Readers’ Matzav: Hishtadlus?


learningDear Editor,

I recently read a letter written by someone who vociferously argued that yungeleit must do something for their future parnassah, even if at the moment such action is unnecessary. Meaning, a young yungerman, learning full-time, must already involve himself in some endeavor to ensure his future parnassah is taken care of.

The Chayei Adam, who was the Vilna Gaon‘s mechutan, writes in his (2nd) hakdama: “In the generation of my youth, it never occurred to a father and mother to worry about how their child will find parnassah. Their only ambition was that their child be zoche to Torah. And it never entered the mind of one who had the ability to learn Torah, to throw off the yoke of Torah and abandon it. This never entered the minds of neither the parents nor the children.”

In Dorash Moshe (Tehillim), Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l says: “‘Ashrei ha’ish asher lo holach ba’atzas resha’im’. What is the atzas resha’im? …It is what many people who believe in Hashem and his Torah and observe the mitzvos worry and fret as to how their children, who are yet young, will find parnassa.” Rav Moshe goes on about leaving yeshiva to get a secular education, but his point is that the worrying itself about parnassa at a time when one can learn is atzas resha’im. He thus ends with, “And praised is he who trusts in Hashem Who sustains and provides for all, for even when he toils in Torah he will not lack his sustenance, as in Yirmiyahu 17:5.” This is repeated numerous times in Igros Moshe as well.

Rashi in Shemos (17:32), in explaining why Hashem commanded Moshe to preserve a jug of mon for future generations, says: “Ledoroseichem. In the days of Yirmiyahu. When Yirmiyahu rebuked them, ‘Why aren’t you toiling in Torah?’ And they said, ‘If we leave our work and toil in Torah, from where will we have parnassa?’ He [Yirmiyahu] showed them the jug of monn and told them, ‘You see…this is how your forefathers had parnassa. Hashem has many messengers with which to prepare sustenance for those who fear Him.”

When one assures us that it is simply, realistically rare to find adequate parnassa for a large family straight out of learning in kollel, he may be absolutely right. But one wonders if he has learned, internalized, and believes in this Rashi.

Let me conclude with a story heard from Rav Shalom Schwadron zt”l. A student of Rav Elya Lopian zt”l came to take leave of his rebbi. He was planning on leaving the yeshiva so as to prepare himself for parnassa. The student began by saying how his life is progressing. Rav Elya asked him, “Who said you will live?” The boy was taken aback. “Why?” he protested. “Hashem gives everyone life. Why should I think He will not give me life as well?”

Nu nu,” Rav Elya prodded. “So?”

The boy continued that he hoped to get married. Again, Rav Elya asked, who said he will get married? The shocked boy once again expressed his hope that just as Hashem helps everyone find their zivug, so too, he hoped, Hashem would help him as well.

“So?” asked R’ Elya. The student continued that iy”H he would have children. Once more, Rav Elya stopped him. “Who said you will have children?”

By now the boy was quite bewildered. Why was the rebbi scaring him so? He expressed his hope that Hashem would bless him with a family just as he blesses all families. Rav Elya prodded him again. “So?” The boy explained that he would have to somehow provide for himself, his wife, and his children. At this Rav Elya exclaimed, “Life – Hashem can give. A wife – Hashem can help you find. Children – Hashem is capable of providing. But X amount of dollars a month is beyond Hashem‘s capabilities?!”

True, there is hishtadlus we must do. But let us not mix up the hishtadlus with where the parnassa is actually coming from. This is not intended as a final or exhaustive treatment of when or if to leave kollel. However, at the time when one is learning in kollel, let us not question how Hashem can then provide for such a person. And let us surely not seek eitzos which may be atzas resha’im.

I am writing this to Matzav, because you are the Torah site, and it is readers like yours who understand this message and mode of thinking.


M. J.


  1. But let’s see contemporary people try this trick at home without setting up the five year plan first.

    And parents, know your kids, know what they’re cut out for. We are living in a different world, with – B”H!! – higher life expectancies for adults and infants and more expectations and needs that are NOT merely keeping up with the Cohenses but realities like insurance, tuition, shelter, etc. Even keeping things real and minimal….it’s a different world.

  2. No problem. But when your kid reaches school age – why do I have to pay for him/her to go to school if you cannot possibly afford the money to send the child to school ?

    Why is everyone such a tzadik on the working man’s cheshbon ?

  3. I have no issue with men learning in kollel as long as they have financial support and their wives can stay at home to take care of their children. It is only when wives have to go out into the marketplace to be the primary breadwinners, as a result, leaving their children with other family members or worse total strangers. This is what concerns me and many others.

    Elisha Ferber of responds:

    And why is it better if the husband is working and the wives still have to go to the “marketplace” to earn money? Is that suddenly okay? Why do you seek to place the blame on the kollel yungerman whose wife happily goes to work more than the working man whose wife also has to work?

    Just something to think about.

  4. Why does gemara say a father must teach his son an umnus? He is not working at that point, because if he was independent, the gemara should have said he should teach himself an umnus. So we have a rayah that one must plan for the future.

  5. If I remember my Chumash correctly, the Mon stopped “raining down”. After that Clal Yisroel had to rely on their own Hishtadlus for their sustainance.

    That being the case, preparing people for a parnosoh may be the one of the best parts of Talmud Torah you can offer to the younger bochur.

    Elisha Ferber, moderator, responds:

    With all due respect, I believe you missed the point of this gentleman’s letter. His point was that a kollel fellow should be allowed to be just that: a kollel fellow. If he is learning, let him learn. But don’t tell him that he must now dabble in parnassah because we don’t know what will be down the road. That is exactly what the letter writer is saying is an incorrect approach and he brings proofs to that.

  6. People make plans and G-d laughs. Lets just be honest with ourselves. What G-d provides is ok but we want more! Its not if we will have a house or food for our kids or zivug, etc. It is if we will have BETTER house, BETTER food, BETTER zivug!Yey! to luxturies! Thanx H-shem.

  7. I seam to remember some Halochoh about a father’s obligation to teach his Child ameans of Parnossoh. I know this sounds like apikursus.

    Elisha Ferber, moderator, responds:

    Once again, Mr. Sheldon, what does teaching a parnassah have to do with the point of this letter? Where does the letter state that a father need not teach a parnassah? What the letter does state is that while a yungerman is learning, his occupation is learning, period. He need not be preached to about the fact that today he does not know what he will be doing down the road. His father can very well have taught him a parnassah before or will teach him after, but today, while he is learning, that is what he need be doing: learning. Hashtadlus, at this point, does not warrant his bittul of learning to involve himself in parnassah. If you don’t comprehend this, then you don’t comprehend the hashkafah of the gedolim. The Torah world need not tailor their hashkafos to you.

  8. Very well said and well written!

    #2 – Everyone needs a Chaylek in Torah either your learning it or your paying for it. Those who choose to learn get the Schar of learning. Those who pay for those who are learning will get the same Schar……if the attitude is correct. Be happy to have a Chaylek. The same HKB”H who provides for us provides for the Yeshivos and in a flash HKB”H can make it that every yeshiva has all the money they need but if that were to happen then what would your chaylek in Torah be if you are not learning full time?

    Be thankfull for the opportunity and for the ability to help. Stop complaining.

  9. Who am I to voice a dissenting opinion to such venerable roshei yeshiva and leaders of the Jewish People. Still, I must mention a situation that a friend of mine who learned in yeshiva for many years as a bochur and a yungermon is currently experiencing. B”H he has a growing family and needed to find alternate means of support besides kollel stipends in order to pay the bills,etc. Unfortunately, due to the economic environment coupled with his lack of background in any vocation, he is unable to find work. This has resulted in creating shalom bayis issues among other challenges. Moreover, that which he holds most dear and that which he dedicated the majority of his life doing – Torah learning – he no longer is able to do – at all. He is overcome by his dire financial position to the point that he cannot open up any sefer.
    All of the past hasmada is now out the window and who knows when he’ll be able to return to learning – not full-time but ANY learning!
    There is a concept of “yerida l’tzorech aliyah” that it is sometimes necessary to “go down in order to go up.”
    I fear that the potential or, perhaps, the inevitability of financial challenges is not even on the radar screen for many young men (and women). Moreover, this concept of yerida l’tzorech aliyah is not at all a b’dieved if the situation calls for it and I believe it does regarding this matter.

  10. My comments do not specifically concern the article. It is just interesting how much censorship goes on this site, and specifically in this case how I guess the moderator (censor), Ms. Ferber, has all the “quality control” she feels necessary to either let you post or not, and then argue with a select few she deems she has a good retort for. I understand the need for some censorship, however I have tried to post reasonable comments in the past, and today, and have had them censored. I bet you get a good smile reading this; (you the censors) however don’t smile too smugly, and ask yourself what you are really after on this website.

  11. why is it standard protocal for a shadchan to ask the girls side how much support will be given? dont worry about those mundane thuings of support . hashem will pay all my bills after all . hashem will lease a nice honda for me . he knows the best prices in town .

  12. I agree wholeheartedly with this article. You have to trust that hashem will provide. When my sons yeshiva asks me for tuition $$$ I’ll tell them to trust that hashem will provide.

  13. The story has no sheychus to your point. The boy wasn’t saying that he will just “get married” and just “have children”, obviously he was planning on dating etc. and do what it takes to get married, have children etc…so too with the parnassa, he was going to make a hishtadlus. Also, hishtadlus is different for every person and is meant to be that way.
    THAT SAID, yungeleit are our unsung heroes and the ones who are keeping k’lal yisroel alive! To one who is sitiing and learning, ASHREICHEM! To one who is just “sitting”, that’s another story.
    ONE LAST POINT, as one who recently made the transition from Kollel to working, I can attest that it is generally a lot more difficult to put in a solid three sedarim a day than going to work. So all those who are quick to say yungeleit are lazy, living the easy life etc., take it from me that for those who are actually learning, and sacrificing on much in order to do so, it is certainly not the case.

  14. Dear Mr Ferber,
    I have not missed the point sir.
    I am commenting on the hypothesis of the letter.

    Kol Torah shein bo melochoh sofo leBatayl.

    Ain Somchim Al HaNes.

    Im Ayn Kemach Ayn Torah.

    These are all parts of the Torah that we believe in. Don’t you?

    If you teach a person how to conduct their parnosoh honestly and appropriatly that too is Torah. Most of the Refrain from Parshiot ReAy, Shoftim etc. is VaAsitem HaTov Ve Ha Yoshar.

    So the question I raise again, whose dime is he learning on. If it’s his parents or inlaws, that is their business. If its the Kehilla’s
    that is different.

  15. Elisha, have a straight question for you:

    During bein hazamanin (summer,nisan or tishre), when the bochure/yungeleit plans vacation or leisure activies…….
    WOULDN’T that be the time for vocational/online/apprenticeship courses or a quickie supplement job (camp, educational, mashgiach, sales. handyman, etc.)?

  16. Mr. Ferber,

    We are not dealing with little children here.
    We are dealing with adults. For an adult male to spend time learning and not earning he must be aware that it is not an entitlement. It is a gift. For that gift that adult male must be keenly aware that that there is no free lunch. He must also be aware of his responsablities for the future.

    Elisha Ferber, moderator, responds:

    Right on! I agree with everything you have written here. Gut gezokt.

  17. Lets face it: there is a certain amount of laziness. Its a lot easier to sit at a gemorah than prepare for Parnassah. It is lazy to say I cant pay for my tuition for my kids because I am just now starting out in Parnassah and only make ?K, I let the worker pay for it.

    Elisha Ferber, moderator, responds:

    Mr. Mehu, your claims here are unfounded and ridiculous. As one who learned in kollel for many years and now works at multiple jobs, I can assure you that learning three sedorim a day, or even two, is a lot more difficult than working -and I am one who works hard. Speak to anyone who has learned and then worked. Learning in kollel, learning for many hours straight, is much more difficult than working. That is a fact.
    Those who despise kollel people love to make it sound like kollel is about sitting on a bench and reading a book. They love to paint this false picture of lazy people wasting their time. These are pure lies spread to make them comfortable with themselves by knocking down full time Torah learners.
    So for the record, once again, stating that “Its a lot easier to sit at a gemorah than prepare for Parnassah” is an absolute fallacy without a shred of truth.
    It is time for the kollel haters to stop spreading lies and hatred. With the support of the ownership of, we editors here have been given the green light to stand up for Bnei Torah and respond to the fabrications and lies spread about those whom we say “Toraso umnaso.”

  18. To elisha ferber
    I think you missed the point a amnus is suppose to be taught to your son, if he was never taught an amnus, when he will need money he won’t have a amnus to go to so what will he do then , them its already to late

    Elisha Ferber, moderator, responds:

    And how about the boy who doesn’t learn in kollel but goes to work in the grocery store at 10 bucks an hour? Are you yelling at his father for not teaching him an umnus with which to support his family? Or do you reserve your criticism just for the yungeleit?
    How about if a young man doesn’t go into kollel, but is jobless and cannot support his family? Are you busy yelling about the father not having taught an umnus?
    I didn’t think so.
    So let’s be clear: When you reserve the umnus criticism for those who are learning Torah, you make your intentions clear. And it doesn’t reflect very positively on you.

  19. Dear Mr. Ich Hehr,

    “Yingeleit are our unsung heros and the ones who are keeping clal yisroel alive”. That is a very bold statement. I would have you visit a hesder yeshiva. You will see Lomdus and Mesiras Nefesh in their highest forms.

  20. The point of the article seems to be that one should not be distracted during the period of Kollel learning by preparation or concerns regarding future Parnassah. It is difficult to identify the exact juncture for such contemplation, but the dictum “Yafeh Talmud Torah Im Derech Eretz” implies to me that the two activities should be conducted simultaneously.
    People get distracted by external forces, and of course, this creates tremendous pressures within the household. The Kollel learning of someone who has a clear understanding of their derech in Parnasah, whether it is Toraso Umnaso or something else, will have much greater Hatzlacha in their learning.

  21. If the moderator had thought more about Parnassah he would suffice with 1 job not 3.

    Elisha Ferber, moderator, responds:

    Your claim is pure rubbish. My friends who went to college and even one who went to medical school are having a harder time with parnassah than I am, so give me a break. Parnassah nowadays is so tenuos that your claim falls on its face.

  22. Mr. Ferber,
    I too was in learning and kollel for many years and I am now a full-time rebbe in a yeshiva. It is true that learning b’hasmadda in kollel is more difficult than working due to the mental focus and discipline needed. However, as one who has multiple jobs, you must also realize the difficulties that people in parnassa have as well. Those who work long hours in business, chinuch,etc. give so much of themselves – physically if not mentally. For them to come home and make time to learn is no small thing. In fact, one may humbly suggest that for these people to learn a couple of hours a day with such schedules may be just as if not more difficult than kollel.

    I merely would like to highlight the pitfalls in not doing proper hishtadlus. True, hishtadlus is different for each person. However, some form of meaningful hishtadlus should be done. And, it should be done not to simply appease the ba’alei batim and become financially “self-suffient” but also for the sake of the yungerleit’s FUTURE learning. I dare not think of the numerous yungerleit who eventually joined the workforce whose financial needs did away (sometimes completely) with their sedarim and 99% of their time devoted to learning in general.
    There should be a balance.

  23. I want to know if all support and programs would stop how many people do you think would still be in yeshiva I don’t think to many, but what happened to the bitachon

    Elisha Ferber, moderator, responds:

    I am curious: Is a yungerman on programs worse that the Hispanic illegal immigrant on programs? Is he worse than any fellow on programs? What does bitachon have to do with taking advantage of the programs that are available?

  24. Mr Ferber,

    Let’s stick to the subject of this article; which is Kollelyingerleit. When you have an
    article about the other situations that you raised, I will be sure to comment.

  25. To Elisha,

    You are in a dream world if you think that a woman of young children are happy to go to work. There may be some, but I have neighbors whose husbands learn in kollel and husbands that do work and complain how painful it is to leave their babies and toddlers with a babysitter and struggle financially.

    Just the other day a former kollel guy asked my husband about getting involved in a business together because he had no other means to make a livelihood.

    All I am saying is that a kollel man must be prepared financially before he decides to learn full-time whether the support comes from parents or others. A reasonable request, don’t you think?

    Elisha Ferber, moderator, responds:

    I respect your opinion, but allow me to point out that nowadays, most of the women I know work out their home. Most of those women are wives of husbands who work! This notion that women working is a result of the kollel system is anotehr fallacy that should be put to bed. It’s totally untrue. The cost of frum living is such that it necessitates a two-income (really more thn that) household. We live expensive lives, with tuition and other expenses that secular families simply don’t have. The working woman is not due to the kolle yungeleit. Get that straight.

  26. Mr. Ferber,

    You are not doing a good job sticking up for those who are Torasam Umnasom. You are speaking out of anger. No one is judging you. You may have been Horving in Bavli and Yerushalmi. However, to say that learning 3 sedorim is more difficult than working for a living. That depends on the type of work that you do and the level of responsability you have. When I go on vacation, I go to Yeshivat Hakotel or Yeshivat Har Etziyon for a week and will sit there from Morning minyan till way past midnight because learning is my passion. However, my duties and what I need to accomplish by far outweigh the difficulties of being able to learn without the worries of parnossoh. I say this as a badge of honor, not as a complaint.

    Elisha Ferber, moderator, responds:

    I respect what you say. But allow me to clarify that I have no anger. I may be passionate. Please don’t confuse passionate and confident with anger. Thanks.

  27. kol torah shein ima melacha lsof btailah. If we believe in Chazal then we must understand that this statement is true. It is a fact that although there are children from all walks of life falling through the cracks,children from families that are on every program,and the mother works are far more prone not to buy in to the system. Secondly bochurim from torah families where the father is a “true ben torah”and has the means to pay serious tuition have a far better chance of getting into the Yeshiva of there choice. The chayei adam was taken out of context he was talking about 13 to 18 year old boys who go to work not grown men. In fact if you read the hakdamah of the Chachmas Adam (same mechaber) he himself understood that he has to provide for his family and he became a soicher. You arent a bigger baal bitachon than him. Harbeh asu vloi alsa byadam. Furthermore you quote Rav Moshe. If you would have asked Rav Moshe should I go to work or not be honest on one govt application in order to sit and learn it is pretty obvious what his answer would have been.

  28. Comment #15.

    I apologize for my spelling. Unfortunatly, I have to work for a living and I don’t always have time to check my spelling.

  29. Note to #23- the gemara there says that many tried like Rabbi yishmael (talmmud torah im derech eretz) and succeeded, and many tried like Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai ( Toraso umnaso) and failed. They had less rich fathers-in-law then, I guess. A person needs worry-free years of learning to accomplish. But failing to plan is planning to fail. Chacham einav berosho. A great number of yungeleit were hit hard when their main supporter lost his wealth, and had no backup parnassah to replace it.

  30. BTW,

    I take back everything that I wrote before. My daughter has been learning in the Drisha Kollel and I made sure that while she was learning she would not have to think about parnossah

  31. Comment from Anonymous
    Time August 11, 2010 at 4:14 PM

    I your father didn’t teach you English it is time for you to learn now on your own

  32. #30, your point was made to the Chafetz Chiam, He responded, those who maintain the full yoke of Torah, prevent the need for what Hesder does.
    (The original story was when a hospital was being built, some donors asked the CH”CH what the Bochurim were giving. So he said “50 beds”. They asked, 50 beds?, they don’t have a Nickel! So he answered, “there learning will prevent 50 people from being in hospital”)

    Chazal say “Lefum Tzarah Agra”-The amount of reward is dependant on the amount of effort.
    So if Talmud Torah gets the biggest Sechar, then surely it requires the MOST effort. More than ANY other Mitzvah!
    Do the math!

  33. to mr.sheldon/comment#30: If you think that the level of learning in hesder yeshivos are the same as in lakewood or in ponovitch, you are in dreamland. Besides what do you think they do the other half of the day in hesder yeshivos,work? No way.They fight in the army! What does that have to do with working?Are you proposing now that we should join the army? You sound confused. You can’t even follow your own crooked line of reasoning. Thats what happens when you are so consumed with hate. The gedolim such as R’Moshe are alot smarter and wiser than you (as is pretty obvious).So why dont you subject your MUCH more modest intellect to theirs and try to understand why what they are saying is emes? Go speak to DAAS TORAH! Unless you don’t respect Daas Torah, for after all they have spent their entire lives learning – why didn’t THEY go to work?

    Yungeleit such as myself are sick and tired of having self righteous nobodies telling us how to run our lives. This is really none of your business. This should be between the yungerman and the person that is supporting him. I don’t tell you what car to drive or where to go on vacation etc., so why do you think it’s your job to lecture to bnei torah who are being moser nefesh day in and day out, not driving the fancy cars or living in the fancy homes that you have, how to live their lives?

    One last point: why are you lecturing to us bnei torah, who are seeped in ruchnius and torah the whole day? It’s us who should be lecturing you as we are obviously on a higer spiritual level than you.

  34. Great letter!Both sides of the argument have a point.a kollel yungerman who sit and learns Torah as his job (torah Hu Amunaso)is the supporter of k’lal yisroel kol hakavod!And to Mr.Sheldon and all others who talk about Parnassah though your points are true it should be left to that kollel yungerman to ask a posek when he feels he is standing at the crossroads of parnassah and limud hatorah (and about the hesder yishivos they are truly are a makom hasmadah but there is no comparison between one who learns half year and one who learns whole [AGAIN,I AM IN NO WAY TRYING TO SPEAK OUT AGAINST THE HESDER YESHIVOS-THAT IS THE PSAK THAT THEY GOT THEY SHOULD DO AND KOL HAKAVOD!!] but my main point is that these discussions are better left to the hashkafah and the rav of the person who it may apply to there is no piont in trying to tell a kollel yungerman that his hashkafos are wrong-he does so with mesiras nefesh and should NOT BE BLASTED IF THAT WAS THE PSAK HE GOT- leave it up to the rabbis

  35. $ is Me’akev learning,if you cant understand that, i doubt you have experienced it(look at #16). the way the world is now isn’t the same as before, you can’t get anywhere if you don’t have enough money; #10: WHAT house,What food, what zivug??
    Was it for nothing that most Amoraim and rishonim had jobs? Was it for nothing that the Rambam says a person should have a means of income and get a house Before one gets married? Im ayn kemach ayn torah- when does that apply? when does Tov talmud torah im derech erets apply?
    money isn’t just something useful, it’s a necessity,it isn’t for nothing that a poor man is considered like a dead man.

  36. Dear Naftoli,

    BTW, The learning in Yeshivat Har Etzion, Yeshivat Shaalvim, Kerem BiYavneh,Yeshivat Hakotel,etc. is on a far greater level than anything that others could ever dream of. And yes going to the army will inspire you to what it means to give yourself over to true mesiras nefesh.
    I refer you to one of the works of Rav Yehuda Amital, the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Har Etzion
    (a hesder yeshiva), and the nephew in law of Rav Aharon Kotler, “Commitment and Complexity” pg 11 that there is no basis in Halachah for consultation with Gedolim on matters that are not Halacha. “But as to the idea that all communal matters must be decided by a rabbi- there is no such thing. This is a new phenomenon.” I could quote further but thespace is limited.

    Finally, as I stated before. If it were just between you and your families it is your business. Yet once you come to the community for support that is a whole different matter.

  37. By the Mishna were a person has to teach his son an umnos it says that if he doesn’t teach him an umnos, it’s as if teaching him to steal. Since he then won’t have means of making a living and so his only option would be to steal.

    Later on the Gemara brings down the famous story of R’ Acha Bar Yackov and whereas he sent his son to learn in the Yeshiva of Abaye. When he returned R’Acha saw that his son was not succesful to a certain extent. So instead of R’ Acha working hard to support his son to learn he went himself to learn while his worked.(Kidushin 29:)
    We see there are difrent rules to apply to who should sit and learn and who should work.

  38. I for one have never performed a scientific analysis of the level of learning taking place in a hesder yeshiva vs. BMG or Ponovezh, though I know there are heilege masmidim in all of the above locations. And while I may not see eye to eye with all that Sheldon has written, I sincerely hope that # 45’s comment was meant to be tongue in cheek. If, ch”v it wasn’t, I’m stunned by its arrogance and derisiveness.
    I humbly suggest that some introspection may be necessary for any individual who spends most of his waking hours learning our Torah hakedosha and immersed in ruchnius and who is then able to state with a straight face that he is “obviously on a hig[h]er spiritual level than” another yid. The very act of stating these conceited words reflects a p’gam in the k’li. The ability to demonstrate a basic level of kavod to another yirei shomayim (whether or not we’re on the same page on everything) is a fundamental trait of a mensch, and can certainly be expected from someone who spends his days immersed in Torah.

    May all of klal yisroel, whether or not they are zoche to be in kollel, be bentched with bracha and hatzlacha!

  39. Gentlemen,

    It’s Elul, so let’s all please tone down the rhetoric.

    The point that the author was making, as I read it, was that when a bochur or yungerman is learning, he should be focused exclusively on his learning. He should not spend an iota of time or a scintilla of energy
    worrying about parnassah.

    When I was in yeshiva, going to college only one night a week (as I did) was nevertheless a distraction. Eino domeh to learning with NO distractions.

    Even a person who knows, as I did, that full-time learning is not going to be his lifelong direction can still learn uninterrupted for years before having to begin worrying about the pressures of parnassah.

    At the end of the day, all of us – baalabatim, yungerleit, mechanchim, one-earner families, two-earner families, employed and unemployed – rely on Hakadosh Baruch Hu for our sustenance.

    “Mezonosav shel adam ketzuvim lo meirosh hashanah.” It’s almost upon us. And G-d is listening to these conversations!

  40. This letter is fantastic and right on all counts. And Cj Sruloowitz summed it up perfectly. All the otehrs who went off topic to bash the letter writer obviously missed the point.

    Shokoahch to MJ, the ltter writer and shkoach to CJ Srullowitz for summing it up.

    Keep up the good work Matzav and bnei torah

  41. Thak you matzav for fighting this war, sadly your wasting your time. There is a metzius in the velt called sinas am haoretz letalmid chochum, nothing you post say or write will help change hearts. Yemincha mekareves, only thru a positive example and causing a matzav of “ashrei oviv shlimdo Torah” can we succeed. Let’s not forget that even reb akiva said mi yiten li talmid chacom venshachenu…

  42. The Gemara in Brachos 35b, says that Kol hamekabel olov oil torah maavirin mimenu oil derech eretz. I agree with Elisha that learning is harder than working as I have done both. The point that I think needs to be made is that kefi each person’s level he needs to really be honest with himself as to if he is actually a mekabel olov oil torah. We all have our ups and downs, but if the downs outnumber the ups, inevitably Hashem will give him back the oil derech eretz and he will be forced to face it.
    It seems ludicrous to intervene and mess up the RB”SO Master Plan. I know of countless stories where shvers who supported their eidims in Kollel were doing phenomenally well in business, and when their eidims left Kollel, that shmira left and things took a turn for the worse. Think about it….

  43. I think one of the issues here is whether those going to into Kollel have been vetted out by objective parties based on their acumen, motivation and commitment, desire for sacrifice, and what the end game is (Rabbanus, Chinuch, etc.). It is where people are doing it because it for social reasons or peer pressure without a self-assessment and cheshbon by an outside objective party that is the problem.

  44. Agree 100%.

    The exit plan should be prepared BEFORE Kollel is started. Once in Kollel, one should learn without distraction.

    That way one can learn with Menuchas HaNefesh that if they have to leave, they can do so.

  45. There is a question that arises from this topic. Orthodox Jews are but a small percentage (10 to 15%) of all American Jews–and those estimates include a large number of affiliated Jews including Conservative and Reform! In turn, the percentage of Jewish men who “sit and learn all day” is a small fraction of the Orthodox, most of whom are Modern. Why does it bother so many Jews–myself included–that there are a handful of people learning?

  46. To #55 and others who write about sina and hatred:
    When someone argues with you or has a different opinion than you, it doesn’t mean he hates you! When you answer like that, you make people think you don’t have any good counter argument, so you rant about how the person hates you. Sheldon may be coming from another angle, but he NEVER showed hatred. He merely presented another view and he did so calmly and intelligently.

  47. I feel bad for these kollel yungeleit. Evidently if they take their minds off learning for anything – to shoot baskets even once a month, or to think about their future – they’re jinxed and must have to go back to square one learning-wise.

    R’ Ferber, perhaps a two income family is necessary. So why are we spending so much energy preparing the girls without at least doing something for the boys? By the time they’ll need to work
    – they won’t be able to afford schooling and the subsequent entry level jobs
    – their wives are usually at the ends of their ropes and can’t handle the thought of another x (xx?)years of full time work

    I beg to differ on the approach of women working. You are turning things on their heads. Dig up some JO’s and other magazines from 20 years ago. (I think there may be an anthology called Hearth and Home or something like that.) We cannot start educating our girls that “reality” and lechatchila means they MUST work. If we want strong families we have to agree, from the start, that it is ideal for the mother to be home and that each couple should keep that as an ideal and a reachable one. This may mean a new model for learner/earners, i.e. half day kollel, which may allow many young men to maximize their Torah growth and allow the wives to work part time as soon as necessary. (Of course there’s the elephant in the room of limiting family size.)

    No, that may not mean gadlus for everyone.
    BTW, have you read the article Chemotherapy as Metaphor? Do you think that we should approach the need to build batei neeman – of course centered on Torah – with the same single focus and energy? I’m inclined to think so.

  48. We all know that life has its stages- infancy, youth, maturity, adulthood, etc.

    There are stages in kollel life as well.

    If a kollel man looks at his likely future and sees that there will be a need for parnossa, then at some point before then he should start thinking about parnossa while he is still learning. Up until that point he can learn undisturbed. There does not have to be an overnight change from kollel to working- a gradual change makes more sense.

    For some, the gateway to their future parnossa is college; for others just a few professional exams; yet others, only a brief training stint. It’s a simple mathematical equation: If the man is 20, and anticipates needing to work in 10 years in a field that will require 1 year of training – then he should learn undistracted for 9 years, followed by one year of learning/training, followed by a career of working/learning.

    If he will never need to work then this letter doesn’t apply. But if he will eventually need to work, then at some point before that he needs to wake up.

    Mi shelo torach b’erev shabbos, mah yoichal b’shabbos?

  49. Of course it’s not because of the kollel leute.

    Most people whose wives go to work against their better judgement do so in order to pay tuition. Ask around. That’s not because of kollel, it’s because of the number of children in their OWN family KE”H!

  50. R’ Elisha,

    I’m not sure how great an argument it is to say we are no worse than other ethnic groups accepting government programs. Great- so kollel is just as good as the Welfare queens? Hooray.

    Elisha Ferber responds:

    I was not chas veshalom equating us to them. I was simply making a point that suddenly people become all self righteous about others taking advantage of programs that are readily available. I have still not figured out what is wrong with that. That’s what those programs are there for. And I am writing this as a person who does not receive any form of governmental assistance – not a single one of any kind.

  51. To all you naysayers:
    How do you answer, the story of Reb Elya Lopian Zt”l? You know better? You’re smarter than Reb Elya? You’re a bigger baal Kishron? Stop being little babies & stop being apikorsim! When you marry of your kids, make sure they marry someone who is an am haaretz & hates Torah & those that learn it R”L! Ok, then I’m sure you’ll be very happy & will schepp nachas from your aineklach! Good luck. Idiots!

  52. R’ Elisha,

    The problem with taking advantage of such programs is that they are designed for disadvantaged people. Not for people who intentionally gear their lives towards qualifying. An analogy is unemployment benefits- it’s for people who lose their jobs, not for people who quit or resign. And someone who is collecting unemployment income is expected to be trying to get a job, not relying on the benefit indefinitely.

    Obviously, many receipients of programs game the system and there is nothing anyone can do about it. That is where the term “welfare queen” comes from.

    I’m not stating my position on the matter, I am only trying to objectively present the point of view you said you would like to understand.

  53. Dear Matzav Editors,

    As far as I can tell, you have censored my comment which was written with derech eretz, just because you don’t agree with my point of view, but allowed comments you do agree with to be published although they use inappropriate language like “idiots”. Just what kind of journalism is this? Where is the intellectual honesty? You have lost a reader if you don’t publish my opinion.

  54. Whoever fails to realize that a disproportionately large percentage of Shalom Bayis issues stem from our generation’s males being unprepared to make a Parnassah, is truly out of touch.

    Shalom Bayis issues do NOT make Hashem proud and happy ever. They find out when it’s too late and very difficult to begin preparing and gaining skills.


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