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Mar 22, 2009

Rabbinic Committees and Marrying off Kids..

The problem of the finances of marrying off children, specifically in Israel among the yeshiva crowd, is well known. The "custom" has been that aside from paying for the wedding, the parents also often have to buy the children an apartment. Generally that obligation has been of the parents of the bride, but even in the best of situations it is split 50-50.

Recently, in the past few years, the issue has come to a head. The problem with the scenario is that few can afford it. Those that can, fine. But overall, the social group that is using that method is the one that is among the lowest socio-economic levels in the country. It has been widely discussed in the haredi press, and many attempts have been made in the last few years to try to alleviate the problem and remove the pressure, even if just a bit.

The problem really is that because most cannot afford it, they travel the world trying to raise money as they go collecting for "hachnassas kallah". It takes a toll on their lives, on the health, on the family. They go into serious debt to marry off the kids and provide them with a home.

BHOL is reporting on a new attempt to alleviate the problem. A group of avreichim from Ponevezh who are in the stages of marrying off children have realized that what they made their own parents do is just not possible anymore. Maybe their parents were working people and could take out another mortgage or dip into savings to buy them apartments (I have no idea why people think that just because you have a job you are able to afford extra apartments - maybe a different post). But they learn in kollel and barely make it to the end of the month and that is with just the bare minimum of basics. There is no way they will be able to buy their kids apartments.

So these avreichim have gotten together and decided they would agree among themselves to spend no more than $60,000 on their kids weddings. What that includes I don't know - the wedding itself? Also part of the price of an apartment? Gifts? I don't know - the article does not go into detail on that, but I will be staying tuned looking for more info on this.

As well, they are going to be going around the country trying to sign up 10,000 avreichim to agree to the same commitment.

Where they will get $60,000 is another problem, but it is better than a parent having to dish out $150,000 he does not have. So it relieves some of the pressure. And by signing up a large number of people, it lessens the social pressure that forces parents to take on all that debt - if others are not doing it, I will not feel obligated to do it. If they are only doing so much, I will only have to do so much.

The group went to Rav Shteinman to get his haskama that what they are doing is ok. Rav Shteinman agreed, and decided to set up a rabbinic committee to head the initiative.

I think the idea is great, and hopefully this is just the beginning of working solutions being found. What I find funny is that people want to spend less money, go less into debt, make weddings that cost less, buy cheaper apartments, buy apartments in cheaper neighborhoods, etc, and they feel they need the haskamah of a rav to do so. And we all know what happens once rabbinic committees get involved. You had a great idea - just follow through and spend less money. Why get others involved?


  1. What happens when "rabbinic committees get involved"?

  2. What we are missing here is where were the Rabbinic committees that allowed Klal Yisroel to get to where we are today.

    Where are the rabbinic committees that allow people to live in squalor and poverty becuase work is a "four letter" word?

    Where are the rabbinic committees to discuss the high amount of domestic violence and abuse that stems from the financial pressures of a Kollel lifestyle?

    Where are the rabbinic committees who should pasken against a community that allows people to go into bottomless debt and health crisis trying to pay for an apartment for each of their many children?

    Kol haKavod to those who can live such a life and "toraso umenaso" but I live across the street from a kollel. While there are many men who do sit and learn there are an equal number who stand outside smoking,drinking coffee and talking on their pelephones.

    Perhaps the entire systen needs an overhaul or at least a second look.

  3. Anonymous,
    If you see this on a constant basis why don't you say something what good is it writing it here. People should be principled and if you see a wrong try to correct it. By the way what do you do that you have time to see them constantly :-)

    Kol tuv,


    PS Perhaps you can take some pictures for us and we will take it from there

  4. Hey. I have a way that we can all help. STOP GIVING TO PEOPLE COLLECTING TO BUY AN APARTMENT FOR THEIR KIDS!! The only reason that this can continue is because YOU and other generous people keep feeding their habit.
    If nobody gives them, then they will have no reason to exhaust themselves travelling around the world trying to collect.
    When you got married, you had to rent a small apartment for several years until you scraped enough together for a down payment and maybe your parents contributed a small percentage of that (from their own money not begging). Why do they expect to own an apartment in an expensive area from the day they are married (sometimes with no mortgage)?!

    What do you think of that?

  5. The line has really become blurred between people who need help and people who feel they are so important that people they look down on should support them.

    I am glad that someone is acknowledging that there is a problem. The solution is going to be more drastic putting in a $60,000 budget for people who have no where near that amount of money.

  6. Baruch,

    Say something? I do.

    But who am I against the portfolio of "Rabbinic" letters that these people who come collecting carry?

    As far as what I do? I work. I pay my bills, Baruch HaShem, my kid's tuitions and my taxes.

    From my home office window I can see the avrechim about which I wrote.

  7. Excuse me? They're coming to America to collect money for lavish weddings and apartments for their children? Chutzpah does not even begin to describe it!

  8. who said the weddings are lavish?

  9. "working solutions "


    THey Need a hakomo in order to gain the acceptance of the non-thinking masses who will only agree if some Godol HaDor says it is OK.

    An if just a few individs do it - like you mentiuoned - the peer pressure is still there.

  10. there is one point being overlooked in this whole rotten situation - if you are not in kollel - you have to go to the army. I am sure that many yungerleitwould love to find a respectable parnosso but they can only start studying/working legally at age 35 or something like that.

    I think this nekuda is what created all the extra baggage of the nutty kollel society.

    If these problems are going to get solved - this has to be addressed.

    Of course that is going to mean compromises by all parties involved and compromise is an even dirtier word than 'work', but it is impossible to change the effected realities on the ground w/o dealing w/ the army, the causal issue.

  11. I can't believe $60,000 is a compromised amount. Am I the only one who doesnt' have that much for one child, let alone 4?

  12. Abba, that is cuz you work for a living and do not learn in kollel where you can earn ~2K NIS plus gov't benefits!


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