Dear TLS Editor,
I’ve been bombarded with complaints for my recent letters to TLS, bemoaning the rampant materialism overtaking the Lakewood community.
If you found it offensive or felt personally targeted, my apologies – not for what I said, but for your discomfort at facing some hard truths.
A week or two has passed since you’ve had the unpleasant task of reflecting on your materialistic pursuits. So, what’s your grand plan of action now? Did you gather your children and decide against mindlessly chasing extravagance?
Sure, a midwinter vacation is great – take the family skiing or snow tubing. Please enjoy it, by all means. Everybody needs a well-deserved break.
But is jetting off to Panama or fleeing to Florida really a necessity? Have you explained to your loved ones that keeping up with the Joneses (or it the Cohenses?) isn’t the ultimate goal in life, and that maybe, just maybe, the funds for your fancy Volvo lease could be better spent aiding the less fortunate?
And how exactly do you plan to prevent your kids from lusting after private jets, Range Rovers, and aged Wagyu beef steaks, all while parading around as the model Ben Torah?
It’s almost comical.
If you don’t lead by example, how can you expect the next generation to take any of your teachings seriously? You preach Torah and mitzvos, yet live like you’re auditioning for a role as a Las Vegas poker champ. The height of absurdity.
Allow me to emphasize that, in this particular letter, I’m not talking to everybody in the community. I’m engaging in a dialogue with the people who reached out with negative remarks and accused me of stirring the pot unnecessarily.
My letters to TLS generated hundreds of supportive comments. Clearly, they hit a nerve. Don’t just sneer at the message and ignore it. Internalize it. Act on it.
Now’s your chance to demonstrate to your children, your community, and Jews worldwide what you truly value.
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