Letter: A Response to the Responses – The Materialism Debate Continues

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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  1. For the record, Las Vegas poker pros are actually very frugal and don’t blow money like you are describing. I think you are getting confused with the folks in the high roller rooms who play blackjack and craps. Just pointing it out. (Yes, it’s a bizayon that someone from Lakewood knows the difference, but emes is important when making analogies)

    • You bet it is. The chafetz chaim would be appalled by the lusting after gashmuis that exists and he’d speak out. This is a terrible sickness thats corrupting klal yisroel.

  2. It’s amazing how many times this same issue is brought up. It boils down to, “Anything more than I do is wrong, sometimes anything less than I do is also wrong” Some examples from my life.
    I bought my Arba Minim early & paid $86.58. Day and night until Sukkos I held a sign while screaming, “Anyone who spends more than $86.58 is a show off & chazer! Anyone who spends less doesn’t care about the Mitzvah!”
    My neighborhood told me he is taking his family to Maryland for a 3 day vacation & is staying with family. I was outraged! I told him, “I took my family to Pennsylvania for vacation & it was fine. Who do you think you are going away farther than I did? How will I explain to my children Pennsylvania is nothing to be ashamed of when we follow every step of your vacation in Maryland on Instagram?”
    I’m starting to get older but can say growing up no one cared or was jealous of what others did.
    I’m actually shocked this is what we’ve turned into as a community. How about everyone do their own thing & not worry about what other people do?
    If you don’t have the Chinuch skills to teach your children about valuing what they have & being content with it there are plenty of Rabbanim & others who can teach you.

    • There is an obvious balance. Cmon you & I know what’s more and whats less. We all you know families need a break and vacations are vital. But extragevance is not. I can’t tell you if FL vs MD differs so much or what the line is. But common sense needs to prevail. You need to know that even if you can afford it or even if you got FL for cheap, use your brains not to overdo it.

      Comparing nowadays to when we grew up is veru dffernet. We are now much more socially interactive. Furthermore, when we grew up it wasn’t as widespead to spend so much. They were a few welathly ones who did it. Now its like 50% of your childs class. That makes a difference.

      Lastly no matter how much you are mechnach your children, the street has an influence. Even the biggest gedolim have children who didn’t turn out as frum as them. When it so in your face, its impossible to rely just on your chinuch. Your suggestion is like saying, I don’t need to filter my devices because I’ll be manchnach my children how to be tznuis on their own.

      • OY MR MAG.
        Read Serenity. And flying J. Lets focus on what’s right about us! Yes sooo much positive! So much chessed. So much Torah! So much achdus! So much Tzeddakka! How amazing is Klal Yisrael! With all our imperfections! May we all be zoche together to see Mashiach…how ever we get thwre private jet or oldsmobile…we dont decide whos better than others! Just please don’t be a meragel on Klal Yisrael!

    • I don’t get it. Does the board impart a nuance of flavor to the meat? Does the meat last longer if it’s reacting with the tannins of the wood? Do you get to keep the board, or do you throw it away when you’re done? SOOO many questions. In my day, we’d just go to Essex on Coney and get a quarter pound of roast beef, quarter pound of pastrami, and about “this much” hard salami, sliced thin si, -no! THINNER, and put it onto a plastic tray. We didn’t need artisanal mustard, we used Gold’s duck sauce and the cheapest expired mustard we could fine, and we were happy!

  3. M.A.G.
    Why do you think it’s your job to convince people who have this lifestlye that they need to change? Do you really think that you will help? Its the job of a Rav, which hopfully they have, who knows that persons personal situation, and how exactly the best way to grow and raise thier kids. You impart on your kids/grandkids how to live and act and they will do theirs.

    • So why aren’t the rabbanim coming out against the materialism issue with the same energy that they had coming out against thinks like the Internet??

        • Thats because it isn’t a direct affect like unflitered internet. Nebach if one goes the wrong sites within a few weeks they become corrupt. This however is a slow trickle and harder to see. But in a way its worse and its the shrosh of half the internet ytezer haras too. (I need the newest device that can’t be filtered because yenim has it)

          • Its a much harder topic to speak out against than smartphones. It gets political, there is no magic line when yes and when no and its not an instant danger. It isn’t that Rabbonim don’t see it. Its more that its just too complex to tackle easily

          • Who said anything about magic? Are you suggesting, Mr. Mid class Bal habayis, that Hashem makes nisyonos that are too complex for the Rabbanim and Gedolei Hador to help Klal Yisroel with?/

        • No they would not fight it harder if worse because its more subtle. Its not worse at the moment. When one can’t see the destruction with the naked eye it doesn’t look so compelling to fight

          • The Rabbanim with their Daas Torah can see much more than a Mid class Bal habayis can see with his naked eye. They can even see subtle dangers.

        • Sorry slightly different name but same person. The answer is yes I think. Hashem could often make nisanyons that are too hard for rabbonim themselves to overcome just like Shabbos in America was a battle that rabbonim didn’t really have a plan to battle in unison. Not everything in Judaism is always the ravs job to fight even if it’s the fight of the century. It’s up to us simpletons each individually to fight it. And part of that is to get those living ostentatiously to fight it too. It’s not always a ravs issue. Please don’t pin everything on them.

        • I’ll add that there were many times in klal Yisroel where rabbonim couldn’t tackle starting from yermuahi hanavi when klal Yisroel didn’t listen and many “ rabbonim” were corrupt. I am not cvs at all suggesting that’s the story today. But this notion that if it were an issue then rabbonim would address is just so unrealistic on so many levels.

      • Pick any hot button topic and think how much did your LOR talk about it? Now how about your local Rosh Yeshivah? He was probably told about the issue along with his constituents passionate dead-set view. On the flip side look at the Chassidim and Eretz Yisroel. The Rabbonim and Rebbes speak up loud and clear and the people listen. Think recent issues from Covid vaccine to lace top sheitels to being mechazek during vacation. Let’s stop the divide and work on becoming listeners to daas Torah. It will save a lot of frustration and lead us to greener pastures. Remember the Aibishter wants us to all be happy

      • Do you know that they are not? Oh you didn’t see a kol korei? Maybe in the shuls they talk about it, and also maybe privately they do.

  4. Dear MAG
    I am checking in on your serenity levels
    While you make valid points, it seems that you have a need for people to be/ not be a certain way.
    I am not sure how old you are, but I am sure that at some point in your life you have heard that you are only responsible for yourself, and the only one you can change is yourself.
    If you want to make a difference please consider increasing achdus and not continuing to sow seeds of division in Lakewood and the surrounding areas. Additionally, it is known that one who sees a fault in others should look internally and locate that fault in themselves. It may look different, but something is the same.
    And this, dear MAG, might raise your serenity levels and even lower your bitterness of the current reality. I am not even denying the complaints you raise about it, (and I agree that it is very challenging to raise children in this reality …but raising children was never meant to be easy…) but healthy people live in the reality and do not expend a lot of effort to fight it.
    I cannot believe I am even responding to a letter on the scoop but hey, maybe this was my vacation fun 🙂

    • M.A.G. is an acronym for Mission Against Gashgmios. don’t make it a personal attack against a real person its a topic that is being thrown out to the Lakewood (and global) public and most people find it difficult to face the truth. you cant possibly deny how the gashmios and the materialism has gotten ooc

  5. To be brutally honest, the only way I know so many people are in Florida is from your letters to the scoop. I am a teacher and I see maybe one or two boys out of 30 in my class going on these extravagant trips that’s definitely not most I don’t even notice it and I had the most amazing vacation staying here in Lakewood spending time with my children. Maybe I live in a different neighborhood than you, but I just don’t see what you are referring to. It’s not in my face and even if it’s happening I just don’t notice it because I choose to focus on all the good that I have in my life. I wish on you to have all the good I have as well.

  6. But the daughters of these guys will be grabbed for shiduchim while we poshut yidden will continue to have our daughters passed over. If I were any where near able to fake being rich, that and having Roshei Yeshiva stay in my house would cause me to fake it. I’m not anywhere close however, so I will need to sit around and plead with the Rbsh”o (Tefila) and lehavdil any people who will listen to me (hishtadlus), to find shidduchim for my daughters and I’ll need to be satisfied finding other ways to converse with Roshei Yeshiva.

  7. Totally right. I totally agree with him . He is absolutely right. How can you send your kids to yeshiva then they see all those fancy luxurious houses and all that materialistic things and still feel that what ever they learned matters. They are just fooling them selfs. They are contradicting them selfs and paying tuition for nothing just because they still want to show that they are frum they are not frum Lakewood was originally built as the mokom torah the anti materiristic thing. Where their were no sitting in resturant and no bummy hagouts, before your time before you were born but i remember it as such.now it the most metirialstic place on earth for frum people. They mite as well send their kids to public school because those kids now are going to be just like them or even worse since they already have their expectation and it does get worse. So go ahead show your kids what it’s really like to live in Lakewood or if not just move out and live somewhere else with out the white shirt and black pants you and others are fooling yourself not others.

  8. It’s no sin to take a nice vacation; the kids may learn better afterwards; and if it costs money it’s good financial exercise for the man, he will work harder thus build up his business larger or get a better job.
    And I would say nearly 90% of the area lives modest in small townhouses, duplexes etc; and of the small percentage that live in 3 million dollar homes most of them are very big Baal Tzedaka, very big Baal Chesed.

    • Nice vacation is no sin but extravagant is. Your children and their freinds who hear about it will learn its cool to be rich vs a kollel guy

      • If your children are old enough to want to go on an extravagant vacation what are you still doing in Kolell for so many years! Why are you mutchihing your family ; there are hundreds of excellent night Kollel’s around Lakewood; wake up in the morning and go make a decent living and have some responsibility.

  9. Thanks for having the courage to say the ultimate truth,
    as much that it is hard to hear, keep on telling to truth, if someone pursuit is gashmyous, what is he doing in lakewood?!!

    • the original author said that the letter before this one will be his last letter. Was he speaking the truth? And he decides that snowtubing and skiing is OK. but not going to florida. Who is he to decide for everyone else? Actually, what is his real name?

      • There is a certain level of common sense. I think you’d admit that if one decides to rent a private cruise ship for midwinter and part away, that would be over done. You know the difference. Now is FL the line? Lets say bobby and zaidy live there? I get it. But you & I know. And so do the people going on extravagant vacations. Use some common sense.

  10. Yes, keep the materialism debate going.
    I think we should all follow your last letter and move to the five towns. That way our children will read books and not talk about Louie Scheiner’s private jet!
    For the record, my kids don’t know who Louie Scheiner is, neither do they care what he drives or how he flies!
    Don’t blame the fact that your children have failed in raising their children to be happy with what they have on our beautiful town!
    Stay in Brooklyn with your grafiti and pigeon poop!
    And when you decide to move out of Brooklyn because everyone from your Shul either moved to Lakewood or moved away in a box, go move next to your PERFECT well raised grandchildren in the 5 towns so you can read them bedtime stories every night!

    • Its not an issue thats local to lakewood. its an issue in 5 towns too. And it isn’t just one perosn fancy airplanes rather its all the fancy planes all over society and its all the fancy kiddishim, houses and purim parties etc. if your children don’t talk about it then you must be lving in a cave. Its in our face wherever we go. You can’t hide. And it will be your kids dream

    • Typical Lakewood answer. His children are from the best in Lakewood. Better than you. He was giving examples. the fact is Lakewood people in high numbers are full of themselves. They think only they are Torah and are thus low lives. I just met dozens of non wealthy Lakewood families in Eretz Yisroel. Some that go almost every year on mid-winter breaks as a family. I was there myself, first time in about 10 years. My family vacations consist of a trip to the Bronx zoo. I believe my old school lifestyle is the Torah way. You won’t find a single Gadol in Klal Yisroel that will say I’m wrong. Lakewood faker.

  11. Years ago when a family moved to Lakewood it was understood that they wished to adapt the lifestyle of בני תורה. That lifestyle didn’t translate into a singular socioeconomic standard as that is not the way הקב”ה designed the world. Rather, it was an attitude. The emphasis was that there was nothing more supreme than תורה which includes ללמוד ע’ם לעשות. It is this attitude that we are fighting to protect! One should live on the standard befitting their resources which the תורה refers to as די מחסרו. However, making one’s living standards a goal to be flaunted and envied is not commendable rather it is totally distasteful and incompatible with the lifestyle of בני תורה.

  12. Your whole argument here relies on a common logical fallacy. People disagreeing with you requires a logical response, you can’t claim that it’s only because they can’t accept the hard truth. This is called a no true Scotsman fallacy.
    Using your logic I can argue that the only reason why you really care about any of this is because you cannot afford it and are jealous.
    Seriously, just live and let live. It shouldn’t bother you if someone else spends money on things that you cannot afford. I can think of much worse things to do with money than spend it on a fancy vacation.

  13. I think what is needed here is to open up the Derech Hashem and Chovos Halevavos and learn in depth the topic of צדיק ורע לו רשע וטוב לו. Chazal say that the generation before Moshiach will be tested in Emunah. Seeing all the materialism around us and yet still being mechanech our sons and daughters to live simple lives will merit greater reward in עולם הבא. By the way, Yaakov Avinu’s mechutan was Lavan, and Yitzchok Avinu’s mechutan was Besuel, both עובדי עבודה זרה. Living a materialistic life is putting priority into עגל הזהב. But it doesn’t negate the quality of their daughters….

  14. People who waste money on fancy vacations and unnecessary things are losers.
    If you and I understood what is really important we would pity this type. What kind of person hires multiple bands for a wedding? What kind of person spends money on a private jet no matter how wealthy he is? What kind of person throws a massive Purim party just to show off?
    They are not people to admire. Again, if we understood what is important in life, we would feel bad for them.
    And remember, for every loser out there, there are many people here and elsewhere in the Torah world that have their heads on straight. Focus on those and pity the empty ones.

  15. MAG, stop the sensationalism by keeping this going. I don’t believe you’re doing this al kiddush Hashem because the results are anything but. All I’m reading is all the insults being hurled at one another. Stop bashing other jews and how they live. I live a simple lifestyle but I would never knock a fellow jew with different standards especially on a public forum. Stop pointing fingers, stop dragging this story that we’re getting tired of. Work on yourself and your family. You’re generating hate. We don’t want THIS HATE in Lakewood. TY

  16. Well, what bothers me is the assumption that seems to have been made, even taken for granted. Isaiah and other prophets admonished those who grind the face of the poor (i.e., take advantage of the poor) along with those who feel haughty. The emphasis on the later is feel. I personally don’t know of any source in TaNaK that forbids an objectively extravagant lifestyle so long as the person living such a lifestyle does not feel haughty or better than others. Perhaps the OP imagines that those living extravagantly to also be haughty. But, it is not necessarily the case, and it is perhaps wrong to assume that they are.

  17. What do you hope to accomplish with this letter?
    Is it to change people?
    But these people that are materialistic, their only problem is not just materialism. The reasons for them being materialistic are many.
    So will they even listen to you?
    Are they even capable of listening to you?

    It bothers you that people are being too materialistic. It bothers you to see your city get more materialistic. That’s legitimate but at what cost? What are you willing to do to deal with such?
    Are ther bigger issues that these people have that perhaps require yours and our main attention?

    Can a lifestyle even be forced upon people realistically?
    Klal Godol the world will always be stronger than you are! therefore the growth and change must come from deal with the world not overcoming it.

    What deeper issues is klal yisroel facing that would make materialism almost seem like a good thing?

    Emtional health?

    Mental Health?

    Lack of meaning in ones daily life?

    Lack of depth and meaning in ones Avodas Hashem?

    Stifling of creativity?

    Not feeling like one is using their Kochos Hanefesh fulfillingly?

    Felling like we’re on a Hamster wheel?

    Reikanut = Emptiness?

    Wrong approaches to even the emes nevermind all the sheker?


    Not having a Real Rebbe in Yirah (Chazon ISh Says Halacha does not need a Rebbe Muvhak but Yirah Does!)

    Childhood Traumas.

    Lack of Attention?

    And so much more.

    So your input and my input is very valuable but in which area?

    Imagine you get what you wish for do you think all the above issues will just melt away?

    Is being not materuialistic the Is all and solve all? probably not.
    Can being too materialistic when not fo rthe purposes of serving hashem be somthing to be ignored no. But the Chinuch/education that people need to be ready to deal with and address wrong use of material comes 1st because otherwise it will only work by force and that seems like a fools path.

    Jews even wayward Jews are infinitely valuable and that value doe snot come witha condition. IF and only IF they are not materialistic. No! We need to start work on seving hashem by working on chazal working on Middos Working on what R’ Yeruchum Calls Shmiras derech Hatevah, Working on getting a rebbe muvhak for YIRAH like the CHazon Ish warns.

    When we will be deep into slef work for serving hashem we will discover that we are more lacking than ever is such basic fundamentals including being to materialistic that to focus solely on Materialism like its the is all and end all it would seem laughable!

    Its akin to focusing on one and only one yetzer or only one type of ApiKursos and ignoring lal others.

    Do you know that anything that is contrary to the tOrahs View of life is Api kursos!? Based on this Perfectionism is Api Kursos! Because the torah states “Sheva Yipol Tzaddik Vekam!” This doe snot jive with anyone who is of a Perfectionist mindset Kayadua!

    So now imagine we all become non-materialists will the api kursos of Perfectionism neccessarily go away? I think not!

    Tun, Nish Uftun!!!
    – R’ Yisroel Salanter Ztz”l
    Zich Beitin, Nisht veren Besser!!!
    – From a Great Baal Mussar

    • I can’t hear you on account of the deafening noise of eating wagu beef meatboards in my private helicopter, fueled with shredded $100 bills on my way to drop bags of money onto the homes of almonos, but you can use the supercharger g’mach at my mansion anytime if your battery is low. It’s behind the unicorn stables across from the servant’s mansion. Just don’t wake up the peacocks, they’re sleeping off the 100 year old champagne they drank for breakfast and they hurt the groundskeeper last time they were drunk. The butler, who was finishing Shas again this month, had to be summoned to gather the private Hatzola team in the medical wing.

  18. again, we have complaints by the have nots against the haves. no solutions just kvetching. Small brain tunnel vision. since when did a vacation in florida (plane fares are cheap) become the avi avos hatuma of america??? maybe my kids shouldnt visit lakewood with its overblown gashmius, thet shouldnt visit brooklyn with its we are in a rush, dont have patience for you lifestyle, maybe they shouldnt visit the grand canyon to see niflaos haBorei and all because some poor guy in kolell doesnt like it. guess ill have to stay home out of town where we dont have such hangups.

    • It has nothing to do with have and have nots. Its all about what kind of message it brings to our children. Its a terrible illness in how widepsread and deep we are sunk into it. Its not just a “lifestyle” we don’t like. Its a moral corruption thats the root of so mnay issues

      • the only message that your children hear is the message YOU tell them. The solution to the have-nots, is to mind their own business. The solution to the haves is listen to their schools. End of discussion.

        • Sorry but I disagree. Your children don’t live in a cave or vaccum. YOU can tell them something form today till tomorrow. But they go to school , they walk around town, attend simchas etc. It rubs off. How many yingerlit who are the simplest happiest people have children that are fancier and into gahsmyus? Its much more than you think. Sorry but that mentality is just incorrect.

        • Not true at all. Your children pick up things on the street. They hear things. See things. Nothing is going to change that. Unless of course you want to home school your children for ever. The chutzpah of today, foul language are normal. Foul language doesn’t only include a few 4 letter words. Take you ostrich head out of the sand.

  19. M.A.G,

    You are literally what you claim to be running from. Just dressed up in gross fake piety. Not being materialistic doesn’t mean having a problem living around people that have more material goods and people that do more fun things than you do. It means getting your main fulfillment from less material pursuits. If you really were fulfilled in your “beautiful ruchnius lifestyle” and your children were as well, then they would not be obsessing over Rechnitz’s private jet, and you would not be bothered by what other people do. Fulfilled happy people naturally live and let live. They don’t “gather their children and tell them how they won’t be doing what other people are doing.” Not because they agree with everything they see, or want the same thing as everyone else. They are just happy, and if other people seem to be happy they are happy for them. Your letters reek of self righteousness and a lack of fulfillment and confidence in your own way of life.

    Much love, and I hope that your family starts shmoozing with you about subjects that interest you more than how rich their neighbors are.

    • Ari you make it sound like boys in eyshiva don’t hock? If only the parents are happy and teach children to be happy with less all will be good? Of course that’s vital. And parents need to set that tone over and over again. But lets be real, bochrim in yeshiva love the hock, children play ion friends houses. The talk is the rich mans purim party with every singer in the world where boys are invited to attend freely. Boys play at friends houses. Maybe the friend is good but his neighbor has a $10M mansion. You think he doesn’t see and it doesn’t rub off? I get it that he should see qand not be jealous but lets get real. To think that you can just live in a cave is just so fundamentally misguided.

      • Of course boys hock. But no, it isn’t normal, nor is it a given that they should be most interested in who has the biggest house or fanciest car. It’s not even about teaching people to be happy with less. People should have hobbies, interests, personal relationship dynamics and other things that should fulfill them. Again, it’s simply called living a happy fulfilled life. It’s not even a religious thing, secular people would tell you the same thing. If all your kids have to talk about is what kind of car or house the neighbor has, the answer is to help them find something that is actually interesting and fulfilling in their own lives, not to demand that the world tone it down for them. If you are an adult and have this issue, whether it takes the form of complaining about it, or just plain gossip its a whole lot worse.

        The fact that this all seems to be something that the people preaching “a more ruchniusdig lifestyle” have a hard time grasping is funny. Theirs seems to be a more materialistic worldview then that of most secular rich people.

        • When all they talk and hock about is gashmiyus it becomes their way of life. If all they talk about is wanting needing a segway, guess what you’re getting him? A segway. Even if you’re living on a $1000.00 month Kolel check. Because your choice is that or he will find other ways of getting one. Possibly turning to the streets. BTW, Lakewood has the worst per capita rate of this in all of Klal Yisroel. Rav Matisyahu used to host OTD and at risk in his house for chizuk. He played ping pong and had popcorn with them. As well as much more. Listen to this on torah anytime, lecture 278952.

          • If you are afraid that your children will “turn to the streets” over a Segway you are doing life wrong. The best way to keep that from happening is by just doing your best to live a life that you are actually happy with and helping provide that for your family. If you are happy in Kolel and providing an enjoyable and fulfilling life for yourself, your wife, and your family the chance of your kids turning to crime over a Segway is as small as can be. If you are miserable and envious of the world around you, then you should fix that, and create a life you are actually happy with. If your kids don’t like your lifestyle they aren’t going to have the same one either way, if you want to sell them on it, complaining about other people’s lives is a terrible way to do that.

        • you miss the point, there are countless kolel yingerlit that live such happy non envious lives and couldn’t care less about materialism. But its an inherent nature that glitzy things drag and schlep even the most content of people in. So many of these yingerlit have children that while are totally shomer torah umatizvahs, they are far more materlistic. You have to be blind not to see that pull. And its because of your surroundings. As a jew you are responsible for others

    • Look Ari, it boils down to this. We all understand (I think) that when it comes to tznuis in the classic sense, it isn’t enough to say work on yourself but I can dress not tznuisdik or I can have an unfiltered device. We all understand that there is an innate lure that schleps a person and no matter how much one works on themselves, one can fall and be nechshal when tempted. The same is true for tznuis on money and lifetsyle. No matter how much you work on yourself, and is happy there is an innate lure thats impossible to escape. We understand as a community that one must dress tznuis not just because of themselves but also because of others. Yes as you exclaimed, you need to “accommodate” others because you are jewish and responsible for others. You can’t tempt others. I think and hope that you get that. The same is true with money. Yes you are responsible not to lure others. You are jewish and thats you job. And thats just for adults. Kids get lured even more as they aren’t mature yet. It doesn”t matter how happy you raise them. Money has a lure. Its shinny and glitzy. Let me be frank and say that if you disagree, I think you are just lving in denial to excuse ostentosius lifestyles . I don’t believe that deep inside you disgaree

    • Let me just add, that judiasm doesn’t have a place for materliasim. Its the opposite. There is no such thing as its OK to enjoy the “finer” things in life. That’s because your head is in the gutter and not in torah. As I noted big tzadkim like Rebbe Hakdosh or even the heliga rizhina rebas lived the most lavsih lifetsyle buit never ever “enjoyed” even one finer thing in life. They did it because it represents malchus but they understood the royalty isn’t an excuse to “enjoy” finer things in life or become a “foodie”. This has no place in judaism.
      P.S. I too enjoy finer things or a nice vacation but I know its because I am imprefect and it isn’t what hashem wants.

      • You are completely missing that if you were actually as happy as you claim in your chosen lifestyle, and your kids weren’t bored/unhappy with it as well you-and they-would not be obsessing over what other people have. This isn’t even a religious thing, it’s just the way it is. If what your neighbor has that you do not effects and bothers you to a large degree, you are as materialistic as can be. If you were satisfied and didn’t want to live another lifestyle you wouldn’t care and just be happy for them.

        And yes, the people that obsess endlessly over “tznius issues” are telling on themselves as well.

        • In short obsessing over what your neighbors have and do is probably the most materialistic thing one can do. If all your kids talk about are what the neighbors have and don’t have, and not their own lives, doings, and interests there is almost definitely something lacking in your and their life. It’s not normal to do that. Not in religious circles and not in secular circles. Same with Tznius issues, people who can’t stop talking about what their neighbors wives wear have something wrong with them or in their lives.

          This isn’t complicated.

  20. Absent form this discussion is the proliferation of ponzi schemes lately. You see people received tons of assistance during the covid gold rush. That money was often used to pursue extravagance. Now the well dried up and we need to continue the lifetsyle. In comes, guy in shul that sells some shady hard money loan or multi family deal, that sounds too good to be true. Deep inside you know this is extremely risky and a gamble. But you gamble anyhow because you need to pay for the lifestyle.

  21. We had a great Mid winter vacation we stayed home!!
    I have a large family not a lot of money, so going away wasn’t an option. But If someone would offer me an expense paid vacation, I would be on the next flight out!!
    What’s good for your neighbor Is “HIS BUSINESS” Going away is good for Shalom Bais ( as long as you can afford it) Good for mental health ( no pressure, break from cooking etc.)
    You can have fun at home, You can also have fun in Florida. It depends on the choices you make. These choices are up to you and it’s no one else’s business how you choose to spend your vacation!! Focus on your own family instead!

  22. Dear M.A.G. I give you a sincere brocha for hatzlocha in parnossa. You should have everything you need, before you need it, and be bentched with such shefa that you can help enrich the lives of others, along with all the true bnei Torah and your daughters should live a life of luxury like a true Bnos Melech and be married to talmedei chochamim like Rebbi Yehudah Ha Nasi!

    • Reb Yehuda Hanasi did not enjoy one iota of this world. He lived lavishly because he wa slike a king and was required to do so. Do you think the mansions today are built with this in mind? Simple roylaity but not enjoying olem hazah at all?

  23. I see so many comments here alluding to the idea of live let live and don’t be jealous. The other theme is why is this important. So I’ll elaborate why the letter writer is so spot on.
    1) I am a simpleton and not a tzadik. Like everyone else, I get tempted by my surroundings. if you have a fancy car and vacation I want it to. And anyone who says work on yourself just misses the point that we all have a yetzer hara for this. The more its in your face the harder it is not to fall for it. We are humans
    2) There is a certain point where if everybody else does something you need to conform to society. We all want our children to fit in and can’t raise them as complete nebs or they will resent. By raising the standards in society you require us to somewhat raise it too.
    3) Even if we are perefct and work on ourselves, you can’t protect chldren who play with friends and see the world. if the hock in school was about this fancy vacation or party your child will hear about that. Even the biggest gedolim have children who strayed. Our surroundings matter.
    4) You aren’t koching about hashem when extravegant. Its usually a distraction.

    • 1.) Instead of wanting what other people have, you should work on creating a life you are actually happy with. This is possible, and it doesn’t mean that you need to actually have everything other people have. It’s not some sort of “holy madreiga” it’s just called being happy, and living a life that you actually like and wouldn’t swap with others for.

      2.) You can not be a “neb” without having the nicest stuff. If people are actively making you feel bad about not being as rich as they are, they are either bullies or just bad people, they would be that way even if they were poor. Stay away from them. It’s not very usual for this to be the case though.

      3.) If your kids are happy and do things that they enjoy they are unlikely to feel very bad about others doing what they do. If they do, best they work on being happy with their lives now, or use it as motivation to create a better one when they grow up. Asking the world to accommodate them is silly, smothering, and probably harmful.

      4.) not sure what you mean by this point.

      • 1) Its not a holy madriga but its a yetzer hara like anything else. Yes we need to work on it and be happy. But the lust for extravagance is a constant pull. it not an instant thing that once you work on it, its gone. The more its in your face that harder it is to be nechashal.
        2) There is a certain standard that gets raised community wide when people you don’t interact with live like that. Take for example the lchaim and vort requirment. its juts standard to have both and I can’t deprive my daughter of that.
        3) My kids can be BH as happy as can be. But there is a natrual flow when interacting. No matter how happy they may be with going bowling midwinter, others talk and hock about their extravagance. We are asking the world to be normal and stop living ostentatious This isn’t about “accommodating”.
        4) By this point I mean that those at extravagant pesach getaways are usually not busy with avodas hashem as much. Its a huge distraction leaving aside tznuis issues.
        5) In, life you either do something good or bad. Every step we make is to serve hashem. You need to ask yourself, are we seeking to serve hashem when we go on that fancy vacation or build that fnacy house? Whats the ide abehind meatboards at a kiddish? Is that to serve hashem? If not its wrong. There is no in between

        • 1.) Your assertion that it’s a “constant pull” that would make you feel upset or jealous is not true at all. You can be very happy and also acknowledge that it would be nice to have nicer things. It’s not a “pull” with any attached unpleasant feelings to see people that have more than you, when you are happy and satisfied with your life. If you are not happy with your life, work on that. Don’t ask the world to tune it down for you. They won’t do it, aren’t obligated to do so, and it’s a bad example to give to children.

          2.) if the people you want to have your daughter marry will make you or her feel bad for not being able to afford a certain kind of party, you should find new people, or do what you can. That is not a normal state of affairs. Normal people will not make you feel bad for such a thing. People that do that are snobs. If you only want to marry into snobby families don’t complain about it, it’s what you want.

          3.) That’s not true either. If they had fun, did cool things and thoroughly enjoyed themselves they would almost definitely not feel bad. Bowling may not cut it if they consider that boring. There are plenty of day or afternoon trips that can give quite the story to tell. And if their winter vacay does suck because they can’t do anything at all, asking the world to accommodate them and showing them that this is an appropriate response to not getting what you want, is probably damaging.

          4.) And neither are many people at home. It seems that according to the original poster that a lot of them sit around and talk about what their neighbors are doing. This is probably as far from Avodas Hashem (whatever you mean by that) as you can get.

          5.) This isn’t true either. Outside of specific fairly not mainstream streams of Jewish thought, enjoying the finer pleasures of life is not seen as something wrong at all.

          • Look it boils down to this. I think its very untruthful to think that money and luxurys don’t have a natural lure. Even people that are happy and worked on themselves can’t be shielded. Its no different than tznuis in the literal sense. And it isn’t about others “accommodating” the poor. Judiasm is about collective responsibility. What you do has an inlfuence and schleps others. Thats the way it is. being content and happy won’t shield you just like being kodesh won’t help you with tznuis if there is a breach in your face.

          • The other missed point is, that there is no place in judiasm to enjoy finer things. We including me are imperefct and may run after enjoying that. But “enjoying” wealth has no place in judiasm. Even the holy jews who lived like kings never “enjoyed” it. Rav Yehuda Hanssi never enjoyed even the tip of his fingernails.

          • For some reason my full comment keeps on not getting approved. But I’ll just say that I think you are living in denial if you think that glitzy shinny luxury’s don’t drag and lure others in. Even those who are content, happy and “oisgarbet” can get sucked in. Its a physical pull. The more its in your face the more it drags you in. And jews are responsible for others. Yes they do need to “accommodate” others

    • what we have already fallen for and don’t even realize it is bigger than you can imagine, and it’s NOT keeping up with the Cohens. It’s far, far worse, and it’s dorisa. It’s so bad that the Rabbanim are afraid to speak about it.

  24. I can afford a luxury cruise or Midwest or Caribbean vacation with my family and we choose not to, for a combination of different obvious and less obvious reasons.

    And here’s what else we choose:

    Not to write letters telling others what to do !

    We are confident and sure about our choices despite what others around us are doing , without having to lecture them.

    If your in Lakewood and you dont want to look at excess , move to 4th and Forest or Madison and 8th, and youl be safe.

    Long Time Shadchan

    • Unfortunately even those living there can’t hid from the extravagance, whether its loud kiddishim or purim parties. Children attend schools and see things. Its perhaps because you can afford vacations yet don’t that there is no need to tell others what to do. I assume there are things that you still do have the ease to enjoy and that pacifies your childrens needs for the fancy vacation. (Maybe its a nicer home or whatever else you chose to spend). For the middle class its different because we really can’t afford any luxuries and our kids are nebs and non conformers if we don’t somewhat follow the norm. Its very different fundamentally.

    • I thought Shadchonim aren’t being compensated adequately & this is the source of the shidduch crisis?
      Sounds like you’re doing pretty well parnasah wise if you can afford those vacations.

      • A “long time Shadchan” has enough experience to know not to count on shadchanus to make any kind of living.

        I can arrange shidduchim while under no monetary pressure .

        We have a home that does not stand out , and we have cars that dosnt say “rich show off “.

        My family is confident enough without it.

        Enough Lexus GS and infinti suv leasers have privately come to Mr Toyota Highlander here [me] for loans and co-signer over the last 15 years.

  25. Reading some of the comments here and honestly I’m shocked. As someone who learned in kollel and went out to work, we try to keep the torahdik lifestyle. It’s not about if u can afford doing things or not. It’s about what is the goal in your life, you’re on a train and eventually it will have a last stop and you better should be ready bc you’ll be there ready or not…
    We all want convenience in life but a Yid should know where is the border and not just being pursuing after gashmiyus.

    • Other communities have similar issues too. As critical and forceful as I am about this topic, lets not knock Lakewood . The pull for living the luxurious life is just extremely strong. And we live in a world with an abundance of easy money. It schleps people of all walks of life and all communties. This is why is the test of this generation and we need to wake up and face it. To be clear its not only Lakewood.

  26. The obvious cause for all the gashmiyus in Lakewood is due to the clear manipulation of the disposition to the masses. This always causes societies to come under degradation. Being said, we all know what we can do to change the situation.

  27. My 7 yr old son said to me the other day, “Mommy you know there are rich people and they have alot of money and they can buy whatever they want. Then there are poor people and they don’t have money to buy things that they need. And then there is our family… we are not poor and we are not rich. But we are happy with whatever we have!

    • BH he is young and you are so far you are raising him well. What will he say when he gets older and he and his friends attend that cool Purim party or got into a box suite at aderi torah?

  28. At the end of nishmas we say Hashem, who is like you? You save the ani from someone stronger than him and the evyon from someone stealing from him. The obvious question here is does one steal from a evyon? He doesn’t even have what to eat for his next meal. I believe that‘Hashem who is like you’? Who gives us the Torah as a guide how to live and if used properly you wont steal a evyons dignity. If you have it don’t flaunt it. Be a tzenua. Use it generously to help others and may you be blessed.

    • Jealousy is human nature. When its in your face you are asking for the impossible and even more so for children. Would you say the same if there was breach in tznuis issues? Like just work on yourself and you are immune from temptation? Its a natural pull.
      And why does giving tzedaka excuse you?

  29. I live in out of town like community and thank G-d I don’t have to be exposed to these issues. No one is jealous of other people. No one has huge mansions. No one is driving fancy cars and no one is going on extravagant vacations. And even the ones that are capable of the aforementioned situations, its doesn’t bother anyone because in a healthy environment, everyone is comfortable in their own skin. There’s no “keeping up with the Choens”. Most of the time you wont be able to tell who is the gvir and who is average bal habos because the people who have money don’t feel a need to show off. B”H my children as well don’t know anything about brand names because no one in their class are into it. For some reason there is a bigger emphasis to have these brands in the bigger frum communities. Someone has to step up to the plate and give the communities a reality check. But just from reading most of the comments it will remain status quo until they make real takanos.

    • I was recently in an “out of town” community, one thats famous for its simplicity. And I saw the younger crowd is begining to get fancier cars and build nicer houses, then the older who are there for 50 years. Its still a healthy mix and isn’t “in your face” or clicky like in town communities. But you aren’t totally in the clear. And a healthy environment only exists if that remains at a low percent.

    • To be fair they meant that out of town that temptation and pull is less. There is less of a drag because people aren’t flaunting. Just like there is more kedusha in Skver than in Manhatatn even though the ytezer hara exists in both places

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