Dozens of Chabad yeshiva heads and other influential figures worldwide have signed a call to men studying in yeshivas to marry by the age of 20, and not wait until the age of 23 or 24 as is common now.
"Our letter is intended to awaken each and every one of us to deal with the situation that has come about lately, to free ourselves of certain world assumptions, and to cling to opinions and views that are based upon the foundations of Torah and Hassidut," they wrote.
"In the last decades, an opinion has taken root in the public, which calls for putting off the age of marriage. Supposedly, a man should be 23-24 before he can marry and build a home in Israel."
The signatories agreed that marrying earlier will also stanch the flow of "neshira," a term which refers to people who leave the hassidic stream. "Putting off marriage also indirectly contributes to raising the rate of neshira," they wrote. "It is no secret that not all the boys can pore day and night on studying the [Torah]. For many of them, it is a difficult thing, and they need to make great efforts. When a boy knows that he still has many years of yeshiva study ahead of him, and it is hard for him to make such an effort, he may give up, despair and leave the yeshiva."
"For the home that they will build with the help of G-d," they wrote, "surely holding their marriage earlier and becoming interested in shidduchim [matchmaking services] at an earlier age than is now common, will assist in making the character of their home be like the Rebbe's blessing, that they will build a home in Israel for eternity on the foundations of Torah and Mitzvah as they are lit by the light of Torah – that is the Torah of Hassidut."