Thursday, December 22, 2005

Please Govoha, listen

An editor I'm told choose not to print the following letter that was eventually sent to me, about Lakewood's Chinese Auction.
Ehrlichly written with the beloved Yeshiva's welfare in mind, it eloquently states what people all over are saying:

December 21, 2005
21 Kislev, 5766
Dear Editor.
I write this letter with a sense of confusion. Indeed I have tremendous regard for the Mosad HaTorah whose name is synonymous with Torah and Mesiras Nefesh for learning. I know that everything the Roshei Yeshiva and the Mashgiach Shlit”a espouse, represents mesiras nefesh for Torah and the espousal of the words of Chazal, to live with meager means and realize that our existence in this world is only temporal.
But the mixed signals I am receiving after opening this morning’s mail leaves me with a desire to speak out.
Ah! But to who?
Gossiping in shul is clearly the wrong approach. I do not want to hear the feelings that I have expressed in a sarcastic manner, or in a way that may chas v’shalom denigrate out beloved Lakewood, but it may happen.
Unless someone speaks clearly and rationally and a definitive response is offered to the public, people will gripe in an inappropriate manner. I do not want to write this letter. I am too small to criticize anything that comes from the world’s greatest Mokom Torah and I say that in all sincerity. But if there is no one who writes a letter to, I do fear that this issue will simmer in the hearts and minds of many. And
if the Yeshiva will not explain its position, it may lead to a confusion which may disillusion those who have not experienced the authentic Lakewood and what it truly represents.
The Yated Ne’eman has become a forum for serious reservations and questions, a place where one can say y‘lamdeinu Rabeinu, without the ramifications of being called a chutzpinhyak. You have an open ear to Gedolei Torah and if you feel my gripe is legitimate, please pass it on. If not crumple it up and send it to the wastebasket together with the letters of the naysayers and nudniks of the world.
I think your adroit editing and skillful scalpel has turned anger and frustration expressed by those who may not be so articulate or powerful, into the words they would like to share and the thoughts they would like to express. I hope my letter merits your attention. So here goes:
In today’s mail, I received one of the most beautiful brochures that I have ever seen. It was large and white with the majestic logo of Beth Medrash Govoah on the bottom and the word HOME elegantly printed toward the top.
I truly expected to open it and see beautiful pictures of the Ir HaTorah, the place that indeed is the HOME of Torah in America. I really looked forward to opening it and seeing how my once humble HOME has so greatly grown.
I thought I would see a HOME of a yungerman, a few children playing, others learning while, the kollel yungerman is depicted writing his chidushim.
I thought I would see the HOME of thousands of cheder children and Bais Yaakov girls, — thin institutions built for Tinokes Shel Bais Raban.
Those are the HOMES that befit the Lakewood logo.
What I saw was something that surprised — even shocked — me. I saw pictures that mirrored the most affluent homes, in the most expensive neighborhoods of Long Island and Westchester. I saw homes that, for the years that I spent in Lakewood I was told were the antithesis of the Kollel man’s ambitions and goals in life.
I make a nice living and have a nice home. But Ribono Shel Olam are you asking me that I give $50 to win $12,000 of living room furniture? Do you want me to put $7,500 moldings in fly Dining Room when my table (which seats many children) cost abit under $1000?
Why is the Mosad founded with the philosophy of minimalism encouraging extravagance?
Nice things are not the worst crime; I enjoy them as well. But they arc fitting for the type of people that need them. Was this brochure sent to me as a mistake? Was it meant for the wealthy individuals who have an important function to impress visitors because of the influence they must exhort?
This brochure was not geared for millionaires who would be living this way. These were prizes offered to the poor fellow who will spend 50-250 dollars for a chance to add a “million dollar look” to his life.. Why?
To win a room that will only contrast his current lifestyle and entice him to ‘do the rest of the house”? To have his or her spouse nag for new paintings that will match the $12,000 sofa they just won?
Recently I received a Chinese Auction Brochure from another organization. It contained elegant items as well. But they all had a place in a Jewish home. They all had a place in even a Ben Torah’s Home. There were Menoros, and Leichter and Silver Bechers. There were beautiful Meggilos and rare Kisvei Yad, and elegant Mezuza cases. Indeed they were out of my budget, but I would love to win one of those prizes and proudly display my zeh kaili v ‘anveihu, There were trips to Eretz Yisrael to meet Gedolim. I was waiting to see a chance to win summer camp or Yeshiva tuition or perhaps a year of rent in the Ir Hatorah, Lakewood.
Those were the types of items I expected from Lakewood.
Aesthetically, I must admit, the Lakewood brochure was indeed beautiful. But its main beauty was not the homes, gardens, sofas, silver vases or the state-of-the-art appliances it depicted.
It was the pictures that were interspersed between the luxurious banalities of gashmiyus, The most beautiful part of the brochure was the pictures of the Yungerlight who are moser nefesh to learn — b’dachkus that were interspersed within the world that they will never see. I was even heartened to seepictures of the regal buildings that indeed are worthy and fitting to house the Limud HaTorah through with their stately kovod HaTorah.
I surely hope that when flipping the pages of the next brochure — when prizes will be offered in an auction or as a promotion to donors — and those prizes will be interspersed with pictures of Limud Torah and Mekomos HaTorah. We will be able to say Kiyam Bazeh ma Shekasav Bazeh!
Please do not print my name.
Wth Ahavas haTorah,
I remain, A Former Lakewood Talmid, who has its welfare on his mind.
posted by Yeshiva Orthodoxy
at 8:47 PM

21 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting thoughts. Yet another mixed message from Lakewood. Perhaps it's time you looked elsewhere for inspiration, I did years ago.

5:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Come on, that's fundraising today. Take a chill.

6:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reb Ahron zck"l built this mokom Torah with his & klal yisroel's blood sweat & tears.

AK & RY's are destroying it and chaned it a UNIVERSITY for what? Power, Gelt, Kovod.

Aich'uh yosh'vuh bud'ud, ha'iir ra'bosi um hu'ysuh etc.

Is the Yated justified in any way not to air such a well written and respectfull heart aching letter?

6:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dont blame BMG,sadly this is what gets people to give tzedakah today,its money they wouldnt get otherwise if people dont have the right respect for a Yeshiva or mossad then they have to shift the fundraising to one that will talk to the masses.

8:12 PM  
Blogger Shiduchim Crisis said...

What do you expect?
Maybe Y.Shain will defend them like he defends Oorah it is the style of now

8:21 PM  
Anonymous Bitmiya said...

what's the value of all the donated money (and chinese auction prizes) that goes straight to the fundraising itself compared to the total raked in?????????????????????????
mailings??? brochures???? salarys??? dinners?? ads???
that's fundraising these days, chill!???????????????????????

11:10 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

I completely agree with the letter-writer. I have expressed those ideas exactly.
In HS, we had a shabbaton in Lakewood, and in order to entice some girls to join the community once they get married, a young woman on the panel declared that she loves living in lakewood because her husband can be learning, "and my kids and I could still wear Burberry and Sonia Rykiel." I wonder what'll happen o her when she steps out of her shallow, materialistic, pointless bubble she calls "life."

11:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

great letter-isnt BMG currently running an ad campaign for this "home" thing in the yated?? 3-4 full page ads...
BMG is paying them for this how can they publish this excellent letter in the same paper...
This letter should advise the yated to stop selling out for the sake of filling up the paper.

12:08 AM  
Anonymous SephardiLady said...

What is Burberry and Sonia Rykiel? Call me out of it, but I have never heard of these brands (?).

I enjoyed the letter to the editor and am sorry that it was not printed. (I am speaking for myself now). But, I think that the Chinese Auctions, while helping to raise great sums for tzedakah, can make a person feel inadequate. In addition, I don't like the fact that auctions play on the vice that many people have which is gambling.

These are just some of my thoughts. I've entered a number of Chinese Auctions, but am stepping back from them because I tend to find myself thinking about what I don't have when I go through the brochures, and in reality we are blessed to have a nice home with just what we need.

12:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michelle-
That woman is hurting. Do you think its easy to call your parents each time your kids need shoes??? She is painting a picture of what she wants to believe is her perfect life-while in essence she should go work and support her husband so that he can keep learning and they can live like a kolel family should-not with the nicest clothes-nicer than any working family-just cause her parents think she needs it so nice.

12:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you should check with the YATED about this letter not being printed. The date of the letter was Dec 21, 2005 That would be Wednesday, the day after the YATED was printed. Lets Give the YATED a Break they have brought mant topics to the front burner that otherwise would have been ignored.

1:44 AM  
Blogger Yeshiva Orthodoxy said...

I do not at all, whatsoever, blame the Yated.
They have lines they can't cross, quite understandably.
Thanks for letting me clarify that.

1:48 AM  
Blogger מרן ראש הישיבה שליט"א said...

However the Yated could do a better job of reporting the news in Lakewood acurately - when the Lakewood section started I was happy to see unbiased reporting - but shortly after it became a mouth peice for the Vaad (like the Lakewood Voice) with all their propoganda. Rumor has it that anything AK does not like he has RAMK call Pinny Lipshutz and complain. The only honest reporting we have is the Lakewood Shopper and even he has lines he can't cross - by the Reb Yossel Burstyn campaign wich was done with great מסירות נפש he was the victim of an orchestrated calling campaign against his publication and trying to get advertisers to cancel ads.

8:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Lakewod Shopper is an embarassment.

9:21 AM  
Anonymous NM said...

The Lakewood Chinese auction is different from most others. First, it is much more over the top than other Chinese auctions; the values of the prizes and the types fo prizes. Second, most other mosdos that run Chinese auctions are not institutions that espouse a certain lifestyle, Lakewood does - so there auction shouldn't be k'neged their hashkafos.

9:37 AM  
Blogger מרן ראש הישיבה שליט"א said...

This is a delicate issue BMG claims that it was not supposed to be sent out with Yeshivas logo or advertised rather it was supposed to say that proceeds go to bmg. Someone got all the stuff donated and set up the auction and advertised without רשות. even with the above info I am not condoning it in any way just figured to put the yeshiva version out there.

12:11 PM  
Anonymous Fotheringay-Phipps said...

I heard beshaim a Vaad guy that they called up the Yated upset about the way they were getting people riled up over the Bursztyn incident. And they agreed that all Lakewood articles would henceforth be vetted by Menashe Miller

1:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

are you espousing that for money you are allowed to do anything? Can A dishonest bussinessman say "well thats how I make a living?"
What if someone gave BMG a million dollars if I ate a cheeseburger is it allowed?

3:15 PM  
Blogger Yeshiva Orthodoxy said...

Not at all. I'm making an altogether zaytig point.

4:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In case anyone wins the furniture and can't match the rest of the house to such elegance you can go to the Closeout Connection in Grebow Plaza and buy matching elegance at yeshivasha prices.

7:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the most beautiful auction I had EVER seen. I hope the yeshiva makes a lot of money!

11:25 PM  

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