Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Charedi World

24 Adar I 5760 - March 1, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








Sponsored by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Produced and housed by

Letter of the Rabbonim on the Subject of Wedding Expenses

BS"D Adar I, 5760

Sadly, the situation at times borders upon pikuach nefesh and sometimes even reaches actual pikuach nefesh. One who researches the issue will be horrified to see to what lengths these matters have reached. We are therefore obligated to find a way to lighten this burden.

First of all, we must know that the basis of a Torah home is "Pas bemelach tochal umayim bemesura tishteh . . . uvaTorah ato omeil. Eat bread dipped in salt and [drink] water in measured amounts . . . and toil in Torah." This obligates us to be satisfied with little. The Jewish home must also be based on respect for the parents of both husband and wife. Pressure and causing them distress is certainly forbidden.

"The money a person takes with a wife is not honest money . . . rather, whatever money one receives from his father-in-law and mother-in-law he should take graciously, and then one will succeed." (Shulchan Oruch, Even Haezer, 2:1. See Biyur HaGra there, 6.)

Also Parents who stand behind their children must be reminded that one of the main aspects of interpersonal relations is mentioned by the Rambam, (chapter five, Hilchos Dei'os, halocho 12): "A person must never cause his fellow sorrow during his life." In other words, one must refrain from causing one's fellow sorrow in any manner whatsoever, and surely not pressure him. This prohibition also pertains to transactions of shidduchim, because sometimes during these transactions one side causes the other sorrow and strain, and sometimes as a result one side will promise something that he does not have and it has no way to fulfill the promise. The Rambam has written (Hilchos Dei'os, 6:3) that the obligation to be as considerate of one's fellow's money as of one's own is included in the positive mitzvah of "love your fellow as yourself."

Overburdening oneself is just as forbidden as overburdening one's fellow. A person may not promise to give what he is unable to give, and we must teach our children that enjoying material affluence is neither the way of the Torah nor praiseworthy. Quite the opposite is true, and the meritorious person is one who fulfills the words of the Mishnah: "This is the way of Torah, eat bread dipped in salt . . . and toil in Torah . . . fortunate are you in this world, and it will be good for you in the World to Come." Don't seek greatness [wealth] for yourself and don't desire more honor you are accustomed to receiving. In order to ease the burden, it is proper (min horo'ui) for young couples to agree to live in outlying towns.

We call upon all charitable Jews to help establish a special free loan fund to support those who are satisfied with little. The importance of such a fund is stressed in Ahavas Chessed of the Chofetz Chaim, who spoke about this at length. We also appeal to those who are able to help to lower the prices of apartments as much as possible. May those who assist in these efforts be blessed from Shomayim.

We therefore have decided to ask the Torah community to follow the following guidelines:

a) In general, to economize on wedding expenses and to refrain from luxuries.

b) In the discussions about the subject of shidduchim it is proper that both sides share the burden equally. One side should not demand more than he himself has promised to pay.

c) Both sides should suffice with inexpensive apartments which, according to experts in the field, currently cost $90- 95,000. They should not promise to give more than that.

And may Hashem yisborach help our brethren to marry their offspring easily and with harchovas hada'as.


Yosef Sholom Eliashiv, Moshe Shmuel Shapiro, Aharon Yehuda Leib Steinman, Simcha Ziskind Broide, Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz, Nissim Karelitz

All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.