Wednesday, February 16, 2011

what budget crunch?

In the past I've wasted my time writing about the proliferation of luxurious Pesach getaways, which continue to increase in number. I keep telling myself, "kein yirbu!" as obviously it means a good measure of acheinu Bnei Yisrael are not suffering from any budget crunch whatsoever and all those kollelim and yeshivos that are on the verge of closing will be thriving again. Yes, I am being sarcastic. Even cynical me did a double-take when I saw an ad last week for "Lizensk VIP - -"First class, first time ever!" Four star hotels, gourmet catering, new coach buses so you can travel between hotel and R' Elimelech's kever in comfort. And on the side of the ad, in little letters: "Parnasa, shidduchim, yeshu'os v'refu'os." I guess after you plunk down whatever this trip costs, you better hope for that parnasa bracha. Am I the only one who sees any irony in an ad promoting luxury, comfort, etc. for a trip to R' Elimelech of Lizenk's kever? Is this really what R' Elimelech wanted people thinking about?

Just open to this week's parsha: "P"sol lecha..." Chazal darshen that the p'soles, the leftover scraps from the carving of the luchos, were "lecha," given to Moshe. The Noam Elimelech explains that Hashem was telling Moshe that the "lecha"'s is life, what we think we need for our own parnasa, our own comfort, our own needs, are to be looked looked at as p'soles, unimportant, something to be pushed aside, certainly not something that should motivate us in our avodas Hashem. Is this the Reb Elimelech that you go to visit because you are reassured you will be put up in a four star hotel and served gourmet meals (chassidishe shechita, of course)!?

It's a bracha l'vatalah to discuss these things, so maybe I'll take this post down later. I shouldn't rant. Ads like this are why I am completely opposed to so-called Jewish newspapers. At least when I read a secular newspaper I have no pretenses about why I am reading it and the newspaper makes no pretense about who it is aimed at. What is far more dangerous is the ta'aroves of tov v'ra in so-called Jewish papers, where you can delude yourself into thinking there is some value to reading them and becoming exposed to a warped version of Judaism that is portrayed as mainstream.

Instead of travelling to Lizensk, open a Noam Elimelech and learn a little. It will bring far more nachas ruach to R' Elimelech in shamayim as well as to your own neshoma.


  1. Anonymous9:11 PM

    I was always taught that self sacrifice is what you demand of yourself, not of yenem ;-) Though of course for me, (and obviously for you) the trip past nisht.

  2. anon19:12 AM

    For a tremendous vort on p'sol lecha -- see Rabeinu Bechaye to Devarim 4:41 (Az Yavdil Moshe). You'll enjoy it.

  3. When I was at a Renaisance fair many years ago, a staged sword fight included a lesson on how to laugh like a sword fighter. You take a deep breath, throw your shoulders and head back, and as you sweep your arm in front of you, you say "Ha, Ha Ha Ha!" Basically, what I'm saying is that generally, the people that are capable of understanding what you're saying don't need to be told, and those that can't never will get it. Are there some in between? Not many.

    Personally, it doesn't bother me when big gvirim who are great baalei tzedaka do it. It's no different than buying a top of the line Lexus instead of a Saturn, or lamb chops instead of ground meat. What bothers me is when people cut corners on tzedaka and tuition to fund their frolics.

  4. To make life simpler for us, here's the Rabbeinu Bachaye referred to in comment 1.

    אז יבדיל משה שלש ערים בעבר הירדן.
    יגיד לך הכתוב כי משה כשהגדיל ערי
    מקלע האלה בארץ גד וראובן אמר
    לישראל דברי הברית שיזכיר בסמוך ואע״פ שידע משה שלא יהיו ערים אלו קולטות עד שיבדלו שלש בארץ ככען מ״מ רצה להשתדל אפי׳ בחצי מצוה כדי להוסיף אותה על שאר מצותיו וצדקותיו אשר עשה/ ומכאן כלמוד התעוררות גדול בקיום המצות וכאן כוכל להתבונן
    במעלות המצות ובכחם ובשכרם ,העצום כאשר עשה אותן האדם על השלמות ואפשר שנאמר כי לזה רמזו רז״ל במדרש שאמרו פסל לך הפסולח שלך משם כחעשר משה, באו לומר כי מן המלוח שהן קלוח בעיכי האדם משם נתעשר משה כלו׳ שעלה להשגה גדולה כי הוא העישר
    האמחי ואצ״ל באוחן המצוח שהן עיקר ההורה ויסוד האמוכה:

  5. Come on, Reb Chaim, you know you want it....

  6. Couldn't agree with you more about Jewish publications and the advertisements.

  7. There has been a general trend to commercialise 'ruchniyos' over the past 20 years.

    This generally represents itself as 'give me money and you will get ruchniyos'. Funnily enough the non-Jewish world has also suffered from commercialisation of religion since the 60's.