Tsup With the Watches?

A question up at SiBaW about the obligatoriness of gifting a chosson with a watch.

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18 thoughts on “Tsup With the Watches?

  1. I would like to suggest that one possible motivation of giving a watch is to impress upon the guy that now you are responsible for your time. Before you could do as you pleased but now you have more responsibilities.

  2. A watch is an expensive gift that most men will wear, not reject as unmasculine jewelry. And many men like gadgets, and many fancy watches come with gadgets. THAT’S IT, FOLKS. It’s not some lofty religious sentiment.

  3. Why does the Kallah get a bracelet, leichter, set of machzorim, watch, sheitel…the list goes on. All us guys get is a watch, which without a doubt costs less than 50% of a ring. Besides, how else will shadchanim know were taken? 😉

  4. The leichter is a household necessity, and anyway, she gets you a tallis and bag. The sheitel is for both of you, and also because she isn’t marrying you if she can’t do it and still look presentable. Never heard of the bride getting a watch. Machzorim neither. The bracelet is cuz you can’t get a ring without fitting it and tradition has become proposing with a bracelet. You don’t have to get it. Any the other jewelry is because you have to make sure she likes you enough to marry you, and anyway, you get to look at her in it, so what are you complaining about?

    As for a watch being cheap… those things can run up to $10k easily.

  5. I personally think that bracelets are a waste of money, as far as obligatory kallah gift. (I mean, if you have the money, I’m not opposed to gift giving for the sake of giving at any time.)

    You’re already paying for the ring, you don’t HAVE to propose with another piece of jewelry that costs another couple thousand at least. I didn’t get a bracelet and I’m perfectly happy. (And StupidInventor’s mom asked me for a ring design “off the record” so his family could make sure he got what I wanted and he could still propose with the ring, which is awesome.) I also got earrings from my chosson’s family, but I honestly feel like it was because they WANTED to give me something as opposed to they felt obliged to, which I also appreciate tremendously.

    As far as the other stuff, I think it really should be depending on each person’s situation, but I think that the the fact that there is such pressure to spend so much money on stuff to the point that it has become standard, despite the high cost of living of being Orthodox Jews to begin with, is a bit ridiculous. I also feel like it forces people to spend money they don’t have — like, now, if someone doesn’t get a kallah bracelet it’s weird, and it becomes a stress as opposed to a gift and I think that’s unfortunate.

  6. C – good points. Where do families get the money for kallah bracelets, in addition to tuition, seminary, weddings and support costs for all their children and sons-in-law? Is there a slush fund that I’m unaware of?

  7. Bad4 – I didnt say that watches are cheap, but in relation to the ring, it will be. Watches range from $1000 – $10000. Rings range from say, $5000 – $20000, give or take. Now add the bracelet. Etc etc.

    As an aside, I personally proposed with a ring. Much more romantic that way 🙂

  8. Bad4- you never heard of the bride getting a watch? I never heard of a bride NOT getting a watch. In my circles, the kallah gets a bracelet by the proposal, the ring a few weeks later after she had a chance to pick out the setting, a watch, and a necklace or earrings by the yichud room. Aside from jewelry, she usually gets one sheitel, a leichter, and machzorim with her new name printed on them.
    The boy gets a watch (which can be very expensive) and with every yom tov that passes throughout the engagement and first year of marriage comes another gift (menorah, keyarah etc.)

  9. The comments have described (conservatively) $11,000 worth of gifts for the couple. ($2000 bracelet, $5000 ring, $2000 sheitel, $1000 watch, $1000 leichter – I’m leaving off the machzorim and tallis as rounding error). I’m sure most people spend a lot more. This comes on top of a $50,000 wedding and support for the young learning couple. And assume each spouse is one of 6 kids. Where are the parents getting the money? Is everyone’s zaydi loaded? If there’s a secret, you probably don’t want to let it out – but if it’s so simple that EVERYONE can afford these obligatory gifts, please share!

  10. @Tesyaa, welcome to the ponzi scheme that is kollel learning.
    (I’m not opposed to kollel, but if a guy isn’t learning some kind of trade (A Jewish trade like Rabbi, or a secular trade) while he’s learning, he’s doing a disservice to his family.)

    I can tell you the expenses for my wedding should hit well below the $11,000 (Gifts) + $50,000 (Wedding) = $61,000 mark.
    I paid for my Kallah’s engagement ring with money I myself had earned working part-time while in college, which I am now graduating from and hope to have a full-time job by the wedding. Both my kallah and I come from smaller families. Also, as stated earlier, I’m extremely happy with my awesome Mickey Mouse chosson watch! (Which I think is safe to assume is under $100)

    My Zaydi is not loaded at all, but he is by far one of the funniest people I have ever met. And to be honest, his positive outlook on life, and ability to find humor in any situation, even after going through the Holocaust and losing most of his family, has greatly inspired my own life and outlook, and is truly one of the greatest gifts I’ve been given! (He always says proudly at simchas how he’s “Richer than Donald Trump.”)

  11. StupidInventor, it’s great to see someone with your (and your zaydi’s) attitude! And wishing you a big mazal tov!

  12. Well said, StupidInventor 🙂

    As someone smack in the middle of wedding planning, I’ve found that there really are many ways to cut costs that will not take away from the simcha at all. At the end of the day, what’s important to me is the fact that I’m marrying my bashert, and I couldn’t care less if I had to walk down the aisle in pajamas. (Actually it’s way easier to pee in pajamas than in a wedding dress)

    Yes, I obviously really like my ring and appreciate any gifts that people give us, but at the end of the day, that’s not what’s important. You need to be responsible; yes, certain costs of a wedding are unavoidable, but then people should be smarter about where they are putting their money. Is it really worth it to spend money on a new set of machzorim when you can save those several hundred dollars and use the same machzor you used last year? In today’s economy and with the Jewish cost of living as high as it is, I don’t understand why people aren’t more responsible with their spending, nor why they aren’t satisfied with anything less than “the best”.

  13. How is it that every frum family is expected to afford (let’s say) $11,000 in presents plus an expensive wedding? Let’s say that non-frum people give none of these gifts except jewelry. (Sure, they buy other things, like big screen TVs – but so do many frum people, plus the frum people need an expensive custom wall unit to hide the TV). Let’s say that non-frum people generally have smaller weddings – true in my experience, in which non-frum people are blown away by the idea of a wedding with 400-600 guests. I could go on and on – Bosch mixer instead of KitchenAid on sale at Macy’s, special beds with expensive special sized linens. Of course, most non-frum people expect both spouses to be employed, at least until kids are born.

    My question – how is it that every frum family is expected to afford so much more than non-frum people? Is every frum family blessed with tremendous siyata dishmaya to afford the wedding plus obligatory gifts, and support for the young couple? (If so, why are there so many appeals for tzedaka?) What is the answer? I really hope it has nothing to do with tax evasion 😦

  14. I mean, the truth is that the cost of frum vs non frum weddings in general may be higher solely because of needs. A non frum wedding is big if it has 175 guests, but frum weddings typically do hover between 300-500 people just because of the sheer size. The fact is, certain expenses do exist in the frum world that do not in the secular world — even the cheapest shaitel is around $500, the cost of kosher meat is way expensive, and even kosher pizza is like double the cost of a nonkosher one. Could you imagine walking into Kosher Delight and getting a kosher equivalent of a Happy Meal for $2? Yeah, right!

    It’s regrettable, but frum families do have tuition to worry about plus the added pressure of having 8 kids to pay for, plus even Pesach food alone can cost in the thousands, even with coupons and savings etc. I don’t think the question is why every frum family is expected to afford more than the non-frum, but why aren’t frum families being smarter with their money, and why don’t they recognize that earning a living is a necessity, not just something you do “if you’re not cut out for the kollel system”, which automatically downgrades your entire existence.

    Special beds? I wasn’t aware those existed…I plan on getting 2 twins, haha. Anything bigger is just not practical if you have to keep on moving them apart and bringing them back together. Also, as far as special sheets go, the most “special” sheets my beds will ever have are glow in the dark planet sheets for StupidInventor. 😛

  15. tzafnas is actually correct – that is the basis for the minhag. no less than the brisker rav had a gold pocket watch gifted to him.

    the minhag has a basis, what doesn’t is the extent to which it has been taken.

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