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Is a person to be blamed for being in poverty?
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ssspectacular




 
 
 


Post  Wed, Jan 09 2019, 5:38 pm
There's such a negative attitude here against a certain segment of our society. Before we criticize people , we might do well to remember that Torah scholars and tinokos shel bais rabban (young children) literally support the world. Earning money is a means to this end. Let's not confuse the means and the end.
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amother




Teal


Post  Wed, Jan 09 2019, 7:20 pm
ShishKabob wrote:
One of the aspects of my question is, do people really think that they have a power or a choice in regard to making or not making money? hence either resulting in poverty or not.

I think in the majority of cases, the poor person is not to be blamed for his circumstances.
But here and there you do find cases of learned helplessness.
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flowerpower




 
 
 


Post  Wed, Jan 09 2019, 7:38 pm
ssspectacular wrote:
There's such a negative attitude here against a certain segment of our society. Before we criticize people , we might do well to remember that Torah scholars and tinokos shel bais rabban (young children) literally support the world. Earning money is a means to this end. Let's not confuse the means and the end.


👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻
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amother




Wheat


Post  Wed, Jan 09 2019, 7:46 pm
I'm not sure this thread is going anywhere because I think everyone is either in complete agreement or unresolvable disagreement.

1. We all agree that someone who us poor as a result of illness, death, abuse, mental health issues.....it's not their fault.
2. A couple decides to have 10+ kids while making very little money, joining all the programs as a means to survive. They are poor and will likely always be poor. Is this their fault? I have a feeling nobody is switching sides on this one.
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flowerpower




 
 
 


Post  Wed, Jan 09 2019, 10:38 pm
Well... when some people on this site who feel that they are extremely openminded saw this question all they thought about was one thing... we saw it in a few responses very strong. But the truth is... in the REAL world it’s not always their fault because-

Not everyone can get a degree for various reasons
Even if someone has a degree they may still have a very hard time finding a job
Some are depressed and can’t function on a day to day basis
Some got injured and can’t work for a few months at least
Some are struggling with chronic illnesess and can’t work
Some are sick r”l and are busy getting treatment
The couple gets divorced and that is eating up their savings plus....
The breadwinner suddenly dies
Some are just a shlemazel
Etc
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amother




Royalblue


Post  Thu, Jan 10 2019, 12:41 am
My husband is extremely talented and capable Bh! People have privately approached him and offered to find him in law school etc, back him financially if he were to open a business.

But...
He’s a rabbi and invested in our community as a mechanech, a rabbi etc... which he is really excellent at.

So we will never be rich.

I work part time and have a few little kids.

We could have made different life choices that would have put us (most probably) in a top tier earning bracket. Obviously, you never know.
The company where I currently work recently offered me a full time position where I would earn significantly more than I earn now. But it would mean I could never drop or pick up my kids at school. Since my husband is also unavailable at those times, I would need to hire someone else to do that. So I decided that Bh we have a roof over our heads and food on the table, and at this point in our lives I didn’t want to work such full time hours.

I don’t get any government money, but we do qualify for tuition discounts (not so much on income, but because of my husband’s job in the school)

Maybe people think we’ve made poor choices, but we have the basics in our lives bchasdei HaShem.

Will I ever live in a big beautiful house, with wonderful furnishings? Will I travel and go on vacation like some of my friends? Will my kids have the latest trends and expensive clothing? Probably not.

We are frugal and fairly financially responsible and I hope people don’t look at us with tons of judgement
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amother




Pewter


Post  Thu, Jan 10 2019, 1:22 am
Some people are physically or mentally unable to earn a living.
Some people train in industries that become obsolete.
Particularly in the US, some people are bankrupted by medical costs.
Some people live in economically depressed areas and don't have the means to move.
Some people don't get enough of an education to get a job.

Those are cases where poverty is really just tough luck.

Sometimes poor decision making plays into poverty. Some examples:
Borrowing money to study a trade with low pay. (Beauty school graduates, for example.)
Having more children when you can't afford the ones you have.
Taking out a huge mortgage when you don't have the income to pay it back. (Crash of 2008)

It would also help if we could define poverty. You're not poor if you can't afford steak for supper every night and your kids don't have the designer clothes that are this season's must-haves. You are poor if you can't keep the heat and electricity on. In an age of easy credit, many people look richer than they are.
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DrMom




 
 
 


Post  Thu, Jan 10 2019, 2:09 am
amother wrote:
My husband is extremely talented and capable Bh! People have privately approached him and offered to find him in law school etc, back him financially if he were to open a business.

But...
He’s a rabbi and invested in our community as a mechanech, a rabbi etc... which he is really excellent at.

So we will never be rich.

I work part time and have a few little kids.

We could have made different life choices that would have put us (most probably) in a top tier earning bracket. Obviously, you never know.
The company where I currently work recently offered me a full time position where I would earn significantly more than I earn now. But it would mean I could never drop or pick up my kids at school. Since my husband is also unavailable at those times, I would need to hire someone else to do that. So I decided that Bh we have a roof over our heads and food on the table, and at this point in our lives I didn’t want to work such full time hours.

I don’t get any government money, but we do qualify for tuition discounts (not so much on income, but because of my husband’s job in the school)

Maybe people think we’ve made poor choices, but we have the basics in our lives bchasdei HaShem.

Will I ever live in a big beautiful house, with wonderful furnishings? Will I travel and go on vacation like some of my friends? Will my kids have the latest trends and expensive clothing? Probably not.

We are frugal and fairly financially responsible and I hope people don’t look at us with tons of judgement

You made conscious choices with your eyes open and a sound mind. Why would anyone have a problem with that?

But you also don't live in *poverty* (at least it doesn't sound like it).

I thought the thread was about people who live in poverty - not people who aren't rolling in tons of extra cash. Those are two very different things.
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amother




Mauve


Post  Thu, Jan 10 2019, 6:34 am
Poverty means having no money. Living on air. We are in that bracket because DH lost his job for no fault of his own. Do we buy what we NEED? Yes.
I won't go out or let my kids walk out like a pauper with torn shoes and clothing because we don't have the means. We won't eat leaves for dinner. I'm not gonna let my unfortunate innocent children live in frost throughout the night.
I also deserve to be treated to an outing or something for myself as a hardworking mother of a family, though I can't afford much.
I'm not going let ourselves be the petty of the town and show everyone, hey look, we are poor.
We are respected people and wanna keep that for our dignity. It's hard anough to deal with our situation but are careful not to show it.
Unfortunately it this point of the game, if someone will offer some money, I won't turn down the offer because we can't make it orherwise.
When you see me outside, you will never know.
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saw50st8




 
 
 


Post  Thu, Jan 10 2019, 6:53 am
Very few frum people are actually poor, but many are tuition poor. Our standard of living is really high, even in simple communities.

ssspectacular wrote:
There's such a negative attitude here against a certain segment of our society. Before we criticize people , we might do well to remember that Torah scholars and tinokos shel bais rabban (young children) literally support the world. Earning money is a means to this end. Let's not confuse the means and the end.


When I see communities of Torah scholars that don't ask for a lot of gashmius, then let's talk. Even a cheap 10k wedding is preposterous if someone is a Torah scholar. They should be saving that many for supporting their lifestyle. How many Torah scholars get married in the Rabbi's study?
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ssspectacular




 
 
 


Post  Thu, Jan 10 2019, 8:44 am
saw50st8 wrote:
Very few frum people are actually poor, but many are tuition poor. Our standard of living is really high, even in simple communities.

When I see communities of Torah scholars that don't ask for a lot of gashmius, then let's talk. Even a cheap 10k wedding is preposterous if someone is a Torah scholar. They should be saving that many for supporting their lifestyle. How many Torah scholars get married in the Rabbi's study?



There ARE numerous communities of Torah scholars who spend very little money.
Come meet my three sons who I am proud to say, are learning Torah and growing tremendously as human beings. In fact, there is a story told about the Chafetz Chaim, ztz"l. He had a granddaughter who was no longer frum. She visited him in Radin and said ," Zaidy, why dont you come and see how the world is modernizing." And she proceeded to tell him about the technological wonders that were happening. "And, " she continued. "They are building skyscrapers-really tall buildings."

The Chofetz Chaim remarked, "Zay boin buildings, ober mir boin mentchen." (They are building structures but we are building people.)

It's time to think of what really matters in life.


Last edited by ssspectacular on Thu, Jan 10 2019, 9:17 am; edited 2 times in total
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saw50st8




 
 
 


Post  Thu, Jan 10 2019, 8:59 am
ssspectacular wrote:
There ARE numerous communities of Torah scholars who spend very little money.
Come meet my three sons who I am proud to say, are learning Torah and growing tremendously as human beings. In fact, there is a story told about the Chafetz Chaim, ztz"l. He had a granddaughter who was no longer frum. She visited him in Radin and said ," Zaidy, why dont you come and see how the world is modernizing." And she proceeded to tell him about the technological wonders that were happening. "And, " she continued. "They are building skyscrapers-really tall buildings."
It's time to think about what really matters in life.
The Chofetz Chaim remarked, "Zay boin buildings, ober mir boin mentchen. (They are building structures but we are building people."


I was talking communities, you are talking specific people. Every community has wonderful and terrible people and others in between.
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ssspectacular




 
 
 


Post  Thu, Jan 10 2019, 9:01 am
No, there are specific communities. I live in NY and I can think of Emunas Yisroel in Boro Park and Bais Hatalmud in Bensonhurst. Probably there are more.
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ssspectacular




 
 
 


Post  Thu, Jan 10 2019, 9:16 am
Also, Parnossa is from Hashem alone. Look at all the government employees who have impressive degrees and are now without paychecks and no one knows how long this will last.
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Vintage




 
 
 


Post  Thu, Jan 10 2019, 12:15 pm
mig100 wrote:
no im not. if someone is responsible and does adequate proper hishtaduls- they have done their part and are not held responsible ( even if they are poor). they are not responsible for the outcomes.

if they were irresponsible- yes they are responsible for their situation.

like every aspect of life- we have to be responsible, do whats appropriate. at the same time we have to recognize that results are beyond our control.

for example, health.

is a person to be blamed for an illness or chas vahalom if hit by a crazy driver- of course not.

if a person is negligent about their health- for example ignores symptoms, doctors advice, drives at 200 miles an hour without a seatbelt, - yes they are responsible for acting irresponsible.

with parnasah- its a lot trickier- since for each person and each situation whats considered 'responsible" or "adaquate efforts" are different and a whole separate discussion.

we are not held responsible for the outcomes. we are responsible for our actions.


It springs to mind the difference between what one thinks is acceptable hishtadlus and what others looking at them think is acceptable, obviously, severe differences can emerge. Also, there are community norms, what is defined as acceptable or adequate for one group may differ for another or be skewed.

Then, there is the issue of a support system, a safety net, and what resources were invested in that individual early on? What types of opportunities become available are a convergence of events.

There is poverty (by American definition) as a way of life, a mindset, an attitude, and then there is what I would call the other end of the spectrum: a lower level of economic/material resources that are available for a length or window of time. Lack of resources can be temporary.

Does the individual have a part to play in any of this? Of course; a number of factors can be involved in the definition of hishtadlus.

When I hear the word ''blamed'' I think judgmentally condemned or accused of something. I also think of fault. Blamed I would say no, but we do all have a part to play in our circumstances and I would not say that suffering, as usually lack of resources induces at some point, is the entire fault of the sufferer, but there are consequences for everything, and sometimes we helped it along and at other times we do nothing to precipitate. As in, we are on the receiving end of another person's decision. Usually things are not all of one or the other, they are some of both and a progression over time.
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imasoftov




 
 
 


Post  Thu, Jan 10 2019, 12:22 pm
ShishKabob wrote:
Given the diverse nature that ima is, I was wondering what the popular opinion is out here.

"I don't appeal to the masses and they don't appeal to me" - Graham Parker, "Sharpening Axes"
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Fox




 
 
 


Post  Thu, Jan 10 2019, 12:44 pm
amother wrote:
I'm not sure how this is relevant to the original question. In any case, some of these statements are a deluded pat on the back.

Some of the greatest concentrations of frum populations are also the biggest drains on tax payers' money. Kiryat yoel for instance.

In Israel, the frummer cities are the poorest, requiring the most social welfare help. Tzfat, Bnei Brak, etc.

In Israel, charedi employment is much lower than the general public (51% for men right now, up from a few years ago). Where do you get that Orthodox Jews have lower unemployment? Do you have statistics to show that? Were you only speaking of a specific community in America?

Yes, we have more 'intact' families (I dislike that word, it implies that divorced or widowed families are lesser). But we have many other issues. I have a lot of experience in working with frum families in Israel on a personal level, and I can tell you that 'intact' promises nothing.

First of all, I'm definitely not commenting on the situation in Israel. I don't live in Israel, and I wouldn't presume to comment on nuances that are beyond both my experience and my ability to adequately learn about. There are a host of historical issues impacting the situation in Israel that cannot be compared to Jews is the U.S.

However, I think you have misunderstood my point. I am not drawing conclusions from single measurements of economic well-being as applied to individual communities. I am looking at overall economic activity contributed by the entire population of Orthodox Jews in urban areas. Of course, this is a harder calculation, but I suspect that what NY state spends on total government assistance and services for Orthodox Jews is dwarfed by their economic contributions.

As for "intact families," you are applying a social understanding to an economic issue. At least in the U.S., single-family homes are statistically more likely to be poor. Women who have children without being married are at significantly greater risk for poverty. Children from divorced homes are statistically more at risk for a variety of problems with economic impact, but their risks are significantly less than children born to mothers who were not married at the time of the birth.

That does not mean that children living with Single Mom A are worse off than children living with 2-Parent Family B. Even if children in Household A live in poverty, they may be better cared for than the children in dysfunctional Household B. It is a statistical average that correlates with the need for government services, including costs of things like law enforcement, incarceration, etc. It should go without saying that those statistics never should guide whether someone gets a divorce or not.

But a subgroup with a low rate of illegitimacy and a low rate of divorce compared to the general population is arguably using less resources in many categories than other groups. Should that guide policy decisions? Probably not -- at least in most cases. However, I think we should factor it when calculating the degree to which we condemn people for receiving various forms of assistance.

Which leads me back to my original point: requiring government assistance or charity is a specious measurement for Jewish economic well-being. It has less to do with limited resources and more to do with resentment that these Jews are making the rest of us "look bad."
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shoshanim999




 
 
 


Post  Thu, Jan 10 2019, 12:46 pm
ssspectacular wrote:
Also, Parnossa is from Hashem alone. Look at all the government employees who have impressive degrees and are now without paychecks and no one knows how long this will last.



I get that parnassah is from hashem and him alone. However, it's only reasonable to say that hashem runs the world with a certain teva. That means that overwhelmingly doctors make more than kollel men. It means that lawyers make more than cashiers. I disagree with those that describe the idea of parnassah being from hashem to mean that there is no connection between our financial efforts and what we ultimately earn.
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ShishKabob




 
 
 


Post  Thu, Jan 10 2019, 12:51 pm
I think that just by virtue of having larger families puts that particular segment of population into a certain category that sort of upsets the dynamics.
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Fox




 
 
 


Post  Thu, Jan 10 2019, 1:20 pm
ShishKabob wrote:
I think that just by virtue of having larger families puts that particular segment of population into a certain category that sort of upsets the dynamics.

ITA. Perhaps a question is why segments of the Jewish community resist assisting those families who are willing to undertake the work and and responsibility of bringing more Jewish neshamas into the world.
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