Thursday, May 13, 2010

Down With Vorts! recently posted an article about Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman's call to discontinue the practice of expensive, showy vorts. Aside from the unnecessary financial burdern these events cause (which are added on top of the wedding, getting an apartment, etc), two other reasons are given:

"A letter released from the gedolim states that in addition to the unnecessary expenses of a vort, there is an issue of ayin harah as well when making a vort gathering. The event falls under the category of “Kol dovor sheyeish lo pirsum, ein lo hatzlacha - Anything that has exposure does not see success,” wrote Rav Shteinman.

A final reason for discontinuing vorts, said Rav Shteinman, is the unnecessary bittul Torah it causes for the friends of the chosson, who leave their yeshivos to attend the celebration, wasting precious hours of Torah learning to be mesameiach their friend."

The first of these other two reasons seems to say that a vort should be assur, or at least highly inadvisable, which is interesting and something that had never crossed my mind. It would seem to me that this would give the kol koreh some halachic weight to it as a means to convince people to stop having vorts.

The second makes a lot of sense, particularly from my own perspective and the recent spate of friend's engagements (there was another 5 or so in the past week) that have a vort in some far away location, necessitating lengthy travel time. It's not just bittul Torah, but bittul zman as well to schlep out here and there. At YU, the solution is pretty easy - just have an engagement party in Rubin Shul on the Wilf Campus as many people do. It's inexpensive, easy accessible and makes life easier for everyone (except perhaps the parents/immediate family who have to come in to attend - but better a dozen people at most than a hundred friends in my view).

I know this isn't exactly a new issue, since there have been previous kol koreh that talk about reducing the financial burden of weddings by eliminating vorts among other things, but what do the readers think?


  1. Is this an argument to eliminate any form of l'chaim/vort whatsoever, or to eliminate the vort but keep the l'chaim? Personally, I think there is definite value in having a l'chaim (the two sides can meet, friends and family can meet the future spouse easily, everyone gets a chance for some immediate celebration instead of waiting months for the wedding, it doesn't have to be that expensive), but hate vorts because they are unnecessary and a waste of both time and money.

  2. The financial burden of vorts is something important to consider. When it becomes the norm and people expected, it puts unecessary pressure on people to live up to what expectation.

    The bittul Torah reason, on the otherhand, I find to be bothersome. I think Limmud Torah is extremely important, but as it says in Pirkei Avos, Maasim/actions are more important. It's true that going to a vort is not a Mitzvah per se, but it is a nice thing to do, and brings happiness to the engaged couple. If it's not a close friend, then maybe you could argue that it is bittul Torah.

    But even if it's far away, learn Torah on the bus/train/car. Bring a sefer with you or download a shiur and listen to it. There are so many occasions when the bittul Torah argument is so valid and appropriate, and I don't think this is one of them.

    Interesting article.


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