MAILBAG: Why I Am Thrilled That People Are Stranded In Airports Heading To Pesach Hotels

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Dear YWN,

I was thrilled to learn that many flights from NY to Florida were cancelled on Erev Shabbos. I was also thrilled to learn that at least two Pesach hotels pulled the plug just a few days before Yom Tov.

Why am I thrilled?

Because I just collected money (more than $10K) for a family whose Flatbush home was slipping into foreclosure and friends got together to save them. So this was a thank you (spit in the face) to those that helped them out. They used credit cards to go to an upscale hotel for Pesach.

Now some may say “thrilled” is the wrong word, and of course it is not my wish that these people lose large sums of money, but yes I am thrilled that maybe just maybe the world will finally be exposed to this sickening phenomenon that is destroying so many families in our midst.

How reckless have we become? When did lose our minds in this insane fashion.

I know of a family that BORROWED $80,000 (yes, you read correctly – 80 THOUSAND DOLLARS) to fly their family to a Pesach hotel across the United States.

These are the same people that borrow money to purchase their summer homes in the Catskills (because you MUST); who take their kids to Miami on mid-winter vacations (because you MUST); who go on a vacation or two a year (because you MUST); who spend Sukkos in Israel every two years (because you MUST)….

So yes, I am thrilled that some people might Nebach have to spend Pesach in their homes. I am thrilled that instead of sharing their most precious family time with strangers, waiters and swimming pools they may enjoy a beautiful and uplifting seder around their very own, plain, boring dining room tables.

K.S. – Flatbush, Brooklyn

NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of YWN.

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47 COMMENTS

  1. wow. powerful piece. i agree 100%. people have sunck so low. they cant stay home and enjoy their homes and familes for a minute. yes, we all need vacations. yes, there are some people who cant make pesach and need to get away. granted. but this issue is much deeper. it’s the nonstop going places and running and spending and making weddings we cant afford and clothing we cant afford. its spiraling out of control. the rabbonim are not addressing this at all. its all focused on smartphones

  2. I have a question about “going away” for Pesach. I was not raised that way, and I never “went away” as an adult. As I understand it, one of the purposes is to avoid the burden – and it certainly is, in part, a burden – of preparing a house for Pesach. “Going away” to a fancy hotel strikes me as an inappropriate way to observe Pesach. I sympathize with the people – mostly women – who bear the burden of the Pesach cleaning, but I wonder: have our rabbaim set the standards too high in their interpretations of Torah? Should the Pesach preparations require so much time? I have no answers, but I would like to hear from others.

  3. #3- You mean Yidden losing money that was never THEIRS IN THE FIRST PLACE? #CreditCards

    Yes. I am thrilled as well.

    And I agree with #1, I would have written this in a different tone. It’s disgusting.

    And no, I’m not jealous. I make a very comfortable parnsah boruch hashem.

  4. Couldn’t have said this better. Midwinter vacations are getting crazy. Kids feel something wrong if they don’t go because “everyone goes”.

  5. Kol hakovod to the author of this article for speaking emes about the insane and obscene spending for yom tovim that has spiraled out of control. Yes, people are entitled to enjoy the fruits of their hard work but in this case (and other cases such as chassanahs costing hundreds of thousands of dollars) there are limits. And yes, there is an element of yiddeshe schadenfreude operative here….don’t expect any normal yid to feel sorry for those “inconvenienced” by the flight cancellations.

  6. Why are you thrilled? 5 words. Because you are a jerk.

    Your screed reeks of jealousy. The yetser hara has convinced you to share your disdain for other jews under the guise of a legitimate topic for discussion.

  7. Many of the people honored at dinners and hounded on Purim are these very people you attack, this shows that parnassa is from the One Above.

  8. #9:
    Perhaps the yetzer hara has convinced you that it’s okay to publicly label someone a jerk just because you don’t agree with him?
    “Yid”, it’s not so “pushat”…… To do what you did takes a bit more thinking than 5 words……

  9. You are a sick person. Many of your fellow brothers and sisters are stuck two days before Y”T without preparing a thing because their plans fell through. How they spend their money is none of your…..business! Continue your noble cause of collecting for the needy, maybe that will help you improve your ahavas yisrael, and stay out of other people’s financial planning. I wish you and all of Klal Yisrael a most enjoyable Y”T.

  10. I think that the author of this article is selfish and self righteous. What gives him or her the right to judge others?
    We stay home for Pesach, but I have to say it is very hard work. We are not youngsters anymore, and it is grueling. As for the cost, we have shopped almost everytday for the past couple of weeks. Cheap, it’s not.
    You have not looked into anyone’s wallet, and you have no right to.
    Just mind your own business, enjoy your yom tov in the fashion you choose, and let others enjoy theirs.

  11. Wow.

    What a miserable rant.

    Although I feel staying home isn’t a punishment and actually is a real privilege (to actually have a home), I feel that your position is simply dripping with venom. It’s really nice that you collected $10,000 for the guy and you’re very quick to judge him for his miserable existence. How much of that money actually came out of your miserable pocket? Let me know so I can arrange to have it returned to you. You have no clue what this guy deals with on a daily basis. You don’t live in his house with his financial and emotional burdens.

    And you’re thrilled. Wow. Just thrilled. Because people made plans and now they’re simply taking a tremendous loss. Because when you make plans that are important to you and they fall through, it make you happy to see people thrilled for your misery.

    It’s funny, but I actually understand your point. It could have been written a lot more emphatically. Even though you don’t think so because……

    You’re the judge. And the jury.

  12. I don’t usually comment here as I think it’s a waste of my time (and yours). However, I felt compelled to respond.
    I’ll keep my comments brief so the author can continue pontificating from his or her high throne.
    How dare you be excited when thousands of Jews are stuck and stranded? Feel free to write an article about how overpriced Pesach hotels are. To be excited over someone’s downfall (no matter how small or large), is sickly demented.

    If someone broke their leg (Ch”vsh) or something worse at a Pesach Hotel, would you write about that?
    Just saying…

  13. Shame on you for judging your own brothers. Many of these people who go to hotels give extraordinary amounts of charity. Of course you have those who live above their means. Most of the people going to these hotels do not.

  14. DISGUSTING!!!! YOU DONT KNOW ANYONES CHESHBON and even if they re 1000% wrong that is not a reason to gloat!!! binfol oivecha al tismach kal vchomer to acheichu your fellow jew! Would you gloat if you saw someone speed and crash??? “Yay I am so happy he died NOW HE LEARNT HIS LESSON THAT I AM RIGHT!!! This article should be removed!! I know presonally people who have really hard lives and pesach is a breather for them because that gets them through the whole year.

  15. I would assume that whoever he borrowed 80k from….knew why he wanted it.
    Is he poor…or didn’t have the loose funds?
    I’m not advocating spending money thriftly…but if someone lent him 80k …theres more to the story.

  16. How wicked and condescending. You could have made your point without bad mouthing people who could afford it or absolutely need it (I won’t judge who needs it or who doesn’t!). Yes, my grandfather passed away right before Pesach one year, and my father, who could afford it, took us to a hotel for Pesach.
    I am happy for those who can afford it. People who can’t afford it have issues that need to be addressed. Please address those issues in a decent and professional manner.

  17. There are two different issues here that have been joined together. The first is the person who is going away for Pesach after his friends bailed him out of his financial crisis. What did he do? According to the author “They used credit cards to go to an upscale hotel for Pesach.” IMHO is an outright chutzpah and I don’t care how hard his financial burdens are to him. Didn’t he learn anything?

    The second issue: As to those who can afford it and now their plans have changed. I am sorry that they have to through this agmas nefesh. I don’t believe they deserve it.

    Posters are complaining about how this money could be spent helping others. AND HOW DO YOU KNOW THEY DIDN’T DONATE MONEY TO CAUSES LIKE CHASDEI LEV OR TOMCHEI SHABBOS? Please stop kvetching about those who have the means to go away for Pesach. HKBH gave them the money; they then have the right to spend it as they wish. If they ave 10 – 20% for the right purposes let them spend the rest on the Pesach hotel.

  18. If he’s thrilled that yidden are having yissurin, that’s wrong.

    If he’s thrilled that yidden are learning to shun the hedonistic lifestyle, that’s right.

  19. This article sure sounds as a direct quote from the Godol HaDor HoRav Avigdor Miller TZKLLH’H who was so forcibly strong on this topic of making Pesach at home with one’s family.

  20. I can understand if you are angry and hurt about being “dupped” by the people you helped. You also are welcome to write about your distaste for extravagant spending. But why on earth are you thrilled about the agmas nefesh of another Jew? You happened to have insight into ONE family that you helped. Does that mean everyone on the plane deserves what they get? I am assuming you know with 100% certainty that this family was not “gifted” with this vacation? Either by the program itself or by someone who wanted to give them something special since they were going through a rough time? But either way you should see by the comments above what a huge chillul Hashem this is!

  21. i spent many years working in Pesach hotels & watching all the lavish food with all the entertainment that comes with it for the price you pay to join.

    but today they are just pushing it, there is almost no sign of kedushas yom tov, people are just partying, is that the way to spend 10 days of yom tov when its really set aside for Hashem?

    after many years of working in hotels the most important thing i learnt is “THERE IS STILL NOTHING LIKE MAKING & SPENDING PESACH AT HOME WITH YUOR FAMILY”

    looking forward to doing it again this year

    have a chag kasher v’sameach everyone

  22. For all those who are “happy” about this situation I have the following hypothetical questions to ask: What if your child is married to the child of this gvir who was paying for your child, their spouse, and your grandchildren whose pesach plans have been altered. Tell me how would you feel then? Or what if a shadchan calls you and says they have a shidduch for your child with the child of the gvir but they went away for pesach to a hotel. Would you say no to the shidduch because they go away for pesach?

    Just wondering…..

  23. Oy Vavoy! How can you rejoice that someone lost money? Or that they now have to clean and cook and reschedule everything last minute? And we aren’t talking about people who likely have the resolve to do that. These people are mostly sad, unfortunate families that do not know how to make their own spiritually fulfilling yom tov at home and must rely on the pesach programming they’re used to.

  24. Horrible post. I agree, borrowing money to pay for extravagance, even for weddings, is outrageous. But to make the point in such a way… disgusting.

  25. I have never been away for Pesach. If you dont want to go away, dont. But this wholesale judging of other people is not a good idea. Nobody really knows what is going on by someone else.

    Have a great Pesach Yidden, wherever you are.

  26. Maybe I should judge your life and your spending. You bough new clothes? Do you know how many people have no money? Couldn’t you wear Your old suit and give the money to the poor instead? Should I now wish you on your downfall because I don’t see eye to eye?

  27. I rarely ever comment on stores from YWN, but this story got my attention. I do believe this author is wrong to judge other Jews. Although it is awesome to judge other Jews cause then I really don’t have to work on myself as there is always somebody way worse than me. So I do understand why people do it. Now that issue is out of the way lets go to the underlying issue of Pesach hotels.

    I’ve been away to hotels 3 times in my life, the year before I got married and the first two years of marriage. Full disclosure, I worked as a mashgiach which based on my experience involved sitting in a kitchen eating chicken nuggets making sure Traif wasn’t being brought in. Not very difficult work. The whole Kashrus situation at a hotel is totally different discussion. Lets just say I saw things that weren’t exactly kosher pun intended.

    The last 2 years we have made Pesach at home and the first time in 27 years of my life I finally experienced what it meant to have a Pesach. The seder was amazing. I never truly realized ho enjoyable the seder could really be. I finally connected to the Yom Tov and I look forward to being home again this year.

    I just don’t know how you can connect to the Yom Tov at a hotel. I never heard somebody who came back from a hotel and said “wow, the hotel was so spiritually uplifting” they say “wow, the food and the trips were amazing”. But is this what Pesach has become.

    I’m not Rabbi, far from it, but I believe one of the underlying reason we have so many kids off the derech is that the children don’t see the love in Yiddishkeit. All the Mitzvos have been regulated to the least amount of effort put in. We have the 5 second Sukkah, the 2 second Channukah licht and forgot cleaning the house lets go to a hotel. Then we wonder how come our children don’t want to be Frum. Where did the love for a Yom Tov go.

    Two years ago I bought a wooden sukkah and with my wife’s help it took me two weeks to put it up. But you know what I felt so connected to the Yom Tov. I also decided that year to make my own wicks for Channukah licht. I want my children to see that Yiddishkeit is beautiful and even though it takes work it pays off in the end.

    I’m certainly not judging anybody that goes away for Pesach. But to some extent I think it has become out of control. Seriously, pre-packaged 10 pieces of chometz. What are we showing our kids when we always take the easy way out.

    Another factor with the hotels is you spend the entire Yom Tov around Goyim. Is this what Hashem intended us to do. Does it take a lot of work cleaning the house for Pesach, 100%. But the Mitzvah you receive for getting rid of the Chometz is unreal. We have no idea what zuchus we receive getting ready for Yom Tov.

    The seforim Hakodishim bring down that the Seder night is one of the most holiest night so the year and at a hotel the Goyim are setting the seder up. In fact, I believe the author of the Kav Hayoshar brings down that he would have a girl under the age of 8 set his seder table up cause a girl that young hasn’t seen Tumah yet. Can we being to understand how holy this night is and we’re spending it around Goyim.

    I truly hope nobody is offended by what wrote and I certainly don’t mean to judge you and most of what I wrote is for myself. But I feel in my heart that unless we start to put the love of Yiddishkeit back into our children we are fighting an uphill battle we will certainly lose.

    Chag Kasher V’samach!

  28. “Spending time with family at home”

    & what about those who have a small apartment or no family members that can join them. What about those who are overwhelmed with the work load, battling sicknesses, have no room to host others or without family members?

    There are various types of Pesach programs from the most lavish eat-a-thons to a more simple get-together chevrah. and believe it or not some people’s flights were cancelled who were going to join friends and families NOT IN HOTELS OR RESORTS!!

  29. To No. 29

    “Chazal have some very choice words for someone who rejoices in another’s downfall”

    Unless the Chazal you are referring to are some late 13th century Yekkish rabbunim, perhaps you have it wrong. Ther term is derived from the old High German adjective “schadenfroh”, a combination of the words Schaden (damage or harm) and Freude (joy).

  30. You are THRILLED that Yiddin are left stranded with no place to go at the last minute?? Pesach-making requires both time and effort. It cannot be done last minute! And did you consider that some people are not physically capable of making Pesach due to age or disability and MUST go away? How many ‘nitzrochim’ have YOU invited to your house for the whole Pesach?
    You are a conceited, holier-than-thou hypocrite!!!Start to feel another’s pain, instead of rejoicing in another’s misfortune. What a Rasha!!!

  31. Wow K.S. that same plane was gonna take my friend a hardworking divorced woman, With her kids to her parents to have a male figure and homey atmosphere at the seder. How nice of your happiness. Binfol oivecha al tismach.

  32. What is wrong with you people??? I understand that the concept of the Pesach Hotels is sickening, I would never [be able to afford or want to] set foot in one.
    But pardon me, where is the outrage about over-the-top simchos and the pressure to keep up?
    We’ve dug ourselves many holes, but I don’t think ranting and being happy about the tzoros and stresses of others is going to help anybody.

  33. Whoever wrote this letter and agrees with it has underlying jealousy and should work on themselves. Everything in life is relative there are things you do that someone in sever poverty looks like as if it’s a pesach trip to Miami.
    Mailbag: stop judging others, be a positive person, work hard and maybe you too can go to a pesach program some day because if you had the money you would try it too!

  34. Don’t tell me it is someone else’s money and they can do with it what they want. We have delivered money quietly to very nice or large homes that is mammon hekdesh. People who make decisions that ultimately affect the community? Show me the choices: control those out of control or take away their entitlement support system.

  35. Whether the author of this article is right or wrong, the question that bothers me is: what on earth was he trying to accomplish by writing this?

    What I mean to say is that I’m quite confident in assuming that some unnamed author on YWN will not sway anyone’s opinion! So what, then, was he trying to do? Create machlokes and increase strife among Klal Yisrael?

    Before speaking out against any issue, even if one’s opinion might be correct, he must consider whether saying anything will help the situation or not. If speaking out doesn’t help the situation, then DON’T SAY ANYTHING!

    Meaningful forums to address this issue might include rabbonim speaking out against it. An unnamed YWN op-ed is sure to cause strife and even more sure to cause no improvement in the situation.