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TALMUD TORAH-----kollel 8

basyisroel-613 Posted - 14 November 2000 15:50

I have a question about kollel learning as a friend recently brought up an interesting point. Isn't there a gemara in Kusubos (I don't know the exact makor sorry) that says that marriage is considered a "shibud" - meaning, once a person is married he has certain obligations towards his wife AMONG THEM, EARNING A PARNASSA?

Also, doesn't it say in Parshas Bereishis (sorry again about the exact makor) that Adam - and MANkind forever, for that matter - would from then on have to work for his bread always [i.e.-making a parnassa]?

So then how could one justify learning in kollel while the wife makes the parnassa? Isn't that contradictory to the makoros above?
Thank you in advance for your reply.

MODERATOR Posted - 14 November 2000 16:34

The Kesuva is a financial debt. Like any financial debt, the creditor can say “keep it.” So the wife can say “Keep your money. Even though I can bring you to court to demand support, Torah learning is more important to me than the money, so you sit and learn.”

The debt is always officially there, but she has no obligation to ever collect it, if she doesn’t want to. She may feel there are more valuable things her husband can bring home than money, although if she wants to demand money instead of learning, he has to give it to her.

And it doesn’t say he has to “earn a living”. It says he has to provide for her. Meaning, if his parents or hers, for instance, supply him with provisions that he passes on to her, he has fulfilled his obligation. It doesn’t say HOW he must obtain the provisions. Merely that he has to make sure she’s taken care of.

The statement “b’zayas apecha tocah lechem” “By the sweat of your brow shall you eat bread” was a curse, not an obligation or an ethical instruction. And it is said regarding the way mankind lives in general, not directed at each individual. Nobody is bound to be part of the curse if he is fortunate enough to avoid it. If you win the lottery you have no obligation not to retire. And if you have a way to exist in Kollel, you have no obligation to go to work.

Besides, someone learning in Kollel is fulfilling the curse anyway, since he has to learn in Kollel in order to receive whatever support he is getting. Why is he worse than a baseball player who people are willing to pay money to see him play? This man has people willing to pay money to see him learn. As long as you have to DO something rather than just sit in Gan Eden like Adam did, you are fulfilling the curse.

And the truth is that someone who learns is providing the world with much more than someone who is merely a Certified Public Accountant. Someone who recognizes the value of Torah in the world and is fortunate enough to find a Kollel guy to invest his money in, reaps much more profit than someone who invests his money in the stock market.

M.J. Posted - 20 March 2001 18:39

I know ideally, a women should encourage her husband to learn, but how does income fit into the picture?

What if one wishes to live a luxurious lifestyle? Is that wrong?

I know we are in Golus, but can we gain pleasure from materialistic things? (I don't only mean buying new clothes for Yom Tov and Shabbos)

MODERATOR Posted - 20 March 2001 19:35

Please see the Modern Orthodoxy forum in the Different Types of Orthodoxy category. This is discussed there.

ptgard2281 Posted - 21 March 2001 15:35

My Rabbi has said more than once that he's very much against guys who do not plan on making a living.

He has cited sources in the gemarah which prove that a man is supposed to earn a living. The greatest rabbeyim, such as Rambam, knew that they had to learn torah AND make a living as well in order to support their families.

I guarantee that kollel guys who basically get bupkis monetarily are not any better than these rabbis which exempts them from making a living. They are making their wives (who need to take care of children) into slaves, in a manner of speaking, because they have to work that much harder to make sure the family can afford food, clothes, shelter, etc.

MODERATOR Posted - 21 March 2001 15:53

The Halachah, Pt, is not like your Rebbi.

In Hilchos Talmud Torah, the Rama and Shach are clear that nowadays people may learn in Kollel and be supported by the community, and in fact, it is a privilege to do so.

From the Rambam we see merely that if it is possible for you to become the Rambam and make a living at the same time, then you should do both.

But nowadays we don't have the option that the Rambam had because if we spend our time 9-5 going to work we will have very little time to learn. Learning Torah is the biggest privilege in the world.

And nobody is "making" their wives do anything. The wives willingly and knowingly accept their share of reward for their husband's learning and desire the merit in Olam Habbah that they will receive for supporting a Kollel man.

Saying that Kollel guys "make" their wives work hard is like saying that Yissachar "makes" Zevulun work harder so that he can sit and learn. It's a partnership between the supporter and supportee.

Nobody is forcing anyone to be on the level to learn all day, but those who do are certainly gaining reward beyond imagining.

ptgard2281 Posted - 21 March 2001 22:50

But there are jobs that you could learn or be a part of someone else's learning . . . like teaching in yeshiva, tutoring, working for certain Jewish organizations, etc. There's no excuse for the community to have to support people who are capable of supporting themselves.

I'd rather help those who are in need of money, such as the sick and the poor.

Also, I was just thinking that in the ketubah, it says that the husband will provide for the wife -- if he's learning in kollel while the wife is doing the child rearing and bringing in the "dough," then he's not fulfilling what the ketubah states he's supposed to do.

I know people who are on both ends of the table. Very rarely will you find a woman who REALLY wants to put herself through working like a dog for the rest of her life so that her husband will gain merits. Many girls who marry kollel guys are afraid that they will never find anyone who will want to work and that they have to settle for this.

Those who are like me refuse to marry a guy who will not help out with the responsibilities. I'm not saying that it's wrong to learn, but I do think it's wrong to neglect life's responsibilities for learning . . . and also allow learning to get in the way of doing other mitzvot.

MODERATOR Posted - 21 March 2001 23:00

There are not enough Rebbi jobs for every Kollel guy to have one; plus, there are advantages of learning over being a Rebbi. Rav Aharon Kotler ZT"L, in his hesped on the Chazon Ish, said that the Chazon Ish is greater than him (Rav Aharon) because he (Rav Aharon) runs a Yeshiva and deals with Talmidim whereas the Chazon Ish spends all his time learning.

Supporting Kollel people is not a burden - it is a privilege. Each person who learns all day brings into the world infinite holiness and influence from Above, and for that alone you should recognize the value of supporting them.

The Kollel guy gives more to those who support him than the supporters give to him. They only give to him in this world, but he gives to them forever.

The Kesuba does not obligate the man to go to work and support his wife if his wife agrees to support him. A woman may be mochel part or all of the Kesuva.

You are dead wrong when you say that women don’t want to work to support Kollel guys. Some may not - and they don’t have to. Others may agree only to support him for a certain amount of time. But many are, thank G-d, righteous enough to recognize the great reward for supporting a Kollel guy.

If a woman would be able to go to work and come home with millions of dollars nobody would complain. But the woman who supports her husband in Kollel comes home with much more.

Your portrayal of Kollel wives as slaves as working like dogs is a gross exaggeration and misrepresentation of their lifestyle.

Again, the Halachah states clearly that learning all day is praiseworthy and meritorious. To say differently is to argue against the Torah, not to mention simple logic, since the zechus of learning all day is worth supporting.

ptgard2281 Posted - 23 March 2001 19:40

I really disagree with you. What I am saying comes from experience, from friends, family and peers who face these situations all the time when looking for guys.

I have learned from my rabbi as well as others the importance of a guy working -- and yes, there are plenty of jobs to go around. If women are as willing (as you claim) to allow their husbands to learn, they will also allow them to take their own positions as teachers and find another field of work so that their husbands can be doing their share of the mitzvah while making a living.

You can't say that being melamed someone isn't as praiseworthy as learning by yourself -- teaching others is far more rewarding since you are giving others the skills to be good Jews, follow miztvot, etc. If there wouldn't be rebbes to teach the youth, there wouldn't be grown men with enough knowledge to learn torah in their adult lives. It seems rather conceited not to share your knowledge and, in a sense, keeping the mitzvah for yourself while putting a burden on others.

If kollel guys can have chevrusot, then why can't these guys teach others to be better Jews and make money? There isn't much to gain in kollel other than personal knowledge, and as important as that is, the same knowledge can be gained while preparing lessons. It's more important to make sure your family is taken care of while working and learning on the side.

You can't say that everyone is wrong -- I feel that you are misinterpreting the sources.

MODERATOR Posted - 23 March 2001 19:49

Again, the Halachah is not like you. Learning in Kollel is Halachicly a meritorious lifestyle and a big Mitzvah.

Your experience is only your perception or interpretation of what you see. The fact is that Kollel wives are far from slaves forced into anything.

Not everybody is cut out to be a Rebbi, and you are mistaken about those who learn all day as opposed to teaching. The Chazon Ish, The Steipler, and ybd"l Rav Chaim Kanievsky are examples of Gedolim who were what they were and are what they are only because they spend all their time learning. The Vilna Gaon is another example. The world gains from everybody learning, both in terms of Seforim and guidance, and also in terms of holiness. To say those who learn all day and not teach are not "contributing" is a mistake that anyone who understands what learning Torah means would not make.

Rav Yiztchok Hutner ZTL said this analogous to the utensils in the Bais HaMikdash. All of them had some kind of utility purpose, some kind of job, except the Aron, which did absolutely nothing. Except sit there. The Aron held the Torah inside it and so it did not need to "do" anything. Its presence is its job.

Same thing, he said, with the Talmid Chacham. The existence of Talmidei Chachamim improve the world, more than anybody else doing anything else.

When you say "families must be taken care of", remember that we are in this world to collect zechusim. If so, the family's job is more "taken care of" if they generate and support a Talmid Chacham rather than them having more money.

Once again, in no Torah source will you find anything other than the highest praises for those who learn all day and bring Hashem’s Light and Holiness into the world.

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