July 18, 2024
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July 18, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

As drastic as the coronavirus is in our community and our beloved country, there may be a hidden bracha in this devastating magefa. I will describe this later.

I am happy about the spate of articles and letters to the editor about the problem of yeshiva tuition. This problem has concerned me for decades. Have you ever heard this about frum Jews: We don’t need lectures on the value and need for birth control––we have yeshiva tuition.

Now, aside from limiting family size, what else can we do?

May I note that the parents of a bar or bat mitzvah child can provide the tens and tens of thousands of dollars needed for the yeshiva education of their grandchildren (who will be ready for school some 30 years after the bar-bat mitzvah of these future parents)? How? By not spending tens of thousands of dollars on a coming of age ceremony and instead investing that money in the stock market (or wherever) and let the money grow for some 30 or more years.

Another, even greater source of future funding for the grandchildren’s yeshiva and even college education would be cutting down on the outrageously extravagant weddings that are normative in our modern Orthodox Jewish society.

Now what bracha can we see in this horrendous magefa? Perhaps the quiet conduct of these religious and important transitional ceremonies during this horrible pandemic will alert us to the fact that great expenditures are not necessary to promote the religiosity of the children, nor the happiness of the newly married couple.

Extravagant expenditures for religious ceremonies have been a problem even during Talmudic times, and have been dealt with by Rabban Gamliel A’H and later by other rabbis and communal leaders over the centuries enacting sumptuary laws in many countries and in a number of religious communities to this very day.

I am hoping that the community-concerned editor of the Jewish Link will see fit to publish my article on the history of this subject titled, “Light Years From Sponge Cake and Schnapps.”

Note: If anyone is interested in joining a committee that will bring this problem of extravagant expenditures to RCBC and community leaders in Bergen and other counties, and to New York, please email me at [email protected].

Reuben E. Gross, Ph.D.
Teaneck
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