Trudging in the snow, it’s time for many orthodox Jews to celebrate their alleged holiday of freedom by parting with about $4000 per family member for some fancy Pesach hotel. (Do the math: including the flights, rental car, etc.) The experience is unlike anything Moses had in mind when he instructed the children of Israel to celebrate the holiday once they cross the Jordan River. I guess he was thinking that they’d simply remember the old days, tell some great stories, and share some BBQ with what seems to be a stale pita. Fast forward to 2011 and you have the Pesach hotel experience. The annual ba’al tashchis fest and 9-day long chillul hashem ordeal takes place at about a dozen of the fancier hotels in the country.
What makes it so expensive?!!!
You’d think it was the lavish outlay of food – the 24 hour a day tea room with unlimited pesadike-cake and grape juice by the pitcher. Nope.
You’d think it was the kashering and inspecting of the kitchen by a team of watchdog mashgichim with microscopes. Ha! You got to be kidding me.
The secret is revealed when you look at the guest speakers – and how many kids they have. Most of them are nobodies trailed by a brood of little nobodies who are looking for a free or cheap ride on what is an otherwise luxury-priced road to freedom. Your $3600/pp subsidizes their $0/pp (if they are a famous nobody) or their $1500/pp (if they are a nobody nobody). And you have to hear them spout out the same old crap that you can read in any Artscroll, and then hear their stories about how great their Rosh Yeshiva was.
Why can’t there be a reasonable Pesach alternative where normal Jews can enjoy a normal holiday, paying slightly more than normal prices to eat slightly less than enjoyable food. We’d be happy with it.
But noooOOOooo. We have to either pay out of our big noses (5 figures if you have kids), or slum it at home. Or worse, at a reluctant in-law who keeps a very different level of kashrus than you are really comfortable with.
Freedom, my ass. Pesach sucks when you are a grown up.