A New Normal

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Rabbanim the world over such as Rav Elya Brudny, Rav Moshe Tuvia Lieff, Rav Yisroel Reisman, Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky, and Rav Chaim Kanievsky have put their stamp of approval on The Simcha Initiative, a project aimed at setting a new precedent for more affordable simchas in Jewish community. A call to action published by the Initiative this week made the following appeal:

“Stress? Pressure? … Why?

Our children’s and grandchildren’s weddings should be the greatest days in their lives – and ours. So why have we allowed these celebrations to become more and more expensive, racking up ridiculously large bills and creating such pressure for family after family? Let’s take control and do what’s good for our community.

We can do it and we must. Let’s bring down the scope and costs of our weddings, so that they are beautiful, bakavodike events that can be enjoyed happily and whose budgets stay within our capabilities. Times of If we are unified in this effort, we can change the ‘norm.’

 In response to the unprecedented tzara that Klal Yisrael and the world are facing, and on the advice of gedolei Yisrael, we have come together as a community to pledge, bli neder, to simplify our weddings as a permanent part of our lives. ”

 The following are letters issued on behalf of the rabbanim:

 “We share the great pain of the cholim around us and of their families; We share in the sorrow of the families of those who have passed away, r”l; We recognize that this is a time of din – a time to say to HaKadosh Boruch Hu, that we are listening; We look to listen to the voices of the gedolei Yisroel, who encourage us to examine our behavior as a community and improve our ways; We look for an example in the behavior of gedolei Yerushalayim, who responded to earlier tzoros, with takanos regarding wedding celebrations;

Therefore, we come together as a community to pledge, bli neder, that from here on, we will have no elaborate vort celebrations; And that we will limit our wedding celebrations, limiting the wedding meal to family, and close friends of the chosson & kallah, with a maximum of 250 invited guests – followed by a simchas chosson v’kallah for all of the chaveirim who wish to rejoice with us.”

 Rav Elya Brudny

Rav Moshe Tuvia Lieff

Rav Yisroel Reisman

“I am writing these lines simply to express support for your wonderful initiative to inspire others to commit to minimize the extravagant expenses of weddings and other simchos as much as possible. These huge expenditures unfortunately cause many problems, at times leading even to situations of pikuach nefashos – this phenomenon is well known, with no need to elaborate.

Precedent for such an initiative is evident in Rabban gamliel’s takanos to minimize funeral and burial expenses, and we find numerous other takanos where Chazal enacted that the wealthy should minimize their spending in order not to cause embarrassment to those of lesser means. Hopefully you will be successful in achieving your objective, and anyone who partners with you and joins your initiative will merit a tremendous zechus that is literally indescribable, because someone who can afford to spend, and refrains from doing so for the sake of helping others, is being moser nefesh, and is engaging in a chessed shel emes. Additionally, he will have the zechus harabim, and is saving families and lives.

Understandably, in this area, the social standards are affected by the actions of a few individuals, because if a group of people take the initiative and begin to scale back simcha expenses, it will become an acceptable practice and others will follow suit.

 Therefore, the first ones to commit to this initiative will have a double zechus, and that zechus will last forever. Those who join and commit to this tremendous initiative for the sake of Klal Yisrael should be blessed, their families should merit eternal bracha, and shalom shall reign in their homes for many years.”

 Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky

“I, too, lend my support.” 

 Rav Chaim Kanievsky

Those who wish to add their names to join this initiative can do so by clicking here, or visiting SimchaInitiative.org.