Working = Rich?
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- This topic has 77 replies, 28 voices, and was last updated 14 years, 4 months ago by Jothar.
December 7, 2008 3:41 pm at 3:41 pm #588819
I never understood why people (especially in the chinuch/klei kodesh world) always assume that if someone is working (like myself), it automatically means that they are rich and don’t have any financial problems. You always here them say things in that regard, like “oh you work, so you can afford to pay a higher shul membership than mechanchim”. Maybe some people out there who are working are pulling the same amount of money as kollelim pay (and some even less). The kollel people also have government aids to help them out, while most regular working people make too much to get those aids, so if anything, there are cases where these groups actually make more (save more). I am not chv”s knocking kollel/ chinuch people, but am I just trying to figure out a perception out there of why does working = rich.
Maybe the olam in the CR can help me understand this, if this is the norm all over or maybe its just some of the people I know, that give over this impression.December 7, 2008 4:36 pm at 4:36 pm #634524JosephParticipant
You certainly got the wrong impression. Richness is never defined in terms of financial wealth. Usually the richest people are the most unhappiest. The happiest people, tend to be those financially considered ”unwealthy.”December 7, 2008 4:41 pm at 4:41 pm #634525illini07Member
There are people who work who fall desperately below the poverty level, so this assumption makes no sense. I think many people here can tell you from experience that work =/= rich.
As far as the mechanchim argument, it may be less that you are working and can afford to pay more, and more that mechanchim are not typically paid very well AND they are performing a service to the community by educating our children. People may not always word it well, but that’s probably more of the attitude than the simple “you must be able to afford more.”December 7, 2008 4:55 pm at 4:55 pm #634526
if you’ve ever taken economics, the middle class is always the worst off. they pay the highest taxes (proportionally) while those who earn less get tax exemptions and aid from the government. often, people in the yeshiva world don’t understand that, though. they assume that if you’re working you MUST make money, (which means you MUST be loaded…)December 7, 2008 5:05 pm at 5:05 pm #634527Bais Yaakov maydelParticipant
you can always reflect on the classic “ayzehu ashir–hasameach b’chelko”December 7, 2008 5:32 pm at 5:32 pm #634528
Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining about not being happy with what I have, I am just trying to figure out why there is a perception out there of if you work, you must be loaded. And brooklyn19 is saying the same point I am trying to bring outDecember 7, 2008 7:42 pm at 7:42 pm #634529Bais Yaakov maydelParticipant
i dont think thats the general perceptionDecember 8, 2008 3:23 am at 3:23 am #634530ujmParticipant
I agree with Joseph & BYM.December 8, 2008 2:41 pm at 2:41 pm #634531
I have also have some of my Kollel collegues who think that since I am working, I must be rich and Hoch up for money (either for their Kollel or other Bochrim, not themselves)
I believe the svorah is twofold:
1: Some Kollel Bochrim are obsessed with money (due to them wanting it and not having the means of obtaining some) (most are not like this)
2: Kollel Bochrim in many cases don’t give Ma’aser, but many working people do, so the Kollel Bochrim figure you (the working man) has money to spare.December 8, 2008 5:36 pm at 5:36 pm #634532
Oh, I get it, it makes alot of sense!
To be rich this is what you have to do:
Just be happy with the share Hashem has giiiiven you
And you’ll never be jealous ‘cuz you will know
Aizehu ashir hasomeach bechelkoDecember 8, 2008 6:00 pm at 6:00 pm #634533JosephParticipant
squeak – your tone rings sarcasm (perhaps I’m mistaken); but in fact your statement is precisely true.December 8, 2008 6:10 pm at 6:10 pm #634534yeshivishHakMember
Take a kollel couple who is not supported by parents/inlaws and living off the wife’s income compared to a couple where both are working. With out a doubt the working couple is far better off financialy than the kollel. The amount that one saves by being low-income is generally far less than a full salary. So, loaded maybe not…but generally better off financialy….December 8, 2008 6:15 pm at 6:15 pm #634535
please joseph – I am not so talented as to make up a poem for sarcasm
perhaps I should have added TM at the end of the line.December 8, 2008 6:24 pm at 6:24 pm #634536
yeshivishHak – What you say is not always true. I know of someone who turned down a $50K entry level job (which to my thinking, is quite decent, especially for an unskilled Kollel man) because he would lose out on all the “benefits” of being low income (not trying to bring THAT discussion back to life) which he chesbonned as being roughly equal to that in take-home. And here I quote, “Plus, I would have to WORK to get the money!”.December 8, 2008 6:38 pm at 6:38 pm #634537
Have you done the math? Taking into account multi-child tuition breaks, klei kodesh breaks, MOFES, EIC, parsonage?
Someone who is working with only a high school education and most non-managerial college (BA) jobs are making a lot less than the professional kollel bochur. And no institution expects anything from you, as you are in Klei Kodesh and “poor”.December 8, 2008 8:43 pm at 8:43 pm #634538
squeak, at least give credit where credit is due. Abie’s the coolest composer.
Joseph, that was from “the marvelous middos machine”December 9, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm #634539jewishfeminist02Member
I don’t know if this is the “general perception” or not, but if so, it is incredibly skewed.
There are homeless people who have jobs. ‘Nuff said.December 10, 2008 8:33 pm at 8:33 pm #634541
SJS, please keep that quote about tuition to yourself. Such a disgusting line should only come out of a disgusting mouth (though I know people like to say it anyway because they find it humorous – no excuse).
But I agree with you that that attitude is part of what is wrong with America today. The other part is lawyers, but I won’t get into that.
Brooklyn: I would never try to take credit for that (nor could I possibly). I just assumed that everyone would realize that I was quoting MMM. (Well, I guess not everyone could have, but enough ppl).December 10, 2008 8:40 pm at 8:40 pm #634542
yeah well those who don’t are missing out big time! how else do people remind themselves about middos? thank God for neices and nephews!December 10, 2008 8:43 pm at 8:43 pm #634543jphoneMember
The notion that “Working = Rich” is so silly, that if it wasnt so serious an error it would be funny.December 10, 2008 8:55 pm at 8:55 pm #634544
“Sometimes the only thing more dangerous then a question is an answer!”December 10, 2008 9:02 pm at 9:02 pm #634545noitallmrParticipant
Does working include cleaning trains??? If so then what is your question if working equals rich???December 11, 2008 5:00 am at 5:00 am #634546
Noitallmr – not sure wht you are asking. I am stating that the general feeling I get from some people is that if you are working, it automaticaly makes you some sort of gvir and your richer than every single kollel/mechanech out there and that is simply not true, there are plenty of working people who are constantly struggeling to make a living as well.December 12, 2008 3:52 pm at 3:52 pm #634549myshadowMember
I think that might have been the general view years ago but nowdays it’s easy to see that it’s possible for a working man to be worse off than those not workingDecember 12, 2008 3:59 pm at 3:59 pm #634550
Squeak, my last response didnt go through so I will try to rephrase. Are you taking exception to the tuition relating to how many children you have? If so, its NOT funny, its sad. Unfortunately for me, tuition around here costs between $12,000 and $15,000 per child per year.December 12, 2008 5:32 pm at 5:32 pm #634551myshadowMember
Wow that’s crazy! Are all schools that expensive??? How do any parents working or not afford it??December 12, 2008 7:17 pm at 7:17 pm #634553anon for thisParticipant
I encountered the attitude you describe when I lived in a small midwestern Jewish community. My husband was earning a rather small salary in a training position so I worked outside the home to help pay for basics such as mortgage, food, and full tuition for my school aged children, as well as day care for my younger ones. (Because my husband’s job required long & irregular hours he could not work another job or take on significant child care responsibilities). Basically 90% of my salary after day care paid my children’s tuition. All of the teachers/ kollel members who had children in the school paid minimal or no tuition; these children comprised about 50% of the student body. Because this frum community is relatively small, kollel members received a salary underwritten by a wealthy donor, and teachers were better compensated than in larger frum communities.
When I lost my job while I was pregnant, and was unable to find a new one, it was very difficult to convince the school administrator that we were no longer able to pay full tuition. He told us that if had sufficient mesiras nefesh we would be able to pay tuition anyways. We explained that we couldn’t afford cleaning help, drove older cars that had been purchased used (my huband worked long and irregular hours and we felt two vehicles were necessary), and did not take vacations. We rarely bought new clothes for ourselves, and bought our children’s clothing used or took hand-me-downs.
We explained to the administrator that we had been happy to do this so we could pay full tuition, even though it meant our general standard of living was lower than those of the klei kodesh in the community, but since I’d lost my job and couldn’t find another this was no longer possible. We showed him our tax return, pointing out that my husband’s salary was less than that received by teachers and kollel members, and was fully taxed besides. He just reiterated that if we had real mesiras nefesh, we’d find a way to pay full tuition, but was unable to give specific examples of how we could do this.
It took months before the administrator agreed to reduce our children’s tuition, and I also arranged to work at the school to earn credit towards their tuition. To his credit I will note that he did not kick our children out of the school or seriously threaten to do so.
Because I’d lost my job and was pregnant, my children and I qualified for Medicaid and WIC assistance, which reduced our grocery bill by at least 30%. My preschool aged children stayed home with me, and I no longer needed to arrange or pay for child care for my older kids on their days off from school. B”H we made it through the next year, but this humiliating and disillsioning experience was part of the reason my husband looked for jobs in other cities when he finished his training.
B”H we now live in a wonderful community, where people are respected for who they are, not what they do for a living.December 14, 2008 4:44 am at 4:44 am #634554veyatzivMember
Do you think they only ask you to give money? Now listen to this everyone: People who run tzeddaka orginizations say that a very large percentage of donors are from Lakewood, not in proportion with the rest of the population. What does that say? I once read a study that said that people earning less give a larger percentage of their income to charity. Dont think that when someone asks you for money they think you are rich. You don’t have to take every solicitation so personally!December 14, 2008 5:39 am at 5:39 am #634555just meParticipant
MyShadow, not all schools are that expensive, but many are.December 14, 2008 5:58 am at 5:58 am #634556yitzy99Member
This thread is another example of kollel values (i.e. non-work, government programs, charity) warping traditional values.December 14, 2008 6:22 am at 6:22 am #634557
ummm what exactly is traditional about sitting in an office? and how far back are you tracing tradition?December 14, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am #634558NobodyMember
Many people think if you’re working you’re rich. How sad is that. How about if you’re working you’re taking life responsibly and putting your prioritites into perspective.
Yidin are so busy looking into other people affairs it amazes me.
Who says if you’re working you’re acutally making ends meet. Those who are envious say things like this. Everyone should mind their own business and leave people be. It sure would make the world a better place to live.December 15, 2008 2:03 pm at 2:03 pm #634559
If they ask, yes (they wiil ask anyone!), but to assume I have because I work (which they do (and say so!)), then no.
“Those who are envious say things like this. Everyone should mind their own business and leave people be.”
As before, (quoting someone) you have proved yourself to ba a somebody.December 15, 2008 7:29 pm at 7:29 pm #634560intellegentMember
I am not expressing any views about kollel/work etc. but just btw, sitting in an office may not be traditional but modern day kollel is probably also not traditional. THings were done a lot differently in Europe. I think yitzy99 was referring to work in general which can be translated into the type of work that is done in certain time periods.December 15, 2008 7:52 pm at 7:52 pm #634561
true, true!December 15, 2008 8:05 pm at 8:05 pm #634562
Sitting on a roof with a fiddle.
now thats Tradition!January 26, 2009 2:41 pm at 2:41 pm #634563
Just to prove the point. This was the first letter to the Yated this week.
At the conclusion of this discussion, the administrator told me that he still feels I should pay a higher amount towards tuition since I work.
A Yungerman Who Now Works
(Thank you orthonomics for not making me type this up).January 26, 2009 3:49 pm at 3:49 pm #634564
gavra, so is your point that we should all be learning?;)
Or maybe that working parents should get the tuition breaks, not the learning ones 😉January 26, 2009 3:51 pm at 3:51 pm #634565
I will only make a point within the context of the post (following guidelines), that this admin thought the working man was rich, and even when it was proved he was poorer than himself, the admin still thought the worker was rich or (possibly) was supposed to give up his smaller share to those who had a larger one, because those who had a larger share were in Klei Kodesh.January 26, 2009 4:02 pm at 4:02 pm #634566
anon for this:
I was thinking the same when I read this letter on Shabbos. This just helps to prove my point, lets see what kind of backlash comes from this letter a) in this thread and b) in the yated.
Thanks for posting the letter, wanted to do it myself, but have no idea how to do it w/o typing it up my self, how did you do that?January 26, 2009 4:18 pm at 4:18 pm #634567
As I gave credit, someone else (Orthonomics) typed it for me.
I don’t like the word “backlash”, discussion/Shvil Hayashar is a much nicer term. My point was only that you are not crazy when you think others believe incorrectly “working = rich”.January 26, 2009 4:29 pm at 4:29 pm #634568JotharMember
I’m also in that middle category- making too much to qualify for WIC, HUD, food stamps, Child Health Plus etc but not enough to actually live comfortably. I work for a non-profit which is designed to do business work for tzedakah. so I’m doing business stuff but I’m paid like a rebbe, except I don’t get parsonage. Between tuition discounts, government programs, and everything else, being in kollel is the better lifestyle. Plus, you’re isolated from the olam hasheker. I think I should go back to kollel- I would have olam haba AND olam hazeh. Now I have no olam hazeh, and without all the learning I have not much olam haba either…January 26, 2009 4:43 pm at 4:43 pm #634569
he loves learning all day, and he’s living more comfortably!
However, this means he is probably taking more government subsidies. Those government subsidies come from tax payers. As a member of the middle class who pays lots and lots of taxes, this attitude offends me.
Perhaps I can give less in Maaser because I am already supporting plenty of people learning in Kollel?January 26, 2009 4:44 pm at 4:44 pm #634570Itzik_sMember
Under the new aberration, I mean administration, there may well be a return to kollel as people R”L lose their jobs and figure out that it pays to learn full time and rely on entitlement programs which will expand as Obama will basically be using them to buy votes for the next electtion.
Kollel is NOT meant for that and it will only make the present crisis grow into a disaster.January 26, 2009 5:26 pm at 5:26 pm #634571
that’s something you have to take up with your government representatives, not the kollel people who are only taking advantage of the benefits that the government provides. if crackpots can do it why can’t the avreichim? btw, who did you vote for?
People are taking advantage of government programs that are there to help out people who cannot survive otherwise. If the men in Kollel would try to get jobs, I am sure they can find something to support their family. Then, less people would need services, taxes would go down OR go to other important functions which would help society. Remember, you were the one who brought the story about the guy who STOPPED working because the government subsidies were so great.
I don’t approve of what the crackpots are doing either – but two wrongs do NOT make a right.
I voted for McCain, someone I wasn’t happy with either. I am tired of being burdened because others do not want to work. Neither do I! Maybe its time for my husband and I to quit our jobs and live off of government subsidies.January 26, 2009 5:49 pm at 5:49 pm #634572mazal77Participant
Golly, what if so many people start to qualify for government aid?? I don’t think the goverment can handle it. There would less taxes to collect from people who can’t find jobs. The government is in a deficit already. If people continue to lose jobs, the whole system is on a verge of collapsing. I d on’t seehow this continue to last.January 26, 2009 6:20 pm at 6:20 pm #634573mazal77Participant
Who know if the government supporting Torah, albeit unintentionally, is what is keeping America afloat??January 26, 2009 6:25 pm at 6:25 pm #634574JotharMember
Kollel in Israel grew when the government made it pay to learn in kollel instead of work. Once kollel makes sense economically, why NOT learn in kollel? When kollel means starving, only the yichidei segulah could do it. If kollel means living a better lifestyle with MoWFeS (pronounced “mofeis”) (Medicaid, Welfare, Food stamps, Section 8), shouldn’t everybody do kollel?January 26, 2009 6:35 pm at 6:35 pm #634575
Who know if the government supporting Torah, albeit unintentionally, is what is keeping America afloat??
And who knows if more and more people will become anti-semites when they find out that large portions of Jews in NJ are taking money from the government to sit and “do nothing all day”? (granted I don’t think sitting and learning is doing nothing all day, its a wonderful mitzvah, but to non-Jews thats what it looks like)
Maybe that anti-semitism will cause the death of innocent Jews?
Only Hashem truly knows the outcome. But I think we all have the responsibility to do our best to be good and moral people.
Ames, I misunderstood the story, sorry! I never said taxes would be eliminated, but they might be reduced or go towards other programs to benefit society. No, Obama doesnt want to raise our taxes because of Kollel people taking services, but it doesnt help the economy any.
I agree that the Kollel system needs a major overhaul!January 26, 2009 6:39 pm at 6:39 pm #634576artchillParticipant
We live in very precarious times financially. However, here is a little aitzah toivah to all who think government programs are the answer.
As the financial situation deteriorates further, more people will become reliant on governmental subdsidized programs. The federal dollars are given to the state to allocate. The state budgets are also hurting, and they too are doing belt-tightening. I have personally gone to bat against governmental agencies seeking to cut benefits from truly needy people.
SSA: People receiving Social Security Disability payments are being forced to show documentation for twenty years back. Since doctors, hospitals etc. purge documents every seven years max, there is no documentation. They are being billed for 14 years of benefits+ interest.
Medicaid: Medicaid is behind in payments as much as seven months. This is causing hospitals, nursing facilities, and doctors to rethink their risk exposure in this economic situation.
As soon as most of society joins the welfare coffers, welfare departments will begin making housecalls and determining true need. An unannounced visit to a house full of silver, with a Lexus in the garage, and luxurious leather couches might raise some flags. Welfare is meant for the DESPERATELY poor.
The choice to join welfare is entirely up to you, but this is something to think about.
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