Gashmius and Chinuch: Rav Yisroel Tzvi Brody at Yeshiva Orchos Chaim Dinner in Lakewood

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  1. Why isn’t this speech more out there? Why hasn’t it gone viral? More rabbonim need to be articulating this! R’ Aharon Leib Shteinman said to a gvir in America who wanted to up the standard of living for yerushalmim- “Leave them alone and let them live simply, this is how they will become talmidei chachamim!” I just want to say that I am guilty of feeling the pressure and needing to “keep up with the Schwartz’s” and definitely buy things according to what is the latest trend and to impress certain people who might think I’m a nerd otherwise.. My sister has been living in Eretz Yisroel for 25 years and she and her husband have become extremely chashuv ka”h. She had not been back to Lakewood since she left America in the 90’s and came here last year. She was shell shocked! She still thought Lakewood was the way it was back then. I showed her all the “new” parts thinking she would be impressed but she kept shaking her head and saying “Where did the mesirus nefesh go? Where’s the kedusha?” My 9 year old nephew asked me “why does everyone here live in mansions? Do people here all have 25 children?” This was said innocently, not cynically and it made me feel ashamed. I took her davka to the BMG surrounding areas by 6th and private, forest and so forth and we redeemed ourselves. She said “this is how I remember Lakewood!” We are so caught up in it, the changes happen slowly and we become desensitized. As R’ Brody so eloquently said, we don’t need to go back to the olden days (or even to the 90’s), what were luxury’s then, are not luxury’s now but we are way over the top and it looks ridiculous to those coming here from Yerushalayim (and even out of town). It is perceived as living low when you are out of it and it took an outsider to point it out to me. We could make changes by teaching the children, the next generation,that this is NOT the way to produce talmidei chachamim. The teachers, rabbeim, rabbonim should be shouting it from the rooftops, there should be video’s about it like there are about other midos but it seems that people are too scared to say anything! Shkoiach to those who have the means to live more comfortably but are resisting the temptation and living in a more tznius way and bucking the terrifying trends! The kinds of houses, the clothing, the simchas, the vacations,,,,,,,,You are a breath of fresh air and living examples to the rest of us!

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