I was at a simcha last week and found myself sitting next to someone who should definitely know better. I was introduced to a woman who has strong familial ties to Washington Heights and to the Breuer's community.
Our conversation went something like this:
Her - "So where do you live?"Me - "Washington Heights."Her - "Wow! Washington Heights? That's so wonderful! Such MESIRAS NEFESH!!!!....."
I questioned this woman as to when the last time she had even set foot in the Heights. I've lived here all my life and frankly find it cleaner, nicer and safer than when I was growing up. Yes, the shul is quite a bit emptier, but does that constitute mesiras nefesh??
I have merely chosen to stay in a shul that I feel comfortable with, in a community that has "cradle to grave" service that is unparalleled. I have stayed close to my roots, because it works for me. I chose to raise my children in surroundings where rich and poor live side by side and I dare you to tell them apart - and where the most silent chesed abounds. I didn't leave "just because everybody else was doing it". You may have noticed but I've never been an advocate of doing something just because the masses were.
I think it was a little bit of escapee guilt talking if you ask me.
This woman really needs to contemplate what TRULY qualifies as mesiras nefesh.
Living in Washington Heights without a backyard (or living in Monsey without a pareve dishwasher), does NOT qualify!