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Q I hope I don’t come across sounding spoiled with this question. My in-laws are taking my family away for Pesach along with all their other married children. We are going to a program, which I know can be quite expensive. I just found out that they booked one room for our family (as well as one room for each of their other children). There is no way I can manage with my husband and four children in a single room. Is it wrong for me to ask them to pay for an additional room? What if they say no? Can I refuse to go? I would honestly rather stay home than be cramped like that for the whole Yom tov.

A I think you’re asking a very fair question and I can appreciate the dilemma.  

It’s very generous of your family to offer to pay for you to go away, and yet, it’s not something you would choose to do under these conditions. While some families can manage without a lot of space, others might have a harder time. We see some families willing to fly together to distant destinations and others that would never board an airplane with their small children. I’m not judging your preference, as many times it’s just a matter of personality. 

 What are your husband’s feelings about the arrangement? I’m wondering why he is not the one asking this question.  If the two of you are on the same page, then it is merely a question of how to present the dilemma to your in-laws.  If your husband differs in opinion from you, then that must be settled between you two before you open that conversation with his parents.

 Have you found out what the cost is to purchase an additional room?  Compare that with the cost of making the entire Pesach at home.  Once you crunch the numbers, you may see that the difference is minimal.  If the difference is more significant, you might ask your in-laws to share the cost of the room with you.  Before asking, consider some of the following questions.

Do any of the other married siblings have families similar in size to yours?  How do they feel and how are they managing?  If you end up asking for a second room, will your in-laws feel they have to offer the same for their other children?  If so, that may make things more complicated for them.

No matter how you celebrate Pesach, there will be parts of the Yom Tov that require flexibility.  Some large families spend Yom Tov in their parents’ home and have to deal with very cramped quarters.  This may feel preferable to some over cleaning their own home and being responsible for all the meals.  But others may not feel that way.

A lot boils down to your overall relationship with the extended family.  There are some families who are blessed with a really special bond between siblings and cousins and appreciate the opportunity to spend the chag together.  Therefore, it becomes easier to look away from cramped quarters or extra expenses in favor of spending time together.  However, in families where that isn’t the case, the inconveniences are felt more because there aren’t enough “positives” to counteract them.

In your case, if spending Pesach with your extended family is something that you look forward to, and the small room is the only deterring factor, I would consider that you weigh the cost of a second room against what you would spend making Pesach at home.  You might be surprised at how close those two numbers are!  If purchasing the additional room is impossible or having an extended Yom Tov with your in-laws is not something that you and your husband feel very happy about, then you would need to approach your in-laws together and communicate in a respectful manner that you need to stay home this year.

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