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    Pinchas Butter

    It’s tough, first a girl has to endure the degrading shidduch process which favors the boy and then she toils as a Morah for a a minuscule salary
    The GOOD NEWS IS – HASHEM IS ON HER SIDE ! Ha-Elokim Yevukash Es Hanirdaf


    Ubiq, you are right that this is machlokes between stam amorah and Avira. Avira has good arguments for his approach and has modern authorities to support this. I used modern on purpose, as some people like to blame others for deviation from heilicke tradition, but then ignore other aspects of Torah.

    In this case, I already said that the current system seems to be justified at the time, but gemora warns us of long term damage. As R Avigdor Miller says, if you go into the fire to save a baby, you will still have burns. So, we need to acknowledge and deal with side effects. Whether my solutions are too radical for some is a separate issue.


    Dear Thelittle,

    In today’s day, there is not a necessity to work full time as soon as a new couple starts their home. For the majority, kollel is like a bridge from yeshiva to settling into a neighborhood and managing parnassah with a Torah lifestyle. According to the tzedakah organizations, there is not a higher percentage of needy kollel families than working families. Statistically this should change with second and third generation kollel families. But kollel is not hereditary.

    The idea of boys staying in kollel only for the image, is a myth. Those are the ones that are too insecure to forge their own path. And they start floating through the system at a very young age. He you are advocating on sending them out to the world at fifteen, I totally agree. At twenty five, it is a case of a married man-child. It is a real problem. And staying in a kollel is the easiest way to manage their lack of confidence.


    re: working conditions, both of you seem to simplify the other side. Most teachers are always busy and have to prepare classes and deal with parents and do not charge per hour … But many other professionals spend too many hours and have to deal with unruly people and are devoting evening hours, although may be not as unruly as children. The biggest teaching perk, of course, is not just reduced or free tuition, or shorter hours, but an opportunity to lead meaningful/Torah life during working hours. When a builder have a problem, he calls a plumber. When a teacher – he calls his Rosh Yeshiva and enjoys a discussion. In the working world, too many people treat their workday as just wasted time in compensation for money and see no mitzvos and growth opportunity there.


    Avira> most who go to work don’t go off, but a significant amount do, and a much bigger amount have a yeridah.

    I do not observe this among young professionals I observe, whether yeshivish or MO. Where I saw problems, they typically manifest in high schools or shortly after, due partially influence of school atmosphere, teachers, and parents, but not after. Could you clarify: what is the source of this yeridah, as you observe? what is a typical job, home lifestyle and how does yeridah manifest itself?


    I think the biggest difficulty with teaching is, that they have to be open to a lot of criticism. A teacher must answer to the students, the parents, the parent body, the principal, their peers, the community, and frum online forums. There is zero reason anybody should mind teachers getting paid more.

    🍫Syag Lchochma



    n0 > they have to be open to a lot of criticism. .. There is zero reason anybody should mind teachers getting paid more.

    They should be, given the importance of their job. Nuclear plants have a lot of oversight, and so should teachers who affect young neshomos. I am not sure though whether we use right tools for the criticism – meeting teachers twice a year and expressing displeasure with end product would be frustrating for everyone involved. There are lots of tools that could be used: standardized tests with published results, student evaluations, glass doors with occasional parent accees, easier ways to switch between classes, more competition, paying good teachers more ….


    Dear Always,

    If you do not like it, than do not use it. Call the teacher as often as you wish.


    I was a teacher for 10 years. I loved it! I put my heart and soul into teaching. Until it wasn’t working. I was making less than $25,000 a year, working hours at home (because if I do something I do it all the way) and was coming home daily wiped out.
    This year I started working in an office. I make double, work less total hours (no home work), and come home with energy to be a wife and mother.
    Oh, and now I can afford to treat myself once in a while without thinking how in the world will I pay the credit card bill vs. teaching that didn’t even cover my basic living expenses
    I’m happy that teachers are waking up. Supply and demand works- the less teachers available the more schools will have to pay to attract teachers.


    Also gadolhadorah and thelittle- you sound like my mother in law. She also thinks my husband should go find a job (he actually learns at least 12 hours a day). If this is the life we chose why do you care? Why would it bother you if a couple decides that the husband should stay in kollel? No-one is forcing the kind of life they think is right on you so don’t chose for others.

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    Amom- not sure how TLIK fits in here but unfortunately there are some here who never stop complaining about the burden day school and kollel is putting on them, as if they are giving you funds that are being grabbed away from taken olam or interfaith causes they support. Perhaps the haskalah movement hired them as grant writers and you are hurting their potential donations. It’s hard to know what, besides anti torah drives them but watch out. In a minute expect a long lecture from another of the group’s merry men on how your life choice is actually everyone’s business.


    I don’t think anyone would object to your husband’s and yours dedication to Torah if you are using your own funds or money from someone who dedicated them for that purpose. Kol Hakovod! Your M-I-L may be different as she, understandably, is looking for your benefit and she may be thinking ahead at how your family will live. As Torah is supposed to be sweet for everyone, maybe you can find ways to make your MIL happy with your husband’s learning. Depending on your circumstances, Either invite her as a honored guest when he gives a dvar Torah to public; or start a class for ladies that includes her; or spend 2 out of 12 hours to learn a profession or an internship at some job so that she can see that her grandchildren will have food to eat.

    Back to finances, when I said “using your own funds”, there are different views here. My personal view is that this should not include using public funds dedicated for poor people, such as foodstamps, welfare, unemployment, tax credits. Someone who volunteers not to work, for whatever great reason, should not depend on charity, but many people (and here too) disagree.


    Would you rather your taxes go to the homeless than to a talmud chacham?
    My husband is a MASSIVE taldmud chochom. It would be a waste to the world if he would go work. So which is better? We tried without programs and didn’t have money for food. Literally. We then spoke to our rav and said we are allowed to be on programs IF we can’t live without it.
    BH now that I’m not teaching and working in an office (I am going for my degree) I am not eligible for programs BH!!!
    And for my mil- she’s coming around. She just will never respect my husband as much as his brothers with jobs. She ironically gives them more money than she gives us. Buts thats ok she doesn’t owe us anything. We chose this life and we live with it.

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    Amom- since when is learning in kollel ‘not working’? He has hours, schedule, obligation to attend and produce and likely some compensation. If that’s “not working” try selling it to some couch potato who also doesn’t want to work and see if it sells.


    Any Jew qualified for public benefits should accept every penny he’s legally entitled to. Regardless of his employment status.


    so you are also blessed with MIL who helps you with money. Baruch Hashem. I don’t think this is irony that she gives more to the other siblings. There is a mitzva to help someone to pick up an animal “with him”. So, if other brothers are working hard to support their families, she wants to help them. If your husband prefers learning, then his mother feels less obligated to help with him with something he does not bother to attend to himself. And, again, I hope your husband finds a way to make his mother happier about it – not by nudging her, but by doing something that will deserve her respect in whatever ways she sees it. I personally do not know Talmidei Chahamim who do not try to excel in kibud av.

    As to using public funds, as you already see, there are other opinions. It depends how programs are structured: I am all for using public funds to support Jewish schools, provided those schools fulfil the general public goals, educating responsible citizens. If the State of NJ consider establishing programs to support Torah learning as it benefits the world, I’ll vote for it. As to using programs designated for poor, as you already see, there are differing opinions here. I see several parts here:

    1) benefiting from Torah learning (that is saying my kollel is working, pay me for that). You can ask your husband to point you places in Gemorah of people who refused to have any physical benefit from their learning. So, just the system of paying people to learn is problematic to begin with, as much as we have good social reasons to have it.

    2) taking money from charity designated for poor, rather than for learning. In old Jewish communities, poor were supported but checked out also. I am not aware of T’Ch being supported that way. Maybe someone knows.

    3) personal attitude. Why would a T’Ch want someone else to pay for his Torah learning, especially questionable? You figured out a job that pays. If you feel you do not get enough, your husband can figure out how to work for a couple of hours a week. you said a Rav permitted it. Did you ask the Rav whether you are permitted to be machmir and not do that?

    4) taking general public funds designated for poor. This is a can of worms. When you asked me about a false choice between supporting homeless and a T’Ch: I will obviously pay for both. I would rather donate to a T’Ch of my choice directly and benefit from the mitzva, rather than paying extra taxes and gaining no benefit! Or maybe just use an extra hour to learn myself instead of working to pay the tax. This sounds petty as T’Ch is 1% of welfare funds – but in some places we now have whole cities and people can do analysis how much of public funds is spent on voluntarily poor.


    ujm> Any Jew qualified for public benefits

    I am not sure which programs amom used, but it seems that NJ welfare program’s focus is on helping people get a job. So, if someone is capable of finding a job, would not qualify:
    WorkFirst New Jersey (WFNJ) is the state’s public assistance program, designed to help families move to self-sufficiency by offering them a full array of supports, from child care, health insurance and transportation, to substance abuse treatment and emergency funds. Recipients face a five-year lifetime limit on cash assistance, and must become employed or take part in work activities


    Dear Always,

    You simply never bothered to check out who these programs were crated for, or the criteria needed to qualify. Nor do you have any idea which programs are popular among kollel members and their families. There is no reason to stop now. There are starving children in Zimbabwe. Probably because of kollel.


    Dear Ujm,

    Now that is a minority opinion! Do you waste your life trying to get every program you can?


    Anom, it’s amazing how not bitter and not entitled you are at that predicament… It’s truly amazing; most people would be fuming at their mother in law and want their husband to go to work under such circumstances


    Thanks Avira- But, it makes it more real. Kollel is not something my husband was encouraged into- its a path we chose despite the difficulties- which makes us stronger. But, I was surprised to see so many ppl against kollel. Like it’s not your child, so who cares?
    As for programs- When a kollel family really needs the funds and they are eligible they should completely take it. AAQ has equal preference for his taxes helping a T”Ch or a homeless beggar. His whole reply has so many wrong points I wouldn’t even know where to begin to respond.
    And UJM is correct. If someone is eligible for govt programs that means they are making very little money for a non frum lifestyle and a frum lifestyle is way more expensive. And if they take the higher goal of teaching (which is what this post started with) at least they should be taking govt programs to help them with basics like foodstamps for food.
    Just my (and my ravs) opinion.


    n0 > Nor do you have any idea which programs are popular among kollel members

    Sure. I used to be very poor, but somehow avoided using most of it. I am not accusing anyone of anything. I just said what my principles are. If there is a moral way to get gov money, gezunte heig. For example, Andrew Young’s stipend for everyone would be a great thing for learning. If the economy will survive that, it will be great. In a big picture, current human productivity in developed countries far exceeds what humans need to survive. So, choosing learning obviously a better choice than many others chosen…


    Avira > most people would be fuming at their mother in law

    I am not sure why we are going into someone’s family, but this is very puzzling. M-I-L supports the family, albeit less than others. In-laws seemingly raised multiple children and made them productive members of society. Fuming at parents for having an opinion (caring) about your life path is not something that a T’Ch would do. Again, I don’t intend to put my nose into someone else’s family.


    Amom, I apologize if I am coming so negative, somehow we are talking past each other and not understanding. I mentioned the money aspect only as a qualification to my “kol hakavod” not even expecting that it applies to you as you were describing your job. And, frankly, I am more picky with this than with other members of society that may or may not be productive: we re talking here about yidden who spent years toiling in Torah. Surely, hopefully it is done in purity and honesty. for an extreme example, could you imagine someone learning whole day and then cursing people, or robbing them, or driving over them on the way home? Surely, everyone would say that this is not real Torah. If a college professor spends years researching Greek philosophy and then misbehaves in his private life, I will care less. This is my only concern, I hope I explained it better now. The rest are specific details that, as I mentioned before, people disagree about and I’ll try to address separately.

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    AAQ at 11:12 –
    “don’t think anyone would object to your husband’s and yours dedication to Torah if you are using your own funds ”
    AAQ at 5:53 –
    “If your husband prefers learning, then his mother feels less obligated to help with him with something he does not bother to attend to himself. ”
    “your husband can figure out how to work for a couple of hours a week. you said a Rav permitted it. Did you ask the Rav whether you are permitted to be machmir and not do that?”

    AAQ at 9:09-
    “Again, I don’t intend to put my nose into someone else’s family.”


    amom > AAQ has equal preference for his taxes helping a T”Ch or a homeless beggar.

    I don’t have “equal preference”:
    1) There are taxes and rules that democratically elected government designated for poor. Usually, the more poor, the more money. So each person who needs charity, gets it from people who work. So, if people (through their elected representatives) say that they are ready to pay X to each poor person, I do not think it is kosher to pretend to be such a person if you are not. As UJM mentioned, if there are programs that designated for anyone who prefers not to earn money, then, of course, it is more ok to take those.

    2) when you present it as a choice, I also do not understand. So, you will not do whatever needs to be done to a homeless person in order to support Torah learning by someone who is capable of working?

    > means they are making very little money for a non frum lifestyle and a frum lifestyle is way more expensive

    these are all legitimate arguments when you talk to a willing donor who wants to support Torah learning. You tell him what is your “expensive frum lifestyle” and he will tell you what he is willing to support.


    Ok, I looked up current SNAP rules for NJ, as this was mentioned. There is a work requirement, with exemptions for <6 y.o in a family for one parent in the family or for someone studying for a job. So, I guess if amom works and studies, her husband gets the kid exemption. State of NJ should not be bothered that it is heroic amom who de facto cares for those kids, so this makes it within rules, even if against the “spirit of the law”. Is this what you mean, ujm? Thanks for legal education. I feel better now, but still do not understand why people want to go through this.


    Dear Always,

    I apologize if I’m reading your posts wrong. But there is not that much of a gap between kollel and working families, when it comes to government programs.

    I think it is safe to assume that Lakewood has the largest amount of kollel families. And a large amount of young working families as well. Which families use which programs depends on personal choices besides kollel.

    A decision about HUD is usually made around marriage. Those that take it, are limiting their choices of where to rent as well as not being able to buy if the opportunity arises. Since a large amount of Lakewood families look to buy before they leave kollel, this program is more stage based than saying something about kollel.

    Jersey Care has a very high threshold, especially for large families. If you have private insurance, you probably are paying full tuition. There are those that squeezed by their employers and the schools, which is totally wrong. But that has nothing to do with kollel.

    WIC is time consuming. Both the initial WIC appointments, and the WIC approved shopping. It is mostly used by younger families that have one parent available to make a trip out of it. And it also has a high threshold. Serious kollel men, drop WIC when it starts taking up too much time.

    SNAP is probably the most associated with kollel life in Lakewood. Still, at some point most families will either not be eligible, or they really are short on money for food.

    There are some other programs that have very low thresholds, and are only used by those who are actually poor. Which is not exclusive to kollel.

    There is school lunches and meals on wheels for seniors. As well as making your house tax-free or special ed. Which all are not specifically relevant to kollel any more than the working family.

    I have to stop here. I’m forgetting what the point of this was. I cede the floor.


    n0, the point was taking public money to support Torah learning when it was not the taxpayer intent.

    We had these discussions before. It is obvious that this was not an ideal in olden time, then it becomes an “emergency measure” for the times when community is in danger. But by mow, it is becoming accepted as core value to the degree that here is resentment to people who disagree, do not sufficiently support, and a challenge – support my Torah or some homeless dude.

    I am afraid we are losing our values – while trying to preserve them. Again, let’s presume we still need these emergency measures, but somehow we need to ensure that this emergency character is remembered – and, when possible, moved towards a better one. Can a talmid chacham spend two hours a day working, or training to work? If not, maybe one hour? Do we have economic disincentives – he will lose gov benefits and stipend doing that?

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    Do you harass college graduates who struggle as well or just people who learn?

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    Do you harass fathers who take off a decade to get a phD while his family lives on welfare or just people who learn?

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    Do you harass degree holding moms for staying home to raise her children leaving the family on food stamps or just people who learn?


    AAQ- you seem to have the mistaken assumption that my mil supports us. What I meant by her giving more $ to my husbands siblings is like by chanukah gifts (which we appreciate and she can chose to give whoever however much she wants) because they work.
    I am so leaving this conversation. I came in to discuss teachers salaries and why I left teaching.


    amom, I apologize and sorry for using wrong assumptions. Anyway, for teacher’s salaries – did you look at starting a class teaching in a town that has ore working people and less people capable/having time for teaching. As I put above, $5K x 15 kids = $75K – $25K expenses would give you a salary higher than now. With 2-3 friends and a shul that is willing to give you use of the building, you can thrive and use your talents.


    Syag, thanks for your questions! I think I already answered above – I care more for Torah learning than other endeavors.

    But, of course, while Gemora says that work/learn balance people are generally more successful, there are other nisayonos in life as you mention! If I am talking to friends, I would surely suggest them not studying towards non-productive degrees, and doing PhD at a faster rate and part-time. Not bragging, but I got PhD without being on welfare, first having a fellowship and then getting a job, and my wife was able to stay with the kids as long as she wanted (which she did). I surely missed out on some exciting opportunities that required long work hours for future reward.

    But, anyway if there are some people here getting PhD in gender studies while staying on welfare and neglecting kids, please reveal yourself so that we can straighten you out!

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