Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Free-Rider Problem - Collateral damage of receiving free services

Guest Post by David Held (Learned at Ner Israel and Yeshivas Beis Yisroel when it was in Bayit Vegan and is an alumnus of Georgetown University Law Center.  He lives in a suburb of New York City with his family.  His parents have been members of Beth Jacob in Atlanta for over 40 years and he considers himself most influenced by R’ Emanuel Feldman of Beth Jacob, R’ Ezra Neuberger of Ner Israel and several talmidim of Rav Wolbe with whom he came into contact when learning in Israel. ]  
This is an important article, addressing an issue which is largely ignored within the Orthodox community. Despite the multiple justifications for the free services that the government or our community provides for those who can't afford it or don't have income from choice - there is a decided price that comes with the free services. This is a discussion of the price - spiritually, psychological and community unity.

44 comments :

  1. This is unfortunately nothing new.
    Chazal have numerous statements about how the possessions that one earns are far more valued than the possessions one is simply handed.
    Even when it comes to supporting the poor they have to go to the field and do the harvesting of the matnos l'evyonim for themselves.
    But feelings of entitlements are the weapon of the yetzer horo in this genertion it seems.

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  2. Well stated. Thanks for posting. Unfortunately, the people that need to hear this the most probably have no idea what the author is speaking about.

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  3. This article is premised upon major false assumptions and therefore fails to recognize that by far society's biggest "takers" are the very rich who primarily live off unearned income from land rents and land price increases and other privilege-based revenues such as patent and copyright monopolies, all of which are often concealed within stock prices and behind other financial veils.
    The Western academic "economics" establishment, which is essentially funded by this class of wealthy parasites, has been dedicated to concealing this truth since the publication in 1879 of "Progress and Poverty - An Inquiry into the Cause of Industrial Depressions and of Increase of Want with Increase of Wealth: The Remedy" by the American economist and social philosopher Henry George.
    http://www.econlib.org/library/YPDBooks/George/grgPP.html

    Also see, "The Corruption of Economics" (Georgist Paradigm series)
    http://www.amazon.com/The-Corruption-Economics-Georgist-Paradigm/dp/0856832448

    And "Neo-classical Economics as a Stratagem against Henry George"
    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/janusg/coe/!index.htm

    And "Henry George, Dr. Edward McGlynn and Pope Leo XIII", these latter works by Professor Mason Gaffney of the University of California, Riverside.
    http://www.masongaffney.org/publications/K18George_McGlynn_and_Leo_XIII.pdf

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  4. This author suggests not having more kids to save money. I thought that was assur? The only heterim that I know of to use birth control are for physical or mental health reasons. Financial reasons are no heter for birth control. So now what?

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  5. Here's another source that any truly religious person should read before opining on "takers" and "givers" in the modern economy: "The Condition of Labor" - an open letter to Pope Leo XIII by the American economist and social philosopher Henry George.
    http://schalkenbach.org/library/henry-george/THE-CONDITION-OF-LABOR.html

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  6. This essay raises a number of legitimate concerns and problems, many of which we need to be more aware of as a community.

    That being said, I see two major problems with the essay that, in my opinion, speak to a fundamental area of disagreement between the perspective of the writer and a proper Torah perspective.

    First of all, it should be understood that the poskim (SA YD 245:7, and the Rema at the end of CM 163:3) are clear that there is a basic responsibility for every Jewish community to ensure that their children receive a Torah education. While the father has the primary responsibility to pay for this education, if the father is unable to do so, the obligation falls to the community.

    Halachically, Torah education for children is seen as a basic communal need, and, in earlier times, the kehilla had the (governmentally enforced) power to tax all of its members for these purposes. The problem in our times is that the kehilla no longer has the ability to tax its members, and all support for Torah education must come either in the form of voluntary donations or as tuition. Unfortunately, in many communities voluntary donations are insufficient to cover the cost of those unable to pay, and the schools (who are left to fend for themselves) are forced to raise tuition fees on those parents that are able to pay to cover the difference.

    Thus, while we do indeed face a major problem, the problem is that many of our communities (which, as bad as the economy may be currently, are arguably the most affluent in the history of the Jewish people) are failing to provide the necessary funding for this basic communal necessity.

    This leads me to my second major problem with the essay, in that the writer clearly views the choice of having fewer children for financial reasons to be the more "responsible" choice. Thus he writes that, "families who have fewer children in an effort to act responsibly with their finances end up, through their tuition payments, financing families who do not take finances into account when having children."

    I believe that this is a basic hashkafic error on several levels. Most importantly, the idea that we not only may, but should, limit the population of the Jewish people for financial considerations is deeply problematic. As Jews - the children and servants of Hashem, our children are, first and foremost, Hashem's children, and we have no right to limit the number of His children out of short-term concerns.

    I say "short-term concerns" because, despite whatever difficulties we may face paying the bills for our children, in the long-run, if we raise our children properly, they will grow up to serve Hashem and to bring honor and glory to His Name. And then they will go on to raise such families of their own, and so on for generations. Is all of this glorification of God to be snuffed out, before it even begins, because we need to "responsible" about our finances? (Moreover, considering the point I made earlier, about our relative affluence compared to previous generations, the idea that we should suddenly now see large families as "irresponsible" borders on the obscene.)

    It is precisely due to this recognition, that "our" children are not truly our's but God's, that halacha sees the responsibility of Jewish education as falling upon the community as a whole.

    What we are really dealing with here is values and, more importantly, priorities. Thus, while the economic issues that the writer describes are quite real, and create genuine difficulties, the core problem is that, as a community, we fail to place the proper value on the importance of Jewish children and their education. It is precisely due to this incorrect attitude that we fail to properly fund our schools.

    The problem with Jewish education in our communities is not that we have too little money, or that we have too many children, but that, as a group, we tend to value the former more than the latter. When we reverse that trend the problem will solve itself.

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  7. Is there a way i can print the article?

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    1. Initially, until I see the type of response I am blocking printing.

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    2. Yes - just copy and paste into a Word document

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  8. We're all chumps, not just the 200K chump. The government takes away our money to pay for the education of other people's children while we have to find a way to pay for the education of our children with the remainder of our income.

    The 200K chump should stop blaming us lower-income chumps.

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  9. Chump makes some interesting points, but is so deep in the swamp that he didn't notice a couple of alligators. One is implicit in the free rider problem (which was first noticed in the case of public goods, such as communally owned pastures and the like; in the US legal system, non-profit institutions have some but not all of the aspects of public goods.)

    That is, since resources are not infinite, when institutions exist to distribute goods and services for which their "customers" do not pay, criteria will need to be in place to decide who gets, say, the money. If an ancient system, namely to be a crony of the one who decides isn't used, other rules will evaluate "need."

    Once those rules exist, some potential recipients (the more valuable the benefit, the more this behavior will multiply) will structure their lives to qualify for the benefit; often the more humane the goals seem, the more possible it is to meet the checklist of criteria without being part of the population the system was intended (or promoted as intending) to benefit. This is often called "gaming the system" but it is in fact structural; the system is built to be gamed.

    Therefore, as Chump notes, the tuition problems are structural. One other thing that is structural is the degradation of traditional modes of reinforcing the Jewish community. While it has been abused and mocked, nonetheless, the idea of giving an intangible – kavod – in exchange for financial support has long been part of the communal "commerce" in the Jewish world. In the system Chump describes, this has failed. Far from feeling honored for supporting Torah education, he feels dishonored and taken advantage of and thinks of himself as a chump, a freier.

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    1. Also, while lack of transparency is a problem, publishing the rules makes it easier to game them. Really, the system is the problem.

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  10. Honestly I would like to know the annual salaries of Administrators, Rebbeim and teachers in an American Jewish day school. Because something seems funky to me when a year of primary school costs as much as a year of a Ivy League University education with room and board.

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    1. I'm not sure about your equation, but I agree that the Yeshiva's should produce public financial statements that include salaries, or at least top 10 salaries.

      LazerA argued that we value our money more than our kids, and in the past since Torah education was valued more, there was no crisis. I'd like to know what the annual budget was for the Volozhin Yeshiva or Slabodka? Did they also have pizza on Rosh Chodesh?

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    2. Something may well be funky, but the costs aren't directly comparable. The Ivies have huge endowments, and count on the added value they provide over a more pedestrian education to lead their alumni to be generous with financial support.

      This has worked well for institutions whose alumni are well represented in elite and lucrative careers, and who feel that their alma maters contributed to their success both pedagogically and by providing valuable mentors and a useful social network. For primary and secondary Jewish education, your mileage may vary.

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    3. According to this article [http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2013/2/21/harvard-tuition-lowest-league/], Ivy League tuition ranges from about $18,000 to $24,000 a year. According to the end of the article, when one adds in additional costs, such as room and board, the cost is over $54,000.

      I am not aware of any Orthodox Jewish school that charges anything close to that amount. However, some of the more "elite" left-wing MO schools can exceed $20,000.

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    4. Lazer quoted me as arguing that "that we value our money more than our kids, and in the past since Torah education was valued more, there was no crisis." While that may be true, that's not actually what I said. I have no knowledge of whether or not there was a "crisis" with regard to tuition in earlier times. (In general, I think it's somewhat ridiculous how every problem is a "crisis" nowadays.)

      What I said was that never before have ostensibly frum Jews argued that a responsible family should refrain from having children due to financial concerns. This despite the fact that, if anything, we are materially far better off than any previous generation.

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    5. Many yeshivish high schools in the NYC area charge between $15-$20K all in.

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    6. Yeah, I was going off of when I was in Uni. Still, tuition in a primary school, shouldn't exceed tuitions of elite non-sectarian private schools in the US, and sadly often it does:
      http://www.capenet.org/facts.html

      There has to be a level of financial accountability.

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  11. I believe that this is a basic hashkafic error on several levels. Most importantly, the idea that we not only may, but should, limit the population of the Jewish people for financial considerations is deeply problematic. As Jews - the children and servants of Hashem, our children are, first and foremost, Hashem's children, and we have no right to limit the number of His children out of short-term concerns.
    =============================
    And the reason that we don't require marriage as soon as the children are physically able to procreate is?
    KT
    Joel Rich

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  12. RMT, I think that you are underestimating the cost of a year at an Ivy League University.

    I don't get what the point of this article was. To let us know that tuition is expensive? To let us know that some people get scholarships? To let us know that on balance, the problems are difficult to deal with?

    There is no answer that will "solve" the problem. The problem will be ameliorated by a combination of factors, such as schools discriminating on price rather than ideology, schools making cuts, schools being transparent about spending, and schools better conveying the necessity of families paying everything they can.

    I don't think that the answer is to more closely examine the financial state of scholarship recipients. Schools already ask for lots of information, including what kinds of cars parents drive, where the family vacations, where (if at all) the kids go to camp, and how often the family hires cleaning help. There is a level of intrusiveness that is not justified by the receipt of financial aid. Another such level is the decision to have children. I sympathize with the notion that some people take financial concerns into account when planning families, but it's absurd to think essentially that everyone who earns less than $160k ought to clear it with the scholarship committee before they have their IUD taken out.

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  13. I spoke to a very funny lawyer zaken (~87 yr old, goes to shacharis every morning) here in Baltimore. He says that the expression "No good deed shall go unpunished." relates to someone in the habit of accepting many chassadim from others. Each deed will not go unpunished.

    Avrohom the cousin...

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  14. Lazer, I appreciate your thoughtful response even though I do not agree with you.

    You seem to talk past the point as opposed to contending with it. It's just another way of saying that I should work harder and dig deeper to pay for other people's decisions. You say that more funding is required from the community but you do not suggest how it should be procured and where it should come from. When you say that "we fail to place the proper value on the importance of Jewish children and their education" you mean that other people aren't giving up enough money. You make my point for me - you just ignore the problem and say "more $$$$ our way".

    What is obscene is that people believe that having children without having any idea of how to pay for them is acceptable. The reason you concentrate on the long term is because (no offense) you do not have any viable plans in the short term. Hope is not a plan.

    Yoel B, yes you're right. No system that can be gamed can be called one that is respectful to its participants.

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    1. I do not contend with your point is because, as I pointed out, I agree with your understanding of the economic realities, but I believe that focusing on the economics of the issue is fundamentally missing the point.

      It is true that I don't have any real solution, however I fail to see how you have provided one either.

      Ultimately, as you make fairly clear in this comment, the only practical solution to the problem that comes from your essay is to require families with less money to have fewer children or eliminating tuition breaks entirely for poor families. Both of these solutions are probably assur (the first certainly is), and they would definitely engender far worse social discord than that resulting from our current system.

      I don't see how either of those solutions could possibly be called viable, even from a short-term perspective. From a long-term perspective, they are basically a recipe for cultural suicide.

      Moreover, while it is true that I don't have solution to the problem, I don't see that as a significant point against my arguments. The fact that there isn't a good solution to a problem does not mean that we should therefore accept bad solutions. (If any of your reading of economics has taught you anything, it ought to be that! What is socialism if not a bad solution to a real problem?)

      Unless you are actually ready to take your position all the way, and argue (a la Ayn Rand) that we should abolish all charitable giving and all communal services, there is no escaping the reality that the kinds of problems you are describing are unavoidable. There will always be people who can't afford to pay their own way, and that expense will have to be covered by others.

      While there is no question that our current system - if it can even be called that - is severely flawed, and results in serious inequities, I see no real way to solve the problem that wouldn't create far worse problems. (And exactly who would impose such a "solution" anyways?) it is the nature of the world - of golus - to have many serious problems that are not open to solution. Attempts to solve the unsolvable only make things worse. (This is a point that I have discussed previously on this blog: http://daattorah.blogspot.com/2008/08/hishtadlus-inversely-related-to-belief.html )

      In the long run - which, in my opinion, should always be the main way a Jew looks at the world - the only real solution is to change people's attitudes. As I wrote, when, as a community, we eventually come to properly value Jewish education, not just for our own kids, but for everyone, this problem would largely solve itself.

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    2. Lazer, again you're proving my point. "When, as a community," You're acting as if you're entitled to have other pay your bills. (Don't know you so sorry for saying "you".) That's my point - the entitlement mentality has infected Orthodox society.

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    3. I believe you are still missing my point. Your understanding of this issue as being one in which you are being forced to pay their bills is not the Torah perspective. As I believe I already made clear, this is a communal obligation, and therefore this not their bill, but our bill.

      There is no question that schools can do a better job of requiring payment from those who illegitimately claim poverty. And there is no question that it is grossly unfair for the entire burden to be placed on those few parents that can be squeezed for "full" tuition. As I believe I have already made clear, I take no issue with your concern about these problems.

      My issue, as I have stated several times, is with the claims that (1) that, ultimately, the "bill" for Jewish education is one that is supposed to be paid for by the parents (even if they can't afford it) and (2) that it is improper for a Jewish family to have more children than they can "afford."

      In my opinion, these two issues are actually one, in that it is precisely the failure to recognize that the raising of Jewish children is one of our most basic obligations as a nation (and not just as parents) that results in the attitude that this is "their" responsibility, not "mine".

      As I already pointed out, unless you take the Ayn Rand position that (contrary to the Torah) rejects the entire concept of charity and communal obligation, there is such a thing as a communal obligation that is shared by all. The poskim are clear that one such obligation is to ensure that every Jewish child receives a Jewish education. We are all obligated to pay for this.

      P.S. For the record, Baruch Hashem, despite the fact that I am far from wealthy, my wife and I have managed thus far to pay our tuition obligations in full (though we recently needed a short term deferral). Thankfully, the cost of tuition where I live (Lakewood, NJ) is fairly low.

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    4. As I believe I already made clear, this is a communal obligation, and therefore this not their bill, but our bill.

      if it is a communal responsibility than the community has a role (right?) in saying how it is done. there are lots of communal responsibilities and each community has to decide to how fulfill them with limited means. a community has to build a shul, that doesn't mean that you build endless number of shuls or huge, expensive ones if you don't have the funds.

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  15. LazerA - You are simply wrong. I'm not saying nobody agrees with you - plenty do, but there are many other approaches too. The Aruch Hashulchan describes the mitzvah of la'erev as follows:
    וכן ציוו חכמים שאם מכיר בעצמו שעדיין ראוי להוליד ישא אישה בת בנים אם מעמדו מספיק לפרנסם

    Rav Hershel Schachter, in the following shiur, explicitly says that it's unfair to keep having children and expect others to pick up the tab. See here, minute 12:50 onwards. His exact loshon is 'why should I pay for his children; who told him to have so many children?...sometimes the rabbaonim have to tell the baalebatim not to have so many children':

    http://www.yutorah.org/lectures/lecture.cfm/725233/Rabbi_Hershel_Schachter/Responding_to_the_current_challenges_of_the_Family_and_Community_in_crisis#

    Rav Henkin stresses that 7 children is considered an extremely large family in Tanach (by Yaakov Avinu it was from more than one mother), and on a website run by his talmidot is quoted as ruling that “(he) permits a couple that has already fulfilled the mitzvah of piryah v’rivyah (the Torah commandment to be fruitful and multiply) and has compelling reasons not to have more children, such as concerns about the woman’s health, finances or shalom bayit, to practice contraception indefinitely, (B’nei Banim II:38).

    See also the following excellent article on the halacha and hashkafa of contraception:
    http://finkorswim.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Contraception.pdf

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    1. The Aruch HaShulchan is talking about whether a widower who has already had children is obligated to remarry in order to continue having children. He is not, in any way, saying that we should instruct poor families to have fewer children. And he is certainly not saying that we should view such a families as being irresponsible and blame our social problems on them!

      (I can't speak for the other individuals you mention, other than to say that, if accurate, it simply confirms my opinion of how the attitudes of the non-Jewish world have infiltrated even into the highest levels of the Modern Orthodox community.)

      P.S. It is important to note that the "Rav Henkin" mentioned in the comment is not the famed posek, Rav Yosef Eliyahu Henkin (who almost certainly would never have issued such a psak), but his grandson, Rabbi Yehuda Herzl Henkin, who is a very different person.

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    2. שו"ת אגרות משה אבן העזר חלק ד סימן עד

      א. אין שום היתר לשמש במוך אף שכבר קיימו פו"ר ואין להם ממה להתפרנס או אפילו שיש חסרון של בריאות האשה, ורק באופן שיש חשש סכנה ממש, אפשר להתיר.

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    3. was rav moshe ruling against using any type of birth control or specifically that method?

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    4. שו"ת אגרות משה אבן העזר חלק ד סימן עא

      הנה בדבר אשר שאל מע"כ הרמה אם מכיון שהוא חולה ל"ע וקשה לפניו לגדל בנים אם מותר לישא אשה על דעת שתעשה באופן שלא תוכל להתעבר, הנה פשוט שלא שייך להתיר, דכל ההיתר שיש לפעמים ליתן הוא במקום סכנה להאשה ואיכא דברים ששייך להתיר אף שיש לה חולי שאין בה סכנה אבל צער גדול, אבל לא בשביל קושי הגידול וחוסר פרנסה וכדומה, וממילא לא שייך להתיר מצד האיש דלא שייך בו חולי וצער מצד העיבור והלידה אלא קושי מענינים אחרים. אבל אם מע"כ הרמה ירא מלישא אשה הראויה להוליד בנים, אף שאיני רואה טעם כל כך שהרי האם תגדל הבנים, יראה ליקח אשה שכבר אינה ראויה בדרך הטבע להוליד בנים שהיא קרובה לחמשים שנה או יותר, וזה הרי יותר טוב לפני מע"כ הרמה שהוא ג"כ קרוב לחמשים שנה מלישא אשה צעירה ממנו וזה רשאי אף אם לא יוכל לקיים ולערב אל תנח, מאחר שירא מזה.

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    5. Daas Torah - Interesting that you quote R. Moshe selectively. See the Igros Moshe here, os beis, where Reb Moshe allows taking contraceptive pills 'if there is a financial or any other important reason':

      http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pagefeed/hebrewbooks_org_14678_139.pdf

      Note that this case differs from the teshuvos you cited, because (a) a moch is far more halachically problematic than oral contraceptives and (b) he's talking about a couple who have already fulfilled the mitzvah of pru u'revu

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    6. actually I cited the two teshuvos that I had indexed in the Yad Moshe. You are correct that this should have been included. However it is important to note that he leaves it up to the posek to decide. To get back to the issue under discussion, there is no evidence from here that a posek would permit birth control because of difficulty paying tuition. If you have evidence for such - I would like to see it.

      שו"ת אגרות משה אבן העזר חלק ד סימן עד

      ב. ובענין לקיחת גלולות (פילען) למניעת הריון, באופן שאין סכנה בלקיחת הכדורים עצמם ובזהירות שהגלולות לא יגרמו שתראה טיפות דם, הנה אם כבר קיימו פו"ר ויש סיבה כלכלית או סיבה נחוצה אחרת, או אפילו אם לא קיימו עדיין פו"ר, רק שהאשה חלושה, יכולה לקחת הגלולות למנוע הריון מאחר שאין בזה ענין של הוז"ל =הוצאת זרע לבטלה=. ודע שבעניינים אלה צריך בכל פעם לשאול רב מובהק ואין לסמוך רק על הרופא אף שהוא ירא שמים.

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    7. I think that this is correct. Poskim are not as willing (if at all) to be matir for financial matters but could do so if there is a threat to the emotional well being of the mother. At least i've heard that from a prominent posek in Baltimore.

      But that's kind of the point: this is leading to a situation which is unstable based upon basic economics and is leading to near gezeila by baalei botim. If you jump off a cliff, Gd could repeal the laws of gravity and save you but i wouldnt count on it.

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  16. Not sure if my previous comment got through. BUt if you look at the AHS it is clear that he is talking about the mitzvah of la'erev - he says so explicitly.

    The rest of your nonsense will not be dignified with a response.

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  17. It seems to me that there are two issues involved in the decision to have fewer children. One is that each person must make an internal decision on the size of his family. The other is that the size of his family will have implications for the community so the community should have a say in each individuals family size. It might arguably be okay to tacitly advocate the first one - people should not have children that they will not be able to afford. But it is horrible to think that, frankly, rich people ought to be able to tell poor people how many kids to have.

    Additionally, it's worth pointing out that education costs far less in areas where people don't have as much money. In Lakewood, tuition is something like $5000 a kid, and that's for the baalhabatim who pay full tuition. Perhaps before accusing lower-income families of not caring about education because they have cleaning help, we should be talking about why LA, Brooklyn, Baltimore and Toronto can't figure out a way to educate kids for less than $15,000 a year.

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  18. Or maybe we could have cheaper schools.... If education were affordable we would not have to have this discussion.

    Education is at its root simply passing knowledge from person to another. All you need is a teacher, some students, and a roof.

    Suppose you have 20 students to a teacher. Now you need a room to fit all these students in. The whole community fits in the shul, lets put the school in the shul. Let's pay the teacher ~$40,000/ year, a reasonable rate. With luck that is the only real expense you a chalkboard, some paper, and some pens are very cheap.

    OK, with 20 students per teacher, and the only expense being $40k per teacher tuition comes out to be.... $2000 per student. Not a terrible sum.

    Now you may ask, what kind of education is this, we need facilities, and water fountains, and administrators, etc.... If we look at the Ivy League school, the facilities are not much different. Basically students go to class, listen, take notes, study for tests and ask their parents to pay $50k/year for an education that they could get for free using open course-ware online.

    Now one thing colleges, and schools in general, do have a lot of is administrators. I don't know what administrators do. If the school consists of teachers and students, I don't see what need there is for administrators. The teachers are there anyways, they can probably work something out for themselves.

    A Very Simple Jew

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  19. Very Simple JewMay 2, 2013 at 3:53 AM

    Why not make education cheaper?

    All that is really needed for education is a teacher and a student. Students are free. A teacher is about $40,000/year. Every community has a shul, why not make it the school as well?

    Supposing 20 students per teacher, tuition is only ~$2000 per student. If you have children every 2 years you shouldn't exceed a tuition per year of $14,000/year. That's still a hefty sum, but it is probably affordable, with a few scholarships here and some donations there.

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  20. All this seems to be an indictment on the Israeli Torah world.

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    1. No, it is not. I do not discuss the Israeli Torah world as I do not live there. I do not perceive suggesting that people consider the effects of their actions upon others (and themselves) as an indictment.

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  21. This started out well, talking about the problem of the entitlement mentality, but then it got into ideas that sound very much like the Christian "it's better to give than to receive". With all due respect to Rav Dessler, *only* receiving may be a problem, but if receiving were wrong, giving would have a problem of lifnei iveir.

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  22. In all postings, things veer off from the original topic because people have their own person spin.

    Rav Dessler (and it's not in front of me right now, so apologies if I'm citing him incorrectly) didn't say that receiving was a sin. He said that giving and receiving are much deeper questions of character. This is part of his general klal that what you do affects who you are; it's not the reverse where who you are affects what you do. I perceive the increasing acceptability of being a "taker" within the Orthodox world and yet another way that what happens in the outside world as ultimately happening within the Torah world as well.

    So, with regard to lifnei iver, if it's not a sin there should be no lifnei iver issue.

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  23. there seems to be a consensus amongst some of the people posting here that financial considerations can not be a factor in having children.

    i saw the following on cross currents:

    In a poignant teshuvah with far-reaching social implications, Rav Weiss addresses a tragic case of a gravely ill child with impaired breathing. Physicians wish to do a tracheotomy and insert a breathing tube. The age of the child requires, however, that there by non-stop supervision of the child to ensure that he does not pull out the tube. If the procedure takes place, the parents will either have to stay at the side of the child 24/7, or hire someone else to do so, which they cannot afford. The parents are prepared to forego the procedure, and daven diligently for the best. Rav Weiss reasons that the parents are simply not obligated to provide that kind of round the clock, life transforming care. Nor can they be expected to pony up huge sums of money to hire help to monitor the patient.

    Read more: http://www.cross-currents.com/archives/2013/05/03/cutting-edge-teshuvos/#ixzz2SLoOUVNz
    Under Creative Commons License: Attribution

    to me it doesn't make any sense what so ever that we can't think about money before having a child but that after the birth, costs involved can be a factor.

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