Volume 30 Number 53
                 Produced: Wed Dec 29  7:53:18 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Kollel (5)
         [Eliezer Shemtov, Rena Freedenberg, Michael and Abby Pitkowsky,
Yoel Finkelman, Chaim Mateh]
Kollels in America
         [Lee David Medinets]
Salary for Rabbanim
         [Uri Schild]


From: Eliezer Shemtov <shemtov@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Dec 1999 11:30:55 -0300
Subject: Kollel

Regarding Normy Gold's (Vol 30 No. 49) comments about Yeshivah Bochurim
and Kolel members learning with others:

It is interesting to note that when the Rambam lists the Mitzvos in his
introduction to Yad Hachazakah, he lists as Mitzvah No. 11: Lilmod Torah
Ulelamdo, to learn torah AND to teach it. The Rambam lists it as ONE
Mitzvah. It is apparently the very same Mitvah (or perhaps 2 halves of
the same Mitzva).

It is also interesting to note that in the Koseres (heading) to Hilchos
Talmud Torah, the Rambam lists 2 Mitzvos: 1) Lilmod Torah (to study
Torah); 2) Lechabed melamdeha veyodeha (To respect those that Teach it
and know it). It seems that one that does not TEACH, is not worthy of
respect.  Perhaps this is due to the second half of what the Rambam
says, 'Yodeha', namely if one does not teach the Torah then he does not
KNOW the Torah and what the Torah wants....

I would also like to point out that in the very first Halochoh of
Hilchos Talmud Torah the Rambam states: 'Women... are exempt from
learning Torah...  a woman is not obligated to teach her son Torah,
because whoever is obligated to learn Torah is obligated to teach.'

At first glance, the Rambam's wording is strange. Should he not have
said that whoever is exempt from learning Torah is exempt from teaching?
Why does the Rambam say that whoever is obligated to learn is obligated
to teach?

Perhaps the explanation is as follows:

The ultimate objective of learning Torah, is teaching Torah. If a woman
would be obligated to learn, by implication she would be obligated to
teach. Being that she has no obligation to teach (Kidushin 29b) she is
therefore exonerated from the obligation to learn.

In other words, one who has an obligation to learn Torah is as obligated
to teach it.

I think that there is another consideration: Lo saamod al dam
reiecho. You shall not stand idly by while the blood of your brother is
being spilled.  (Lev.19:16). How can such G-d fearing Kolel Avreichim
ignore the spiritual blood-spilling that is rampant outside of the
Yeshiva world?  Is the blood of a Avreich Kolel 'redder' than the blood
of a Tinok Shenishba (Psachim25b)?


From: Rena Freedenberg <free@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Dec 1999 19:19:39 +0200
Subject: Kollel

There have been several well-thought out answers to the original poster
on the subject of kollel. Unfortunately, they did not address his issue
at all, and just discussed their own ideas of whether or not there
should be kollelim.

First of all, kollelim must and should exist and everyone who wishes to
learn full time should be encouraged in this, as this should be the
preferred activity. However, this was NOT THE QUESTION! The question
was, what about those boys who DO NOT wish to learn full time, but
instead to go to college or to learn a trade.

It is a very definite problem that there are no other accepted avenues
open to a boy who wishes to support his wife and family. In Israel, the
problem is being addressed somewhat by various computer
programming/graphics/electronics/etc. training programs for
chareidim. Those who wish to learn a trade in this field are able to
learn with chareidim of their own gender. I believe that these type of
programs will only continue to grow, due to the fact that if almost
everyone is in kollel and has some 10 children, he can't support all of
them [or their spouses] in kollel plus buy the dirah, etc. This would
truly be depending on a miracle. The coming generation are going to have
many members who must work to show hishtadlut to merit Hashem supporting
their families.

Cultural norms are also changing somewhat in that I heard a very
well-known Anglo Rav saying in a Shabbos shiur to women that they should
not feel embarrassed [Imagine that!] if their husbands work, and that a
man can be a true Eved Hashem and realize that his parnassa really only
comes from Hashem on the merit of the two hours learning that he does
every evening, which is the true ikar of his day, and that the other 10
hours he spends in an office somewhere are just the outward show of
hishtadlut needed for him to receive his parnassa from Hashem.

Better the community provides other outlets than kollel for those who
wish to pursue them, and have nice frum men who are happily able to
financially support the kollel avreichim than destroyed youth who are
angry at frumkeit and going off of the derech over a way of life that is
not mandated d'oraitah.


From: Michael and Abby Pitkowsky <pitab@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Dec 1999 19:01:57
Subject: Kollel

Prof. Menachem Friedman of Bar-Ilan University (he also studied at
Yeshivat Hevron before going into the army) is probably the greatest
expert on ultra-orthodoxy and the kollel world.  In numerous articles
and books he has repeatedly claimed that the birth of the "every man
must learn in a kollel for as long as possible" is only from 40-50 years
ago.  If I recall correctly, he claims that, at least in the Land of
Israel, it was only the men from the Old Yishuv, the Yerushalmiyyim, who
tried to stay in kollel as long as possible.  In the Lithunian world
there was never an attempt to emulate that approach until the
1940's-50's.  Regarding the claim that it is only through the mass
induction of men into kollel that great scholars will be produced,
Prof. Friedman thinks that the exact opposite is true.  He feels that
the current "Hevrat Lomdim", Society of Learners, breeds mediocrity and
not excellence.

So why did the kollel world develop? (Some are my opinions) Probably a
combination of the feeling of being on the battlefront against
modernity, trying to control people as much as possible (although it
sounds harsh), and at least in Israel, avoidance of army service.  While
the desire to rebuild what was destroyed in the Holocaust may have
played a role, it wasn't the only one and today there are an infinite
more number of grown men studying full-time than there ever were at any
other time in Jewish history.

Michael Pitkowsky

From: Yoel Finkelman <finkel@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 1999 08:42:45 +0200
Subject: Re: Kollel

Dear Readers,

Meir Shinnar asked if there are other developed justifications for
universal kollel.  I believe that R. Aharon Kotler developed just such a
theory, scattered throughout the lectures which his students published
(Mishnat Rabbi Aharon, 3 vols - my references are to the page numbers of
the 1996 edition.).  Originally, all of the Jewish people were to study
Torah exclusively, supported by God directly in the desert.  After chet
ha'egel, only the tribe of Levi were commanded to do so.  Today, anybody
who wants to should learn full time.  (vol. 3, p. 31; 1:60-61, 1:189,
2:14, 2:22, 3:153-154).  And everybody should want to.  He criticizes
students who even think of leaving yeshiva (1:146-149, 1:197-198,
3:239).  He developes a radical theory of bitahon, in which pragmatic
attempts to acquire a living diminish a man's reward in the next world.
The more bitahon a person has, the more God will provide for him
(1:17-20, 23).  He is deeply critical of students who leave yeshiva.  He
insists that the only "heter" for working for a living - and it really
is a bedieved - is if you plan to support yeshiva students (3:22, and to
a lesser extent 3:185-198).  R. Aharon's thoery is, as far as I can
tell, more extreme in these issues than Nevardok, than R. Hayim
Volozhin, or the other Lithuanian Roshei Yeshiva.

It seems likely that the theory he developes in his public lectures is
more extreme than what he said to individual students.  Some students
have told me that he would encourage them to become teachers or communal
rabbis.  However, whatever the interplay between the theory and the
practice, R.  Aharon's theory of universal kollel is quite developed.  I
hope to address R. Aharon's ideology of kollel in a chapter of my
doctoral dissertation.

Yoel Finkelman

From: Chaim Mateh <chaimm@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 1999 10:59:07 +0200
Subject: Re: Kollel

In vol 30#49, Normy Gold <NaftaliG@...> wrote:

<< I recently had an enlightening conversation with a friend's daughter,
who was dating a seventh-year Yeshiva boy in Yerushalayim. ... But what
else is he doing for Klal Yisrael...>>

I presume you mean Yeshiva Gedola.  Typically, boys enter Yeshiva Gedola
at 16-17.  A "seventh-year" Yeshiva boy would therefore be about 23-24.
Most if not all Yeshiva boys don't yet "go out into the world to do for
Klal Yisroel".  They usually start after marriage, at the earliest.
They indeed give shiurim, help weaker bochurim, learn with Baalei
Tshuva, etc.  Some continue to become Rabbonim, Mashgichim, Sofrim, or
some other Torah profession.  Becoming a serious Talmid Chochem is not
as easy as becoming a doctor.  And now that I think about it, at what
age does a medical student "go out into the world to do for the
community"?  Before age 23-24?  Not that this would change anything, but
I was just curious.

Kol Tuv,


From: Lee David Medinets <LDMLaw@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Dec 1999 03:00:40 -0500
Subject: Kollels in America

I once heard Rabbi Yakov Weinberg speaking in Passaic, New Jersey, on
the subject of Parashas Vayetzei.  He started by asking the famous
question on the first words of the parasha: Why does it mention that
Yakov left Be'er Sheva?  We know he left Be'er Sheva, because the last
parasha told us he went to Paden Aram.  But the possuk comes to teach us
that Yakov was the life and the glory and the shine of Be'er Sheva.  At
this point, he was a young man, "dwelling in tents", spending all his
energy studying Torah, and yet, Be'er Sheva was an immeasurably poorer
place when Yakov left it.
 Rabbi Weinberg went on to point out that this should not come to us as
a surprise.  Many people in the room where he was speaking could
remember Newark and the thriving Jewish community that was once there
with dozens of shuls, large and small, and schools and stores and
mikvahs, but no yeshiva.  So when the winds of social change hit Newark
in the 1950's and early 60's, the entire community abandoned the city.
This does not happen in communities that have a yeshiva (and better yet,
a kollel).  Those communities live and thrive as long as the root of the
community, the yeshiva, lives and thrives.  Passaic, as a community,
suffered much of what Newark did.  But Passaic has a yeshiva, and
therefore it also continues to host several synagogues and whole
Orthodox communities that are not directly connected to the yeshiva, but
which benefit from the existence of the yeshiva none the less.

There is no doubt that there are some men in kollel who are not
accomplishing what they ought to, but that is not to be wondered at.
Torah is called a "saam", an elixir.  If a person is worthy, Torah is an
elixir of life.  If the person is unworthy, then Torah is an elixir of
death.  It is therefore up to the person to make himself worthy and to
take advantage of his best opportunity to learn.  That opportunity is
literally of vital importance both to him and to the community where he
learns, whether he becomes a rabbi or not.  Therefore, let us honor both
those who learn and those who work, particularly if they learn and work
faithfully and leShaim Shemayim (for the sake of Heaven).

Dovid Medinets


From: Uri Schild <uri@...>
Date: Sat, 25 Dec 1999 21:01:05 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Salary for Rabbanim

[I think this here is a turn somewhat from the question/discussion of
public financial support for Kollel, to community support for
Rabbi's. We did discuss this somewhat about a year ago, in fact here is
a quick snippet from V28N34:

Joel Rich wrote:
<<Does anyone know of any compilation of sources on this [Receiving
compensation for learning/teaching tora] topic? >>

For starters:
See the Remo on Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah, 246:21.
See the Shach on the above Remo.  
Also, Kesef Mishne on the Rambam Hilchoss Talmud Torah 3:10. 
And lastly, see Igross Moshe, Yoreh Deah chelek 2, Siman 116.

Chaim Mateh


From: Chaim Mateh <chaimm@...>
> Don't praciting Rabbanim receive a salary from their Shul/community?
> ....They may not get the top salary, but it is a salary.

Yes they do (to the best of my knowledge).

> Is this not "making their own living"? 

No, not really - they receive money from the *community* for performing
their Rabbinic functions.

The two possibilities are:

1. A Rav earns his living somewhere [else] AND performs his Rabbinical
   duties for the community.

2. A Rav spends his full time on Rabbinical business and the community
   supports him financially.

[plus, a possible mix of these two - a job that doesn't pay too much but
leaves plenty of free time, and community providing some money to make
the total amount "livable" upon.]

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

Well, all of the Gemarah Sages were "part-time" Rabbanim (except for
RASHBI :-).   Did they feel that they give enough of their time to 
Torah advancement?

These questions (time for Torah vs. time for "secular" activities) aren't
new. So what is different now [in the way we answer 'em]?

Is any of the following implied:

a) Rabbanim of old had to deal with smaller amount of knowledge?
b) "physical" life in earlier days was easier (and/or less
   time-consuming) than now?

In other words, our ancestors have been through the same door too,
and yet they ruled against "making Torah a spade to dig with"...
Why?  And why are we ruling differently now? What has changed?

No "dig" here - I really want to understand.

> Compare 
>  (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.

In these days when halachic questions are likely to involve things
impossible to undertand without sufficient knowledge in modern
technologies and often science) - a healthy amount of "memory banks"
will HAVE to be filled with "secular" knowledge.  So from that point of
view, the difference is not that great.

[Unless one obtains such knowledge from Kabbalah - and last I checked
there weren't great many Mekubbalim around. (:-(]

And is there any truly "secular" knowledge? Isn't it our attitude that
makes it either "holy" or "secular"?

Uri		<uri@...>


End of Volume 30 Issue 53