Sunday, April 13, 2008
(Cars - Late Model Japanese Imports, Mostly... - lined up to receive "Chalukah" from United Jewish Care in Williamsburg, where thousands received whatever they needed for Pesach, with no questions asked. According to my sources they had to stop giving out because the 200 tons of food simply wasn't enough.)
Pesach is here. If you have a family you know what kind of financial burden it is to feed and clothe even a small family. When Pesach comes around the responsibilities are tenfold. Not only is there the immediate YomTov to worry about, but Pesach is also when you need to concern yourself with all of the needs of the next few months. Anyway, recently many in frum communities have taken upon themselves the noble task of supplying families with many of the Tzorchei haChag, namely food and wine. In Eretz Yisroel it's quite common, but in America it seemed like it was beneath most people to accept handouts, even for Pesach. In Eretz Yisroel we're used to the Tzedokoh organizations showing pictures of Yesomim r"l who lack the necessities for YomTov. In America they seem to think that all have enough, no matter what. A current ad/announcement by Boro Park Tomchei Shabbos made mention of them providing food to 1200 families, and that for Pesach they've instituted a voucher system instead of delivering packages to peoples' homes. 1200 out of some 20,000 families doesn't seem like much, and I doubt it covers a fraction of those who need.
We can talk about the fact that although years ago there were handfuls of people who couldn't afford basic necessities for YomTov, now there are hundreds and thousands. What happened? How did the American dream skip our communities? Draw your own conclusion. A friend of mine told me that had the above-mentioned Chalukah taken place in Boro Park nobody would come. That in Williamsburg az m'git nemt men, and nobody's embarrassed to take. In Boro Park the same Satmarer Yidden wouldn't take, even if they needed it desperately, es past zei nisht. This friend was very happy that they had the food distribution yesterday in Williamsburg; it was his partei that was doing it, not the other one. People today have needs that a generation ago was considered totally superfluous,and families today are much larger than they used to be. The cost of living is much higher than 30 years ago, and a much greater percentage of earnings goes to food and housing. So we have a paradox of greater prosperity coupled with greater need. Yet, people seem to be able to afford it, at least judging from the new cars and summers in the bungalow colonies. Maybe it's the fact that people today have credit cards that pay for everything, so there's no need to borrow, hence people don't know when you're in need.
So to summarize we have the following: we have more people needing but not taking. We have organizations beginning to realize that even in America there are many who haven't the capacity to provide for themselves over YomTov, and even throughout the year. Yet the ones that take show up in brand new vehicles, not thinking that maybe it's a little weird. I'm not sure of the point here, it's mostly observations without a final opinion on the matter. Zol der eibishetr gebben that none of us should ever know need, and may he bless us מידו המלאה הפתוחה הקדושה הגדושה והרחבה. Until then may he bless those that make sure that no Jewish family lacks Tzorchei HaChag.