Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Simcha Budgeting Satmar Style

Someone sent me via email the following, which discusses the takanos put into place for the Satmar community as regards making a simcha. I'm not sure just how much compliance there will actually be, but at least someone is trying. Given the budgeting woes of frum people there may be something to at least ponder here.


Here are the new limits:
Even earlier, on Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan, October 11,2007, certain takanos (regulations) went into effect for all members of the Satmar community. The takanos regulated that bar mitzvah parties could only be held in Satmar's Menucha V'Simcha Hall in Williamsburg and at a kehilla hall in Kiryas Yoel. No more than 40 couples could be invited. The affairs would come as pre-arranged packages without any additions possible. Costs were as follows: 20 couples, $800; 25 couples, $875; 30 couples, $1,000; and 40 couples, $1,200. These prices included the hall, waiters, etc., and obviated the need for party-planners, flowers, hired photographers, musicians, vocalists, party favors, etc.

The new guidelines were enacted for shidduchim celebrations, chasunahs and sheva berachos. The guidelines have received wide acclamations from the Satmar community and will surely have wide-ranging effects. The new takanos are in addition to the previously enacted bar mitzvah celebration guidelines. The Satmar chassidishe community is one of the largest and its successful implementation of these takanos will very likely be replicated by the many other chassidishe communities that generally follow Satmar.

Compliance

In order to ensure compliance with the Satmar guidelines, local committees will be organized in every Satmar shul. The committees will meet and review adherence to the guidelines and provide dispensations for special circumstances. The Satmar Rebbe has invested much effort and prestige in the formulation and enactment of the takanos.

The guidelines may possibly be adjusted in wake of their reception and compliance. Additional takanos will most likely be enacted in the very near future for shalom zachors, vacht nacht-brissim and kiddush celebrations. The expressed purpose of the guidelines is to increase joy at simchas, not to diminish it. The following are the new guidelines:

Vort – Teno'im: The teno'im certificate should be read at home during the vort or at the kabbolas panim at the chasunah. At the vort, usually celebrated at the home of the kallah at the time of engagement, only light refreshments (soda, liquors, cake, and cookies, etc.) may be served. No additional event may be held to celebrate the engagement, even if only light refreshments are served.

Gifts to the kallah: Only four pieces of jewelry are to be given: a watch, pearl necklace, earrings, and an engagement ring with a cubic zircona (diamond substitute) stone. The only additional gifts permitted are a machzor, Tzenah Ur'enah, siddur, kerchief and apron. (The kerchief and apron are usually of white silk and ceremonial, used to light Shabbos and Yom Tov candles.) The engagement ring, the first gift, is to be given for the first or second Shabbos after the engagement.

Gifts to the chassan: Only four gifts are to be given: a watch, Shas, kiddush cup, and menorah. These are in addition to a tallis, tallis and tefillin bag, and kittel.

No other gifts: Except for the gifts specifically enumerated, no other gifts are permitted – not to the chassan or kallah, not to their siblings, and definitely not to their parents-in-laws. The Shabbos candelabra, if not received as a gift from other relatives, should be purchased and paid for jointly by both sets of parents.

When to give the gifts: The above enumerated gifts for the chassan and kallah shall be chosen and presented at the following times: The first Shabbos after the engagement, Rosh Hashanah, Sukkos, Chanukah, Purim, Pesach, Shavous, and the Shabbos before the chasunah, all according to the time span of the engagement.

Shtreimel: The shtreimel shall be purchased by the parents of the chassan. In accord with the recent change of attitude to the purchase of shtreimels, only one shtreimel shall be purchased at a cost no higher than $1,200.

Sheitel or head covering: These should be purchased by the parents of the kallah.

Ladies kiddush: This kiddush is no longer permitted – not at the Shabbos aufruf nor at the shul fieren (the escort of the kallah to shul on Shabbos Sheva Berachos).

Shabbos aufruf: All meals during the Shabbos aufruf are to be eaten at the home of the chassan's parents. Only the chassan's grandparents and siblings are to be invited. The future father and mother-in-law are only to be invited if they reside out of town.

Bentching at the wedding: Bentching should take place no later than 11:00 p.m.

Wedding celebration ending time: The wedding shall end no later than 1:30 a.m. At the mitzvah tantz before the kallah, the grandfathers, separately, should first dance; then all the brothers and brothers-in-law, cousins, nephews, etc., all at one time together and not individually with the chassan; then the father of the chassan; then the father of the kallah; and then the chassan.

Shabbos Sheva Berachos: This meal should ideally be eaten at the home of the kallah's parents. Alternatively, the meal should be eaten in a small catering facility. Only grandparents, the kallah's siblings, and – only if they reside out-of-town – the chassan's siblings are to be invited. In smaller families, the chassan's siblings may be invited. Other close relatives, such as those of the kallah's parents, should eat at other relatives and join the sheva berachos only for bentching. Sheva berachos at Shabbos shalosh seudos should be conducted in shul for men only. For ladies, the shalosh seudos should be conducted at the kallah's parents' home with only the grandmothers and the mothers of the chassan and kallah. During the summer months, when the Shabbos day is longer, lady guests who reside out-of-town may also be invited.

Sheva Berachos of chassan's parents: This meal should preferably be at home only. Alternatively, the meal is to be eaten in a small catering facility. Only parents and grandparents of the chassan and kallah, as well as the chassan's siblings, are to be invited. In smaller families, the kallah's siblings may also be invited. No professional (paid) badchan, gifts, music, party planners, photographer, singer, etc. are to be hired.

Other sheva berachos: Other sheva berachos should only be eaten at home and should include only the chassan and kallah, their parents, and necessary panim chadashos. After the meal, guests may be invited and only served light refreshments.

23 comments:

Chaya said...

Kind of strange about the cubic zirconium engagement rings. It seems to say that an engagement ring that is a diamond is seen as being necessary but real diamonds cost too much so everyone will get a fake diamond which will look just like a real one. Since everyone in Satmar will know they are fake and only people outside of Satmar would think they are real, why not just get rid of engagement rings completely? It's not like there is a halacha that says you have to get an engagement ring.

Anonymous said...

provide dispensations for special circumstances.

Like to maybe those who give a lot of money to Satmar so they won't have to follow the takanos but everyone else will? Why put takanos into place and at the same time say there will be exceptions? Shouldn't they wait until there is someone who needs an exception and comes to make a case?

G said...

I hope this is for real, we'll know as soon as a family member of the Rebbe makes a simcha.

Anonymous said...

My mother says that all of her sheva brochas were like what is described. The parents and choson and kallah ate together in the parent's house and then men were invited for dessert and to make the sheva brochas. None of her friends had restaurant or hall sheva brochas either. Would sure limit the number of people who have to be invited today.

anonymously said...

Most of these takanos will probably work out for Satmar. They are much more into doing what the Rebbe says. Huge community pressure to conform. Not at all sure that it would work out in the yeshivishe world or the MO world or any frum group that isn't chasidishe.

rachel said...

rethorical question: if a gift is required, is it still a gift? I always liked best the surprice part of the gift, and I find that those prerequisites somehow rob the gift part from the gift. Anyone else feels like that?

As for the rest, I think I need a review session to remember all the details. It is still a huge improvement over litvishe celebrations, but it's still a lot of parties, especially for families with 7+ kids. What happen with weddings being just that, a wedding?

Chana said...

Missing from all the takanos is one that would limit the size of the chasoneh. They tell you the limit of how many people at a bar mitzvah but not at a wedding. Got to wonder why.

Anonymous said...

Are you telling me that women don't go to an aufruf in Satmar and aren't allowed to go to the kiddush after the aufruf? What, the mother of the choson and his sisters have no achriyus to the aufruf? That part is not going to go over well if the yeshivis crowd would try these takanos.

SephardiLady said...

I'd love real stats, but I'm willing to guess there is an inverse relationship between combined income/work experience of chatan and kallah and amount of gifts received by both.

Personally I'm always happy to see a push towards greater simplicity, but the limited engagement gifts still look like a fortune to me.

Bas~Melech said...

I think this is a great thing, taking into account the cultural differences between the Satmar community and my own. However, even knowing that these differences exist, I feel iffy about the gifts. I think a more effective intervention would be to limit TALKING about the gifts to just compliments. Tell the kallah how beautiful her jewelry looks, and then shut up. If no one's talking about what so-and-so got from his/her kallah/chasan, there wouldn't be a need to regulate it. (Unlike other things that are more public, such as a fancy vort.)

michele said...

I like jewelry but I don't like pearls at all. So I'm going to be forced to accept a gift that I don't like? Shouldn't the gift be something to please the person getting it? Otherwise why bother really calling it a gift.

Anonymous said...

Anyone else notice that if the kallah is getting a fake diamond ring then the gifts to the choson are way more expensive then the gifts to the kallah? Shouldn't it be that if he gets a menora from her family that she should get lachter from his family?

ProfK said...

I did a posting not that long ago on the "yenems" disease. I think the gifts for choson and kallah are Satmar's way of controlling the symptoms even if they haven't got a cure for the disease.

Anonymous said...

Which posting?

ProfK said...

In January "The Deadly Pronouns"

David said...

I think it's too much uniformity. Why does everything need to be the same? It's enough that we have to conform to strict dress codes. I understand the need to put a cap on excessive spending, but come on...why does every single aspect of life have to be a cookie cutter.

Roni said...

Re the engagement rings, just who would know if the stones were real or not even before the takanos? And who is to say that all the rings after the takanos will be zirconia? Lots of diamond dealers in Satmar. Short of having the stone inspected for insurance would any of us really know whether our rings were diamonds or fakes?

SR said...

LOL. We were both in graduate school when we got engaged and there was no money for a diamond ring. Hubby bought me a one carat fake stone and no one ever knew the difference ever. For our 10th anneversary he bought me a real stone and no one ever knew the difference then either.

ProfK said...

Roni and SR,
Yup, people see what they want to see or what they expect to see. And maybe that's why the takanos specified that a ring has to be given and that it has to be cubic zirconium. At least on the surface everyone will be acting in accordance with the takanos. And if someone isn't it won't cause a public outrage because no one will know the difference. Sort of like having their cake and eating it too.

leahle said...

I don't get why it has to be a diamond any way. Didn't the prince of England give a saphire ring to Diana? If a prince can do it why are we so stuck on the idea of diamonds? I mean even Satmar is saying diamonds, even if they are fake diamonds.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure I would call these wedding takanos. They talk about before the wedding and after the wedding but they never actually mention how the wedding should be. So you can invite a thousand people to the wedding as long as you don't give kiddush for women to the aufruf?

Kalman said...

Have you ever seen pictures of the weddings the chassidishe Rebbes throw for their children? 4000 people in attendance, sometimes 6000? No wonder they don't mention the number of people who can come to a wedding. They wounln't be following their own takanos.

Anonymous said...

Kalman, you missed the part where the newspapers report that these were 4000 of the Rebbe's closest friends and family. I don't think I even know or have met 4000 people. I sure don't have 4000 best friends.