learning vs working – which is harder?

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    by bpt

    “I don’t see why it matters if new2thescene is working or learning”

    Because being in yeshiva full time is nowhere near as hard as working full time and / or going to college.

    No one gets fired from yeshiva from doing a poor job, and last I checked (which was last night) no one “fails” a zman if you don’t pass a test (as there are none).

    I should know.. I’m surrounded by boys in yeshiva, whose days (and nights) are filled with loads of discresionary time, and have friends whose daughters work and/or go to school, with scedules that are tougher than mine.

    Boys have nothing to complain about. Nothing.


    by myfriend

    Because being in yeshiva full time is nowhere near as hard as working full time and / or going to college.

    Yeshiva and learning Torah is harder than working. If there is anyone who shouldn’t be complaining, it is those who are in college or working. The Yeshiva guys should be handed a silver platter for the Avodas HaKodesh they sweat for.


    by gavra_at_work

    Yeshiva and learning Torah is harder than working. If there is anyone who shouldn’t be complaining, it is those who are in college or working. The Yeshiva guys should be handed a silver platter for the Avodas HaKodesh they sweat for.


    This is so funny and wrong I don’t even know where to begin.

    I’ll just say you are disagreeing with Rav Moshe Wolfson, who says learning is a much easier lifestyle (since that is the language you understand).

    If you want to debate this please start a new thread.

    OK SO I DID.

    really curious to see how this plays out ^_^ go on LETS GET FIRED UP!

    i offer up the following tidbit. (parentheses are my inserts) my friend, a highly successful cpa at a non-jewish firm told me the following: in the firm he works at, one of the (non-jewish) partners has taken to looking out for, and hiring, former serious yeshiva students. my friend noted this, and asked him why. the man responded: i have been hiring and firing people for yrs, and i go to seminars and workshops to understand how to evaluate employees on a regular basis. one of the things i have learned is that in that a quality employee is someone who produces four highly productive hours out of the typical eight in a regular work day. (being in yeshiva, i was astonished at this. i asked my friend, what do they do all day? he laughed and said, really you think batala is just in yeshiva? i personally have seen water cooler/break room conversations last more than an hour. plus cig breaks plus wasting time on the net plus personal calls etc etc.) anyone who does less, is a low quality employee. more equals higher quality.

    he then said: its disturbing to me to see today how little discipline many young men entering the workforce have. sitting and doing nothing but focusing entirely on work for any long period of time is so foreign to them as to be non-doable. THE ONE EXCEPTION I SEE (i caps for emphasis, remember this is a non-jew) is young men from a yeshiva background. i dont know what it is about them, but i am ASTOUNDED that those who have taken their yeshiva experience seriously often produce OVER SIX HOURS OF HIGHLY PRODUCTIVE TIME EACH DAY.

    then my friend said to me, you know what? its no surprise. anyone who took yeshiva seriously was breaking their head on mind blowing & incredibly difficult concepts 10+ hrs every day. even a not-so-serious guy does 6+, if he is not a slacker. if any of my best non-jewish colleagues had to go to yeshiva for a week, and keeping their jobs would be dependent on their performance there, they would be such epic failures it would be incredible.

    so. maybe i’ll post again with more at a different time, but right now my insomnia is running out, and i’m curious to hear some responses ^_^


    i dont know why this post didnt get more hits. id ask that this doesnt become a holier then thou or ripping on parasites thread; just stick to the issue.

    I think its plausable that a bochur/yungerman who learns seriously, all day, everyday, has a more rigorous schedule. day begins usually at seven endes near midnight and has 12+ hours of intense mind straining concentration. i appreciate that working 8 till 8 is tough too; believe me my father is a workaholic who often doesnt sleep nights, but i believe he is the exception not the rule. also, while work might not be totally enjoyable or fun at all, and total drudgery at times, anyone who is having a slump and still pounds through a complete second seder has worked herder then climbing everest. the yetzer hara doesnt mind if you climb everest. although most people who are learning enjoy it, it can still be extremely difficult at times to stay focused. if your working and only have two hours a day to learn i dont think this problem surfaces. i know im gonna be called a lazy behind along with the rest of my kind but please, try to stay on topic.

    Mr Taxman

    Being a mother and housewife is HARDER than learnign and working.


    If your talking about really working, or really learning, of course learning is harder. If your talking about guy who sit in kollel, and learn some, n shmooze some, that is not called learning full time.

    I’m not sure it called learning at all.

    There is no Yetzer hora not work and make money, on the contrary.

    There is, however, a big Yetzer Hora not to learn and Shteig, especially one that has the guy hide in Beis Medrash not really learning, just Batteling away. If a guy isn’t learning it is not only better for him to go work he is required to do so.

    Feif Un

    Is there a reason my post wasn’t approved?


    It depends on the person. Some are meant to learn and some are meant to work. A person who tries to do the wrong job will have an incredibly tough time. It’s a famous Gemara on Chagigah 6b.


    Learning is always an option for everyone. Even if he can’t learn well. In learning the *only* thing that counts is the effort. If it takes him a whole zman to finish one blatt (and no more), and he put his full effort into doing that, he is a great and perfect full-time learner who should continue learning full-time indefinitely.


    It is hard to get up for an 8am shachris, get to seder by 10am and over the next 12 hours learn 3 full sedarim with breaks for meals and some leg stretching. Bein hazmanim is a much welcome break from a rigourous routine, I would imagine. It is also hard to get up for 6am shacris and shlep to an office, put in an honest days work, shlep back home, help with the homework, especially limudei kodesh and catch a shiur for yourself at 10pm. Depending on the job, there is no “bein hazmanim”. It is also very hard work, to get up at 5am to learn until 6:45, daven, go straight to work, get home at 6pm. Help with the homework and bedtime, learn with your sons, go out to a seder at 10pm and daven maariv at 11 and get home and crawl into bed until 5. No bein hazmanim to look foward to either. It is hardest, I think, to be responsible for the children, meals, laundry and general upkeep of the home often while working outside the home with no bein hazmanim to look foward to either. In fact, bein hazmanim she works overtime with an extra child in the house 🙂


    ha.ha. fyi, all kollel fathers have the same interest and involvment in their childs education. most bochurim and yungerleit daven well b4 eight; i personally am up b4 seven. i also think its the exception of workers who manage to put in a schgedule you described ie wake up to learn an hour b4 davening. not to common. secondly, after shono rishona the average serious yungerman gets home around 11. he helped with homework and dishes in his hour long break between 7 hours of learning.

    old man

    Hopefully, the reason that this question didn’t get many hits last time is because people realized that it is a rather unproductive question. Other examples include, Is it better to be a man or a woman? Is it better to die quickly or slowly? Which derech in learning is the best? And so on….


    Of course this question was inevitable. But can it be answered?

    There is no set criteria by which to determine such a question.

    My response of course is that it depends what you are passionate about. One who is passionate about animals and has longed to be a veterenarian their entire life, may find taking university courses on the subject to be both enjoyable and gratifying as he or she is not only learning about what they enjoy, but are also achieving a goal of theirs. While a person passionate who is passsionate about a good Tosfos versus Rashi argument would find such studies to be quite boring and difficult.

    It is also true the other way.

    In the end of the day, I can in no way be considered a “learner” as I am a full time college student, however, I have set aside an hour a night to learn at a local Kolel. I enjoy learning Gemara , but would not be able to do it for more than 4 hours straight. Probably not even more than 2 hours straight.

    So what is easier? Obviously the one you are less passionate about.


    Harder in what respect? The physical and time demands on a ben Torah baal habayis are unquestionably more severe than those on a kolel avreich. On the other hand, the baal habayis usually enjoys more creature comforts than the avreich (unless he has a rich father-in-law). In terms of mental effort, what we call “skull sweat”, I would say they are about equal for serious practicioners of both disciplines.


    hmmmmm. i geuss the only thing that peeves me is when people bring an attitude (either way really,) to the table with them.

    and you DO hear it all the time. “oh he’s in learning (frown) well that’s nice but i actually work for a living” is a comment i have heard at many a time. indeed, a relative of mine recently asked me rather bluntly (and he was well meaning, i have been married 5 yrs and am still in kollel, all the credit goes to my aishes chayil) “when are you going to stop fooling around in kollel and get a job”

    such comments really get me, i think the slackers in the learning community have somehow become the stereotype. i know in my own yeshiva, they are the exception, so it really puzzles me how this happened.


    The person who works.

    If you have a hard Gemorah and you try and try to understand it and you FAIL, you still get Schar.

    If somone give you a hard job and you try and try to do it and you FAIL, you get fired.

    Hashem is a lot more forgiving than your fellow man


    I’ll just say you are disagreeing with Rav Moshe Wolfson, who says learning is a much easier lifestyle

    I don’t see how one can argue. One has a much better Olam HaZeh in Bais Medrash then in the workplace. Learning is the most Geshmak thing that one can do. Imagine being able to do it as your job! It is like having a job to enjoy life 24/7.


    I was not aware that in life (whatever you do) the goal is to work harder than the next person. I always tought it was to put the maximum effort into whatever it is that you do to produce to the best that you possibly can. In shamayim they wont ask you, why werent you the Rambam, they will ask you, why werent you as great as you could have been had you fully utilized all your given talents.


    There is no question, learning is hard work. And if you are a bochur (or a newly married man, with no family to feed) you have a full day’s work ahead of you.

    But if you are the parent of children, your job is to provide for them, and allow your wife to stay at home (at least most of the day) until they are grown so they can benefit from her nurturing.

    Still, you are not off the hook with learning. None of us are. But providing for your family is your tafkid (read the document you signed… its pretty straightforward)


    it really depends on the person- some people find it really hard to learn and some people find it harder to work- sometimes there are people who feel like they need to see the fruits of their labor right away and therfore learning is to hard for them becaus it can take a very long to see the end result and their are other people who enjoy waiting until they see their long term benefits. physically speaking i would say working is harder.- especially for those who work and then whenever they have free time learn- there are people who will get up at 5 daven and learn- go to work- come home have supper daven maariv and then learn some more- that is defenitly the hardest- but i’d say the reward is greater in the end


    Of course learning is hard, but so is working, especially if you are a sixty year old schver supporting not only his own family but also the families of his sons and daughters. At one time he may have thought about retirement, but with the new minhag of young men delaying working, he has no choice but to keep on going. It’s not so bad. Advil helps with the aching back, and beta blockers with the aching heart. Maybe the son-in-laws will have a little rachmunis on their schver and help him out so he can at last rest. So when we discuss who works the hardest, I hope we will consider the humble schver.


    Unfortunatly I know someone like that


    i agree with the first post that mr taxman wrote however in answer to the op’s question it all depends on the way one does whatever he is doing.

    How does he learn? Does he take it seriously, or just hang around, drinking coffee, and shmoozing?

    How does he work? Does he just punch the clock and stand around waiting for lunch break, or does he actually take initiave and responsiblity in the work place?


    Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.

    I get up at 4:45 AM every morning, learn until 7, daven, head out to school at 8, go to class/study/research/write until 5, arrive home at 6, spend some time with the family until 8, learn until 10:30, daven, and spend some time with the wife, and get to sleep by 11:30-12. Pretty long day of pretty taxing learning and working, but I couldn’t possibly enjoy it more.


    rsrh, i am truly envious.

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