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Eretz Yisroel: A Child’s Hunger – A Painful Cry

hu.jpg“There is nothing more painful than hearing the cry of a hungry child,” explains Aaron, a Bnei Brak Avreich with four children is knows first hand what it means to hear one’s children going to sleep saying “I’m hungry”.

The plunging stock market and ailing global economy has not only impacted major companies, but the chareidi community in Eretz Yisrael, which has developed into a system that relies heavily on givirim abroad, who support mosdos Torah which in turn pay kollel stipends, is already feeling the crunch. In many mosdos, the food chain has already come to a halt and while the government is entertaining a number of bail-out plans for pension funds and the nation’s business tycoons, there does not appear to be any relief in store for avreichim, who regularly live a modest lifestyle, with little padding for the ‘hard times’.

Aaron explains that the concept of surviving on bread is not longer a conceptual term in his home, but reality, having exhausted any ability to feed his family the way they have been accustomed to in the past.

“Instead of buying a kilo (2.2 pounds) of cucumbers weekly, we now buy four cucumbers and cut them into smaller pieces. We have eliminated spreads for bread, and everyone gets two pieces, no more. Instead of eating a meat meal on Friday night and Shabbos day, now only one of the meals is meat.”

In Bet Shemesh, a chareidi askan explained that some families have already begun seeking handouts. “It used to be that schnorrers came to the door and you gave them something. Today, the ‘schnorrer’ is the neighbor seeking food to eat.”

Gedolim has declared tomorrow, Thursday, a yom tefilla, Yom Kippur Katan, with some chareidi leaders explaining it is abundantly clear that for the chareidi community in Eretz Yisrael, the assistance is not likely to come from the treasury, but only from HaKadosh Baruch Hu.

Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Moshe Amar Shlita has called on Am Yisrael to observe Yom Kippur Katan on Thursday, and even those unable to fast to at least increase the recitation of tefillos, slichos and tehillim.

(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)

26 Responses

  1. while its no doubt that tefilloh is important, perhaps the gedolim should consider being “mattir” work.

    it seems (based on this latest report of families and children mamash going hungry because of the institutionalized kollel phenomenon) that the current chareidi attitude is that working is an ‘aveirah’ which is ‘yehareg ve’al ya’avor’ – so, even if your family and children are R”L starving, you still may not work.

    i have two questions:
    1. do we really thing that we are imparting a love of torah and the torah lifestyle to our children by making them literally starve so that their father’s can remain in kollel indefinitely?

    2. again, while tefillos are important, isn’t the obvious solution to this problem (i.e. working to make a living) staring us all right in the face?? (and don’t tell me that there are no jobs in israel, if someone really wants to work he can find SOMETHING to do, even if its not being an executive in a corner office). and what happened to ‘ein somchin al hanes’?

  2. I’m just wondering if you alredy gave them a donation, cuz atherwise who gave you the right to talk. And perhaps the gedolim KNOW what they should do, after all they are the gedolim -not you.

  3. wait a minute, everybody knows that a married man with 4 kids will not be called up to the army so fast.

    Also, maybe he should be asking a shayla and also looking for what he can do in between sedarim to earn money.

  4. It’s absolutely amazing. No one wants to take responsibility. The fate of the avreichim is in their hands; no one elses. It is the avreichim, who chose this life, the kollelim who offered it and the rabbanim who encouraged it who created this mess, and the hungry children. Is anyone prepared to accept that responsibility? All we hear is how Klal Yisrael has to do better and more for the avreichim. When are the avreichim and the system to which they are attached going to do for themselves? And no.4 if army service is so odious, then the avreichim should excercise the heter of leaving Eretz Yisrael for the sake of parnasah.

  5. No. 4 your statement sounds so simple to apply but unfortunately reality isn’t easy. Also, it’s amazing but even in communities based on a Torah-Kollel life the amount of tzedaka given by community members is laudable.

    Why do you American Jews always have such a negative reaction when discussing something like Kollel?
    It happens to be that frum Israelis have a much higher level of bitachon than Jews in chu”l. Therefore allowing them to continue living lifestyle that they believe is the true way and knowing that Hashem will provide what is needed even though sometimes the provisions are limited.

  6. what options does a father of 4 have? He has no skillset! The system is broken from the ground up! There should be educational/vocational options at the younger ages(not before marriage ch”v, but at least once families start having kids), and not have to wait till it’s too late to realize you need a bit of savings to leave kollel to train for a skill…!

  7. Raboisei!

    I know that the first thought is always to send the Avreichim to work. But let’s look at it from a spiritual perspective. There have always been those in Klal Yisroel who have been from the “Asoro Batlonim” which were supported by the rest of us. I thank HaShem that I have a part of their Torah by aiding them whenever I can. HaShem knows that I couldn’t sit for so many hours at a time.

    If you look back at the biographies of most of the gedolim, you’ll notice how they were moiser nefesh for Torah and didn’t let things like food get into the way of their goals. Unfortunately, most people (myself included) don’t appreciate such a lifestyle.

    I say, let them learn in peace and may HaShem bless them and their families with Gezunt and Parnoso because nobody knows who is supporting whom. We have heard of enough stories of in-laws who lost their fortunes once they decided that they couldn’t “afford” to support their learning children anymore.

  8. before you people start the usual anoying tirade of how they should go get jobs you should remember 2 things:
    1) even if they wanted to get a job there aren’t jobs for peopel looking for them, so they might as well stay in kollel where they will make something
    2)don’t forget if theres no torah you would be in worse trouble then those people in kollel b/c without all that torah the world can’t function

    p.s. maybe b4 you critizise think about those hungry kids

  9. we must wake up and realize that if we don’t allow our young men to be educated (whether as professionals or skilled persons) so that they can earn livelihoods, we will all be poverty-stricken in the not-too-distant future.

    American Jewry is only one generation behind the
    Israeli populace. Our Gevirim can support only
    so many.

  10. The quotes are “let them get jobs” and “time for the kollel guys to go to work.”

    Ok, I agree, but let’s be realistic as well. This is an economic recession. Jobs are not there – even for educated, qualified people with secular educations. Even if an avreich decided he needs to go to work, will there be a job for him to go to?

  11. Why look for what you can do between sedarim, or part time work when the “givirim abroad” can support you from their earnings. What shayla does one need to ask? Find me a Rov, let alone “one of the Gedolim” who will give any avreich a heter to let his children virtually starve, for that is what giving them two pieces of bread and a few cubes of cucumber is. I understand how PR works but I suspect this has been exagerated to a foolish degree.

  12. When we are anti-semetic against our selves, let’s not wonder why the goyim do the same…

    You guys are talking as if jobs are ‘a dime a dozen’…

  13. Dont forget, never in history is there such a precedent of so many people learning in kollel, not in Europe, not during the times of the gemara or the mishna. It says im ain kemach ain torah. All the tanaim had professions.

  14. 11 and 13, thank you for telling it like it is.
    And how many people in America do you know, who ARE working, who would be in the same position were it not for credit? Right now is a time for action; deal with the social issues if you want but take care of the hungry first if you can.

  15. Hashem yerachem !!! ….have pity on these poor people!!! …. stop with the ” let them get jobs ” nonsence!!! …. it is our responsibility to keep them learning!!!! …they are keeping us alive and not the other way around!!! ….i do all i can when these people come to my door for tzedakah ….we all sould do what we can. dont forget ,they are doing us the favor and not the other way around!! … people should have rachmonus on them and their families and stop with the finger pointing !! …what happened to klal yisroel?!?!?

  16. #18 is so right. How do I know? Because I’m in that situation. Here…in America. I was in business and never took any handouts, and I still don’t want to. The job market is very tight. In E”Y it’s definitly worse. I think that things have to change for almost everyone, no matter where you live.

  17. “al shlosha dvorim haolam omeid”!!! did u 4get the first is TORAH? just cuz u were “bench sitters” and didnt have the “zitz fleish” to learn, u need to ease ur concience by PUTTING THEM DOWN!!!? its a shame ur an adult allready but cant even face urself. Torahis1 is right, we should excersize action, and part from ur greedy money.shame i cant help, though i’m an american like you that story above is my life too. and if u dont want to give, ur money i certainly DONT want. “harbeh shluchim lamakom” Good luck in the next world of truth.

  18. Johny.

    Are you implying that you are willing to accept responsibility that every single person that is sitting and learning right now and is living off of the community funds is supposed to be doing so?

    There are clearly not enough community funds to go around and it is people like you that are defending a broken system that are exacerbating the problem.

    Everybody agrees that there needs to be a contingent of young people that are learning in kollel. It has gone way beyond that and morphed into a normative lifestyle choice for an overwhelming majority- which there is absolutely no makor for anywhere in Chazal.

    We must have rachmanus and do everything that we can to help people that need it, but the way we are going, the system is going to collapse.


  19. I don’t think anybody here doesn’t approve of kollel. however, here in EY there are ppl who do it just b/c they are afraid to be looked down upon, not because they truly believe that Torah is their lifeline.

  20. #12 – Do you think Avreichim learning is a new phenomenon that started last year and Oops – it’s not working – let’s all go to work? People have been learning Torah throughout all the generations – since it was given to learn (even before) and they had a lot less money (and no America!) then! We will continue as they did . . .
    And to everyone – all you people who don’t learn and don’t understand the importance of it, realize that he’s in the same boat as all the other people “working” and lost their job! You’re telling him to learn a trade and go get a job – he’s just like any one of the many people that have just lost their jobs! He needs money like everyone else!!! What do you say when someone’s working and lost his job? You don’t criticize him then! Only when someone’s learning you find what to criticize!!

  21. hey anonymous! you say everyone agrees- tell me one gadol with you? and i will take responsibility, actually the mishnah is by saying al shloshah devorim… besides, get a little open minded and take note of an important point you ALL seem to be missing. are you aware of what it does to a yungerman going out to work? from a sheltered surrounding he goes to -worst case scenario- manhattan!just the train ride is enough to take him down a few notches in ruchnius. so you say not manhatten, just a yeshivisha office. how many ladies work there? can you honestly say youre on the same madreiga as these avreichem?? even if they dont learn but just sit in beis medrash warming benches, and lead simpler lifestyles, even that is the greatest thing in hashems eyes. oy! meh hayah lanu that our generation has come to having ppl that speak like you!!

  22. Another point, you balabatim are missing – there are many avreichim here in EY who do private tutoring either to young boys who need the extra help and stimulation, or to bochurim generally from chutz lo’oretz who need the help too. With the economic situation as bad as it is, many parents from both groups are cancelling these private rebbes as they cannot afford them anymore. Even yeshivos are shrinking their staff to save costs and these avreichim who acted as mayshivim in the evenings etc have lost a large portion of their income. The attacking attitude of so many of the comments is sad and unfair and generally stems from preconceived notions that have little connection to reality. Maybe some of these “well-meaning” people would like to come to a yarchei kalla in EY and see firsthand what is really happening here…..

  23. Things in judiasm don’t come easy, thats why we get alot of schar cuz we have to earn it. So b/c there are so many men in kollel hashem is puishing us?? i dont think so. Why cant it be another test. Some will go left and say we need jobs, and some will fight through. Reb shloimi Zalmen had days where he didnt know where tom. food was coming from. And the hishtadlus is the gong to to the gevirim. Its not somchin al hanes its leaning and knowing theres a possiblility of money coming. Its called betachon!

  24. I think people who are in kollel need to understand that a lot of the backlash they are seeing in these comments isn’t due to a respect for Torah or kollel, it’s because many of the gvirim who are giving ma’aser are lying awake at night wondering how they are going to pay their mortgages or their rent and if they will be out in the street. Others, so many others, who live in chutz l’aretz are literally crying wondering how they are going to pay tuition for their own children to learn Torah. We’re turning the thermostat down in the cold winter so our bill will be small enough to pay it. Like you we’re eating meat only for Shabbos, sometimes only one meal, and we’re looking at every other area to keep our families financially afloat. And that’s with one or two adults in the family working struggling to find time for their own Torah learning.

    So, while you look to us to have rachmanus on you, have a little rachmanus on us at the same time.

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