02 August 2012

In Honor of TU b'Av

15 Menachem Av 5772

After what I've seen on my way home, my heart just isn't in the holiday spirit. This was the best I could do for the occasion.

CBS report: Number of singles in Israel drastically rises

Ahead of the upcoming Jewish holiday of Tu B'Av (similar to Valentine's Day), the Central Bureau of Statistics released a study of demographic changes in Israel indicating that the number of single men and women in their late 20s has drastically increased over the past forty years.

According to the recently released information, some 65% of men between the ages of 25 and 29 are single, compared to a mere 28% in 1970. Meanwhile, the percentage of single women between the ages of 25 and 29 has hiked over the past forty years from 13% to 46%.

This is called "The Shidduch Crisis." In 1749, they had a unique solution to the problem. The following is an excerpt from the book The Gaon of Vilna and His Messianic Vision by Arie Morgenstern, p. 102:

...The Mass immigration related to 1740...transformed the demographics of Jerusalem and the collective moral image of the city's Jewish society. The burgeoning population of young single immigrants in Jerusalem led to concern about an overall moral "slippery slopes," foremost in relations between men and women. The rabbis of Jerusalem must have had real evidence about immoral encounters - by the standards of traditional Jewish society of the time - between single men and women in public places. Otherwise, they would not have rushed to draw a connection between what was happening and the Talmudic principle that forbids tacit* condoning of sexual licentiousness. Thus they reinstated the "singles bylaw" that had existed "since bygone times":

"Indeed, in our many trangressions, we see single available men...who remain unmarried, blaming this on...inability to afford a wedding and to feed and support a wife, arriving from abroad each and every day. It is our tradition that licentiousness cannot be condoned, even tacitly."

The rabbinical court, in its session of April 23, 1749, demanded that all single and available males in Jerusalem aged twenty through sixty marry by August 15 of that year. Violators "must immediately leave this holy city and seek their lives abroad." In the event of violation, the community officers were empowered to pursue them to the bitter end and, ultimately, drive them out of Jerusalem.
tacit - "implied or indicated (as by an act or by silence) but not actually expressed"

Here's hoping and praying that every Jew will find and claim his true soulmate this TU b'Av.

1 comment:

  1. Even though I guess it depends on the context, this what I cannot really grasp on the subject of Shidduchim.

    I can understand the seperation between the sexes to some extent, yet the one thing that socially inept or disabled people can really benefit from is developing the social skills that would allow them to find a Shidduch by constantly interacting with other people (both men and women).

    I am not sure how a return of a "single's bylaw" would help socially inept men find a Shidduch if they are already faring badly with how things are at the moment.

    Still I agree with your wish that every Jew will find and claim his true soulmate.