Volume 30 Number 45
                 Produced: Fri Dec 24 10:04:18 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Full-/part- time Rav
         [Chaim Mateh]
Kollel (6)
         [Danny Schoemann, Chaim Mateh, Joseph Geretz, Russell Hendel,
Moti Silberstein, Avi Feldblum]
Kollel and community
         [Carl Singer]


From: Chaim Mateh <chaimm@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Dec 1999 23:29:04 +0200
Subject: Re: Full-/part- time Rav

In Vol 30#40, <Uri <uri@...> wrote:

<<I think the question that should be asked is not "Why do we need the
rabanan?" but "Why shouldn't 'modern' rabanan make their own living, that
the Sages of old did?">>

Don't praciting Rabbanim receive a salary from their Shul/community?  Is
this not "making their own living"?  They may not get the top salary,
but it is a salary.

Another point to ponder is the "quality" of a full-time Rav versus a
part-time Rav.

 (1) full-time Rav who puts in a good few hours (or most of) a day
learning and/or dealing with Hallachic issues as his work (such as a Rav
in the Kashrus industry), whose memory banks are filled mostly with
Torah things,
 (2) part-time Rav, who may be a computer person or biology/law
professor from 8-5 (and more), and gives shiruim/lectures during the
weekday evenings and Shabbos. His memory banks are filled with lots of
biology, law, computers, business, etc, and also Torah.

Not to confuse the above with the benifits or nonbenifits of a secular
education.  I'm talking about after that stage.  I think Rav S.R.Hirsch
was a full-time Rav even though he had an advanced secular degree.

Does the part-time Rav really feel that he gives enough of his time to
Torah advancement (that would be definition improve the quality of his
Rabbinics), and that the time that he gives to secular pursuits doesn't
decrease the quality of his Rabbinics?

Kol Tuv,


From: Danny Schoemann <dannys@...>
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999 19:16:38 +0200
Subject: Re: Kollel

While my exact opinion on "all and sundry" learning in Kollel is not yet
fully formulated, I do have this to add to the discussion:

Assuming you agree with the concept of potential "gedolim" learning
"forever" in Kollel - you have to take into account that for the Gadol
to really grow he would need an "atmosphere" - as we were taught (I
forget where): 1,000 go in and 1 comes out.

So you really do need a certain amount of people who won't make it, so
that the special people can learn properly.

Another issue to take into account: Some people take a while to "mature"
- they would fail a Kollel entrance exam, but after many years of study
do become famous people.

Lastly: I respect people who give up a comfortable life style and live
on a kollel stipend - it can't be fun to live on the bread line. After
10 months in Kollel I agreed to do some teaching - and from there the
road to becoming a "working man" was short and well paid.

Danny Schoemann

From: Chaim Mateh <chaimm@...>
Date: Fri, 24 Dec 1999 00:04:54 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Re: Kollel

In Vol 30#40, Joseph Geretz <jgeretz@...> wrote:
<< but I've heard from a person I trust that the RaMBaM's regimen for a
working person comes out to something like 8 hours of Torah learning per
day. Now we need to be even handed here. Perhaps if the masses of us not in
Kollel would be living up to our obligations according to the RaMBaM, then
we could apply the RaMBaM's guidlines for Kollel as well.>>

How about if we even be maikil (lenient) like the Chofetz Chaim who
writes in his Mishneh Brura (155:1:3), "a person is required to learn
every day Written Torah which is Tanach, and Mishneh, and Gemoro, and
Poskim.  And Baalei Batim (working people) who LEARN ONLY THREE OR FOUR
HOURS A DAY, ....."

How many working people indeed learn 3-4 hours a day.  And the Chofetz
Chaim wrote these words not 900 years ago (Rambam), but a mere 110 years

Kol Tuv,

From: Joseph Geretz <jgeretz@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Dec 1999 22:56:41 -0500
Subject: Kollel

Avi Feldblum wrote:
> I think if we, the general observant Jewish public, especially the
> professional Jewish public, were to see that there indeed was a
> qualification process so that after some small number of years a
> member of the kollel only continued there if he was truly a
> potential gadol beyisrael (a potential "big leaguer"), it would be a
> major step to stimulate broader support of the institution.

I'm have reservations about this line of reasoning. I feel that any
attempt to measure the worth of an individual's Torah learning by what
we perceive as obvious benefits (e.g. becoming a Rebbi, Rabbi, Community
Leader, Talmid Chacham, etc.) might very well be missing a very
important point.

Torah learning is what sustains the world. Who is to say, that the
learning of a really gifted individual who goes on to become a big
Talmid Chacham, is more important than the best efforts of a below
average fellow who is striving really hard, and doing his best, but will
never really achieve any place of obvious prominence? On the contrary,
the extra effort put in by the latter might be more precious and
ultimately worth more than whatever obvious contributions are being made
by the former.

Who was it who termed this world an Olam Hafuch (upside-down world)?
What is obvious and revealed to us does not always correspond to the
hidden reality.

For those who would wish to strengthen the quality of Kollel, I would be
more comfortable with a process which redirected those who were
manifestly unsuitable for Kollel toward other more suitable pursuits,
rather than a process which would include only those who are obviously
suitable. It's a subtle, but important distinction, I feel.

(And when I say more suitable pursuits, I'm referring to more suitable
for that particular individual. It is obvious to me that Torah learning
is the most suitable pursuit. Not everyone can do it full time though.
Harbe Asah [...] K'Rabi Shimon Bar Yochai, V'lo Alsa B'Yadam - Many
tried to do like Rabi Shimon Bar Yochai (i.e. learn full time) but were
not successful)

Kol Tuv,

Yossi Geretz
Focal Point Solutions, Inc.

From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999 08:43:26 -0500 (EST)
Subject: RE: Kollel

Some historical information might supplement the thread on Kollenicks

I have heard that the early Chasiddishe Rebbeim when they came to
America had as one of their priorities finding descent jobs for their
followers where 'decent' means avoiding chillul shabbos, relatively
tzniuthdik, a good living etc.

There are still such searches today--for example computer programmers
make a good salary and can eg work from home via telnet. Another example
might be the newspaper article I saw on Lakewood a decade or so ago that
the Rashay Yeshiva there were looking into real estate jobs for their
students (in passing I don't know whatever happened to that approach).

My point is that it is not for us to judge the past. Even if kollelism 
was a reasonable way of life in certain european societies (where Jews
were prohibited from jobs) still, today, in America, with its wealth of
jobs, I would think that it is possible for a person to
---make a good living
---avoid chillul shabbos
---keep standards of tzniuth
---have adequate time for many hours of learning a day.

In light of the above I would suggest switching the topic to "SHOULD

Russell Hendel; Ph.d, ASA; Towson Univ; http://www.shamash.org/rashi/

From: Moti Silberstein <moti2@...>
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999 19:29:34 -0500
Subject: Re: Kollel

> It's the PERCEPTION that Sages "learning for themselves" that's
> condemned.  And today we probably have both [i.e. for the Torah and for
> themselves]... 
 what do you mean for them themselves when a person is in kollel they
try to be rabbinate but first you learn for yourself or else how can you
learn for the congregation. But those who learn for themselvs anyway as
the sages say to us when you start off shehlo leshma it turns into

>I think the question that should be asked is not "Why do we need the
>rabanan?" but "Why shouldn't 'modern' rabanan make their own living,
>that the Sages of old did?"

Simple, those generation rabanan had paskened it is asur to derive
benefit from torah (ex rabbi yehoshua-blacksmith) but Reb Moshe
Feinstein said you may so it would be bitul torah to work if get hanah


From: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
Date: Fri, 24 Dec 1999 10:00:33 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Kollel

On Thu, 23 Dec 1999, Joseph Geretz wrote:
> I'm have reservations about this line of reasoning. I  feel that any
> attempt to measure the worth of an individual's Torah learning by what
> we perceive as obvious benefits (e.g. becoming a Rebbi, Rabbi, Community
> Leader, Talmid Chacham, etc.) might very well be missing a very
> important point.
[see rest of posting above (one of the advantages of being moderator, I
know what is in the issue :-)]

I don't think I disagree with Yosef whether we should or can "measure the
worth of an individual's Torah learning". My basic question is: to what
extent do I have a financial obligation to support an individual's Torah
learning where where there are no obvious community benefits (e.g.
becoming a Rebbi, Rabbi, Community Leader, Talmid Chacham, etc.)

I think the gemarah that you mention : 

Harbe Asah [...] K'Rabi Shimon Bar Yochai, V'lo Alsa B'Yadam - Many
tried to do like Rabi Shimon Bar Yochai (i.e. learn full time) but were
not successful)

is actually quite informative. At least as I read that gemarah, and I
would be interested in your or other understandings, the point there was
that Rabi Shimon Bar Yochai was at a sufficient level (what ever that
level is refering to defined as) that Hashem arranged that his physical
needs would be taken care of so that he can learn full time. I do not see
there that the gemarah indicates that it is the obligation of the
community to support the others that tried like Rabi Shimon Bar Yochai and
"lo Alsa B'Yadam" - they were not successful. 

What to me has raised this to a level worth spending our time discussing,
is that the perception in some portions of the orthodox Jewish community
appears to be that Kollel is the ONLY accepted derech (path) for a young
man in the community, and that his choice to do so will be financially
supported by others. In many cases, the "others" are either his or his
wifes parents. That works OK for one generation, but we are already at the
point where some of these "youngerleit" (young men) are no longer so young
and we are looking at the next generation. I am currently reading an
interesting paper that was referenced in a similar discussion on another
list (avodah) called "Sect, Subsidy and Sacrifice: An Economist's View of
Ultra Orthodox Jews" by Eli Berman of Boston University which discusses
this topic.

Avi Feldblum


From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999 11:13:14 EST
Subject: Re: Kollel and community

Having seemingly touched off some controversy, the genesis of my concern
was the importance of (impact of) having a kollel in the community (in
the small -- i.e, where I live) as a selection process for where to live
and, obviously, the impact of that presence on the community.  (In the
big -- does Klal Yisroel need Rabbanim, and scholars, etc., is, I
believe, a resounding yes; but I thought that's self evident.)

A number of communities that are "out of town" -- do I need to define
that?  -- have benefited from various summer programs that see a small
group of enthusiastic kollel families (not just bocherim) establish a
presence for a couple of months.  Other communities benefit year round
from the presence or proximity of a kollel.  For example, kollel wives
from Lakewood are the Morahs all up and down New Jersey -- the only
downside is that B"H, they frequently go on maturnity leave (Kayn Yerbu)

 From a practical matter the impact of a Kollel / Yeshiva Gedolah in
town varies:

Growing up in Cleveland I, quite frankly, felt mostly an emotional tug
towards Telshe (the Rosh Yeshiva being a lantsman) more than feeling the
presence -- Telshe is in a distant suburb far from the Jewish

Living in Philadelphia, I felt only hakaras hatov to the Yeshiva Gedolah
-- it set the positive tone for the entire community.  And from a
practical matter, I could go there at 10PM for a Daf Yomi and also
attend other shuirim.  From a social matter, I and other balabatim were
always greeted warmly, etc., and felt welcome -- I cannot stress enough
the importance of this.  You can tell a "Philly boy" -- by not only his
learning, but also by his midos tovos.

Living in Edison, again, RJJ was a most positive presence, the Rosh
Yeshiva, himself, gave a shiur for balabatim.  And, again, I felt

As a result some of the positive things a kollel can do for a community are:
    Provide Shiurim for balabatim
    Provide Teachers
    Set a positive example of welcome and warmth.

Some of the neutral things a kollel can do to or for a community are:
    Ignore the town except when you want money.
    Be completely insular.

Some of the negative things a kollel can do to a community are:
    Be "political", divide the community by busting up the established va'ad
    haKashruth because some of the wrong Rabbis are nominally on the 
    Set yourself aloof and show this midah in everything you do.  Make sure 
    that for example, you never acknowledge a Shalom Aleichem or a Gut 

So it's back to square one -- how does one choose where to live.

Carl Singer


End of Volume 30 Issue 45