Voice Article

From One Hand to the Next: Spreading Simchas Yom Tov

Shmuel S., Kupas Yom Tov fund manager

Another Yom Tov season is fast approaching and we have hit the ground running. Every time a Yom Tov season rolls around, I think there is no way we’re going to top the unbelievable success of the Yom Tov before, but baruch Hashem, somehow, the results keep surpassing my expectations. It’s incredible.

When I think back to how we began, it’s mind-boggling to see where we are today; the only way to explain it is just pure siyatta d’Shmaya.

It wasn’t that long ago that we started – two and a half years, just before Pesach. The town was roiling after being hit with two tragedies right in a row: the untimely passing of Rav Shlomo Zalman Rosengarten z”l and a young boy, Eli Raitzik a”h. We felt that something needed to be done l’ilui nishmasam. Knowing the niftarim and their families, we thought the most befitting way to honor them would be to channel support toward the chashuve bnei hayeshivah by assisting with their tzarchei Yom Tov. What a zechus it would be for their neshamos and for all of the donors!

We were amazed at how the idea took off right away – support just spread through the yeshivah like wildfire. Yungeleit who didn’t have much to give were approaching us to be able to give to their friends, their chavrusos…we even had people donating who were on our list to receive. They all just wanted to have a part in the zechus of supporting bnei Torah.

The enthusiasm spread across town as well. This last Yom Tov, we raised close to $400,000! Baruch Hashem, we helped over 700 families. The numbers have just been doubling each season.

The thing is, we don’t turn anyone away. Anybody who asks for help receives it. The way we see it, the bnei hayeshivah are Lakewood’s pride.

If the crown jewels of society allow you the opportunity to partner with them before Yom Tov, even a small partnership, who wouldn’t take advantage?

Baruch D.*, financial consultant and hedge fund advisor

To be completely honest, I don’t remember every tzedakah that I give to; I rely mostly on my secretary to keep track of exact places and amounts.

But Kupas Yom Tov is different: not only do I handle this one myself, I actually drive down twice a year to hand-deliver the check, and I’ll tell you why.

Right or wrong, usually, when I give tzedakah, I feel a certain sense of pride. You know, Hashem blessed me with a certain amount of financial success, and when I sign the checks that are going to help this one or that one, I’m satisfied knowing that I’m using the money that way He would want me to. I’m being a good conduit, so to speak.

With Kupas Yom Tov, I don’t think of it as tzedakah, and I definitely don’t get that sense of pride. Twice a year, I get my wake-up call: if we’re all working in the King’s palace, I’m like the usher. I keep things moving, but I’m certainly not a high-level employee! The bnei hayeshivah – they’re the ones up in the King’s conference room. They’re sitting on jewel-covered chairs, you know? Frankly, it’s humbling.

When I bring my check, it helps me remember my place. I’m appealing to those higher-ups and saying, “Hey, remember me? When you conference with the King this Yom Tov, let Him know I’m doing a good job, too.” Of course, I can talk to Him myself, but they have that extra pull.

With my Kupas Yom Tov donation, I feel a little bit of relief in knowing that I can join, in my own way, with the King’s prized employees.

Yosef Shaul A.*, yungerman in BMG

It sounds a little funny that I give to Kupas Yom Tov, I know. Kein ayin hara, I have a large family at home and I’ve been learning in yeshivah for the past 12 years since I’m married, so despite my wife’s long hours running our home business, I don’t think you would ever accuse us of being well-off. Actually, some people might expect us to be on the recipient list of Kupas Yom Tov (between the beautiful clunk-scrape song that my car plays and the stylish faded black look of my suit, I’m not sure why they would think that…).

But we do give to Kupas Yom Tov, and truly, it’s an honor for us. Sitting in yeshivah all day, I have the great zechus of being surrounded by some of the most astounding men I have ever met. The devotion to learning, staying until long after midnight…the sheer brilliance of a kushya…the pure ahavas haTorah – the glow on people’s faces…

My chavrusos never complain to me, but I know the situation many of them face as Yom Tov approaches. It’s a struggle, and there are only so many ways the same dollars can stretch. When I write my check for Kupas Yom Tov, I honestly don’t think twice about it: I just know that there’s no better way for that money to be spent.

The only thing I wish is that other donors would realize what a difference a timely donation would make. As Yom Tov gets closer, I can feel the tension of those whose situation is still uncertain and I know it affects their learning.

Rav Menachem G.*, rosh chaburah in BMG

The energy and excitement that is felt around yeshivah for Kupas Yom Tov is a beautiful phenomenon. There is no one more deserving of a “raise” before Yom Tov than the chashuve, hard-working, dedicated yungeleit of our yeshivah.

Kupas Yom Tov distributes their funds in such a tasteful, refined manner, in such a way that is befitting of their notable recipients: the checks come through other channels, so that no one should know who received from Kupas Yom Tov. And it’s appropriate, because it’s not a tzedakah. It’s a token of appreciation from the community for the zechus to bask in the presence of yeshivaleit, and to gain the spiritual benefits thereof.

Baruch Hashem, Kupas Yom Tov has enjoyed tremendous success and I know that they would really love to be able to include even more families and give each one even greater support. It’s our hope that the community will rise in unison and spread simchas Yom Tov to the bnei Torah. Who could be more worthy?

Yoni Y., accountant and former BMG talmid

Thinking of yeshivah is bittersweet for me. It’s nostalgic because I spent five wonderful years there and the memories are special, and it’s a little sad because I still miss it. Even though I know the time was right for me to move on, I still feel a very close connection to my friends and rebbeim that are there.

When I first saw the ads for Kupas Yom Tov, it clicked for me right away that this was it: it’s a way for me to actually be a part of yeshivah again instead of just wishing I were.

Before, my connection was a one-way street. Now that I participate in Kupas Yom Tov, I have the zechus of feeling like a valuable part of yeshivah again. I can picture the yungeleit who might be benefitting from my contribution and it gives me such a lift.

For me, having been there and formed close relationships with some of the guys who are probably recipients, I always send in my donation before Rosh Hashanah. Kupas Yom Tov can’t give out what they don’t yet have, and I’ve seen yungeleit get their checks on Erev Sukkos. Sure, the help is always appreciated, but who’s first going food shopping then? Or clothes shopping? Arbaah minim?

I know that these yeshivaleit are not using the checks for some nice extras that they can run out for on Erev Yom Tov: this is going toward the bare basics.

Since joining with Kupas Yom Tov, I admit that my own Yamim Tovim have changed. After leaving yeshivah, I had a hard time reconnecting with each Yom Tov, especially the Yamim Nora’im. I always tried to learn and prepare what I could, but I still felt like something was missing. There was just a distance there.

Giving to the bnei hayeshivah through Kupas Yom Tov brought me back. Now, I feel closer to yeshivah than ever before, and as I enter Rosh Hashanah, the boost of the extra zechuyos carries me along.

To be a part of the joy of simchas Yom Tov for the bnei Torah of BMG, a check can be made payable to “Kupas Yom Tov” and mailed to Kupas Yom Tov, c/o Harav Malkiel Kotler, 521 Fifth Street, Lakewood, NJ 08701 or to Kupas Yom Tov, c/o Harav Shabsi Raitzik, 919 Central Avenue, Lakewood, NJ 08701. Donations can also be called in, 24 hours a day, to (732) 334-0050. To personally sponsor a family, please call (732) 334-0050 ext. 5 for more information.