Getting married and no money

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    Edit: gavra, vorts can be anywhere from “extended l’chaim” to hall with hot food and music +. To play a slight devils advocate, a vort at home is not always feasible depending on setup, timing etc.

    Next thing you will tell me is that Shiva “at home is not always feasible depending on setup, timing etc”. There is no reason to make a Vort whatsoever, let alone spend money on it.


    i dont consider a bracelet or watch to even be considerations for people who cant afford them. there is no comparison between managing without a watch/bracelet and having turkey sandwiches.

    I personally had a buffet because of cost and it was fine. people were able to eat even more than they would have. we also didn’t have a schmorg. in our community, thank Gd, it is still acceptable to forgo many of the so called basics that you all speak of in the tri-state area. which brings me to another point, if your complaints about peer pressure and keeping up with the jonses being the cause of all this is accurate, then am I not correct in turning down shidduchim from this area and telling my children it would not be healthy for them to raise a family in the tri-state area? I am assuming you will be appalled at the mere thought of it, even tho it goes right in line with helping prevent all these “societal pressures” you frown upon. if you raise your kids in a torah true atmosphere where people don’t believe you need huge diamonds, fancy bracelets, lavish weddings etc then all of your complaints here could be a non-issue.


    Next thing you will tell me is that Shiva “at home is not always feasible depending on setup, timing etc”

    Ummm…. gavra, shiva sometimes is held in another persons home due to various reasons. Among my friends, most did a lchaim/vort combo. Most of the friends who did this in a hall did so because they cannot afford a home large enough to host more than a handful of people at a time. The kallah’s friends would have to arange taking turns coming to say mazal tov. I think al tadin es chavercho is very much applicable here.

    Avram in MD


    but you should recognize that any of your points will not make a dent into the problem.

    I disagree. As long as the weddings are viewed positively by chosson and kalla and their families, and guests are given the impression that the intimacy and modesty were by design and valued, not forced by budget constraints, all it would take would be a handful of such weddings to begin changing the culture. Attendees would leave with an enhanced sense of what community weddings are like. Future families will then see it as a viable option, not a “nebach” one.


    Most of the friends who did this in a hall did so because they cannot afford a home large enough to host more than a handful of people at a time.

    That is exactly the type of Vort that I am discussing, in a 16 foot semi-attached. Yes it is crowded, and people have to leave so that others can come in. If there is a will there is a way.

    Avram in MD – I think you are being optimistic, especially with the Yeshiva culture demanding more and more at the time of the wedding, the trend will be larger and more expensive. That being said, I can’t be certain that you are incorrect.


    gavra- I was referring to people who live in small apartments, not in 16 foot semi-attached homes. A small apartment simply cannot hold more than the couples immediate family and one or two friends. It is precisely the poor people that truly need the halls.


    Gamanit – I’ll grant you that is certainly possible (like an upper west side 1 bedroom, or someone I know who has 9 children in a Junior 4). Those are certainly outliers though, and perhaps they can (and should) do without a Vort (which does nothing) and sponsor (or part sponsor) the weekly Kiddush in Shul instead, which is how many in my community do it.


    3: What the minimum is depends on location, but it is significantly less than what is “standard”.

    I don’t know what you consider standard.

    i dont consider a bracelet or watch to even be considerations for people who cant afford them. there is no comparison between managing without a watch/bracelet and having turkey sandwiches.

    Maybe they shouldn’t be, but they are. The reality is that, whether we like it or not, they are of symbolic importance to most (not all) chassanim and kallahs, though perhaps there is a big difference in town or out of town.

    I would think nixing a shidduch because of a bracelet or watch wouldn’t be prudent, as I don’t think it represents an entirely different value system; it’s just a silly quirk we’ve developed.


    what I don’t understand is the following. many yeshivos will not accept a child if the father is working. for the mother who is expected to work, in most cases cannot find a decent paying job as college or university is also forbidden. how may i ask can these people expect to feed their families, let alone make a chassanah.


    DaasYochid – “Standard” would depend on the time and place; I don’t know what it is where I am either. (Does 2 hot dishes @shmorg, cake @Chosson Tisch, 2-5 piece band, bureka, soup, Shnitzel main and fancy cakes for dessert for 300-350 people sound about right?) That can be decided by whatever group of people is in charge of the Hach’nassas Kallah fund.

    rkefrat – I am unaware of any Yeshiva in America outside of Lakewood that has such preconditions. From your name, EY (efrat) is a whole different ballgame (Kadur Regel?)


    rkefrat: I guess to go around collecting, or take advantage of all the government programs for their basic needs. But I question “many yeshivos” wont take a kid who’s father is working? Where is this?


    I would think nixing a shidduch because of a bracelet or watch wouldn’t be prudent,

    nice strawman response to a legitamate question

    though perhaps there is a big difference in town or out of town.

    As far as I know I do live in a town. just not in yours.

    but that type of thinking is just one more thing to add to the list of good reasons to live where i do.



    It was a legitimate question, and my reply wasn’t meant as a strawman response. I was opining that the watch/bracelet are not indicitave of a larger problem exclusive to people from the tri-state area. You can disagree, but it was a legitimate response.

    I also don’t think it’s fair to criticize my use of a term which you have used yourself (for example:


    The minhag of giving a bracelet upon engagement is very old. It is certainly much older than the “minhag” of a diamond ring. The watch is unnecessary, but a bracelet should be given.


    Gavra, I would think the basic package at halls such as Torah V’yirah, and the takanah packages available at other halls, would be the template for a tzedakah subsidized chasunah. Generally, that’s a downgrade from what you described, but something which many non tzedakah chasunahs do.

    One man band, regular chicken, ices and cake for dessert, etc., in a regular hall with waiter service. Number of guests would have to be flexible, based on family size.


    Gamanit, I believe the chosson watch is an old minhag. A watch for the kallah is generally overkill, IMO.


    I was referring to a kallah watch.


    A wise person once told me that when we say Brachos in the morning, we thank Hashem as part of a group, a rabbim: “pok’each ivrim”, “malbish arumim” …etc, but we say say “she’asa li kol tzarki” in singular. With regard to having all our needs taken care of, as individuals, we should feel grateful that we have everything we need. But in relation to others, it’s not our place to decide that they have everything they require. We have to see others as needy so we”ll be motivated to do Chessed and help them, just as HKBH helps us with kindness and generosity.

    It would be wise on so many levels for us to spend prudently and behave modestly when we make Simchas and marry off our children. But when we’re giving to others we should give with a full heart and not sit in judgment, deciding that a poor Chosson should be eating only a slice of gefilte fish at his wedding and his lovely new but financially challenged Kallah had better be wearing an old gown that’s already been passed around a dozen times.


    Gamanit, earlier, when I said the watch was important, I was referring to the chosson watch. As superficial as it is, the kallah bracelet/chosson watch do represent a commitment to a relationship of giving.

    Golfer, beautiful thought.

    from Long Island


    We never asked for tuition assistance. My parents always said; first you pay your mortgage/rent THEN your tuition and THEN you eat.

    There were years of pasta dinners, 12+ year old cars, knee-hi’s instead of stockings, “home” camp for our kids, hand me downs, and free stay-cations.

    I would take my girls into Gap and they would pick out the “in” skirt this year, and I would go back once a week until the skirt went on sale and then bought it for them.

    Sorry, we ALWAYS kept our kids in the loop regarding our budget. It was important for them to understand where money went. They also always worked, the babysat, shoveled snow and collected soda bottles.

    If kids don’t earn money how do they understand how hard it is to make a dollar?

    If kids are never required to make a dollar then how can they understand how hard you work to provide for them? How will they lose their “entitlement attitude”?

    And yes, we live in the tri-state area.


    Gamanit, I believe the chosson watch is an old minhag. A watch for the kallah is generally overkill, IMO.

    The minhag is a pocket-watch Davka. Ayin Taamei HaMinhagim.

    golfer – You miss the point. If Bill Gates or Rothschild wants to sponsor this guy’s wedding, Kol HaKavod. But if he is asking me for money, and I have a choice to give it to him to buy an apartment, or to my local Yeshiva so that people who can’t pay tuition don’t have to send their children to public school, or Hatzolah, which one should I do? And in a similar vein, if an organization has a choice to collect to pay for fancy weddings for fewer people, minimalistic weddings for more people, or tuition so that children don’t go to public school, which should they do?

    Before you decide, realize that if you do give $25 to each guy who comes to your door, you’re not giving $2,000+ to your local Mosdos.

    As always, AYLOR.

    DY – Fair enough if that is considered the minimum regarding the hall and food.


    I can’t find it. Here’s the sefer – where is the minhag of a pocket watch?

    I’ve heard the minhag is based on showing the value of time, so pocket/wrist wouldn’t matter. Wrist watches were probably at one time beged isha.


    Agree with you, GAW.

    In Tzedaka matters, as in all matters of Halacha, AYLOR is best advice.

    The vast majority of us have to learn to budget and handle our money carefully, as we don’t have access to unlimited funds. This applies whether we’re buying groceries, sheitels, shoes, planning a vacation (or figuring out if we can afford one), or giving Tzedaka.

    I don’t have a problem with people trying to minimize costs of weddings of their own, or of their own children. And I have no problem with people who will give a small amount to someone collecting for Hachnasas Kallah.

    At some point I thought I smelled some mean-spiritedness creeping into the discussion and that really bothered me. Whatever we contribute, we should be rejoicing at the prospect of a Yid preparing for a Chassuna. And if he’s not preparing exactly as we would like, then I for one prefer we wish him a hearty Mazel Tov and look away rather than judge and criticize.


    DY – I can’t find it either, but remember reading it, and will try to remember to look over Shabbos. I did a search and could only find the concept regarding the ring, not the watch.

    P.S. How can something that was Beged Isha change over? 🙂 (for another time)


    DY – I looked over shabbos, and the closest that I found was the Sefer Matamim that the ring is for the Shalsheles. I guess until I find it, I’m Chozer.


    [email protected]


    so here are some of the tips we have considered in order to make the wedding more affordable.

    1) many people will invite a core of people for the meal, and many other people to join for the dancing (simchas chosson v’kallah). We were actually thinking of just sending “please join us for dancing” cards to the entire list.

    2) we will send out invitations announcing a 5:00 kabalas ponim but the wedding will really start at 1 so everyone will get there just in time for dancing.

    3) check the community calendar for a day that you know nobody will be available or when someone extremely wealthy and influential is having a wedding in a city out of town.

    4) get in arguments with lots of our friends so that we don’t really have anyone to invite.


    5) Make the wedding in a different city. Might have a similar effect as #4.


    “We were actually thinking of just sending “please join us for dancing” cards to the entire list.”

    Don’t be surprised if you only receive “please join us for dancing” gifts.


    cherrybim – why would that bother me? I wasn’t expecting any gifts at all from people who are only invited for dancing.


    To me, a reasonable takana would look something like this:

    (1) Invite all relatives for sit down up to first cousins. This takes care of the major issue that people throw up as to why a fixed maximum doesn’t work – “well what if they have a large family?”.

    (2) Invite up to 50 (or some other fixed number) non-relative guests for sit down. If you can’t satisfy this requirement without getting into hot water then invite NO ONE in this category for sit down.

    (3) Everyone else to join for shmorg, chuppah and dancing.

    Simple formula with least number of machlokahs.


    There proably is no good way to measure it, but of people who do attend the sit down, how many would be truly offended if they weren’t invited to that part of the event, notwithstanding travel consideration that make attendance for just the chupah or just dancing not worth considering. Anyone on this list reading this offended if not invited for the sitdown?


    That’s the beauty of category (2), if you can’t fit them all in and no one sits down except relatives how can someone complain? It is only if Reuven sees Shimoen at the sitdown that Reuven will be hurt thinking, “am I not as good a friend as Shimoen?”, but if both are not seated and the only ones they see being seated are relatives then the only conclusion is that the bal hasimcha has B”H so many friends that they could not seat all of them. In fact, if this catches on, we would see no one but relatives being seated since having people seated would imply that they do not have that many good friends and were able to fill the second catory of the takahnah!


    Sounds like a good idea. But who would dare to implement it. Still, I wonder if, aside from seeing someone else apparently invited to sitdown, people really care if they weren’t invited for the seudah.


    many people send out invitations to the chupa and dancing but not for the meal. It has already been implemented, and even with driving, a simcha is a simcha. If you don’t want to go, the hosts will surely understand but if you do, there will be cake and fruit and a warm welcome waiting. Many people who ARE invited to the dinner opt out because it is hard to commit to a whole evening and the babysitting costs are high.

    i feel bad about not being able to have everyone there, and i have included some of those i left out in the sheva brachos lists.


    Ba’alei simcha often want close friends joining them at their seudas mitzvah. This idea might just be throwing out the baby with the bathwater.


    So you mean because of the close friends they want, they have to invite everyone else? Seems silly if you think about it.


    I don’t think it’s silly to not want to hurt people’s feelings.


    You;re assuming people’s feelings are hurt. Are you a mindreader? How often has someone expressed to you hurt for not being invited to a sitdown at a wedding?


    So I should never concern myself with someone’s feelings unless it’s directly expressed to me?


    I think you should not project your own feelings on to others unless you know how they feel. Have you felt hurt because you were not invited to a sitdown? You can only speak for yourself unless some has told you he felt hurt. I don’t recall hearing anyone telling me directly or indirectly that they were offended for not being invited, and quite honestly, it seems rather petty in the greater scheme of things.


    Of course there are people who get insulted when they’re not invited. No mindreading necessary. Yes, it’s petty in the scheme of things, but it’s the reality.

    Whom to invite can be agonizing, and one absolutely must take people’s feelings into consideration, although you can’t always do what you’d like.


    I don’t recall hearing anyone telling me directly or indirectly that they were offended for not being invited, and quite honestly, it seems rather petty in the greater scheme of things.

    nicely stated!


    I liked the way my Rabbi made his daughter’s wedding. It was a 5 Towns Rabbi, quite a wealthy individual but still problematic to invite everyone so the wedding went as follows (I think it was at Atares Avroham). Before the chuppah there were Hors d’oeuvres, after the chuppah was basically a massive smorg, and everyone sat where they wanted at the tables and there was plenty of dancing. Then most people left and mostly the family remained for the sitdown meal. How smart!! Best wedding that I ever went to.


    That sounds like a great idea, especially the way halls seem to empty out after the main course has been consumed anyway. Maybe it will catch on.


    Funny how this thread has transformed into the other thread I started, “Let’s end the wedding madness.” Getting back to the original thread, I recently discussed this issue with a man whose daughter, 19, is getting married to a similarly aged bochur. I asked him how they will support themselves given both come from large families. He started rattling off all the government programs that make it possible. I don’t know,but I think I would be embarrassed if my entire financial support was government handout.


    I don’t quite know what the “large family” has to do. Does that imply that coming from small families makes a difference? Are people supposed to be supported for the rest of their lives by their families? What you appear to be saying is that the yunge leit both have no marketable skills – that is a problem!


    I was citing a specific case. Of course the size of the doesn’t matter. Young couples, and it appears their parents, have no hasaga on what it means to support themselves. I agree with you, and there is no detectable movement to see to it that young couples should be self-sufficient at all.

    Daas Yachid: It is precisely thinking like yours that has led to oversized weddings. Anyone who gets insulted over this has some growing up to do, no matter the age. I am sure they will get over the hurt, and if not, and the next time the insulted one doesnt invited the insulter, gamzu l’tovah.

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