My wife is a Shadchan, who did many shiduchim just this year alone. She is not a professional, she does it totally L'shem Shomayim. The very first question the boy's family usually asks is "which Seminary did she attend?" They are basically not interested what the girl actually learned there, or if she possesses good or special character traits. She just wants to know so that she can boast her new daughter-in laws credentials to the Yenta next door. Then they want to know, how is this boy going to be supported, but this question requires a totally separate post.
In a letter to the editor in the March 11, 2011 edition of the English Yated Ne'eman, a young girl still in Seminary in Eretz Yisroel warns her parents that she will be coming back to the States a "changed person," since she had adopted "chumros" etc. She writes that her parents should understand that if you send your teenager to study in Eretz Yisroel and spend a lot of money getting the teenager there, then they better be ready to basically adopt the stringencies in Halacha that the teenager learned in Seminary!
Now read an answer to her letter from a reader in this weeks Yated Ne'eman!
MENTCHLICHKEIT BEFORE CHUMROS
I was appalled by the letter from the girl in seminary in Eretz Yisroel to her parents. The letter reveals that this girl has learned little, if anything, of what one would have expected her to learn. There is clearly something wrong with this system. While she may have learned lots of chumros and, undoubtedly, numerous complex commentaries, she has not learned basic elements of mentchlichkeit, hakoras hatov and kibbudav v 'eim.
I do not know the economic status of the family of this seminary student, but if they are like most people, they struggled mightily to scrape together at least $20,000 of hard-earned money to send her to seminary in Eretz Yisroel. They may have even gone into debt over it. Yet, the only message conveyed in her letter is a warning shot across the bow to her parents. She has not even come home and she has already criticized her parents.
How about some hakoras hatov? Did you ever consider how difficult it is to make $20,000, particularly in these times? Do you know how many hours of work and how much effort, toil and heartache it takes to make that money? Were you ever taught in seminary to appreciate what your parents have done for you? This is the very first middah that the Torah teaches us. Adam was criticized for not being makir tov that G-d gave him Chava. This comes well before any chumros that you learned. Don't you think that your parents, at the very least, deserve at least one word - "thanks"?
Your year in Eretz Yisroel is a privilege and a luxury. No, it is not coming to you. It is not your birthright. It is precisely this "kumt mir" attitude that is so distasteful and the cause of much discord. It has fostered arrogance among some of our youth. You should be in awe of your parents. Ten months in a seminary apparently did not make you smarter, better, wiser or more experienced than your parents. That you may know a few more chumros, Rambans and halachos than your parents does not render them inferior to you. Indeed, the tone and content of your letter show that you have much to learn.
A Parent With Priorities In Order
Now that the Rabbonim are in a mode of doing “Takonis” for weddings, I thinks its time to make a “Takana” to scrap the whole "Seminary in Eretz Yisroel" business. There are really great Seminaries here in the States. As far as having your daughter have an "Experience in Israel" is concerned, I propose sending our daughters to Israel for the summer after High School in a supervised controlled camp. It will save thousands upon thousands of dollars!
It won't happen though! Why?
I want to know why there isn’t any “Takones” for the prohibitive costs of the tuition of an Israeli based Seminary? Why are the costs of these Seminaries that brainwash our daughters to marry men that will never carry out what they promised in the Ketubah, the same as a wedding?
Maybe, just maybe, the Rabbonim want these Seminaries to continue in business to push the "learning" agenda to keep the Rabbonim in business.
I want to know why there aren't any Takones to stop the bleeding of Jewish Hard Earned Money!
Its ok to limit the number of musicians at weddings (thereby ripping away the Parnassah of many hard working family supporting young men).
But its not ok to stop stuffing tens of thousands of dollars in the pockets of the Seminary Administrators. Makes sense???