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Monday, January 29, 2007

 

Gone with The Matzos!


Unless you’ve been hiding in a cave for the last few months you must’ve seen the manifold colorful and exaggerated (the best Hersher!) adds inviting you to spend Pesach in perfectly strange surroundings sharing the Yom Tov with even stranger (both meanings) people.

Cities in which a Jew dressed in his Shabbes finest are just about as familiar as extra terrestrials, have been designated as ‘ideal’ to spend Pesach in.
Places as unfamiliar to the heimishe Yid as the moon is to general mankind are turned into ad hoc places for ‘inspiring shiurim’ and ‘glatt Kosher feasts’.

If you so choose you caneven spend your Pesach in Marrakech,I bet that the feeling of freedom that is supposed to permeate Pesach is very noticeable there.

I don’t side with the popular argument that these hotels are outrageously expensive and that the money could be destined to better purposes.
Money can ALWAYS be better spent than on any luxury product or service.

That’s not the point.
If someone is fortunate enough to be a person of means then in my opinion it’s their right to spend their wealth as they see fit, even if it for whimsical and ridiculous luxuries.

I feel however that beyond financial concerns, spending Pesach away from home, and away in every sense of the word, is robbing the spirit of the Yom Tov.

The first loss is that by being a guest, it’s hard to have guests around, which to me has always been an essential ingredient to a successful Yom Tov, or regular Shabbes for that matter.

The lack of privacy at the Seder table itself is a reason to stay home, the poor kids who try to repeat something they’ve heard from their Rebbi or Morah are barely audible as the family on the right is singing one song while the kids on the left another.
Minhagim, yawns and irritation meet in Shul, everyone comes form different communities and backgrounds and that’s hard to combine into a single Minyan.

I do realize there are some undeniable benefits, however I think most of them can be attained without boarding a plane as well.

How do you feel about the Pesach Hotel Business?
image from this site

Comments:
Well, Rambam says about seudot in general, and pesach in particular (in regards to the "come, all who are hungry" that we read in the haggadah) that if one doesn't invite the poor of one's city, and only has one's family present at a holiday meal, then it ceases to be a seudat mitzvah (a commanded celebration) and is rather a seudat creiso ( a festival of the belly). IMO, that makes his opinion of such things pretty clear.

I think I have to agree. At the very least the rabbis interpreted the commandment of opening one's door to the hunry liberally to mean that it can be a spiritual hunger as well as a physical hunger. To me, that pretty much states plainly that one must invite guests. If one is outof town at a place that is not one's own, partaking of a paid-for hotel meal, then one is shirking one's requirements.
 
I have never been away for Yom Tov at a hotel and I am not interested in going especially for Pesach, I remember the good ole days sitting at my fathers seder everyone singing together and we wer all singing together ahh how wonderful those days were.. I would love for my kids to remember the same.
 
This comment has been removed by the author.
 
My family and I usually stay home for pesach. I would like to go somewhere just to see what it's like. But it's better at home.
 
I'm with you, Prag. You bring up really sound and valid points.

I love spending Pesach seders with family and friends, in the privacy of a cozy home.
 
I agree 100%
I cannot imagine pesach not spent around my father or father in law or grandfathers cozy dining room table..
 
Kol-I was sure my opinion could be backed up by important sources.
From the guest point of view it’s definitely a problem.
The whole thing is definitely not a great Chinuch method.


Heimishe-Thanks for visiting.
It’s true that there’s no comparison.
In a hotel you celebrate at a weird pace.
Everyone is at some different point in the Haggada and that’s confusing, not to mention annoying.

Lvnsm-I understand the curiosity.
And most hotels are beautiful and very pleasant to stay at.
However the spirit of being home for Yom Tov is missing.

Stacey-There’s nothing like it:)

David-Who has the honour of your visit this year?
 
I think that pesach in a hotel is just not pesach.
I know the women complain about the cooking and cleaning that goes into it, and its more 'freedom' to just sell the house completely and move into the super suite extravagant deluxe with mickey mouse.
Ahh but there lies the main issue, I read an ad years ago, something about having Goofy help your child hide the afikoman.
Gimme a break.
Thats what I want my kids to think of paysach?
Tinkerbell?
The little mermaid?
Feh!
I want them to remember tatty bending down to look with a lech under the couch
I want them to giggle when I seemingly blindly walk right past the piece of bread and wink to my oldest.
I want to remember the vehe s'umdas, sung out loud, which we would never do in a hotel.

I heard Rabbi Blumentkrantz say on the radio one year before pesach "going to a hotel is not the chinuch we want to give our children" Rabbi Blumenkrantz is NOT a chasid or a yekka or any other extreme'ish type.

forget about the 'nish mishen' chumra, that was once the standard
This is a free for all in the hotel, relying on dozens of assorted vendors and suppliers for pesach.
My upbringing was way different.
 
Why are we disussing this yet, HELP!!! Anyway I went away one yr to a hotel it was lots of fun and did not feel like Pesach. I think one yr was enough for me.
 
I don't know- I'm not sure if they would like me running through the dining room with a bucket of Ice screaming, "Hail! Hail!" and throwing cubes at my boys. Somehow I think they might frown on that.
 
im not sure how i feel about pesach in a hotel, but marrakesh is one stunning place.. id gladly go the week after pesach :)
 
I love Pessach with my family. I don´t really much like to be anywhere else not even with my husbands family, let alone a hotel with strangers! When I saw your post I was happy not to be the only thinking about Pessach so early, I already booked our flight tickets to my parents, to be sure to be with my family :D
 
I never heard of it until I was older, and I still don't like it... but I now understand a bit more why people feel they need to here and there. Some people simply need that break from actually having to *do* anything, ya know?
 
I hate being away for Pesach and in general I think hotels are horrible for any jewish occassion. It has happened that I had to be in a hotel for shabbos a couple of times and they were always horrible. Parts were nice and aspects of it were nice, but overall it is not a spiritual experience. Everybody is singing their own tunes at their own paces and it is just not good.
 
That's exactly how I felt in Italy last year!!!
This year I insisted on staying home.

(Since I didn't feel Pesach last year, that means I'm still in Mitzraim!)
 
On Pesach, we are supposed to remember that we were strangers in a strange land, right? (Insert huge dose of sarcasm here).
And some of the children feel so conflicted between what they learn in school and what they see at home, that they too feel like strangers in their very own families!!
 
I went away with my family on more than one occasion for pesach. But in no way is it the same as home. Nothing beats the feeling when you're younger of getting up during the seder and going to play cliks and having your own home at hand to be comfortable in.

On another note, I think if people like going away for pesach and it makes them feel good, then it's their hard earned money and they deserve to do whatever they want with it. I can't stand when people say, my gosh how you spend thousands of dollars on going to a hotel for pesach when you can give more tzedukkah and have guests. No one should feel pressured not to spend their OWN money.

My parents on plenty of occasions go away. Very spur of the moment they might want to decide they're going to florida for shabbos, or a hotel for pesach, and who's to tell them they're wrong for that when they give an insane amount of money to tzeddukkah?

Last note, I personally wouldn't want to waste on a hotel, but what some people call waste another person calls need.

I would still much rather be home anytime.
 
we did it one year with a little baby - it was great had a fab time but so not what I want my kids growing up with - I want what I grew up with - the atmosphere of a home made pesach can't beat it even with all the hard work and complaining.
I remember reading Kass blog last year pesach and she was spot on with her analysis and fashion/jewels parads 5 times a day.
I would do it any other yom tov but never pesach again.
 
i totally agree that those yomtov pesach hotal business is robing the meaning and taam of the yom tov, pesach is a yomtov of freedom, cheirus, where u should be a king at your home, not a guest at the hotal. hotals are made for those who can't for a valid reason make pesachdig. the families who go there for pleasure miss a opportunity of chinuch to mitzvas like no other
even shabos hagodel hotal stay is a waste, unless there is a valid reason, i remember the yiras shomayim of losing a crumb after eating shaos hagodel, its something u cant replace by teaching..\sorry for my typos
 
Good post! I agree with you that the money issue isn't the point, and frankly not anyone's business how people spend their money.

However, pesach hotel-style is definitely lacking the homey feel that we all grew up with which should be a part of Pesach.

But, hey! To each their own!
 
there is one major point here that actually failed to be adressed, and that's the kashrut. I know several young guys, my brother among them, who worked as mashgichim at hotels over pesach in their teen years, and on their advice, I'd never do it. Most of the workers in the kitchen are not Jewish and care little about halacha, which is especially strict in a Pesach kitchen; the overseeing Rabbi only comes in once in awhile and it's the teenage boys who are there most of the time, so if said boy isn't on top of them 24/7 - which is the case in many situations - the likelihood for problems are tremendous.

I definitely hear the not wanting to clean the house aspect; we usually go to our cousins in NY :)
 
Back in the 1950's, our extended family decided one year to spend the first part of Pesach at a kosher guest house in Atlantic City (pre-casinos, no way lavish). The food was great, but I, as a kid, felt completely like a fish out of water during the seders. Too much going on around us, no privacy for our group, etc. I guess the other family members were not too thrilled either, since we never tried it again.

I'm amazed that this phenomenon has escalated to today's level. Money can't buy you love, or a lot of other things that matter either.
 
You know Its funny because I posted on my blog a whole post about my Pesach Hotel memories- some fond some terrible. It can be a great expereince or it can eat you alive. Most importantly the food must be good. Check out this link it wil take you to my post about pesach hotels.
http://frumsatire.wordpress.com/2007/01/14/pesach-hotel-memories/
 
Yingerman-You are even more convincing.
Disney and Pessach have nothing in common.
I admit spending Chol Hamoed din the Disney parks would be nice but the Seder, as you said in the company of a mermaid and a standing dog, is close to ridiculous
The chinuch aspect is not even debated; I think everyone agrees it’s better at home.
It’s just that some are too lazy to invest the preparation of Pessach for the sake of their kids.

Amishav-Who wouldn’t frown on that? :)

Mookie-Yeah, it’s also a place inhabited by people whose religion orders them to kill us.

Smorgas-The adds for the hotels have been running for weeks and soon the orders for Shmurah Matzos will be filled.
It’s not too soon.

Ezzie-There definitely is room for understanding the desire to go.
But not all things considered.

Rafi-True, the mix of all types of Jews together is a nice one, but practically it’s complicated.

Kasamba-I remember your post, I couldn’t have said it better.(no one could)
This year will be double freedom, got out of Italy and out of Mitzrayim:)

It’s all good-That needs to be avoided at all costs.

Sara-I agree, people choose what they do with their money.
Big spenders are often generous with others, so that’s not a point.

Anon-The most urgent criteria for staying home is the Chinuch.
Naturally with a small toddler this is not a big deal yet.

Nuch-
Thanks for visiting, of course there are valid reasons to choose to go to a hotel.
In general tough, especially from a Chinuch point of view it’s a bad idea.

Lakewood-That’s true, except myself I’ve never tried to talk anyone out of going.
It’s their own business and money.

Miri-It’s a terrific point.
It’s near impossible to be on the lookout for ‘mistakes’ in a kitchen with 25 people.
We caught a few possibly problematic mistakes last time I was at a hotel.

Bob- Thanks for visiting.
I’m sure it was very different then, probably it looked more like a big home than some actual homes look today.
Nevertheless it’s very interesting to notice that 50 years ago the same issues existed.

Frumsatire-On my way to read it!
 
great post! i am so torn about the whole thing but when i asked my husband if he would like to away he answered no. He said there is nothing like spending the seder with family. Its all about the family. I understand that but look at all the perks! i think i wouldnt mind trying it once.
 
I have never been away for pesach-especially to a hotel. (My family also has very strict halachos concerning food on pesach) but I could never imagine not spending such a powerfull time at home with all of the family. Unfortunatly I know of a bochur who lost his mother at a young age. Ever since, he and his brother have been going to hotels for succos and pesach. He said that he craves nothing more than to be at home.
 
Chaverah-It’s interesting to experience it once, especially since you appreciate the home atmosphere that much more afterwards.

Sarachka-You’d think they get tons of invitation?
It’s very sad though, it’s not the same when such a vital person tot the family is missing.
 
I think alot of people dont even feel Pesach anymore tey just go through the motions and enjoy whatever they can out of it, instead of apreaciating what its all about
 
You make some excellent points.

But if you are like me, a Jew who lives where there are few others to share this meaningful experience, I must confess that spending Pesech among others sounds quite inviting, and for me, at least, would probably be a wonderful experience. Now whether we can afford it, and take the time off work is a separate issue.

Shabbath Shalom.
 
The laamb-Indeed, it’s like it has become a regular holiday.

Barbara-In your case I agree it could actually be an enriching experience.
Of course having a good reason does not make the financial and work related concerns disappear.
 
I dunno, I kinda like the idea of spending Pesach in exotic places. I guess it's the best time to travel because in these foreign countries you can only eat fruit anyways.
 
Lovely to stumble into your blog, even though my ethnic and religious traditions come to me courtesy of the Scots and the Sicilians. You might enjoy taking a peek at this beautiful Marrakesh blog, called My Marrakesh - http://moroccanmaryam.typepad.com/my_marrakesh/

Cheers!
- Concetta
 
Hey Prag- I just noticed that I am not on your blogroll. Was I never there? Or did you remove me?
 
I'm sorry. Isn't it all about the tuna fish anyway?
 
Lakewood-I didn't remove you, the blogroll is badly in need of an update.
 
Great post! pragmatician what do you say to there marketing tools? The aggresive exciting ads do they do a good job with peoples minds?
 
time for a new post
 
anon-You're so right!
 
Oh, OK. I look forward to the update!
 
I think both ways can be good. When I was growing up, we spent many Pesachs at a hotel in Florida, and it was great. Now that I'm an adult, I do see that a seder at home is much more cozy and intimate- although I certainly wouldn't mind going to a hotel now and then for the seder so I wouldn't have to do all the cooking, serving, and cleaning up! (although in Israel it's a bit easier as we only have one seder)
 
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