Submitted: Where Is The Help For Us?

With Pesach approaching, I can feel my blood pressure rising again, as it does each year around this time. No, it’s not the cleaning or the million other little things that need to get done before Yom Tov that’s stressing me out. It’s the fact that there is nobody there to help us. 

What do I mean by that? Just take a look around. There are a number of organizations that run special sales for the families of rebbeim and morahs, giving them food and clothing at sharp discounts. And it’s not just any food or any clothing – often these are the top-of-the-line stuff. I have no problem with rebbeim’s families being helped – they deserve it – but where is the help for the average family like ours and hundreds of others just like us who can barely make ends meet? My husband works several jobs and I work a full-time job, yet we still have to scrounge around just to be able to afford tuition. Forget the vacations, forget the fancy cars, we’re busting our tails to put food on the table!

There are families at the lower end of the economic ladder – usually families of mechanchim or people still in learning, who understandably have a difficult time paying their bills. For them, we have myriad programs, pre-Yom Tov sales, and who knows what else to help them live comfortably. But not us. The children of rebbeim in my area literally get new wardrobes with designer clothing every Sukkos and Pesach. You think my kids are getting that? Of course not. We’re lucky if we have enough money to pay for all our kids to get new shoes at the same time.

Again, I have no problem with them being helped, but there seems to be a major disconnect at play here. There appears to exist this mindset where only mechanchim need and deserve help. But people who are “middle class” like my family – literally working overtime just to be able to make our car payments each month – don’t need help at all. We don’t get food or clothing discounts, we don’t get tuition breaks, we get nothing, despite struggling just as much or even more than others who do get the special treatment and who often have parents or in-laws supporting them.

And that’s what gets my blood pressure up. Essentially, my husband is being punished because he actually works for a living. Because my husband and I, both upstanding members of our community, are not employed in a school or yeshiva, we are somehow less deserving of discounts. It doesn’t make any sense.

 

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49 COMMENTS

  1. Curious if the writer of this email is for some reason not getting THOUSANDS of stimulus dollars back & unable to use that for YT expenses.

  2. WhileI agree with the part of the article that points out that many good, wonderful yidden, need help and are overlooked.
    I cannot disagree more with your ending remark “essentially my husband is being punished because he actually works for a living”.

    The people in Klei Kodesh are being assisted because their contribution to klal Yisroel is the most supreme. Of course every yid matters, and every yid contributes immensely. But ENSURING THE FUTURE OF KLAL YISROEL is a DIFFERENT LEAGUE!

    There is no disconnect. The Rebbeim and moros and the Mi shemeyachdim batei kneisiyos… They are focused on because they “bear the torch”. As Chaza”l taught that the ones who are mekabel to give over torah will have “parnasa B’nakel”.

    Oh, btw, I work for a living too.

    That in no way mitigates the point you bring out that

    • Yes. I agree. I didn’t like the snide remark “actually works.” But she has a point. As a child I walked around with the cheapest clothing because my parents couldn’t afford more as middle class citizens, while the rabbeim’s kids walked around with brooks brother (-remember those day!-) Yes we should show appreciation to rabbeim, but that their kids should walk around dressed like the rich is a great disconnect…

  3. I can not agree more.
    I am a young working guy my wife works as well although we may have a small family life cost money when you don’t get programs for everything.
    And after we need to pay full price we are also expected to pay full tuition this is sick to me.

  4. Where do you live there are plenty of people that can help you many Congregations are giving Discounted cards for the grocery many suits stores giving discounts Just reach out to your Rov There are plenty of people willing to give and help you

  5. To comment number 3: You need to stay in your own lane on the highway of life & not worry about what everyone else is getting or not getting. Patently, it’s none of your business. You and your wife just need to thank Bore’ Olam that you’re both working, Baruch Hashem. Have a zeesun Pesah. Bore’ Olam should help us all

  6. The stimulus is being used to catch up on the old bills that are due. Yom tov expenses are overwhelming for working families. And for some reason the schools all demand a zero balance to come back after yom tov, further straining the meager funds needed to make yom tov.

    • I’m confused about the comment regarding tuition. Why do you think that a school should be teaching your child for free? Would you buy clothing from a clothing store and not pay for it?
      Put it on a credit card or get cash back for points.

      • Yes parents should be paying tution. But not to let a child into school because the parent litteraly couldnt pay tution yet is sickening. And yes, I work for a Yeshiva and I would never do that to a child!!!

  7. Please reach out to tls, they had a ad posted about a special clothing sale at lutsk shul, for anyone the sale was sunday, monday.
    Hatzlacha

  8. I could not agree more !!
    My husband and I both work – we bust ourselves, work crazy hours, to make a living and then one after one we see how it’s not worth it – kicked off Jersey care , kicked off food stamps, making over $150,000 (and yes we make a decent living but tbh after all the expenses were “poorer” than those making less and getting every program,) so no stimulus etc etc. it’s so disheartening to sit and work sooo hard and because of that we get no gov benefits – where is the encouragement to work? Would it be better if we both sat home and claimed all the government programs ? Why do people who get food stamps keep getting more and more and those who get nothing get zero … why not give more people …. the way these things work makes it very tempting to not stop working and get all the programs

  9. Why is it with this particular letter writer, everyday seems like Tisha B’av? Just wondering. Have a zeesun Pesah. May Hashem watch over Klal Yisrael.

  10. Interesting, I’m a morah and my husband is in kollel – I’d love to hear about all the sales of top of the line merchandise available to us – because no one offered us anything! My kids are wearing presentable, beautiful, low end clothing and shoes. Not complaining – I chose my life and I’m happy with it. I just feel like its always easier to look at others and think they have more than you while the reality quite often differs.

  11. I am with you!!! I was in your situation not so many years ago! People will.not understand you unless they’ve been in your shoes!! We literally choked buying food for shabbos, forget yamim tovim. We we’re not “savvy enough” to know who to ask for discount card. We didn’t even know there was such an option. I would beg my husband to call tomchei shabbos but he was too proud. Forget clothing and shoes.
    Bh a friend sent me a gift card to a grocery store where I shopped and felt like a million dollars!!! And I have not forgotten that feeling. If you would like to give tls your info, I’d be happy to send you a check to help you “breathe”.
    Chazak vamatz. Galgal chozer and things should get easier for you fast!

  12. I say the same as R. My husband works 10 hours a day in a yeshiva, and I’m a Morah. Where are all the high end merchandise you’re refering to?? I want!
    The clothing my kids are wearing are either hand me downs from friends and relatives, or costed at most $25 per dress/ outfit.
    My “new” pesach robe is 2 years “new”.
    I’m not sure what you’re refering to. Maybe to my $300 vacation I took for the first time in 5 years, this past summer???

  13. We are all destined to have whatever Hkbh decides we will have…the Rebbi who is getting coupons or discounts is supposed to have that money-because H’ decided that he should have it!!! If you would get discounts or coupons then you would lose the money some other way if you aren’t supposed to have it and if you are then you will get it some other way. Remember who is in charge!

  14. I definitely feel your pain. However, there are organizations in our wonderful community of Chesed that help out anyone in need, not only for those who are Mechanchim. I know it is sometimes hard to feel like a tzedaka case but there is definitely help available. Hatzlacha

  15. Agree as well. Me and my husband combined work 90 hours a week!! We bust our tails as well. To qualify for zero programs. To pay top dollar to every dentist and every dr. To pay a ton of $$$ in taxes! To have to beg for a tutuion break which is degrading of itself. I don’t understand it. I dont know why we do it. Especially with this president now it wld make sense to not to work!!!! They reward you for not working. I dont want handouts tzedakah etc….. but i hear these ppls pain. The poor get richer or benefits for free. The rich are rich. And the hard working middle class gets nothing.

  16. to ANON (#8). I believe the $1400 stimulus payment has a cutoff for married people of $200K. You could also put money in an IRA or 401K and reduce your adjusted gross income, thereby qualifying for the checks for yourselves and your children. That money can then be used to replace the money put into an IRA or 401K.

  17. To the letter writer,
    You are so correct. Your pain is real and lots of people are in the same boat. It’s the way of society that middle (lower) class people pay more and have less money while they climb the ladder.
    Rebeim are special and should be helped.
    That doesnt take away the feeling of really not be able to compete and give your kids/family all that others can.
    Stay strong, it will get easier and better. Look around and just smile and be happy for others and bezh hashem will bestow you with so much shefa,”ad shyivli sifsoiachim mloimer dai”. A kasherin pesach.

  18. It seems to me that your issue is with uncle sam and not rebeim or learning guys. Yes, they get govt programs because they have low incomes and they qualify. That’s just how the system is set up. The lower class gets the benefits and the middle class foots the bill. And the lakewood middle class suffers the most because we are essentially a classless society where everyone expects and is expected to live (ie dress, drive and dwell) as upper class. And this creates unrealistic standards for our middle class families that out of town communities dont have. So if there’s an issue facing the middle class in our society, that’s created by our society, I’d point to that.

  19. I totally feel for you and understand. This is the oldest issue inamerica that the middle class lose out on a lotta gov assistance. But the only way to ever get somewhere is by starting where you are. But let me tell you how we live and spend and maybe you will see what you can do. We buy all our kids clothing from china and really think about our grocery list. We hardly ever buy takeout and we go really cheap on vacation if anything. And also btw its mainly rebbeim who ppl appreciate who get all this free stuff, and it is recognition for the work they are doing for us. I am in kollel and dont get anything, at most a 20% percent discount for a suit w a maximum of 250$. Dont worry about what ppl are getting, Everyone works hard and nobody is having a blast or free lunches {besides all the boxes, which btw you can even line up for them with a tesla}

  20. The writer obviously has a right to express her feelings and some points are valid but respectfully there seems to be a tinge of jealousy there which is not healthy. I’ll only say this to the writer that clearly there are people who are having it much easier and much better in this town, but she should take my word for for it there are people in this town who have it far far …. and again far worse than her and I’m not just talking financially. I’m aware of a couple of families that are living through a holocaust (excuse the term).. so all I can say to this writer – the RSO deals with every yid in the way He sees fit. What each person/family has..or doesn’t have is destined from the One Above.. Keep the Emunah and the Betochon strong and keep davening because that’s where it all counts… A Chag Kosher V’Sameiach!

    • So true!

      Does anyone think that all the free stuff is buying the Rebbe/Kollel guy a Tesla? or even a Toyota? They are getting 1 subsidised low end suit so they can look presentable. None of you “middle class-earning over $150K” would walk around with the Rebbe’s car, suit or shoes! So shop where the Rebbe shops, buy the 3rd hand car/ furniture etc & send your kid to the camps he does (local) & you’ll be ok. You can expect to live like the upper class & get freebies like the lower class.

      • Actually, I know many a Rebbe driving toyotas and having multiple cars… I also know many that they and their children dress very well… In today’s day a ‘Rebbe’ job doesn’t necessarily mean you have less than someone else working another job… Those making more than 150K usually have investments on the side… There are many a Rebbe with wealthy parents or in-laws getting supported and some schools the salary isn’t that low – especially after you factor in the Chanukah, Purim gifts and free tuition for children… and many a Rebbe also chooses to work the afternoon or nights in English Dept and/or tutoring… so they are bringing in multiple salaries… so I think it isn’t the amount of money the Rebbe is making that is allowing him the freebies and discounts but the fact that they are in Klei Kodesh and some people have decided they want a zechus of that.

  21. Although I sympathize with your plight you are mistaken. Rabbeim and Kollel families are not being helped because of need while your needs are being ignored. They are being helped by people that want a zechus in the Torah that these families are learning or teaching.

    By and large these families are not living it up at all. They rarely go out to eat, go on meager vacations and trips if at all, and are usually not walking around in high end designer outfits and the like.

  22. Yes you are right ..all the Balei Batim Working people struggling to should get together 100s of families and deal with the suppliers direct just as Moadim Lesimcha does and Purchase everything in Bulk from the suppliers and Manufacturers direct and Dstrinute and decide everything among yourselves at cost price

  23. To all the commentators bashing the reader or being mean nasty and sly, why? Why are ppl so mean to eachother? Why cant u feel someone elses pain? And if u cant feel their pain, why cant u just remain silent?

  24. @hadassha buxman. With this third stimulus the cutoff is 160$. At 160 u get zero! At 150 u get full amnt of 1400 and then it gets lower btwn 150-160. A family with five kids making 160 is not rich. Basically if u make 159 you get the stimulus money. If u make 160, u dont. So someone making 159$ with six kids gets 10k, which means their total money this yr is 169. Someone making 160 gets nothing. So making that 1k less u come out ahead. Makes zero sense

  25. Although I agree that the writer has a great point, I have a bigger problem with people that make their money & don’t report it. Those people are directly stabbing the working class honest people, as they’re getting the gov assistance via all the programs, & making the working honest class feel punished for dealing honest & reporting their income. ( Not to mention that the taxpayers then have to pa6 for all their programs….)

  26. There is a valid point between the lines of the letter that there are organizations giving clothes, robes and shoes that are more than a family of standard means would be able to afford… this in turn causes the middle class (who officially have more than those) to feel like their children don’t have… I understand the idea to give to the rebbeim/poor so that they can get dressed – but 1 shabbos outfit per child should suffice (they can either wear it 2 days or use a hand me down or cheaper outfit for the other day) I feel with the letter writer – also being hard working middle class… it’s hard not to look when your neighbors… are all dressed to the nines and you can’t keep up with it. I don’t necessarily buy all my children a full wardrobe for Pesach – when they need something I buy it so not all will be wearing new clothes, shoes… this Yom Tov – unless it really doesn’t fit. Another point I noticed is that because I work hard for the $ to purchase my children’s clothes – I take good care of it so it should last – while I see time and again those that are getting free handouts ruin the clothes (play in the dirt on shabbos, jump rope in shabbos shoes) and apparently NEED the new ones come the next yom tov. For the most part I’ve come to the realization that those taking these handouts are at least partially dysfunctional and I thank Hashem I am not in their shoes… We daven every day Lo Lidei Matnas Basar V’dom. We want Hashem to provide for us not organizations.

    • My husband is a Rebbi : please can you tell me about all these hand outs? Sounds great! I just don’t know about them and never benefitted from them. I read this letter and was baffled. What is she even referring to??? Top of the line clothing at sharp discounts?? “New Wardrobes of Designer Clothing”????? My children’s “new” yom tov clothing is second hand clothing from last season bought from deja new for $2!

      Major Discounts? I don’t know what she is talking about. I know of no major discounts for Rebbeim. I shop at Gourmet Glatt and pay the same prices as every one else – although I stick to the sale items as much as possible.

      The shabbos boxes and tomchei shabbos are available to all (eligible) families – not just Rebbeim. There are other resources for free/cheap food which I will not elaborate on here and they are all open to any family of low income.

      I’ve heard of pop up sales for clothing etc. – these are open to anyone. I know of one sale that is open only to people of very low income – but i know for a fact that it is not only for Rebbeim – it is open to any family that is very low income.

      She writes “to help them live comfortably’ – don’t kid yourself for a second – they are NOT living comfortably. And if she thinks they are, maybe she should have her husband take a rebbi/teaching job. I think she will start singing a very different tune.

      I’m sorry for her pain and frustration. My sister falls into the same category as this letter writer and I know her financial struggles and they are real. I just find her overall tone and assumption that every thing is so wonderful for Rebbeim (which is not the case by far) very off-putting.

  27. The coupons the Kollelbudget guys get are 20 percent off or 15 percent off with cc. In certain stores. On certain dates. On certain items. And you get service like a beggar (in some stores). So everyone calm down about the coupons for the yungeleit You can have mine I don’t use them- not bec I don’t need them- but bec it’s too inconvenient.

    • I am with you on that. There are no returns, and no exchanges for most and have maximums and minimums and they are not really making us have large wardrobes. I really wish you a gut yt, and if you really need food I would reccomend going to every mossad to pick up boxes for your family. You can have enough food forever. Just have rachmanus on the cows, they have been working very hard for our city recently so only take milk if u will use it

  28. I used to feel the exact same way.

    I always wondered how “everyone else ‘did it’?”

    I would say “middle class is the poorest”.

    My husband and I work 3 jobs combined.

    Every month we would just make ends meet with no room for “sudden expenses, vacations or high end shopping”.

    Until…

    During the corona shutdown when we were both jobless (We have 2 self employed jobs so unemployment was a JOKE!).

    I literally had a panic attack about where the money would come from (I’m very organized with all headchecks sent out & automatic payments on other bills).

    I started learning bitachon with my family over a conference.

    My brother told us that Hashem has the biggest wallet.

    But…

    If you expect income to come according to nature/logic (jobs) then that’s how Hashem gives it.

    But if you make room for Him to give by letting go you will receive nissim.

    At first I challenged my brother saying “ain somchim all hanes” etc.

    But I was still pennyless.

    And then I LET GO & LET G-D.

    Without making any income changes (aside for getting our jobs back) my bank account has EXTRA at the end of every month.

    I used to make cheshbonos but now I tell Hashem that these bills are His.

    I started shopping with more menucha (I still don’t shop boutiques & high end tho Hashem can foot that bill too. I just don’t want to portray an image that I wasn’t before)

    The money was never mine to begin with but now I really see it.

    The change didn’t happen over night but now I’m liberated.

    It can’t be lip service. You really have to BELIEVE!

    Wishing you much hatzlocha in abundance.

  29. Actually your math is a little off the more you make above 150 The payment gets phased out so you got a smaller check if you’re making 159 vs under 150. 150 is the cutoff but they didn’t want someone making 151 to lose out because of $1,000 like you are saying so they phase the payments out the more you make the less you get

  30. As the wife of a Rebbi id love for someone to enlighten me about all these amazing offers you are talking about.
    I just went and bought my kids clothing, robes and shoes at full price. Noone offered us ANY discounts or coupons or any food coupons. Im literally baffled at these assumnptions that we get anything at all. There was a sale for kids pajamas at a discounted rate for kollel/rebbeim so if this is what you are complaining about that i got a cheap pajama, are you serious?
    The grass is always greener on the other side. I am proud of my husbands work in educating many Lakewood children but its not a easy life financially. We make many sacrifices and dont enjoy the luxuries many do. I am hurt by the jealousy here, you keep mentioning in your letter how you are happy for the rebbeim they get benefits yet your letter is anything but happy.
    Have your husband get a position as a rebbi and come see for yourself life aint that rosy with our low income.
    Oh and please share your coupons/gift cards and whatever it is i seem to be missing out on.
    Signed by,
    a Rebbis Wife

  31. Both open to the public:
    – BINGO has Mesamche Lev prices for Pesach.
    – Serendipity, now on Oberlin Ave at Vassar, (aka Deja nu) also sells brand new clothing from stores’ previous season for excellent prices.

  32. I was just reading through this email and was a little taken aback. I am B”H a BMG family with children in school etc. we report full income etc. If I was earing 4 or 5 times the amount I am earning it wouldn’t be close to 150K! My friends and family – include people who are living with 12(!) kids in an 2-3 bedroom apartment etc. My children and my friends children dress in hand me downs , think 2 times before buying certain groceries, putting on AC in the summer etc.. .. Yes just now my husband got offered coupons and there has been a couple of sales for families of yungeliet etc.. but you need to understand the lifestyle the yungeliet are living is very very limited. This is lakewoods way of giving back to having the privilege of yungeliet in town. I do understand that parnossah isn’t easy for anyone and I am not so naïve to think that if both parent’s are working you are in easy street but please do not resent the small things that yungeliet get.

  33. My husband is in kollel and we get help in many forms. Most days, I feel that we are living comfortably. But my comfortable lifestyle is something no working couple I know would settle for. Every working family I know has either bought or hopes to buy a house; leases cars and would never drive a 10+ year old clunker; fixes things that break; has enough cleaning help that the house, well, looks clean all the time; sends the kids to day camp every summer; braces, therapies, tutors, and clubs are a given for the kids who need them; costly chol hamoed/midwinter trips are taken for granted; the parents wouldn’t dream of walking around looking like shmattas or wearing second hand clothing because they can’t afford a new hat/sheitel. Well, welcome to my life. As I said, I feel very comfortable most days, but it’s a very different comfort level than the lifestyle struggling working families take for granted.

  34. There’s nothing wrong with a person who is not a full-time Kollel learner having a low-end or mid-end style of living. Many American/Canadian Jews are use to the idea that Non-Kollel people are suppose to be high end. This attitude needs to change. Not every Yid needs to grow up spoiled and entitled.

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