Mishpacha magazine reported this week about a meeting that was held recently in Bnei Brak by an organization called Shehasimcha Bimono. The purpose of the meeting was to try and put an end to the prohibitive demands of support made by bochurim in shidduchim from girls’ parents, such as expensive apartments in Bnei Brak and Yerushalayim. The article showed a picture of Rav Berel Povarsky Shlita, Rosh Hayeshiva ofPonevezh, who said that making such demands are a matter of pikuach nefesh, causing illness and even heart failure in parents who overextend themselves to marry off their daughters. He said that bochurim must not make demands from those who could not possibly afford it. Rav Povarsky suggested that young couples should buy apartments in distant cities where the cost of an apartment is only $70,000. He also suggested that Roshei Yeshiva travel to these places on a regular basis to give shiurim and visit with those living there to make the idea more tempting.
While this is long overdue, this brings up a number of issues that many of us have with the current system:
- Parents buying apartments for their children: The assumption that is the given in E”Y that parents must purchase apartments for their children is something that defies both math and logic. Why should one person be required to pay for 10 apartments – even if its ONLY!? $70,000 (one for each of his 10 children), if one person could instead just pay for one (his own)?
- Living far away: Many girls are too attached to live far away from her parents. There will always be those parents who wish to keep their daughters close by that will extend themselves to keep their children close. This will cause others to follow suit, defeating the entire plan being proposed.
- Exceptions for the “best”: As with all great takanos, rules were meant to be broken. There will always be the roshei yeshiva, VIPs, the wealthy, and those that have to appear wealthy, who will act as if the rules don’t apply to them. No one will have the courage to stop them from setting a bad example for everyone, and the “rules” will end up applying only to the “regular” people.
Instead of putting a band aid on a gushing wound, its time to do massive surgery. Let young couples who get married take care of themselves. Forget about support, apartments in far away cities, or any other source of stress. Mesirus Nefesh for Torah shouldn’t mean that someone else suffers a heart attack for your learning. Let your Torah come at a price that you – and only you – should be required to pay. Not only does it make more sense this way, the Torah learned by a person who is paying a heavy price for his learning is a higher caliber learning than someone who was “taken care of”. Pas Bamelech Tochal was said over 2,000 years ago, but it applies also to the present situation, even though kollel has become standard practice. By Kollelguy.