Isaac Kaplan

"Is it any wonder I've got too much time on my hands?"

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Ending the Madness: Kaplan's Take

On some level, I agree with the points that both Mike and Chananya raise. Mike is correct in pointing out that getting to the first date is generally not a big deal, as long as the hashkafos are somewhere within the same ballpark. If you're a YU guy trying to go out with a Lakewood girl, then you aren't getting anywhere close to first base, and understandably so. The shidduch has a very small chance, if any, of succeeding. But if the hashkafos are generally the same (TV, no TV, learning guy, working guy, etc.), I have found that it isn't difficult to get to the first date. Besides, oftentimes haskafos can be like personality: one of those things that cannot adequately be described on paper, and is only seen when the guy and girl are going out and discussing the issues with one another.

As it is, I have found that the question "What are your hashkafos?" is rather vague. What are you supposed to answer, anyway? "I believe in God"? We sure hope so. "I watch TV"? That's important, but it's not answering the question! "I wear a velvet yarmulka"? But you knew that already "I'm not your typical black-hatter"? Okayyyy..

Yet, on some level, Chananya has a point. I have found that when going out, people often focus too much on hashkafos. On my list, hashkafos are far below more important issues like middos and personality. I'm not saying hashkafos don't mean anything; I'm not about to marry a Satmar girl just because she has great middos. But to dump somebody just because they never went to a co-ed camp and you did is silly.

Part of my rationale for giving midos priority is that if someone has good midos, is easygoing and is chilled out, they won't have a hard time compromising on the differences that may come up in their hashkafos. After all, it's nearly impossible to find someone who has exactly the same hashkafos. So no matter what, you're gonna have to compromise on some level. And even if you find someone with the exact same hashkafos, who's to say he/she'll have the personality, midos, looks, etc. that are necessary? And if you're dealing with someone who's stubborn and hung-up on their exact hashkafa, then they'll give a hard time to any guy who's not exactly hashkafically like she is, even if his hashkafos are very close to hers. Is that better than a flexible person whose hashkafos are somewhat further away?

Another point is that people's hashkafos change after they're married. The way you think when you're 22 years old can change a lot by the time you're 32, or 42, for that matter. In fact, I know someone in my neighborhood who was in his 30's and began getting frummer. He started attending more shiurim, got more into learning, etc. But his wife wanted none of it, and they had to get divorced. And there's another guy in my neighborhood who, in his 40's, decided to put on a beard and payos. And he's still married, at last check. I'm assuming his wife is of the more easygoing variety, and therefore was ready and willing to deal with the changes occurring to her husband.

So I believe that while hashkafos are certainly a factor in looking for the right one, they tend to get blown out of proportion. And Mike might be right that hashkafos generally won't stop you from a getting a first date, but Chananya is right in that there's certainly some "madness" in people's obsession with the finer hashkafos of their potential mate.


Blogger Shoshana said...

I totally agree and wish that more people would see it that way. I think people get so focused on external issues that they completely miss the most important part, and what will endure in a relationship - WHO the person actually is.

11:04 AM  
Blogger Isaac Kaplan said...


i couldn't have said it better.

1:09 PM  

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