Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Dear Mordechai,

Do I really need to get bentchers to give out at my son’s bar mitzvah?




Dear T.,

Only if you’re serving food.

But yes, in general, people do give out bentchers at bar mitzvahs. Why? I guess because we give them out at weddings, and bar mitzvahs these days are mini weddings.

Of course, at weddings, they give out bentchers as a souvenir people can keep in their bentcher drawer forever, so that, years later, they can look at them and remember the kallah’s new last name. But at a bar mitzvah, who needs to remember the kid’s name? It’s the same as it was before. They should give out bentchers at brissim.

But the thing about bar mitzvahs is that you’re paying for the whole thing yourself, so understandably you’re looking for ways to save money. And everyone has a drawer full of bentchers at home, 50% of which have bentching in the front, and 50% have it in the back. Every time you open a bentcher, it’s a gamble, and you spend most of bentching trying to find the page, because it’s easier to open up to the middle and try to find it than to just try to look at the table of contents, which is stuck to the cover. So why do we need more bentchers?

Because unfortunately, no one thinks to bring their own bentchers to a simcha. Even though they know there’s going to be food; they expect there to be bentchers.

So technically you don’t need to give out bentchers, but if you’re not, you should probably write that on the invitation, so people know to bring their own.

And even if you’re giving them out, you don’t need to print enough for all your guests. Personally, I think that if someone’s running out before bentching, he should not get a bentcher. Maybe we should write that on the invitation.

Another good way to save money is to figure out how many sons you have, and then buy bentchers for all their bar mitzvahs at once, to get a better rate, and then just write on them, for example, “Simchas Bar Mitzvah shel Schmutter.” Why not? All their friends call them by their last name anyway. This is not a good way to save money on multiple kesubahs, though. Or wedding bentchers.

Simchas Nisuin shel Schmutter and the Rebbetzin.”

Another idea, if you’re looking to save money, is to go with a single, laminated card. Nothing sticks to anything, you can wash it in the sink, and everyone can find the page.



Dear Mordechai,

I’m not in the mood of cooking tonight. Should I get takeout, or just eat in the restaurant?



Dear Y.,

There is no good answer.

On the one hand, it’s a lot easier to send one person to get the food than to bring everyone and possibly bring your own bentchers to sit in a restaurant, in public, when you’re clearly already tired.

On the other hand, no one’s going to want to be the one person to go and schlep everyone’s food and then get asked why they forgot things like chop sticks and the correct number of ketchup packets. I don’t know why the guy at the takeout counter has to act like the little ketchup packets are coming directly out of his paycheck. I ordered $100 worth of food, why are you giving me three ketchup packets?

“Okay, so how many ketchup packets do you want?”

“Twenty-seven. It might seem like a lot, but they’re not just for now.”


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