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Monday, May 25, 2009

A Stamp of Approval from a Prominent Chareidi Rav

Hat Tip: DAG and L. Lennhoff

Just a month ago I wrote a post that any wedding takana beginning with debt, even interest free debt, wasn't much of a plan to begin with and that only the two rules needed to govern weddings should be 1) don't spend a penny more than you have in available cash and 2) govern all affairs with modesty.

Turns out a prominent Chareidi Rav, Rav Michel Yehuda Lifkowitz, is saying the same things. He is quoted as saying:
"A person may not marry his children relying on getting money for the expenses from free loan funds."
  • "Many times, the happiness one sees in weddings is only a facade, because of the heavy debts crouching on the parents," he said.
  • [In response to a question whether or not a father can obligate himself to payments that will result in an endless cycle of debt and borrowing from one gemach to pay another] he answers there is no heter to marry children at others' expense."
  • "A young avreich should not take upon himself a heavy load of debt that he must pay monthly because this will not let him concentrate on his studies."
It is nice to see a Rav taking a commonsense approach (although underneath that commonsense approach is the expectation that most/all young chareidi chatanim will learn and the parents will make a wedding in the way it is supposed to be done, which is anything but sensical).

So there you have it: don't go into debt (unless you are Belz, or something like that). Unfortunately there is no real substance behind these statements of position so long as things remain the same.


Ateres said...

While I agree that it is ideal not to go into debt for a wedding at all, unfortunately many people simply are not financially able to do that. This applies even to those who work and are financially responsible. Many people simply do not earn enough to make ends meet and put enough away to save for their children's modest weddings (not to mention their own retirement).

I would say, however, that one should never borrow more than they can realistically pay back.

Dave said...

Anyone can afford a modest wedding.

Whether they can afford a "modest" wedding is another matter.

rachel in israel said...

Kol Hakavod to this Rabbi. I hope that other rabbis will now have the guts to speak their minds now that they are not the first ones. I really hope so.

Ateres: I bet you anyone can afford enough money to buy a ring (and bagels for 10 people for a seudah). According to Halacha, that's the only requirement for a wedding that costs money. The point here is creating needs that don't exist. Probably the biggest problem in personal finances is separating the needs from the wants. Any wedding that includes more than a ring and some food is extra

Rafi G. said...

Yes, Rav Lefkowitz said that, but at the time he was approving a new plan where avreichim will commit to providing no more than $5k for a daughter and $25k for a son getting married. (instead of more that they used to have to commit to)

Where is an avreich, or even a working stiff like me, going to get that kind of money if ones kids will marry within that system?

Rav Lefkowitz does not say what the alternative to someone else's money is.

Arthur said...

but IMHO still not enough

the kollel lifestyle is, and in my opinion always has been unsustainable. Today Frum Jewish Families are CRUSHED under the yoke of payments, 15,000 dollars a year for tuition for each child through college and then thousands of dollars for shul membership and then everyone else with their hand out, hatzolah, chessed groups, chai lifeline and more.

and on top of that to support a every growing group of people that do not contribute ANYTHING to this ever growing cycle of dependancy! in the end who will work support all of the Jews?!

Never before was there such a false positive commandment to sit and learn and NOT earn Money. the Cafetz Chaim had a store and earned his daily bread quite literaly before going to learn.

Wake up and smell the coffee

Go get Jobs