Kollel life with no parental support

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    Agree one hundred percent.

    That is the reason many yungerleit choose to push hard to stay in kollel, including the option of out of town kollelim.
    (which although puts them far from family and friends, gives them a good couple of years of continued growth, between the walls of the Beis Medrash.)


    We never had so many people in yeshivas and kollelim as we had now. Maybe in the midbar. This is welcome change from 100 years ago, when Chofetz Chaim was calling on Yidden in Poland to teach their kids chumash with Rashi without skipping prokim, form learning groups in shuls, women who can read to read several pages of niddah halochos to those who can’t, and not send kids to anti-religious Jewish schools where they teach stories from Tanach, and suffer being working poor instead of going to far-away countries where they can earn more money.

    Still, we are obviously not producing proportional number of Chazon Ishes and Chofetz Chaims, as the small yeshivos of 100 years ago. So, these are obviously different institutions with different goals. Maybe using same name creates confusion in the discussions. Our communities found/decided that it takes 15 years minimum (from pre-K to post-HS yeshiva) or more (with kollel) to make sure our kids are not going OTD and keep enthusiasm for learning, and send their children into the same direction.


    Dear Always,

    I don’t know how to read your last sentence.
    Attempt one; at twenty people don’t go OTD. False statement.
    Attempt two; the current education gives young adults their passion for Torah. Huh?
    Attempt three; all this schooling is just to keep the students in the fold. That is a low bar.
    Attempt four; it’s just a way to ensure our communities continuity. The more schooling the better community.
    Attempt five; the schools aren’t trying to produce the next Chofetz Chaim or Chazon Ish. Neither of these two luminaries were produced by the equivalent to the schools of their day.

    I really have no idea what your trying to say. Kollel is about the individual dedicating his time to learning as opposed to his own spiritual growth. That B’nai Torah that are shteiging should spend as much time as they can to conquer all areas of Torah, was universally recognized for the past two millennia. The creation of the kollel centers around a different idea.


    Not sure what all this talk is about…
    I think the topic of this thread is about giving support or tips to those who are struggling/giving it all they have to continue their dedication to Torah growth between the walls of the Beis Medrash.
    Any good words or eitzos?


    Dear Mb,

    Studying Torah (in a Beis Medrash) is the obligation of all Male Jews. I thought the thread shifted into what is the place of kollel. What is the difference between a job bein hasedarim, and a full time job with a seder before and after work?


    there is nothing wrong with going to work to supporrt your family, its actually a mitzvah. in shulchan aruch hilchos talmud torah it says someone who is able to work and instead learns torah and gets supprted from tzedaks is בזיון התורה. then there are those who stay in kolel just to look good and fit in, and dont even learn, just talk and talk, and hak a tzinik about politics, (i hope not worse). this idea is ridiculous.


    Sechel, is this the only קטע of rambam that you’re familiar with? You should at least quote it as the rambam and not the shu”a. Get your misinformation straight.

    Might do you well to look at the meforshim on that rambam, too. They say that if we were to pasken like him, torah would have been long forgotten by now.

    Or is that something you’d like to see happen? Less people to make you feel inadequate and bother yout conscience while you use the money Hashem gave you on your own purposes and not to support Torah.

    Even the rambam allows (and encourages) yissachar and zevulun partnerships, which the average kollel person participates in


    for those who want to check it up, its in shulchan aruch יורה דעה סימן רמו סעיף כא
    it would be a good idea for the guys in bmg to learn hllchos talmud torah to see the way torah is meant to be studied in order that it shouldn’t be forgotten. many are able to learn כל התורה כולה before they get married like it says in shulchan aruch, or at least in the next few yrs but instead they spend a month on one blat gemarah learning every acharon, they hacking on every word, which even gedolim in the past generations like r’ shach spoke against.
    sadly with this way of learning – torah is already forgotten.

    but the bigger problem is the culture that people feel pressured to stay in kolel even when they are just wasting their time


    Sechel, you should read the next few words of the shu”a and rema…

    One should only work a little bit to have what to eat:

    ויעשה מלאכה כל יום כדי חייו אם אין לו מה יאכל

    And not taking tzedaka? That’s only for a healthy person who is (stress) able to work… But a person who can’t do both, says rabbeinu yonah and rabbeinu yerucham, he may take tzedaka to learn according to all opinions, even the rambam!

    The rema continues:

    ויש אומרים דאפילו בבריא מותר (בית יוסף בשם תשובת רשב”ץ) ולכן נהגו בכל מקומות ישראל שהרב של עיר יש לו הכנסה וספוק מאנשי העיר כדי שלא יצטרך לעסוק במלאכה

    And some hold that even a healthy person can do so… Quoting none other than the beis yosef!

    And want to know what the rema paskens like? Read above – that is the minhag in all places of yisroel!!

    I guess MO wants to take itself out of the category of “all places of yisroel” and dig up old shitos that are not followed in halacha.


    To put chumros and kulos together: what if one can learn more by eating cholov hacompanies – cheaper and healthier? would you rather be machmir/meikel on the milk from a factory or on limud Torah? Maybe your answer would be – stay on bread & water, respect.

    And, as we discussed before, “tzedoka” here may not include using non-Jewish programs to support poor, or taking money from unwilling public. I am sure there are kulos to support (pardon the pun) these positions, but, as we established in other threats, you could expect others to consider this treif. And the value of learning that general public might see as treif may not be kashered (what is crooked …)


    Sechel83: WOW! Sounds like hate….


    avaira, just learn the whole hilchos talmud torah with the noseh kelim, youre goint to point out every line, no need to explain, you seem to claim yourself as a ben torah.
    to learn and live חיי צער is a great thing, its midas chassidus, there are many other things that are midas chassidus
    i always wondered why some people are so machmir in some mitzvos, but such a basic easy mitzvah like not shaving, which many (almost all) poskim say is asur even with an electric shaver, they disregared?


    Sechel – point is that halacha allows and encourages taking tzedaka to learn. I showed you that in plain words of shulchan aruch and rema. You cherry picked one line and omitted what followed it. It was dishonest.


    mr avirah, learn the whole sugya – to point out 1) read the worlds you posted again – its referring to rabonim and people who teach torah 2) learn the shach on what you quoted. lean the whole sugya finished.
    litvaks hold learning halacha is שלא לשמה only לשם כבוד is לשמה


    Dear Sechel,

    Shaving with an electric shaver isn’t a problem. What made you think it was?


    learn the sefer והדרת פני זקן, im pointing out that even though there are matirim, there are many many (robom) that hold it asur,
    as apposed to no one hold its an oblogation to sit in kolel at all! you can go to work and learn perek ched shachris and arvis, even just krias shma is mikayem והגית בו יומם ולילה (sh”u hilchos masa umatan, and hilchos talmud torah)


    Shu”a holds that scizzors which accomplish essentially the same effect as a razor are allowed(misparayin k’ein taar)

    So…no, having a beard is not an obligation in basic halacha


    Dear Sechel,

    That sefer is an embarrassment. Full of misunderstandings. Shaving was a common practice before the rise of the Catholic Church. The Gemara and Rishonim discuss it in multiple places. There never was a point in time that all Jews had beards. It’s a straight forward sugya until we get to using one sharp blade on specific points of the face. So please don’t use Harry’s.

    This is why limud hatorah is a never ending task. It simply won’t do for Jews to make up halacha.


    “There never was a point in time that all Jews had beards. It’s a straight forward sugya until we get to using one sharp blade on specific points of the face. So please don’t use Harry’s….”

    Only in the CR does a pragmatic question on wives working to support their kollel shteiging husbands morph into a debate on the fine hairs of shaving with straight blades versus electric razors.


    nom, I’ll take the words of the chofetz chaim over your wikipedia information – he writes in tiferes odom that it was most definitely the practice of klal yisroel to have beards, and that it is part of the tzurah of a Jew.

    it’s the opposite…it wasn’t until Italian Jews began removing their beards that such a thing ever existed.

    while it was not assur (and still is not assur) to use things aside from a razor, that doesnt mean that Jews removed their beards…the rishonim also say that “megalchin” used in the mishnah doesn’t mean to remove a beard, but rather trimming.


    learn שו”ת צמח צדק יורה דעה סיומן צג,
    my point is not to say its asur to use an electric shaver
    (even though, many opinions held that way including the chzaon ish, rav shach, reb chayim kanievski in the name of his father who all held that an electric shaver is קרוב מאד שזהו תאר ממש ועוברים עליו בחמשה לאוין) see here: https://tablet. otzar.org/?lang=en#/b/642323/p/20/t/1686319030321/fs/0/start/0/end/0/c/1686319054687
    my point is that its definitely a chumra, hiddur, etc. you’ll get schar for it. part of living a torah life, tzurah of a ben torah. according to arizal it brings a lot of bracha,
    so its interesting why people who devote their lives with mesiras nefesh to torah, shave their beards.
    chassidim were moser nefesh not to cut their beards.
    לא תהא יושב ושוקל במצוותיה של תורה הוי זהיר במצווה קלה כבחמורה – אבות
    “אורח חיים פן תפלס, נעו מעגלותיה לא תדע” (משלי ה,ו). מהו “אורח חיים פן תפלס”? – אמר רבי אבא בר כהנא: אמר הקב”ה: לא תהא יושב ושוקל במצוותיה של תורה. לא תהא אומר: הואיל והמצווה הזו גדולה אני עושה אותה, ששכרה מרובה, והואיל וזו מצווה קלה איני עושה אותה. מה עשה הקב”ה? לא גילה לבריות מהו מתן שכרה של כל מצווה ומצווה, כדי שיעשו כל המצוות בתום. מניין? שנאמר: “נעו מעגלותיה לא תדע”.- בדברים רבה ו,ב



    From razors back to learning. We went through this sugya before and I fully admit that modern poskim are ok with taking funds. Aveira inference from “rav of the city” to anyone with a desire not to work is unfortunate, probably just an accident, he used to give better sources. I can’t say to what degree poskim accept funds – nobody quoted Moshe Feinstein allowing using welfare and such, if I recall, but given wide acceptance of the practice, I presume someone paskens this way privately.


    I know there is no Gemora on pirkei avos and we do not pasken from the Mishna. Still, how do your kids learn Avos 2:2 that Torah goes well with derech eretz and has bad side effects otherwise? Avos describes human reality. So, even if you have a psak l’kulah here, how do you deal with side effects?

    Maybe ask your kid or maybe you are teaching yourself, will be interested to know.


    for people looking for chumros – why not do chumros in this issues?

    If you are not currently able to fully avoid being supported, try to minimize relying on kulos. Say, return part of government subsidy back to the government. Even a small part, just as a statement of intent. Then see if you can increase that. Consider all your expenses with a fresh eye as Alter from Novordok did – if I live at someone else’ expense, how can I reduce my spending and return the money?

    It is not just tannaim and amoraim who paid their own way, pretty of modern T’Chachamim did that (including not working as a Rav). Chofet Chaim sold his books and had a story. R Salanter refused Rabbinical position. R Yitzele Peterburger served as a Rav but then went back to having a pub with his wife, if I am not mistaken. Someone asked him whether pouring mashke was better than being a Rav?! He said – of course. I can think of Torah while filling glasses, but I can not while dealing with balabosim.


    No one has to be in kollel all day. But if both husband and wife value it and are willing and able to make it happen, that’s incredible.

    I’m fortunate to be able to support my husband and five kids with no parental support. It’s my dream, and I thank Hashem every day for the fact that my husband can learn all day – not everyone is cut out for it – and that I am able to financially make it work.


    Dear Always,

    That Mishna is the clear source that Derech Eretz does not mean sustenance.

    So we can infer from that, that one who has just a career and learns Torah does not have Derech Eretz.


    n0, Derech Eretz is indeed not “sustenance” in a sense that it is not about what you earn, but about the process of working. It is mentioned next to melacha and to oskey btzibur. This does not match well with the other definition of derech eretz, as in middos. Maybe I misunderstand your statement, please explain yourself.


    Dear Always,

    Derech Eretz means the way the natural world is viewed throughout time by the human intellect and involvement in worldly affairs.


    n0, I am ok with this more general, Hirshian, definiton, but pirkei avot seems also to focus on specific – both by referring malacha, and also later in 3:6 mentioning derech eretz as the opposite of sorts of Torah learning, if it dominates.

    In both general and specific cases, Maharal, I think, explains this that a person needs to be fulfilled in both areas to be a complete person.


    Dear Always,

    So clearly form this Mishna Derech Eretz is not Melacha because then we have a contradiction of two00 statements for the same concept.

    The definition I gave is the very reverse of Torah. Which means revealed insight and instruction.


    I know a Baal Teshuvah who took two years away from work to study in yeshivah.
    He paid full-tuition, using his money ONLY.

    So his total expenses were: two years of full-tuition PLUS the amount of money he lost by not working for two years.

    If an FFB did something like this, he would be respected as a tzadik.

    But since this person was only a lowly Baal Teshuvah , he gets no credit at all.


    Sq Root, where does he not get the credit? Sure in the eyes of Hashem and probably his friends also.

    And how is it different from a regular FFB person who goes to the yeshiva after high school?
    Is it that he (a) pays and loses money v. kids whose parents pay? (b) he chose himself rather than under parental and social pressure?


    Who isn’t respecting the BT? It’s very respectable; i don’t know anyone who would not respect such a thing.


    Square, is right.

    BTs get very little accolades for a sacrifice that would is considered extraordinary for their BF peers.


    ולא אמרו חכמים לעולם יעסוק אדם בתורה ובמצות אפילו שלא לשמה אלא כשמקיים המצות שלומד בתורה רק שאינו לומד ומקיים לשם שמים אלא מיראת העונש בעולם הבא או אפילו בעולם הזה או מאהבת השכר לקבל פרס בעולם הבא או אפילו בעולם הזה עושר וכבוד שלמשמאילים בה הניתן מן השמים או אפילו ליקח עצמו כבוד וגדולה שיקראוהו רבי ויהיה ראש ישיבה
    just pointing out, whats שלא לשמה


    Sechel, the meshech chochma holds that לעולם יעסוק applies even to a person who is not keeping the mitzvos, as long as he’s learning as a Mitzvah, and not just to enjoy chochma etc..


    Avira> point is that halacha allows and encourages taking tzedaka to learn. I showed you that in plain words of shulchan aruch and rema

    I am looking back, I don’t see how Avira transfers allowing accepting of support for a Rav and for a sick person to an average kollel member. Also, not clear from that quote – is it accepting tzedokah, or accepting support in the form of salary for a Rav in lieu of time he is not working. And accepting tzedoka from non-Jews. First, you seem to be stretching the ruling too far, and second you are not acknowledging your stretching.

    and, at the end, there is also a question what is wrong with following S’A l’hathila approach for healthy people – work a little and learn the rest? This is a problem similar to what Chabad has – not only the approach is questionable, but the insistence that other approaches are invalid. It may be a problem inherent to all modern mass movements – you need to convince and motivate the followers and the easiest way is to call everyone else hazerim. Ain’t emes though, so you won’t get Hashem’s haskomah.


    The main point of the what Sechel quoted is that the student is actually learning Torah and not just amassing knowledge to serve his own designs. Kollel is a step down from that. It’s not so simple to even apply the Rambam to Kollel.


    Dear Always,

    In our times, employment is about earning salary in a trained position.

    In earlier times, one used his physical skills to create what was needed.

    Like milking a goat or growing vegetables.

    So today it’s more like the kollel guy who does the shopping and fills the car with gas.

    There are not so many that can always be found be their gemara.

    Those guys earn the support they get. (If they get.)

    And that genre is centuries old.


    Aaq, because the rema says “yes omrim afilu bbari” and says that that’s the minhag. His example is a rov, but it’s not limited to it; lefikach means that it’s an example of that din. The nosei keilim are clear that we follow those who argued on the rambam.

    Others, including the ohr hachaim, say that in our time(450 years ago!) People are less spiritual and thus cannot learn and work in an ideal way, so it’s better to drop the work if possible

    The idea of a choleh isn’t that he’s ill, it’s that he can’t practically do both. We cannot practically do both in our time, be successful in learning and make a living at the same time. Yes we can go to talmud readings at night, but this is, for most people, not the same as serious learning.


    Being supported in Kollel in our day, is like a Rov taking a salary. It serves a function in the community. Even more so in town, than out of town.

    And, almost all Kollel members today are actively being fathers.

    This is still not enough to fully satisfy the Rambam. Each yungerman must authentic to himself what he is doing. But this part is none of my business.


    n0, a fair point. It was more popular to get by in older time by doing simpler things. I don’t think it was completely easy – there are many gemoras discussing details of farming, and it is clear that even what we consider the most boring job of a farmer (which maybe 80% of people were engaged in) has a lot of things to think about. If you think, when we talk about “Creative” jobs (emulating the Creator), the farmer is literally the one who creates new plants from seeds. Maybe that is the reason we have so many mitzvos for the farmers – from bikurim to hamotzi – so that we don’t get carried away by our own creativity. There is a reverse joke also: a farmer shows his field and is reminded – you did this with G-d’s help. He says – sure, sure – and then shows uncultivated land – and this is what He did without me. But back to your main argument:

    so, first, it is still possible to earn money while keeping your mind on the Gemora – gas station, store attendant … there is nothing embarrassing here. See R Yitzele Peterburger above. Maybe moral hazard is in play – people can get more in terms of money and insurance from social program and other support than from earning a living. This is a well-documented problem in black community.

    2nd, not everyone earned their living in simple jobs. Merchants (not every socher is smart, pirkei avos). Proper ones would limit their activity to what is needed. I heard a story about Persian Jews who would travel for 2 weeks to get some rare carpets, then come back, sell them, and learn the rest of the year. Can this be done in modern professions? For sure, accountants can work tax season only. Maybe lawyers and real estate agents can.

    3rd, in our times, it is possible to choose a kosher profession, where you are not wasting time to earn livelihood but actually doing something that Hashem wants you to (in fact, even a farmer does, but you can always argue that a goy next door can do that). How about being a surgeon, a pediatrician, invent something in medical technology [reportedly, when someone in Slobodka made fun of Einstein, Alter called him (a student, not Albert) an idiot]. I asked a Rav whether a surgeon deserves recognition for chesed, he said – if his motivation is for chesed, not for money (he can still get paid). So, it is possible.

    Now, is any of the above easy? Not, of course. Ok, so these are harder mitzvos.


    you need to be more clear where you quote Sh’A and where you introduce other ideas, because you are not just confusing me, you are confusing yourself. He is not saying “for example, a Rav”. He specifically says – Rav of the City. If someone else says something that you want to rely on, shoin, bring that quote.

    I agree though that the quote may not be straightforward. Rema starts with “yesh omrim” and then says “Rav of the City – this is done in all medinos Isroel”. Either, he includes only Ashkenazim in all medinos isroel, unlikely, or Rav of the City is paid everywhere – despite Mehaber’s original shita. And what then does Mehaber mean? So, maybe Rema brings Rav of the City as a proof to demonstrate that there is no absolute prohibition for healthy people. Is the sky the limit? Rema does not say.

    But even according why can’t at least some people try to do things an ideal way? If you are inspiring to be a Talmid Chacham, why not try doing an hour a week? Maybe sell esrogim once a year, or peddle your own seforim, like Chofetz Chaim did?

    PS I am not consistent here though – I get ads from an ehriche local yeshiva offering free car washes from the students and I do not have a heart to use the service. I’d rather force my own kids.


    Aaq, you’re not reading the words. He says the yesh omrim, then he says that that’s the halacha. Then he says lefikach – therefore, since the halacha is that way(which includes anyone), the rav of the city etc…

    Rav moshe writes that someone who wants to follow the shitah of not being supported in our time is a baal gaavah. Clear in igros moshe; I’ll get it when i have s chance.

    On the rambam itself, the radvaz writes that if we folllwed this shitah, “kvar nishtakach torah myisroel,,” torah would have already been forgotten from yisroel.

    It’s not about idealism, it’s about protecting the Torah. And those like you who say to stop supporting Torah are attempting to minimize kovod shomayim, minimize Torah and the development of its chachamim. Why? Gadol hasinah shel amei haaretz…


    Avira, maybe you are talking about IM YD 2:109


    or IM YD 4:36?

    Avira, again, it is a problem – you quote YD 246 stopping in a middle of the sentence skipping – justification (so that people not see chacham working and disregard Torah) and asur for rich ones. And another _kulah_ (Rema’s words, sic!) for the ashirim to take willing donations to support Torah, etc, etc.

    I agree that others disagree and the R Moshe and others recommend (to whom? to what degree?) the opposite, but we can’t even have a discussion if you can’t quote Sh’A straight. I am not ready for CNN style discussion where every side digs up their best arguments without overall concern for truth.

    Not sure why you think I am suggesting to stop support Torah learning. To the opposite. Same as R Moshe writes 50-70 years ago that without full-time learners we will have no Torah left, I am among those who think that there will be no Torah left if we will not abandon extreme measures that might have been necessary and teach people derech eretz in all senses, wonderfully illustrated by your last words.


    Aaq, i don’t have time at the moment to look up the igros, but you are agreeing that rav moshe writes that one who wants to be frummer on the shitah of the rambam in his time(our time all the more so) is a baal gaavah, thinking that he can make it in learning while doing other things.

    You personally disagree and imagine that not working is some sort of existential threat.

    I’ll take rav moshe’s leadership over your fantasies and chutzpah.


    Avira, I was concerned that you misuse Rema with an emphasis that Torah debates presumes striving for Emes rather than showing off sources for your side. And the more you know, the more is your responsibility to stay with emes. This is not controversial, this is throughout mesora.

    On Igros Moshe, there are several teshuvos. I looked just at one, I think he is suggesting several possible shitos – whether we accept that Rambam, and your conclusion is only under one of them.

    I personally have no questions on R Moshe’s shita at the time & place he was. It is hard to put oneself into a different circumstance or to prove that to others, but I was, for about a year, part of a remote community that had no leadership and learning, and I spent a year running a school’s Jewish dept, leaving math to others, even as I was more qualified to run the math dept. I don’t even remember who was running the math dept, I had my priorities straight.


    On Igros Moshe, the question is whether his position is applicable today. Of course, R Moshe opened this line of questioning by using sociological arguments himself.

    Did the life changed enough to re-evaluate? I don’t know in this case, but I already remarked before about a clear case where IM is not used properly: in his argument (for those who are working and according to your reading are already baalei gaava!) that college is not necessary because one can lead normal life without it. That was said when college was an exclusive institution, when now “college” is a basic requirement for respectable employment and often reduces to remedial middle school. This is not a fantasy and not an emanation about R Moshe’s views on eruv as in the other thread, but a simple fact.

    It maybe it is worth re-reading published polemic between R Dessler an (anonymous) R Schwab. If I recall correctly, R Dessler acknowledges that Frankfurter approach produces observant people, but not Talmidei Chachomim – and the latter requires Litvishe approach. Interestingly, by now, we have Litvishe yeshivas being recommended for everyone, albeit not in the Frankfurter approach. As relevant to this topic, pre-WW2 writings about exclusive learning are probably directed towards a tiny minority of Jewish community.


    todays hayom yom:
    מס”נ [מסירות נפש] הראויה לבני תורה הוא כדרז”ל [כדרשת רבותינו זכרונם לברכה] אדם כי ימות באהל, להמית את כל התענוגים בעניני עולם. כי אפילו דברים קלי הערך בתענוגי עולם, מונעים המה מלהיות מסור ונתון באהלה של תורה.
    a simple example: someone could go to extreme and have a 2 room apt, like they did yrs ago, and save maybe 35k a year.
    another point: its interesting to me, when i was growing up 20 yrs ago, the conmen practice was for the husband to work, and the wife to stay home, and people were fine with one salary, what exactly happened today? i did notice that today people indulge much more in physical things, big houses, vacations at least compared to where i grew up

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