Rav Shteinman: Those Who Tell Chassanim to Make Financial Demands Are Rotzchim

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rav-shteinman2Rav Elyashiv: Don’t Sell Kidney to Pay for Wedding

A shailah recently posed to the posek hador, Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, reflects the absolutely dire financial situation faced by tens of thousands of chareidi families across Erets Yisroel. A father came to┬áRav Elyashiv and explained that his daughter is engaged and he does not have the funds to pay for the wedding costs. May he sell his kidney in order to procure the funds to purchase an apartment for the young couple? Rav Elyashiv’s response was an unequivocal no.

The question was discussed at a conference of rabbonim held last week in Yerushalayim regarding cutting down wedding costs in the chareidi community. The rov of Rechovot, Rav Simcha Hakohen Kook, spoke to the assemblage at the conference about this question posed to Rav Elyashiv, who himself told Rav Kook about it.

rav-elyashivRav Elyashiv was reportedly shocked by the question and how dire the monetary state of frum families is. Rav Elyashiv recommended that, rather than seeking wedding and wedding-related funds in such extreme manners, expenses should be cut drastically.

The rabbonim at the conference are reportedly working to address the problem.

Rav Kook also discussed a concern regarding gemach loans which are utilized by many families to cover the costs of simchos.

Speakers related that the crushing financial obligations faced by families have brought heads of households to states of pikuach nefesh, depression and illness.

One speaker said that Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman told him that those who encourage young men to make financial demands are “rotzchim,” since they induce the kallahs‘ parents to jeopardize their health and future.

{Yair Alpert-Matzav.com Israel}


  1. expenses should be cut drastically. The rabbonim at the conference are reportedly working to address the problem.

    Well, that’s a relief. I’m sure the problem will now be solved in short order.

  2. This is a constant debate I have with a very good friend. My argument is only rich people are allowed to get married. She answers me minhag yisroel. It Doesn’t matter. I’m happy to hear this minhag yisroel will no longer be the excepted minhag. It’s definately a starting point for change.

  3. If we followed the Rambam’s advice i.e. job, home and THEN the wife, instead of wife, home and then a job maybe we would not be at the pikuach nefesh stage today.
    A job does not only mean a factory job etc. It also means earning $ via part time work i.e. bein hasedorim or a part time rabbonus or part time other klei kodesh etc.
    This was predicted years ago but then it was not the style to accept predictions like that. Times were good. But, we all knew that that would end one day.

  4. This is a Shayla for Rav Elyashiv? Its an open halacha in Choshen Mishpat that no Jew may intentionally do harm to any part of the body.
    About weddings, people will have to just learn to cut down and make it small and simple. That is what I did when my son got married and it was still an extremely joyous affair. Its the bochurim and their dancing that make a wedding joyous. Not the caterer or the flowers.

  5. its time for everybody to leave la la land and come up with a viable option.maybe those who are in charge should obligate themselves to supply job opportunity crush the system of buying apartments and stop making work a four letter word.

  6. Reply to Tzipi
    Firstly, I should mention that my son got married and lives in Brooklyn not Israel. He learned in Kolel for the first year. His wife taught in Yeshiva. I and his father-in-law both helped. He received a stipend from the Kolel Betweeen these 4 things, they were able to manage. Now he is looking for a job either in Rabbanus or teaching.

  7. Gemachs are not necessarily an answer. Rav Yisroel Reisman was just in Chicago for the Midwest Aguda Convention and he said the following (while standing right next to Rav Shmuel Kamenetzky):
    There was a conference about a severe problem with mezuzos back in the 60s or 70s. A bunch of Rabbonim spoke. One said at the end of his drasha, “And if anyone has difficulty in affording to replace his mezuzos, I have a gemach set up to help you cover the costs.”
    The next speaker was Rav Yaakov Kamenetzky, zt’l. R’ Yaakov said, “Borrowing money from a Gemach, without having any idea how it will be repaid, is Gezel. Better not have a mezuzah on your home, and be oiver an aseh with shev v’al taaseh, (or perhaps not at all, if a person truly can not afford it, he is patur, due to al yevazvez yoser mechomesh) than to borrow from a Gemach in such a way that you’ll be oiver gezel b’kum va’aseh.”
    Anyway the problem is NOT the wedding expenses (that the solution would be wedding Gemachs). That can be done relatively cheaply in Israel. The problem is the 60K-100K demanded for purchase of a Dirah. Where did this demand come from? I have a close relative, who is married and learning for close to 25 years. They are STILL living in a rented apartment. But they can’t marry their children off unless they purchase a dirah for them! How did our priorities get so out of whack? Over the first 20 years of marriage, they scrimped and saved, and made their first daughter’s wedding. Now their second daughter is beginning to get a bit older. The demands that they are hearing, for a very good girl, (she speaks unaccented American English in the heart of Bani Brak, which is a very valuable and marketable skill) are totally outrageous. What is the matter with renting until you can afford a home? Why are people being made to purchase for their children before themselves!?!

  8. To add to Mr. Miswesterner…. Its a lot cheaper buying yourself an apartment than buying one for each of your children. Let each and everyone buy their own apartment instead of having their parents-(in-laws) buying it for them!

  9. emes brings up a good point. many of these “thousands of charedis” arent working. what people should be saying is go out and make some money so when your daughter gets engaged you wont have to ask ridiculous shaylos. its not a mitzvah to be poor.

  10. I actually am Mazel Tov too, but I see someone else used the same pen name :-), so don’t confuse me with #9.

    to #11: Not everyone is poor by choice. If you read some of the other Matzav and related articles, many chareidim are shut off from jobs and it’s not easy getting a decent job in Israel.

    And even if someone makes a decent living, how can they afford $100,000 for each child, especially if they have over 10 children? Would you have that amount of disposable income unless you are a millionaire?
    We once hosted a lady from Eretz Yisroel in her home and she said that they rely on Americans to help them. (It was said more strongly that that) but it shows they know they cannot do it alone and come across to our shores to help them out.

    If the roshei yeshivos would stand by their bochurim maybe things would go easier.Who am I to judge these rabbonim? But is something being done?
    Also the same bochurim who are making demands, their mothers have girls too. Why doesn’t everyone get together and make a change once and for all?

    I think that man with the kidney is actually very innovative- is it worse losing a kidney or alternatively suffering from a heart attack or depression instead chas v’sholom?! But what does he do then for the subsequent wedding? Sell his other kidney and go on dialysis chas v’sholom?
    It’s not a joke!!

  11. the situation in israel is that if you are a chareidi and want to get your child(daughter) married you have to buy a dira(apt). The reason being that the young couple will be learning in kollel, so taking off the huge expense(rent) is the best way of support. Sometime back all the parents worked and real estate was cheaper so it was possible to do this. Nowadays it has become the norm and the shocking thing is that most of the roshe yeshivas also enforce it(that is to say they are the ones who negotiate before the bochur even goes out on the money issue and if chas vcholila the bochur doesnt listen they or anybody from the hanhala will not show up at the chasunah{just imagine the embarrasment}). Bochurim break hands and feet to get into certain Yeshivos b/c the “top Yeshivos” promise to get a bochur “sidur maleh” (house, furniture, even a car and maybe a second apt for parnosoh)!!! So anybody who is looking after fame or so to say the top bochur b/c he is looking for the next gadol hador has to pay up the cost of one. Until a few years ago most of them came collecting abroad or turned to the orginazation which collected abroad; however with the new economic situation, most of the money sources and gmachim have dried up and that is the situation here in Israel.
    P.S. At an asifa not too long ago it was decided that a father shouldn’t give more than $45,000 US Dollars for a girl and $25,000 US dollars for a boy towards the dira. this was a takana that basicly is cutting down from the norm?!!! How many avreichim in USA got houses? or at least ~70,000 grand to start off living. I hope these ideas will work and people should wake up, b/c this is not the first time they are trying to stop this “minhag”



  13. To American Rabbi: again, what about support? How much, for how long? Because not only is there the need for support in kollel, but for the transitional years too. This is an American issue.

  14. that’s right # 15! yehuda and shomron and the south, yerucham, netivot, dimona. someone must take the plunge! jerusalem, telz stone, beit shemesh, brachfeld/kiryat sefer are too expensive.

  15. mazal tov #2 – the charedi community is much bigger than the shaarei chesed and sorotzkin communities. the types of familes that this article is talking abut do not put on weddings that cost $100,000. a normal charedi family puts on a much lower

    i am sorry to break it to you but most of them dont work — how do i know??? — just look at the statistics, yerushalayim and bnei brak are the poorest cities in israel. the best way to be poor is to not have a living.

    i know that i will probably get a lot of flack for what im about to write but im going to do it anyways.

    the problem is that nobody wants to work. all of these bochrim (even the ones who arent so good at learning) feel that they deserve a huge wedding,dira etc etc. and guess what – this goes beyond yerushalayim and bnei brak problem exists in lakewood and brooklyn also. how often do i see son in laws from lakewood coming back to brooklyn who then who then have the chutzpah to make comments to their father in laws (who are supporting them) about how hard it is to sit and learn and how the father in law has it easy. i know guys in brooklyn who have to make money to support 30+ people because of his 11 children and their husbands and then their children.

    the expectations for weddings should be lower but again people should realize that having a parnassa is not an issur and it is not a mitzvah to be poor

  16. To 13: you ask how many Americans start off like that. Well, they don’t get it upfront but many are on the 5 year plan of 1000 – 1200+ a month for 5 years. Do the math. (And throwing in a house is not unheard of.)

  17. to #18, I meant $100,000 for a dira, not for a wedding! I have a relative in Bnei Brak who who was asked that much to marry off her daughter


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