LISTEN: R’ Ephraim Wachsman says — Stop making ‘loathed’ Vorts you cannot afford

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NEW YORK (VIN Podcast) — Are frum Jews living a lifestyle that is too extravagant? Are we spending too much on simchas, cars, travel, and other luxuries? Why are we so enamored with material wealth?

Rav Ephraim Wachsman shlit’a gave a stirring speech, urging people to live within their means and not overspend.

In this podcast episode, Yaakov M plays clips of Rav Wachsman’s speech, and provides his own analysis.

The Rav said the “most universally loathed Jewish gathering” is a vort, calling it a ridiculous waste of time and money.

Rav Wachsman said that it is time “to declare war on this terrorism”, urging people to not make fancy vorts and upsherins and other parties that they cannot afford to make.

The Rav emphasized that the need and desire to keep up with others and to amass material wealth does not reflect Jewish and Torah values.

He said that it is “choking the soul out of us”.

Rav Wachsman urged people to not succumb to the social pressure. He said, “Just don’t make a [fancy] vort…put down some pieces of cake.”

In the latest episode of the VIN Podcast, listen to clips of Rav Wachsman’s powerful and inspiring speech, and a thought-provoking analysis of his life-changing advice.

LISTEN TO THE FULL EPISODE INCLUDING CLIPS:

Yaakov M has hosted a podcast for 15 years, studied in Kollel 14 years, was a Bais Medrash Rebbi over a decade, and obtained smicha from a top Rosh Yeshiva. (Opinion do not necessarily reflect Daas Torah.) If you’re tired of boring or fake news, you will love this podcast.


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84 Comments
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Phineas
Phineas
4 months ago

Weddings and other Simchas could be simplified as well. We are hurting ourselves and each other.

Holy Moe
Holy Moe
4 months ago

A new problem, at least in BP, is extravagant Vachnachts. Instead of candies for children saying shma, it became meatboards and scotch for grown men.

kehati
kehati
4 months ago

Back in the day when I was born (mid 1940’s), medical protocol kept mothers in hospitals for 10 ten days after giving birth. Many hospitals in NY and other cities had dedicated “bris rooms” where the bris took place. Who attended?- the father, Mohel and eight other men. The “breakfast” consisted of sponge cake, and an inexpensive bottle of “mashkeh”.No omlette stations, 12 varieties of herring etc etc. And guess what? the boys were “gemalte”, and raised generations of observant children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

DumDems
DumDems
4 months ago

Who needs a vort AT ALL?
Most people who are close to the baalei simchah almost certainly called and bestowed their best mazel tov wishes.
Is it necessary to make people get babysitters, go out and waste half a night looking for an almost nonexistent parking space — all besides the thousands of dollars spent on an affair such as this, to just to repeat the same heartfelt mazel tov expressed over the phone, in person?
Is it worth all that money for those that are struggling?
“Terrorist” is too hyperbolic a term. But you get the general gist of the matter….

Mark stein
Mark stein
4 months ago

The problem unique to our community is that the wealth poeple are in the same shull and same mikvah and same neighborhoods ,whereas in the non Jewish world the wealthy live separately and only mingle with other wealth people. Out unique lifestyle is causing allot of financial pressures on the average person thatvus struggling and trying to keep up with the wealth people!!

Dav
Dav
4 months ago

I think he should announce that he will not attend fancy vorts! He must stick to his word no matter how wealthy the individual.

Mr. Cohen
Mr. Cohen
4 months ago

In March 2002, the Moetzes Gedolai Torah issued a public statement, which decreed that the Vort ceremony be COMPLETELY ELIMINATED, to reduce the cost of getting married.

That decree was published in Jewish Observer magazine, which was the official magazine of the Agudath Israel organization (at that time).

That decree was completely ignored, even by the most “Frum” Jews, and even by people who claimed total loyalty to “Daas Torah”.

Soon after, the decree was completely forgotten by everybody [except me, because my special midah is that I remember things that other people forget. Many people, both Jewish and non-Jewish, have told me that I have a “photographic memory”].

PS: We spend too much on liquor.

Rosalie J Lieberman
Rosalie J Lieberman
4 months ago

The truth is, a sizable portion of the frum communities can afford all this, and more. Amongst the mega wealthy, they have to come up with expensive, original, gorgeous arrangements to keep up with their “friends”. Then those of ordinary means, who have children in the same schools, camps, shuls, etc. feel outdone, rejected because they can’t do even a fraction of these over the top parties. Make no mistake, these are parties, not hiddur mitzvos they are performing.
Whatever happened to real friendships? To knowing the mega wealthy have obligations (many do step up to the plate) to the rest of the community, schools, and to teaching their children that even if they can afford and do spend differently than others, this is not a reason to snub, reject, whatever those of ordinary means.
And those of us ordinary folks should not feel jealous. Do we really want to be the center of unwanted attention? Of every organization, kollel, yeshiva, etc. blasting some of the very wealthy because they feel these gvirim aren’t giving them enough $? In this case, I think vorts are unnecessary. Not just because of those showing off, but in large communities, who has the time?

nisht
nisht
4 months ago

Please ban escalades.

Totally unecessary, and fiscally irresponsible.

Last edited 4 months ago by nisht
Anonn
Anonn
4 months ago

Stop the 5 nightly sheva brachos too. Family members are pressured to financially host them. In old Europe only Shabbos was an official 7 brachas.

Last edited 4 months ago by Anonn
nisht
nisht
4 months ago

My vort was in my house.

SMH
SMH
4 months ago

How about the much simpler “stop buying ANYthing you can’t afford”!

Sue B.
Sue B.
4 months ago

Well, this has to be taught to boys & girls at yeshivos, it’s they who want to emulate vorts more than their parents.

Yeah Yeah
Yeah Yeah
4 months ago

How about getting my son into to your Yeshiva?

Mike
Mike
4 months ago

Sadly yidden fell in to the
“Keeping up with the Jones”
Someyach bchelkoiy is not in style ,
Be proud that I’m not looking to impress and outdo…

REAL-VICTIMS
REAL-VICTIMS
4 months ago

I will post as many as VIN approves.

How about תקנת ר’ יהושע בן גמלא?

Every child deserves a good ‘Yeshiva’ regardless of status of affordibility.

Maybe then you wont have to talk so much about this or the Internet or many other problems. Open up your doors of the Yeshiva!

D.B. Cooper
D.B. Cooper
4 months ago

When the Rabbonim and Gedolim stop going to these affairs then, maybe, they will stop.

REAL-VICTIMS
REAL-VICTIMS
4 months ago

Time to call an end to the so called ‘מציון’ ‘Yeshiva’ terorrism, that are ‘breaking’ the hearts of very young boys, just because they dont have a very unique style of learning, a style that has been disowned by ‘almost’ every gadol in the last 500 years, the hurricain Iyuun.

If youdnt have the exact cookie cutter style of learning, dont fit 100% in that timid, obedient, gulible character then they just ‘reject’ you.

This terror on young ‘ehrliche’ boys is by far the worst Terror and it’s time Rabbi Waxman answer to that.

Last edited 4 months ago by REAL-VICTIMS
Triumphinwhitehouse
Triumphinwhitehouse
4 months ago

Will tye askanim and “community leaders” lead?

Redleg
Redleg
4 months ago

The bottom line here is, whatever happened to “hatzneah leches im Elokechah?” That doesn’t just apply to lace top sheitlach.

Old News
Old News
4 months ago

This is old news, the Rabonnim tried this 20 years ago, some people did stop vorts for a while. That is history. I just had a l’chaim in my wifes simple home, and all the people on the block baked cakes, and we had cheap schnapps. The Simcha there was much greater than by any of these stupid vorts that we are forced to shlep to.

Nowadays they collect for hachnasas kallah to pay for the vort in a hall with hot food.

Maven
Maven
4 months ago

The problem these days are that the poor or middle class are spending and living as rich.

Yiddisha Simchas must be normal and not extravagant.
Mothers and family members to dress as it suppose to be for a Simcha.
The Kahala to get real Jewelry.
The wedding to have a meal.
Music to be real.
Etc etc.

Bottom line to be normal not like nothing and not overdone!

Iyar5
Iyar5
4 months ago

This article has conveniently left out costs of Engagement Rings as well as all other gifts.
Engagement ring extravaganza also needs to be addressed.
Then so does the issue of attorneys charging exorbitant amounts of money to draw up simple regular prenups.
Please note:- I have not mentioned the Shadchan[it], because they deserve to be paid handsomely, for having performed a very loyal & challenging & vital & necessary task.

yosher
yosher
4 months ago

How about the Rabbonim taking ten dollars maximum for Mechiras Chometz and twenty, tops, for Siddur Kiddushin. Set an example.

No Name
No Name
4 months ago

What is a vort anyway – at most nowadays there is no tannoim. Usually there already was a lechaim. So it is just a party – which can be eliminated.
Every other simcha, or even most shul kiddushim can be vastly cut back.

A concerned yid
A concerned yid
4 months ago

He’s right of course. But you cant say on a Yiddishe simcha that it’s loathed. And there’s a middle ground between ” putting down some cake” and flushing money

amil zola
amil zola
4 months ago

Terrorism? Really? Hyperbole much?

Alta Bubby
Alta Bubby
4 months ago

The Rebbes, Gedolim have to LEAD BY EXAMPLE!!
cost of weddings , Bar Mitzvahs
Ridiculous

Last edited 4 months ago by Lieba
Sol Leb
Sol Leb
4 months ago

How about the fancy dinners that all the מסדות and organizations are making these days? Will he stay away from these events? I don’t think so!

Bann
Bann
4 months ago

In your post, you yourself explained why a balabus thinks he’s a rav.

anonymous
anonymous
4 months ago

Having a minhag of a chopped liver in the shape of a chicken with the eye of an olive for $10,000 is immodest. How will this get turned around when the gedolim spend fortunes to show off their kinder’s vorts?

Pearl Shifer
Pearl Shifer
4 months ago

“Back in the day” we had a “congratulations “ on Shabbos in the kallah’s house. Occasionally there would be a tanayim in the house.

Thinking Jew
Thinking Jew
4 months ago

Where can I find the original without the commentary?

Moishe
Moishe
4 months ago

The solution is to mechanech not to be jealous and not to borrow money that you don’t have, but those that have the means and it’s in their budget to spent, let them party, what else do you want them to do with their millions, hashem blessed someone with wealth they are permitted to use it, our history had many rich people they lived like kings if it’s the likes of Montefiore, or just the gevir of the city, they made elaborate weddings if you read a little of History, no one ever said that they must make weddings like The peasants so they shouldn’t be jealous of them, wealth is a blessing and could rightfully be used as one, what else should they do with the money? Oh give it away, this is such nonsense.

Adam Harishon
Adam Harishon
4 months ago

Is he grandson of גלסנר?