Work vs. Kollel

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    Here goes another “Learners vs. Earners” type thread…

    From what I’ve gathered, in BY type high-schools/seminaries girls are taught they should marry a guy who loves learning, and preferably someone who’s going to learn full time.

    And I know first hand that many yeshiva guys are too “lazy” or “scared,” so to speak, to enter the working world (after all, there’s no easy way to make money, plus the obvious unemployment problems outside the yeshiva world). The result of that is that many (or dare I say, the vast majority) guys learning in kollel full time don’t actually learn seriously all day (if you’re a girl this might come as a surprise to you but the fact is that many guys learning “full time” in kollel fool around a lot and don’t take their learning completely seriously).

    Another result of the above is that the small amount of yeshiva guys who pursue a career while continuing to learn everyday find it very hard to get a good shidduch.

    So…BY girls are taught to marry full time learners, but many “full time” learners actually end up learning the same amount as some “part time” learners who take their torah learning very seriously and go to work the other part of the time.

    What exactly is the reason why so many BY girls want “full time learners”? I know some will say they’re “brainwashed” in school, so how exactly are they “brainwashed”?

    Do BY girls want full time learners because they want their husbands to be talmidei chacham? If so, the facts speak for themselves–I’m sure we all know some guys who are tremendous learners and work part time.

    Or perhaps BY girls want full time learners because there’s just something wrong with working part time? I’m not sure exactly what this reason would be, or if it makes sense at all, but maybe girls just think there’s something about working part time that will have a negative effect on their husbands.

    What’s more important: A guy to learn a lot, or a guy to actually enjoy his torah learning? Many part time workers really enjoy learning torah, and they simply have to work to support their family. Meanwhile, many full time learners seem to be just flat out bored from sitting down and learning all day/every day.

    What is the problem BY girls have with working?!? Is it really better to have a part time learner/”part time fooler”(the vast majority of kollel guys) instead of a part time learner/part time worker (especially the one’s who take their learning very seriously and are extremely knowledgable in torah)?

    BY schools continue to preach to all their girls that they should marry full time learners but they fail to realize that THE VAST MAJORITY OF “FULL TIME” LEARNERS DON’T BELONG IN KOLLEL.

    In conclusion, I just want to reiterate: There are many guys who work part time but take their learning very seriously and are considered to be bigger talmidei chachamim than a large amount of guys who simply learn “full time” because they are too “scared” or “lazy” to work.

    Burnt Steak

    And starting for Work at 6′ 3 Bobby Randomgoy

    this is what I first thought of when I read the title


    Learning is work. It pays horribly, and you end up after a few years as a teacher, which is even more work and pays horribly.

    If someone wants to live in great poverty in order to learn, that’s there business. If they expect to have a middle class standard of living, that’s being ridiculous. However the working conditions of learning full time, or teaching (and in Hebrew, “learn” and “teach” are just different binyanim of the same verb), are very good (no Shabbos hassles, no calendar hassle, no problem with treff lunches or seriously rude and immoral coworkers, etc.), which is probably why many people prefer poverty in a frum “job” (learning or teaching) to the riches of working for the goyim.


    I am being Moche lmaan kavod hatorah!! You are being motzi Shem ra so blatantly!

    While there are some yungerlite in kollel who are not doing the right thing and waste time etc.. There is certainly not a majority, not even close!! By far the majority are ehrilch yungerlite sitting and learning shark. To say that the majority are “fooling around” “not take learning seriously” “don’t belong in kollel” is outright sheker, motzi Shem ra, mevazeh talmidei chachomim and you may have no chelek in olam habah! Please think what you say/type before you hit the post button.


    A family with more than 6 kids with only a father in kollel and maybe a mother making a little extra cannot expect to send their kids to yeshiva, pay bills and dues, donate to tzedakah, and afford good quality food and healthcare. The system is broken. Once upon a time in Europe, a small group of elite bpchurim would learn and become the gedolei hador. Everyone else worked, and tried to learn when they could. Even the Choeftz Chaim owned a grocery store. Parnassah is parnassah and our institutions need money to survive. Kollel is not a realistic lifestyle for anyone that wants to live comfortably and support Torah.


    Burnt Steak: Very good!!



    Yup. Rashi worked in viticulture, Rambam was a Doctor, Yaakov Avinu was a Sheppard.

    The current practice of everyone learning full time while being supported is simply not sustainable. The money will run dry. Especially when rich families marry into rich familes…but that’s a whole other kettle of fish.


    Some enhance a Profession by participating.

    Others enhance the Profession by keeping out of it.

    Any Profession that has too weak barriers to entry gets undermined and loses respect.

    While all Jewish men are obligated to learn Torah, the Profession of full time learning needs to be restricted.


    By far the majority are ehrilch yungerlite sitting and learning shark.

    I’ve heard of “crying wolf.” I’ve heard of “skinning the cat.” I’ve never heard of “learning shark,” unless one is going into the fish business.


    Thank you ilovetorah. It is blatantly untrue that MOST kollel guys are doing nothing all day.

    @What’s in a name–Find me a doctor today who’s on the level of the Rambam.


    I admit I stopped reading the opening statement after the words “The result of that is that many (or dare I say, the vast majority) guys learning in kollel full time don’t actually learn seriously all day”. I dont know what the OP advocates, or why.

    My only comment is, that anyone who can be motzi laz on those who engage in learning with such a stupid generalization (in elul no less) should not be taken seriously at all.

    just my hapence

    ilovetorah – I’m sorry, I really am, but the facts of the case are that you’re wrong. I dearly wish that it wasn’t so but it is. Believe me, I learned in one of the largest yeshivas in the world and the vast majority of bochurim and yungeleit, though they are machshiv the time they spend learning, do not do nearly as much much as is made out. Plenty of sedarim are spent half-learning, half-shmoozing. A fair number of yungeleit don’t even make it to the beis hamedrash. And don’t get me started on how many times a seder some guys need to have half-hour long coffee/cigarette breaks. The fact is that most guys will admit that they probably aren’t cut out for full-time learning but are scared to go and work, or find that being supported by parents/parents-in-law is just far more convenient – they may not have much money but at least what they do have they got given and frankly many working guys have just as little money that they slogged their guts out for, so why bother if you can just have it given to you?

    It is not motze shem ra, and definitely not bizui talmidei chachomim (seriously, you believe every guy in kollel is a talmid chochom?!), to tell it as it is. The vast majority, yes vast majority, of guys in kollel are simply not full-time learners. Sorry.

    just my hapence

    wallflower – Nobody is saying that most kollel guys do nothing all day, just that they don’t learn all day either. There is middle-ground you know, it’s not all or nothing. Most kollel guys spend a fair bit of the time when they should be learning not learning. They may be in the beis hamedrash with a sefer in front of them but they might not be learning. There’s a lot of shmoozing, coffee-drinking, smoking, stam spacing out, putting heads down for a quick snooze, checking phones, texting, making phone calls, playing games on phones under shtenders and a whole lot more besides. Sure each of these might only be fore five minutes at a time, but they add up. One of the largest yeshivas in the world runs a bus service for its kollel guys so that they can get home for lunch; it leaves half-an hour before the end of seder. That’s the official yeshiva buses. So yes, these guys learn seriously but they don’t do it all of the time that their wives think they do, or that their wives are told by their school/sem teachers that they will be doing anyway.


    i dnt think he means Most kollel ppl are wasting their time.

    lets look at the difference between working and learning

    work – ur held accountable for ur work performance, and u have the responsibility of providing for ur family which in effect keeps you working hard and putting all your energy into it.

    Learning – ur on your own accord, and if ur learning performance is not what it shud be, no1 (except hashem) is going to hold u accountable. and since other people provide for you, theres no responsibility so it becomes a very easy choice for people,..

    if ur learning just ask yourself, “am i putting is as much effort into my learning as the people who r proving for me r putting into their work”?


    “A family with more than 6 kids with only a father in kollel and maybe a mother making a little extra cannot expect to send their kids to yeshiva, pay bills and dues, donate to tzedakah, and afford good quality food and healthcare.” — No but they can expect to earn enough to eat but maybe they’ll have to skip the junk food, nosh and eating out. They’ll be able to afford adequate health care, at a level that the Hafetz Haim would have considerable unbelievable – but not a fancy doctor with the latest experimental medicine. No one expects kollel families to play an important role in terms of financing community institutions (but many provide very useful warm bodies to actually get things done). Most frum organizations adjust fees based on ability to pay (one might aruge that if it doesn’t it isn’t really frum).

    So do you mean they’ll live like families that afford a large detached single family home in Brooklyn, a second home in the country, full tuition (and all the protectsia that goes with it) at the fanciest most modern Jewish schools, a really fancy doctor who doesn’t let cost bother him in practising in medicine, etc. — of course they won’t. And if someone’s goal in life is a high level of material goods, they will do something else for a living (and if the past is an indication, they will give up a lot in terms of Yiddishkeit to do so). Jews who consider gashmius to be a principle goal rarely stay frum all that long – remember the mere act of keeping Shabbos, wearing a kippah, eating only kosher and living in an unfashionable neighborhood (i.e. one with too many frummies) means giving up perhaps 2/3 of your parnassah.


    Regardless of whether it is a majority or a select few who are actually shtaiging the model itself has to be called into question.

    The real question is, should a person be learning all day (and getting paid from the tzibbur for it) or not?

    rationalfrummie hit the nail on the head. This was an activity for the select few in Europe that showed EXTREME learning abilities. As you said, in present times, the economics of it doesn’t work. I would never want my daughter in a school where the “goal” is to marry a kollel guy and struggle to put food on the table


    Even if ALL Kollel guys were shteiging away in the most emesdig and shtark manner, realistically, there will come a time when THEIR generation will have to support the next generation, and they will have little or no means or skills to do so. Momma and Poppa cannot be around forever, and not everyone has a family business to inherit, even if parents were so inclined to support their kids (which I think is not a good precedent personally, because it keeps them dependent).

    In my opinion, those girls who only want learners are being brought up all their lives to believe that THAT is the only correct way of life. If they were brought up to believe that earning AND learning was the proper Derech, that would be their mindset and norm. If it were so that ONLY learning all day were the way of life, Hashem would not have given us a so many Halachos regarding Trumos, Maasros, Leket, Shikcha, Peah, Bikurim, Orla, korbonos (someone has to be the cattleman)and masah u’matan, because there would BE no agricultural workers or business dealings, as everyone would be in Yeshivah. Clearly that is NOT what Hashem was telling us.

    There HAS to be a certain amount of hishtadlus in making parnassah, from the time that Adam and Chava were thrown out of Gan Eden, and Adam was told he (not she) would bring forth lechem by the sweat of his brow. We are no longer zochim to receive mohn m’Shamayim, and the present system of young wives doing it ALL, is also not the ideal. Women are meant to be an EIZER not “in lieu of.”

    I am machsiv learning. It’s important, it’s as necessary to us as breathing, it’s beautiful, and it is enjoyable for those who are learning Torah with temimus. But is is also a luxury to do so ALL DAY at the expense of one’s wife and family.Im ein kemach, ein Torah. There are a lot of burnt out wives who are wondering why the utopian lifestyle with which their seminary teachers indoctrinated them, is not what they are experiencing. And though there ARE exceptions, I believe thst many girls are now questioning what they got themselves into. Off my sopabox now.


    @wallflower: “@What’s in a name–Find me a doctor today who’s on the level of the Rambam.” Find me a Kollel guy (or even a Rav or RY) who is on the level of the Rambam.

    I know at least one doctor who is unquestionably on a higher level than anyone in the CR.


    Any Profession that has too weak barriers to entry gets undermined and loses respect.

    Which is one of the main problems in Eretz Yisroel, where there is a lack of Kavod HaTorah & Kavod Shomayim even by those who are frum (and probably even by those who are Charaidi).


    I think the BY girls looking for a guy who is going to learn forever thing is less of a trend than it used to be. The girls are looking for someone who is serious about his learning and yidishkeit which by and large tends to be the case by learning guys. Even if after five years they will be learning the same amount the training that one receives by learning before going to work in the outside world can not be understated.

    The debate about whether someone who batels (part of the day) should still be in learning is a big debate I don’t really want to get into as there are many views on the subject by people much greater than me. I do believe that this is what notsoyeshivish was probably referring to.

    I do think that many BY girls and BMG guys do have more of a realization that they may have to work eventually and that there is a responsibility to support a family.

    The fact is there is a certain amount of people that are meant to work and that is their tafkid. And there is nothing wrong with that. To say otherwise is kefirah. Kach Keblati Meirabosai.


    the point is that it wasn’t just the ramabam – everyone had a job back then and the current situation is completely unprecedented.


    @ wallflower – Find me a Kollel guy who’s on the level of the Rambam. The Rambam wrote the Peirush HaMishnayos when he was 22. How many are there in Israel?

    As far as practicing Doctors who are tremendous Talmidei Chachamim, of course there are few. Rav Yosef Dovid Bleich is an example of one. But of standard Talmidei chachamim who are practicing doctors, there are MANY. You would be so surprised. Most of the BTW come from YU.


    Wallflower, are you asking about medicine or Torah or the combination? If medicine, I don’t think it would be so hard to find one. If Torah, there are few if any gedolim who compare. Obviously the combination is unmatched. But what’s your point?


    I have heard the argument that kollel should not be limited for only the elite learners because learning Torah is about quality not quantity. It’s not about how much you know or how smart you are, it’s about your effort… that’s what you get sechar for. People who say that learning should only be for the elite are closing the door on those who aren’t as smart but willing to put in as much, or more, effort in learning… and that can’t be.

    IMHO, that argument is false and misleading. Yes, it is true that the true sechar comes from effort and not amount of Torah… however there is a ma’amar Chazal that says “if a person says he tried and succeeded (in learning), believe him. But if a person says that he tried and didn’t succeed, don’t believe him”. We have a promise that when we put effort in learning, we will succeed. If a person is of the age to learn in kollel, and isn’t successful enough to be considered elite, it demonstrates that he has not put in as much effort as those who really are elite. Those who are elite are also the ones who have put the most effort in Torah.


    This is so sad. The original post highlights one of the unfortunate aspects of internet life. Anyone, regardless of qualifications, intelligence, level of responsibility etc., can post their personal pet peeves, based on nothing, and be given a forum to express it in.

    On the chance than I am right, how sad for an irresponsible poster who in his ignorance derides such a group.

    And oh, what becomes of those that are from the percentage that are as the poster describes? They generally fall out and leave kollel, unable to handle its rigors, eventually becoming posters on the internet, with a message of negative view of kollel life!

    Additionally, to all of those that harp on the rambam and those that say that one should work while learning (see bais yosef, shach, aruch hashulchan, igros moshe, biur halachah, chofetz chaim in shem olam for a detailed discussion as to its application today, this is not the place for an idealistic debate), why is their kanaus limited to the learners that are not mekayim the being nehneh from their own work (which the chofetz chaim describes as at best midoh tovah) and not to the much larger groups of “earners” that are not mekayim the “aseh torascho kevah” which is, and always has been, the very basic fundamental obligation of every male Jew?

    Must be that those type of people either don’t post on the internet of if they do are more controlled and responsible.


    just my hapence

    Harotzehbilumshmo – No-one is denying that there are hundreds of committed kollel chevra, what the point that the OP and others including myself have been trying to get across is that there are a vast, vast number who aren’t. And your ridiculous accusation that people who are against everyone being full-time learners are simply bitter drop-outs is wrong in every conceivable way. Furthermore I would like to stand up for all the hundreds of thousands of working guys who are mekayem aseh toroscho keva, who are koveia ittim and are really serious about learning. There is no kanous against them because there is nothing to be mekane about. All the working guys I know (and I know a fair few) from all stripes of what is loosely termed Orthodox Judaism, from the Chassidish to the modern, are very serious about their learning. They are several chaburas where I live just for working guys, and I have noticed something very interesting (at least in the one I go to) – there’s no shmoozing, no “just have to send a quick text”s, no coffee/cigarette breaks, just solid learning. Now compare that to your average kollel and tell me that working guys aren’t mekayem aseh toroscho keva…


    Harotzeh… I think you speak a bit harshly. FTR, however, this forum is open to all of us, even those with whom you may disagree, as is your right. As long as we respect each other’s points of view and respond in a b’kovodig manner. we can dialogue about this issue. Once people are disrespecting each other…well… you cannot have a conversation about anything at all.


    Hi everyone. Thank-you for all your replies, I appreciate all your thoughts.

    I found a lot of your posts interesting, but I wanna focus on the thought poster “mybrother” brought up. That is, at work you are held responsible for your performance, whereas in learning you are on your own accord, and no one (except Hashem) is going to hold you accountable. A person who learns in kollel should work at least as hard as the people who work to provide for them. THAT is the standard in determining whether a person learning in kollel full time truly belongs to stay there. To give it a slightly different twist, the standard for learning full time in kollel should be that one’s love and committal to torah should be so great that they are both fully committed to AND happy to learn it all day. We can all go back and forth arguing percentages of full time kollel guys who meet that standard, but it is simply not even close to where it should be.

    As the poster “just my hapence” pointed out, there’s a huge variety of ways that someone could entertain themselves during seder without learning (shmoozing, coffee-drinking, smoking, stam spacing out, putting heads down for a quick snooze, checking phones, texting, making phone calls, playing games on phones, etc.). The list can go on and on. The point is, with 8 or however many hours of seder everyday, it’s very hard to keep ‘cheshbon’ of your time and realize just how much you’ve wasted. Those breaks from learning are often prolonged, partially due to the fact (as noted above) that kollel guys learn on their own accord and are not held responsible for their production.

    Honestly, just to give a small example from when I learned in bais medresh post high school: I loved my Rosh HaYeshiva’s shiurim so in every shiur I would listen very closely to everything he said, then after I would review the shiur and type it all up. At the end of the day, when I finished bais medresh I had typed up over 700 of his shiurim on a wide variety of topics–gemara, parsha, chagim, etc. (maybe I’ll fix them up a bit and make them into a sefer, I don’t know).

    The point of the above paragraph is that even though bais medresh and kollel guys are not “required” to write up and review every point from every shiur they hear–that is what they SHOULD do…


    If you do that, THEN you’re taking shiur seriously (though of coarse there’s still seder). If you can’t do that, then you should work until you CAN do that. I’m not gonna make a big deal out of post high school bais medresh guys who just space out in seder/shiur and often don’t know what’s going on–but if you’re in full time kollel and being supported by someone who either works/or worked for their money to support you–then you SHOULD be taking shiur (and seder) so seriously that you can know every single thing that was said in a shiur. Seriously. Everything you do–you should take it seriously.

    Personally, I haven’t been fully exposed to the working world yet as I am just in my second year of law school…But I can tell you that I thought I worked hard when I was in bais medresh after high school, but after going through first year of law school I realized that I could have worked so much harder and taken my torah learning even more serious. There are a lot of Jewish lawyers out there, so I think we’re all aware that the legal profession is very tough, and I just don’t see many full time kollel guys honestly working even close to as serious and hard as one has to in law school and in practicing (american) law.

    And going back to the shidduch aspect of this discussion, a seemingly large amount of BY girls want full time learners (maybe because they are specifically told they should marry full time learners in school?) and they fail to realize that many guys who work part time/learn part time have as much or even more love for learning, and take their learning as serious or even more serious, than some guys who learn in kollel full time. That also makes sense to me, because a person who works part time/learns part time realizes that they only have a “limited” amount of time they could learn every day, so that makes them take their torah learning time more seriously and also causes them to love learning torah because they can look forward to it after (or before) working everyday.

    Anyway, that’s all I have to say for now. If you read this whole post, I hope you enjoyed it.

    Continue discussing.


    just my hapence: I think that you misunderstood me. I am aware that there are those in kollel that are not the vision that the gedolim had when they encouraged kollel. I am not in kollel. I took issue though with someone making a public statement deriding kollelnicks to the point that he says “THE VAST MAJORITY OF “FULL TIME” LEARNERS DON’T BELONG IN KOLLEL”. I believe that to be an erroneous and irresponsible statement. They system is now perfect, but a huge percentage of the kollel men are very special. Additionally, I did not say that “that people who are against everyone being full-time learners are simply bitter drop-outs”. I said, tongue in cheek, that those that don’t make it n kollel (no a drop out by the way, you yourself are arguing that they don’t belong and should leave)are often ones that have a negative view. Obviously. Also, to say that there are hundreds of thousands of working guys that are eseh torascha kevah seems to be a gross exaggeration, unless the asseh torascha keva is very loosely translated. Torasche keva means that you primary pursuit is your torah and your working is nothing more that a means of providing your necessities. No just someone that is a koveah itim. If your numbers are correct, ashrecho yisroel! Don’t misunderstand me, I see many working men that are real b’nei torah, going to morning and night kollelim, chaburos, really working hard in learning, and they have my greatest respect. But you can’t tell me that it is the majority of working men. And if so, that leads me to my last gripe. Lastly, my gripe is as follows: Man was put in this world to toil in torah with all of his strength. Granted, we are instructed to make a living, but the primary focus of our efforts are supposed to be in Torah. I disagree with you. I believe that there are many more working people who are lax in their diligence in torah than there kollel members who should work more, yet I see many posts deriding the kollel guy that they should be working, for frum reasons, the rambam etc, but few that take to task the working guy for not learning harder. That in my opinion is skewed. I think that we would all agree that one who is not productive in kollel should not be there, and that a working mans goal should be to grow in torah and yiroh to the maximum of his ability. The only differe


    im curios what you think happens in bmg during first seder, what its like a party or something? 9:30 everyone shows up opens thier gemarah and walks into the coffee room for about an hour and then goes for a smoke and only after that they come back inside to learn for like 15 min and then they go to sleep… this is what it seems is your view of what happens in yeshivas! have you ever even stepped foot into a yeshiva? into the mir? into bmg? into brisk? where are you getting this absolutley wrong information? im so happy that you posted ur post bec now people can see that the argument made against yeshivas is coming from ignorance


    Firstly, allow me to say that it is an absolute sin that most of the posters here are not in fact, kollel members. If you want to judge people on a grand scale, then do it with the defendants present as well. It’s not people in kollel’s fault that they don’t have so much time to burn in the YW coffee room because they are learning all day…

    Secondly, anyone with half a brain should not be bringing in these ridiculous arguments by comparing us with previous generations, and saying that since everyone worked in past generations, it means everyone must do so today. Perhaps women’s equality has been the bracha that has allowed our kollel structure to work. Men are so much more adversely affected by this culture due to their raging yetzer horas. It is no secret that the decrepit state of morals in this country, and indeed around the world is crumbling. Democracy may work, but it also leads to immorality and too much freedom. Realize that part of the reason myself and all of the posters here are allowed to post on the CR is because the United States does not block internet access. Free speech protects us from prosecution in that regard.


    The Rambam says in Hilchos Talmud Torah, 1:12, that an example of someone who works is one who works 3 hours a day and learns 9 hours a day. In today’s day and age that is unheard of. In fact, the Rambam’s working guy is probably our generation’s learning guy between the 3 hours combined of talking on the cell phone, texting, coffee breaks, shmoozing a.k.a. “hock” breaks, and random wasted time. So first of all, both kollel guys and working guys have to realize that they leave a lot to be desired. With that said, it is not feasible in this country to find gainful employment for 3 hours a day. For the majority, with the exception of the select few who run their own business, which is very hard to do at a young age, a 9-to-5 is more apropos. That means that the learning is not where it should be. However, the metzius must have changed due to the society we leave in. There are two ways to approach this new metzius:

    1) Respect the working people’s situation. Those who work must now do so 8 hours a day/40 hours a week, and they need to cut back on learning. Institute as many chavrusa programs between kollel and non-kollel as possible, a.k.a. a real Yissochor-Zevulun partnership.

    2) Assur work, and look down upon all those who work. Also, if possible, go to kollel, so even if you don’t work 3 hours a day, you can learn 9 hours a day. (Maybe we can double count learning and tutoring as work.)

    It is probably best to be a mixture of 1) & 2). Go to work, if necessary for parnassah, though many Meforshim do not assur work or hishtadlus for parnassah even if you are very rich. One reason is probably because they can support others learning Torah. If you are working, be responsible in terms of learning Torah. Treat Torah learning as your primary occupation, even if in raw hours terms it is not. If you are in kollel, respect those who work realizing that the people who have toiled and allowed you to sit in kollel are the ones you may snigger behind your back and derogatorily ridicule them for their Ba’al Habatishness and how they are avaryanim. Moshiach will come to a generation that is either completely righteous or completely wicked. Let us have some ahavas yisrael so that we can all merit from each others efforts.


    Harotzeh +1000!!!!


    ‘why is their kanaus limited to the learners that are not mekayim the being nehneh from their own work (which the chofetz chaim describes as at best midoh tovah) and not to the much larger groups of “earners” that are not mekayim the “aseh torascho kevah” which is, and always has been, the very basic fundamental obligation of every male Jew?’

    Have you not noticed the spectacular popularity of daf yomi? I don’t know how many are actually learning daf yomi but a hundred thousand attended Siyum HaShas and a lot of daf yomi learners couldn’t get there.


    1- Maybe its not Motzi Shaim Ra, but could it be Lashon Hara? Toeles is not a heter in such a forum in which you don’t know who is reading it.

    2- I encourage the naysayers to visit Lakewood and pick any Bais Medrash. Learn all sedorim.. see the thousands around you doing the same…….. feel the intensity and seriousness of the multitudes. The minority who are squandering the opportunity are too immature to appreciate the gift. But then there are those who squander the opportunity when working in an office or even as a doctor or lawyer. Are they all living according to the Shulchan Aruch? Are they maximizing the time on behalf of the employer…… or do they “batil a bit” around a cup of coffee? iN EVERY ARE OF HUMAN INVOLVEMENT THERE ARE THOSE WHO GIVE IT THEIR ALL AND THOSE WHO ARE A LITTLE LAZIER AND THOSE WHO SQUANDER…….



    there are shittos that hold that if you batel its better not to be in kollel at all. even if you are learning 7 hours a day and bateling one. its not that cut and dried. There is a major difference between bitul torah and regular batala. See the mishna in avos in perek gimmel mishna zayin (mah naeh ilan zeh harei zah mischayev benafsho).

    just my hapence

    Harotzehbilumshmo – If in my job I was to regularly put my head down for a quick rest or play on my phone for a few minutes or go out every hour or so for a coffee/cigarette I think I could rightly be accused of not taking the job seriously. Your definition of toroscho keva (which, by the way, is not a mitzva nor a chiyuv nor even a halocho – merely a piece of advice, granted it is advice from a tannah and should be taken seriously but nevertheless nothing more than advice; providing a parnassah for your family is a mitzvas aseh d’oraisah according to R’ Yehuda [who we pasken like]) would not seem to apply to those who behave the same way in the beis hamedrash. Like it or not, this is the vast majority. Sure when they learn, they learn shtark. Sure they may be ‘involved’ but what they are involved in is the system, not the torah per se that they are learning. Sure there are some very special kollel guys but they are by no means at all anywhere near the majority. Most are just jobniks and that’s the honest truth of it. They turn up, they put in the hours (more or less), they go home. Learning is just what they happen to do.

    As for your last gripe, I believe the reason for that is that working people are so looked down upon in yeshivish circles that it wouldn’t matter one jot if the working people learned harder, they’d still get flak for simply being working guys. If the argument against you is that you left yeshiva and shut your gemoro forever then it is enough to defend yourself by saying that you do learn at all. Of course everyone has room for improvement and many people both learning and working could put more into their learning but the current false dichotomy of you either sit in kollel and are pure and holy or go to work and are second-class is what the OP and the rest of us are trying to show up for its wrongness.

    ihear – Well thank you for your classic reductio ad absurdum. First of all, halevai it was 9:30 – more like any time between 9:30 and 10:30; it kind of fills up slowly, y’know as people come when they come. And most guys open their gemoros and have a quick “how are you today?” shmooze before they get into the actual learning. A great deal do come in and go straight for the coffee, have a drink for a few minutes, before going back to the beis (often still with the coffee that they proceed to take occasional drinks from over the course of the next 15-20 minutes). You try getting away with that in a workplace.

    And to answer your question:

    have you ever even stepped foot into a yeshiva? into the mir?

    Yup. Learned in the mir for 3 years. After learning in another very well-known yeshiva for a number of years. So all my information comes direct from the source, not (as your baseless accusation suggests) from ignorance.

    FriendInFlatbush –

    Men are so much more adversely affected by this culture due to their raging yetzer horas.

    Oh dear. This again. Ok, so lets start from the beginning. In terms of subjective feelings there is no way to compare male and female yetzer horahs – no guy has ever experienced a girl’s and no girl a guy’s. In terms of looking at the mechanisms through which male and female desires work biologically and neurologically speaking they are identical. Both are based on the release of testosterone and dopamine, both are mediated by limbic system (which is the system in the brain primarily concerned with emotional processing) and the medial preoptic area (concerned with satisfaction of desire). In other words, both males and females find people attractive based on both physical and emotional conditions. The strength of activation in these brain areas is absolutely equal, i.e. when a male or female is confronted with someone that they find attractive and who induces desires in them the amount of brain activity is exactly the same in exactly the same areas and controlled by exactly the same hormones and neurotransmitters. In fact, some researchers suggest that in addition female desire can also be regulated by estrogen implying that at certain times of the month female desires may be stronger than male ones, though this has not been universally accepted. So please stop with the male yetzer horah vs female yetzer horah business, it’s simply untrue.


    Since this has become working vs. learning:

    Anyone who can pay full tuition and remain in Kollel should do so.

    Anyone who can’t pay full tuition while remaining in Kollel is a Safek Ganav. You have to ask a Halachic Shailah to someone outside the system (I would suggest a pulpit Rov) to see if you should remain in Kollel and take Tzedaka from others against their will, or go work. (this doesn’t apply in Israel, where the Army is an additional wild card).

    And as I said earlier, Lakewood and the Eretz Yisroel situation is the reason (call it an “unintended consequence”) whay many frum yidden are not Machshiv Lomei Torah and Limud HaTorah, which then stretches to the Torah itself CV.

    Finally, Ezehu Chacham HaRoeh Es Hanolad.

    P.S. I agree with Harotzehbilumshmo that most Kollel guys are learning. On the other side of the coin, I rarely see guys remain in Kollel (and not move on to Klei Kodesh or the outside workforce) once they need to support their family (and it may be due to being “out of town”, and the long term learners move to Eretz Yisroel or Lakewood.)


    ‘why is their kanaus limited to the learners that are not mekayim the being nehneh from their own work (which the chofetz chaim describes as at best midoh tovah) and not to the much larger groups of “earners” that are not mekayim the “aseh torascho kevah” which is, and always has been, the very basic fundamental obligation of every male Jew?’

    Even if that were true, I think the answer is as follows: it bothers people more when a righteous person does something wrong than when someone less righteous person something wrong. If a person decides that he wants to work and not learn a word, that’s awful. But odds are, nothing I say can change that. My protest would be coming from the perspective of Torah and he already made the decision that Torah isn’t that important to him.

    However, a person who is learning is obviously interested in doing the right thing. He is obviously genuine. And when people see a person who’s in kollel but not really made for it. He can’t really keep his sedorim because he’s not that good at it. His family is struggling because he’s not making a parnassah. His wife is forced to go out in the working world (possibly a violation of tznius- kol kevudah bas melech penimah) and he’s not learning enough to make it worth it. This person is trying to do the right thing, but is arguably doing the wrong thing. For this person, a macha’ah may work. For this person, if he realizes that full time kollel isn’t necessarily for him, and HKB”H wants him to be working, he would.

    Or the flip side, is that this person knows he shouldn’t be in kollel but stays because he wants the prestige, or because of peer pressure, or because of simple laziness… so then he’s the worst of the worst because he’s using and taking advantage of Torah for his own personal gain… and this cannot stand.


    Another reason why many working people have some ill feelings towards kollel people is the statement that “kollel is so hard, we shteig all day.”

    I don’t buy that.

    1) If you enjoy learning, it’s enjoyable. I would love to sit at my desk all day and actually enjoy what I do.

    2) The statement that they learn all day is also not true, even for a full day learner. You have your day starting at 9:30ISH, one hour lunch break, frequent smoke/coffee/drink breaks, 1-2 hours evening break, etc. Add up the actual learning time.

    3) It’s really insulting for someone to put down their working and then give them an envelope so that they can support the kollel.


    “now people can see that the argument made against yeshivas is coming from ignorance”

    You are being too kind. It is coming from stupidity and a dose of jealousy and hatred.


    The Kollel is really taxing on economy.

    For example Ive heard many yeshivas give tuition breaks to Kollel familes making working families pay full price.

    But How many working families just cannot pay the full amount, even if you work, it doesnt mean you are rich.

    How many other poor people (because of illness, age, accidents) are shortchanged because money is diverted to kollel families.

    But anytime you try to discuss the issue you are accused of Motzei shem rav or trying to stop learning.

    What if the US government really investigates kollel fasmilies and decides that since the father is capable of working, they will cut benefits

    Until those in charge are willing to see a problem, there will not be a solution


    This thread has mostly been about whether the Kollel system has been abused–I didn’t mean for that to be the main focus of this thread–I really don’t need confirmation of what I’ve seen with my own 2 eyes in various yeshivas.

    I put this thread in the “Shidduchim” section of the board because I wanted to discuss how the fact that full time kollel isn’t taken fully seriously by a lot of people relates to shidduchim.

    Apparently, girls in BY schools are taught that they should marry a guy who loves learning, and preferably someone who is going to learn full time. The problem with this and shidduchim then becomes that a lot of good BY girls become “close-minded” to only want FULL time learners. But as we know, many “full” time learners don’t take their learning seriously, and many “part time” learners are really able to grow in torah while also providing for their family.

    So the question is: Why isn’t anything done about this obvious “flaw” in the system? I know a lot of part time learners/part time workers who are big talmidei chachamim–and meanwhile I’ve also seen a lot of full time kollel guys who really don’t take all 8 or so hours of seder everyday seriously. So what is with this idea many good BY girls have that they will only marry a “full” time learner? Is there a problem with both shteiging in torah everyday as well as supporting your family? I really don’t get it.


    simcha613: I hear your point. That may indeed be the reason.

    truthsharer: You too are underestimating the kollel men. The may start their 1st seder at 9:30 (if they dont have an earlier seder too) but what time do they finish? When I was in kollel my last seder ended at 11:15pm and the Bais Medrash was full for that seder. When I (we, others as well) can home we often sat down to still learn a little more. This schedule is on Sunday’s too, with an altered but serious learning schedule on Shabbos as well. Kollel men will often get up early to daven so that they can watch their kids so that their wives can go to work (happily feeling proud t be part of the zechus) and then again babysit bain hasedorim.

    zahavasdad: The chofetz chaim and many others describe how hachzokas hatorah actually drives the economy so long as one adheres to the belief that ones income is from hashem

    NotSoYeshivish: Please don’t state as fact your observations from within your own, limited, exposures. Many of us here have seen the kollel benefits in ways that you may not have. Believe it or not, this chinuch of the girls in done b’hadrochas gedolim who may have also had opportunity to see a kollel or two in their times


    dear just my hapence

    in regard to you being in the mir,kudos, i was also in the mir and i cannot imagine which building you were in that MOST people were doing what you described,unless, and i mean this with no bad conotations at all, you were amongst them and it seemed as if “everyone” was like that,and in regards to your third statement about the male vs. female yetzer hora, just take a look at the statistics for “illicit” behavior and men beat women by a huge margin in fact all of these things cater to men bec they cannot control themselves as easily.and agav in regards to comparing things to the workplace the differance is that there there is a specific amount of work that must get done and if its done dont tell me that people dont have a coffee or play minesweeper besides for the fact that learning isnt as easy as work in being that 1) there is no monetary compensation so its more of a challange 2)its not always as intresting and it requiers a nice amount of thinking so once again, an ignorant argument…



    batala is more chamur by yungeleit read the mishna in avos I cited earlier and the meforshim there.

    also the chinuch of girls in this regard is done with the hadracha of gedolim? you must be joking or seriously naive.

    just my hapence

    apashutayid – Well thanks for your vote of confidence in my intelligence and emotional stability. It’s easy to disagree with someone if they can be dismissed as simply being dumb and bitter. I have presented first-hand eyewitness testimony and you just sit their at your computer and write about how I must obviously be filled with jealousy and hatred (which, due to my supreme idiocy, I have plenty of room in my tiny brain for…). For your information, and if you’d have bothered reading any of my posts properly you’d have seen for yourself, I am in no way against the idea of people being in full-time learning. Those who are serious and do learn full-time (by which I mean actually full-time) I am more than happy for them to do it and to them I say kol hakavod. What I am against is the idea of everyone being assumed to be ra’ui for it which, clearly, they are not.

    Harotzehbilumshmo – I think you misunderstand me. I do not claim that every hour a whole load of kollel guys get up of their seats and have a break. I am simply saying that there are all the little bits of not learning here and not learning there that goes on in every beis hamedrash and that they add up. Every guy does it, they have a quick shmooze (still at the shtender) or they get a text and just need to reply quickly or whatever, and they add up. This is undeniably true of most people in almost every kollel. Not sure what your second point is.

    ihear – Firstly, I am not your dear. I also am grateful for your condescension. Now, I spent time learning in most batei midrashim in the mir, but most of the time I was in Beis Yeshaya (both downstairs and Wallmark). Do you really think that I would be so against people not learning seriously if I didn’t take learning seriously?! Do you think if I spent most of my time in yeshiva shmoozing and smoking (FYI I have never had a cigarette in my life) that I would get so upset at people in yeshiva doing as such?! Seriously?!

    Secondly, I had a quick look for your statistics. Well it turns out that it is 57% to 54% which is hardly a “large margin”. Coupled with the fact that I have produced sound biological and neurological facts and the fact that, al pi halacha, yichud with one man and two women is assur while visa versa is muttar and the reason given is that women are more easily swayed to get involved even if another is there I feel quite safe in saying that men can control themselves just as easily as females (if not easier).

    Furthermore, your comparing to people playing minesweeper at work is ridiculously disingenuous. You know what happens to people who regularly play minesweeper at work? They get sacked. They get told “this is not for you”. There may not be a “set amount” of learning to do but that’s the whole point – you learn as much as you can in the time possible, you use every second to get some more done. If you feel that learning should be done by quota then you should not be in kollel. And to say learning is not as interesting as going out to work?! Then you really aren’t cut out for full-time learning… And yes, working can be as intellectually challenging as learning.

    Finally, a quick definition for you (as it seems to be your favourite word):



    Lacking knowledge or awareness in general; uneducated or unsophisticated.

    Lacking knowledge, information, or awareness about something in particular: “ignorant of astronomy”.

    I have clearly demonstrated knowledge of the learning world, the working world and of hard science and statistics. Tell me then, at what point have I been ignorant?

    just my hapence

    *sit there*


    jbaldy22: I am not sure which meforshim you are referring to. I looked at the mishna, rav, tosfos yom tov and rabbainu yonah and do not fins what you mention. All I see is that there is an additional chomer for someone that batels while learning above one who never starts. This would be equally true of yungerleit an working people. Please post your reference, I would like to see it. As for girls schools, I prefer to end my part of the discussion. It is purposeless for me to keep saying that I know and you to keep writing no. I’ve been privy to meetings, discussions, policy implementation, etc. You will deny it so its nonsensical. You win. The mechanchos anf rosh hamosdos ,ust be pushing their own agenda and misguided hashkafos. We must just be familiar with different schools, so I cant speak for yours nor yours for mine.


    Jmh I agree with most of what you say except with the claim that it’s the amount of time spent learning that determines whether one deserves to learn in kollel. There are some that need the coffee/cigarette breaks like you and I need air to breathe and water to drink. So yeah they take breaks but these people are allowing the Torah to penetrate their souls and could not live without learning Torah all day. These people, after a day of learning are on fire and really managed to change the world with their learning. Not everyone who is in kollel is meant to be there but just because someone can’t sit still for as long as you’d like doesn’t give anyone the right to judge how much their learning means to Hashem.



    see the meiri.

    Also if someone has a set time to learn that is included in this din of harei zeh mischayiv benafsho. That is why it applies more so to yungeleit. Kach kebalti merabosai. If I have the time I will look for more mareh mkomos on the subject.

    as far as seminaries are concerned we are discussing 2 different things macro and micro. macro of course they have a say in its the implementation where things go awry. A lot of mechanchos are overzealous in their charge shelo kadas ukedin.

    In response to all the posters who assume that a person who batels part(s) of the day should still be in kollel ask your rav/rosh yeshiva you maybe very surprised with the answers you receive.

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