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Aug 24, 2015

collecting to go to Uman

pretty much every year once we enter the Hebrew month of Elul, and more so as we approach Rosh Hashana, one is likely, especially in Israel,to come across people, often Breslaver chassidim but not just, collecting money for the trip they want, or need, to take to Uman to spend Rosh Hashana by the grave of Rebbe Nachman.

There are different halachic opinions I have heard as to whether one should or should not give them, specifically whether such donations could be considered tzedaka or not, but that is not my point here. Each person can decide for himself or herself and if necessary consult with their own rabbi.

I stumbled across this new way of collecting money for the trip to Uman, and it employs a more modern, hi-tech, method of raising the money.

This fellow wants to go to Uman, even though he is not even a Breslaver chassid, because his wife considers Rebbe Nachman her rebbe. She wants him to pray there for them to have a child, which they have not yet been blessed with.

To that end, this fellow has started a GoFundMe page to raise the necessary monies for his trip, which he details.

Personally I am not going to donate money, but one cannot help be touched by his situation as he describes it. I will offer a prayer on their behalf, as if my prayers could possibly be helpful, as he requests at the end of his letter.

I am surprised by how expensive the trip looks to be. I am surprised because so many people go, many of whom have no money for such a trip and scrounge around to raise the funds. I thought it was much cheaper than this, just based on what I have heard - such as food supplied by soup kitchens established there, shared accommodations, and the like. I am surprised that so many people who cannot afford it go regularly paying this type of money.

Donate if you will, don't donate if you won't. I find it interesting that he went this route of a gofundme page, and think his story is touching.

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  1. God forbid I should give them money to go to the Ukraine!

    Especially these NA NACH nuts. Give them money to go get high and to go jump around and say mantras and encourage others to do the same?

    Only if it was piqu'ah nefesh, and he needed a transplant from someone in the Ukraine, or something like that.

    Is that Eliyahu L. in the photo?

  2. Obviously I wouldn't fund such a thing, not only because I believe it is nonsense, but also because I believe it is harmful, both spiritually and physically. I also won't be davening for him to have a child because I firmly believe that only people who have the capacity to properly care for a child ought to have them. And if you don't have a few hundred bucks for accommodations and another few hundred for transportation, what makes you think you can afford to have a child and raise them properly (including yeshiva tuition, etc)? However, I will daven that he works hard on his education, improves his English skills, and finds a better job with a higher income so he can eventually afford to have children and raise them properly. As for a trip to Uman? I hope he succeeds in whatever profession or business he chooses and saves up enough to have the full luxury package trip to Uman in a few years if he so chooses.

    1. English? Why does he necessarily need to learn THAT language?

      You don't live in Beth Shemesh, do you?

      Darn! I've really gotta come check that place out!

      I'm dying to know if it really is the insulated ghetto I've heard it is.

      Is it?

      Seriously, why does everyone have to learn English? This reminds of the "ugly American tourist" of old, not to mention the following joke:

      What do you call someone who speaks three languages?


      What do you call someone who speaks two languages?


      What do you call someone who speaks one language?



  3. I said "English" because his gofundme page says that he lives in Brooklyn, NY, and the good jobs there generally require English skills. If it said Paris, France, I would have said French. Etc.

  4. I just wanted to mention that I actually know this individual personally (we both used to live in the tiny religious community in Irvine, CA). I don't want to comment on whether or not to give specifically, but I did want to mention that he happens to be a very sweet and sincere person (his wife too) (he's also got an extremely fascinating life story, as an aside). I just found it so surprising that I know him personally.


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