Although I barely find time to read your wonderful magazine and certainly no time to write letters, I feel compelled to respond to Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz's letter regarding hotels on Pesach. (The Greatest Threat to Yiddishkeit?)
I know Rabbi Horowitz well and have worked hand in hand with him on several occasions, dealing with "real crises," as he would call them. And no doubt, if Pesach Hotels were made for anyone, they are for askanim like him, who work tirelessly on behalf of Klal Yisroel all year, day and night, and truly deserve a reprieve over Yom Tov. And indeed, we also thank Rabbi Horowitz for bringing to our attention that those who frequent those hotels are not the gluttons we perceive them to be, but fine Yiddishe families who are entitled to spend their fortunes any way they wish. However, I must ask are we guilty of Motzi Shem Rah, or are the very hotels and our Torah oriented publications, that bombard us and our children incessantly with advertisements [featuring the likes of Rabbi Horowitz] wrapping the essence of Ruchnius with a thick coating of Gashmius, the guilty ones? What do you expect us to think of such people?
Rabbi Horowitz also contends that this is far from the biggest threat to Klal Yisroel. I beg to differ. Yes, there are certainly much bigger problems facing us individually. However, if there is any one underlying problem that our generation of Jews has, it's the Minuval Bershus haTorah syndrome (see Ramban on Kedoshim Tihu), where Yiddishkeit has become one commercial enterprise. Our Grandparents Nisayon was Shabbos or perhaps kashrus. Today we lack nothing other than authentic wholesome Yiddishkeit. And indeed the Arvuvia of Ruchniyus with Gashmiyus is perhaps our biggest challenge. Children growing up with this contradiction unfortunately make up much of Rabbi Horowitz's clientele, and he should realize this. I think he jumped too fast to defend himself for participating in these programs, and in the process missed the point.
Rabbi Chaim Cohen
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