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Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Selling a Kidney?

Hat Tip: rosie and other readers of this blog (thanks)

According to a Ynet article published on VIN News, a psak is in that it is in fact not permissible to sell your kidney to marry off a daughter and that families. There is also a report of a newly married kid who sued his father-in-law for funding. No, this is not Purim Torah, although I'm a bit skeptical regarding the newspaper report. And yes, I'm continually surprised that just when I thought I had blogged about the last ridiculous thing something even more ridiculous comes along to eclipse it.

The shaila of whether or not one can sell a kidney is naturally getting the most play (e.g. what is the plan once there are no more kidney's to sell?), but the real subject of interest should be just why leadership is so woefully disconnected from the state of the union and simple economic reality. It is reported that Rab Eliyashiv is "mortified" by the financial state by the yeshiva students' families and suggests significant cutbacks on weddings rather than chasing after wedding funds. As per the article, Rabbi Yehuda Leib Steinman has called those who encourage young men to make financial demands "murderers" who jeopardize their bride's parents health and future. And the Rosh Yeshiva of Yad Aharon appears upset that fathers have to leave the beis medrash to "seek funding" for their undertakings and that the situation must be changed immediately. The way I read between the lines is that he'd rather the parents not have to "fund raise" so they can remain in earning. But, presumably, the money has to come from somewhere.

What I'd like to know is why is the leadership finds the financial state at all surprising? As far as I am concerned, the writing has been on the wall for a long time coming and it is an open miracle that the financial situation is as good as it is. The policies of the leadership/those who surround the leaders, accepted by the general public, are simply disastrous. I don't have my finger on the pulse of the community, but I can imagine that many are reaching their breaking point and are ready to boil over. A shame that a greater level of normality isn't being introduced. Rather, each month it seems we hear of more restriction. A shame because desperation rarely leads to good.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Folks in Bergen County need to start selling their kidneys to pay yeshiva tuition.

Anonymous said...

SL: Interesting typo/freudian slip. The post says "The way I read between the lines is that he'd rather the parents not have to "fund raise" so they can remain in earning." Did you mean remain in "learning"?

Anonymous said...

Folks in Bergen County need to start selling their kidneys to pay yeshiva tuition.

Maybe their diamonds, their dining room sets, their Coach handbags...

Anonymous said...

Your readers would be interested in following the comments on:
http://honestlyfrum.blogspot.com/2010/01/another-word-on-tuition-crisis_04.html

Disgruntled said...

"Maybe their diamonds, their dining room sets, their Coach handbags..."

The only people in Bergen County with these sorts of things are the super-wealthy and those on scholarship.

Avi said...

I have four kids and only two kidneys, so the "Kidney for Tuition" plan won't work for me.

"Maybe their diamonds, their dining room sets, their Coach handbags..."

Disgruntled is right. Yes, there are people in Teaneck who drive Ferraris. Or at least one. I've seen him. The really wealthy - you know, partners in big firms and hedge fund managers with income of $500K+ - can afford tuition and toys. Some of them are also big donors to the schools. It's the moderately wealthy in Teaneck - those earning $150 - $250K - who are considering selling their kidneys. After mortgages, property taxes, state taxes, federal taxes, food, and basic household needs, tuition eats up 100% of the rest, and then some. The standard of living is still considerably higher than poverty, but many of my friends in Teaneck live with cracked doors, threadbare coats, older cars, and non-existent savings to pay for tuition on their salaries that are in the top 5% of the country. They do go out for pizza and have smartphones, but they don't have diamonds, dining room sets, or Coach handbags.

Anonymous said...

A smartphone is much more per year than a Coach handbag! They should carry a prepaid phone and make homemade pizza (as I do). Don't people with smartphones realize they are RICH??

Anonymous said...

Oh, and Uggs. $150 for boots for a girl who will outgrow it in a year. I see it, I know. Did you know fake Uggs are $24.99 at Target? But Racheli doesn't want fake!!

Avi said...

@Anonymous 3:42 - Ah, but for many people a smartphone is an essential tool, the service is often subsidized by their employer, and shouldn't someone that makes $200K be allowed to eat out cheaply every once in a while? Or does that bother your self righteous frugality crusade?

Anonymous said...

All I'm saying is, cutting down on extras is not like selling a kidney. But people make it sound that way.

rosie said...

regarding UGGS, if they wear out before their time, the company will replace them and some stores like Nordstroms stand behind their products.
I am always happy to know that there are wealthy Jews because then those of us who can't give big to the mishuluchim at the door will rest assured that there are those who will.
I also wonder why the leadership seems so unaware of what is going on amongst their followers. Telling people to cut down on simcha expenses is long overdue. I am a real believer in rabbonim making takanos on simchas because no one wants to be the first in their crowd to make a smaller or cheaper simcha. Some people would obviously rather have major surgery than embarrass themselves or disappoint their children.

Anonymous said...

Rosie, I meant the Uggs won't fit next year - the girl's feet will grow. If Nordstrom will give me a bigger size next year, that's a great deal, I agree.

aaron from L.A. said...

Several options here: A.)The fathers should go to work B.) The chassonim should go to work C.)Rebbeim should teach menschlichkeit to their talmidim pondering marriage D.) Or failing all these,(which is quite probable),start a kidney g'mach All this is so very sad

Anonymous said...

I think its wonderful that leading rabbonim have taken an unpopular stance. While this issue is not brand new shouldn't we commending the statements/stance rather than critisizing why it wasn't made yesterday.

The Bald Guy said...

"The way I read between the lines is that he'd rather the parents not have to "fund raise" so they can remain in earning"

I think you meant "Learning"?

Or Freudian slip?? ;-)

mlevin said...

IMO it is horrible that rabbonim have to tell people not to spend money they do not have. What is next, rabbonim issuing instructions on how to cross a busy road?

If I want to buy Uggs it is my business, and no one else's. It is the money that Hashem gave me. I give my 10% the rest I could spend anyway I want. You have no business telling me to sell my diamonds or use a cheaper phone plan.

If you don't like my lifestyle you don't need to look at me. If you are jealous of my lifestyle, then you should do something about it, like getting a job.

All of our forefathers were rich. Abraham was rich. So were Itzhak and Yakov. Yoseph had a misfortune but he made something of himself. Everytime you get an itch to criticize wealthy, you should go read the Torah and follow in their footsteps.

ora said...

aaron in LA -
A) The fathers are working (for the most part). But not many jobs pay enough to allow parents to not only support several children, pay tuition, make weddings, etc, but also to buy apartments (or even contribute a significant amount of money toward an apartment) for each of their adult children as they marry. Especially in the higher-education-eschewing Israeli-hareidi community.

B) If the grooms try to work, they could be arrested for draft evasion. The only way hareidi men in Israel stay out of the army is by staying in kollel until their late 20s.

Since I'm not hareidi, I'd be happy to see them in the army, for the record. Just explaining that the issue is about the Israeli hareidi world being anti-army and not (just) anti-work.

C) It sounds like the rabbis are trying. But I find it hard to blame the yeshiva guys for insisting on parental assistance with housing. Can you imagine the difficulties otherwise? They'll be trying to survive on a kollel stipend and their wife's (probably meager) earnings for several years, probably with children in the picture as well soon enough... not easy. If there's no rent to pay, at least it's doable. But if there is...

IMO the parents are the issue. Not that the engaged couples bear no responsibility for their own behavior, but the whole "marry young, husband stays in kollel, wife works for minimum wage, mom and dad pay for housing" plan isn't something they made up. They're just living the way they've been taught to live.

Miami Al said...

mlevin, in fact, to be a prophet, one of the requirements is to be rich, because the people wouldn't listen to the poor man. I remember learning in the Gemara, that Hashem listens to the prayers of rich men (which makes sense, if wealth comes from Hashem, then clearly the wealthy are blessed by Hashem).

I'm pretty sure that the "love of money is the root of all evil" comes from the Christian Bible... I guess when the Yeshiva world was ripping off their monasteries, and dress code two centuries ago, they lifted a few pages from their bible as well.

I support my community as best I can, when times are good, I'm a giver. I try never to be a taker. However, I have a nice lifestyle and plan to keep it that way, and I'm not going to sacrifice it, or my children's lifestyle, so that my neighbors that don't want to work hard enough to make the money to pay for private school can send them there.

I'm BT. If my kids see that their Uncles and Aunts have much nicer lives despite Abba making more money, the odds that they wind up Frum is, oh, 0%. OTOH, if they see that they have a wonderful life without all the downsides of secular life, hopefully they'll decide that this has merit and they should want it for their kids.

Shabbat Shalom everyone.

mlevin said...

Miami Al - I love your "lifted a few pages from the Christian Bible" analogy. I have been saying for a long time that what we see is christianization of Judaism. I'm glad that someone besides my immediate family agrees. XOXO have a great Shabbos