Learning But Not Being Supported

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    What do i tell a girl who wants to marry a full time learner but her parents can’t afford to support her and they don’t let her go to college either!?????


    To decide between her own life and her parents demands.


    You have to answer the following questions:

    1. Does she have to go to college to earn a living for her husband?

    2. Assuming the answer to #1 is yes, are her parents capable of being reasoned with?

    3. Assuming the answers to both #1 and #2 are yes, then you should be able to convince them to let her go.

    If not, then your friend has to realize that she can’t have everything. She may have to marry someone who is willing to forego the first couple of years of learning while she earns a degree (once she’s married, her obligation of kibbud av in that respect may no longer apply) or else learn to live with a job that does not require a college education.

    The Wolf


    I’m doing it and loving it. If you are willing to live without, (the way a real kollel couple should) And you do not have to do everything in style, You can! It is hard work and you may have to live with much less than you are used to. You can only do it if you really believe in it and love it. There are boys out there who would rather someone who is really machshiv torah than someone who will support it financially. There are not many boys that way, but there are a few…….and you only need one!


    If her parents cant support her and they wont let her go to college, then wouldnt that mean they want her to marry someone with a parnassa?



    y does some one learning have to be supported

    in to days age everybody thinks that people have to give them money or an apt if they r learning

    i want to know where it says that?

    also i know “kollel guys” who rent cars all the time go out to eat in fancy resterant and have thousands of dollors worth of furniture

    is this what the shver is supporting? does he know it?

    the kollel guy has to releize that he has to live with less

    im not sayig there r no real kollel guys but everyone has to know his limits

    i am not a math teacher because i failed math in school


    Does she REALLY want a learning husband and she’s really ready to work hard? Or is she trying to convince herself that this is what she wants?

    Dr. Pepper

    One of my brothers learns full time and gets no support from my parents, his in-laws or the government. His wife has one of those college educations without stepping foot in college.

    He told me that aside from his kollel paycheck he goes to a morning kollel that pays extra, found a place that will pay him if he passes bechinas on what he learns and goes to a night kollel that also pays extra. (He probably also tutors on the side for some more cash.)

    I have sent him some money in the past when unexpected expenses came up but not on a regular basis.

    Keep in mind that he was serious about his learning from when he was born and he is willing to do whatever it takes to make it work.


    How about taking courses on line? Plenty of young women do that these days.


    Tell her to speak to a Rav. I think it says in Pirkei Avos “asei l’cha rav” and not “asei l’cha message board”. But don’t quote me on that because I have a really bad memory so I could be wrong.

    On another note. It’s possible to work without a degree and send a husband to kollel. But its very hard and requires a lot of mesirus nefesh. I know some people who are doing it that live in the red (while I also know some that did find good jobs and are above line too). It really requires knowing yourself really well and I think its a lot harder for girls than for guys.


    Dr pepper. You said it right. If the wife AND the husband really want, then they manage it!

    When my husband was still in Kollel, he joined a shul that was paying people to fill in a minyan for them. This way he earned some extra cash.

    All these little ways of making small money really adds up and makes it more possible to learn.

    But the couple has to decide that they will make it work.


    Move to Eretz Yisroel. They don’t expect anyone to have money.


    If you would have asked me this question a couple of years ago, I would have answered she should just give up her dream of having a learning boy and be realistic. But i had a very inspiring teacher who told us that she really wanted a learning boy and her parents could not support. Her family thought she was crazy when she married her husband-who is learning full time. She “supports” her (large) family by being a teacher. She said its amazing how she sees that parnassah is from Hashem. She said if thats what you truly want and you do your hishtadlus than the rest is up to Hashem. So my answer-if this is what you deep down want than go for it.

    Dr. Pepper


    Your teacher sounds like a teacher my sister-in-law had.

    She was all excited at how easy it sounded to marry a long term learner and have everything fall into place all by itself. Her teacher claimed that her part time job supports her husband who learns full time and their family. They already made a few weddings, they receive no benefits from the government and they don’t owe anyone a cent.

    My wife explained to her sister that since her teacher was only part time she was not eligible to receive health insurance from the school. From the amount of hours she teaches, it would be surprising if her paycheck covered more than the health insurance costs.

    So my sister-in-law respectfully asked to speak with her teacher privately about her finances. The teacher agreed saying she had nothing to hide. After confronting her with the numbers she admitted that the school pays her much more than the average teacher and that she and her husband both have their own side jobs. The rest of the story unraveled after that.

    However well meaning the teacher was, I think she took it a little too far with her naive students.

    Please don’t get me wrong, I strongly advocate full time learning for those that are capable of taking it seriously and I would have no problem with a community supporting those whose learning is worth supporting. But please, don’t just take the teachers word- it’s not as easy as it sounds.


    Dr. Pepper:

    Any numbers on how much it costs to raise a frum family?

    Perhaps we can separate by geographic location (i.e. EY, NYC, OOT & Lakewood)?


    How old is the girl? Is she really mature and ready for marriage or did she just come back from seminary and is still on the brainwash high?

    If she is a mature young lady and has thought out what kind of married life and family she wants for herself, and she has chosen a “KOLEL” lifestyle and a husband that learns full time. Then she needs help to reach her goal. If she talks about marrying a “learning boy” then you need to have a real conversation with her and do a “reality check”.

    There is a difference between the two as many have pointed out. When you “choose” to live the Kollel life you are making a commitment to give up “keeping up with the Jones or the Cohens”. Especially if your parents can’t afford to support you. You have to know whether or not you can bury the green eyed monster and truly not have any envy of what others have. It is not an easy nisayon because even when you live in a kollel community many young women wear what working families wear and many children are dressed to the hilt. The diamonds are sparkling and the wigs are brand new. Even the cars are leased and exchanged at regular intervals.

    And of course there are others who struggle to make ends meet and are truly live the Kollel life because they are supporting themselves any which way they can. They chose to do so and they can’t look at others who have more than them because this is a choice that they make and they have the choice to change their minds. You don’t get to complain about what others have because YOU chose to live without. YOU do however, get to make other choices if it is not working out for you.

    This is what this young lady needs to understand. If she chooses to support her husband in learning. It is not exactly necessary to go against her parents and go to “college” to get a degree. There are vocational courses that a person can take for different occupations such as graphic design, computers, medical billing, and other occupations that don’t involve a standard college. Anything that she does to put away money before she marries will be a great help and as someone else said can assist her to learn more to make more after she marries. She most likely will also be eligible for financial aid in college after she marries if she chooses to go, and any money she puts away before marriage will help sustain the household expenses.


    If she is willing to marry a modern orthodox guy there are at least two options in the US: Yeshivat Chovevei Torah and the YU-affiliated Rabbi Yitzchak Elchanan Theological School give generous stipends to their best students. But they are not for everyone.


    Assuming a low tuition rate of $4,000/child with six children (well below average) that is $24,000 in tuition in after tax money alone.

    If you squeeze your six kids into a tiny apartment, it still is probably $1,000/month.

    Food (even cheap food) is at least $800/month ($100 per person).

    That’s $45,600 in after tax dollars and you haven’t even touched many other expenses.


    Dr Pepper you are so right.

    Sitting and learning isn’t so simple. Life is very expensive and the couple needs to earn money somewhere.

    No family exists on the wife’s teaching paycheck. Impossible.

    Must be they get a side income somewhere.

    anon for this

    I lived in a central US community which supports several kollel families. Because it is out of town, the kollel pays well. The wages are in the form of a parsonage, so most kollel families are eligible for WIC & Medicaid for children & pregnant women, and some receive food stamps as well. Kollel families are not expected to pay tuition, even for preschool. Housing is much cheaper than in any large communities in the tri-state area. Most of the kollel wives do not need to work in order to support their families, and many can afford household help as well. So if she and her husband are willing to consider an out-of-town kollel, this is definitely possible.


    Dr pepper and oomis.My teacher was not pushing us to marry learning boys-she was just trying to prove that it is possible to have a husband learning in kollel even though she is not being supported. This is really where emunah comes in.

    “No family exists on the wife’s teaching paycheck.Impossible.”

    Obviously her extra source of income is all orchestrated from Hashem, because she is doing her hishtadlus. I firmly beleive that if a person wants it very badly and they know they might have to sacrifice things here or there, but generally live a normal life than definitly go ahead. And i don’t think it was wrong of the teacher to say this bec. she was not pushing down a/o who are not like this-she was just trying to prove a point.


    Hey, I married a full time learning boy, I didn’t got to college, and get no support. And once I had kids, I decided to work from home since I wanted to be the one raising my kids and not a babysitter. Guess What? I feel like I’m living in a dream. I couldn’t be any happier. Parnassa doesn’t come from in laws, it doesn’t come froma bank account, and it doesn’t come from a paycheck. Parnassa comes from HASHEM only. Someone asked me how i pay my bills. You know what, I have no idea, but each month somehow it just ties together, I can’t explain it! Hashem sends the money. Of course things may get tight at times, and I can;t just buy whatever I want, but it doesn;t make me one bit less happier. I know your going to say you have to do your hishtadlut…. but everyone has a different amount of hishtadlut they have to put in. If you do x amount and say hashem will take care of the rest, but cant sleep at night, that person should be doing more. baisically, each person should do the amount of hishtadlut they feel secure with. Oh, and by the way, going to college doesn’t gurantee you a parnassa either. Hashem sends each person what theyre supposed to get, so everyone will get that amount whether they have a degree or whether they don’t. how many people nowadays have a degree but it doesn’t seem to be doing them much good? Ok, I’m not going to say a lot of people do get a lot from it, but it’s not the degree giving them that money.Oh, and by the way, kollel didn’t pay us until almost a year later. IMHO, there’s no use in calculating we need this much to live, so that means no kollel. We once were saving up for something we wanted, and when it came time to buy it, we did buy it, but guess what? We didn’t even end up paying for it with the money we saved up. No we didn’t get it as a gift either. For some reason that we can’t figure out, that month we had the extra money to pay for it ourselves (and were talking about a 1000 bucks, not like 100). I felt like Hashem was telling us you think you’re in control, that you’re the ones making money? Think again! If a girl sincerely wants to marry a kollel boy, and live a kollel life, GO FOR IT! Hashem will help! In high scholl a big rebbetzin camae to speak to us and told us if you sincerely dream to marry a kollel boy, Hashem will make that dream come true.

    And you know what? If funds do, chas veshalom run out, he can always go to work! You never heard of a kollel couple living on the street!


    sms-Wow! Its really amazing that you can live like that. just shows that $ isn’t e/t…


    sms007 – thank you soo soo soo much for your post!! it’s really a breath of fresh air!!!

    i have the same thing – don’t ask me how i pay rent cuz i really don’t know, but it happens somehow, every month!


    Sms007- this is exactly the problem.

    You’re saying if there’s no money the husband can get a job.

    The problem is that when a family starts making bar mitzvahs and wedding, they need extra thousands SUDDENLY. It’s much too late then for a man to get a job and start with a $600 weekly income.

    We need to plan now for our future. we can’t rely on miracles. People don’t have extra money to give when poor people come collecting at their door for marrying off their daughter.

    This is not to discourage kollel. It’s great when the husband can learn a little. But each couple has to decide when it’s time for work. And many couples live in denial…


    1. She can come to Eretz Yisroel, and live like the rest of us,

    2. Don’t out of town Community Kollels pay enough to support a young family with a wife working in a position that doesn’t need a college degree.

    3. In this day and age she can get a degree online, which she could probably do without everyone knowing.


    3. In this day and age she can get a degree online, which she could probably do without everyone knowing

    Why do you find that acceptable?

    If she’s taking kibbud av to the point where she won’t go to college against her father’s wishes, why is it right if she does it behind his back?

    The Wolf


    It’s hard but it can be done. My husband was in kollel for 5 years and when he started working money was still tight. You don’t have to live in the lap of luxury, you have to learn to sacrifice your olam hazeh for your olam haboh, but, isn’t that what we’re here for any way? I have several sons in kollel and they’re not being supported (yes, we give them occasional help from time to time, but, not on a regular basis, because we have a large family and have to give everyone something and we’re not rich)


    Bas Melech, I don’t want to disappoint you, but 5 years is not so hard because the family doesn’t get too large in 5 years, meaning less expenses and less work from the woman’s side.

    My husband also learned approximately that long and then it was still simple.

    The very big nisoyon comes around when one has 3 or more children.

    Every girl has to make this decision. If she’s ready to work past that or if she’s only ready to work and give up on extra expenses as long as it’s not very difficult.

    I find, that girls today “WANT” learning husbands, but they’re missing the real understanding of what that means. Once it gets harder than just “not easy”, they kvetch around all day to their friends until their husband finds a job.

    Don’t fool yourself!


    It’s hard but it can be done. My husband was in kollel for 5 years and when he started working money was still tight. You don’t have to live in the lap of luxury, you have to learn to sacrifice your olam hazeh for your olam haboh, but, isn’t that what we’re here for any way? I have several sons in kollel and they’re not being supported (yes, we give them occasional help from time to time, but, not on a regular basis, because we have a large family and have to give everyone something and we’re not rich)


    I know a lot of young women who were very happy to choose this lifestyle until they had a couple of kids and could not handle the pressure any longer and did not know how to tell their husbands they didn’t want to live the life any longer. They were so stressed out that they couldn’t concentrate on their job and were too exhausted to do be the mother, homemaker and wife when they got home. They no longer wanted to be the breadwinner and resented the fact that they were expected to keep going. They also resented the fact that their husbands had no clue how they felt and felt very removed from them emotionally because of it. They felt that their husbands should be more in tune to them and their feelings and that they should have picked up on their uneasiness and unhappiness and that they should be asking them what is wrong instead of them having to come right out and tell them that the arrangement is no longer working for them.

    As important as learning is, shalom bayis is more important and I think that one thing that is never mentioned is that a couple should sit down and re-evaluate and renegotiate each year without resentment, to make sure that the arrangement is working for both (if not all, children included) parties. As long as both partners agree each year to continue with the arrangement they should keep on going. But as soon as the wife feels burnt out, or even the husband feels burnt out or sees that his wife is over burdened, they should renegotiate. Whether it means he has to help more at home, or he has to take a part time job, or take over the entire burden, whatever is necessary to secure the shalom bayis as the main priority in the home.


    Of course the wife should strive to maintain the shalom bayis, and if Limud Torah is important to the husband the wife should do what it takes to keep the shalom bayis and ensure her husbands continued uninterrupted Limud Torah.


    Aries- BOY is that common!!

    Mothers belong at home. If you can handle work besides your home, then kol hakovod. But every young woman must be HONEST with herself.

    Your home and kids should be first priority. If not, then stop working. It’s not a mitzvah.


    Missme, the husband has the same obligation and responsibility to “strive” to maintain shalom bayis and make sure that his wife is happy. They are each 100% responsible for the shalom bayis of the home and to know and understand what is important to their spouse.


    i am not pro or against kollel- each couple has to do whats best for them. what i AM against is one spouse expecting the other to be a mind reader. if a woman is unhappy in her current role, she must speak up. how can she hold it against her husband that he doesnt know shes upset WHEN SHE DOESNT LET IT SHOW!

    back to the topic at hand- i agree with wolf that if she is not going to college because of kibud horim, then she probably will not do it online either, and ESPECIALLY not behind their back.

    having a job doesnt necessarily mean one will be able to make ends meet. my husband gets a very nice salary, but we are still struggling to pay bills every month. i have a college education, but that didnt help me one bit, because the job i ended up getting had nothing to do with my schooling.

    also, i would have to disagree with the last poster a little bit. mothers must be the ones to raise their children, but they dont necessarily need to be home all day to do that. that is not always financially possible and/or psychologically possible. even if i COULD afford to not work out of the house, i would choose to do so anyway, because i would get very depressed from not interacting with people every day. i need to see people and get out of my house in order to be the best mom/wife that i can be.


    So blinky, who has been raising her large family while she works to support her learning husband? Apaprently she does not take them to class with her.


    I agree with the posters who wisely note that a mothers place is in the home, and that should be every mother’s innate desire.


    No one with older kids survives solely on a teachers salary without taking some form of charity or government benefits. Unless they starve their children and live in a hovel.

    Also, once you have kids, its a lot harder to be in Kollel. If the mother is working, then you need daycare. If the kids are in real school, you pay tuition.

    Anyone who says otherwise is lying. If they have side jobs, they are not living JUST on the teachers salary.


    SJSinNYC: They can easily make it if they don’t pay tuition (free tuition is a large point that many kollelim (and rabbaim who want their students to go to kollel, at least in my experience) push, especially OOT (Not to say it is a problem, but a fact)).

    The girl can also be a stenographer, which is not college, and can be done part time.

    She can get married at 30 after getting a large nest egg, and living off the interest.

    There is no reason why it can’t be done, but it is a sacrifice. Ein Totah Nikenes Ela B’Me She’Maimis Atzmo Aleha.


    aries2756, I agree with your post except for the point anonymrs made.

    The problem is that marriage today is a business deal. Before the couple even meet, the boy already has the promise that the girl and/or her parents will support for x amount of years. They don’t consider it something that is up for negotiations every so often. Both of them are not mature and realistic enough to realize that people change, circumstances change and no one knows in advance how they will handle pregnancy, being a working mom, etc. They don’t chap that they’re married to a person, not a laundry list, even if the person doesn’t keep their side of the “deal”. So even if the wife speaks to her husband about how hard it is, he’ll probably feel all bad for himself that his wife (who he only went out with in the first place cuz she promised to support) reneged on her promise.


    GAW, I still don’t think it can be done. Lets ignore tuition for a moment.

    How much does a stenographer earn part time? Lets say $40,000. After taxes, lets say $36,000. With six kids – still assume $100/pp/per month. That’s $800/month food. Health insurance (if they even qualify at part time) is at least $500/month. Housing for 8 people $1500/month.

    That’s already $33,600 and you haven’t included so many other expenses. Is it really feasible with no tzedaka and no government services? I want to see the person who actually says yes. And I want to see their finances.


    Smartcookie, on one hand you say that five years in kollel isn’t a big deal. OTOH you talk about the breaking point being 3 kids.

    What about expecting your fourth by your fifth anniversary?

    I’m sorry but I get really frosted when I hear how cavalierly the kids talk about “a few years in kollel” when even ONE YEAR can mean tremendous mesirus nefesh. This leads to the most average, or even below bachur, expecting to learn for a good few years because less in pas nisht. If you look around, a lot of middle aged shtark maggidei shiur, roshei yeshiva, and rabbanim were out of kollel by the five year mark. Remarkably, five years in kollel was more than adequate a foundation for gadlus.

    People need a reality check.


    “This leads to the most average, or even below bachur, expecting to learn for a good few years”

    That’s a good thing. Kollel isn’t dependent upon being a “top bochor”; all bochorim equally have a right to Kollel — including “average” and “below average” bochorim. Average or astuteness isn’t a requirement or even factor. Nor should it be.



    Lets talk Cincinnati or Cleveland. Knock 600$ off the apartment rental (No more then a two bedroom, with two bunkbeds and two children on the pull-out couch).

    40K with 6 children will get a decent (net) refund on taxes, call it 4K (50K with 2 kids pays nothing except FICA), call it 46K

    Kollel pays 10K, assume that is full parsonage (no taxes, pays for housing). Tutoring/camp rebbe will pay another 5-7K (on or off). Up to 52K after housing.

    Health (if they don’t get medicaid, which many kollel couple do and don’t claim it is “gov. help”) lets agree. I think the number is too low.

    800$ on food is too small for an OOT kollel family, but can be done if the sacrifice (and if they go to parents for yom tov, it will be less).

    So out of 4K per month, they have spent 9+8+5=2.2K

    Auto (yeshivish) & gas (insurance is very cheap in Ohio) lets add 200$ per month.

    saving for simchos 500$ per month.

    Life insurance 100$ per month.

    Clothing 200$ per month

    we are still “only” at about 3.2K per month, while the couple is making 4K.

    I may have forgotten some expenses, feel free to add.


    “i am not a math teacher because i failed math in school “

    Re-read your post – your spelling ain’t none too good, neither…(Just, kidding, I am not the English Language Skills Police).


    I’m living off of significantly less than $30,000 a year in E”Y and have been in kollel for 3 years already.

    I live pretty comfortably compared to my friends who are not making as much as I am. It can get tough at times but HKBH sends the money and we make it.

    I estimate that I can easily handle five kids (iy”h) within $40,000 and still be living relatively comfortable.

    That being said, its not always so easy for a girl to find a job that pays so well here in E”Y. But people do it here.



    $30,000/year in Israel is a relatively well paying job.

    Also, in Israel you don’t have to worry about tuition (for the most part) and there are plenty of social programs built into the tax base, so people with large families pay very little.

    Does a teacher make $30,000/year in Israel?


    Blinky, I believe it IS wrong for someone’s teacher (whom that person admires and looks up to as a real role model) to subtly encourage a student to think that life is all rosy in a lifestyle that for most people is financially challenging. If what you posted was accurate, then IMO, your teacher did you a disservice by planting an unrealistic idea in the minds of her students, who look at what she says as almost kodesh kodoshim.

    People who have influence over us, also have a very real achrayus not to present a one-sided view of such an issue. Kollel life is very hard for someone who does not have a financial support group. Anyone who asserts otherwise and says, “somehow the money is always there), is either being supported without their knowledge, or really blind to reality. Money is either there or it is not. Hashem does not usually send it in an anonymous envelope to us each month. And I know plenty of ehrliche kollel families whose own parents struggle mightily to meet their own expenses each month, who are NOT making ends meet and have to go for all kinds of handouts fromt he community, which is very embarrassing for them AND their families. AND still their husbands are not working. That’s just wrong. Hashem did not tell us to sit and learn while no bread is on the table. LEarning can be done every single day WHILE working to support one’s wife and children. My son learns b’chavrusah every day, and also holds down a p/t job and grad school.


    Tzippi, if that’s the case, then five years is beautiful. Let’s stop counting years. Let’s rather talk about working with children. It’s VERY hard to work with two. -ive done it. It’s pure mesiras nefesh.

    But once you have three children, it’s almost impossible to stay a calm mother, manage suppers and all, plus work.THAT’S where people fool themselves.

    Men should definitely learn as long as they’re able to. But not on the expense of their wife and kids.


    To Myfriend: I should have clarified, expecting to learn on someone else’s dime.

    And by average or below average, I wasn’t referring to their sheifa to learn and love of Torah, I meant average in other arenas.

    I think we have to raise our boys with a mindset that they’re not learning for 2 years, or 3 or 5 or more, but they’ll be learning for life, and filling the 5 – 9 time meaningfully.

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