Readers’ Scoop: Put Your Pride Aside

Dear TLS: I have a friend who is a married man and financially hurting. One day as this man was telling me of his troubles in finding a job to support his family I interrupted him to offer a suggestion. My suggestion was simple; work at one of the local grocery store until he could find a better job that he was more interested in. My friend did not even take my suggestion seriously. I pressed the issue and pointed out that it would at least help him put food on the table. Nevertheless, my suggestion fell on deaf ears.

In these hard economic times I baffled as to why people still have such high standards. Is their kovod (honor) so important that they would rather see their family go hungry or without basic necessities, rather than work a job that they see as beneath them? Does not the Torah teach us to be humble and refrain from arrogance? Is this message of the Torah also falling on deaf ears?

The friend I speak of is a true ben Torah and a all around descent guy. However, I believe in this matter his perspective on life is a bit distorted. He obviously forgets that Hillel was a wood-chopper, Rabbi Yochanan was a shoe-maker, Rabbi Yehoshua was a blacksmith, and even the Chofetz Chaim worked a cash register from time to time. The Mesilyas Yesharim points out that one who puts emphasis on his position in this world is a fool. The only important thing is that one make an honest living and focus on avodas Hashem (serving G-d).

There is a mitzvah to support ones family, but there is no issur to work an honest job that might not have the prestige that one would like.

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  1. I considered working at the grocery store these were my rationale for not doing so that I don’t feel that I am so socially in the position to ignore everyone else’s disapproval and condensation. I will note that (1)I never took Tzedoka.If I did things would be different. (2) I hope my comment is refuted.

  2. Pride has no place when it comes to the welfare of your family. You can’t tell your kids, “Sorry, no breakfast today. I couldn’t get the job I wanted.”
    If anything it would look good on your resume. Instead of sitting around with a sour look, you took initiative, and put bread on your table.

  3. When it comes to Tzedaka there are halachos of when you give and how you give. You can’t tell the meshulach from Eretz Yisroel why did he have 15 kids if he didn’t have a job. Or to stop smoking and he will save a few thousand dollars a year. Al Pi Halacha a gvir that loses his money, the mitzva tzedaka is to give him money so he can be chauferred around town even though you drive a beat up chevy! While I agree there are jobs that are not in Lakewood that possibly someone can take and should be explored. Regarding resume it actually looks bad that someone is a cashier so I would skip that on a job interview

  4. I am the person who was spoken to. Well meaning people, but tottally ignorant of reality. People think there are 100 job openings in the grocery stores in lakewood. Reality: There are none. The style now is to hire non yidden who are paid less and can be fired on a whim. No raises ever given. (this was told to me by a manager of one of these stores). Hate to break your bubble but there are no jobs. Post a job opening and I will gladly take the job. I dare you. I told this guy I would take any job, except toilet cleaning, that was honest. Post the job openeing please

  5. Lets not judge others so quickly so Hashem will not judge us for all our wrong doings. The job market and the frustration and dispare involved with parnassa is sooo bruttaly hard that we need to just turn to Hashem and ask that he take care of all of us. Stop judging what others should or shouldnt do. You can’t know what it feels like until you are in the EXACT same situation! Never forget that.

  6. put food on your table hoever its sent to you

    in todays time we dont have a choice anymore to be picky !

    we live in unstable times so he needs to take a unstable job along with it !

  7. the main problem in the usa is that people want to live on all the programs etc.. thats why the usa is heading towards bankrupcy !

    if they would work they wouldnt care what they do they just would say i have $ to pay my bills etc…

  8. even if one was to concede to the idea that he should disregard his dignity and support his family. one must consider that others will disagree with his decision and his family will suffer based on their status in society, although this may be a problem in itself reality will have to remain a factor

  9. The person who wrote this article clearly has never been in the situation he is referring to.

    A human must be proud to be a yid. Wlak with Pride. Carry oneself with pride. Feel like someone special. I am not talking Gayva Im talking proud. Yes responsibility to provide for your family is critical but what good does it do when you put food on your table but you feel like a failure.

    I am not judging and I am not talkng about working in a grocery or working any place else. Each family, each person has their own Cheshbon Hanefesh to make but one thing is forsure a husband / father who is down on himself and feels like he has failed is not going to be a great husband / father unless he feels proud.

    During the depression people worked 6 days then lost their job in order to keep Shabbos. Week after week the same story. However, those men who came home dejected each Friday had children wondering is this Shabbos thing worth it if it depresses my father and brings pain to our home? On the other hand the father who came home each Friday so proud of the fact that again he lost his job so he can keep Shabbos had children who felt that even though they didnt yet appreciate the Kedushas Shabbos but they knew man this Shabbos thing must be super duper special if every week their father comes home smiling and dancing that he can keep another Shabbos.

    It is all in ones attitude. Don’t judge others. Help them yes, judge them? NO

    HKB”H will be closing our books in just over 24 hours do you want him to look at you the way you look at others or wouldn’t you rather he look at you with rachmanus and with love that a father has for a child and make your biography for 5772 one you will be so proud of.

    It is not easy out there and we are all human. Yes some times it may seem to us that the other person has their priorities messed up but that is not something for us to decide. Let’s focus on our own priorities and help elevate our friends and neighbors who are down.

  10. Very narrow minded article, there is no rules, each situation is different, but to the writer of the article, would you work in a gas station if you were out of a job to put food on your table???
    There is a famous saying what’s the difference between recession and depression, recession is when your friend is out of a job, depression is when your out of a job.

  11. If this guy’s only problem is putting food on his family’s table than tell him to go on foodstamps. I am unemployed and went on foodstamps. That’s what they are there for.

  12. Avi Solomon is one of the good Jews of Lakewood. I know him very well and have often asked him why he works as a cashier. His answer was, “I need to pay my bills. When you need money, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”

  13. The sad part is when you go into a grocery store and see the cashiers are illegal hispanice who get paid less so the store owners save money. Please correct me if im wrong but im pretty sure the best charity would be to give a person a honest job.

  14. You have a guy who use to work on Wall Street and he loses everything. How in the world do you tell such a guy to take a job as a cashier. It is a busha to him and rightfully so. You have a cop who gets laid off. You think he’s going to work as a cashier! You have a talmid chacham who has been in kollel for ten years and needs to get a job. For him to work as a cashier is beneath the dignity the Torah accords him. This is a dumb article. Not everyone is meant to be a cashier.

  15. the lakewood courier advertises every week. i always wonder why the job is still open when so many are unemployed. the bus companies are always desperate to hire upstanding, reliable workers and offered decent pay. they advertised very heavily in local papers. Supposedly they just could not get drivers from the community as hoped. the subject of this article says there are no jobs. Are there really NO jobs?

  16. comment #22 was a response to “oh? says” you say the writer is out of touch & there really are no job openings… I wonder how accurate. please explain.

  17. To #21:

    I guess your Talmid Chochom is more Choshuv & more Yeshivish than the Chofetz Chaim!

    Maybe TLS can do a community service and have an ongoing list of available jobs in & out of town!

  18. @6, @8

    Excellent points. Those who can hire, create another.
    Those who can help stem the tide, give more.

    Halacha (Torah Law) is very stringent, as you stressed.

    Feeling the severity of the impact of likely the world’s worst financial crisis, we must diligently come up with solutions. The community leaders must publicly address the situation and confer binding proclamations in each category affected and appeal to congregation members and constituents. It is time we revaluate and resolve to always attract G-d’s blessed Wisdom and Kindness.

  19. Many grocery stores do prefer Yiddishe employees both because it is more “bakwent” and simply because there is a comfort level in hiring someone who is a Yrei Shamayim. However, even those who are courageous enough to understand that putting food on the table for their family is a top priority, can go to pieces from stupid, demoralizing and hurtful comments that others make to them when they see them in what they consider a less than ideal a work place (i.e. not the CEO, just a cog in the works). If you see your friend working as a cashier, just be friendly and help bag your groceries. That will help him feel good about his choice to work at what is available rather than taking charity.


  21. First of all, everyone should mind their own businss. What is good for one person may not be ok for another. Everyone is trying their best, and knows what they can handle.
    My grandfather worked as a painter and got fired every week so he could keep shabbos. There was no busha of being a painter or doing odd was a privalege and he was so excited when he had a job,knowing he could feed his family.
    When did we all get so proud?

  22. I tell my son till he finds the right job he to should work in a store, food place, some where just so that he has money in his pocket. As far a this person who told his friend to take a job in a grocery store, i think he was just trying to help, no harm done.

  23. After all the accusing and name calling. People do not relize how bad the situation is. Speak to the Menahel of any mosad or the head of tomchai shabbos and they will tell you how many people are litterly struggling daily. I don’t know the solution but pls stop blaming everyone. If you see your neighbor struggling, HELP. Weather its with money of helping find a job.

  24. Raboisai,
    About 1 month ago I spoke to one of the people in charge of hiring at B&H and he said that they are actively hiring. There are different job specifications and pay levels. Its a beutiful Heimish company and there is job stability there. If you do your job, no need to worry about loosing your job.
    I will be happy to provide the name of the person and extension number of whom I spoke to. Benyumin

  25. I think the purpose of this article was to make a general statement about the attitude prevalent in the country today. It was not posted to disparage a specific individual.
    I too wonder why it’s seemingly below someone’s dignity to work in a store or drive a bus.
    We’ve become, to some extent, a country of spoiled brats. If we can’t get the job we want or, more accurately, the one we feel we deserve, then we’d rather not work at all and protest against corporate greed. Makes no sense.

  26. there are many programs out there to assist people
    the problem is once people get on them they never get off them
    they claim the programs are there so i mine as well use them
    there is nothing wrong with asking for help as long as you trying to make things better for yourself and once things do improve you get off the programs.

  27. #32 isnt B&H in manhattan?

    I think the problem in lakewood is that evryone is scared to go to work cuz the other guy is gona look down at him. if evryone wud just start caring about their family and not about their kavod they wouldn’t have to go running to get tzedaka. And if your wife can also help out why not? instead i see the women in lakewood have way too much time on their hands and sit outside shmoozing with the neighbors half the day.

  28. some people don’t have nerves that can withstand the travails of driving a bus without a monitor to keep the children from making a rukus

  29. to #24

    Oh goodness the world was such a different place back then. There is also a bit difference between owning your own store and working a few hours and spending the rest of the day learning than working full time for minimum wage in a high pressure low satisfaction environment.

    Anyway, PCS has been very helpful for me. Apparently there are other similar agencies around as well. I don’t know if these will be the answer to the subject of the article but always worth a try.

  30. I disagree. It depends who you’re talking to and the circumstances. You cant just make a blanket statement that a guy should work in a supermarket just because he doesn’t have a job.

    Perhaps it can affect future prospects by taking such a position.

  31. first off, the guy may have big expenses and the grocery job may not pay enough to”put food on the table”

    secondly, it is hard to find a job when you are working, you just dont have the ability to be out there searching.

    thirdly, go to the coop, you will see plenty of frum individuals working the cash register so obviously they do hire frummies.

    fourthly, the chofetz chaim “worked the cash register” as you put it, but dont forget he was the owner of the business, so prestigiously speaking, working the cash register of a company you own is a bit higher on the social level that working as an employee. just saying.

  32. I don’t believe the person and all the people that commented here. If they were in this person’s position would go to work as a cashier or bus driver if he lost a job in a business or computers etc. Nothing wrong with these jobs but someone who worked for years in a corporate or office environment cannot be expected to do such a job. Obviously all those that comment you have to put food on the table are not and was not in this person’s position. I hope none of you are ever tested.

  33. to # 37 I tried getting a job at the co-op and they said full. Also in case you didn’t notice tere are too many non yidden working the cash registers

  34. to #32 B&H is hiring???? I looked at their 14 open recs. One requires knowing a foreign language, and the others require familiaritiy with vidoe production and tech writing. They are not advertising that many jobs.

  35. To, Oh? says:
    I dont want to Chas Vesholam mislead you, but I dont think you should be thrown off by their website (which I actualy never checked). When I spoke to the person in charge of hiring (and he is a very nice person), he sounded very receptive to meeting capable people looking for employment. Its a very large company and you never know where they can find an opening for you. I wonder if they even advertise the run of the mill jobs, or they just depend on word-of-mouth to fill those? How can I contact you to give you his contact info? May I ask if you have any previous work experience and in what industry?

  36. Lately I saw 2 new cashiers at NPGS. All Ydden. My husband called them several times and spoke to the manager, but got no reply.

  37. I spent 5 years in Kolel plus worked bain HaSidorim doing carpentry, electric, & Plumbing. Not everyone can do it.

    I may have something for #8 oh? says ,
    he may contact TLS for my email to get info

    moderator here is my @ to give legit request>

  38. there should be no embarrassment doing honest work for honest pay. personally i worked in a grocery,drove taxis,cut trees,etc today i own my own business and make lots of money ( todah la hashem) bli ayen hora. you must start somewhere, g-d does not want us to be shnorrers. so get moving and hatzlacha

  39. There is now way for me to know anyone’s circumstance based on a few sentences. However, the grocery store I patronize has some of the finest, intelligent people working the cash register – it’s ridiculous to think the job makes the person – some CEOs are horrible, stupid people who you would never want to have anything to do with(hopefully) – Get real – Gmar Chasima Tova

  40. to all that offerred, I hope to be in touch sunday (after yomtov. I will exlore all job opprtunitites you are kind enough to help with. Gmar chasima tova.

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