Wednesday, August 5, 2009
(האלבע ארבעט (2
Amolige Yiddishe Baalei Melochoh
Let us continue, shall we?
We touched on the issue of educating our children last time, and it may have seemed to you like I was singling out Mosdos, somewhat unfairly. Mosdos are not getting rich off of us, at least not most of them. They're for the most part collecting what they need to have just to stay alive. It's just that what happens more often these days is that the fund raising aspect of it has gone by the wayside; Mosdos are tired of fund raising all the time for your child, so they pass the costs on to the "consumer," for lack of a better term. We can nit pick and say that some people make a nice living off of working in our schools, but for the most part that isn't true. Which means that the high cost of educating our kids is not the root of it all. We do go a bit overboard, with things like a year in Israel for 18 year-old girls at $14,000 a pop coming to mind, but let's not go there. Plenty of people never even get that far, meaning that their issues start way before they worry about tuition, they're still worrying about basic needs, like food and shelter, and they have no solutions, other than either sticking their hands out to GeMachim and such, or using the Government to the utmost.
בזיעת אפיך תאכל
So, in trying to solve the problem here in the most upright and upstanding manner we need to introspect a little more. We like to point fingers at the Kosher food companies, the purveyors of meat and poultry, and what it costs to feed a family. A recent example of this really brought out the problem to me. On a trip to Pathamrk - No, not the one where I felt Golus - I noticed a large tray of chicken cutlets in a stand alone freezer, one of those without a top. It was a Perdue brand, IIRC. I check the price of this large tray and it was something like 7.15 for SIX POUNDS. That same week I was in a Heimishe grocery, one where the more "frum" shop, and where they only sell the most HOLY hashgochos, like Hisachdus and Kiryas Joel, and a pound of the same chicken product was 6.19 PER POUND. So I ask you: what does the large family that shops there and wants "Ibbergetzoygene Baylig" once a week have to do to be able to afford 3 or 4 of those packages to feed their family supper? Either they can have it once a year after the tax refund check comes or they can never have it, because they don't want to have to spend fifty bucks on a supper. Or they can exhaust the food stamp budget and not have enough for Shabbos that week.
Life's simple pleasures....
Option 3 is to splurge and to "write down." אראפשרייבן בלע"ז. Every day twice, three times. The kids put things on the bill every day on the way to school. Before you know it the bill is at hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. There's no money to pay that kind of bill. Then the grocer can't pay his bills to his suppliers. Suppliers and distributors need to raise the prices just to raise the cash they need to stay afloat. And the vicious cycle goes on and on. Grocers in such areas - areas that can't be cash and carry only - cry and beg for people to pay their bills, but to no avail. People can't pay because they have no money, they have no money because they spend so much on.... You get the picture. Somehow when it comes to maintaining our lifestyle we suddenly become big believers. We believe that this can continue because G-d loves us so and won't let us down. OK. Fine. We also believe that G-d wants to wear only the finest clothes, even for our two and three year olds. After all, does G-d want us to go to a department store where we see Goyim, chas Vesholom? of course not! And does G-d want us to be modest AND simple? of course NOT! so we need to shop locally and buy only Italy and France's best.
The list goes on and on....