Readers’ Matzav: Contemplating Suicide


depressed1Dear Matzav Editor,

“Frum Man Jumps to His Death Over Finances.”

That headline isn’t a real one – yet. But it may be soon. I am at the verge of either losing my mind or giving up my life as I struggle to support my family. The stress and pressure are unbearable. I earn upwards of $80,000 a year, but with a mishpacha and all the related expenses, there is no way I am able to cover my regular expenses.

Make the calculation: tuition, mortgage payments, car expenses, food bills to the sky, clothes, utilities, camp…

There are another dozen items I can add, and I am sure you can think of some too. What is a person like me supposed to do? How exactly am I supposed to survive while keeping my sanity?

I have a good job, but so what? Am I a Tomchei Shabbos candidate? No one thinks I am.

In the world out there, people say that the middle class always pays the price, because they are ineligible for assistance but don’t make enough money to truly cover their costs. Much of their money goes to taxes, and they struggle maybe even more than those who are classified as “poor.”

In our frum world, the decent-sized mishpacha earning $80,000-$100,000 and paying full tuition, in addition to countless other costs, is in this boat of the middle class. It sounds crazy, but it is true and it’s been said a million times before. The frum breadwinner earning what should be a respectable salary is so far behind balancing his personal budget that it is not even funny. It’s a true crisis.

Just wait till my kids reach shidduchim in a few years. If I didn’t commit suicide by then, that’ll probably be an appropriate time to do so when the bills start hitting my desk.

I am not exaggerating and I am not just writing this to get attention. This is all true.

I know. I know. You’ll tell me to be appreciative for my relatively decent health, healthy children, a wife and all that. But is hard to appreciate the good things in life when you are sitting and staring at a bank account that is emptying out faster than it fills up. It is hard to smile when you have to tell your 12-year-old kid that he can’t go to the dentist this month even though his tooth is hurting because you don’t have the money for it. It is hard to be happy when your wife is frustrated that you are just not making ends meet no matter how hard you are working and how hard you are trying.

When you see me standing on the ledge, at least have the courtesy to wave.

 Losing My Mind


  1. What you write about is very frightening. However, please, I beg you, if not for yourself, at least for your wife and family, please see a therapist, or a Rav, and get some help. The pressure will pass one day, and fortunes change. Do not keep your fears and struggles bottled up until they cannot be borne any more.

  2. This is a major issue and no rabbonim are realizing the finacial issues in the frum community.

    in the last 25-30 years couples bought houses saw the price increase 5-7 times and made alot of money…

    now most cant afford houses cant pay bills

    1) chasidim do it right in where the rich in the community pool some money to the yeshivas so you only have to pay 2-3 thousand a yr

    20 rabbonim have to get together and look for solutions!

  3. I can also say I know young frum men going off the derech! yes, not frum anymore bec of the financial pressure now!

    we have married men at risk besides for the kids at risk!!

  4. If this letter is actually from a reader, then the Editors have an obligation to track down the author – by any means necessary – and be sure he sees a mental health professional.

    Ask any psychiatrist; anyone, anyone that can even utter or write words like these is already in very deep trouble and needs help.

    I daven for his Refuah Shelama, and hope that Matzav does the what it can to get this person the help he very desperately needs.

  5. Not sure what you have done so far, but sending out this email will cause people to offer some sympathy and not much more.

    You have to reach out to people that are willing to help. There are many fine people that can at least try to assist you, if they are aware of your circumstances.

  6. Unfortunately these are everyday scenarios. What about the unemployed frum family with no income coming in at all. The wife always screaming at the husband that he is a loser, with children who have to get married.

    it is not extreme, but everyday frustrations.

    May Hashem have rachmonus on all of klal yisroel

  7. Please speak to your Rav immediately by yourself, I am positive he can help. The Rabbonim have a good grip on the community. He’ll figure a way to help you with out anyone being embarrassed. If you do not have a Rov go to one of the Rabbanim from the city where you live and again I am positive he will help you. I know other people that are in your situation and Rabbanim have been able to work out a mehalech with the person. Wishing you much hatzlacha!!

  8. As an add on to comment number 2:
    It would be a tremendous chesed if some professionals could give time to such financially strapped people for free or at a reduced rate. Its true there is free help in the form of Yittie Liebel Help Line and others, but as far as face-to-face help goes, there is a big need for a group of people in Brooklyn, Lakewood, Monsey etc, to be available so struggling people can talk to them and get solid advice how to deal with life’s pressures.

  9. Keep on working in an honest way.

    You are frankly quite disturbed if you truly believe that a poor person on government programs, Tomchei Shabbos, Hachnasas Kallah, and every community funded project is in BETTER shape than you are. Most people in that situation are chaleshing to make 80K a year. Count your blessings and get mental health counseling from a qualified person.

  10. all too real for a lot of families. You owe more on credit cards then you can ever hope to pay back and just the minimum payments are more than you earn in a month. forget about tuition, mortgage, health insurance, dr bills, and the kid who desperately needs braces but can’t afford it

    We have a crisis.

  12. This is real – It will happen C”V! with the Frum world protecting the Kovod Hames and no autopsy to be done what stops a Yid in this situation from swallowing pills, not waking up and allowing his family to live with his life insurance money. Does it make sense? Of course not! Is this what his wife and kids want? Of course not! But those who are in this situation are loosing their minds. They are getting depressed and that is very scary.

    The author here doesn’t mention the constant non stop phone calls from teh banks, the credit card companies that set up aotomatic dialing so your phone rings by 7am or even 11pm and non stop in between. Nor does he mention the pressure from the schools to not make the tuition bill the last bill of the month and so many other types of harrasment such a person has to live with.

    To top all of this there is nothing worse then a sense of failure that no matter what you do or how hard you try you cannot provide for your family. That your children will have trouble with Shidduchim because you cannot support. That there is despair and frustration in the home rather then smiles and hope. That as the children get older and smarter they pick up on the problem and eventhough they mean well they cause more hurt and embarrasment to the proud parents when they try to help. It is painfull. It is unimaginable and unless you have gone through it you cannot judge or comment.

    Where is the help?

    How about if you have funds you walk into a yeshiva or Bais yaakov and give them money and tell them to leave those parents alone who truly cannot pay. What about going to your Rov and giving him money and telling him to GIVE (not lend becasue these people cannot pay back the loans they already have) but GIVE REAL MONEY to those in need. There are so many organizations out there but name 1 that collects money and gives money to people in need. Not items, not help in a certain area, not anything other then put real actual money into these middle class peoples hands so they can use it for what they feel they need to?

    When your wife is crying that she does not want to have more children because the financial pressure is too great then what? Cry with her?

    Oy – this is a major crisis. So many families who both parents work full time where they make a combined gross salary of 75-100,000 yet by the time they finish with theiR taxes, their living expenses, their basic needs there is not a dollar left.

    We need to help these people before we start to bury them.

  13. Ok, this is not necessarily addressing the letter writer, but in general, I still think there are expenses we can cut down on as a community, even people who live simply.
    First of all, I know people who are living in the red but would never think of cutting down on their food bill. No, I’m not saying they should starve, but it’s not necessary to have fleishigs for supper every night, and 5 courses for shabbos. I live in Eretz Yisroel and some people here don’t buy certain foods that Americans would never dream of cutting down on.
    Secondly if we step back for a minute and look at our simchas we make, even the simpler ones have expenses that are completely unnecessary. What a huge waste of money to make kiddushim and sheva brachos that cost hundreds and thousands of dollars, and for what? For a few hours?
    I don’t know if these few things will actually make the difference between being able to afford life or not, but it just amazes me that as a community we are still making “fancy” simchas (and I’m referring to the simple ones) when even the middle class can’t afford the basic expenses of life.

  14. Forget it, just plunge your job, you will be in better shape. Dont think you are the only one in your situatation. Come on, you seem to be a deep thinker and a macher because you cant take shame or other nonsense. Start bringing together the all the people in your situation and find the right solutions.
    here are some:
    1)Lets revise the idea of marrige
    2)people at age 18 should go to work and earn money.
    3)Maybe pool together for a new talmud torah that would adopt the idea of chasiddim
    4)Maybee moving out to new neghborhoods.
    you add more

  15. This is a sad reality of people making 80K a year with 6 kids. Even though you have dependents which ease your tax burden, at the end of the day, you still have only about 50K left for 8 people. Say your mortgage is as low as 1000 a month (probably higher), with home insurance and taxes you are at least 20K. That is 30K left for everything else. No school is going to give you a real break on tuition – after all you are earning 85K! If you have 3 of those 6 in school, take out another 15K at least. Leaving you with 15K for food, car expenses, clothing – the bare necissities. Nothing in case you need a home repair, or for an emergency, camp, gifts yom tov expenses, a simcha etc..
    Unfortunately, there is no good answer. It costs a lot to be a frum jew and your not even making weddings yet.
    To those advicating talking to a ROV – while good advice, what can the Rov do financially for this person. We need a way to lower our costs starting with jewish education.

  16. Its easy to say we need to help these people, though the problem is a complex one. Firstly, as the writer notes, his pverty is below the radar, whether its for government or communal siistance, his profile would automatically exclude him from consideration.
    Secondly, the problem will not be solved overnight; the decimation of the working class has been a long term cycle and their reclamation will nor be instantanoeus. The only answer is that expenses must be cut to the bone. Their is no alternative but to devrease the amount that is spent on tuition, mortgage payments, car expenses, food bills, clothes, utilities, camp… We as a community must recognize their is no shame in living a plain and simple lifestyle, and, we as a community must require each one of us to target a simpler and less expensive lifestyle so that 50% dont feel beggared while the rest of us continue a life of extravagance.

  17. We want AND need Moshiach NOW!! Thank you Matzav for posting this letter – unfortunately there is too much truth in it

  18. Hi is 100% right there is a major problem, I dont think that anybody has the answer to it. But the only think what we have is to do the most what could we do and daven with btichen and every think will work out iy”h. Hasem should help all yiden with Parnosh Brivich.

  19. As a local CPA I can say that many of my clients share in the financial burden that our writer is experiencing. The financial pressures are great in the frum community and little is being done to help those in desperate need. Our community leaders need to come together to combat the cost of Jewish Education. If this writer would like to discuss his financial situation with me for free I can be reached through the contact info at

  20. I am in the same situation as you, and it’s pathetic. I have also thought of ending my life (it’s not that I want to, it’s that I don’t know what other way out there is) Please look into something called debtors anonymous. It is a healthy approach to money, which is the root of such illness in our community and in the world at large. They are at There used to be a meeting on Sunday nights in Brooklyn, but there are also meetings online or on the telephone. It’s a different point of view. Check it out.

  21. Wow, I can’t believe how well this person has written my life’s story, word for word. (except the contemplating suicide)
    The notion of going to a Rov I think is non Sense, they will laugh in your face when you tell them you make 75-80-100K you are considering “Doing OK” and everyone thinks “You Simply Spend Too Much” which is UNTRUE, just the basic necessitates are more then the income, I truly don’t know how people who earn less can go on (legally).

    What is the answer?

    I know suicide is not the answer and thankfully it hadn’t crossed my mind, but what is the answer?

  22. I am a health care professional with an income way higher than the author of this article. With my high income, I have trouble staying afloat & not going into debt. This problem is very real & I empathize completely with the author. The tuition system is not sustainable long term anymore. It would not surprise me if 10-20 years from now most Frum people would opt out of the day school system, due to the high tuition we are forced to pay.

  23. As I’ve told many people – for the first ten years a frum couple can survive on about 50K for the next 10 years they need 200K.

  24. It would not surprise me if 10-20 years from now most Frum people would opt out of the day school system, due to the high tuition we are forced to pay.

    It’s already happening. I personally know people who did (and are doing) so.

    The Wolf

  25. The answer is teffilah!

    Do you really think that’s the answer?

    It should be part of a solution, but if you’re going to suggest that t’filah be the only answer, then you’re just setting yourself up for a disaster.

    The Wolf

  26. As for the letter writer, all I can say is this:

    I understand (very well, unfortunately) what you are going through. But consider this:

    1. Suicide doesn’t solve the problem — it merely passes it along to someone else. Your kids’ schools are not going to stop asking for tuition simply because you’re no longer around. And the benefits you provide to your family (in a non-monetary sense) would be lost as well.

    2. Suicide has often been called a permenant solution to a temporary problem. The problem, as grave as it is, is temporary. There will come a day when your kids will no longer be in school. Yes, it may be difficult and, at the absolute worst, you may have to pull your kids from yeshiva and find some other way to teach them Torah, but it’s still a temporary problem — and suicide is a permanent solution.

    Lastly, I would advise you to do this:

    Make a list of five people whom you can talk to — people whom you love, can trust and look up to. They can be family members, a rav/rebbi, close friend, etc. And make a promise that you will not commit suicide before speaking to those people. When/if you do decide to end it, there is no reason to rush into it. There will be nothing compelling you to commit suicide at that moment — you can always do it later. So make a promise to yourself and/or a loved one, that you will not commit suicide before speaking with those five people.

    The Wolf


    In a heavily populated frum neighborhood (i.e. the heart of Flatbush), on the first day of this coming school year (just for a single day), 1,000 children should walk into a single public school. The news should be alerted in advance. The publicity would be overwhelming and it will be the first effective way of communicating to the City and State that unless they grant partial tuition vouchers to frum families, this will be the end result, as the frum community can no longer continue with private schooling.


  28. I have no answer for the author of the letter, but for Joseph – what about sending kids to cheaper Jewish school? I understand that those cheaper may be to Frum for you, but considering to send Jewish children to public school? I’m assuring you. 100 years from now there will be people who by any cost and sacrifice will send their children to learn Torah, but they may be not yours grandchildren.

  29. Don’t send your kids to camp! Who said it’s a chiyuv- my brother has his family spending the summer at home together and bonding as a family, with a couple of wholesome inexpensive (fruit picking, corn maze, etc) trips mixed in.

  30. Dear Writer (and readers who are feeling the same way),

    PLEASE go for help from a therapist- if you’re worried about the stigma or anything like that, imagine how much worse, chas veshalom, for your family to suffer if something would happen to you.
    If you’re worried about your family’s well-being now, you must know that they need a father who is alive and emotionally healthy. Suicide, G-d forbid, would be the worst thing in the world for your family.
    There are therapists who will take insurance/sliding scale fees for those under financial pressure– talk to them and find someone who will help you for a managable price. Call RELIEF, 718-431-9501 for a referral to a religious therapist. In case of emergency, there are suicide hotlines to help you through a crisis: 1-800-SUICIDE / 1-800-784-2433; Call 1-800-273-TALK / 1-800-273-8255.

    Things will get better. Please hold fast till the yeshua comes.

  31. The publicity would be overwhelming and it will be the first effective way of communicating to the City and State that unless they grant partial tuition vouchers to frum families, this will be the end result, as the frum community can no longer continue with private schooling.

    Not going to happen, for a number of reasons:

    1. First of all, no one’s actually going to take that step and enroll their kids in public school just to make a point. You certainly won’t get 1000 doing it.

    2. The New York State Constitution contains a Blaine amendment, forbidding the funding of religious schools (with some small exceptions for some services).

    3. I’m fairly certain that the public school system could *easily* absorb 1,000 kids (especially if they are spread out among the 13 grades of K-12).

    4. Lastly, NYS has a mandate to provide education for all kids who live in the state. They are not going to ignore the mandate. Even if every frum family put their kids in public school, the state would find a way to make it work. Yes, there might be initial problems, but in the long run, they’d find a way to absorb the kids.

    The Wolf

  32. However embarrassing it is, tuition committees in most schools would give you a break if approached. Many shuls have tzedaka funds run by either the Rov or a special committee designed to keep the tznius of the recipient private. There are funds available in different communities, even at your income level. Camps can and do negotiate fees. There are many used clothing stores run by tzedakas that have truly almost-new (sometimes even new-never worn) clothing. Tomchei Shabbos can be approached by a trusted friend or Rov. There are people (professional accountants, financial advisors) that work with tzedakas that can go over your financial situation (at no charge to you). Finally, please speak to a doctor about your stress and possible depression, there is help!

  33. It seems to me everyone has this problem, whether they are a family of 6 making $30K/year, $60K/year, or $90K/year.

    The answer? We ALL are LIVING ABOVE OUR MEANS.

    Cut back. Cut back on the car expenses, simcha expenses, restaurant expenses, children frills expenses.

    Live simply.

  34. Suicide?! Is moving to out of town worse than death?
    Assuming you live in the tristate area, you can move to a beautiful house in Houston’s frum community (just for example) for just $150,000. The extra $ from selling your home put away for shidduchim, and the huge difference in mortgage & taxes should make life much more bearable.

  35. Talk to a rav? What’s a rav going to do? My annual household income is $110,000. I am *drowning* in debt, yeshiva tuition, and medical costs, despite having good insurance. I told my rav, and he slipped me $500 before yomtov. Thanks. That took care of one weekly expense, but it’s not a long-term solution.

    The bottom line is, yiddishkeit in New York (if not other parts of the US) is about money. Nothing is more important than money, nothing is a higher priority or motivation than money. I’d rather send my kids to public school and not worry about shabbos and yomtov clothes and see how far my $110K will go on a frei lifestyle.

  36. Holy moly this guy said exactly what I was thinking.
    Btw don’t waste your time at the Rabbi.. he couldn’t really care/help and is drowning himself.

  37. I don’t understand the problem. While I empathize with the writer there are opportunities and places for him to live on such income. There is no Chiyuv to live in Flatbush or the 5 Towns. Out of town there are opportunities to earn $85,000 and your costs will be a lot less and you will make it.

  38. to the one who suggested seeing a therapist, are you offering to pay for it? it is nice of you to ttalk about being extreme. but when the schools and everyone else come banging on your door for their due what is the response supposed to be. the fact is that people are being bombarded financially with no idea how to proceed. there is a fellow who was so desperate trying to manage ,that he dropped dead of a heart attack. would you have suggested therapy perhaps.? i would like to posit that the big mouths who do not like this letter, are people who have not faced this level of struggle

  39. You don’t have to enroll kids in PS. If they show day one they have to take them in if they live in the schools zone.

    1000 would overwhelm any flatbush PS.

    Laws… They are amended every day… Just need the right impetus.

    Something needs to be done ASAP!

  40. There have been people from our community who have committed suicide due to financial pressures. You just think they died of a “heart attack,” etc.

  41. These comments are ridiculous because what the author is saying is 100% true. Between tuition, food (if you don’t have food stamps), rent, and just living normally without sending your child to the dentist because you don’t have medicaid, you cannot make ends meet without at least 150,000 net for a family of 8 and over. I am sure that all these people do not live luxurously or above their means in any sense. They are just trying not to make their children feel that they are below the poverty level because that is when the kids start having problems – when there are major money issues. Tuition relief is only the beginning of a solution, albeit a great one.

  42. i dont know which situation you are talking from but you are wrong. the writer is representative of so many people today, and nobody from the gevirim or the yungeleit can understand what WE are going thru.
    much hatzlacha to the letter writer. mi k’amcha yisroel. there are rabonim who do understand and have heard it before. seek one out.

  43. Wow! What a poignant situation.

    Anyone feeling despondent, depressed, or suicidal should seek professional assistance–for managing stress (relaxation, exercise, etc), for financial assistance (meet with a financial planner), and for mental health (see an MD, preferably a psychiatrist sensitive to the community realities, engage in regular daily exercise, use omega-3 fish oils, etc).

    Depression is treatable. Suicide can be prevented. The time to act is now.

    Get help now.

  44. Isn’t it said that the eleventh commandment is “Thou shalt not be stupid”?

    If one does not possess the means or the earning power to support many children and all the extras it comes with, isn’t he foolish for having so many?

    Or has having large families become another form of “keeping up with the Cohens”? Are we afraid to have less kids than our neighbors for fear of appearing “frei”?

  45. You don’t have to enroll kids in PS. If they show day one they have to take them in if they live in the schools zone.

    1000 would overwhelm any flatbush PS.

    It’s not one school. They can also ship them (at least temporarily) to other nearby schools.

    And, in the end, it doesn’t matter. They’ll take them because, by law, they have to. They’ll find quick emergency rooms and make do. And, in the long run, they’ll adapt.

    Laws… They are amended every day… Just need the right impetus.

    The Blaine Amendment isn’t just a law, it’s a part of the state constitution. It’s much harder to change than a simple law. And I doubt you’d have enough impetus to change the law here in New York in the best of times — and especially not now when the state is, essentially, bankrupt.

    The Wolf

  46. If one does not possess the means or the earning power to support many children and all the extras it comes with, isn’t he foolish for having so many?

    Perhaps. But the letter writer already has the kids. It’s too late to say “don’t have ’em.”

    The Wolf

  47. I think that the ‘suicide’ line is just melodrama, but just in case he’s serious, I hope he has life insurance. Otherwise what would it help?

  48. First of all, do not despair. Many of us are in the same boat. Also, gemara says Hizaharu bivnei aniyim, shmeihem teitzei Torah. Despite all the shalom bayis problems of poverty.

    But nevertheless, clearly the business of not getting a top notch secular education, or any at all is a death sentence. Oni choshuv kmeis. So any rov that assurs college, should know that he is destroying families. Even college is no guarantee of a good parnasa, but without hishtadlus, and only an elementary or HS education, one is setting himself up for tremendous yissurin, lo aleinu.

    It is time to realize that we are in a matzav of pikuach nefesh, and that means that if the only way to survive is to send kids to public school and get an afternoon tutor for Limudei Kodesh for a few hours, then so be it. There was no mesorah of paying back-breaking tuition for 18 years. Many gedolim went to public school in the USA.

    We must help desperate people to survive and get some relief from this pressure. The world is becoming more and more high tech. One must become more and more of an expert in math and science to stay ahead. The days of spinning pottery at one’s wheel in his home and making a nice living are over.

  49. As far as getting help from a Rav goes, I can only say this: If you’re coming up short once in a blue moon, then yes – a Rav can give you a fish (i.e. slip a few bucks out of his discretion funds) to help out. But if you’re in the red every month you need to be taught how to fish. That means either professional advice on how to balance your budget (or just to determine if it is possible to do so) or increase your earning power by upping your career or by working multiple jobs!

    Bad choices are only fixed by HARD WORK. Get cracking.

  50. #50:

    1] Every gevir understands the difficulties described in the letter. Yet who deserves more assistance, a family of six making 20K or one making upwards of 80K?

    2] Tragically some tzedakkah funds DO discriminate. Sometimes a family of six making 20K will be declared inelligible simply because Sinas Chinam has gotten in the way. Why should a community support an exclusive tzeddakah fund only assists certain people who are in better financial situations than the ones receiving benefits?

    The vast majority of large families making 20K will gladly switch places with the lower middle class making 80K. This is in NO WAY belittling the stress of the lower middle class family. Lower middle class families have to keep things in perspective and think positive that they are starting out 60K ahead of other hard working families.

  51. It may sound a bit extreme to some of you out there but unfortunatly this is the situation of many beautiful frum families. Kol Hakavod to all the very hard working husbands and fathers who are building honest, torahdig families in klal yisroel. As a daughter of a father who is struggling like you, I can’t say I have a solution. I do know that for one thing there are financial advisors, askanim in the communities, maaser money can be put away for your children and there is no chiyuv to give tzedakah if you can’t provide for your own kids. Give your tzedakah to them. I heard that tuition can be paid with maaser money.
    But more than anything else your children and wife want a husband and a father. Not just someone to write the checks and pay credit card bills. I know it’s hard but be there for them. enjoy them. Smile, even if it is fake. Show your concern. Talk with them. The attention and love is what children, and of course your wife, need the most. Being the best father and husband you can is more than any money you can give to them. Children also want to help their parents. When taught properly they can learn to do without and be happy and not even miss it. I never went to camp (and yes my friends did go) and enjoyed some of the best summers at home. Children don’t want their parents to suffer. For your children, even when it’s hard hang in there. Also you mention that your wife is begging you to bring in more money. Does she work? Is she on the same page as you financially? Also there are a lot of seminars and classes, Rabonim, therapists that help people figure out where they are spending too much and where should they invest more. For example you write “food bills to the sky…camp” and then you write that there is no money for dentist(What about insurance? Do you have one?). Do it for them and also for the rest of klal yisroel who care so much about you. Also dont let the talk about support scare you so much,but start working on educating your family and even yourself that having the fanciest chasunah and taking from parents until they drop IS WRONG. There are a lot of people today sitting in kollel which didnt get supported at all. May Hashem send you a yeshua soon and to all those struggling to make ends meet.

  52. Hey writer. Instead of ending your life. Why don’t you go to your tuition committee and give them your letter you wrote. I gurantee you they will give you a steep deduction in tuition. If everyone had your mindset, people will be jumping left right and center. Get some help and use seichel. Jumping will be very selfish on your part. You will leave the burden with your wife. Is that fair?

  53. New poster here.
    Guess what. We ARE
    – living out of town
    – in a small house
    – not too many school choices; there is no “cheaper school”
    – we don’t send to camp or if we do, our girls go as mothers helpers, or we work in the day camp to defray costs
    – stop with the restaurants? We never started
    – we cook from scratch

    and I can go on.

  54. part of the problem is the high cost due to lack of normal competition for anything needed for a frum lifestyle for example…i went to pick up my suit at the shatnez lab the other day.It wasn’t yet ready so they told me wait he’ll do it right now so I timed him it took four minutes the price was $7.00 which is roughly $100.00 an hour “cash”. I said to the checker wow its like hiring a lawyer he answered a little uncomfortable that someone realized what a ripoff it is “oh lawyers charge more”.so what can you do pay the fee and go on .if anyone could just open shop and check it would be a lot more reasonable price but the labs have a way of keeping the market controlled so they do just fine but the frum consumer gets killed pity the checkers if walmart figures a way to check for shatnez

  55. ???? ?? ??? ?????? ??? ?? ????
    ???? ?’ ??? ????? ????? ??? ?????

    We ask Hashem for ample livelihood. But we know that Hashem is righteous and compassionate for whatever He gives us.


    If someone puts $100 in his pocket and he has a hole in his pocket the money will drop, even if he puts $1000 the next day in his pocket. If the husband brings in the money and 6-7 people spend it, each with his own need and no communication it doesnt make a difrence if you make $10 or $1000000 the money will vanish. It is just like the story of Chelm that they wanted more water from their bucket so instead of one faucet they put two faucets. So if the husband has to bring all the money and the wife(or the opposite) nags him or is just shopping around buying crazy expensive stuff what will happen? If the breadwinner thinks that he is in it alone and no one to help him, just give give, “BUT I HAVE TO HAVE IT” “EVERYONE BUYS IT” what will happen? If kids aren’t taught anything about finance(eg. if they go to a store they’ll buy the first tomatoes they’ll see and even thoughthey are organic and quadruple the price of a regular tomatoe)what will happen? If kids think that after they get married they have to get supported what will happen? If no one in the family including the breadwinner is willing to give a helping hand whether might be cuting back on expenses like going to pizza thursday nigh, motzaei shabbos bowling, concerts, or get a job to help, what is going to happen. It is just like some one who lives on the 14th floor, has his windows open, and catches a cold. He takes a pill but the cold turn in to a strep. Goes to the doctor, and he is on antibiotics. Strep to flu to nimonia. CLOSE THE WINDOW. EVERYONE IN THE FAMILY HAS TO BE ON THE SAME PAGE. SPECIALLY THE COUPLE/PARENT. Not hiding things from eac other. HATZLOCHO BRACHA AND YESHUA B’KAROV

    By the way Rabonim besides having some sechel, also have access to some funds, or they could help by refering a person to the right place or orginazation or therapists.

  57. Wolf,

    While you are right that it is too late for the advice about family size to help out the letter writer, you are wrong to use that logic to dismiss the argument. What would be the point of broadcasting this man’s situation if not for the sake of lessons learned? If we can agree on what errors were made we can help those who are starting fresh from heading down the same path.

  58. Every generation prior to this one learned to live within their means.
    1–Cut up your credit cards. Most people do not know how to use them wisely.

    2–Bungalows–it you are broke, dont go!

    3–Camps– if you are broke dont send!

    4–Food– Learn to shop carefully and yes, frugally.

    5–Clothing–If clothing are in decent condition, pass on to younger child. Use for a second year, if possible.

    6–Accessories–Teach you children that fancy useless tchatchkes or name brand school stuff are not part of the budget.

    If you live really, really simply, tuiton can be handled. And yes, you CAN live b’simcha on a shoe string budget. Its all about priorities and its reflects the kind of chinuch that was instilled in you as a child.

    Look at previous generation, and learn from them.

    AND, Jewish education should NEVER EVER be a bargaining chip. We have too many Reform Jews and assimilated JEWS, whos parents though like you. Is this how you want your children to end up?

  59. Oddly, I just did a post on this topic yesterday. Sir, the fact is you are going to HAVE to cut expenses, period. No camp. No cell phones. No second car or no car at all if you live in a walkable area near mass transit. Discount clothing. No snack foods – a strict menu that only buys what food you need for 3 meals a day each week based on what’s on sale, not what you want to eat. Etc. and so on. You already know this, I’ll bet, but you are unwilling to do these things because then you will appear less wealthy than your neighbors. The real biggie is, of course, dayschool tuition. Don’t count on a break from the school, because they’re hurting too. Look into homeschooling, online learning, or other options instead.

    Or, keep doing what you’ve been doing and expect different results (good luck with that). Nor will suicide solve your family’s problems – even if you have decent life insurance the money will run out in just a few years. Then what will your wife and kids do? No, the real solution is to look at your situation and change it – drastically.

    That may mean moving to an area with a lower cost of living, or making your parents angry, or going against your Rav’s heretofore bad advice on what are “necessary” expenses. You will have to decide to save your family from financial ruin by whatever means are necessary and no matter who doesn’t like it. You will have to stand up for your children’s future. Will that be easy? No, sir, it will not. But you have to do it. You must think outside the box. There are no other real options.

  60. This situation is not one man show it has to be dealt with on a family level. If there is one breadwinner and 6-7 prople spending each on their own way, with out any communications or sense of responsibility so of course the money isn’t going to be enough. What about if one hides his financial situation from his wife and family what will happen then. What about if each side has his own idea of spending and saving? What about if kids arent taught nothing about money or finances? What about if kids think that they have a unlilimited spending $$$$ what is going to be? What about if no one is ready to help the breadwinner in anyway what will happen? COUPLES/PARENTS HAVE TO BE ON THE SAME PAGE FINANCIALL. They can’t hide things from each other and just epect the other side to understand.

  61. As someone with a similar income, I have found the only answer is not to live a middle class lifestyle despite a middle class income. For example, we have a 1997 Buick, don’t send to camp much and the kids have summer jobs, buy used stuff, no cleaning help,etc. It may not sound fun, but I am not in debt. And I think it is good chinuch to live simply and not worry about keeping up.

  62. “It is time to realize that we are in a matzav of pikuach nefesh, and that means that if the only way to survive is to send kids to public school and get an afternoon tutor for Limudei Kodesh for a few hours, then so be it. There was no mesorah of paying back-breaking tuition for 18 years. Many gedolim went to public school in the USA.”

    HUH? Perhaps “Pashute Yid” should not make a determination of this magnitude. Do you have any idea what goes on in today’s public schools? Sending frum kids to public school, with the drugs, pritzus, etc. cannot be the answer. Yes, many gedolim went to public schools (most in the absence of any alternative), but many, if not most, of their classmates, stopped being shomer Shabbos in that environment.

  63. To #11, are you for real? My husband makes significantly more than this man, i work also and the money is spent before we get it. We do not buy luxuries unless you count ice cream. I have been saving up for years to buy a new piece of furniture. We have never owned a new car and were only able to buy our current used dodge minivan with help from my inlaws. My neighbors who make much less money than us have money to go on yearly vacations and splurge on paintings, furniture adn renovations while paying about half the tuition we do. My neighbor who was able to send her daughter to seminary in Israel through the courtesy of Uncle Sam flat out told me, She doesn’t know how we manage. She manages because everyone knows they have no money so everyone helps especially uncle sam, no runs to help people like us so we just have to learn to manage without. I know I’m supposed to be greatful for what I have but truth be told I am tired of watching all these people be able to afford things I can’t while we work so hard. So to #11 wake up and see the reality- people who work and make decent money often do end up with less than pepple who don’t in our society.

  64. Giving up the dentist was the hardest of all for us, we also earn income higher than this poster, but when we had no income, the school tuition committee thought we were hiding something and refused us. That was 15 years ago and we still don’t have necessary dental care—the adults in our family have allowed our teeth to rot and become diseased, and have suffered bouts of excruciating pain without seeing a dentist because we couldn’t afford it. The children who needed braces did not get them, nor did they get normal dental care. Along the way we mentioned this to a Rav whose response was What about all the Rabbi’s teaching in Yeshiva who can’t get dental care? So we just keep quiet and suffer. But at least now we pay full tuition.

  65. #64- go become a shatnez checker if you think it is such a great parnossoh. It is obviously not that great or there would be more people doing it. Most people who do do it do it as a way to supplement their income.

  66. I am planning with my Family of 8 to make Aliyah
    The Final Frontier.
    Its time to get Resourceful and set up businesses
    Out side Israel while living in Israel.
    We COULD And Need To Do This.

  67. First of all, Mr. Losing Your Mind how will suicide help? I definitely agree with you that that is an effective solution to your financial crisis, but what will happen after that? G-d’s gift of life is not something that He lets a person just throw away and as we believing Jews know if someone takes their life they lose their portion in the World to Come. So what are you going to then for eternity? So how about pushing it, you will “retire” eventually, your finacial worries will be over and you will still have Olam Haba.
    Every time I start talking about the finacial situation we middle class people find ourselves in, I get mad again and again at the government theivery in the form of taxes. The government is choking the middle class. Our elected officials, in their desire to get reelected need to prove to their constituents their accomplishments which are always one form or anther of new programs and initiatives that cost the taxpayers their bread on the table. And what about property and school tax? It’s theivery, theivery, and theivery again.
    Which brings me to my point that I want to make that sending our kids to overload the public schools is not a solution. It costs more to educate a public school student than a yeshiva student in most cases. If a yeshiva is particularly expensive then the cost might match, but in general public school education is extremely expensive. The system is nothing short of a form of robbery in the name of better education. So if we send all these frum kids to public school who will foot the bill? We the homeowners!! The federal and state goverments only spend approximately $3,000 per child as apposed to the approximately $13,000 (in NY)that is financed through the local homeowners. So not only will the middle class who generally own their homes have to finance their own kids they will also have to finance those who rent homes and of course the kids from low-income families. Your schar limud will still have to be paid in the form of taxes.
    Lgabeh school taxes we cannot do anything other than try to vote public school board members who will cut school programs. Otherwise there is nothing we can do about taxes.
    The only thing we can do to alliviate this choking problem of mounting debt is to cut, cut, cut from our living expenses. Yes we have to live like low income people (supposedly) are living. (With all the gov. programs they ARE richer).
    Cut the camps. Clothing is brought on sale (with coupons)and passed down, cut the second car. I stopped buying toys for my kids. YES you are reading correctly. My kids are happier instead of dreaming about their next thing they want, they’re really busy with what they have.
    The house needs to be affordable. Not just the mortgage part, but the property taxes and utilities too and the cleaning ladies that are a necessesity in a big house. The bigger the house , the bigger the expenses.
    You do need to try to get your childrens schools to lower the tuition.
    And no you will NOT be your daughters’ source of income when they get married and you’ll follow the tekanos for simple chasunas.
    Sometimes we create chumrahs that are too much too handle. Talk to a Rav who understands you about family size.
    There are ways to cut the expenses and live a financially sane (albeit tight)life if you live for yourself and don’t need to impress others.
    I will NOT wave if I see you standing on the ledge.

    To #17 Please do not use my posting name that I use on another site. Thank you.

  68. Why is it that so many of the posters seem to think the yeshivos are turning a profit? They are not, and when one family pays less tuition, it increases the burden on the rest of us. Paying less tuition should not be the knee-jerk response to not having enough money. (Driving a 15 year old car, buying clothes in discount stores, saving meat for Shabbos, and not buying expensive treats are all better places to cut.)

  69. Dear sir,
    If you want to escape the tension, You can, on a daily basis. Get a chavrusa for an hour or so, and jump into the yam hatalmud.

  70. People blame rabanim. People blame askanim. People blame their souses. People blame their boss. People do lots of stupid things and that is to not take persoanl responsibility and which created a mess for everyone else in the process.

    What happens if your economy sinks?
    What happnes if you wife has a baby or your husband loses his job?
    What happenes if your wife losses her job?

    What happens if your trying to rent your basement or first or second floor and you can’t find anyone to rent?

    And we can go on and on and on.

    I challenge anyone to tell us you / we can’t live simpler.

    Any frum parent with 8 children can live under 80,000 a year. Oh, it will be hard in the beggining because we live in a genration that has to have evrything for free and has more wants than needs.

    How many parents actually teach their children between a watn and a need? Do you need pizza on Fridays or do you want pizza every friday?

    Do all your teenage kids need a cell phone or want a cell phone?

    Do we need all lights on in a home and or school when we are not there during certain hours?

    there are hundreds of ways to cut costs and i guarantee that if we, as a community did what we MUST and HAVE to do these days everyone will be happeier and everyone will benefit.

    As long as we keep on doing stupid things like making 40,000 weddings and buyign fancy suits, sending kids to sleep away camp, going to Israel and Florida nothing will change.

    Live with what you need and must need and NOT what YOU WANT or want because others have it.

    We can solve the issues overnight but nobody really cares enough to say enough is enough. So changing oneself is better than waiting for someone else to do it for you because waiting for someone else to help–it’s not coming so soon.

    Good luck and daven to g-d. The same ribono shel oilem that takes gives plenty. Just ask.

    may our tefilos help.

  71. Some steps I have taken:
    1. Call a family meeting. explain the situation and ask everyone to lend a shoulder and cut costs. Unless your wife is a witch, she’ll be supportive once you’re open with her.
    2. Camp is a luxury. Look for alternatives.
    3. A car is a luxury. Taxis are cheaper. Walk whenever possible or take a bus.
    4. Ice cream is a luxury. Only for shabbos, if at all.
    5. Steak is out. Other cuts of red meat are for yom tov only.
    6. Buy fruits & veggies only in season & on sale whenever available.
    7. Use chicken fillers & substitutes several times a week. Beans, eggs, nuts, tuna (chunk lite, mind you) etc.
    8. Eating out is OUT. Never, ever. A total waste of money.
    9. Lower the heat/AC. 72 is comfy enough for summer (73 with a ceiling fan), 70 for summer (with undershirts & sweaters.
    10. Move to a cheaper area.

  72. To the person who suggested having less children. It is absolutely forbidden, Al Pi Halacha, to engage in birth control for financial purposes. I’m shocked that was even suggested in a purportedly frum website.

  73. comment 82,
    BH you have never been in the position of the letter writer and I hope you never will be.

    I am among those who experienced exactly the same stress as the letter writer, also with an income in the 80K vicinity.

    We have not taken the kids to the pizza store in years.

    My kids have never been to florida or israel etc., nor have they ever been to an overnight camp.

    We buy cheap clothes and often get hand me downs or purchase used clothes.

    I have not yet made any weddings.

    I rent a simple non-fancy home.

    My teenagers do not have cellphones.

    And still, 80K is not anywhere near enough.

    There is tuition, food, utilities, transportation to work, car repairs, clothing etc.

    If you B”H have never been there then dont assume people are having problems because they are living above their means.

    To the letter writer,
    Hang in there and have bitachon. Hashem can change everything in a moment. And although the stress is real, not imagined, a therapist can probably help you cope with it.

  74. The Rov-
    Thanks for your utterly ignorant and narrow minded comment. Are you aware that this issue is decided on a case by case basis (in consultation)?

  75. Dear Author:

    Please know 2 things…

    1) You are not alone.

    2) I and many others who have read your article will daven for you and your parnasa. When I say v’sayn bracha I will try to remember to put my hands by my pockets and think of your financial situation. As well, I will try to have you in mind during shema kolainu and if I have time to add the tefilah for parnasa.

    Would you please write a follow-up letter in a month (matzav can identify the author by the email address used) to let us know if our month of tefilos have helped. I don’t know if they will but I know they can.

    Best wishes for you and your family.

    Have a good shabbos.

  76. A couple of years ago, I felt the same way. I was working 14 hours a day and making almost $100,000 a year and nevertheless couldn’t make my mortgage payments and tuition for 3 kids etc.

    I cam to the conclusion that G-d is nudging American Jews to Eretz Yisrael. I have been here almost 3 years now and my expenses are exactly 1/4 of what they were in America. I still have to work hard and I still have debt to pay in America. But instead of getting deeper in the hole, I am working my way out of it and see the light at the end of the tunnel. This is besides that I get the tremendous zechus of living in Eretz HaKodesh. This is what I would recommend to most frum families in the USA.

  77. What does one do when his wife claims that she is not spending excessively, it’s just that

    * the kids need quality clothes because it’s not “bakovodik” for them to look shlumpy

    * the kids need to go to camp because it’s better for their ruchniyus

    * we need to make a simcha that is beautiful because that how Hashem wants us to honor Him (we have to show Hashem our appreciation)

    If the husband disagrees, then he is lacking in “bitachon” because Hashem gives us all our needs – and the aforementioned items are all “needs”.

    Any eitzos?

    Please put this post back on the front page. There are so many comments and this time most of them are real and on target. The bottom line is this is a crisis and this issue is affecting so many people. It needs to stay front and center not get pushed like every other story.

    If we keep this in the front then it will continue to provide Chizuk and ideas for those in need. It will allow them to see they really are not alone and most of all it will allow those who are well connected to our Gedolay Yisroel to show them the comments and see what can be done.

    I personally have printed out posts with the comments for our Manhigim and I KNOW and have seen THEM READ THEM AND REACT. Some cause pain and tears and others frustration but our leaders need to know this issue is of major concern.

    Please don’t push this story back – keep it alive and in front.

    Thank you

  79. Continued

    B”H there are people here who understand reality (most recently 85). I can only assume that those who are giving that great trite advice are doing much better, or have resources the rest of us don’t. In this economy, if you make ONE wrong choice (refinancing at the wrong time, e.g. I WON’T include kollel in this as an adom gadol has told us quite adamantly that we are NOT to regret a moment we spent in kollel even though we didn’t make the best financial decisions then) you may be sunk.

    Anyway, to continue:
    – no fancy accessories. Not too many cheap ones lately either. It’s hard on the kids. There are certain things that kids NEED. So if we can’t afford the $5 hairband, with a glue gun, velcro, etc. my girls will get creative. But there has to be SOMETHING.

    – about camp: As long as mechanchim are being published saying that “camp isn’t a luxury anymore, it’s a necessity” we’ll have a problem.
    BUT OTOH, and it’s a BIG hand, you’re gonna say if you have to say in the city DON’T send kids to camp? Even if a woman is able to run Camp Mommy the kids really will benefit from a week or two.

    – “A car is a luxury, taxis are cheaper.” Pun intended here: YMMV.

    And thanks 82 for those tips on cell phones and 40k chasunas! That should help.
    No, wait a minute. My kids pay for their own phones (we’re talking post h.s.) and the one chasuna we made was the bare bones cheapest package the hall had. No regrets. It was beautiful and we would do it again even if we had spare change.

    Many of the comments fall under one of two categories: people who get the letter writer (and BTW, Rabbi Ginzburg in Yated alluded to something like this once) and people who don’t.

  80. I think this letter affects only a small number of readers. Think about all the rich people in the East 20s and East 30s who, in addition to having nice houses, have summer homes in the country, go on plenty of vacations, and have luxury cars. As much as the economy may be bad, there are plenty of people with loads of money. Just keeping it real.

    Please put this post back on the front page. There are so many comments and this time most of them are real and on target. The bottom line is this is a crisis and this issue is affecting so many people. It needs to stay front and center not get pushed like every other story.

    If we keep this in the front then it will continue to provide Chizuk and ideas for those in need. It will allow them to see they really are not alone and most of all it will allow those who are well connected to our Gedolay Yisroel to show them the comments and see what can be done.

    I personally have printed out posts with the comments for our Manhigim and I KNOW and have seen THEM READ THEM AND REACT. Some cause pain and tears and others frustration but our leaders need to know this issue is of major concern.

    Please don’t push this story back – keep it alive and in front.


  82. Anon-
    Re: send your children to public school –
    I agree – as an absolute last resort. No amount of counseling (from a professional or otherwise) will make the real financial burden go away for the author of this letter. If the problem is that entrenched that it’s literally destroying his and his family’s lives and sanity, send the kids to public school as a last resort and rebuild with the savings to a point where you can re-enroll the kids in yeshiva. Chinuch banim is a mitzvas asei, a VERY important one at that, but I don’t recall that the Torah requires one to go broke to fulfill it (if all other avenues to fulfill it have been pursued).

  83. To Jay:

    Tell her, “Fine, but I don’t have the money. Which bank should I rob? If you want more, daven more, or go find a job. Any questions? Ask a rov.” Case closed.

  84. I can agree with everything the writer said. I lost my job a year ago, and even then I was not really making it. Since then I have worked at various part-time jobs and have had to rutn to local organizations and the government for help.
    The local organizations recently kicked me off their help rolls with the claim that I was not doing enough to find a job. They couldn’t tell me what I should be doing more. Somehow we have survived through the generous help of Hashem who has come through to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table, though often times not much.

  85. to #84 and all those who do not understand fully what I had written in post # 79.
    First of all, I don’t want to be the cause of even one single Jewish child not being born, chas vesholom. Children are our future and Hashem commanded us to have children and every single Jewish neshoma is unfathomably pressious. There is a purpose for every single human being walking the face of this earth and we cannot fully comprehend what how thankful we need to be for every Jewish child.
    Having said that, there is a different side to this issue as well. And before I start, I want to make it clear that do not know anything so do not pasken from my words. All I am saying is like it sais in the Torah, find yourself a Rov, (and I don’t mean someone who tramples on mesorah), but someone that’s respected within our communities, someone who you can have a kesher to discuss such issues. We cannot have an x amount of children because that is what everyone is having. Other than having a girl and a boy there is no halachah or mesorah how many children one should have. We have more because of our appreciation to this mitzvoh and an understanding that this is one of the greatest mitzvos one can do, but there is no obligation to be moser nefesh in the literal term (I don’t mean moser nefesh in the context of doing something despite it being extremely hard, I mean literal giving up of one’s life).
    We are dealing here with a person who wants to take his life r”l. I don’t believe he will actually come through with this, but going down this road will chas vesholom lead him to the pit of depression in the best instance and a heart attak in the worst. We are not dealing with just a financial aspect here, but with pikuach nefesh.
    There are chashuva rabbonim who would not agree with my view and there are chashuva rabbonim who would agree with me. Therefore it is important to find a respected Rov who you feel understands and respects you and he will be the one to posken what is right or wrong. Finding a Rov that you can have a kesher with doesn’t mean he will be a yes man giving heterim left, right and center. But a Rov that understands you will not automatically poskan l’chumra either.

  86. To 93 (and 95): and many affluent people are helping those in need, or helping keep the schools afloat, etc.
    B”H I am fully able to fargin people their good. In this economy, when I see an addition going up (and I should mention that in some cases it’s for parents moving in, funded by the sale of the parents’ home) I am just happy that there are people who are still making it. It gives me hope that things may turn around, or are already.

    And a P.S.
    I forgot to write earlier that I always check out the dented cans, reduced freezer goods in the kosher store, and reduced produce and bread.

  87. To #18: Your suggestion of “utting expenses” is correct if the other side agrees. I could have been the author of this letter. I have tried to negotiate with the yeshivas about “cutting” my tution. they said no.

    To LW2:

    Family planning canot be taking lightly and cannot be decided by laymen. Do you know of any of your friends who went to a Rav and asked and received permission for financial reasons? or did they decide on their own without consulting a Rav?

  88. ALL yeshivas are subsidized by baal habatim-even places like Ramaz and Flatbush. Williamsburg-type Chasidishe yeshivas charge a lower tuition primarly because their client base is so poor that virtually every family is on food stamps INCLUDING the rabbayim. If you pay a rebbe $15K a year, your expenses will be lower than a Flatbush rebbe who makes $80K a year. And I think we all agree $80K won’t pay the bills either.

  89. #82: Any frum parent with 8 children can live under $80,000 a year.

    Maybe, if you send your children to public school. Otherwise, explain that one to me. If you’re making $80k a year, then you’re taking home maybe $60k after taxes. Say you find a ridiculously cheap yeshiva/day school that costs $5k/yr/child. That now leaves $20,000. Say you have a $100,000 mortgage (please tell me where I might find such a place) – fixed mortgage + insurance costs = ~$800/month minimum = $10,400 left, which comes out to less than $3/day per person for food, clothing, transportation, medical, and other expenses.

    I’ve deliberately chosen absurdly low tuition and mortgage levels. Any realistic level for these expenses will, of course, bankrupt your hypothetical family much sooner.

    Now, I don’t consider public school to be an unmitigated disaster (and yes, I know what happens there: both my mother and my sister taught in the New York City public school system), but even that (or homeschooling) is not inherently going to enable someone to raise a large family on that kind of salary. $80,000/year means that you should have AT MOST a 200-250k mortgage, and that’s with a 2-4 child family. If you want a 5-8 child family, cut that number in half. Now, there are cities in the US where you might find a 3 bedroom home for < $150,000, but (a) not many, and (b) even fewer within commuting distance of an $80,000/year job.

  90. i tried commiting suicide with a rope around my neck, but i started choking so i stopped

    just cut back your expenses to the bare minimum and you’ll see how much you don’t need

  91. 11:10 Anon:

    There is no need to send to yeshiva to be Yotze Chinuch Habanim.

    This person’s best bet would be to go bankrupt, quit, go on the government programs everyone else is on, and the show the schools that he has nothing, and not pay any tuition. Barring that, he can send his children to public school, where there are many programs by “yeshivos” to “save” the public school children (such as JEP, Etc.). He can also learn with them at night or when he is off…. Provided he is still living.

    V’Chai Bahem.

  92. The tone of comments here is disturbing. Everyone here shows sympathy or empathy for the author, and many of the commentators tell the fellow to have bitachon, daven, seek therapy, etc.
    I’ll leave the bitachon and tefilla advice aside for a minute.
    At some point, therapy starts to have diminishing returns. We can’t just advise ‘therapy’ without realizing that therapy is not a panacea nor is even very effective in every situation.
    That said, back to tefilla and bitachon. We all must have tefilla and bitachon that what HKB”H decides for us is the best. That doesn’t mean that we have the right to make bad lifestyle and financial decisions as a community or keep existing, economically unsustainable institutional structures while assuming that ‘tefilla and bitachon’ will push the laws of economics aside. It’s silly to assume we can create the fire ourselves then cry out to HKB”H to put it out without trying every which way to extinguish it ourselves.
    It’s very disturbing to see most people here ignoring the root of the problem – our unsustainable communal structures. We need to tackle that problem to ensure that the suicide hotlines stay closed and are put out of business. “The Aibeshter zolz helfen” is not the answer to problems that we’ve created for ourselves and have the power to fix, should we have the guts to implement the solutions, even if they be unpopular or difficult.

  93. I’m not only writing to the person who wrote the letter but I think this is something to think about.

    Some people think killing your self is only done by kicking the bucket or cutting. Not reaching out for help, sitting home and not talking about it is just another way of doing it. Plenty of people you might know, who just sit home all day and you think they are lazy, sick etc.. they just might be simply depressed or ashamed to show thier faces on the street for differnt reasons. These peopole are killing them selfs slowly.
    I think who ever wrote this letter took one tiny step forward he pulled him self togeather and wrotew this letter. The worst thing for a person is to be or feel alone. Thats why Its importent to talk to some one. It dosn’t always have to mean the person will take out his check book and solve all yoir problems but you won’t feel alone. And you might find out that your not he only one with this problem.
    Maybe you can come up with ideas how to start saving and living diferently. I’m not saying stop eating two kugels on Shabbos or buying ice cream for the kinderlach . But I am wondering why everyone jumps right away to the yeshivas and mosdos? Yes I know that most Mosodos “Not Chasidish” Charge a lot of money. So My question is this? why do they charge a lot? Do they pay the rebbe’s and teachers with this money? or is it a buiness? and #2 are you happy with your child’s education?
    If yes Is there something you would give up to pay for your child should have the best education? I think every one needs to decide on thier own what it is for them, maybe a cheaper car, maybe less eating out etc..
    I’m not saying that will pay the debt over night but with time things can change. I had to learn the hard way that my credit card need to be cut in half. I can only have one Credit card wth $2000 credit and that it. I will not aply for any other cards any more bli neder.
    And just please remember leaving this world over money wont fix the problem youll just leave it behind for your wife and kids. So Take a deep breath and seek help.

  94. Decades of damaging policies have made it close to impossible to make ends meet.
    I wish you luck, hang in there.

  95. If I ever were in some other gilgul a leader with a following, I would establish a no frills day school. Teach the kids how to learn Torah and be an ehrliche yid. Teach in high school 4 years of science and math, history and English. Nothing else, no sports, no computer classes….nothing. Minimal number of teachers and administrators, no school psychologist. A kid is problematic, ask him to leave. If the Catholics can bring in a parochial school education at around $5000, so should we. Together with normal schnorring the cost to parents could be as low as $4000.

  96. to # 93 you are ignorant how many of the people living in the “20’s” as yor put bought their houses 30-40-years ago when they 10% of the price you think they have tons of money you have no idea they can be struggleing just as bad as everyone else you dont have a clue mabey the people you think are “loaded” arer not doing as well as you think they just figuered out how to live on what they have or are quitly be supported by someone else

  97. maybe the givirim instead of putting up one fancy building after another should use some of their money to help out people who are having a hard time.and don’t say they don’t want to embarrass the struggling people because shidduch time no one is afraid of embarrassing these people.
    Also maybe some people in the yeshiva administration are becoming wealthy at the average persons expense And if you don.t believe this please explain why so many wealthy peoples sons have position in yeshivas?

  98. To “people don’t have a clue”

    – “A car is a luxury, taxis are cheaper.” Pun intended here: YMMV.

    YMMV? What’s that? I intended no pun here. Please explain.

  99. maybe the givirim instead of putting up one fancy building after another should use some of their money to help out people who are having a hard time.

    Pray tell, how do you thing the gvirim have become wealthy? They engaged in business and have invested their money to make more money.

  100. sorry I meant putting up all these fancy expensive yeshiva buildings.What kind of chinuch is that?Children see their parents having a hard time,but one yeshiva has to be more elaborate then the next

  101. To the poster who calls himself “The Rov” (but is probably the infamous Joseph):

    While what you said was “It is absolutely forbidden, Al Pi Halacha, to engage in family planning for financial purposes.”, the truth is that Al Pi Halacha, it is permitted without qualification for a woman to drink “sahm ikkrin”.

    I am well aware of the current practice, which is for couples to make every family planning decision together with a Rov, but it is certainly not required Al Pi Halacha. The two issues to consider are Pru U’revu and BaErev al tanach yadecha, but neither are the wife’s concern. However, I am not trying to say one should decide without a Rov – I am saying that when you said “Al Pi Halacha” you were wrong.

    On top of that, no “financial reason” is a reason of finances alone. Look at the letter writer as an example – he certainly has financial issues, but those financial issues are affecting his sholom bayis, the health of his family, and his own mental health and well-being. So don’t be so parochial. Citing “finances” as a reason is just showing good foresight. Ezehu chacham, haroeh es hanolad.

  102. Oy, what a terrrible matzav! These poor people need help and where is the Yidden to help them? Where?

    We need a special tzedaka drive. All parents and grandparents, when they pay their tuition, should give another $500 or $1000 to a special fund to help people like this. Its the gratest mitzvah in the velt to give tzedaka to help mechanech kinder in Torah!

  103. Shmuel-I don’t know a school without a scholarship fund that parents are normally required to donate to if they pay full tuition. Many parents donate much more and still another group of parents is being pushed into a corner by tuitions that amount to a downpayment on a modest home every year.

    The only advice I have for the letter writer would be to work together with your wife on facing the financial realities and working in unision on a plan and establishing priorities. I personally would put necessary dental care before tuition.

  104. Those who have no dental care should go to a University dental school for treatment, such as NYU’s Dental School or the University of Maryland in Baltimore. Students do the dentistry supervised by professors. There is very low cost. Many people go to a dental school for dental work because they can’t afford the dentist.

  105. No one has mentioned that the rents are too high.

    Well, they are. No one has mentioned Con Ed’s too high. The phone bill and cell phone bills have about 20 percent added on in fees and taxes.

    You’re right, we should not jump on the yeshivos. But it’s not all about cutting back either; we’re cutting way way back and have done so for a long time. We’re still in the hole.

  106. 123/orthomomics – YES, dental care is takeh importent! So we need another tzedaka fund – when people go to dentist, they should make a check also to dental tzedaka fund, maybe another $50 or $100! Just because a family has no money doesn’t mean the kids don’t get fillings at the dentist.

  107. We are in a similar situation. We are a family of 8 living on $88k, and while it seems like a lot to some, we literally have nothing left at the end of the month. We are very thrifty and live as frugally as possible, but the prices of basics-food, fuel, utilities, home repairs, medical co-pays, etc, just keep going up, and our income remains the same. My husband has gone through 2 job losses in the last 3 years; we used what little savings we had to get through those times, and now there isn’t a dime to be had. We are very fortunate that our children’s school has been as gracious as they have been in providing scholarship funds so our children can attend a Jewish school. Where are we going to come up with money for our eldest son’s bar mitzvah? We are keeping it very modest, just a small kiddush luncheon, but there is still the cost of tefillin and tallit, not to mention the cost of food for the kiddush (we are making our own food, not having catering, but the groceries are still expensive). We don’t live over our means, we just don’t make enough, and the prospects for earning more do not look good at this point.

    To the letter’s author- you are not alone, but please don’t despair.

  108. It is an unfortunate reality that many of the benefactors will give money for the physical plant and not necessarily some of the primary concerns. It would not be prudent to turn away money, especially if the physical plant is deteriorating.

  109. #117 Excuse me, but you have no idea what you are talking about. My husband and I made secure real estate investments, however the property taxes doubled in that area in the years since we brought it, which nobody in their right mind would assume that the town’s officials could be so cruel as to higher the taxes to that extent. And the rental income was lowered as well as there is a glutt of new rental apartments on the market. Not only did we need to sell the investments which could’ve make nice returns once the mortagage was paid up, we needed to sell it at a loss, because we felt at the rate the taxes are going up it would be foolish to keep it.
    Were the taxes to go up at a decent rate, we would swing it.
    The local and federal governments are making it impossible for the middle class to get ahead with their legalized robbery called taxes. And I don’t want to sound like I’m not fargining, but they are taking our hardearned money while giving others a free ride. And I don’t only mean benefits (foods stamps, medicaid…) I’m also including property taxes which are skinning us alive to give the children of illegal aliens a free LUXURY education.
    So please don’t get my blood pressure up by describing how the rich make their money. That worked when my grandfather was young, but not these days when the goverment is robbing a large percent of our income to feed their neverending spending habits.

  110. 130, I think you need to read the comment I was responding to. And I am well aware of the difficulty of making a buck in real estate, the tax rates, etc.

    Nonetheless, the idea that the wealthy should stop engaging in enterprise to turn their money over to scholarship funds or whatever is ridiculous. Tzedakah has a cap for a reason and if the gvirim take their money and give it away, it will be gone. If they continue to grow their money (and taxes and regulation make it very difficult) ultimately there will be more to perpetuate good for many more years to come.

  111. To Chedva, 118:
    Kavod Hatorah is different. You can’t compare the two. If a Yeshiva is beautiful and clean & neat, the bachurim/yungerlite can learn with much more menucha, which increases hasmoda, machshava, middos tovos etc… A Yeshiva SHOULD be the nicest building in the area. That is part of Kavod Hatorah. Also if someone gives a donation to build a beautiful building, what are you supposed to say: No we don’t want it. We would rather stay in our decrepite dwellings? Think before you speak stupidity!

  112. For those who think that “family planning” can be done without the advice of a Rav, I would hate to have anyone face the eventual Yom hadin and have to answer why they actively prevented the next Reb Moshe or Reb Yaakov from being born.

  113. To fedup11230:

    I wonder how likely it is that the would-be children could be of the stature of Reb Moshe or Reb Yaacov if their parents will need to send them to public school because they can’t afford yeshivos. A Rov should always be consulted, but your reasoning is laughable.

  114. Just reiterating my previous comment that sending our kids to public school will not help with tuition.

    The homeowners are the ones paying for the public schools in their vicinities (in their district or town). The federal and state government together only pay about %20 of the school budget for each student. In fact the state just cut more funding for education so now the homeowners will pay even more to make up for that.

    It costs approximately $13,000 annually(only from local taxes- it’s about $16,000 annualy total including state and federal aid) for each public school student in NY.
    A yeshiva student costs aprroximately between $3000-$6,000 annualy (plus state and federal aid for private school students that go directly to eligible schools)

    So do the math- it costs between $7,000-10,000 to more for a public school education.
    That means if the frum oilim, who have bigger families than non-frum, will start sending their kids to public school they will be the ones to foot the bill for a more expensive education for their kids as well as for the children of low income families who are not homeowners and do not pay any taxes. The property taxes will skyrocket. Not only will homeowners be affected, but rent will go up as well because of higher taxes.

    In short- a public school education is more expensive than yeshiva. If we send our kids to public school-we foot the bill!

    Now another point I’d like to make about public school. All throughout our history we withstood temptations that the outside world held, which could’ve make our lives easier, but our neshumos tainted.
    For those who think that public school will pay for them monetarily they may be right (in some cases), but at what price?! To give up the soul of your child to save money?
    Years ago when our granparents attendented public school, whether in America or Europe, the immorality was nowhere near as rampant as it is today. It is self understood that there will be very tragic cases chas vosholom resulting if we send our kids to public schools. One cannot say that children should get a strong chinuch at home so that they withstand the temtptations at school. Kids are kids are kids. While some are strong most are not.
    This is where some people can be tempted. Maybe it can be easier on the pocket, but make no mistake about it – it is throwing a child into a spiritual cesspool from where it can very likely drown in tumah.
    This is where we can have mesiras nefesh to do the will of Hashem.
    May Hashem grant us the strength and the money that we need to give a yeshiva education for our children.

  115. to #131 I agree with you. Sorry I was rude, but it’s investing is a sore topic for me.

    However #114 was not saying the wealthy shouldn’t invest to make more money, rather she meant that instead of finacing fancy buildings they should give scholarships for kids.
    #114’s last sentence though, doesn’t really make a lot of sense to me. What does rich people’s sons having jobs in yeshiva have to do with yeshiva administrators becoming wealthy?

  116. With that salary, restricting expenses even to “needs” wont keep anyone out of the red. High expenses are choking most, and our system still neccesitates support of married children. Something is wrong somewhere!

  117. My children learn online at All Jewish subjects are taught for only $79 per month for ALL CLASSES for our FAMILY. I think that’s going to go up but even if it does it will still be much, much less than even one tuition in day school. And the classes are excellent. More parents will be turning to alternatives like this once they see how it works and how little it costs to provide a great education (minus the fancy school building).

  118. To Comment 128: Your bar mitzvah son should, in addition to studying for his bar mitzvah, undertake odd jobs in the neighborhood to pay for the necessities of his bar mitzvah that his parents can’t afford. A 12 year old (and a friend) can mow lawns in spring/summer, rake leaves in autumn, shovel snow in winter. He can even tutor younger children or babysit. Any contribution to the family with 8 children in difficult circumstances would be a help.

  119. Have you considered Aliyah? When faced with an 18,000 tuition contract per child and the prospect of obama being president, we made Aliyah in 2008.

    While salaries are less than in the states, tuition and health care are practically free!

  120. going off the derech would alleviate a lot of these problems. many of us are quite happy and well adjusted and are not paying college tuition for elementary school.

  121. I lost my husband almost a year ago. My children and I are living a very difficult life without their father.He did not kill himself. He passed away from illness. Money is a small part of what an ABBA contributes to the family. Nobody does Chumash homework like ABBA. Nobody sings zmirrus like ABBA. Nobody does kiddish or havdallah like ABBA, Life without you, with money is a million times worse than life with you and limited money. Don’t be proud. My shul has a committee that helps people who need a little financial aid and they will get involved with the Yeshivas when people are really hurting. Ask for financial aid. Go to a dental clinic.I ask everyone I deal with when making a purchase if they can do better. More do than you would think. My brother has worked 3 jobs since his wife does not work. May I suggest that your wife get a job or try to get a part-time second job. In conclusion, a Bar Mitzvah or chassana with both parents is so much more of a simcha than a simcha with one parent or no parents.

  122. Everyone should pick up and move to Israel. If you think about it closely, this would solve this issue, as well as many other issues in the Jewish World.

  123. There is no answer without knowing you really. Perhaps you are doing your absolute best. If so, we are only asked to do our best. You sound like an honest, decent person, and we are taught to believe that good triumphs. But that is not how it works. In actuality,”tzaddik vrah lo”.
    But it may be worth speaking to a successful person to see if they have hishtodlus ideas for you. Find a very wise, successful person and see if they believe you are selling yourself short, or being held back by any inhibitions.