After seeing the letter from a Chosson last week, here’s a letter from a “Father of a Kallah”.
Sitting in Quarantine under very trying circumstances, I have been made aware of this new Simcha Initiative that you are bringing to the fore. I laud you for it! I was delighted to read about it and happily affixed my signature to the myriad of names already signed on. You see, to me this has particularly hit home. I believe there’s a lot more to do in curbing the extravagance that has become the norm, but this is definitely a good start.
Let me give you a little background about myself and why this is so personal to me. I live in my own home in Brooklyn NY. Boruch Hashem I have been blessed with a lovely family and have what’s considered to be a respectable job with a respectable salary. I work at a law firm in New York City and earn over $200,000 in annual salary. Yet, living and supporting my family day to day, very conservatively (I must add) is not easy. Between full tuition, mortgage payments, car payments, camps, etc. it is quite literally, choking. Nevertheless I am most grateful for what I have, knowing full well how many people would wish to be in my position.
About a year ago we had the zchus of having our oldest daughter get engaged to a wonderful boy from a beautiful family. It was such a happy time. Everyone was all smiles and so excited for the wedding prep, which started almost immediately after the engagement. It took only about two weeks before my personal excitement began to mix with a dose of panic. That dose of panic picked up steam along the way as the reality of what this was going to cost began setting in. Please let me make myself very clear. We are not ostentatious people and mostly live within our means. Nevertheless, from when a child gets engaged till after the last Sheva Brachos, the amount of money that gets spent on the Simcha is simply outrageous. Between the expense of the Vort, gifts, clothing, gowns, music, singers, flowers, makeup artists and hair dressers, plus plus plus, etc. it is enough to put people into serious debt which can take years to pay off. Then there are more children to marry off in quick succession Boruch Hashem. How can anyone manage these expenses? Of course there are those that will say, “Let each person only spend what they can afford and not just follow the masses. Make a Takkana wedding, etc.”
Let’s not kid ourselves here. There is a bar that gets set by the wealthier families in our communities, which keeps getting raised as time goes on. That bar has reached a crescendo by now and must come down. The people making these simchos, even though they can afford them, should have an achrayus to the klal. Just as chazal teach that when one is blessed with material wealth, it is a pikadon from Hashem, which comes along with a responsibility to help the less fortunate by giving tzedaka, so too should making Simchos come with the same responsibility to the rest of the community. Raising the bar of Simchos filters down to every last member of our community in one way or another. It is destroying people, to put it mildly. Where’s the achrayus to the Klal? Three months of spending a hundred, two hundred, three hundred thousand dollars, and more on a wedding, all for a few nights of celebrating, is literally causing crushing debt to people. Is it worth it? Are those young couples any happier? Look around at the young couples who had backyard weddings over the last month and a half. They are just as happy, despite not necessarily having the wedding of their dreams. I’m not advocating backyard weddings, once we get out of this Tzara (may it be soon) but please please, tone it down! If not for your sake, for the sake of your neighbors, your friends, your family, the rest of Klal Yisroel! Let people stand tall and proud when making a simple affordable Simcha. By taking the step and toning down your Simchos, others will follow suit. You can be the one to help someone else avoid stress, hardship and Chas Vshalom worse.
Boruch Hashem my daughter is happily married and we are having lots of Nachas from our young couple, but I say it clearly and unequivocally, the expense was not necessary. It created undue hardship, of which I, someone who makes a comfortable living supposedly, will be paying for for sometime. Why??
I applaud the Simcha Initiative for stepping up to the plate to try to make a difference. I hope people will sign up for this in a big way and even take the achrayus to take things a step further in curbing the unnecessary extravagance when celebrating their Simchos.
May this form of Tzedaka be a Zchus for Klal Yisroel at this very difficult time. May the Cholim amongst us have a speedy Refua Sheleima, and in this Zchus may Hashem remove this Mageifa from our midst speedily. Amen.
Name withheld upon request.
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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