The Kollel Revolution!

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  • #627369

    yitzy99
    Member

    Kollel is really about whether we want to completely restructure family life in the frum community. I believe that is why so many people are upset with this concept. The young man with no profession, the wife going off to work and spending less time within the family, the infants being taken care of by others, the older generation postponing retirement and going deeply into debt, constant concerns about money and receiving charity and welfare. And this is only for starters. The question of learning or not is simple when compared to questions about family life. Are we ready to accept these changes? The title of this thread is the “kollel revolution,” and that is exactly what it is.

    #627370

    Feif Un
    Participant

    Since kollel life became “the thing to do”, there have also been many more people going off the derech. Someone once told me they’re directly related. In Judaism, it’s always been said that the mother sets the tone in the home as far as yiddishkeit goes. It’s a big part of her job to make the children love Judaism, and instill the proper values in them.

    Since in kollel families, the mothers are usually out working, and someone else is taking care of their kids, the mothers don’t have as much opportunity to instill the proper values in their kids. This can cause kids to go off the derech.

    #627371

    sammygol
    Member

    Nice story, and “Yeshiva students” mean men in their upper 40’s no doubt. Before one quotes a maaseh, no matter how true, it pays to quote its setting, as well. Bachurim in Rav Elchanan’s yeshiva were aged 14-16, and one REALLY has to know whether that same statement would have been said to a MARRIED man, responsible to feed his family.

    #627372

    Joseph, it doesn’t matter what the non-Jews do! I am not saying we should take less advantage of legal services than they do, or more advantage, or the same advantage- I’m saying that we should focus on what we are doing REGARDLESS of what they are doing. If an ilui wants to spend his days learning Torah, more power to him. But let’s limit the number of men who jump on board just because it has become the thing to do, particularly those men who have natural talents in useful fields like technology. There’s no question that the community needs some men to be learning full-time, but we really need to make that a much smaller percentage than it is now so as not to suck up tax money and overwork the women of the community.

    #627373

    mariner
    Member

    joesph and the rest of the “everyonebelongsinkollel” group:

    your can keep on saying your svoros and proofs till you are blue int eh face of why it is better to be in kollel. what none of you get is that it is impossible. it is sort of like communism in the fact that it is great in theory, but it doesnt work. it would be great for everyone to be the same, and all have nice food, clothing, healthcare, etc. but these things cost money, as does sitting and learning, and right now, kollelim do not have the funds. they MUST downsize, or they will go bankrupt, which doesn’t help anyone. then we get no-one learning. what we NEED is for a outside group to do checkups on the kollel yungerleit, no different then when a company downsizes, and everyone gets re-interviewed, and we need to remove the people who do not belong. had this been done in the “7 fat year” isntead of what will happen now in the “7 lean years” it would have been much better.

    #627374

    Joseph
    Participant

    mariner, Except that Kollel is winning.

    #627375

    The Big One
    Participant

    You think the kollelim really care about this debate?? Surprise, they do not. Many choshuve, ehrilcha yidden will continue funding them, economic crisis or not, and they will outlast all of you cynics.

    #627376

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    Joseph, you think kollel is winning? Many of the big baalei tzedaka just lost a TON of money and can no longer afford to help support kollels as much if at all.

    Kollel is unsustainable in its current form.

    #627377

    zalmy
    Member

    Joseph – do you agree or disagree with the ‘svoro’ that you cited earlier, which calls for not keeping any mitzvah, shitta, etc. which has ever caused individuals to stray from yiddishkeit – YES or NO??

    #627378

    mariner
    Member

    jospeh: they are not winning, they are losing mega bucks all over. they are making yom tefilos and kinusim all over the place, are you blind?? the wealthy people who were investing lost their shirts, and those in business, are hurting as well, as purchasing power of the nation is drying up. the only store doing well so far is walmart. wake up! stop being so narrow minded and set in your eitzos that you are blind even to reality. there is no money out there. none. zer. zilch. there is so little money that the governmetn is going to be forced to print 800 billion new dollars, and cause runaway inflation. (which may be a good thing for the short term, as it makes the amount people owe, technically less, according to some economists.)

    on a side point, what exactly do you do for a living. kollel? work? are you employed or an employer. or are you a still a bochur (i doubt this one, as your yidios in the past were pretty vast). im serious. i would love to know where your svoro of kollelim are winning is based on. (again, i am not sure what they are winning)

    #627380

    sammygol
    Member

    When the late lamented Nasrallah was yelling victory after the last Lebanon war, President Bush quipped that the victors don’t usually go into hiding to protect their skin. When the Roshey Yeshiva of E’Y are sending emergency emissaries to collect the basic minimum of funds needed for survival of these Kollelim, that is hardly victorius, although very unfortunate. Yes, we need a population that devotes themselves solely to Torah, but the “kemach” has to come from somewhere. Yakov Avinu himself blessed his descendents with wealth and financial success, in agriculture, trade, mining, because that is what a person needs in order to serve Hashem properly and learn his Torah, as opposed to spending the whole seder thinking about paying his utilities before they get disconnected. Idealism and realism CAN be in accord, if one only starts thinking.

    #627381

    mariner
    Member

    i think i just realized what was meant as the kollelim are winning. they are finally going to have only serious guys! they haven’t been able to win this fight until now. now they can get rid of all the chaff and keep the kernels!

    #627383

    zalmy
    Member

    it seems that after championing/defending the institutionalized kollel system for every jewish married man, joseph suddenly doesn’t have much to say on this topic.

    i can only conclude, since ‘shtika ke’hoda’ah’, that joseph has since been convinced, and how agrees with myself and most of the other posters here that the kollel system is no longer sustainable, and must be drastically reformed for the good of all of klal yisroel.

    #627384

    Will Hill
    Participant

    I totally agree with The Big One, that the Kollel system and the Torah learning that is inherent to it, will outlast every one of the cynics above.

    #627386

    This is an excerpt from an article by R’ Yitzchak Breitowitz (the italics are mine):

    This would simply be a standard presentation of a talmudic dispute if not for the statement of the gemara in Eiruvin 13 saying that Rabbi Meir and Rabbi Nehorai are the same person!

    [and still learn Torah seriously]? What will become of the Torah? Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai is forced to limit the verse to when the Jews are not serving G-d properly and must fend for themselves agriculturally.

    #627389

    mariner
    Member

    jewishfeminist02: the problem with the proofs you bring, which are the proofs usually cited, are the fact that the rambam clearly states many times that one should not under any circumstances make money from learning Torah! he even gave out his seforim free of charge!

    now, when the rambam speaks about how the community should pay for people to learn, that is a mitzvah of a community. not to be mistaken with a mitzvah of a personal level, like working. yes, a community has an obligation to have a kollel, yet no one person has an obligation to be in that kollel. we, as a community , are supposed to seek out the best and brightest of our learners, and offer them compensation for their choosing learning our holy Torah over their choosing to do holy work (typical job, which is holy non-the-less).

    a similar idea can be found in america’s justice system. everyone has the right to an attorney, but that doesn’t mean that every attorney must take every scumbag that wants to be his client. obviously a kollel guy isn’t a scumbag, and lawyers aren’t the best examples for anything {sorry cantoresq ;-)}, but the ideas are the same.one is a chiyuv one the rabim (having a kollel supported by the tzibur) , the other is not (a man not working and learning in kollel.

    #627390

    mariner
    Member

    also, one thing i never get is that if the kollel system is so important, shouldn’t there be interviews. why is it that anyone can just join a kollel, regardless if they are up to it or not. shouldn’t it at least be as hard to get into as a typical job, if not harder? we should be treating it more like a Harvard or Yale then a typical community college, where all you need s to live in the neighborhood.

    #627391

    zevi8
    Member

    Yeshivas indoctrinate boys to learn in kollel. The girls schools drill it into their heads that they should look for a learning boy. If everyone learned in kollel and didnt work, there would be no money to pay for people to sit and learn. Thats why i find it hysterical that all these Rabbonim go on about how college is treif. These days it is near impossible to find a decent paying job without some college education or a degree.

    #627392

    Will Hill
    Participant

    We B’H still have a few good men willing to dedicate their time & lives towards Torah HaKedosha. Keep it up Kollel guys! We love you and need you.

    #627393

    sammygol
    Member

    Zevi, the problem is worse than that. Once these Yungeleit need to leave their Kollel to provide for the family, and often it is at the time when tuitions for the children are mounting, they have a serious problem making a living, unless they go into chinuch. Yes, chinuch doesn’t pay well, but it does provide some income, whereas outside of religious field work, they aren’t well equipped to hold a decent job. That isn’t due to lack of intelligence, since most are very very bright, but because one needs certain skills and/or degrees to earn a decent living. So, even going to those courses at such a time in their lives is a tremendous strain and sometimes an impossibility. Many, unfortunately, end up poor forever, after sitting and learning their best years and providing Klal Yiroel with talmidei chachomim. Is it fair for the tzibur to exalt Kollel learning and forget about those learners after they invested their best years and now need a parnassah? Why did they suddenly disappear from the map? Aren’t they the same ehrliche talmidei chachamim that they were yesterday, just now they need to spend the first 2 daily sedarim making a living, and they become nobodies. THAT is a major issue and, pardon me, gives off a hypocritical scent.

    #627394

    The Big One
    Participant

    Every working Jew should adopt a Yissoschor/Zevulin relationship, and adopt a Kollel Yungerman as a partner who he should support — thereby fulfilling ones obligation to learn (and support) Torah.

    Our nation could not stand without our Kollel chevra.

    #627395

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    The Big One:

    Mitzva Bo Yoser M’Bishlucho! Work less and learn more!

    P.S. Are you a Girls high school or Sem teacher? I only ask because you write (not only here) in the absolutes that symbolize that brand, i.e. the “you must marry a kollel bochur” type.

    #627396

    Feif Un
    Participant

    The Big One, not all working people can afford such a partnership. A true Yissachar/Zevulun partnership can be very expensive – you’re supposed to provide for every need of the person. Most people have a hard time providing for one family, never mind a second one.

    #627397

    oomis
    Participant

    TBO – you might mean well, but you are notbeing so realistic IMO. With the cost of Yeshivah tuition, kosher food, trying to raise a family (WITHOUT LUXURIES OF ANY KIND), my husband and I can barely support our own kids, much less anyone else’s. Times have changed drastically for EVERYONE. The money is no longer flowing freely even for the formerly wealthy, as businesses declare bankruptcy and people are downsized. My husband is a teacher. Should he support someone else’s kollel family, when it is all we can do to support our own. I would never be able nor even be inclined to pay for some boy to sit in a beis medrash all day while my husband and I worked our backs off so that he should not have too. That is not the Torah way, though it has become popular in the last decades. While it is true there was a Yissacher/Zevulun, they were the ONLY tribes that were so designated. Hashem did not say Reuven will support Shimon, and only Levi was to be supported by ALL of Klal Yisroel, in the form of Maaser. But that is because Levi was assigned a specific role and that role was AVODA, not sitting and learning.

    #627398

    dveykus613
    Member

    Wolf said “However, I also believe that the current kollel paradigm is not sustainable.”

    I agree, that LOGICALLY it is not sustainable. However, if a Rothchild (or richer) father existed who couldn’t possibly lose their money (if there was such a thing in this world), then even their grandchildren and great-grandchildren wouldn’t feel a need to worry about income/parnosa….Kal v’chomer we have melech malchei hamelochim, to Whom all money belongs (and then some!) and if we are doing His ratzon, you can be sure that He will take care of us.

    That is for someone who CAN sit and learn, even if they are not a genius, but have the hasmoda, etc. Chazal say that out of 1000 who go into learning, only 1 will become a great talmid chochom….so you can imagine if we need several talmidei chochomim, we need quite a few masmidim delving into torah all day.

    Many gedolim today say “going out in the world” today is such that, while one can learn torah too and get schar, the world is so corrupt that it is no longer possible to achieve “gadlus b’torah” (to become a talmid chochom, or a moreh horaah, or a posek hador), by being out in the world.

    That being said, there is no question that those who “batul” or just aren’t cut out that they feel they can’t learn, should work (& learn if they can, or at least support torah, or both), with the ok of their rav (as some may feel burnt out but just need a change or the like to be able to reapply themselves with full hasmada).

    Regardless I don’t know why there’s a whole “hock” and back and forth here, unless you want to rename the thread “Belief in Chachomim – yes or no?”….since assuming you do believe in Gedolim, and Emunas Chachomim and “asei lecha rav”, each person should just speak to their own Rav and it will be very clear if they should be sitting in kollel or not….I don’t think anyone becomes greater in their avodas Hashem by analyzing what “Yenem” is doing or should be doing…and he might have asked his Rav and is living life doing his tafkid without analyzing if what others is doing is right or not!

    Really a waste of energy and brain power that could be channeled toward avodas Hashem IMHO….

    #627399

    mamashtakah
    Member

    “Every working Jew should adopt a Yissoschor/Zevulin relationship, and adopt a Kollel Yungerman as a partner who he should support — thereby fulfilling ones obligation to learn (and support) Torah.”

    So you think I should take what’s left of my salary and support someone learning in kollel (and his family as well). Let’s see – in America, after taxes, full tuitions, mortgage (on a small house), food, gas (for the 1 car), gas (for the house) electricity, and clothing (basic stuff here, not designer) and a little bit for the retirement fund, I should take “what’s left” and support a kollel yungerman.

    Lest you say I was being extravagant with “what’s left,” please notice I didn’t add in vacations, because vacations were almost always visits and stays with the in-laws, and some day trips. Staying somewhere in a hotel, even for one night, was done once every few years. Notice I didn’t say putting money away for future weddings or into a general bank account, because it wasn’t done. No real extra money available if the fridge lost a gasket, or if the engine in the car blew.

    I’m pretty sure we were a pretty typical American frum family. So where is this money going to come from for supporting a kollel fmily?

    And what about other tzedaka, for the poor (Jews) who REALLY need money, for things like heat, medicine, and food. Shouldn’t they get priority, since they REALLY can’t work?

    Sammygol, nobody is saying kollel guys who have to work become “nobodies.” But, someone, somewhere, has to take the responsibility for training these guys to work. The “someone” is the guys themselves. It’s unfortunate, but that’s how the business world works. Look, years ago I learned with a chavruta who learned a morning seder in yeshiva every day, worked in the afternoon, and went to law school at night (he was already married at that point, with young children). He’s a successful attorney, who still spends several hours every day in the beit midrash. This is an example of what has to be done – not for every kollel guy, but for many, if not most.

    #627400

    zalmy
    Member

    to ‘the big one’ –

    you should read joseph’s comments above. there, he argues that we have an obligation NOT to keep any mitzvah which has caused individual yiddin throughout history to go “off the derech”.

    since there have been published reports of children (as well as avreichim) going “off the derech” to varying degrees because of the devastating poverty that the institutionalized kollel system has resulted in, according to Joseph’s shitta (and i assume you generally agree with him), we should immediately stop the kollel system (as well as stop encouraging/supporting it).

    #627402

    The Big One
    Participant

    zalmy, puleaze. Mischaracterizing others comments will get you nowhere.

    The bottom line is anyone who values Torah values those who learn Torah and will fulfill their obligation to monetarily support Torah.

    Anything else is simply looking for excuses. Be honest with yourself, and come out of denial.

    (I really pity the comment above that said the Yissacher/Zevulun relationship is only applicable to those two tribes.)

    #627404

    yitzy99
    Member

    I’d love to hear where Yissoschor/Zevulin relationship is cited, and an explanation.

    #627405

    oomis
    Participant

    “(I really pity the comment above that said the Yissacher/Zevulun relationship is only applicable to those two tribes.) “

    Pity it if you prefer – it does not invalidate the comment. I DO value Torah, and I do support it monetarily, by sending my five children to Yeshivah all through their school lives, by paying dues to my shul so it can afford to pay a Rov to be our Morah D’Asra and pasken our shailos, as well as give us the shiurim and droshas that continue our own learning, and by making sure that my household runs according to the dictates of the Torah. It is not my obligation to pay for someone else’s sons and their families to do that which my husband and I struggle to do for ourselves. And the Y/Z relationship was specific to those tribes. Yaakov Avinu did not thus bless his other children. Clearly there was a reason for it in this case.

    #627406

    Joseph
    Participant

    He is correct.

    Shulchan Aruch, Yore Deah, 246:1

    Someone who finds it insufficient to study on his own, either because he

    is incapable or because he is loaded with too many other commitments

    should financially support those who have dedicated themselves to

    studying Torah.

    And also see the Rema there, the Shach there, and the Biur HaGra there.

    #627407

    eyesopen
    Member

    To support men in kollel is very important. In EY there are many kollelim that administer bechinot and there are kollelim that do encourage men to find work but in areas related to Jewish life. Many kollelim specialize in particular areas so that the kollel yungerman can eventually get a job in shechita, safrus, hashgocho, becoming a dayan, etc. These kollelim are vital for the upkeep of Jewish life. I do not know if Lakewood has a system where they direct a young man’s talents and abilities in a direction which will benefit his future Jewish community.

    #627409

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    Joseph:

    As Quoted “Someone who finds it insufficient to study on his own,…”

    So you agree with the Shulchan Aruch that one should work less and learn more rather than support Kollel Bochrim.

    #627410

    oomis
    Participant

    “So you agree with the Shulchan Aruch that one should work less and learn more rather than support Kollel Bochrim.”

    Interesting point.

    #627412

    intellegent
    Member

    “To support men in kollel is very important. In EY there are many kollelim that administer bechinot and there are kollelim that do encourage men to find work but in areas related to Jewish life. Many kollelim specialize in particular areas so that the kollel yungerman can eventually get a job in shechita, safrus, hashgocho, becoming a dayan, etc. These kollelim are vital for the upkeep of Jewish life. I do not know if Lakewood has a system where they direct a young man’s talents and abilities in a direction which will benefit his future Jewish community.”

    Isn’t it better, once someone is making money to make money to do something that will bring in money from outside our community? Otherwise it will be the same money circulating within our circles. I guess we need both.

    #627413

    Joseph
    Participant

    gaw: The quoted Shulchan Aruch does not say what you imply.

    #627414

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    Quote from Kitzur Shulchan Aruch:

    ??? ????? ???? ??? ????, ?? ??? ???? ?? ???? ??, ??????,???? ?????? ???????, ????? ??

    ???? ???? ?????, ??? ????? ??????? ?????? ????? ????? ??? ????? ????? ?????? ??????, ????? ?????? ??? ?????.

    Thank you Kitzur.net (could not find the original online)

    #627415

    The Big One
    Participant

    So has everyone here followed the Shulchan Orach and financially supports someone who has dedicated his life to studying Torah?

    #627416

    yitzy99
    Member

    I love reading Perke Avot.

    It says in Chapter 2:

    2. Rabban Gamaliel the son of Rabbi Judah the Prince said: Great is study of the Torah when combined with a worldly occupation, for toil in them both puts sin out of mind. All study of the Torah which is not supplemented by work is destined to prove futile and causes sin…..

    #627417

    oomis
    Participant

    ?? ????? ???? ??? ????, ?? ??? ???? ?? ???? ??, ??????,???? ?????? ???????, ????? ??

    ???? ???? ?????, ??? ????? ??????? ?????? ????? ????? ??? ????? ????? ?????? ??????, ????? ?????? ??? ?????.

    This does not sound like a mandate, but rather, a way of an am haaretz (I do not mean this term disrespectfully) being able to get the s’char limud Torah, when he cannot himself learn. I would venture to say that most frum baalei batim nowadays are fully capable of learning at least part of the time, and therefore do not need to pay support to someone else to do their learning for them

    #627419

    Will Hill
    Participant

    oomis, why so anti-Torah?

    #627420

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    Will Hill:

    C”V! Pro-Torah! We want to pay less tuition, work less and learn more!

    #627421

    squeak
    Participant

    mamashtakeh did a nice analysis. The only thing that I think is missing from it is the first thing that comes out of earnings – Ma’aser gelt.

    If you separate Ma’aser and give some of it to Yeshivos, you ARE supporting Torah. Sorry if anyone thinks that the average Yankel has to take on the oil parnossa of an entire Kollel family – that is just not possible. Maybe if the average kollel family wanted to take room and board with an average working family something could be worked out – but to pay for 2 sets of houses, cars, tuitions, utilities, clothings, etc? Forget it. Anyone who even suggests it had better get their prescription checked for hallucinogens.

    #627422

    Will Hill
    Participant

    Kollel = Torah

    Pro-Kollel = Pro-Torah

    Anti-Kollel = Anti-Torah c’v

    #627423

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    Will Hill I dont think any of us are against Kollel, the equation I am against is:

    Myhardwork+mymoney=myfamilytosupport+kollelfamilytosupport

    #627424

    oomis
    Participant

    “oomis, why so anti-Torah?”

    Taking a lesson from Aharon Hakohein, I will remain silent at reading the previous sentence.

    I give everyone here a bracha for a long and healthy life, and the parnassah to be able to do what they need to do with it.

    #627425

    The Big One
    Participant

    Don’t forget, you will all have to give Din V’checben after meah v’esrim shana in the Beis Din Shel Maaila.

    #627426

    The Big One
    Participant

    Don’t forget, you will all have to give Din V’chesben after meah v’esrim shana in the Beis Din Shel Maaila.

    #627427

    Bogen
    Participant

    Sounds like theres a few people here who are allergic to supporting the Torah.

    #627428

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    Bogen – not allergic to supporting the Torah – allergic to supporting everyone and his eight brothers sitting and learning Torah. I work hard to have money to support my family. This includes yeshiva tuition (supporting Torah Chinuch), shul dues (supporting my Rabbi), giving Tzedaka to hungry and needy people…

    When I haven enough spare after that, come back to me and ask me to support a generation of Kollel supporters who probably would mock my piskei halacha. Um, I’m not “Jewish” enough for you, please dont ask for my money.

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