Out Of The Mailbag: (Get Education!)

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    EinOdMilvado, those who work do so because of their chiuv to pay tuition and support a family, which are both Gemilus Chasadim. Chinuch Habanim is the Ikar, as Hashem only gave us the Torah because we will pass it on to the next generation. Whether you are required to work so that you can pay tuition is a different question.

    Besides, the idea is to have children who can support you in Kollel (or at least allow you to retire and not have to work for them) so that you can learn the whole day, since you appreciate learning and spend serious hours learning as a ball habayis (with your 8 hour workday if you are lucky!!!), vs. your children/in-laws who think learning during Bain HaZmanim is Assur.

    Of course we are not talking about Mitzuyanim who should be supported, or someone who has a yerusha (current or upcoming) but someone who will not be supported for the rest of their life has to ask a serious shaila before they decide not to prepare for that eventuality.

    P.S. If my brother (or shver/parents/uncle moneybags) was rich and could pay my tuitions and rent, I would learn full time as well. But this discussion is for people who (probably) will need to get a job at some point.


    And if your shaila is answered that you should not prepare for work, your next shaila should be if the rov will go collecting with you if and when you need the money.



    You began your original post with the following lamentation:

    “Ohh, my dear American Jews. How great have we fallen. Where have our priorities gone”

    I can almost hear your anguished sobs.

    Maybe you don’t see that as a condemnation or as judgemental, but I think most reasonable people would. And this outburst was prompted by nothing more than someone raising the question of whether more people would be well-served by pursuing a higher education.

    So don’t give us your disingenuous backpedalling now to say you were only trying to put olam habah on the map. I see numerous bnei torah heading to their chavrusos and shiurim at 5:30 am every morning before heading off to work. I suspect that olam habah occupies as prominent a place on their map as it does on yours. As I said in my first response to your questions, parnassah occupies the minds of all kinds of frum Jews with very sincere hashkofos. Face it. You (and many like you in this generation) see working people as inhenerently second class. Aside from having no historical precedent, this attitude has done absolutely nothing for the klal yisrael but increase divisiveness. Yes. The Rambam lived off his brother. But I’m guessing he never for one second considered himself holier than his brother.

    Your self-righteous histrionics contribute nothing to the discussion….except perhaps to soothe your own conscience.


    The Rambam did not Shnor from his brother. He invested with his brother and his brother did not charge him a commission. When his brother was shipwrecked, he lost that source of income and ‘mamon rav’ of his investment (Igros Harambam, p. 229). I think you will also find that he STUDIED medicine even before his brother was shipwrecked.

    The Rambam also holds that there is a Chiyuv to know the entire Torah (Hilchos Talmud Torah). Reb Moshe (Igros Moshe 8:36:4) writes clearly that according to the Rambam a person can and possibly should take gifts or even Tzedakah until he gets to the point of full Yedias Hatorah. Now, THAT would make me think twice before using the Rambam to assuage my guilty conscience.


    Ein od milvado,

    I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but you’re being a dreykup. As other people answered you, this was a legitimate discussion about doing halachically acceptable hishtadlus. You sound like a nudnick with a mussar speech that has nothing to do with anything that is being talked about here. Maybe YOU should learn more about being dan lchaf zechus other people, instead of assuming the worst in people.



    such a refreshing pleasure to see a shining ray of Emes on this website.

    i see you learn Mussar regularly, and apply effort to internalize and actualize it.

    either that or you have a close relationship with true Talmidei Chachuchim.

    so few Yidden today long for their Creator.

    you are Blessed.


    wow, I haven’t been on here in ages.

    However this letter caught my attention.

    It’s amazing how everyone here recommends men to go to college for a degree, as if its that easy.

    Honestly, men; how many of you have a high school diploma?

    How many of you know how to spell or read correctly?

    How many of you had english in yeshiva, besides what you learnt in elementary school?

    So in my humble opinion, before everyone recommends all these guys to go get a degree(which is not as easy as it seems). Maybe first make sure they HAVE a decent education!

    Pashuteh Yid

    Azh, the Reb Moshe you quote is very shver, and I doubt you could defend it. Not that I can challenge Reb Moshe, as I am not a moreh horaah, but if one learns the Rambam, there is certainly room to ask questions. The Rambam (Talmud Torah 3,10) writes kol hameisim al libo sheyaasok btorah vlo yaaseh melachah vyisparnes min hatzedakah harei zzeh chilel es hashem ibazah es hatorah vichavah maor hadas vgaram raah latzmo vnatal chayav min haolam haba…kol torah sh’ein imah melacha sofa bteila vgoreres avon, vsof adam zeh sheyehai melastem es habriyos. He goes further in (3,11). He also says in (3,6) lo alecha hadavar ligmor, implying it is understood that in olam hazeh it is difficult to learn kol hatorah kula and one is not expected to finish, just to do his best, given the constraints of parnasa.

    If Reb Moshe would have said that we don’t pasken like the Rambam, or that it is eis laasos lashem, and we must violate the Rambam, fine. But what bothers me is how you can learn a pshat in the Rambam which is 180 degrees the opposite of what the Rambam says in black and white. I don’t see how the Rambam could have made it any clearer that he feels one should not be somech on his learning for parnasah. How can you say that the words KOL hameism al libo sheyaasok btorah vyisparne min hatzedakah…KOL torah shein imah melacha sofa bteilah… means that one is mechuyav to support himself from tzedakah if he doesn’t know kol hatorah kula or will not be able to know kol hatorah kula if he works. Do you mean to say that this halacha only applies to one who has already learned Kol Hatorah Kula? Why didn’t the Rambam tell us this himself? This is probably the most shver Reb Moshe I have ever seen. If anybody can say pshat, please do so.

    just me

    Ein Od,

    I have no guilty consience to assage. I worry that when my kollel son will leave kollel (soon most likely) he will not be able to support a family because he has learned nothing. I would like him to learn a profession. My husband (no higher education) works over 12 hrs/day. He learns daf yomi. He carries sforim with him in case he has a few minutes in the day to learn. My son says he doesn’t want to work as hard as his father so he can spend more time with his kids. Parnassa is in the hands of the Rebonon Shel Olam but I, personally, don’t think I or my children are on the level of R’ Shimon bar Yechai that we can just expect parnasa to come by itself. Are you?

    If what you say about the Rambam is the correct version, are you saying that young men should wait until their money sourse is totally dried up or dead before thinking that JUST MAYBE they need to show some responsability? I’d like to see the yeshivos say “Oh, of course. Take all the time you need to pay what you owe. You’re in kollel? You don’t have to pay.” I’d like to see the grocer say the same.

    We have to do like Purim and raise Olam HaZe to Olam HaBa not just look down our noses at those who have their feet in Olam HaZe.


    lgbg, well put and stated beautifully! While most of the schools that we are sending our children to have “secular studies”, wouldn’t it be wonderful if they could teach our children the skills that they will need in life? (I’m not labeling all Yeshivos since I have seen many right wing yeshovos that manage to impart a decent secular studies program as well, but it seems that there are some that don’t even bother to try) How many times have we gone to a simcha where the person giving the d’var torah didn’t have the proper skills to give over his intended message (paragraph structure, oratory skills, main idea and supporting statements)? How many kids are lacking the math skills to understand how much 15% off of something will be? How many are not able to balance their checkbook, understand what is being said on legal documents, or even basic science skills? (like when you make have a grill and want to heat up baked beans you have to open the can first to prevent an explosion?) There are so many important “life skills” that be can taught and it would not be considered b’til torah.

    Einodmilvado and feivel, I wonder why you have to resort to putting down others who don’t agree with your perspective on things. To call B’nei torah in America, “goyim who wear white shirt, black pants and tzitzis out” is really uncalled for. I think you have to look closer again. Each and everyone is a member of Klal Yisroel and the children of the Rabonah Shel Olam. Be careful of your words since I’m no so sure the Aibeshter is so happy at the way you talk about his kids, (seemingly good intentions and all). You would be surprised of the relationships that his “American” children have with him.

    One last thing, Einodmilvado, you have said a lot of wonderful mussar and I’m glad that you are actively working on internalizing it in your life. However, your approach is as effective as tape recording. You have missed the point of this post. This wasn’t about validating the yeshiva bochur’s desire to leave the “learning world”, this was about, when he is ready to take on a parnasa, that he should have the skills necessary to provide the most for his family. How good of a role model will a father be, when he is working full time and stressed out because he is still worried that the electricity is about to be shut off. How many families have shalom bias issues because of the stress of the lack of means to improve the situation. How many mothers would like to be home with their children and be able to raise them with the values that they feel are important (instead of the local playgroup, daycare or chas v’shalom non Jewish maids)? Plus to say that all these cases are of which they lack b’tochim would be false. How do we expect to be able to receive all or any of the bracha and good that the Aibeshter does for us if we don’t make the motions to get it.


    “All i want to do is put Olam Haba on the map”

    Sorry, it is not on any map and that is G-d’s plan to keep it secret even from the ministering angels. If a human king had a secret place and I would draw maps speculating where it is, I would not be considered to be most respectful of the human king. Of course we believe in reward and punishment and eternity beyond this world, but too much speculation in that area is not proper.


    I am really shocked that yeshiva world posted this letter. In the past if someone would even hint of getting an education it would not be posted. What has happenned? Has the editor seen the light and realized that many of the yeshivalite who write to this site can barely write a coherent sentence, forget about spelling and grammar. As a teacher I see the finished products coming out of yeshivas today and it is a shrek. The total lack of basic skills in English, math and vocabulary make many yeshiva boys look like students from third world countries.It is an shame to watch them as many are unable to fill out basic applications or forms and cannot follow written instructions.How sad is it that their wives have to fill out the welfare and food stamp applications because they are unable to do so.

    Yeshivas today that don’t teach at least the basic skills to their talmidim are doing a great injustice to them. How is a bochur supposed to understand some of the difficult sugyos in shaas that deal with math and science.

    If you think this does not have an effect on the klal you are wrong. Doesn’t it seem that the same people are giving the same drashas all over town and it is getting quite boring. Aren’t we producing any new speakers? The answer is no. Most yeshivalite can only speak the yeshivishe “raid” but can’t put together 2 proper English sentences.

    How can our bochurim and yungerlite ever get jobs if they can’t even speak the language.

    Pashuteh Yid

    Goodpop, you hit the nail on the head. Short of time, and will take an entire book to be maarich on this point, or at least a separate thread which don’t have time for now.

    Somehow, the yeshivishe velt got it into their heads that the more primitive one is, the more broken is his English, the poorer are his Math skills, and the more ignorant of science, then the more endeared he is to the RBSH. I personally believe the exact opposite. The Torah is sophisticated enough to stand up to any challenges, and its learners should be able to present impeccably in front of any audience on any learned topic. This is the kiddush hashem we aspire to, not making utter fools of ourselves when meeting people of other backgrounds and education. Instead of teaching our youth how to make a better impression, we tach them how to avoid other people by banning everything and anything that might lead to contact with another human outside the yeshivishe velt. Then we can keep going around feeling smug and arrogant about how great we are compared to all the others. (If you can’t beat ’em, run away and avoid all contact so you don’t have to confront reality.)

    As far as the drashos you mention, I was just saying the exact same thing to some friends. The basic drasha is always “We see from the Torah the importance of learning Torah.” What I asked my friends was, isn’t this somewhat circular reasoning? Of course if one is learning Torah one is going to see the importance of learning Torah. What needs to be explained is how that will improve the world, and why someone who is not learning Torah might want to start learning Torah, and how does one inspire himself to accomplish great things, and why does Torah learning make one more of a mensch (not because the Torah says it does, but a real-life example.)

    It is so tiring to keep hearing the same yeshivishe slogans thrown around time after time, without the slightest hesber, or attempt to make relevant, or taama dikra in the sense of the taste of the posuk. Torah can be made to taste great, but only when one realizes the greatness of the world and the briyos, as a whole. Then the Torah adds flavor to everything in the world.

    I would like to say pshat in shelo bairchu batorah tchila, not as the yeshivishe velt says that they learned torah like any other chochma (Why in the world would a person learn Torah if they didn’t feel it was from the RBSH? It would otherwise be the most boring and irrelevant subject in the world. How many non-Jews would have the patience to study a blatt gemara anyway. What good would it do them?) Rather I think the pshat is shelo bairchu birchos hanehenin on the Torah. They didn’t get a geshmak from it, but only learned it for the mitzva or because it was the yeshivishe thing to do. It became a drudgery and a meaningless cult. If they realized what a treasure it was and how it makes one a better person in bein adam lachaveiro and increased his ahavas habriyos and his anivus and his connection with the RBSH, and how talmidei chachamim are marbim shalom baolam with their mido tovos towards all human beings, they would have been dancing over every blatt, not knocking those who aren’t members of their cult with their stupid meaningless gayvah and arrogance.

    Just my take on things.


    Education starts from earliest childhood.It is imperative that our youngsters learn to speak and read English properly even if Yiddish is the language used at home,. It matters not if you are Chassidic,Yeshivish or frum or any Jew from ANY background. You can raise your family in a Torah type atmosphere and learn proper English. Secular studies must be taught to our childrden but in a kosher way. We now have kosher texts approved by NYS Dept of Education.Our children mst know history of the USA and Western civilization,with thr role of the Jews in it. They must be familiar with math and science so they can compete with the brightest minds.Then they can go to kosher colleges to get a degree while also learning Torah. Others can learn Torah with less secular studies as they advance.Each student should study what he’s good at and become a well-rounded person,in the spirit of ‘Torah Im Derech Eretz’.There is no excuse for any Ben-Torah not to be able to read and write English and to be well educated so he can be prepared to compete in this world. Knowledge is power.


    I just stumbled on this posting and the multitude of comments…At the risk of being put in the “freie” camp again (see another coffee chat), I will freely say that today’s system of kollel is explicitly against the torah, against the mishnah, the gemoro, the halachah and plain common sense.

    Against the Torah: “Sheeroh, kesusoh veonusoh lo jigro’ (Mishpotim)

    Against the Mishna : “Chaiv odom lelamed es beno umnos” (Kiddushin)

    Against the gemoro ; ” Harbeh osu kerashimon be jochoi velo olso bejodm” (Berachos)

    Against the halacha : see Rambam and Poskim

    Against common sense: never in our history has this been part of the Yiddishe velt-for every young man to learn and rely upon the goodwill and the money of others. Always, everyone went out to earn a lving, poor or rich.

    And, by the way, this is why the chassidische oilam is much more realistic and you can see that the vast majority of chassidim ultimately do go to work.


    I agree with the original poster for the segment of our klal that he is trying to communicate to.

    Let’s keep in mind that college, grad school and working in general are not for everyone nor is it what everyone wants in a life. The original poster made it very clear that he is speaking to those who wish to pursue a professional or business career, not EVERYONE and is not making any generalizations at all.

    I will say that one needs to weigh very carefully in their minds the consequences of his or her choices vis a vis earning a living and what to make their u’mnus. A person needs to be SURE that the lifestyle that follows one’s choice is what that person can reasonably live with.


    Attacking Touro as a less than adequate degree is a total cop out.I have two sons who graduated from Touro with honors, and were accepted to an excellent law school,they both have successful careers in law. A daughter was accepted to a world renowned graduate school for an advanced degree in Psychology. The people who knock Touro ( Yes, definitely the only on site college where it’s impossible to be nichshal, since their values are impeccable)are too lazy or unmotivated to actually sit down and do the work neccessary to obtain a degree. How many of today’s bochurim are actually wasting their precious time in Yeshiva instead of making the most of every moment. Of course a percentage of the boys belong in learning and chinuch forever.But do yourselves a favor and know who you are~!!!!!!!!


    rabbiofberlin – i agree with the beginning of your statement.

    but……you say the chasideshe world goes to work, do you realize that the litvish world does as well. its yeshivish – which really stems from chassidus, since most of these people daven sfard and wear gartlech. my great grandfather was the rov of a major Lithuanian town, and he worked as well. yes he found time to learn, sit on the bes din, etc. but the litvish ALWAYS worked. REAL roshei yeshiva (reb ahron excluded, as he had the job of rebuilding yeshivos) will tell guys to leave the beis medrash and go to work.

    side point, you missed the biggest one as far as going out to get a job, the kesubah every one of the kollel guys hands his wife. it states he will provide her , no that her father will provide him!!!

    enlightenedjew – youre thinking is the problem. that working is not for everyone. are you shikker? working is for everyone, learning is for a very select few, maybe 2-3 percent if we are lucky. the rest need to go out and work. Sheishes yomim taavod, hence kollel yungerleit are called batlanim. Hashem built a drive to create, to build things, a drive for personal responsibility into EVERYONE!! the ones that dont want to are flat out lazy, just like you have lazy people all over society who would rather not get a better paying job, one over lets say $13,000, because then they will lose government handouts. your post is really a pathetic attempt to condone laziness, and perpetuate the mindset of the problem. working isn’t a lifestyle keneged the torah, learning all day is! it is high time roshaei yeshiva started kicking 90% of their kollel yungerleit out, and paid the remailng people more money so they can sit and learn in earnest, and actually support their families the way a ben torah should.


    The tannaim and aamoriim had jobs, didnt they?

    Hillel cut wood for a living. R’ Yitzchak Nafcha, was exactly what his name implied.

    I do not intend to knock ANYONE who sits and learns, and I never will. If they can, kal hakavod to them. I wish I had the ability to learn 20 hours a day and provide for my family like I promised in my kesubah.

    The mishna discusses each city to provide for “asara batlanim” so that a minyan of people would be engaged in learning all day and someone who entered the shul would always find a minyan if needed. the mishna does not say, to the best of my knowledge “kul hamarbe harei zeh mishubach” (that a city should try for 20 or 30 “batlanim”). That is an individual choice each person made. Some earned their parnassha in 2 hours a day. Others in 10 hours a day. Whatever it was, they used the remainder of their time to learn.

    Halevay everyone should have the ability to learn for 20 hours a day, but until that becomes a reality, some people have to prepare for reality, put in the proper hishtadlus and get a degree so that can get a job. It shouldnt be disdianed.


    Rabbiofberlin, I agree with you fully. Believe me, I think that there are far to many people who are learning and taking mamon tzibur and either not do not live up to their potential or simply don’t belong in that environment.What I meant to say was that there IS a vital and important need for learners, yechidai segulah so to speak, but one needs to do a thorough cheshbon hanefesh before contemplating full time kollel.



    Sorry, I meant I agree with Mariner.

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