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TEEN ISSUES-----marry a kollel guy?

modehani Posted - 04 July 2006 14:26

I really want a husband who plans on learning long term, for as long as possible. I have a pretty good job b"h with various work opportunities for side jobs. The "problem" is that even though I have a decent means for supporting, my parents don't have money.

Plus, I've grown up without money and am not a demanding person in terms of materialism-I don't need much to be happy. To me, I think-well, I have a good job. But the boys want more security than that. I've had few shidduch prospects over the years (seems my family is not the kind boys are looking for either).

And even though I'm sticking with my belief, that Hashem can provide me with a kollel husband without having yichus and rich parents, EVERYONE is telling me to be "realistic" (aren't I the one who's being realistic-that Hashem is in charge??), to go out with boys who will learn for a few years-which is more matching to my "family type".

So my question is-what if I'm holding out for something Hashem doesn't plan on giving me? Maybe everyone is right and I was given my situation so that I would marry someone that "matches"?

Am I having bitachon or just being stubborn and idealistic?

MODERATOR Posted - 04 July 2006 14:30

You absolutely can look for a boy who will learn, and if that’s what you want than that’s what you should look for. There are plenty of girls who work hard with mesiras nefesh to support their husbands in learning. If that’s what you want, more power to you! We need more girls like you.

And your family doesn’t matter either. Go for it.

get high Posted - 09 July 2006 2:34

sounds good I’m single. lol

JCScott Posted - 12 July 2006 21:26

Actually, R' Moderator, I'm finding out that a working boy that's looking for a really frum girl has got it tough.

I want someone who will appreciate that I make time for a chavrusa or shiur after school or work, not someone who'll "settle" for a non-"sitting-and-learning"er; they don't make 'em that way in the Beis Yas'kovs very much anymore.

MODERATOR Posted - 12 July 2006 21:30

That's true, and the first reason is, why would a girl as frum as you describe prefer someone who left Yeshiva versus rather someone who's still in Yeshiva?

Battzion Posted - 13 July 2006 18:14

JCScott- I know quite a few girls who fit the description you provided, that being a very frum BY girl who doesn't prefer a guy sitting and learning.

Reb mod, many girls, like myself and some of my friends, want a guy who will be a supporter of other ones "sitting & learning"-the zevulun in a yissachar-zevulun relationship.

I completely understood the zechuyos and other major benefits derived from a kollel lifestyle, and I am not a kollel basher in any way. however, why is it bad for a girl to want a real askan who will give major financial support and thus have an extremely large share in schar limud in another very necessary way?

MODERATOR Posted - 13 July 2006 18:48

Nobody said its "bad". It's just that there are no Torah-based reasons to prefer that over someone who will become a Talmid Chacham, which is definitely a higher level.

But JC was describing a different issue - he is currently working. it’s not just that after he's married he wants to work. The first question a girl as frum as JC is looking for will ask is, Why isn’t he in Yeshiva? He will need a very very good answer to that in order to convince the girls of the caliber he is looking for that it is worth giving up all that Torah learning in a husband. That’s not an easy sale to make.

A "major askan" is a wonderful thing, but it is still not close to the level of a Talmid Chacham. Besides which, very few Baalei Batim ever make enough money to become "major askanim". And among those who do have enough, so few actually become major askanim.

As far as practicality, therefore, with a Ben Torah, even if he doesn’t become the biggest Rosh Yeshiva, he still has the enormous excuse of learning Torah, one word of which is greater than a lifetime of doing Mitzvos. If you’re banking on your husband striking it rich and becoming a "major askan", you’re playing the dice. Of course, everyone should want to be able to support all the Kollel guys in the world, and for that desire you get reward -- but even the Kollel guys reap that reward too, if they wish they could.

All that having been said, once again, there is nothing wrong with working, or being married to someone that does. The issue is not right and wrong. The issue is whether you are ready to dedicate your life to a higher calling.

The issue is not whether you are fulfilling your obligations -- the issue is whether you are ready to fulfill your opportunities.

green Posted - 13 July 2006 19:46

Maybe a girl who sees ahavas hatorah and ahavas Hashem in a boy who knows that he will not be able to sit and learn personality wise, or a girl who doesn't want to depend on being supported by others-a very difficult state to be in.

MODERATOR Posted - 13 July 2006 20:19

Well, the problem is, how will anyone see ahava of anything in him unless they go out with him, but he's at a distinct disadvantage to making that happen because he’s not in Yeshiva.

Don’t forget -- a girl knows little a bout a boy's ahavas anything before she meets him. ALL the boys (as any shadchan will tell you) have ahavas hatorah and ahavas hashem -- but the other boys are learning Torah as well. Why would they put them aside to go out with him? Could be he’s the best boy in the world, but he would have to have something measurable and solid to present to a girl that would override the fact that he is not in yeshiva, when his "competition", so to speak, is. Maybe he has some such outstanding traits, but at the starting line, he’s unfortunately at a great disadvantage.

I do not believe that a person's personality can disable his capacity for learning all day. There are all kinds of personalities learning and working, and it is impossible to predict, based on a person's personality who will end up learning and who won’t. It's a choice. Although I do agree for some it is more difficult than others, as is all commitments. But to say that someone is "unable" because of a personality? No, I don’t agree at all.

And not wanting to be supported by others is an admirable trait, first, that’s not a reason to supersede learning. This is explicit in our poskim as well as common sense: If you could find the cure to cancer and stop terrorism in the world, but you’d have to be supported by others while you do it, who in their right mind would say no? If someone understands what Torah is, they understand that the person who "supports" them is actually being the one supported, cuz he gains a lot more for his money than he could anywhere else, and it is provided by the learner.

Please read this forum:

And see my post of July 15 2005, here:



Battzion Posted - 14 July 2006 16:20

Reb mod, let me ask you a q. again, I am asking completely sincerely, and not in a sarcastic or offensive type of way to anyone in kollel.

When you hear ppl bash kollel, they often bring up many mekoros from the gemara and rishonim that talk about the obligation to support one's family themselves, as well as the kesuba, which says that the husband agrees to support his wife.

Of course for one to learn Torah all the time is an ideal situation for any ben Torah, but it seems like it's acknowledged in many places that earning a living is a completely accepted and praiseworthy thing to do, and not something worthy of consternation and condescension.

I, like every bais yaakov girl, want "the best" in a choson- but I don't feel like a working guy who is a ben Torah is anything lower than the best, as he is doing exactly what the Rambam says he should be doing, will be fulfilling word for word what is says on the kesubah, etc.

A Talmid Chochom is definitely fortunate to be able to devote so much time and energy to learning, and his wife and family are sure to reap many benefits as well- but isn't he at the same time not following the normative method of living described in such mekoros?

green Posted - 14 July 2006 16:20

The first point, R' Mod, I accede :) I know and understand the second point, but I think there are very few bachurim who have honestly reached that madreiga.

I think that for many, it's the obvious next step and done without a lot of thought, and the state of being dependent monetarily on parents ends up being very difficult for may boys.

MODERATOR Posted - 14 July 2006 17:04


You are understanding what I said to mean that Kollel guys are motivated to learn because they appreciate the awesomeness of Torah, and your response is that most of them are not on that level, but rather, they learn by default. But I am not saying that. Rather, I am saying that regardless of whether they are on that level of not, the very fact that they are learning, even if they are average people, accomplishes all that I described. You do not have to be on a great Madreigah to accomplish all that -- all you have to do is learn.

Every 6th grader that raises his hand in class and asks his Rebbi a question on the Rashi lights up the entire world brighter than the brightest sun.

Of course, the more righteous you are and the more holy your intentions the more holy your Torah will be, but even when an average guy learns, he accomplishes more for the world than could be described if all the reeds were pens and all the lakes and rivers an oceans were ink.

And besides -- do you think for a moment, that the supporter of Torah appreciates his great role in the world any more than the Kollel guy appreciates his? Do you think that someone who learns less understands more about what his Mitzvos accomplish?

There is an idea "out there" that in order to learn in Kollel you have to be on some kind of great madreigah. This is not so. Torah learning is available to everyone and anyone.

Now on top of that, the existence of a Talmid chacham -- that's so much higher than an average Joe. But even the average Joe, when he is learning, is elevated way beyond being an "average Joe", to high above the angels.

As far as being financially dependent, you’re right, it can be difficult. And if the heat is too hot for someone he is fully permitted to leave the kitchen. But all that means is that those who stick it out get even more credit.

See, you’re thinking in terms of "Is it bad to work for a living?” The answer is absolutely no, but that’s not the question we’re addressing. The question is, "Is it a million times greater to be learning?” The answer to that is absolutely yes.

MODERATOR Posted - 14 July 2006 18:30


Perhaps if these "Kollel bashers" that you describe would learn in Kollel they would see that they have no sources at all.

But the truth is, you don’t have to learn much Torah to see this. It's simple common sense.

Yes, the Kesuva says the man is obligated to support his wife, as do Chazal. But that's a financial debt of husband to his wife, and so if she agrees to forgo it because Torah is more important to her, then he is no longer bound to it. So if the wife insists that the husband support her, he has to --- that’s all it says in the Kesuva, and in the rest of those places. But if the wife says, "I don’t want your money -- keep it! Give me Torah instead!", then her merit is that much greater because of what she gave up.

And as far as the Rambam goes, first, the Rambam in hilchos shmita 13:13 writes that any individual has the right to choose nowadays to be like what shevet levi was in the olden days, i.e. devoted to Torah and not work. He says such a person is a kidush hashem.

Second, the Rambam is talking about taking tzedakah from the Tzibur rather than working. there is a major difference between that and Kollel (especially if the wife is working to support the husband, where no charity is involved). I explained this in my post that I cited above.

Third, the Rambam states that a working person works 3 ours a day and learns 8 hours a day. That is the "normative" life of a baal habayis according to the Rambam. That's not one of the options in our life. So the Rambam is irrelevant.

Fourth, we don’t pasken shailos straight form the Rambam. We must see what the shulchan aruch and poskim accepted or rejected from the Rambam. And in Shulchan Aruch and poskim it is clear that the Rambam that says a person should not take tzedakah in order to learn is NOT binding l'halachah. More, it states that even if the Rambam is right we cannot apply the Rambam because of ais laasos, meaning, whereas in the Rambam’s days it was not unlikely to become a Talmid chacham and work at the same time, nowadays it is very much so, and therefore we must do whatever we can in order to produce talmidei chachamim, even if it means living off charity.

So as I said, for many reasons, the "sources" aren’t sources at all.

And there's more: The advantages of Kollel aren’t just learning vs. working -- see my post referenced above, that Kollel life is a much more Torah lifestyle than that of a baal habayis. The chick-chock quick mincha that the working person has to often go through to get back to his cubicle in time; the ability to focus on Elul as Elul, aseres yemei teshuva as aseres yemei teshuva; the dubious spirituality of the office environment (even most frum" offices) versus the holy atmosphere of the Bais HaMedrash --- there are so many plusses in learning all day over working, especially nowadays.

So the issue is not what’s permitted or prohibited -- you are permitted to work, no question. And so, nobody is "denigrating" or putting down in any way, working people. No way. But no matter how you cut it, learning is a much, much higher level.

yg Posted - 19 July 2006 2:40

I feel like I really should contribute to this forum as I am someone who actually lived a kollel life. First of all, for all of you who don't know me- due to a very prolonged absence- I am married for 6 years and a mother of 3 very yummy girls.

My husband learned for about 5 years- and even this past year, kept his morning and night seder and taught in the afternoon. Now he started a new company and he is working full time and only managing to learn night seder.

I have to tell you that although it was hard to be the primary breadwinner for 5 years- even with contributing factors- first of all, I did not live in abject poverty- and second of all I am really not high maintenance... I very much miss my husband sitting and learning all day.

It was such a beautiful way to start off a marriage. I did it much longer than I thought I could. I was not looking for a long-term learner because I did want to be a mommy first and foremost. But it was just such an extremely rewarding way of living. I almost perfected the art of being a great mommy while holding a full time job.

I wish my husband could have stayed in kollel for longer but it was not to be. There is one thing that I absolutely must bring to the table. Although my husband is now a full time worker- I am still holding a full time job myself just to make ends meet!

Don't fool yourself into thinking that if you marry working guy you will live on easy street... well, maybe a tiny apartment on easy street :) life will not necessarily be easy when you marry a working boy. maybe easier, but if it is only easier, you may as well marry a learning guy and have that beautiful foundation to your marriage.

I know this post is very disjointed but I am sorely out of practice. As I said it has been awhile...

One more very important thing. This is absolutely not a blanket statement, but all the kollel guys I know- and living in Lakewood, I know quite a few- are the most attentive, kind, helpful husbands. They baby-sit the kids in the morning and afternoons, they do the shopping, they are extremely involved in their family life because they are living a much more relaxed and low-pressure lifestyle. They are not always away from home trying to climb the corporate ladder. There is not way to determine the value of that until you actually live with a husband like that!

tryin2smile Posted - 21 July 2006 17:20

Mod, Please take the time to respond to this issue it's been bothering me for a long time. I am in no way a "Kollel Basher" I think learning is the most respectable thing in the world for both the men and their wives and families and I admire them to no end.

However, I am of the opinion that a large percentage of kollel guys today are doing it because it's "the thing to do" and if you don't you're looked down on which is really sad because truth be told, not everyone is cut out for full time learning.

Many people learning as bachurim and claiming they want to continue doing so are fooling themselves. They are there for the same reason that many girls go to seminary that reason being that now they have an added "plus" to put on their shidduch resume.

Like I said, I admire the people in kollel (who are not fooling themselves) and would love to marry such a person but I also have to be realistic and realize that my father does not have the amount of money it takes to support an additional family and I cannot count on monetary support from him.

Therefore, I'm considering availing myself to date working guys who are kovaya itim and are machshiv Torah and are not fooling themselves into thinking that they should be learning (or shmoozing with their chavrusah) because it's "what people are doing."

Every time I try to come to the decision of working vs. learning I have so many pros and cons to weigh I really cannot decide which to choose. I know you've said that working is fine but learning is a much higher level but I am really scared that I'm going to fall into the trap of "the learning guy" like so many girls I know and find out soon after marriage that he was "doing his time" and "warming the bench".

I find it easier to believe that a working guy with good middos who is proud to serve Hashem is just as good and possibly better.

Mod, Please respond I really respect your opinion.

nonono Posted - 21 July 2006 17:20

I duno....I’m a frum by girl who wants a boy who is working yet machshiv torah and sets aside specific times for learning. It is really hard these days to find someone like that because most of the guys that are working are either more modern or are working cuz they don’t want to be learning.....

MODERATOR Posted - 21 July 2006 18:19


I don’t know what you mean. If you are saying that Kollel guys in general do not learn but rather waste their time ("shmooze with their chavrusos"), that is simply just not so. I have no idea where you'd even get such an idea. Take a visit to any large Kollel and you’ll see.

The skills and energy needed for learning in Kollel not any greater than the typical yeshiva bochur exerts while in Bais Medrash. Less, even. Boruch Hashem we live in a society where the average bochur can learn in Kollel. You really don’t have to be Rabi Akiva. All you have to do is learn, and you accomplish tons.

green Posted - 25 July 2006 12:05

R' Mod,

I'm not a kollel basher either-B"H my husband is learning and I think it is amazing. BE"H we hope to continue this way as long as possible. But I do respectfully disagree with part of what you are saying. There are a fair amount of guys who waste their time-talking to their chavrusos, leaving to smoke, etc. And sure, everyone is human.

But I can see it being very hard for a wife when her husband, who she is working hard for so that he can learn, gets up late, leaves when he feels like it (this is not personal experience:) ,etc.

There's also, often, a sense of entitlement and condescension legabei others who are not learning- i.e. you're not doing anything important, therefore you should be supporting me....certainly, the ideal is someone who can devote himself to learning, not depend on others for parnasah and if he does, not look down on that person, take learning as seriously (at least!) as a job in terms of not wasting time, etc.- a job is only the means to an end, while the learning is the end itself.

When you know that this is the ideal, and this is what it could be, it's just disappointing when you see and hear about times the matzav is not like this. I guess there's a disillusionment that happens.

Battzion Posted - 25 July 2006 12:05

Mod, there are tons and tons of men, B"H, who really take fully advantage of the opportunity to learn in kollel, but who doesn't know at least a handful of guys who don't do nearly as much? if given a choice between a "benchwarmer" and a sincere, shtark working guy, wouldn't it be so much more beneficial to a family to have a husband who is at least "machshiv torah"? (what a good phrase, I'm gonna use that one more often)

MODERATOR Posted - 21 August 2006 16:18

Ok, I know I took a long time to answer these posts, but honestly, its very, very painful to hear this.

Its frustrating because this issue --- the expectations of what a kollel guy is -- is the - I repeat: the - greatest cause of sholom bayis problems between normal, functional, healthy kollel couples. and it happens soooo often its really painful.

And its a sad, sad situation, because its nothing but a total and complete miscommunication between what the boys are taught about kollel life and what the girls are taught. I am going to address this issue right now, but not here in the shiduchim section. its more apropos for the kollel forum. check it out here:




tryin2smile Posted - 21 August 2006 16:33

Thanks for answering. Unfortunately, these "ideas I get" are from seeing firsthand wives who believed they were doing the ultimate sacrifice by marrying a learning guy and only found out a few weeks after marriage that their husbands were not completing their ends of the deal. this happened to a few friends of mine.

Their husbands would get up to go to shacharis really late and yes, "warm the bench" because they were not cut out to learn and therefore were fooling themselves and the girls they dated by calling themselves learning guys.

I know that these instances are few and far between but I am really scared that I will end up with someone like that because it's hard to find out before you get married. These girls had very pure intentions. There was no way they could've known this would happen so yes, I've seen it a few times and have gotten nervous.

MODERATOR Posted - 21 August 2006 16:34


sorry for putting up your post late. I am responding to it in the above post in the Kollel forum

modehani Posted - 10 September 2006 19:31

Thanks Mod for answering me. I just saw the reply because I was away but I really want to thank you because this has really been bothering me.

I know it seems like I'm repeating myself-but I just need to know this really clearly so that I can really stick to my guns and ignore all those well-meaning advisors around me.

Is there a certain point where I should maybe consider that Hashem does not really intend for me to marry a long term learner and consider boys who will learn for a few years?

Or can I-as I am now-continue to insist that this is one thing that I absolutely can not be mevater on, no matter what age I am or become?

MODERATOR Posted - 10 September 2006 19:39

I don’t know you personally so it’s really difficult to say.

wannabe Posted - 29 December 2006 7:31

Moderator - but such a point CAN be reached?

MODERATOR Posted - 29 December 2006 8:59


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