Recently, someone was posting pleas for Hachnassat Kallah everywhere in the social media world, at least in the social media world I am part of.
I understand that Hachnassat Kallah is a very important mitzvah, it really makes sense to help those less fortunate get on their feet at the beginning of their married life. Especially in the case of a bride or groom without family support.
However, this plea really struck me as inappropriate. The writer says that they don't have beds, enough money for food monthly, or "even" a HAT to wear to the wedding!
This plea just turned my stomach. It made me think of how messed up people's priorities are. They are arranging for a HUGE wedding, with a band, and catering, and wanted a special wedding gown, a special suit and hat, presumably because that is the cultural norm. It seems to be expected that couples (or their parents, or a benefactor) will go into debt to throw a party beyond their means... Not only that, but then they refuse to accept used items, for couples who don't have enough to meet their basic needs on a daily basis.
When we first got married, I accepted used items. I still do. Without that, we'd be in trouble, as it is really hard sometimes to make ends meet, even with gainful employment. Especially in Israel.
When you tell us that the Chatan learns half a day and works half a day and cannot afford food for his family, does it really make the case that we should all give him money? Just so he doesn't have to accept the indignity of working full time?
Why not sponsor a modest backyard wedding, with homemade food, a very small crowd... and help the Chatan find a full time job? And with all the money saved - a lavish wedding costs a TON - help them get on their feet? Who needs flowers? There are so many ways to make a "simcha" on a budget, and this organization, instead of trying to turn that into a dignified answer for people who don't have a lot of money, has chosen to make it their mission to help destitute people look like they are "keeping up with the Cohens"! So misguided, in my opinion.
I was reminded of this article on Orthonomics, and I think it would be great if our communities could re-examine the way we celebrate smachot.
Here is the basic text of the plea - it is bound to be replaced with another "current couple in need" at some point soon.
Currently, while they have a hall, catering and music, they have absolutely NOTHING ELSE! They lack even cutlery and crockery for the food! There isn't a photographer at this point in time either!
bride has nobody to drive her to the Chuppah, no proper wedding dress,
nobody to help her with her make-up on the big day and not even a pair
of shoes appropriate for the wedding day! There are no flowers! She has
no special bridal chair to sit in! She lacks a veil! In short, there are
some serious basic necessities missing to make this Simcha even the
start of a true wedding Simcha! In addition, the guests - mainly the
Avreichim of the Kollel - have no way to get to the wedding. They
require a bus to take them through and we have no way at this stage to
assist them with this!
The couple lack beds for themselves, a
stove, fridge, washing machine. But more, the Chatan does not have
enough for a Tallit or even a hat! The Chatan learns half day and works
half day but his salary does not provide enough even for food each
month! They lack the basics in clothing and by no means have the ability
to purchase new clothes for the wedding!!!
We accept ANY new
items to assist all our couples - which are passed on directly to the
couple. Financial donations may also be given. Money is not usually
given directly but rather used to purchase the items the couple actually
need - and which are then given to the couple directly - much to their
If you are able to give ANYTHING to this couple (items
or Tzeddakah), you will be truly taking part in a very special Mitzvah
assisting a special couple! Financial donations can be done directly on
the website below. Anybody who has a wedding-service they could provide -
see services that are needed as above - including just coming through
to dance(!) is asked to please contact me as well. Money is not the only
thing needed here. There are real items and services that are required
to make this wedding a success! Those who can donate services or items
please contact us immediately