We all feel as if we are taxed to death! It seems for most people that we spend more than we earn. I recently landed a great job and couldn’t believe how much I would be making especially after living in eretz yisroel and earning not even a fifth of that. But when I got my first pay cheque I cried!! I couldn’t believe how much of my $ went to taxes. I soon got over the initial shock but then once you take away mortgage payments or rent, insurance fees, car loans, clothing, food and travel expenses, what is left? For many of us, not much.
Now if that was all we had to pay for, it still wouldn’t be that bad but we still need to factor in private schools, kosher food, synagogue dues, Jewish camps, bar and bat mitzvahs, trips to Israel and the other items of Jewish life that cut into a family budget. I think the reality is that being frum is more expensive! Each year I myself am baffled by the cost of sukkos, the first year I was married it was the lulav and esrog that cost more than a day’s salary. This year it was the cost of putting up a sukkah which cost more than a months rent! I can’t even imagine what making a Seder must cost! S’is shver tzu zein a Yid – It’s hard to be a Jew.
On the other hand a lot of it boils down to values, I don’t see too many families in E’’Y complaining. And they certainly make less and have less. The question is what is important to us? I think for many of us as BT’s it is hard to shake the pursuit of certain things that the secular world tells us is important: fancy cars, big houses, the latest technology, exotic vacations. But at the end of the day we have to decide what is more important the education of our children or the pursuit of things that will never bring us happiness.