Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Those Who Go Away to Hotels For Pesach

Those who go away to hotels for Pesach, in these trying economic times, really have to be moser nefesh not to be moser nefesh.

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micha berger said...


A little more judgmental than your usual style.

אל תדון את חברך עד שתגיע למקומו

Or to put it another way: Don't those who made Aliyah judge us US suburbanites the same way? You simply can't know another person's reasons for things.


DixieYid (يهودي جنوبي) said...

Like Rav Weinberger always says, if, practicaly speaking, it is literally the only way a family can get together, or if you're going to E"Y, that's one thing, but in general, this is done so people don't have to clean for Pesach or have any mesirus nefesh. It misses the entire point of Pesach, which is all about getting rid of the chometz from our homes and our hearts. Skipping that is skipping the whole tachlis of the zman.

micha berger said...

My point is that you don't know if that's the only reason. It's one thing for a rav to tell his kehillah not to go, because you'll be "miss[ing] the entire point of Pesach, which is all about getting rid of the chometz from our homes and our hearts." It's another to apply that same notion to yenem. You don't know what's going on in other people's lives.


Anonymous said...

I think Dixie is Right.

Anonymous said...

Dixieyid is right...The simple fact that people are spending ~$5,000/family is so wrong. Stay home, spend some of the money on food and DONATE the remaining THOUSANDS of dollars to a needy family who can't even eat.

Menashe said...

My advice is to separate the behavior from the people. Surely, if they would know what we know they wouldn't make such mistakes.

And then in a real musardik spirit you can add "..and me, with what I know - how do I justify what I do?"

Anonymous said...

As Bilvavi explains in his phenomenal perush on Mesilas Yesharim: there is avoda of the head and avodah of the heart. Going away to a hotel on Pesach is avodah of the head- being m'kaim the mitzvahs. But it surely is not avodah of the heart. Home is where the heart is- not in some over priced luxurious place somewhere.

Moshe David Tokayer said...

I've seen the following compromise. Some make Pesach at home but go to a hotel for the last days. This year, for example, I know people who are home until Sunday and then will be going to a hotel for the remainder of the holiday.

Not something I would do personally, but for those who need a hotel, they get to fulfill "making Pesach" with all that it entails and still get to the hotel.

Anonymous said...

Awfully judgmental for a blog that focuses on middos and emotional growth. DY: It's easy to generalize, yet there are circumstances when going away makes sense.

Anonymous said...

In case your Intrexted RAV SCHOR on PESACH

Neil Harris said...

I've heard R Weinberger say it exactly as told by Dixie Yid. Every situation is different, and for sure, it's easier on the wives, but part of "making Pesach" is "making" Pesach.

DixieYid (يهودي جنوبي) said...


You are definitely correct that I am not a better person/Jew than someone who goes away for Pesach and everyone has their own nisyonos on their own levels.

But I wasn't discussing their or my relative level as a Jew. I'm talking about that one aspect of avodas Hashem or the desire to escape therefrom.

R' Moshe Dovid Tokayer,

It's a good idea for a compromise but it wouldn't work for the people this post was directed at. The WHOLE POINT of going away for Pesach is not having to do any avodah to get ready for Pesach. If someone stays home for the first days, it's just as much work to prepare for Pesach so going away at the end would almost be a bracha l'vatala for them.

Anon 10:05,

I addressed you point already in the first comment.

To all,

Interestingly, I told over the gist of my post to Rav Weinberger over Yuntif and he shared the following story:

Someone was bragging to him right before Yuntif that he found a great deal for going to a hotel for Pesach. It was last minute and there were aparantly a lot of empty rooms because of the economy. So the guy offered the hotel operator $3000 to accept his whole family for all of Pesach in the hotel (2 adults and 4 children). The owner yelled at him but then called him back to accept the offer soon afterward. He was so proud of himself that he had gotten such a metziah of a price for the hotel. $3000 for 6 people for all of Pesach at a hotel!

Rav Weinberger told him that even if the hotel would have PAID HIM the $3000, he still wouldn't have gone. Who would spend $3000 to sit in a prison for 10 days!

ben zeev said...

Hello all. I think all this going to hotel business is a symptom of another much bigger issue - the chumros of Pesach. And I'm not talking only about the super duper frumkeit nonsence (like cleaning the phone, the light bulbs, the toilet seat, etc.), but also about "regular" minhagim such as looking for every single crumb for example (which the Chazon Ish requires but the Mishne Brura doesn't). Not everyone is built for Chazon Ishes chumros, yet somehow too many people feel that they have to keep them. I won't be surprized that it's mostly those people that end up feeling (rightfuly so) that it's too much for them, and choosing to go to a hotel.

Pesach cleaning can really be made much simpler if we'd stick to normative halacha and leave chumros to those who can handle it. (Can handle it means that you (and your wife and kids!!!) never even think of kvetching about it - if you do, that chumra is not for you)

That's not mentioning things like kitniyos and thick matzos, but that's too much for one comment.

DixieYid (يهودي جنوبي) said...

Ben Zeev,

I like your name. It has a familiar ring!

But I think you're both missing the underlying point and taking youru point too far.

While it is definitely true that one shouldn't confuse spring cleaning with halachically required Pesach cleaning, that's not the underlying problem. One is only bothered by the avodah involved in preparing for Pesach when one already has a mentality of "ma ha'avodah hazos lachem."

The problem exists when we're either brought up or allow ourselves to have an attitude that Yiddishkeit is more of an avodah than a privilage. Even the relatively small amount of halachically required cleaning for Pesach is too much for many people because the work is not the issue. It's the underlying attitude about Yiddishkeit that we need to work on.

May we soon reach the day when we all internalize the message that "ein ben chorin ela mi she'oseik b'Talmud Torah," that no one is freer than the person involved in learning and living the Torah.

Neil Harris said...

"Yiddishkeit is more of an avodah than a privilage."

Actaully the Avodah IS the privilage. :)

micha berger said...

"Cheirus al haluchos", eh Neil?

I think this is the lesson of how we make charoses today. Ashkenazim, Sepharadim and Teimanim all make a point of charoses tasting sweet. (Although the gemara mentions vinegar, as a way to tamper the dangerous effects of wild lettuce. And horseradish was also once used.)

Think of it -- charoses looks like mortar, but once you try it, it tastes sweet. Ta'amu ure'u ki tov Hashem!

That said, while I a firmly agree that the lesson is one we must take to heart and never questioned it in this discussion, there is a problem when we use it as a criterion for judging others.

It's like bitachon. When it comes to my own welfare, it's great to have bitachon. And to make do with less -- histapqus. But when it comes to how we relate to others... Not the attitude of a baal tzedaqah to say, "They ought to trust in Hashem! They ought to make do with less!"

This lack of symmetry is one R' Yisrael Salanter wrote about frequently.


Anonymous said...

Judgmental! Obnoxious! Condescending! I love this blog!! As if you have figured out every circumstance that leads someone to go away for Pesach. As if you know that all people who go away lack avodas Hashem, or have some desire to escape their obligation to serve Hashem properly. Dixie, you can continue to serve up a hundred cute -- and perhaps true -- anecdotes about people who have the wrong intentions or go to places not conducive to kedushah. But rather than paint every person who goes away with a broad brush, be dan l'kaf zechus that there are scenarios (even beyond going to Israel or that going away is the only viable way for a family to be together) where being at a hotel makes sense. (And why is "going to Israel" OK for you while going to a frum (and far cheaper) program not? That seems to lack internal consistency.)

Neil Harris said...

Micha, Yashar Koach!

A Yom Tov to all.

DixieYid (يهودي جنوبي) said...


All true. But not judging others doesn't mean not speaking against practices and trends that are destructive to klal Yisroel. If no one speaks up against these things, the message is that it's just another legitimate option.

You have to separate speaking against the practice versus speaking against the people as people. In the case of practices that happened to be practiced by people, it's cumbersome to always re-explain the fact that you're speaking about the practice but don't presume to judge the people b'etzem. This is an assumed caveat to every post critical of destrictive practices within the Jewish community.

As you said in your first comment, the inyan of dan l'chaf zechus applies to readers of blogs too. :-)

Gut Yuntif!