Kollel – Talmud Torah Kneged Kulam

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    The overwhelmingly most important advantage of learning in Kollel is that you are learning. Simple as that. Torah learning is the highest, greatest, most glorious form of Avodas Hashem, which will get for you the greatest share in Olam Habah possible, much much more and much much greater than any other thing you can do for Hashem, including any other type of Mitzvos. Learning Torah brings by far the greatest nachahs to Hashem, the greatest benefits to Klal Yisroel, and the greatest benefits to those who do the learning, than anything else you can possibly do.

    Hands down, no contest.

    That’s why we learn.

    As an example: A man once came to the Chazon Ish asking him advice. He got 2 job offers, and he wants to know which to take.

    The first is Kashrus administrator of the rabbanut, a position in which he is confident that he would be able to change the kashrus standards in all of Israel, causing the public to eat only kosher food. If he does not take this job, they will hire someone who does not have his standards and the public who rely on this hechsher will not eat kosher (note: I do not know what the issues with the hechsher were, or how severe).

    His other choice is to be a rebbi in a yeshiva. If he does not take that job, the Yeshiva will hire a different Ben Torah, on the same level as him, so its not as if the kids are going to be less frum.

    Which job should he take, he asked.

    The Chazon Ish asked him, “Do you think, if you take the job as a Rebbi, that you could perhaps convince 2 of your students to learn during a Bain Hazemanim?”

    “Yes,” he said. “I think I can do that.”

    “Then you should know,” said the Chazon Ish, “that two kids learning Torah bain hazemanim as if it were the zman, is much more valuable to Hashem than making the entire Eretz Yisroel eat kosher!”

    This is the kind of material that boys are taught in yeshiva. This is the main motivation for learning in Kollel. The situation these days in Eretz Yisroel is terrible. We need to help our brothers there. What can we do, spiritually I am talking about now, to help? Well, the Chazon Ish said that learning one single Tosfos has the power to nullify many evil decrees on Klal Yisroel. It can take any where from a few minutes to much longer to learn a Tosfos. One single Tosfos — perhaps a few minutes of Torah learning – can nullify many gezeiros against Klal Yisroel.

    We say it every day; Talmud Torah Kneged Kulam. This means, say Chazal, that learning one word of Torah – one! word! – imparts more holiness than a lifetime of doing Mitzvos! The Vilna Gaon comments: So when someone learns just one page of Gemora, he covers hundreds of words, each of which gives him more Kedusha than a lifetime of doing Mitzvos. In Yeshiva, they teach this, that Torah learning – as opposed to any other form of Avodas Hashem – is by far, by very, very far, the highest and greatest act of Avodah that a person can be invovled in, and through it, one merits by far, by very very far, the greatest measure of Olam Habah; and through it, one releases, by far, by very very far, the very greatest measure of Hashem’s influence and Goodness into this world.

    Nothing compares. Nothing comes close. Not Kiruv, not Tzedakah, not Hatzalah, nothing. Please note, that all those other endeavors – the Mitzvah ones – are glorious and wonderful forms of Avodas Hashem. But Torah learning is a billion times greater. All this applies to the act of learning, even if it is done by someone who is not a Talmid Chacham.

    But the Talmid Chacham, even if he does not teach, even if he does not preach, is, more than anything else, the one most valuable thing to Hashem in this world. And no wonder. If one world of Torah learning can bring more kedusha into this world than a lifetime of anything else, then the very existence of the Talmid Chacham is a conduit of holiness and Hashem’s Influence into this world. The very presence of the Talmid Chacham benefits our world in ways that nothing else can.

    As Rav Hutner ZT’L used to point out – every utensil in the Bais HaMikdash had some kind of Avodah done with it. Except the Aron. The Aron did nothing but exist. The Aron represents the Talmid Chachom, the container of the Torah. It does not need to do any act. Its very presence is its success. (Of course, this does not mean that a Talmid Chacham does not have to fulfill the Mitzvos. Doing Mitzvos is part of being a Talmid Chacham, because if someone does not do what he learns, then obviously his learning is not meant seriously, and is not real learning.)

    But a Talmid Chacham does not have to be “employed.” The Vilna Gaon had no “job.” He was not the local Rabbi, Rosh Yeshiva, or anything. He was like the Aron Kodesh. In our days, the Chazon Ish, the Steipler, and yibd”l Rav Chaim Kanievsky had/have no “jobs”. Each are an Aron HaKodesh.

    Rav Ahron Kotler ZT’L said in his hesped of the Chazon Ish, that the reason the Chazon Ish was bigger than him, was because the Chazon Ish had no yeshiva to run; he had nothing in his life except Torah. The goal of becoming a Talmid Chacham is so, so, so desirable, that everyone is encouraged to pursue it. If you cant, or wont, for whatever reason, nobody is judging you. But no question — if our goal in this world is to bring Nachas Ruach to Hashem / to accumulate merits for Olam Habah / to sanctify the world / etc etc — becoming a Talmid Chacham is by far the best way to go.

    But even if you are not going to be a Talmid Chacham, being the closest you can become, is also the most desirable and glorious and highest goal for you. Learning itself is the greatest act of Avodas Hashem that can be performed in the world.

    One more important point: Contrary to the belief of many, it is impossible to predict who will become a Talmid Chacham. As the Chazon Ish said, “Every student is a possible godol hador”. The Roshei Yeshiva of today were not all the ones who people thought would become the Roshei Yeshiva of today. And vice versa. Talent and intellect help, to be sure, but effort and siyata dishmaya are more important to success as a Torah scholar. Becoming a “godol” is not just for the brightest. In fact, often it is not they who attain that goal. An average student, and it has happened that also below average students, have become great Gedolim and surpassed their more talented peers. Not everybody can become the greatest Talmid Chacham in the world. But everybody can become as close to the greatest Talmid Chacham in the world that he can. Those Bnei Torah, the ones who pour their heart and soul and life into learning Hashem’s Torah, merit, every single one of them, the greatest share in Olam Habah possible.

    That is the main reason people learn in Kollel. Because Talmud Torah Kneged Kulam.

    There are tons more good reasons — like the effect it has on your home, on your Mitzvah performance, on your personality, on your children — all of which are excellent reasons. But the main reason is, that our goal in this world is to go higher and higher. And there is no better way to go higher than to learn.

    Nothing even close.

    (reposted from elsewhere)



    Please note: You are not going to marry Reb Chaim Shmuelevitz. You are going to marry a guy. He may be a Kollel guy, but a guy nonetheless. 22, 23 years old guys are not finished products. He will not talk, walk, think, or behave like Reb Chaim Shmuelevitz. He may come late to shachris. That is not a sign that he is “not cut out for Kollel”, nor is it a sign that he is a “faker”. Your Kollel husband may be a struggling human being just like you or anybody else. The Shiva yipol tzdik v’kam principal will apply to him to. Your job is to give this raw diamond the encouragement, support, and help him grow into the great person that he can be.

    You are not his Mashgiach. You are his helper. There is no third role. It’s either “ezer” – a helper, or “kenegdo” – an opponent. You are one or the other. Guys need wives to help them grow, to get them through their struggles, to pick them up when they fall, to encourage them and believe in them. Not to be their mothers or mashgichim or supervisors.

    If every yeshiva guy that came late to davening, or shmoozed with his chavrusa now and then in the middle of seder, or wasn’t the biggest masmid in the world was made to leave Yeshiva, you would have many of today’s Roshei Yeshiva, Rabbanim, Rebbeim, and Talmidei Chachamim, doing computers or something. You cannot predict the final outcome of a person based on a minute-to-minute assessment of how precise he is about being where hes supposed to be on time or the length of time he spends in Yeshiva without going to the coffee room.

    There are other yardsticks, which are much more meaningful when judging the odds of a young man becoming great. These go more in the direction of the intensity of his thirst for learning, his desire to become great, his valuing of greatness and his commitment to pursue it. His values and dreams and desires are, at that point in his life, more telling than his attendance records.

    Girls tend to assess their husbands in terms of discipline; the husbands assess themselves based on their growth, which may or may not be proportionate to their discipline.

    And the husbands were taught all their life to assess themselves like that, because that is how their Rebbeim assessed them – in terms of potential and commitment and desire.

    The goal of a Kolel man is to grow and become the biggest Talmid Chacham he can. Often, husbands and wives are not on the same page regarding what is considered vital to that endeavor, at least while someone is in his growing stages.

    Girls often think that (a) their husbands are already complete products when they are just married and (b) they assess their husband’s value as a Ben Torah by their discipline, which is just one small ingredient in the recipe.

    The first thing to know is, you are not marrying Reb Chaim Shmuelevitz. The second thing is, even Rebitzen Shmuelevitz didn’t marry Reb Chaim Shmuelevitz. It takes many many years to become R. Chaim Shmuelevitz. He struggled too. We all do.

    Rav Hutner’s letter describing how it is sad that we don’t realize how much our Gedolim struggled to become Gedolim, and in how many battles the Yetzer Horah defeated the Chofetz chaim, for instance, before he became the Chofetz Chaim, also applies to young men in Kollel. Or, more accurately, young guys in Kollel.

    One of the reasons for this disconnect between the girls’ ideas of what Bnei Torah should be versus the Bnei Torahs’ ideas, is that girls go to school where they have role models, and they tend to think that the boys’ role models are kind of male versions of their own. So for instance, they figure they know of a big rebitzen, and they figure a Rosh Yeshiva is a male version of their rebitzens. But it’s not so. The Rebitzen, no matter how old and wise and talented she is, received her formal Judaic training in high school and a year or 2 of seminary. Full time education for women does not go beyond that. And that is altogether not a problem – women have the responsibility of raising a family and learning is not their full time job. Fine. But we must understand that creating a role model for Yeshiva guys — a Rosh Yeshiva — takes years and years and years of hard work, in Yeshiva, going to Shiurim, learning b’chavrusa, full time, and more.

    So when a girl is married to a guy with a few years Bais Medrash experience under his belt, she sometimes thinks that he’s already supposed to be a big role model, like her rebitzens. But it doesn’t work that way. The trajectory that guys follow to greatness is sooooo different than that of girls. And if you want to be able to understand where your guy is coming from, you need to know his path to growth.

    Guys use completely different benchmarks of success and growth than girls do. And if you’re using a girls standards on a guy, its like measuring a liquid in inches or distance by the pound. Sadly so many guys are being labeled as “fakers” or “not cut out for learning” by their wives simply because they did not know how to assess what it takes to be “cut out for learning”.


    Sitting and learning all day is the ideal. “Talmud Torah kneged kulam.” Chazal say, one word of Torah is higher than an entire lifetime of doing these Mitzvos. Chazal often mention that Toroso Umnoso is the ideal, that we do nothing all day but learn. Nowadays poskim say that w cannot reach that level, but clearly the closer the better. Also, Shulchan Aruch Hilchos Toalmud Torah, in the Shach ad loc, says that nowadays learning all day is the ideal, and that if someone has the ability to do it, he should. The Shach adds that regarding learning all day in general, nowadays we cannot reach our potential in learning the way the Rambam etc. did, since we are not on that level. Therefore, we should learn all day if we can.

    The Rambam writes that a “working person” is someone who learns 8 hours a day and works 3. Not works 9am to 5pm.

    A few other falsehoods that need responding:

    1) All Chazals, such as Im ain kemach ain torah, just means that if you have no food, you cannot learn. Other Chazals say that if you have no food and you try to learn anyway, you will end up having to steal to eat, and what good is that. None of this has anything to do with Kollel. If you are supported by your parents, in laws, Yeshiva, or wife, you are not in a situation where you have to steal, and you have fulfilled the Chazal.

    2) All Chazals that encourage people to work are also fulfilled by our Kollel people, and only exclude someone who has no means of support. Learning in Kollel is 100% a legitimate parnasa. If I become a baseball player and I have people pay to watch me play ball, that’s OK, but if I become a scholar and have people pay me to learn – that’s not?? If I got a job in a think-tank thinking of stuff all day, that’s wonderful – but if I get a job in Kollel thinking of Chidushei Torah that’s not?? Why should learning be any less? B’H today we have people who specifically want to support Kollelim, similar to Yissachar-Zevulun. If I were hired by these people to dance for them, I would be considered having a job. And it is no worse if they hire more to learn and provide them with Olam Habah instead of entertainment.

    The exhortations in Chazal against being unemployed refer to those who have nobody who wants to pay them for anything, and are forced to take money form what was designated for the poor, which they do not have to be if they would get a job. But Kollel is not Tzedakah for aniyim. There is a big difference. Kollel support is support in return for learning. Tzedakah is support in return for nothing. As long as I am earning your support – regardless of whether it is through defending you in court or learning Choshen Mishpat – I am employed.

    None of this “living off tzedakah” material has anything to do with kollel people. This is a common error. Tzedakah means that I give you money for no other reason that you need it – I do not demand anything in return for my donation. If I do demand something in return for my donation, it is not a donation but payment for services rendered. So if I pay you to entertain me, to be my personal trainer, to sing and dance for me, to be my baby sitter, I am not a baby sitter living off charity, but rather a paid worker. And so the statements about people living off tzedakah refer to people who are given money because they are poor, with no expectation from the donor that they learn, or work, or sleep, or do whatever they want. However, if someone gives money to you because he wants to merit the zechus of supporting Torah, and expects you to learn Torah because that is what he is supporting you to do, then that is not tzedakah at all but rather a simple business deal, the same as if I pay you to play baseball.

    If I give you tzedakah money because you are poor, and you sit home all day watching television, then you may be an unproductive member of society but you are not a thief – I gave you tezdakah for food, and you are spending it on food. It was my choice to do that. But if I give you money to learn in Kollel and you stay home all day watching TV then you are a thief, because you took money specifically to learn and you did not keep your end of the bargain.

    Thus, taking money for learning in Kollel is NOT living of tzedakah. Since I, the recipient, must provide something in return for payment received, that is a simple business deal. If I do NOT have to provide anything in return for payment received, that is Tzedakah. Since Kollel people must learn Torah in return for the payments they receive, they are NOT living at all off Tzedakah. Not any more than any person who renders services for payment received.

    (As an aside, incidentally and for the record, the Halachah is that you are nowadays ALLOWED to live off Tzedakah to learn (see the Ramah and Shach in Hilchos Talmud Torah).

    Regarding maaser – The maaser goes to the Yeshiva. The Yeshiva pays the Kollel. The Maaser is only going to them in return for and under the condition that they learn. This is not living off Tzedakah. This is a receipt of money in exchange for doing something, which is not the same as living off Tzadakah. This is providing a service that is considered valuable to those who provide the payment. it is no different than a singer getting money to sing or a baseball player getting money to play. The fact that you are allowed to use your maaser to support these fellows is no different than the fact that you are allowed to use your maaser to support Tzedakah organizations that pay fundraisers, administrators and other workers. Maaser is not the same as Tzedakah. Nobody would consider the head of Hatzolah as someone who “lives off tzedakah” even though he is paid through donations given to the organization. The same thing applies to someone who learns, and because he learns, is supported by whatever source, including maaser.

    3) There is an obligation on every Jew to become as great in Torah as he is able. There is also an obligation to not steal, or not to put yourself in a situation where you will have to steal. Or to make sure the Torah scholars live respectfully and not as beggars. The ideal situation is to have both.

    But 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.

    This is what a “working person” is. Three hours a day. 8 hours learning.

    What in the world does that have to do with today’s working man’s lifestyle where he works 8 hours a day and almost never even learns 3? It proves nothing that Chazal endorsed working, since working in those days meant learning 8 hours a day.

    4) The Rambam praises those who learn all day and don’t have jobs, as the elite “Shevet Levi” of our days. Clearly, even if working is endorsed, it is inferior to those who learn. To reconcile the Rambam with your Chazals, you can choose any of the commentaries available, some of which explain it similar to above.

    5) If learning in Kollel is against the Chazals about Melachah and Derech Eretz, then so is being a Rebbi or a Rav. See the Rama YD 246:6. He brings your Chazals and says that therefore nobody can be a paid Rebbi or a Rav either, since he relies on the congregation. But then he brings dissenting opinions, and rules that the custom is that Torah scholars do benefit from their learning, by support from the community.

    Then he brings other opinions that the community should support its Torah scholars even to the point of affluence.

    The Rama then says it is a Midas Chasidus – praiseworthy – for someone who can become a Gadol B’Torah and make an independent living, but continues that not everyone is capable of this. It is clear that he is saying that if you have a choice between becoming a Godol B’Torah or making a living, becoming a Godol B’Torah comes first.

    The Shach on the spot points out that the Halacha always follows the Minhag and the Minhag is like those opinions that one may depend on the community to support him in order to learn. He says that this is because of the Halachah of Ais La’Asos, meaning, even if it is theoretically prohibited to rely on the community, but because nowadays we cannot do both, become great in Torah and make independent livings, the right thing to do is to learn Torah and be supported.

    He continues by saying that if someone spreads Torah and spends all his time learning and teaching, even if he has a skill with which to make a living, it would be wrong of him not to allow the community to support him, since this way he would be able to spend his time learning and teaching, rather than working.

    See, its very nice to make an independent living, but it is more important to become a Godol B’Torah. If you cant have both, then Torah is the right choice. Whatever advantages there is in making money, they do not come close to those of becoming a great Torah scholar.



    The workplace, even frum workplaces, is not a place for a good Jewish boy. We have to be there, granted; we have to make a living for our families – which is a Mitzvah in itself – but we need to realize the price we pay for those necessities.

    There is a story in the mussar seforim, about a man who had a premonition that next year’s crops would be poisoned, so that whoever would eat it would become insane. He didn’t; know what to do — if he would eat the crops he’d become insane, but if he does not eat the crops, the whole world will be insane except him, and being the only normal one in an insane world is just as bad as being insane. Warning people about the crops is useless because nobody would believe him anyway. So he went ot the village wise man who told him, “You have to eat the crops. You’re right – that being the only normal person in an insane world is as bad as being insane. Plus it will drive you crazy anyway. But here’s what you do:

    “Tie a string around your finger to remind yourself constantly that you have eaten from the crops and you are insane. Being insane is bad, but in this case you have no choice. However, for the rest of the world, much worse than being insane is the fact that they will think they’re normal. Being insane is bad, but being insane thinking you’re normal is much worse. So tie a string around your finger which will always remind you that you are insane. You’ll be insane, but at least you’ll know you’re insane. Everyone else will think they’re normal, so you’ll be much much better off than the rest.”

    The nimshal is, there’s nothing wrong with going to work, and often it may even be a necessity. But to spend the gift of life that Hashem gives us for such a short time in this world selling cars or programming computers or whatever we need to do to make a living, is insane. It may be necessary, but it’s still insane. We have so little to live in this world (we should all live to 120 years, but compared to eternity in the afterlife, 120 years is nothing), and its our only chance to collect Torah and Mitzvos — how crazy is it to busy ourselves with other things??

    But we have to? OK, we have to. At the very least, let us realize that we do so out of necessity and that making a living necessitates our leading a life which, when you consider what we’re on this world for and the opportunities that exist ONLY while we are here, is insane. Let’s at least realize that.

    For those who learn all day, they may not need to tie strings around their fingers, but, unfortunately, in the materialistic and confused world that we live in, they need posts such as this one, to constantly remind them that their lives are very, very normal, sane, and healthy.

    The hardships of Kolel are nothing compared to the pleasures. Like Rav Aharon ZT’L said – that those who support learning might get Olam Habah like those who learn, but they surely don’t get Olam Hazeh like them. Money isn’t everything – even in Olam Hazeh.



    That’s why all this talk about those able to learn all day being an “exception to the rule” misses the point.

    Not everyone will become Moshe Rabbeinu, to be sure, but everyone should try to come as close as they can. And everyone admits that being Moshe Rabbeinu is something to look up to, strive for, and admire. Even if most of us don’t ever make it there.

    So too even if many people will not learn all day, we all must recognize that it is certainly a higher level, it is a prize and privilege and merit that we should all try to attain, since it provides us with a higher spiritual level, and reaching the highest level possible in this world is our goal.

    Today, thank G-d we live in a society where many, many people can learn all day. They recognize, BH, that learning Torah is better for your soul than practicing law. Or accounting. Or writing software. No question about it.

    The point is the values, not the behavior. Behavior represents Jews; the values represent Judaism. To say that not everyone will reach the high level of learning all day is acceptable. But to say that isn’t a higher level, is changing the Torah’s values. Talmud Torah Kneged Kulam. And that includes every second of learning.



    Gemilas chasadim is great; bikur cholim is great; hachnosas orchim, hachnasas kallah, levayas hameis — all great.

    But Talmud Torah Kneged Kulam.

    One word of Torah learning imparts more holiness than an entire lifetime of doing other Mitzvos.

    On The Reasons for Leaning Full Time

    Talmud Torah K’neged Kulam means always. There is no such thing as a “proper time” for learning, or an “improper time”. The Gemora says that only during a time when “it is not day or night” is the time for learning “not proper.” It’s not a question of right or wrong. The Halachah, as explained by the Ohr Sameach in Hilchos Talmud Torah, is that everyone has to learn an amount according to his level. The more a person understands the value of learning, the more time he must spend on it.

    But it’s not a question of Halachah, not l’chatchilah not b’dieved. It’s simply this: If I showed you a pile of coins and gave you 1 hour to collect as much as you can, you would spend as much time gathering the gold as you could.

    Torah is the greatest Mitzvah – one word of Torah, Chazal say, is more holy than an entire lifetime of doing Mitzvos.

    And we have one lifetime to gather our gold. Someone who appreciates that doesn’t care if he is halachicly obligated of not. Everyone agrees that learning Torah is gold. Even if you are not halachicly obligated to run after it.



    Nobody disagrees with the fact that it is better to have the mother home to raise the kids full time. But in a situation where you cant have that AND a Kollel father and husband at the same time, which of those two has to fall by the wayside?

    The answer is, you take whichever you think is MORE important: a mother always being home or a father who is the biggest talmid chacham he can be.

    Someone in Lakewood once expressed to Rav Schenuer Kotler ZT’L about how if he stays in Kollel his children will be deprived of many things they would have otherwise. Rav Schenuer responded that providing them with a father who is a Talmid Chacham is more important than any of those things. And he should think hard before depriving them of that.

    Yes, a woman’s place is at home. But also yes, the type of home you are supposed to have is a Torah home, a Torah-husband and Torah-father at its helm.

    The question is, if you can only have one of those two positive elements of a home, which is more important?

    The answer is having a husband and father who is a Talmid Chacham, or better yet, the biggest Talmid Chacham he can be, is the more important of the two.

    So if you can have both, fine; if not, then we choose learning.

    This is not considered making a “compromise” in religion, since either way you will have to give up something – the only question is what has to give.

    Furthermore, there is a special concept surrounding the Mitzvah of learning that does not apply to any other Mitzvah, a concept that affects both Halachah and Hashkafa, that is, Torah learning in the world is so important that we prioritize Torah learning in a way that we would never do with other Mitzvos. For instance, normally, if you have a choice between you doing a Mitzvah or you causing someone else to do a Mitzvah, we say chayecha kodem – your Mitzvah comes first. So if you can afford one pair of Tefillin, you use it yourself as opposed to giving it away to someone else. However, with regard to Torah learning, the Halachah is that if a father can afford one Rebbi, either for him or his son, if his son has potential to be a Talmid Chacham, he should give the Rebbi to his son, and forgo his own learning. Such an idea exists nowhere except regarding Torah learning.

    Another for instance: Living off Tzedakah is frowned upon in the Torah. However, the Shach writes that nowadays, if the only way you will be able to learn is to live of the public, then it would be an aveirah not to do so, because how else will we have the maximum amount of Talmdei Chachamim in the world?

    Here’s another one:

    Yes, you may not be able to go shopping as much as you like, but there are other, this-worldly benefits that to those who have them. more than make up for that.

    It is a very, very, very different life.



    Women need Torah, too. Without Torah, you cant get Olam Habah. And so the Gemora asks the question: Nashim b’,ai zachyan – How do women merit Olam Habah if they do not learn Torah?

    The Gemora answers; Bakroei banaihu l’bei kenishta, ib’asniyei gavraihu bai rabanon – by supporting and helping their husband and children learn.


    Joseph: don’t forget to give us a summery on this migillah!


    the only thing i read was the women one the rest were way to long!

    anon for this

    Joseph, you wrote (or copied) that even a frum workplace is a bad place for a Jewish man, and included a moshol that implies that the workplace makes people crazy. In what way are Jewish women better suited for the insanity-inducing workplace than Jewish men? Does the second X chromosome protect women from becoming insane in the workplace while they work to support their husbands in kollel?


    anon: As said…

    “We have to be there, granted; we have to make a living for our families – which is a Mitzvah in itself – but we need to realize the price we pay for those necessities.”


    “Yes, a woman’s place is at home. But also yes, the type of home you are supposed to have is a Torah home, a Torah-husband and Torah-father at its helm. The question is, if you can only have one of those two positive elements of a home, which is more important? The answer is having a husband and father who is a Talmid Chacham, or better yet, the biggest Talmid Chacham he can be, is the more important of the two. So if you can have both, fine; if not, then we choose learning.”

    anon for this

    So you’re saying that if someone has to become crazy, it should be the mother & not the father, so the father can learn? But wouldn’t the childcare provider also be crazy, since she is also working (the playgroup/ childcare center/ children’s home is a workplace for her)? Personally, I’d prefer for my child’s primary care provider to be sane.

    Tell me, do you really believe that working in a frum workplace makes people crazy? If so, how is this insanity manifested?


    pookie: You’re better than I am. As soon as I saw the post was Joseph’s I looked at the length and just skipped down to where the comments started.


    Joseph, what changed in this generation? Until now it was always considered a necessity for the mother to be home at the expense of her husband’s full time learning.


    Joseph – What about this example: A man once came to the Rav asking him advice. He got 2 job offers, and he wants to know which to take.

    The first is Tzniut administrator of the rabbanut, a position in which he is confident that he would be able to change the Tzniut standards in all of Israel, causing the public to only dress Tzniut. If he does not take this job, they will hire someone who does not have his standards and the public who rely on this standard will not dress Tzniut.

    His other choice is to be a rebbi in a yeshiva. If he does not take that job, the Yeshiva will hire a different Ben Torah, on the same level as him, so its not as if the kids are going to be less frum.

    Which job should he take, he asked.

    The Rav asked him, “Do you think, if you take the job as a Rebbi, that you could perhaps convince 2 of your students to learn during a Bain Hazemanim?”

    “Yes,” he said. “I think I can do that.”

    “Then you should know,” said the Rav, “that two kids learning Torah bain hazemanim as if it were the zman, is much more valuable to Hashem than making the entire Eretz Yisroel dress Tzniut!”

    Feif Un

    Meh. Typical posts. He quotes from various places that say what he wants to hear, but leaves out any other views.

    In this thread, he quotes R’ Hutner to support his views on kollel. Yet, he conveniently forgets that R’ Hutner said that R’ YB zt”l was one of the gedolei hador. I guess YU isn’t so bad after all, right Joseph?


    this posting is getting rather insane- those weird examples that are mentioned (by cherrybim and joseph)about the two jobs make no sense at all. i don’t believe for one moment that they are true. for the rest, I did not bother reading this long megillah.


    ROB- My example is definitely not true.


    ames- I’m glad SOMEONE got it!


    I really highly doubt the CI said what Joseph copied and pasted.


    So if working is bad, who’s supporting the learning guy?

    The Orchos Tzaddikim (Shar ha’ahavah) says quite clearly that one should work AND learn, and one without the other leads to destruction. I would take his word over an anonymous internet author any day.

    Furthermore, until recently, people who learned all day were yechidei segulah. It took a combination of the Industrial Revolution (where agricultural workers went from 80% of the population to 2% due to advances in agriculture) and the vast wealth of the post-WWII era to create today’s kollel environment. Rav Yitzchak Nafcha held down a job, as well as Rabbi Yehoshua, Rabbi Yochanan Hasandler and others.

    Baruch Hashem, the vast wealth of the post-WWII era allowed the existence of kollels, revitalizing the Jewish community and providing talmidei chahchamim who were able to be machzir atarah leyoshnah. To say that the world was devoid of Torah until now, however, is sheer folly. The way of the world (post-Gan Eden, post- midbar) is that one needs to work or have someone work for him. Be’er she’ata shoseh mimenu mayaim, al tizrok bo even. By not showing hakaras hatov to the baalei batim who allow those in learning to learn, these articles hurt, not help, the kollel cause.



    You defeat your purpose by posting such long quotes at once. I certainly didn’t read any of it (though I’m sure it is quite interesting), and probably the majority of posters who clicked on this thread also did not.



    You could have summarized it in four words:

    Learning good, work evil. 🙂

    The Wolf



    You defeat your purpose by posting such long quotes at once. I certainly didn’t read any of it (though I’m sure it is quite interesting), and probably the majority of posters who clicked on this thread also did not.

    That’s fine. It is there for those seeking truth. The funniest part is, almost every follow-up question posted on the material was already answered in the material! (Many straight from the Seforim Hakedoshim.) Some of the questioners even said “I didn’t read it all, but…” For others, it was obvious. At this stage I do not intend to spend my time incessantly responding to every point that was already covered in detail, and with halachic sources.

    In truth, it may have been an “easier read” if I left most of it out. But then it would have not properly covered the issue(s). Or I could have posted it incrementally over time. But I felt it would then get lost in the haystack. Better, I felt, to put it up front for those with an open mind.


    Gra: Torah comes from the poor – not the rich

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    ??] [????? ??.]

    ??)?????? ?? ????? ????????? ??????, ????? ???? ???? ?????? ??? ????? ?? ???? (???? ????? ???? ??? ???) < ???? ???? ???? ???? ????? ???? ??? ???????


    …and if anyone complained (as a few animals sometimes did, when no pigs or dogs were near) that they wasted time and meant a lot of standing about in the cold, the sheep were sure to silence him with a tremendous bleating of “Four legs good, two legs bad!”

    — George Orwell

    The Wolf


    Jes curious: these your musings or quoted from somewhere?

    The last dor had a mandate to rebuild the lost Torah. I think that this dor has a mandate to rebuild the true Jewish home, which is of course centered on Torah.

    OK, coffee room, raise your hands on this one: how many of you know “working men” who are talmidei chachomim and mechabrei seforim? (Like my father.)


    “Thing thing, what is that thing

    Thing sing, that thing can sing

    Song long, a long long song

    Good bye thing, you sing too long”

    –Dr. Suess


    tzippi – They are quotes from a tremendous Talmid Chochom and Rav who is very deeply involved in kiruv amongst children at risk. My previous attempts to credit the source directly were disallowed by this site.


    For there to be Kavod HaTorah those who take on the status of “full time learners” must show at least the same dilligence as those who go into law or medicine.

    While some of our more prominent doctors may have slacked off during high school or undergraduate study, it is very unlikely they “slid” thru medical school.

    Those who learn in Kollel full time do so only “during the pleasure of thier wives”. At any time the wife can take out the kesubah and read it to her husband and make him go off to work.

    Even if someone has a large trust fund and wants to be in Kollel, but also want to be able to “slack off”, the Rosh Kollel needs to deny him full time status and insist he do something else at least part time, so as not to dilute the “profession” of Torah.


    Joseph, I know you posted sources. I’m just pointing out that the internet torah you posted is only one opinion, and is not necessarily supported by other “mesorah” peirushim.


    I’ve never registered to CR, although i’m always reading the posts…But after reading this topic…i had to register and thank Joseph for his amazing quotes. I’m waiting a while for such a topic at the CR….Thank you, thank you!


    Smile_its_EZ: Yasher Koach for your comment.


    From Orchos Tzddikimm sha’ar ha’ahavah. In short, Work+ learning is a good thing. Ayen sham. He is a rishon. Rav Aharon Kotler ZT”L’s shita is a valid one, but his kollel wasn’t like that, and many gedolim hold differently. Of course the ikkar is learning torah and mitzvos, not earning money. But both are important, thanks to the cheit of Adam Harishon. Joseph, “will” you please explain this quote that it does not disagree with your internet Torah, or are there sources who say differently from it?

    ??? ??? ?? ???? ??????? ???????? ?? ????? ?? ??? ???? ????

    ????? ??? ??? ?? ???????? ???????? ??????? ?????? ????

    ??? ???? ?? ?? ??? ??? ???? ???? ????? ?????? ??????

    ??? ?? ??? ????? ???????? ??? ?????? ??? ????? ?????

    ??? ??? ? 1?? ??? ???????? ??? ???? ???? ??? ???????

    ???? ?? ????? ?????? ????? ????? ??? ? ?? ??? ???

    ??? ????? ??? ????? ??? ???? ???? ?????? ?????? ????

    ????? ???? ????? ????? ???? ?? ??????? ? ??? ????

    ??? ????? ?????? ??? ????? ??? ???? ??? ????!??? ????


    I need to team up with Jothar on this. Yes, this was the tzavaa of the post war gedolim. The original concept however was assarah batlonim. The current system has done its job, and it is nice as it is, but not sustainable. You might be zoche to bracha me’al hateva, but one may not rely on this. It is no accident that there is a shidduch crisis in the BY ranks. The concept of an eved hashem has been distorted, as has the concept of womanhood. Where is the bracha in a 20 something year old with three children in day care working her nerves thin. And the work place is not the place for a ben torah but it is kosher for a bas yisroel? I have also seen the Rambam here parsed and sound byted to support this notion. Another distortion.

    Koma, a working stiff being kovea ittm.

    Nobody said the Zevulun has to be an am ho’oretz.



    Jothar: Please read the first eight posts on this thread in its entirety, and see if you still have any questions.


    If people are going to post full-length books here, can they please also post the photo of the cover and all the nice pictures that come along!

    Harav HaGoan

    joseph: i read the entire drasha, it was brilliant. you have a tremendous talent for explaining in an eloquent and orderly fashion, the shita’s of the Gedolim. chazak ve’ematz


    Harav HaGoan: Like I’ve tried to say, it was written by a tremendous Talmid Chochom and Rav who this site hasn’t allowed me to identify, not myself. I appreciate though that you enjoyed it.


    Joseph, I read them. I don’t have questions. I know from my rabbeim and seforim that the shitos quoted here are not the only shitos. Such is mesorah. When I point this out, you willfully ignore this. Rav Aharon Kotler ZTL”s shita is not the only shita. Kollel is nice, but lifetime kollel without doing anything ,even klei kodesh, was never an option for everybody. As always, ask your LOR or rebbe, and don’t believe Internet Torah.


    Jothar: The OP’s are very clear that not everyone is necessarily cut out for it. But anyone does have the opportunity (per Rambam.)

    Mod: The author is identified by his kiruv site. My previous crediting of it have been edited out.


    Am I the only one who’s curious about Joseph’s CV (and how long his kids have been in kollel and their menu this Shabbos)?


    Jothar: Judge it by the meforshim sourced and quoted, not the author of the article.

    YW Moderator-72

    tzippi – possibly you are. I’m not curious at all. anyone else?


    so we should quit our jobs and lern all day, and tell our wives to work. i’m sure we would all love to do that but its not that easy. i once heard a working person learning for 2 hrs is better than a kollel guyfor 8 hrs b/c the working guy is being more moser nefesh.


    so we should not go to college go to kollel make our wives work, then when we have two children and our wives can’t work then what??? where will the money come from???


    I judged it by the meforshim quoted and sourced. His explanations are all within the shita of Rav Aharon kotler ZT”L, who changed from the shita of his rebbe the Alter ZT”L in his view of kollel. There are other shitos,and other gedolim, and they have equally valid ways of explaining the gemaras. This was not the view of the Alter of Slabodka ZT”L, and he was the rebbe of Rav Aharon Kotler ZT”L. Rav Aharon Kotler ZT”L himself was a maggid shiur and was heavily invoved in tzorchei tzibbur. I hate to imagine he viewed himself as a failure. Furthermore, the Rambam writes that then highest level of tzedakah is to give someone a job. According to this Internet torah, it’s the worst form of achzariyus. I’ll take the rambam over the Internet Torah. Finally, chazal say “pshot nevelta beshuka ve’al tomar gavra rabba ani”, meaning if you need money, flay carcasses in the marketplace and don’t say “I’m too holy for that”. But according to this Internet torah it’s assur to work. Not everyone is on the level of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai.In fact, the gemara implies that MOST people need to work and learn (Many tried Tana debei Rabbi yishmael and were successful, some tried like Rabbi Shimon bar yochai and were not). Our generation has a special zechus in that vast sums of wealth became available, enabling people to support families in kollel. This doesn’t mean that those who need to work, or who stop learning to be involved in klei kodesh, are resha’im. Moshe Rabbeinu taught torah to klal yisroel instead of learning all day, and also was involved in dayanus. Was he a rasha too?

    Internet Torah doesn’t mean a Hill of Beans. What matters is what your own Rabbeim/Rav/ Rosh Hayeshiva say. Joseph, I notice you quote internet Torah a lot, but never quote your own rabbeim/Rosh Hayeshiva/rav. I recommend asking them what they say about this Internet Torah.


    Jothar: Please don’t try to cheapen the Rambam, the Rama, the Shach, the Chazon Ish, Rav Ahron, Rav Moshe, Rav Hutner, etc. by calling them internet Torah. A little teshuva may be in order for that.

    P.S. One of the above is/was my “Rabbeim/Rav/Rosh Hayeshiva”. And I have discussed with my current Rebbi (major NY litvish Yeshiva) specifically these issues, and he wholeheartedly agrees with my quotes.


    Joseph, I have all the respect in the world for the people quoted. But there are 70 ways of reading the Torah, and more than 1 way of reading every peirush. You have to know what they mean, and when they apply. The Rambam worked as a doctor, so he can’t be arguing on himself. Klal Yisroel for thousands of years didn’t have kollel except for yechidei segulah. In the zman moshiach, we’ll all be in kollel (and the yetzer hara that makes people hate learning will be gone). But to say that bezman hazeh nobody should work, when the teva of the world is not like that, is clearly a distortion of the peirushim. Nisht da aza Rambam. Furthermore, he says there is no chiyuv to do anything with the learning in terms of zikui harabim or klei kodesh. Rav yisroel Salanter brings many proofs fakert. Olam chesed yibaneh, mah hu rachum, etc. Anything that promotes selfish learning without being mezakeh others is clearly a distortion as well. “Rabbaim challalim hipila- zeh mi shraui lehora’ah ve’eino moreh.” So the top maaleh is to be like Hashem- be meracheim on the briyos by teaching them torah, not by locking oneself up in the kloiz all day.

    I agree with all the proofs that learning Torah is an ikkar, and work is a tafel. As Rabbeinu Yonah says in pirkei avos, lo nivra ha’adam ela lilmod Torah. but to say one should ignore his family, when the Orchos tzaddikim and the lashon that chazal were mesakein in the kesubah (“eizon, eflach, efarnes”) clearly state otherwise, has to be a distortion. It’s a tremendous maaleh if you’re cut out for it, but NOT A CHIYUV.

    Of course, everything i say is “Internet torah” as well, which is why one should ask his rav/poseik/rosh hayeshiva. Joseph, all you have to do is attribute the article to take it out of the status if “internet torah”, although as it disagrees with my rabbeim and their mesorah I am free to ignore it.

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