Joe, I need your help here

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    ☕️coffee addict

    I think I remember you “being a Talmid of Rabbi Miller” so maybe you can help with this

    Rabbi Miller bashes people going to Kollel that take government handouts because “a man is supposed to work” but then he also says one “shouldn’t go to Brooklyn college because it’s like putting your head in a toilet” if that’s the case how should people get a job (keep in mind this was thirty years ago at least)


    The standard of livelihood required is bare minimum. “Kach hi darkah shel torah – pas b’melach tochal etc.” – Bread, salt and water – if you have that, you have parnasah. The Rambam writes that a typical Baal Habayis (working man) works three hours a day and learns eight hours a day.

    The Rama 246:4 rules explicitly that it is absolutely prohibited according to Halachah to engage in a curriculum of secular studies. To read secular studies now and then, is permitted, he says. The source of the Rama is the Yerushalmi Sanhedrin.

    It has been suggested the difference between a curriculum and just a glance, is that this prohibition is not due to Bitul Torah but rather a Bizayon HaTorah, by establishing studies in areas other than Torah, it shows that you believe they have some value that would justify learning them when you could have been learning Torah.

    Rav Shimon Schwab ZT’L sought the Torah opinions of two great authorities, Rav Boruch Ber Liebowitz ZT’L and Rav Elchonon Wasserman ZT’L, regarding college education. Their responses were as follows:

    Conclusion of Birkas Shmuel (Kiddushin #27 p.42):

    “What emerges is (a) that according to the Torah the obligation of Banim Ubeni Banim means you must make your children into Geonei and Chachmei Torah – and not merely to prepare them for life as a Jew. But rather, you must teach them and get them to learn the entire Torah, and if chas v’sholom you do not, you violate the entire Mitzvah of learning Torah as per Banim Ubnei Banim.

    (b) Universities and gymnasiums (i.e. secondary schools) are prohibited because of Apikursus [that they teach]. My Rebbi (i.e. Rav Chaim Soloveichik ZT’L) prohibited them even in war time, and even to save a life, for to avoid violating this, even a Jewish life is to be spent.

    (c) To learn secular studies on a regular basis is prohibited, as per the Rama 246:4 …

    Brothers, please do Teshuva while there is still time, for the enlightenment (Haskalah) has blinded our eyes and weakened us. For we have no benefit in this world at all – both spiritually and physically – except from Torah. All the strength of Klall Yisroel is from the Torah … we should do Tehsuva and repair the Batei Medrashos that have been broken by the Enlightenment.”

    Kovetz Shiurim II:47:

    Question: Under what circumstances is it permitted to learn secular studies?


    (a) If you must learn books that contain apikursus, it is prohibited … needless to say even to make money or to prevent a loss thereof.

    (b) If you must sit in school with Goyim, and it causes someone to befriend the Goyim and their ways, it is prohibited as per the Lo Saseh of Hishomer Lecha etc. for the Torah commanded us to distance ourselves from the Goyim in every way…

    (c) If the studies do not cause you to learn Apikursus or to befriend Goyim, and you learn secular studies in order to know a skill to make a living, it is permitted, and it is a Mitzvah. However, this is only in general. But if a person sees that his son wants to learn Torah and he is prepared to be a Gadol B’Torah, in such a case R. Nehuray said: “I will forgo all skills in the world and teach my son only Torah.”…

    (d) If you don’t need the studies for Parnasa, and you just want to be involved in them, there is reason to prohibit because of Bitul Torah, as per the Rama in YD 246, who writes that it is forbidden to learn secular studies on a regular basis….perhaps it is not due to Bitul Torah but rather it ia an affront to the honor of the Torah … someone who set out to learn secular subjects indicates that he believes that they have a purpose in and of themselves [besides for parnasa], and that is against the Torah’s opinion. [see above]…”

    Reb Elchonon continues, saying that the confusion in Germany happened when people thought, mistakenly, that by Jews possessing secular knowledge the Goyim will hate them less. This caused a “negiyos” – a vested interest – that caused the German Jews to desire that their rabbis have a secular education as well.

    Rav Moshe Feinstein ZT’L also denounced college in a Teshuva, and in a famous speech delivered to his students, published under the title “The Counsel of the Wicked” (Vaad LeHaromas Keren HaTorah, New York, 1978). There he reiterates that everyone has an obligation to become great in Torah, we should not care so much about Cadillac’s (yes, this was said in the “olden days”), and that learning Torah is what we should be pursuing, not secular stuff. He says in America you do not need college to make a Parnassa, and we should be willing to live on little, not a lot, for the sake of Torah, and that R. Nehuray’s statement of abandoning all skills in favor of Torah applies all that more today that we live in a country where you can make a parnassa without college, with no miracles needed.

    There is a tape available in many Seforim stores called “The prohibition to learn in Colleges” (Yiddish), which contains addresses by Rav Moshe Feinstein ZT’L and Rav Aharon Kotler ZT’L condemning college.

    Regarding High School, the only reasons it is allowed is either because education is mandated by State Law (in New York it is until age 17), or simply because if they did not have High School education in the Yeshivas, parents would simply send their kids to worse places to get it.

    But it is definitely looked upon not as a l’chatchilah, but rather as something that is annoyingly necessary in the current environment.

    Today, there are a small number of High Schools in America – particularly in Lakewood – that do not teach English. Also, many Yeshivos do try to reduce the amount of secular studies as much as possible, through knocking out the last semester of English, and a number of kids are leaving HS early to enter Bais Medrash.

    Rav Chaim Segal ZT’L, the Menahel of the High School at Yeshiva Chaim Berlin was once told by Rav Shach ZT’L that if possible, he should not be teaching English studies. In Eretz Yisroel, almost all Chareidi Yeshivos do not have English at that age. Rav Aharon Kotler ZT’L made some kind of commitment not to allow English studies on the HS level in Lakewood. The exact details, and if this was actually a Takanah or merely a preference, is not clear and depends who you ask. In any case, Rabbi Elya Svei, Rosh Yeshiva of Philadelphia and a student of Rav Aharon’s, was asked why he allows English in Philly if Rav Aharon was against it. What difference can there be between the town of Lakewood NJ and Philadelphia PA? Reb Elya answered that he has no choice, and that currently, the Baalei Batim would not send their kids to the Yeshiva except under these circumstances.

    Is any of this the ideal? No. It is not. Is it justified? The schools say it is, as they have no choice. But the point is not what the Jews do, its what Judaism wants. Everyone agrees that it would be a higher level, a preferable situation if we would indeed not learn English even at the HS level, at least not beyond what is necessary to survive. Nobody claims it is an ideal.

    The Chasam Sofer in Parsha Beshalach states clearly that certain secular knowledge is useful for learning certain Torah topics, such as cow anatomy being useful for shechitah, and arithmetic for Eruvin and Sukkah. But that before we embark on obtaining secular knowledge – and of course that means only to the extent that it is useful for our Torah studies – we must first fill ourselves with Torah-only knowledge. After we are strong in Torah, only then can we move to acquire the useful secular knowledge that we need for our Torah studies.

    He quotes the Rambam, who he describes as “the father of philosophy” in our religion, in Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah, stating that a person may not learn philosophy until after he has “filled his stomach” with Shas and Poskim, which are the things, and only the things, that bring us Olam Habah. Then he quotes the Rashba, saying that there is a cherem against learning any secular studies if you are under age 25! The he quotes the Gemora in Brachos “Keep your children away from science” (higayon, as some meforshim translate it), noting that the Gemora is directing its prohibition at “your children”, but not at the adults, for adults, who are already advanced in Torah knowledge, need some secular knowledge, such as cow biology (I keep emphasizing that so that we do not make the error of thinking that the secular knowledge that we need is a college education). But it is dangerous for us to pursue it until we are armed and ready with a Torah foundation. This is because someone with a Torah perspective looks at the value and culture of of secular studies differently than does someone ignorant of Torah. And we do want to get the proper perspective.

    It’s kind of like firemen putting out a fire. They have to (a) dress in their heat-resistant protective outfits, and (b) run into the fire and put it out. But of course, they have to do it in the right order.

    And that is indeed what it boils down to – do we value the Torah’s standards of education more than that of the secular world or vice versa? The choice is simple: All the secular “education” that you get will be useless to you in the next world. There, they will not ask you if you know how many US presidents were re-elected in history, or whether you are familiar with the policies of Chairman Mao, or if you know how to program a computer. They will bring a Sefer Torah scroll to you and ask “do you know what it says in here?” The more you know of that, the more you will be considered “educated”. The less you know, the more you will be considered ignorant. So the question is – do I want to be educated on this world or on the next?

    And here we thought that a secular education is expensive! Its much more expensive than you think – you can acquire it only at the expense of your time and effort that you could have been putting toward becoming educated in Olam Habah.

    Two things, though. First, the prohibition is only to learn secular studies as a regular curriculum. To read about them occasionally in your spare time is permitted.


    Rav Moshe addresses this. He says that one does not need to pursue very high standard of living, but he can earn average income without going to college. That was, remind you, at the time when 3% were going to college, and there were local stores and small businesses everywhere.


    I found this from R Miller: TAPE # 58 (March 1975)
    Q: Should I discourage my son from going to Yeshiva University? 

    A: It depends. It depends where else he wants to go; what other places are under consideration. If he wants to go to a worse place, then don’t discourage him from going to Yeshiva University. But if he wants to go to the Mirrer Yeshiva then by all means you should discourage him from going to Yeshiva University


    Btw, R Miller himself I think attended a public school (in Baltimore) and Talmud Torah in the evening, and taught later by a Lubavicher who somehow was not paid, and was an English Literature major at YU/RIETS/ R Moshe Soloveichik before going to Slabodka.


    Go to one of the many Frum friendly colleges in the US or abroad.
    Alternatively, find work in a field which does not require a college degree.


    I’m not so familiar with Rabbi Millers approach but as you mention it is probably not so relevant anymore. Could you explain how the reason a kollel guy shouldnt take government handouts is because “a man is supposed to work”?
    it is more likely because it is wrong to expect the average (non-jewish) tax payer to support your kollel lifestyle.
    regarding your question about challenge going to treife college. this (or the treife workplace itself) has been a struggle for most frum yidden in past 100 years (200 years if you include western Europe). what im saying is that various specific challenges have been addressed and continue to be addressed. I would say its probably better to look at more contemporary advice

    ☕️coffee addict

    Joe, thank you for that long winded answer, my question was based on rabbi Miller that denounced going to Kollel if it will force you to live on handouts (I wasn’t thinking about YU, but that was an option besides Touro)

    To all the commenters that said “do something that doesn’t require a degree” not everyone is a “hands on person” and instead is more math based (accounting) management based or has a gemarakup but can’t sit and learn all day (lawyer)



    One can simply become a self-trained “nuclear physicist and semiconductor engineer” like our very imaginative Joey. That’ll leave plenty of time for dealing with “multiple wives, giving Shiurim and answering a Shaila hotline”, just as he does.


    Without Secular Studies, how can any Jew become a:

    doctor, nurse, surgeon, pharmacist, optometrist, dermatologist, physical therapist, hospital laboratory technician, dentist, dental technician, x-ray technician, allergist, architect, chemist, chemical engineer, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, civil engineer or lawyer?

    Do not tell me that all of these people will be Arabs or Baalei Teshuvah.


    @Square Root, I went yeshiva HS with no secular studies, I transferred my yeshiva credits to a Catholic College who accepted them and waive everything minus the core requirements, I graduated with a 3.5 GPA with a Safety Engineering degree with emphasis in Occupational Safety and worked as a Safety Engineer and a Risk Manager.
    I am assuming you never heard on Dr. Abraham J Twerski Ztl, Prof Aaron Twerski, Mottel Twerski CPA ZL, I know at least two dozen medical professionals who skipped HS and an equal number of lawyers.


    Joe, according to your post, going to college in order to learn a trade can be a mitzvah (paragraph C). You just need to be sure not to be exposed to apikorsus in the classes you attend, which isn’t difficult.

    Indeed, many Rabbonim attended college/university. The Novominsker zt”l attended Brooklyn College. R’ Hutner studied philosophy in University – philosophy being a subject which can contain apikorsus.

    R’ Bender has said that his father, R’ Dovid Bender, went to college and actually became a CPA.
    Regarding your story about R’ Segal zt”l, I have a relative who wanted to stop attending general studies, and learn the whole day. R’ Segal told him absolutely not, and at minimum you need a high school diploma in order to get a job.

    At the end of the day, even if someone wants to live at the bare minimum level, working 3 hours per day is not enough to support a family. Not when you have tuitions to pay. For most people, working 8 hours per day isn’t enough to cover tuitions in full if you have more than 3 kids. It’s one thing to ask for a scholarship when you’re working full-time, but how can you ask for help when you don’t want to work a regular job?

    Regular is a very vague term 


    Square – do they ask people in shomayim why they weren’t engaged in any of those professions? Chazal say what they ask; if they were honest in whatever they did and if they learned enough Torah. When i go to shomayim, i might have a lot to answer for, but why i wasn’t a radiologist won’t be part of it, this i am sure.

    Re, rav miller: his talmidim do not discourage being in kollel while on govt programs nowadays. Rav miller was niftar in 2001; it isn’t a shitah issue so much as a practical one. His overarching opinion however, was that most people should work at some point, and that if you’re in kollel, you really need to spend your time wisely.

    He also said that college is like a bathroom; sometimes you need to use it.


    “R Nehorai” at the end of Kiddushin needs to be read in the context. There is a long discussion there about what jobs are good or (mostly) bad. Worth looking up for this discussion. Of course, the sugya seems to be put at the siyum of the Seder Nashim for R Nehorai’s praise of Torah, but his statement seems poetic and aspirational. He is not trying to dispute all good points all other Chachamim are making regarding serious consideration when selecting a profession.

    In general, I have hard time understanding how one can analyze a sugya by bringing only opinions that support your view and not reviewing all the material. This borders on perversion of Torah that is Emes and not an “opinion”.


    Coffee addict
    Rabbi Miller lived in a time where one was able to earn a decent living and avoid the handouts. Today, with college or without, if a family is earning less than 300k they cannot make it. In fact, today, for a family of 8 there is almost no difference between earning 100k or 250k. (This was not the case 50 years ago).

    See my other response above regarding the need for college.


    Wow, thank you for your answer. I personally have spoken to most of the Gedolim in our generation about this topic and I felt you portrayed the “consensus” well. One thing I would clarify, some, such as reb shmuel Kaminetsky, hold one should learn secular studies for the sake of general knowledge. When asked, he said one a boy in high school should learn physics (even if this meant less learning in Seder).

    However, the danger in even repeating it is that many even in today’s world want to push the envelope on the intent and promote secular studies to a level those Gedolim would be horrified with. Secular studies should never be put in any type of pedestal.

    Square root
    The you simply have no idea what is happening today in the ultra orthodox world. The yetzer hara to go to college as in the decades past is over. There are fast track programs for almost every field, and there are even great solutions for those looking to go into law. Just in the last 5-10 years 10s of thousands are doing very well having skipped the standard four years of college.

    Damoshe and AAQ
    Saying those Gedolim went to college is disingenuous at best and entirely misleading. Not one of those you mentioned feel one should learn philosophy or go to college (even if they held there were exceptions).

    There is a pretty clear mesorah for all of this and people in their foolishness believe they know better than our great Gedolim over many generation. Sometimes they mean well but are naive. Sometimes it’s people with an agenda.


    Follow, we need to be more specific what we mean by college. 1950s – something rich and aspiring people go to. 2020s: a way to get a middle class job. If you live on a goyishe campus, then impacts are similar and this may be a justifiable source for opposition, and other reasons are brought to avoid this direct path to assimilation and intermarriage. If you avoid it – live at home, in a Jewish college, online, etc, then discussion will be different.


    True. And that’s why quoting Gedolim that said years ago one can go to college is irrelevant for today. Not one would allow a non-Jewish college campus today.

    But we disagree on the main premise of needing to go college for “middle class job”. What I meant by “fast track” wasn’t NECESSARILY college. One does NOT need to go to college anymore to get a “middle class job” paying the same salary as one who went to college (on average). If you don’t know how and what the younger generation is doing or how much they are making it would be worthwhile to find out.


    ח״ו to say that ר׳ נהוראי or any תנא would speak poetically that’s ממש אפיקרסות every statement in Shas is one hundred percent true and תנאים didn’t exaggerate or speak poetically. Not everyone is on that level and there is another opinion, but ר׳ נהוראי meant what he said. (Obviously the whole discussion in the גמ׳ has nothing to do with college.)


    Follow, i can be sure that rav shmuel kamenetzky did not say that science should be studied for its own sake; his father and his rebbe, Rav aharon, held that secular studies for their own sake – not to understand chazal, and not for parnosah, is apikorsus.


    He was lamenting that yeshivos don’t teach physics anymore and he said it to me. You are correct though that I “misspoke”. I wrote his intent was for “the sake of general knowledge”. Without question, for reb shmuel, “general knowledge” (physics) is to recognize Hashem incredible world in order to fear Him as the reshonim speak about.

    Again, it very quickly gets confused (usually by those with a dangerous agenda) and put on some pedestal he/they would be horrified with.

    It’s his opinion and there are others that go with that mesorah even though the majority of the yeshiva world does not

    That majority opinion doesn’t not argue with the reshonim I mentioned. They simply hold it doesn’t come before learning even more Torah and/or doesn’t belong being taught in a yeshiva.

    In addition, many from that majority opinion that don’t hold of teaching secular studies for general knowledge/fear of Hashem do hold we need to need to what needed to be able to make decent living and they therefore do promote general studies. There is another reason as well in America v’hamayvin yavin.


    Lakewoods chase bank branch is consistently rated from the top 5 chase banks in the USA in amount of money moving in and out
    Almost all by buisness who never went to college

    ☕️coffee addict


    Lakewood has turned into Flatbush south

    There’s more to Lakewood than BMG

    And anyways rabbi Miller said it 30+ years ago


    My point was you don’t have to go to college to make it in buissnes at all


    BMG, it’s true, there are people who are successful without going to college. But it is much more difficult, please don’t forget that.
    I just looked up average household incomes by town in NJ. Lakewood has an average household income of about $43,000. Teaneck, where most people are college graduates, is $125,000.

    ☕️coffee addict


    My point was that you’re assuming those business owners learned in bmg I’m telling you they could be people that moved from Flatbush that opened those businesses


    BMG, it’s true, there are people who are successful without going to college. But it is much more difficult, please don’t forget that.
    I just looked up average household incomes by town in NJ. Lakewood has an average household income of about $43,000. Teaneck, where most people are college graduates, is $125,000.

    Bingo! And herein lies the problem.

    People in Teaneck quantify success by a person’s income. If you earn $125,000/year, they call you
    “successful”; if you earn $43,000/year, they call you “unsuccessful”. Whereas in Lakewood, the $43,000/year talmid chochom is the success, while the $125,000/year am ha’aretz is unsuccessful.


    @DaMoshe, Household is total income divided by the number of people, Lakewood has larger families so the number is smaller.


    common: No, that would be per capita. Household income is exactly what it sounds like, total household income.
    Joe, if a talmud chacham is making $43k per year, and has 5 kids, then he’s relying on tzedakah to live. If that’s viewed as a success, then there’s a problem with the Lakewood system.


    DaMoshe: You missed the boat. In fact, you made the same mistake again. “Successful” is in no way, shape or form quantified in terms of income.

    An ani (monetarily poor person) can be successful. A monetarily rich person can be unsuccessful. Your terminology is dismissive of this.


    Without getting into the debate of living on “tzedakah”, a family of 8 earning 150k is living on tzedakah.


    @Damoshe, Teaneck has a household income average of $73,903 not 125K according to the 2020 census, if you factor in the average household income in Jackson township and Toms River Township where the bala battim live those numbers jump to average household income of upper 60K almost compatible to Teaneck.


    Average income mixes up different populations and income sources. Maybe compare government payments, including to single mothers, free lunches, title 1, etc


    Last year, BMG, maybe look up other opinions at the end and also middle of Kiddushin – what jobs are problematic and difference between a trade and a business. Trades in our days may or may not require college degree


    Being in business is great, but there are a lot of nisyanos. It is much easier to be in a business as a doctor, an engineer, a lawyer. Much harder to run an honest and profitable business selling online what everyone else is selling or having medicaid pay low rates for cheapest service provided to poor and elderly. I am not saying it is impossible but it is hard to compete honestly and provide quality work that you can be proud of when you are in industries that are full of fraud, illegal workers and untaxed payments. But you would know this if you learnt Kiddushin.


    There are some amazing families in Lakewood that make ends meet on a few thousand dollars per month. Some of them are not on any government programs. The only expense that is covered for them is tuitions.

    The Lakewood system works because the money moves around much faster than say, Teaneck.


    n0mesorah, I’d love to see the budget for a family like that. I don’t think it works.


    I think that this is the part of the Mishna that is most relevant to college:

    רַבִּי מֵאִיר אוֹמֵר: לְעוֹלָם יְלַמֵּד אָדָם אֶת בְּנוֹ אוּמָּנוּת נְקִיָּה וְקַלָּה, וְיִתְפַּלֵּל לְמִי שֶׁהָעוֹשֶׁר וְהַנְּכָסִים שֶׁלּוֹ. שֶׁאֵין אוּמָּנוּת שֶׁאֵין בָּהּ עֲנִיּוּת וַעֲשִׁירוּת, שֶׁלֹּא עֲנִיּוּת מִן הָאוּמָּנוּת, וְלֹא עֲשִׁירוּת מִן הָאוּמָּנוּת, אֶלָּא הַכֹּל לְפִי זְכוּתוֹ.

    Rav Meir is saying not focus on a specific method of earning your livelihood. Rather we should focus on what we are physically doing with our time. (…נְקִיָּה וְקַלָּה וְיִתְפַּלֵּל….)

    According to most interpretations of the Mitzvah of Limud Hatorah, a person is not obligated to work less so that he can learn more. The obligation of a working individual is to keep the Torah on his mind even while he works. Whereas one who is idle, is obligated to study with all his diligence.


    n0mesorah, thanks for going to the page! I understand Rabbi Meir responding to preceding contradiction – first a long discussion about challenges in many professions and then Rabbi saying that we, as a society, need all jobs, so you are or are not lucky to be born in a family with clean business.

    So, Rabbi Meir says not to worry too much about choosing most earning profession (wall street), just do an easy and clean one and work well (software engineer), and Hashem will provide according to your zechuyot in that job.

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕

    The comparison of household income of Teaneck vs. Lakewood is highly flawed.

    CS made the valid point that the Lakewood firm community has spIlled over into adjacent townships.

    There are other flaws in the comparison, though, as well.

    What are the average ages of the heads of household? I would think Lakewood’s would be younger because of the constant influx from BMG bochurim who get married. Obviously, the longer people are in the workforce, the more they typically earn, so without these numbers, the comparison is unfair.

    Even more important is that Lakewood has a large population of non Jewish low income families, which (correct me if I’m wrong) isn’t the case in Teaneck.

    For the purpose of this discussion, one would need to compare frum families. Are there any statistics on that?


    Plenty of people follow Rabbi Miller’s advice, including goyim. They to college, but they don’t learn anything.

    Sam Klein

    There are many jobs today that a person can make a nice livelihood without the need for going to college. Ever heard of working at a supermarket or restaurant and then moving up to manager for a higher pay level? Etc … There are many more jobs out there without a drop of college requirement and making a nice livelihood from it

    Hashem already sets up every person’s livelihood total down to the penny on Rosh Hashana it’s just a question with the gift of free will if it will be 50k honestly or 60k dishonestly and then chas VShalom get 10k of damage to his house or car etc .. ..


    If anyone else needs my help, please raise your hand.


    > There are many jobs today that a person can make a nice livelihood without the need for going to college

    this is less true now than in previous times. most college grads earn more than non-grads. Percentage of people going to college increased over time. Thus, you will be relatively in lower group without college. R Moshe wrote that one could live respectfully without college – at the time when only 5% of population went. So, it was easy to be in top 10% without college. Now, 50% go to college, so you’ll be below average.

    I am not saying it is wrong to live humbly, as long you are ok with that, your wife and children are ok with that, and you are not a taker – welfare, subsidized medicine, tzedoka, reduced tuition, etc


    AAQ: Your comment is not just misleading, it is downright incorrect.

    1. The percentage of Americans attending college today is about the same as when Rav Moshe was niftar.

    2. The rise in college attendance before this time was due to females starting to attend college, where previously women mainly did not. Male college attendance has actually gone down.

    So, it is the exact opposite of your claim and point.

    On top of all that, the standard of livelihood required is bare minimum. “Kach hi darkah shel Torah — pas b’melach tochal etc.” — Bread salt and water. If you have that, you have parnasah. The Rambam writes that a typical Baal Habayis works 3 hours a day and learns 8 hours a day.


    Joe: Incorrect. You can find the statistics with a simple Google search – I assume mods won’t let me post a link here.
    In 1964, 16% of the young male population completed a degree from college. In 2010, that had gone up to 28%. You’re correct that for women that was much higher – it rose from 9% to 36%. But I don’t think that makes a difference to your point. The main issue is competing in the job market. In the 1960s, most women were homemakers, and didn’t contribute to the finances. Men didn’t have to compete with them for jobs. Today, you do have to compete with them. It’s the overall number of people in the market that matters, not what gender they are.


    DaMoshe, thx for the numbers. More precise would be to look at percentage in college by generation, not total population that includes previous generations. I think I posted these numbers here before. The fact that median US family now has two salaries makes it even harder for a traditional family where wife spends some time caring for the family. So, a man should earn twice over median income for the family to be median. Apply R Moshe’s approach and estimate the numbers.


    > Bread salt and water. If you have that, you have parnasah. The Rambam writes that a typical Baal Habayis works 3 hours a day and learns 8 hours a day.

    I absolutely agree here. We can live now reasonable comparing with previous generations and learn whole day with one change of clothes and no indoor plumbing.

    A more realistic solution would be to follow Rambam is to work 3 hours a day professionally and learn the rest of the time including teaching your own kids.


    Aaq the numbers I quoted are by generation. Look where I said “young male population”. I don’t recall the exact age range they used, but it was people somewhere in their 20s.
    Nowadays, it’s only rare cases where a family can make ends meet with only one spouse working, when you have children. Tuition alone can cost more than one parent earns!
    If you have to rely on scholarships, then you should be working more hours so that you take as little charity as possible.

    The little I know

    I will follow a pattern that is apparent in most comments above. I reach my conclusion, and then I paint around it to show the bullseye.

    Many things are different from the matzav in the teshuvos from Reb Moshe ZT”L and Rav Aharon ZT”L. The colleges are not the same, the job market is not the same, and the community and its people are not the same.

    To me, it’s simple. One must pursue a career that is suited for him, as per his strengths, and he must enjoy what he does. If this is in the Torah fields, that is terrific. The community needs to support this. If one lacks the capability to handle full time learning, for any of many reasons, then he needs to be the Torah baal haboss. He must be koveya ittim and become the Zevulun, aka the machazikim boh. The broad brush that shoves everyone into kollel is clearly irresponsible, and constitutes dishonesty. It is unfair to the yungerman that will lead a life of delusion that he will succeed as klai kodesh. It is dishonest to exploit the funds from the family and community to create a failure.

    Our Roshei Yeshiva would perform a desperately needed service to use a keen eye and direct their talmidim to where they can succeed rather than the automatic kollel myth. The Torah baalei batim are only acknowledged when it becomes time to honor someone at a fund raising event.

    Back to our newlywed yungerman. If he is not cut out for the kollel – klai kodesh, and needs to pursue a career, he will still be a valuable member of Klal Yisroel. We do need our doctors, dentists, engineers, accountants, merchants, etc. If the choice involves college education, he should pursue guidance from our Gedolei Yisroel. There are ways to make these choices where there is protection from the negative influences. The blank heter for college is as irresponsible as the blanket issur.

    One thing. The quote from R’ Nehorai is often referenced out of context, as suggested by an earlier commenter. But it is also misinterpreted. R’ Nehorai was noting that his son was predisposed to learning, and that he would only direct him in that direction as it was the responsible thing to do. He clearly did NOT advise everyone else to do this. That’s why he never stated it as an issur.

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