Saturday, December 10, 2005

Kollel Check

"One, however, who makes up his mind to study Torah and not to work but live on charity, profanes the name of God, brings the Torah into contempt, extinguishes the light of religion, brings evil upon himself, and deprives himself of the world to come, for it is forbidden to derive any temporal advantage from the words of the Torah. The sages said: "Whoever makes selfish use of the teachings of the Torah takes his own life." They further told us: "Do not make of them a crown wherewith to magnify yourself, nor a spade wherewith to dig." They urged us strongly moreover: "Love work, and hate arrogance. All Torah study with is not combined with some work must at length fail and occasion sin" (Pirkai Avot). The end of such a person will be that he will rob his fellow man." (Mishnah Torah, Hilchot Talmud Torah. 3:10)

"Whoever does not teach his son a trade, it is as though he taught him to commit robbery." (Kiddushin 29a)

This is just a comment on the modern kollel movement where married men are lead not to go to college or to work, but to be largely dependent on their communities, families, and on their wives. Now, I'm not totally lambasting the kollel practice. I do think it is important to have a learned class of Jews who are deeply familiar with a good chunk of our cultural texts and the historical sources for Halacha. But at the same time such efforts should not be used as an excuse not to begin one's real life or to be wasted on fakers who don't really care to learn.

I think Jews of all stripes can appreciate that.


Anonymous said...

I have one word for you **AMEN**.
You are so right but unfortunately the KANOIM which control our GEDOLIM and ROSHEY YESHIVOS will not let this change.
The only person as of recent who did come out publicly is the BELZER REBBE from YERUSHALAYIM to say that people who are now in kollel and know very well themselves that they will not be taking up the status of a ROSH YESHIVA should immediately leave kolel and go work or get a proffession
I give him tons of credit for that courage.
But reb elyashiv doesnt seem to care much about the situation.
All he does is sign more letters for shnorers and ban books which he hasnt read

Anonymous said...

THis article was taken from yeshiva orthodoxy. Reason for posting it here is because he purposly erases the comments posted and now removed the ability to even post.

Anonymous said...

Saturday, December 10, 2005
Lakewood boys learn hachnosos orchim
The brilliant strategists in Lakewood Yeshiva have done it again.

They, perhaps inadvertanly, have figured out a way to end the 'shidduch crisis' and get the boys to marry younger.

The bochrim, who are old enough to drive, drink adult beverages, decide on a wife, etc., are loudly tumuling, claiming a brand new member has entered their dormitories: a dorm counselor.

They don't seem too happy about it.

They probably could use someone to, make sure they're all going to seder, eveythings in order; to talk to.

That involves a mashgiach.

Having someone at night walking the halls, poking his head around just might result in a number of unhappy boys looking more urgently for a permanent residence.

Orthoprax said...

Anon #1,

We shouldn't need any of the "gedolim" to realize that the kollel movement is wrong and untenable. But anyway, all they see is Jews learning Gemara and so conclude that it can only be a good thing. Hello? Big picture?

Anon #2,

Ok..but why would you post this stuff over here? It's not even relevant to the initial post.

Anonymous said...

No offense, Orthoprax, but you're one of the bigger idiots I've come across on blogs. I love how everyone quotes that Rambam to discredit the entire Kollel movement. I love how a 21 year old thinks he can declare the Kollel novement "wrong and untenable." Personally, I agree that the way things are now is flawed and the system needs correcting before it's too late. But don't you realize that the Rambam also says that anyone who dedicates his life to avodas Hashem also can be part of shevet Levi and Hashem will support him? I'll get back to you for the exact source in the Rambam, but when I do you can look it up. Yes, the system is flawed. But you clearly have no idea what you're talking about. You're falling into the same trap everyone who tries to shlug up Kollel does. Any two bit yeshiva bachur could answer up the Rambam you qouted.

Orthoprax said...


I don't give two shits about what you think.

"I love how a 21 year old thinks he can declare the Kollel novement "wrong and untenable." Personally, I agree that the way things are now is flawed and the system needs correcting before it's too late."

So you agree with me, but think that I have no right to hold the same view because of my age? Wow, you're a clever one.

"Any two bit yeshiva bachur could answer up the Rambam you qouted."

My view doesn't rise or fall based on the quote or its accuracy in how far it represents the Rambam's "true" views. But nevertheless, I am also convinced that although any "two-bit yeshiva bachur" could pull up some other quote to "deflect" this one, the Rambam would still not support the pseudo-scholarship that counts as actual learning which is practiced by a large number of those who waste their time (and their parent's money) sitting in kollel today.

No offense.

Anonymous said...

All right, I'm sorry for calling you an idiot. My bad. I was simply feeling a little hot blooded after reading your post. Yes, I largely agree in principle with you. I learned in a major yeshiva for a number of years before entering law school. The kollel system is out of control. Guys are looked down upon if they don't want to stay in learning, and their value in shidduchim goes down. Guys are pressured to look for money as the most important thing a girl may possess. A culture of dependence on others has developed. All of these things are negative. BUT....and this is my problem with your post: It is not all bad. There is a place for kollel, especially in a world without nearly the amount of Torah scholars there were in the past. There is a need to encourage Torah learning, the problem is where do you draw the line and say enough is enough? I don't really have a practical solution. But yeshivas need to emphasize that becoming a professional is a fine thing that shouln't be looked down upon. Supporting yourself and your family IS a Torah value. Going to college is nearly always a necessary step, and should not be discouraged. There is a saying that goes around the yeshiva world that says "work is a four letter word." This is a horrible viewpoint that unfortunatley reflects the way people really feel. But like I said, I raise issue with your broad condemnation. At 21 I'm sure you are mature and smart, but do you have broad enough shoulders to declare the kollel movement "wrong and untenable?" I eagerly await your reply, because I give two s---s about what you think.

Orthoprax said...


Fair enough, apology accepted.

"BUT....and this is my problem with your post: It is not all bad. There is a place for kollel..."

Did you read my post? I specifically said that "I'm not totally lambasting the kollel practice." My issue was specific, not one regarding the whole in totality.

"...but do you have broad enough shoulders to declare the kollel movement "wrong and untenable?""

I'm not blind. I can see all the same problems you do. With all the things you mentioned that means there is something wrong with the movement.

It is untenable in the sense that if you create a body of people who can't or refuse to support themselves and they further endorse and promote that same goal to their many children, as many kollel participants are prone to have, they will continue to bleed the original cash source dry. Maybe one kollel guy's parents can support him and his family, but can they also support the families of six grandchildren? It's an exponentially growing welfare situation that cannot last forever.

Anonymous said...

Kudos to you. I've had exactly the same thoughts. How can we make "the system" understand this?

Orthoprax said...


Oh, they'll never listen to a guy like me. They'll learn in the same way that all those people who buy into pyramid schemes learn. The system will crash. I give it twenty or thirty years, max.

Anonymous said...

You might be right. They'll probably have to learn the hard way.

gross said...

...twenty or thirty years max..." you're way too generous. The system will crack within a decade.

There is no way in hell that the Yeshiva system will truly encourage professional aspirations. If, in a hypothetical world, that happens, the numbers jumping at that opportunity will be devastating and suicidal to the corrupt system and the "business" of Torah. This is exactly what they're afraid of.

Anonymous said...

We live in a world bereft of morals and no moral compass. Leadership in the Jewish 'frum' world has taken a nose dive. There is an ability to reconsile the fundamental differences that exist as a result of this. Again, why is orthodox Jewry without leadership, because even the leadership is finally corrupt, beyond and of course above the law. Such a shame. The Torah is perfect, except for the so called leaders and roshei hayeshiva who deem it necessary to hide behind the cloak of religion. Do the crime, do the time. You are after all still Bosor Ve'dam, or maybe not. Rhetoric or Rhetorical, or a little of both...H-shem yerachaim alainu. How sad the state of affairs we are in, mem tet shaarai tumah, the next one is poof, we shall be vaporised into an eternaty of hell.

Anonymous said...

It behooves our roshai hayeshiva to learn from the famous tana in the gemora that cried out, fire, fire.Quite obviously there is no yiras H-shem on yiras ha-odom and bowing down to the almighty dollar. so my dear Roshei Hayeshiva, how do you want amcho to respect you when no self-respect is apparant in your behaviour. Blind unconditional respect was accorded you and the rabbinical world for so long.However, whereas, Yiddishkyte has grown so to your wealth, power of which yiddishkyte enjoys an outside coating if at all. Wake and smell the roses. If you daven on Rosh Hashono, mi yichye, or mi yomus!! Hashem decides , noy you, your obligation is still taryag mitvos from the womb to the tomb. It will only take one court case to blow your cover then tovu vavohu. Prevent and git rid of the kolko menace that he has become once and for all.