Sunday, January 13, 2008

Hachnoses Kallah

After a few of my friends read my post If I Rule the World I got alot of irritated emails, and phone calls. My friends are like these little idealized, brainwashed little people, who believe that everyone deserves handouts, because that somehow became "the Jewish way". I totally disagree with them. However, one story really fascinated me, and made me rethink my stance on the issue.

The story is about a lady (my friend knows her personally) who was engaged, and could not afford a big wedding. It took alot of thought and creativity, and she managed to throw a wedding for $3000. She managed to do this, by getting herself either a very cheap or free hall, through a connection she had (knew owner). Then, instead of hiring a caterer, she bought food, which she and 12 other girls got together and cooked. And her dress was cheap, because it was from a gemach.

When I heard that this girl managed to throw a wedding for herself for only $3000, I was seriously shocked and very impressed. While,I understand that not everyone is capable of having the same connections enabling them to get a hall for so cheap, it still is something to strive for. I don't see the hype in a hall anyway. Wouldn't a nice, outdoor wedding be super romantic? Why not just invite half the people, and borrow the backyards of one of your close friends. Hey, I'd let you use mine (not that it's big). I'm sure that plenty of people wouldn't mind sharing! Heck, if someone asked me, I'd probably pay for her hall just because her budget were only $3000. I'd probably also help her cook if she needed me to! All because I'd be super happy that she didn't feel like she was "owed" a live band and silk tablecloth.

Anyway, this story made me realize, that I shouldn't be so negative about hachnosses kallah, but only negative about the people that take advantage of it, by throwing themselves overpriced, luxury weddings, at OTHER people's expense!

P.S. No matter how cheap, I'd never allow a kollel couple to be funded by hachnosses kallah! You don't want to work, you don't even deserve free backyard usage from a friend!


ProfK said...

Hate to burst the bubble but that "$3000" wedding didn't cost $3000. Did the hall owner also throw in the cost of a mashgiach, without whom no food can be prepared or served in the hall? Did he also throw in the waiters? How about the people to clean up the hall so that it can be used again? No silk tablecloths but I'll bet there were tablecloths of some sort--which needed to be rented and paid for. Someone paid for the wedding alright, even if it wasn't your friend. The hall owner gave her one heck of a wedding present if he picked up all the tab. So please, her wedding didn't cost only $3000. $3000 is the part she paid.

And when the time comes, let me know how happy and "romantic" you'll find an outdoor wedding in a New York spring/summer with temperatures heading towards 80 and 90% humidity. In a 30x40 backyard if you are lucky. With a mechitza for dancing. And a city ordinance against playing loud music outside. And pigeons and mosquitos as drop in guests.

Are weddings too costly? Yes. You haven't convinced me you have the answer to that.

frumskeptic said...

profk: moshgiach? SHE COOKED HERSELF! I'm sure the owner approved of the food before it was brought in. Frum owner, frum party thrower, ALL Jews, you don't need a moshgiach.
Tableclothes? well deary, they're super cheap. who said they need to be rented? Paper or plastic tableclothes are ok if you are on a budget, and smart enough not to take out a loan.
waitors? nope, she was smart, Buffet style.
cleaning up? I'm not sure what she did exactly, but if one of my friends needed me, I would've helped clean up. Sweep, mop and everything.
Plenty of people have outdoor weddings in Brooklyn. Every once in while when I drive through boro park, there's a chupa in someone's backyard. If super frummies, who always wear black can manage the 80/90 degree weather, then so can us modern people!
pigeons & mosquitos? = instead of benchers. People will be remembering your simcha at their shabbos tables all the time!

Oh. and one of my close friends wants a BBQ as her wedding, but she feels pressured to rent a hall and everything because that is what society does. So, weddings dont have to be so expensive, its the people themselves that do it.

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

I fully agree by the way on the fact that we shouldn't let our money go to making weddings (especially overly-expensive ones) for people who are not even trying to make any money hemselves (it seems sort of cruel actually, but giving would only encourage that behavior).

Though I do feel that (against the Rambam's official opinion) there should be at least a few full time scholors in every Jewish community who's expenses are paid for by some sort of community tax.

ProfK said...

Frum owner, frum party thrower, ALL Jews, you don't need a moshgiach.

If you invite me to your home I have the choice of saying I will eat there because I know you and your kashrut level or I won't eat there because we have differing kashrut levels. A public hall is different. Any "frum" hall that allows food made in someone's home without formal kashrut supervision to be brought in and, presumably, warmed up in the hall's ovens, just because everybody is Jews or frum Jews, is not a hall I would ever patronize, and I'm somewhat left of right. Even with frum owners and on-site mashgichim there are plenty of kashrut errors that come to light. Without mashgichim kashrut would become a "hefker velt."

Those outdoor Borough Park weddings? Most likely a 2nd or 3rd wedding for one of the parties involved, or the backyard of a shtible without an opening available to the sky for the chupah. Of all the places that outdoor weddings are so not done Borough Park and Flatbush are tops on the list. 36 years of marriage, and lots of Brooklyn mishpocha, and I've only once been to an outdoor wedding--The Bronx Botanical Gardens at a price that would make the Brooklyn halls look super inexpensive by comparison.

No, weddings don't have to be as expensive as they are today. But possibly compromising kashrut is not the way to hold down expenses. The goyim have a solution to the wedding costs: they get engaged and don't get married until at least 2 years later, when they have saved up the cost of the wedding.

frumskeptic said...

The food wasn't made in her home,but IN the hall. totally different. if made in her home, I would agree with you on needing the moshgiach.

frumskeptic said...

Whats the difference if the wedding was first or second for the person. Its still outdoors. What makes one think they deserve indoors, because its only their first husband/wife? Same thing, you're getting married and plan on building a BNB. I really don't see the difference. If your parents are not wiling to pay for your wedding, for whatever reason (dont feel like it, cannot afford it, dont like that you became frum, dont like the groom etc) its up to YOU to pay for it. If you choose to rent a hall, and do everything, its your busines to pay for it, not a "hachnosses kallah" organization.

ProfK said...

If you need a reason for an indoor hall instead of outside, the CDC has one: food spoilage leading to contamination and food-borne illnesses is almost three times as likely to happen outdoors than indoors, due to the inability outdoors to control for proper cooling and heating of foods, of maintaining foods at a safe surface temperature and of air-borne contaminants that are more prevalent outside then inside. I'd say the risk of food poisoning is a pretty good reason for an indoor wedding. The CDC says that climate-controlled tenting can reduce some of the danger but not all. Priced any climate-controlled tenting lately?

frumskeptic said...

its a wedding, not an overnight affair. Its like saying carnivals should not be outdoors, or Six Flags should not have outdoor food booths. Comeon! Seriously.

Lady E said...

Profk- I hope you don't have an indoor sukkah because of the CDC.

ProfK said...

No indoor sukkah, and no food left out on the table in that sukkah either. Food is served and then brought back indoors. Anyone wanting seconds, I bring back out the food, kept at the right temperature. Until you have seen ptomaine poisoning up close and personal as we saw with food poisoning from a mayonaise-based dish on a picnic outside you have not seen super ill.

And yes, 6 flags and that ilk are a prime source of revenue for states vis a vis the fines for health violations because of food that is just that little bit off. Most people blame it on the rides when they should be blaming it on the franks.

It's nothing short of miraculous that more people are not taken ill by buying food from outdoor vendors.

frumskeptic said...

apparently my sixflags/carnival example was not a good one. afterall, a wedding lasts only a few hours, whereas the vendors outdoors stand there for more than that. Why can't we apply the same thing people do when it comes to food for sukkah, as they would do for weddings?

oh, btw. Lady E, indoor sukkah. good one :)

Frum Librarian said...

First of all, I missed your post on ruling the world the first time around but it's great! Can I be in your cabinet? Second of all, I have been thinking about weddings a lot and I think people lose sight of what's important about getting married. Which would be the MARRIAGE. Not the flowers, band, dress, or anything else. Truthfully though, I understand why someone would want her wedding day to be a spcial one. But to go into debt? Or take handouts just so you can have your fairy tale wedding? It makes me wonder how those people fare in their marriages.

tznius-lady said...

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