braces, contact lenses, acne medicine, fancy clothes and other feminine things so I can try to get some dude to take them off my hands (for a price). Boys need braces, acne medicine, driver’s licenses, black hats, ugly ties, shavers and other masculine things so they can get expensive maidels.

I’m just not earning enough overdraft every month to carry it all.

So every so often (on the half hour) I have to put my shoeless foot down and say: the shekel stops here!

Now, a little more than a year ago I wrote a post featuring my (now) 25 year old tachshitel “Yossi”. Yossi is a serious learner (aside from being tall, slim, good-looking, witty, humble, etc.) and he wants to remain as one. He is also an unmarried bochur, and he does not want to remain as one.

So now he has two goals – to learn Torah and to find a wife. He is holding by perek HaIsh Mekadesh and wants to do perek Besula Nissas next. (Some people hold these are in seder Nashim and others say they are in seder Nezikin).   

These are perfectly doable tasks here in Eretz Yisrael. Yet, Yossi could not help noticing the words of chazal:

 אין יצאים מארץ ישראל לחוץ לארץ אלא ללמוד תורה ולישא אשה.

Chazal tell us that there are only two reasons to go to chutz laaretz (Chu”l): to study Torah and to find a wife. Accordingly, Yossi determined that he now has two reasons to go to chu”l. I didn’t understand it that way but maybe Yossi is the bigger talmid chacham.

Yossi knows what he’s looking for and [he thinks] he knows where to find it. Until last summer, he had been on my case for almost two years to send him to learn – and go wife hunting – in the “old country”. I did not disagree on the principle (keren) but I did disagree on the interest (ribbis). I am not budgeted for such a venture. I cannot afford the tuitions of the American yeshivas nor can I afford the rebbeh-geldt of the American girls. If he really wants to go this route he has to come up with the funding himself. He will have to “go for broke”.

So he did (kind of…)

He held out for about another year but finally, last summer, he took the bull by the horns. First he needed to locate a yeshiva that is willing to give him full scholarship (after the PELL grants). He found one just outside of Lakewood. Then he needed to cover his airfare. So he found a job in a summer camp in Lakewood that would just about do it.

Of course, he needed to get overseas to Lakewood before he would be paid so somebody (imagine who?) would need to lay out the cost of airfare. I found the cheapest one-way deal available on some third world communist propeller plane airline and advanced him the money (and a parachute). B”H, he arrived as planned and did not need the parachute. He had a successful summer and got paid but somehow, the money hasn’t made it back to me.

All of this goes back to last July and it’s been six months of battle in the trenches since. No Mazel Tovs yet but every day brings something (or somebody) new.

I have already written numerous posts about the shidduch crisis going back to 2008. Not a lot has changed much, although, if you ask me, they should have. Thanks to my Yossi I am now able to reassess the situation with a more personal first-hand approach.

Although he is a resourceful and independent young lad, his mother and I are still fully involved in his shidduch adventures. The fact that we are oceans away has given us many challenges but also some advantages. It has given us a long distance bird’s-eye view of what is going on in the American shidduch scene where the “Shidduch crisis” may be a bit more severe than it is here. I have learned a lot about where things can be improved and why they haven’t (or won’t be anytime soon.)

The saying goes: If it ain’t broke – don’t fix it. But people in the know are saying that the system is broke. It’s not really, B”H there are weddings all the time; but it’s not fully intact, either. I intend to deal with the details in some upcoming posts, bl”n.

But, in the meanwhile my Yossi is in the USA going for broke. Playing a game where some of the rules are broke. Anticipating that the churning waters of Yam Suf will broke.

And, as for me, I am just flat broke. Because nobody pays me for writing these posts.

כי קרוב אליך הדבר מאד, בפיך ובלבבך לעשותו.

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