The following is a letter from two learners in Lakewood complaining about their father-in-laws. After the letter will be my response to them:
Why do I have to feel like I am being fahered every time I go to my shver's house in Brooklyn? I understand that he gives us money each month and we appreciate that very much. But does that mean that I have to be subject to questions about what I'm learning and pressured to say vertlack on the parsha every time we visit?
My in-laws are very nice people. They shower my wife, 5 children and me with gifts, they bought us a car, among other things, and graciously give us a monthly check to keep us afloat. Is that the reason that my father-in-law feels compelled to quiz me every time I come to his house? I mentioned this issue to a friend of mine who said that he experiences the same exact thing. This friend encouraged me to write this letter to the Yated. Actually, he's pushed me for months to write something, but I never got around to it.
Perhaps there is a father-in-law out here who can explain it to us. Why do you have to bombarded us with your questions on our limudim and with your vertlack on this inyan or that inyan? It is not that we aren't interested. It is just that we somehow are made to feel that we have to constantly be ready for our next "exam" when we meet you.
(This is surely not as bad as a different friend's shver who actually makes him fax a shtickel Torah to him once a month. This friend lives in Yerushalayim, while his father-in-law lives in New York.)
There are other issues about in-laws that my friend wanted me to share, but for now I think this one will suffice.
Two friends, C.R. & M.F. Lakewood, N.J.
Ok...so... I don't even know where to begin. This guy is seriously out of his mind. Here is my response to him/them
1) You have 5 kids, get yourself a job already. Pay for your own car. Shower your wife and kids with presents YOU *earned* the money for.
2) Considering that you're most likely going to say you earn the money your father-in-law gives you, because you're in kolel and you're fulfilling the mitzvah of Torah study not just for yourself and your family but for him as well, in that case, your father-in-law deserves to know that you are in actuality learning. He is after-all nothing more than a business man. He sees you as a good investment for the future of Torah in his family. Just like a stock-holder would look at the balance sheet of a company he's investing in, he needs to look into YOUR paperwork. If you cannot answer basic questions and if your answers do not make sense, and seem sloppy and careless, he will know that he should send you to work and go and support another pride less sucker. His questions are basically like "quarterly reports" and as the sole investor in your venture to "learn full-time" he has the right to irritate the crap out of you. He has the right to make sure he's invested in the right place.
3) About your friend in Yerushalayim... A fax is a fax. His father-in-law is paying the bill anyway. Its not like faxing to the US is complicated because he's not IN the US.
Chutzpah anyone? These guys are sitting and NOT working. Sucking up tzedekah dollars that could actually go to genuinely needy families. And sucking up tax dollars that could be used by families in dire financial need (sudden injury, unemployment, bankruptcy)
In all honesty, I'm in shock that the fathers-in-law are that bright to go and test their SOL. I think thats brilliant. Go figure the fathers are brilliant. Well..brilliant is an overstatment. They did afterall allow agree to pay for such nonsense from the beginning. A decent father wouldn't allow/want his daughter to marry such a guy. Oh well...thats just me.