Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

7 Cheshvan 5766 - November 9, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family

Mind What You Say
by R. Chadshai

When Channy met her friend Dassy, she told her excitedly about her marvelous holiday. The hotel room had the most wonderful view: the bathing facilities, both in the pool and in the sea had been terriffic. There had been family programs and special programs for the children. They had come back invigorated and refreshed.

Dassy listened patiently and then rather shamefacedly told Channy how they couldn't afford to go on a vacation, yet the children needed a change, so in the end they'd decide to exchange apartments. This meant that she had to leave her own place spick and span. The organization and packing had left her worn out before they'd even started out on this trip, which was to become a busman's holiday for her.

Dassy did not know that Channy also felt a twinge of envy, when she met her cousin Dina, who had been abroad and stayed in a five-star hotel. Channy's vacation paled into insignificance when she heard about the cable cars and the breathtaking views and novel experiences. Channy now felt that she had wasted all that money on a second-rate holiday!

Miri noticed Ruchama's beautiful new necklace right away. "What a gorgeous necklace!" she exclaimed. "It's new, isn't it? When did you buy it?"

"Actually, it is not all that new, I have had it for quite a few months. My husband bought if for me after I had the baby; he always gives me something special when we have a new baby." They went their separate ways and something bothered Miri. She had never felt she needed any gift other than the precious one of a new baby, but maybe her husband should, nevertheless, have thought of it himself and bought her something after each birth, as other people seemed to do.

Leah found a full-time job and was grateful for the regular income. Unfortunately, she was oblivious to the feelings of her friends who were also desperately looking for work. Whether it was in the park or in the shops, she bragged about the exclusive outfits she had bought for herself and the children. She announced to all and sundry that life was so difficult while they had a new kitchen installed with state- of-the-art built-in cookers and electrical appliances.

Zehava, one of the women in the park, drank in every word. She had been telling herself for years that parnossah depends on Hashem and had been proud of the fact that her husband was learning full-time in spite of the shortage of money. Leah's joy in her new-found wealth, destroyed all the contentment which Zehava had acquired so painstakingly.


People are prepared to spend thousands of dollars on lavish weddings and barmitzvas in order to keep up with all the other sumptuous affairs which are celebrated so frequently in our affluent society. They will spend exorbitant amounts of money on clothes which they will hardly wear. These clothes are not suitable for an ordinary affair, and for their next son's bar Mitzva they will have to have a new outfit, of course. All this, for an event which will be over in a few hours, and which will hardly be remembered for its extravagance. Surely they could put this money to better use? To be fair, there are many well-to-do people who do make simple weddings, as a matter of principle.

The fifteenth of Av used to exemplify true simchah. At that time there was absolutely no difference between the Haves and the Have Nots. Each girl joined the celebrations in a borrowed white dress so as not to embarrass other girls whose clothes might not be quite so fancy. Thus there was no one-upmanship and no competition. The poor girls felt rich on this great happy day, because they were wearing nice dresses, the same as everyone else, and the rich girls felt poor because they were wearing a borrowed dress instead of their own exclusive one. (This is one of the advantages of a school uniform. There are no rich and poor; everybody is alike.)

Unity and uniformity can be a wonderful thing, which the following examples will illustrate. There are gemachs in most major Jewish communities, which rally round after a woman has given birth. Some will send a 'bounty pack', consisting of a new garment and some basic essentials to the new mother, regardless of whether she needs it or not. The ones who do not need it, can always hand it back surreptitiously.

However, even well-to-do people need the help of a gemach at some time or other. For instance, if their usual baby sitter has let them down and the children need taking out in the afternoon.

Some post-birth organizations offer a choice of services after childbirth. Either financial help, or some cooked meals sent in for all the family, or baby sitting for the older children or even volunteers who will look after the new baby for a few hours at a time so that Mother can get some much needed sleep. Everyone can choose which service they require and nobody feels like a nebbech.

Some wonderful people knew that one of their group needed an expensive operation. They collected the required sum among themselves and handed it to the local chessed organization so as not to embarrass the recipient. He wondered why they sent him such a large unsolicited sum of money, and then reasoned that this was a service extended to anyone facing serious surgery.

Any chessed organization which is not means-tested, is a true kindness. Selling items at cost price to all Kallas whether they can afford retail prices or not, makes those who really need it feel good. They do not feel the poor relations.

Those who have been blessed in so many different ways, know that they have to thank the One who bestows all goodness. We have to thank Him daily, repeatedly. However, we do not have to tell all those around us of our good fortune. We may awaken the spark of jealousy, which lies dormant in most human beings.


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