Volume 23 Number 17
                       Produced: Wed Feb 14  5:36:15 1996

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Kollel (4)
         [Carl & Adina Sherer, Zvi Weiss  , David Riceman, Arnold
Kollel and Publishing
         [Ezra L Tepper]
Kollel Life - On the Lighter Side
         [Yehudah Prero]
Kollelim: a short lived phenomenon
         [Micha Berger]


From: Carl & Adina Sherer <sherer@...>
Date: Mon, 05 Feb 1996 22:46:58 +0200
Subject: Kollel

Several posters have written regarding Kollels, how much support we
should or should not be giving to those who study in them and under what
conditions that support should be given.  I wish to respond to some of
the points that were made.

I must reluctantly agree with Adam Schwartz (Vol. 22, #95) that the
discussion must be divided between Kollels in chutz la'aretz and Kollels
in Eretz Yisrael.  I say "reluctantly" because although I believe that
the halachic issues are the same to a very great extent, I think that
the surrounding circumstances are different.  I begin with chutz
la'aretz because it is the easier of the two questions.

In Vol. 23 #01 Zale Newman suggests that "Perhaps we can solve the
situation by having the kollel student agree to spend one year in
service to the Jewish community (chinuch, kashrus, etc.) for every year
that they get paid to sit and learn."  My understanding is that this is
almost precisely the intent of the various Lakewood and Chofetz Chaim
Kollels that have been started outside the New York area - i.e. that the
yungermen ("young men") will spend time while they are in the Kollel
giving shiurim in the community, that they will learn there for a number
of years, that they will be compensated at a liveable salary while they
are in Kollel, and that they will then stay on in the community after
their Kollel days are done in some sort of community service capacity
(without any specification being given in advance regarding salary).  In
the two communities with which I am most familiar that are both outside
the New York area and have Lakewood Kollels (Boston and Chicago), this
approach has been highly successful.  Obviously, however, this approach
works largely for the elite, and may not be successful for those who
either do not have the personality to do community work or who aren't as
skilled in learning.

Steve White in Vol. 22 #91 suggests that one of the problems may be that
there are "too many" people trying to learn in Kollel today, and that
therefore there may be insufficient funds to support all of them.
However, as Zvi Weiss points out in Vol. 23 #10 "The Talmud emphasizes
both the need to start intensive learning early if we are to have
Leaders ("if there are no goats, there will be no rams [later on]") as
well as the relative UNLIKELIHOOD that a given person will be the next
"Great Leader" (one out of a thousand according to the Talmud's
calculation).  This leads to a couple of almost contradictory matters:
-- on the one hand, it appears that there IS a need to encourage
learning if we are to have future leaders.  On the other hand, who wants
to be supporting the 999 who will 'wash out'?"

Zvi goes on to suggest in the same post that "In point of that, I would
suggest that we may want to rethink 'Kollel' both in terms of those who
intend to 'devote their lives to learning' and for those who intend to
learn before 'going out into the world'.  Also, I woul suggest that we
consider whether a Rosh Kollel should tell a *diligent* student that
that student will serve Klal Yisrael better by *leaving* the Kollel..."

I agree with Zvi, but I think that in chutz laaretz today this is in
fact what is happening.  From my own conversations with people in Kollel
(or former Kollel men) in America, what I have found is that many Roshei
Yeshiva (if not most) will actually take the Kollel men aside after they
have been in the Kollel for some period of time (possibly five years in
keeping with the chinuch of the Leviim - see the beginning of Parshas
Naso, possibly after two or three children) and suggest to those who
have no realistic chance of being one of the Gdolei HaDor that they
might be better served by spending morning and/or afternoon seder in
pursuit of making a living.  This approach has several advantages - it
frees up funding for those who do have the potential to become Gdolim,
it gives the Yeshiva working alumni who are a source for financial
support, it gives the community charedi baale batim (who may be
businessmen, doctors, lawyers, accountants, computer professionals
etc.).  Most importantly, I think it gives the community the example of
the baal bayis who has a regular seder - the idea of Torah im derech
eretz which I think is sorely lacking in many communities today.  But
more on that when I make my comments on the situation in Eretz Yisrael -
which will have to wait for another post if I am to convince Avi to
publish this:-)

-- Carl Sherer
Carl and Adina Sherer

From: Zvi Weiss		 <weissz@...>
Date: Sun, 11 Feb 1996 19:17:53 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Kollel

In regard to Uri Benjamin's excellent observations re Kollel:

1. It may be that one can fulfilll his obligation to "make up what he
owes" in Torah Learning by contibuting to FEWER Kollel students if the
std of living is raised significantly for those being supported such
that they can TRULY concentrate upon learning.

2. In Basic research, is there not a standard by which researchers must
be "productive" and one cannot simply "stay in" just because one likes
the dsicipline.  Should a similar rule be applied to Kollelim to ensure
that only the "cream of the crop" is in Kollel?

3. Elef LaMateh implies that BOTH sides were of EQUAL importance.  This
relates to the issue of "looking down" at the "modern Orthodox" by the
Kollel crowd.  If we are ALL important, then we ALL deserve MUTUAL


From: <dr@...> (David Riceman)
Date: Mon, 12 Feb 1996 11:00:14 EST
Subject: Kollel

  One of the reasons kollelim exist is because our economy is structured
around the 40 hour work week.  It is hard to find good jobs with short
hours.  R. Chaim Volozhin suggested to his students that they work two
hours a day (that's twelve a week) and learn the rest of the time.  I
would be thrilled to work twenty hours at half my gross pay.  In fact, I
imagine that a twenty hour job would pay me half my current hourly wage,
which would leave me financially strapped.
  If you could get the people who now support kollels to (1) hire
professionals at professional (hourly) salaries but short weeks, and (2)
support batei midrashot that would go a long way towards solving the
kollel problem.

David Riceman

From: <alustig@...> (Arnold Lustiger)
Date: Mon, 12 Feb 1996 12:27:34 -0500
Subject: Kollel

Ira Benjamin makes a number of compelling points in defense of the 
proliferation of Kollels. There is one point, however, I would like to take 
issue with:

>In our secular world we have trouble grasping the PHYSICAL effects that
>Torah learning has upon our lives.  Let's not diminish it.  Torah
>learning helps keeps us PHYSICALLY healthy.  Torah learning helps keep
>us PHYSICALLY safe.  And by supporting Kollelim we can be selfish and
>say, "I'm not doing it for them, I'm supporting them to help myself."

This argument comes up quite often in defense of those learning in
Kollel in Israel, as opposed to, for example, those who go to the
army. The learning of those in Kollel provides the merit through which
Israel can win in battle.

Unfortunately, empirically the facts do not bear this out.  Why did the
zechus (merit) of those learning in Kollel 29 years ago provide Israel
it's greatest victory, while the zechus of those learning prior to WW2
results in a Holocaust? Was their zechus less?  The number of people
learning in Kollel today is at least an order of magnitude higher than
it was in 1967. Yet today we find a situation, where according to
R. Elya Svei Shlit'a, the land might be vomiting us out, in accord with
the dire predictions in Acharei Mos and Kedoshim.

It is arrogant to attempt to discern how our learning, or lack thereof,
affects world events, or protects us as individuals. In this sense the
loss of the Kohen Gadol and the Urim Vetumim is, in a very real sense, a
contemporary tragedy.

I have to say, at the same time, that Ira's and Esther Posen's argument
regarding the primacy of Torah within the world view of Kollel members
and Kollel alumni is unquestionably true, and this is perhaps the most
compelling argument in favor of the institution. Empirically, the facts
do indeed bear out their argument.

Arnie Lustiger


From: Ezra L Tepper <RRTEPPER@...>
Date: Tue, 13 Feb 96 15:58:14 +0200
Subject: Kollel and Publishing

Ira Benjamin <benjira@...> (V23#14) writes

>I have never seen or heard a discussion or argument as to the merits of
>supporting a cancer research facility or a heart disease research
>facility.  . . .                                     Those researchers
>are not leeches or parasites even though they are living off the grants
>of governments and donations of communities.  But why aren't they?
>Well, because they are contributing to society, to the advancement of
>medicine, they are helping us all by trying to cure deadly diseases.
>Try and understand that the Jew is Torah and the Torah is the heart of
>the Jewish nation.  Those who spend their days researching it are our
>greatest asset.  They are keeping all our hearts healthy and free of
>Spiritual disease.

Uri's parallelism here is not entirely correct. Cancer researchers (or
their bosses) publish. Unfortunately, only a small fraction of
Kollel-leit devote any of their time to publishing and allowing the
community at large to gain from their advances in Torah knowledge --
their _chidushim_ (trans: nouvellae sp?). By their lack of publishing,
they do not make much of a contribution to the community's keeping
"their hearts healthy and free of Spiritual disease."

There is a single -- to my knowledge -- kollel in Yerushalayim,
operating out of the Young Israel of the Old City (Beit Knesset Chazon
Yechezkel), that requires all of its students to publish the results of
their Torah investigations. Without a commitment to publish there is no
acceptance. And if accepted the rule is: Publish or Perish.

Such a kollel could well parallel the idea of getting paid for
contributing to the advance of a scientific field. However, someone
learning for his own benefit on the community dole without becoming a
Rabbi or Teacher or Posek or publishing, so that the community at large
can benefit from his learning is perhaps not the highest ideal. Pirkei
Ovos seems to say this as well.

He is doing a mitzvah, of course. But is it the responsibility of the
community to purchase tallis, tefilin, mezuzas, esrogim, sukkas for
whole segments of the community merely because they want to perform a

Ezra L. Tepper (<rrtepper@...>


From: <DaPr@...> (Yehudah Prero)
Date: Sun, 11 Feb 1996 18:51:27 -0500
Subject: Kollel Life - On the Lighter Side 

Once we're on the topic of Kollel , and as Purim is coming up, I thought
I would share a little something I heard recently with my fellow MJ'ers:

A young women was about to become engaged to the Yeshiva "bachur" she had
been dating. Before the engagement could be finalized, however, the women's
parents insisted on speaking to the young man about his life plans.
The father asked the man "What do you plan on doing once your married?"
He responded "I plan on staying in Kollel for a number of years."
The father them asked "Who will support you during these years?"
He responded "The Aibishter - G-d will help."
The father asked " How will you afford rent, insurance, and other expenses?"
He responded "G-d will help."
The father continued this line of questioning and the response of the young
man was the same - G-d will help.

All the while, the young women was eavesdropping on the conversation.
Finally, her parents left the room. The daughter asked her parents "What do
you think of him?"
They responded "He is perfect. We could not ask for a better son-in-law." The
daugher asked "Why do you say that?" The parents responded "What could be
better than a son-in-law who thinks we are G-d!"

A Chag Purim Sameyach to all!
Yehudah Prero


From: Micha Berger <aishdas@...>
Date: Mon, 12 Feb 1996 07:36:45 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Kollelim: a short lived phenomenon

While we discuss the pros and cons of kollelim, I thought I'd bring up a
pragmatic issue.

Who is going to be the next generation's father-in-laws?

My generation was raised during the baby boom. Our parents could afford
us the luxury of helping out with the first house, or with
tuition. However, few of us are going to have that kind of money next
time around. I presume we'll go back to the model of being established
economically before marriage.

This is doubly true for the Yeshiva community. The one who went into
chinuch (Jewish education), or has a trade-school job and his wife is a
9-month seminary graduate, is going to hit harder financial times the
the rest of us.

As far as I can see, the current upsurgance of kollel life can only be
short lived, because it takes money out of the community's ability to do
it next time around.

This is a traditional population equation (ie x[t] =
r*x[t-1]*(b-x[t-1]).  When a small lake has a boom in fish population,
the amount of food available goes down, forcing the population back
down. This equation, though, is one of the text-book problems in chaos
theory, so I won't try to predict what the equilibrium population of
kollelnikim is, or even if it will ever go to equilibrium.

Micha Berger 201 916-0287        Help free Ron Arad, held by Syria 3255 days!
<AishDas@...>                     (16-Oct-86 -  5-Oct-95)
<a href=news:alt.religion.aishdas>Orthodox Judaism: Torah, Avodah, Chessed</a>
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End of Volume 23 Issue 17