October 26, 2009 4:33 pm at 4:33 pm #590687
Once upon a time, in late 19th Century and early 20th Century russia, there were a mass of anti-religious socialists and Communists who thought that atheistic Communism was the wave of the future. they derided Torah and an authentic Orthodox lifestyle as outmoded and an embarrassing anachronism. They emigrated from Russia and went to Israel and America. Their children in america reacted to the Red Scare by transforming their message into “social justice”. LBJ’s Great Society was eventually passed with the help of the descendants of the anti-religious Jewish Socialists. Further liberalism expanded the entitlements and raised the limits.
In the meantime, Orthodox Jewry was on the ropes after churban Europe. Many predicted its complete disappearance. The response of the gedolim was to go into battle mode. Every boy was encouraged to go to yeshiva and learn as long as possible. Beis Yaakovs were founded, where the girls were raised to be Orthodox and to marry a learning boy. However, the money available to fund someone learning in kollel was limited.
In a strange and wonderful confluence of factors, the entitlement programs enacted by the descendants of the anti-religious Jewish socialists enabled kollel as a viable option.
The anti-religious socialists ended up ensuring the continuity of Orthodoxy. Venahapoch hu!October 26, 2009 4:54 pm at 4:54 pm #665789NY MomMember
Or you should say a small piece of the puzzle, or “yad Hashem” in history, is revealed.October 26, 2009 5:40 pm at 5:40 pm #665790
Such funding destroys the Kavod (Honor) of Torah.October 26, 2009 6:15 pm at 6:15 pm #665791Just-a-guyMember
Josh31- what funding is good enough for the Kavod of Torah?October 26, 2009 6:42 pm at 6:42 pm #665792
Josh31, it was debated in the Rambam. the Rambam said a scholar shouldn’t take any funding and be independent. The Kesef Mishna argued. Today we go like the kesef mishna. If you feel so strongly about it, you’re welcome to give a kollel guy funding so that he can stop taking government funds.October 26, 2009 7:09 pm at 7:09 pm #665793
Jothar, there is funding and funding. Argument there was about Jewish (presumably Torah keeping) community funds, not funding specifically for the poor from a government in which Torah keeping Jews are only a minority.
“Josh31- what funding is good enough for the Kavod of Torah?”
Some “out-of-town” kollels provide stipends such that the recipients are disqualified from getting government support. Also, check out the YU kollel.October 26, 2009 7:28 pm at 7:28 pm #665794
In a few lines, this is going to revert to the debate about kollel or no kollel.
All I want to point out to jothar is the fact that, even with the stipends for bnai yeshiva in eretz yisroel and some welfare help here in the US, the vast majority of these families live in the most impoverished circumstances, are a too-heavy buren on theri paretns and families and sned their wives out to work in multiple jobs. To my humble estimation, this is NOT the way Torah meant it to be. To be really effective, cut the number of Kollel-guys by ninety percent and give the remaining ten percent a living wage.October 26, 2009 8:46 pm at 8:46 pm #665795
“pas bemelach tochal, mayim bemesurah tishte, al ha’aretz tishon”…
“ein hatorah neikeneis ele lemi shmeimis atzmo aleha”..
If the Torah was meant to be acquired while living comfortably, there wouldn’t be a nisayon.October 26, 2009 9:05 pm at 9:05 pm #665796anon for thisParticipant
Josh31, you wrote, “Some “out-of-town” kollels provide stipends such that the recipients are disqualified from getting government support.”
In the central US town where I lived, kollel members did receive a substantial stipend but it was paid as a parsonage, which reduced their taxes & allowed their wives & children to qualify for WIC & Medicaid. This allowed them to obtain cholov yisroel milk using WIC vouchers (at least half of the cholov yisroel milk purchased in this town was purchased using WIC vouchers).October 26, 2009 9:11 pm at 9:11 pm #665797
Bottom line- clearly most gedolim hold it’s allowed, as why shouldn’t it be allowed? Gezel akum is assur, but taking money they want to give you isn’t assur.
And we see clearly the Yad Hashem here.October 26, 2009 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm #665798
In the Midbar (and shortly after) the Shevet levi was 2.5% of the total community, not including converts. 10% of 3 major commodities went to them so that they could be supported with honor.
If we can grow a Shomer Shabbos community to have 1 million families, 25,000 kollel families can be supported BeKavod (with honor).
In Israel if the “secular” majority will see orthodoxy not as those relying upon the state, then there will be better success with Kiruv (bringing them back to keep Shabbos).October 26, 2009 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm #665799
jothar- your comments from the mishneh are commedable…..is this why every bochur from lakewood wants to marry a rich girl?? (and his rosh yeshiva encourages him to do so…)
anon for this- is thsi the way a ben torah should live- with WIC and food stamps?October 27, 2009 12:48 am at 12:48 am #665800
If the practice in this country is for students in professional schools to rely upon certain government programs, then for those in Kollel to rely on the same programs for the same length of time would not be a problem of Kavod HaTorah.October 27, 2009 12:51 am at 12:51 am #665801
ROB, if kollels had the money they would pay more. But they don’t. This leaves 2 alternatives:
1. Take WIC and develop into a talmid chacham
2. don’t take WIC and don’t develop into a talmid chacham.
As a rabbi, what do you suggest that would improve the financial stature of bnei Torah without eliminating kollel? As you are a rabbi, I assume you mean a proposal that will NOT result in the virtual elimination of the kollel community, as an Orthodox rabbi is pro Torah. I await your explanation.October 27, 2009 1:54 am at 1:54 am #665802
jothar- as a matter fact, if I would have my druthers, I would eliminate 90% of the kollel positions. I don’t see where the status of a rabbi (for all you know, mt screen name may be a nickname) obligates one to accept a way of life that was never , ever part of our tradition and a way of life that stands squarely against a slew of gemoros, mitzvos, rishonim and more. Just start from mishpitom, go through kessubos,kiddushin and berochos and check the rishonim and you will see that what is happening now is absolutely wrong.
I did not want to get into another discussion of whether there should kollel or not….but your question needed an answer.
BTW- what does WIC have to do with being a talmid chochom?
Everyone agrees that there should be a LIMITED amount of people who are learning ,so as to prepare the next dor. What is objectionable is the fact that everyone ends up relying upon the rather stretched means of the klal.October 27, 2009 4:45 pm at 4:45 pm #665803
WIC is not one of the “bizyonos” subsidies. Many working families take WIC as well.
I agree that lifetime learning without giving back to the klal is wrong. I also agree that expecting people to do this, and pressuring kids unnecessarily is wrong. Let those who will choose to do it, and leave the batlanim out of the beis midrash.
The switch to today’s kollel system, as best as I can understand it, was a consequence of the Churban Europe and the massive anti-religious pressure in America. Orthodoxy was in danger of dying out. The gedolim who came over went into “CPR” mode, by turning kollel into a bigger stress. I suppose the switch from “5 or 6 years and klei kodesh” to “lifetime and just learning” by Rav Aharon Kotler ZT”L happened then as well, although he wasn’t saying that in Europe.
( My rebbe was against this switch as well. He was all for Limud Torah and kollel, but he felt that lifetime kolel without a goal sapped one’s ability to focus and accomplish.)
The switch did its job. sure, there are problems and cracks in the system, but it’s ok to break a few ribs when applying CPR. Now, with an otherwise healthy patient, it’s time to fix the ribs. But it’s foolish to ignore the sea change with frum Yiddishkeit going from a goseis to a middle-aged bari. We can now complain about the health issues because we have a living patient.
Bottom line, the Socialists help revitalize yiddishkeit.October 28, 2009 1:17 am at 1:17 am #665804
WIC and food stamps are to make sure this country is always ready to go to war if needed. Those of military age must be healthy. WIC actually saves the government money.
Those pushing military readiness are not socialists. Hence, if you are eligible and not using this food aid will put you or your children at risk of malnutrition you are probably obligated to accept from Torah law and to be a good citizen.October 28, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm #665805A600KiloBearParticipant
LOL Josh, that may have been true long ago and I have seen posters saying “Food Stamps Keep America Strong” but WIC in particular is a post Vietnam program with no thought of the military.
To be honest, after the complicity of the Roosevelt administration in the deaths of six million Jews, legitimate use of entitlement programs to help build Torah is proper reparations. However, depending on this aid is demeaning to the kovod of Yiddishkeit and Torah, and they really should only be used in cases of extreme need, or during a limited time in which one is in kollel and raising a family while preparing for a life spreading and teaching Torah.
And abuse, well, Creedmoor does not exist in a vacuum. It is a parody and extreme exaggeration of a very real problem.October 29, 2009 3:37 am at 3:37 am #665806
Before the Lakewood Kollel started, there was a small kollel in Boston, started in 1939 by…Rav YB Soloveitchik ZT”L. It closed when he left to take his father’s position in YU. Some members then went to the White Plains kollel by Rav Aharon Kotler ZT”L.October 29, 2009 3:22 pm at 3:22 pm #665807
jothar- no one has ever denied the actual fact of a kollel. It is the acceptance that EVERYONE has to be in kollel that is being disputed.October 29, 2009 4:51 pm at 4:51 pm #665808
I agree 100% that not everybody should go to kollel. But it can’t be such a bad thing r the Rav ZT”L wouldn’t have been such a pioneer with it.October 30, 2009 9:39 am at 9:39 am #665810A600KiloBearParticipant
If kollel were such a bad thing, the Federal government would not operate one in Otisville :)))))))))!October 30, 2009 2:56 pm at 2:56 pm #665811
If the issur of gezel was a tzava’ah of Rabbi Yehuda hachassid instead of being in the Luchos, far more people would keep it as a chumra.October 30, 2009 5:52 pm at 5:52 pm #665812
Most commentators, I believe interpret the warning in the Luchos to be against kidnapping. But there are plenty of other warnings against theft in the Torah.
Users of dishonest weights and measures are called an abomination which is more severe than other actions which are called “doing an abomination”.October 31, 2009 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm #665813komaMember
I nominate 600kilobear, three comments ago as comment of the year.November 1, 2009 5:52 am at 5:52 am #665814
Josh31,the Rambam includes stealing as part of “lo sachmod”, which is still in the 10.November 1, 2009 5:51 pm at 5:51 pm #665815
kollel in the united states according to you is only possible because the u.s. government great, then when there is no u. s. help and they have kollelim can we call that the direct hand of Hashem???November 2, 2009 4:20 am at 4:20 am #665816
“Kollel” is always possible, if you define “kollel” as someone who engages in Torah all day long ans subsists on nothing. Most are not on that level. However, government subsidies reduced the poverty level one puts up with when engaging in kollel, widening its appeal.November 2, 2009 5:28 pm at 5:28 pm #665817
so widening the appeal of kollel for the only reason of not being poor. I thought people learn in kollel for the reason and the appeal to be close to our Torah and Hashem.November 2, 2009 8:26 pm at 8:26 pm #665818
Mazca, While one needs to be lishmah, it’s difficult for most people to live hand-to-mouth. A little easing goes a long way. Everyone has a yetzer hara.November 2, 2009 9:24 pm at 9:24 pm #665819
yetzer hara I understand, but I think the main idea is that we forget that Hashem is the provider not the gobernment and it is Hashem that decided to create a system so people could learn in an easier way , so we have to say because of Hashem we have this programs and we are able to learn in an easier way not socialisim.November 2, 2009 9:41 pm at 9:41 pm #665820
Hashem set it up, but his shlichim were socialists, and he was mehapech their system letova.November 2, 2009 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm #665821
I guess you are right. Hashem seit it up. But if Hashem wanted it could have been different.November 4, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm #665822
A recent news item I believe may have relevance to this thread:
“HaRav Eliashiv Signs Ban Against Fellowship of Christians and Jews”
Other leaders are on this ban.
3 separate reasons are given for the ban. Two are specific to religiously affiliated organizations. The third is “the prohibition against accepting charity from a non-Jew in public view”.November 4, 2009 2:57 pm at 2:57 pm #665823Mezonos MavenMember
In that case, B’H Section 8 and Welfare is not in public view.November 5, 2009 5:33 am at 5:33 am #665824
Even if not in public view, it may be problematic.
With the practice so widespread, it effectively becomes in public view.
If it was not already in public view then starting this thread would have been assur.
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