Sunday, February 23, 2014

A proposal for childless couples who want children named after them and for kadish to be said after 120 years

The following was sent to me as a serious proposal by someone I know. It is clearly acceptable according to halacha as well as the spiritual and psychological dimensions. Being childless is a very difficult situation to live with in our community, but the lack of children to carry on one's name as well as to say kaddish is at least as distressing.
People are constantly looking for chessed opportunities while others are preoccupied with the shidduch crisis. I believe I have an idea which is ,as they say,a win/win situation that can address both issues simultaneously. 
Unfortunately there are people ,especially those who have devoted their lives to chinuch,who are simply overwhelmed by the costs of marrying off their children. This is particularly stressful (if not worse) for those who live in Israel and must deal with the reality of funding an apartment. While one may criticize the system  it is not a changin’ and one muust do what they need to do. As they say in Yiddish A Breira Hust Du (do you have a choice? 
I propose that a creative soul might want to search for couples who unfortunately  do not have children (and are of the age that probably won’t) but who have the means to help parents who lack the means. In return the young couple will name some of their children after the magnanimous benefactors and will see that Kaddish is recited after their 120.
I believe this is an example of a 360 degree chessed for all involved. 
Would love to hear some thoughts on this and hearty souls willing to shadchan such a partnership.


  1. How about teaching these people to follow Chazal's ruling that a person is obligated to teach their children a trade, so that they can be financially independent?

    Is the young couple getting married going to continue this cycle of ignoring Chazal, and thus putting themselves in the same predicament that their parents are in? If so, I'm not sure that it's such an honor to have such helpless children be named after you.

    1. Torah student doesn’t seem to get the point. People who have devoted lifetimes to Jewish education (particularly students from marginally committed homes or non-committed) are unable to find shidduchim of caliber or not, for lack of means. I’m sure that those heroic mechanchim would love to see their children follow in their footsteps even if it won’t provide a full living. It would seem to me to be an honor to express gratitude to these inspired and idealistic people by trying to help them with a win/win chessed. But maybe Torah student sees them as losers who can’t get a real and lucrative job ,the type that allows for the cost of ongoing therapy that those mechanchim provide for their students gratis.
      The arguments against buying apartments for Israeli couples are known to Israel based parents better than anyone; ask them about it. But…. You can’t fight city hall and besides what it does is allows young men who have the potential to develop into the broad Talmidei Chachamim that are the life-blood of Klal Yisrael. Would we do better to focus our dollars exclusively on the best and the brightest? Gedolei Yisrael have debated it but my gut tells me that if that was the program the moneyed class would not be ready to carry the financial ball on it. So parents break their backs and sometimes their health to provide the Klal Yisrael with Talmidei Chachamim. Why be so negative about helping ?

  2. I also don't understand why evety new couple must have an apartment PURCHASED for them? Prices are sky high in Israel relative to incomes. What's wrong with renting?

  3. If the jewish world was working as it should, those kinds of things would shadchan themselves on their own.

    If the jewish world was working as it should, not childless couple or single person would feel left out and uncared for.

    If the jewish world was working as it should, there would be a natural symbiosis between childless persons and persons with many children and scarce resources.

    But this proposal sounds like a scam, just like the forms where the g'doley ha dor propose you to donate and people will pray for you, and you can just tick the box whether you prefer prayer for shidduch, children, parnassa, refua or other...

    1. Patience I thought you had mellowed when I started reading your post. But then I got your final paragraph when the supressed bitterness and contempt came out. You have much to contribute but the way you package it and your need to put someone down - severely diminishes the impact your comments make.

      I have received complaints for allowing your comments through. But I find your comments to be too intelligent and perceptive to disregard. But please moderate the bitterness, disappointment and anger and then maybe you will help the Jewish world to function like it should.

    2. I really see a big problem in those "kupat ha ir" campains, where people are asked to donate and in exchange, they get a vague promise that prayers will be said (and answered).

      In fact, I recognise that the torah-world provides many services (like she'elot and t'shuvot) free of charge. I also see that those providing services free of charge should have the resources they need for their living.

      However, there is a very fine line that should not be crossed. In my view, the kupat haIr campaign crossed the fine line.

      Let me explain: you can charge money for a service you provide. So if someone wants Mishnayot said or tehilim read, and nothing else but that, why should he not pay to have the service delivered.

      However, the Kupat HaIr campaign implied that thanks to tehilim or prayers said (at a specific place, by specific persons), wishes could come true, (like finding a shidduch, obtaining healing or income or having children).

      this, in my view, is just a despicable way of playing with the weaknesses of miserable people, who wish for certain things in their lives.

      It should not be condoned in any way, shape or form by anyone who calls himself a Rabbi.

      Rabbis might encourage hessed for it's own sake, but they should not encourage deals where lonely and desperate people get cheated out of their money.

      That's my opinion and I stand by it.

      If your blog cannot bear this kinds of opinions, just censor them and stick to your crowd.

    3. Believe me, this blog can handle MUCH crazier opinions than yours...!

    4. Your name Patience must be tongue in cheek; why have patience to find out that nobody is proposing an organization or overhead just plain old Jew helps Jew when you can sling mud (scam) first and get the facts later?

  4. RDE -

    I think you'll be interested in this JPost article by Michael Freund of Shavei Israel arguing that any of the millions of Spanish and Portugese Christians claiming a drop of Jewish blood should be considered as Jewish by Israel:

  5. The reason that I don't like the idea is that we try to educate kids/people to do things because it is the right thing to do , the שכר מצווה – מצווה and altruism , rather than the lo lishma or trying to get something out of it. I agree that the appropriate and natural response to a childless couple who have devoted themselves to supporting people in learning would be to name children after them, say kadish and learn for them. People in learning can still contribute to the lives of childless couples by befriending them , learning with them etc making them feel part of their family. This should be done because it is an expression of a value and not because it will pay dividends in the future. Like ' patience ' I don't like tying acts of charity and chesed with promises of berachot from gedolei yisroel – what's worse imho is the promise of for eg candlesticks if one makes a donation to a worthy cause. The reason we give charity is because of the inherent value of the mitzvah itself , -not the candle sticks.
    ( a more practical idea to help people in learning is as someone suggested –is revoking the cherem of rabeinu Gershon - one needs more than one father-in-law to survive today .

  6. I'm with Allan on this. Even the old school raffles have become crazy events with prizes such as apartments or megabucks.
    No Tzaddik can promise a yeshua. People who give money to a tzaddik may see a yeshua, but it's not like buying a loaf of bread.
    A lot of these tzedaka campaigns make it sound like that.
    However, regarding the proposal that was the point of this post, I think that it's a great idea. A childless couple helping out a poor couple in return for the promise of a child names after them and kaddish said after 120? What could be wrong with that?
    But there are a number of points to consider:
    * What if the couple that was helped does not have children (chalila)?
    * What if the donating couple are niftar before the parents of those who are supposed to say kaddish for them?
    And these questions actually legitimize a program like this. It's not a straight quid pro quo. And it shouldn't be presented as such. That would be it's greatest advantage!

    1. Yehuda Z brings up some interesting considerations. If the young couple doesn’t have children they should find relatives of their own to name after the benefactors or help another couple in exchange for them naming after the original benefactors.. In fact the whole exchange should be contracted through a reputable Beis Din. As far as Kaddish, again if due to minhag they cannot recite they must pay if need be to have the Kaddish recited and on Yahrzeit to appropriately commemorate nishmosom of the kind people who put them on their feet.

  7. When I learned in Lakewood (92-99), I had seen signs posted with such proposals (on an individual basis - not as a "program") a number of times.

  8. Kaddish and acting as Sheliach Tzibbur of descendants can cause merit to accrue to the deceased. There is no source in chazal that says anyone else can.

    1. This widely accepted practice is discussed in Gesher haChaim

    2. True, but a real source (ie tenach, shas, even midrash) does not exist.

  9. For whatever it's worth, I also think it's a great idea.

    @ Torah Student.
    The fact that the Chaza'l you cite isn't beinbg practiced as it should does not minimize the Mitzva of helping someone who Sof Kol Sof for whatever reason, has no means. When someone asks for financial aid, it is the time for us to open our hearts and wallets to them, not to begin judging them as to whether they keep every Chazal. The potential benefactor isn't perfect either.

    I agree that no one should promise something that is not in their ability to arrange, but Kupat Ha'ir is an organization that literally saves people from starving - men, women and children. It's hard for me to complain about the means that are used to collect money, when i don't know another way to raise the money, and the money is so desperately needed.

    But back to the suggestion made here, I'm all for it.

  10. The overhead for these kupot is well over 80%... to pay pay for the ads, exorbtant salarys of directers etc..( heard from rav ben tzin mutzafi)

    1. That's hard to believe. But if it's true, it's a scandal and needs to be exposed - 'Exorbitant salaries of directors'?! That's drinking others people's blood. But regular salaries would be fine.

  11. R' eidenson can u opload the responce from gesher hahaim?


      This is Gesher HaChaim volume 2 chapter 22

  12. While some interesting points were brought up in response to my post (which I feel I responded to adequately) no one stepped forward willing to serve as a shadchan to implement the idea. I hope someone who thinks a bit out of the box will try and help the unsung heroes of Klal Yisrael ,namely the Mechanchim

    Hatzlacha Rabba

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