The greatest burden I have had to encounter in the Jewish community is that of the burden of status. There are three main factors that I have found to be the most defining of ones position, authority, or even reputation. Those are:
The Jewish community, and especially the orthodox sector, is dominated by these three rungs that manifest themselves within community organizations and also in the minutia of daily life.
As an orthodox person, especially, a young person, your goal is to fit in as a model member of the community. In your youth this begins by attaining the praise of teachers and rabbi’s and developing a good reputation—a very loaded word I will try to get in to greater depth in the future—the next stage for which the entire notion of the reputation is based upon is the crucial goal of getting a good shiduch. Getting a shiduch, but a good one from “good family” no less is a very crucial. Ones entire status and by extension ones family’s is very much summed up and laid bare by the types of potential shiduch options that are presented to a young man or woman of marrying age, which is usually between 20 and 23. If you have a bad reputation upon entering marriageable age, then forget it, you’re through. No one will want you. No one in the upper echelons of the “Jewish upper class” at least.
Rich people can essentially do no harm. They are I would say worshipped. A rich mans child will receive more praise and respect than a poor mans child despite behavior or the essential content of that child’s character. Rich people are praised endlessly. If you grew up in an orthodox community (OC) then you know what I’m talking about. This is not to say that if a rich mans child and a poor mans child act up in school that they wont receive the same punishment—they may or may not—but it does mean that sins damaging to ones reputation perpetrated by a rich kid will wash away with far greater ease than a poor kids will, no question. Long after a rich kid has moved into the upper echelons of society the poor one will still be struggling to clear his good name. I am sure that this is not exclusive to the Jewish community, but I am discussing a community, which allegedly maintains itself by the dictates of a merciful and charitable God who has commanded his people to compassionately love and honor the convert, poor and orphaned. Being rich is a guarantee of social success and community worship. Not to mention protection. For example whenever an orthodox Jew steps into the lime light for some infamous reason, like the recent Rubashkin debacle, the community will draw its wagons around the person in question, poo-pooing any attempts at criticizing that person \within the community, not because the person is orthodox, but because he is orthodox and rich…