Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Invention of a Gemara

Recently, a chassidishe tzedakah-collector came to my door, collecting for a young man getting married. I asked him what the young man does, and the meshulach looked a little surprised at my question; the young man is in yeshivah, of course, a fine ben Torah. So I asked how he can possibly spend all his time in yeshivah, when he cannot afford to get married and has to send people to collect money for him? Does it not say in the kesubah that the husband has an obligation to support his wife? Is it not his duty to at least attempt to earn some money himself?

The collector was taken aback at my audacity, or at my novel suggestion, I'm not sure which. But he sagely told me that the Gemara says that if a person devotes himself to learning Torah, it is the obligation of the community to support him.

"Really?" I said. "I have a Shas right here. Can you show me where the Gemara says that?"

He started to splutter that he didn't remember exactly which Daf it was on.

"There's no such Gemara!" I said. I really don't know if he was aware that he was entirely fabricating a Gemara or not. But I find it amazing that people are so entirely out of touch with what Chazal really said about this sort of thing, and with what Jews traditionally did, until just a few decades ago.

155 comments:

  1. How much money did you give him?

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  2. While I completely agree with your assessment, and the Rambam has some very unkind words for those who rely on the tzibbur to support themselves, there is some basis for "learning all day" in chazal, although hotly contested there. At least two places I can think of, where its implied that when possible, its a good thing:

    1) Kiddushin 82b: "Tanya: Rabbi Nehorai says: I would (if I could) put aside all the skills in the world and teach my son only Torah, because all the skills in the world only stand for a person in his youth (this world?), but in his old age (the next world?), he is stretched out and starves. But Torah stands for a man in his youth and in his old age..."

    2)Berachot 35b: "Tana Rabanan: The Torah says, "You will gather in your wheat ..." (Devarim 11:14), but elsewhere it says, "This Sefer Torah shall never leave your mouth ..." (Yehoshua 1:8). You might think that the latter verse is literal, yet the former verse says, "You will gather in your wheat ..." According to Rebbi Yishmael, this means one should accustom his Torah along with his work. Rebbi Shimon bar Yochai says: Can a man plow, sow, reap, etc. during their times, and Torah will still be upon him? Rather, when B'nei Yisroel do the will of G-d, their work is done for them by others; when they don't, then they have to do their own work."

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  3. "what Chazal really said about this sort of thing, and with what Jews traditionally did, until just a few decades ago."

    I think you're implying that kollel didn't exist until a few decades ago. I'm also guessing that when you say chazal you are referring to the rambam and the sources he brings. I think the kesef mishna interprets the rambam's shitoh in a way where it does not conflict with the kollel system, and I think he's more than a few decades old.

    One thing I do agree with you on: there is no such gemara.

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  4. But can it be that a Jew comes to your door to collect for tzedaka, and you don't give him something?

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  5. If I recall correctly we are also told that a man who does not teach his son a trade teaches him to steal. Begging is not a trade.

    We are also told that a man should learn a trade, plant a vine, build a house and only then find a wife.

    There were always places where a select few Jews studied Torah full-time. Even a cursory examination of history shows this was by far the exception rather than the rule. It was only for the wealthy and exceptionally promising young men. At no time was there even a substantial minority of Jewish men who abandoned productive work entirely for such a large portion of their lives.

    The establishment of yeshiva and kollel as the norm is a very recent invention. It only worked because of massive indirect subsidies from Gentiles - foreign aid in Israel, social welfare programs in other Western countries.

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  6. I struggle with the question of whether it is at all a chessed to even give a small donation. It's not just that he has no right to ask others to help him when he is making no effort to help himself. It's not even that he is going against Chazal, who say that it is better to take on degrading work than to cast oneself upon others, and that a father is obligated to teach his son a trade. It's that, sooner or later, he is going to have to wake up to the cold, harsh reality that he is going to have to try to find work and earn money. He'll be much better off if he comes to that realization sooner rather than later, when he has ten kids to marry off who are equally incapable of finding work and unwilling to do so, and the strain gives him a heart attack. Stories like that are tragically commonplace in Israel. So how is it a chessed to delay that shock and make it all the harder when it eventually arrives? It's like helping your kid to cheat on exams.

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  7. there is some basis for "learning all day" in chazal, although hotly contested there.

    There is no basis whatsoever in Chazal for the modern kollel system, where people do not even attempt to teach their children a trade and in fact teach them that is wrong to work.

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  8. I think you're implying that kollel didn't exist until a few decades ago.

    Correct. There were a small number of people who were supported in order for them to be trained as rabbinic teachers and leaders. But there was no mass kollel of people learning without direction.

    I'm also guessing that when you say chazal you are referring to the rambam and the sources he brings.

    No, when I say Chazal, I mean Chazal.

    I think the kesef mishna interprets the rambam's shitoh in a way where it does not conflict with the kollel system, and I think he's more than a few decades old.

    No, he doesn't. He writes that if a Torah scholar is able to financially support himself, he should do so, but otherwise, it is permissible to receive communal funds. However, he specifies that this is only in a case where he is teaching students, acting as a rabbinic judge, or studying in order to take on a teaching/ judging role. Studying alone, without it resulting in a role as a teacher or halachic decisor, does not justify receiving financial support.

    It's true that in his responsa written thirty years later, he does endorse the sponsorship of Torah scholars for study alone. But he was not dealing with the modern kollel system, in which an entire society has the idea that it is a gross bedieved to support oneself and that one does not teach their child how to do so or that it is good to do so.

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  9. The Chassidic community is not fully a part of the Chareidi community if it means embracing the Kollel system for themselves. They only have it for the select few.

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  10. I'm told that it's that way in America, but I don't think it's that way in Israel.

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  11. Yes it is that way. Perhaps they learn more for army deferment but they get jobs sometime. My Chassidic relatives in Israel have jobs. Perhaps I have NonChassidic relatives in the Kollel system. I do not know. It is a Chassidic difference. It is a philosophical difference, not a geographical one.

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  12. The only heter to give tzedakka to a person that collects so that he or another can sit learning is that they are at best brain washed and misled or at worse mentally ill. That places them amongst Aniyyim and Cholim who deserve our support.

    The problem that I have in America is that they receive government support which takes them out of the pauper category. I believe I srael too has a safety net.

    I prefer to give tzedakka to organiztions such as tomchei shabbat et al...

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  13. Even in Israel chassidim usually try to make a living though mostly they start work unofficially so as to avoid taxes. eventually though they enter the work force and become contributing citizens unlike the Yeshivah parasites.

    I believe Professor Leibovitz was correct in saying that Bnei Brak has developed a new religion that worships Torah instead of God.

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  14. I prefer to give tzedakka to organiztions such as tomchei shabbat et al...

    Who, pray tell, does that money go to?

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  15. My favorite tzedakah is LeMaan Achai - which engages in a range of strategies in order to help families become financially independent.

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  16. Rabbi Slifkin,

    For a long time this issue bothered me and I was very reluctant to give to such people. However, I have always been concerned that maybye it is not for me to decide who deserves tzedaka. As such I now always give a small amount without arguing with these people. I have a certain amount of money set aside for tzedaka and if a particular person tells me he needs help its not my business to interogate him. If he is collecting for the wrong reasons it will be him who has to deal with the consequences of taking tzedaka away from other genuine causes.

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  17. There are more than a handful of places in Shas that provide a very clear perspective on Chazal's position on the topic of work ethic and there certainly don't appear to be any caveat's for kollel avreichim - if anything, the opposite is the case (see the quote from psochim cited below). Here are a few that I have kept notes of over time:

    Brochos 35b: Lo yomush sefer hatorah hazeh mipicho. Yochol hadvorim kichsovon (Rash: Shelo Yaasok B'Derech Eretz) talmud lomar "V'osafto D'gonecho" (Rashi: She'im tovo letzorech habriyos SOFCHA LIVOTEL MIDIVREI TORAH")

    Shabbos 31a: Rashi DH Kovatoh: "L'fi sheodom tzorich l'hisasek b'derech eretz she'im ein derech eretz ein torah"

    Shabbos 118a: Rabbi Akiva hi d'omar aseh shaboscho chol v'al titztorech al habriyos"

    Psochim 113a: Pshot n'veiloso b'shuka vshokil agra V'LO TEIMO K'HANA ONO V'GAVRA RABBA ONO

    Eiruvin 82b: V'ho Tnan, V'elu hen Hapsulin. Rashi (DH Umnus): U'Psuleyhu l'fi SHE'EIN OSUKIN B'YESHIVO SHEL OLAM D'EIN MAKIRIN U'VKI'IN B'TORACH V'TZAAR BNEI ODOM EINON CHOSIN AL CHAVREIHEN M'LEHAFSID MOMON"

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  18. The chassideshe fellow was most likely referring to the gemara in Shabbos 114a, based on Yuma 72b. Also see Kesubos 111b.

    Of course, you may argue that the particular chosson in question might not qualify as a "talmid chacham", or that the money (at least according to the gemara in Shabbos) must go specifically toward necessities like food (is marriage included?), or that this fellow really meant something different than the concept that the gemara is referring to.

    The point is that the idea that the community has an obligation to support a person who devotes himself to learning Torah does exist in the gemara. By stating so emphatically that such a gemara is non-existent, I am reminded of the lady who doth protest too much.

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  19. Indeed, the closest gemara I can think of says more or less the opposite, that there is only *one* sort of talmud chacham whose support falls upon the community. From my (defunct for the moment) Rif Yomi blog, from Shabbat 114a:

    Rabbi Yochanan said: Who is a scholar whose work it is the duty of his townspeople to perform? He who abandons his own interest and engages in religious affairs; yet that is only to provide his bread {= basic necessities}.

    kol tuv,
    josh

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  20. There is a gemera in Pesachim Kuf Yud Ches amud aleph that discusses hashem kicking out adam from gan eden. when hashem said Kotz vidardar tatmeach lach" adam started crying and said "me and the ox will eat from the same trough? Hashem responded "bizeat apecha tochal lechem" and immediately Adom was soothed. so many people view the concept of working for a living as a necessary evil and any way out of it should be attempted.However, perhaps (as this gemera is implying)working is really a blessing in disguise. Being able to work for your own bread and water raises above the lesser creatures that most be supplied with food. Adam was soothed by hearing he would have to work for his food because that raised him above the ox that he previously thought he would be on par with.

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  21. Come to think of it, he *was* probably thinking of this gemara, but interpreted "melechet shamayim" in its maximal form, and neglected the bare necessities aspect. looking quickly at ayin mishpat ner mitzvah on the daf, it doesn't seem that this maamar is brought down lehalacha.

    kt,
    josh

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  22. Just as I predicted - the gemara (in shabbos) will be misinterpreted and wiggled around. The point is, it exists, whether or not you think it does, or agree with it, or whether it is halacha lemaase.

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  23. baki:
    just for the record, i hadn't read your comment when i made my own. but whether this is *misinterpreting* is rather a matter of opinion. even back in 2005 when I was translating it, I took it to be a clear statement to the opposite of what this fellow was (likely) interpreting it; that it meant religious affairs *on behalf of the community*. i wasn't trying to "wiggle out" of it, but indeed first thought to bring it forward as a disproof. so it is not precisely as you predicted.

    kol tuv,
    josh

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  24. Before the war, there were kollels in Europe. If you were felt to be a future Gadol HaDor you got in. If you weren't, you went out and learned a trade.
    Life in kollel was accompanied by absolute poverty and dependency. The budding scholar's wife usually looked after the children and eaked out a meager living but there were no frills or pleasures in such a life.
    At any rate, the gemaras brought in praise of all day learning can be understood as wistful thinking, something along the lines of "If I could, I'd do a Star Trek - Original Series marathon for 12 hours every day" (I probably would too) or "Wouldn't it be great if I had a gajillion dollars and never had to work again". Yes, it would be nice but real life generally intervenes.

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  25. "Rabbi Yochanan said: Who is a scholar whose work it is the duty of his townspeople to perform? He who abandons his own interest and engages in religious affairs; yet that is only to provide his bread {= basic necessities}."

    Sounds to me like Rabbi Yochanan is the one who is "wiggling" out of the known ruling that a town must support a scholar.

    I hope you edit your post to something along the lines of gemmora interpretations instead of gemmorah fabrications.
    It seems the person in your story truly did just not remember which gemoora it was.

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  26. josh:

    If "cheftzei shamayim" refers to "communal affairs, why davka a talmid chacham?

    Also, the context of the gemara appears to be extolling the virtues of the talmid chacham's Torah knowledge, not his volunteer work.

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  27. For a long time this issue bothered me and I was very reluctant to give to such people. However, I have always been concerned that maybye it is not for me to decide who deserves tzedaka. As such I now always give a small amount without arguing with these people.
    ======================
    R' Yonasan Sacks says best to treat them like an ani who comes to your door (give a little if you can) and take up the broader issues with their leaders who are the root of the issue.

    I do the former, haven't figured out a good venue for the latter.
    KT
    Joel RIch

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  28. If the community has the obligation to support its Talmidei Chachamim, it does not follow that the Talmidei Chachamim can claim the right to be supported.

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  29. You can think of it this way. If the "Lithuanian" Chareidi world would be geographically divided on this issue so that one part condemns work as much as you have seen and the other doesn't it would only succeed as a hashkafa if they would divide up into rival groups. Chassidim are divided into rival groups but they cross geographic barriers so they could not have part of a group this way and the other not. It appears Rabbi Slifkin that you are as ignorant of the Chassidic world as I had been of the modern Chareidi world.

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  30. baki:
    "If "cheftzei shamayim" refers to "communal affairs, why davka a talmid chacham?"

    like the chaver ha'ir. see Megillah 27a-b, and Rashi there, for a definition. or think dayanim and poskim, or rosh yeshivahs. the types of spiritual needs that a skilled Talmid Chacham, in particular, is best-suited for. the *feel* i got from this quote is because he is so dedicated so the spiritual needs of the community that he *neglects* his own needs, 'she-maniach cheftzav', that is the person that the community in turn should turn around and support, at least for his basic necessities. not that any Joe off the street is allowed to cast himself on the community on not bother to work, because he wants to learn Torah. *those* talmidei chachamim were given help in trade by the likes of Todos, etc. At least, that was my reading of the gemara.

    kol tuv,
    josh

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  31. The system has to and will change or collapse. There is simply no other way. However, until this happens I look to hacnosdas kallah collectors 'baasher hu shom' and give them money without going overboard. The kids cannot get out of the situation. They don't even know what's going on and what awaits them in real life. They have been lied to their whole lives and don't realize it. I harangue against the gdoilim and the system but help the victims. I think everyone should.

    Also, I think that kollel is great for the right person but not for the masses or as a way of life. I support serious places of learning. Everyone in my family went through kollel and it was the happiest time in their lives. They are all working now.

    Many thing should be done to change the system but to throw the kids out on the street is not a solution. I surprised at how heartless you people are.

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  32. Why is there an insistence on this board for talmidei chachomim who learn full time to be living on bread and water and having bare necessities? What's wrong with them having meat, wine and having normal comforts of the 21st century? There is a Gemarah that says that if one wants to bring nesochim bizman haze he should fill the mouths of talmidei chachomim with wine.

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  33. Are you people hiding you head in the sand? Whether the kids are learning, working or in the army, or whatever by the time they are 18 most need to be married. It's a biological need that Chazal were well aware off. Anyone has a better resolution to this than marriage? I would add to it birth control until ready to support a family, wish them mazel tov and make a contribution be ain yofa. People are supposed to be celibate until after they do the army, complete college and get a job? What age is this? 25-27? This will never happen. So we've got to get them married to keep them from sin. Anyone disagrees here?

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  34. "At any rate, the gemaras brought in praise of all day learning can be understood as wistful thinking, something along the lines of "If I could, I'd do a Star Trek - Original Series marathon for 12 hours every day" (I probably would too) or "Wouldn't it be great if I had a gajillion dollars and never had to work again". Yes, it would be nice but real life generally intervenes."
    Garnel what about the gemera in Pesachim Kuf Yud Ches amud aleph that discusses hashem kicking out adam from gan eden. when hashem said Kotz vidardar tatmeach lach" adam started crying and said "me and the donkey will eat from the same trough? Hashem responded "bizeat apecha tochal lechem" and immediately Adom was soothed. so many people view the concept of working for a living as a necessary evil and any way out of it should be attempted.However, perhaps (as this gemera is implying)working is really a blessing in disguise. Being able to work for your own bread and water raises above the lesser creatures that most be supplied with food. Adam was soothed by hearing he would have to work for his food because that raised him above the donkey that he previously thought he would be on par with. mabye having a billon dollars and not working isn't the ideal? What are your thoughts?

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  35. It's always fun to quote Menashe Klein- here's a gem from parshas Toldos:

    והנה בגמ׳ (סנהדרין כ״ו ע״ב) אמר רב נחמן אוכלי דבר אחר פסולין לעדות... ופרש״י ותוס׳ אוכלי דבר אחר מקבלי צדקה מן הנכרים דהוה חילול השם מחמת ממון והו״ל כרשע מחמת חמס, והרמב״ם (פי״א מהל׳ מתנות עניים ה״ה) כתב כי ת״ח שסומכים על צדקה מבזים את עצמן. ולכן הי׳ ס״ל ליצחק דיעקב איש תם יושב אהלים ואינו מפרנס את עצמו אינו ראוי לו להיות מקבל הברכה, כי לומדי התורה צריכים ליהנוח מיגיע כפם דוקא ולא כיעקב שמצפה אל שלחן אחרים. וזה שאמר ״ויאהב יצחק אמ עשו כי ציד בפיו״ ־ כלומר בפיו של עשו עצמו, שמפרנס עצמו מצידו, ואינו סומך עצמו על שלחן אחרים, וקאי ״בפיו״ אפיו של עשו עצמו, כלומר מפרנס עצמו ומביא לפיו, לא כן יעקב שאוכל משל אביו

    ורבקה אהבת את יעקב, כי ידעה והכירה אח עשו כי שבע תועבות בלבו ושהוא עומד ומלסטם את הבריות ואינו אוכל משלו מיגיע כפו, ואדרבה יעקב הוא הצדיק, והקרא מעיד עליו שלא בקש אלא לחם לאכול ותו לא כי הסתפק כמועט לחם לאכול ובגד ללבוש, וג״ז עשה ביושר וכנאמנות כמו שאמרו חז״ל שחזר על פכים קטנים שממונם של צדיקים חביב עליהם יותר מגופם כיון שאין פושטין ידיהם כגזל, (חולין צ״א) ובבית לבן ביום אכלני חורב וקרח בלילה וחדר שנתי מעיני, בעבודתו לפרנס בניו וביתו, וכששאל לבן ויאמר מה אתן לך ויאמר יעקב לא תתן לי מאומה אם תעשה לי את הדבר הזה וגו׳ ארעה צאנך אשמור וגו׳ והיה שכרי ולא בחנם, והבוטח בה׳ חסד יסובבנו

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  36. Carol, there is no "biological need" whatsoever to get married at 18. If we look at the facts we see that marriage in the early to mid 20s has been the norm in most of the world through pretty much all of history for which we have records.

    Maybe women tend to get married a little earlier, a year or two on average. But marriage where both parties are 18 or under and neither is capable of economically supporting a family is ill-advised and very unusual.

    If we look at European Jews there was a time when boys of a certain class who were contracted for marriage might move in with the family of the bride-to-be. One notes that some sexual contact which could not lead to pregnancy was condoned. But adulthood, bar mitzvah dates notwithstanding, has always come at the point when the young man could support a wife and children.

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  37. "It's always fun to quote Menashe Klein"

    perhaps off topic, but it is Rabbi Menashe Klein. even though i generally disagree with him.

    kol tuv,
    josh

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  38. I think there has been a trend in the last few years of Charedi rabbis urging more people to get into work. I think I heard the Gerrer Rebbe was telling everyone they need to work. The Rav Shalom Arush, the (Breslover) bestselling author and Rosh Yeshivah, emphasizes very strongly (for example in his book Gan Shalom, the garden of peace) that husbands have the responsibility to work to support their wives.

    Israeli public policies need to change in various ways to make charedi labor market participation higher. They need to get rid of the incentives to work under the table, to make it possible for people with yeshiva educations who never studies Greek philosophy and English literature and so on can still get into colleges, to create job-training programs, to create a right (as in the UK and Netherlands) to request part-time work, to crack down on labor market discrimination against charedim, etc.

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  39. Yasher koach for what you did!

    I admit, I am not as brave and if someone actually comes to my door (which doesn't happen very often), I'll give him a small amount. But I never give any of these people who approach you in shul.

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  40. "perhaps off topic, but it is Rabbi Menashe Klein. even though i generally disagree with him."

    Agreed. No disrespect was intended. (BTW, how can you disagree with drush?)

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  41. Yishai,
    Does the charedi world have to make any adjustments?
    KT
    Joel Rich

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  42. Todd,
    Ein meviin reaya min a shotim. What kind of proof is that? Carol makes a very valid point, Chazal made it an imperative that young men should get married ideally at 18, and if possible no later than 20 years old. See Even HaEzer 1.

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  43. Carol - I couldn't disagree with you more. Like it or not, we are not living in 5th century Persia. Our social relations and view of marriage are totally different (how many wives would tolerate Rav Nachman's 'man havya li liyemu?'). Most people are simply not ready to get married at 18. People change a lot in their early twenties - the kind of person that someone may like at 20 is not the same as the person they may like at 25. There are terrible nisyonos between the ages of 13 and 18, but even the gemara recognises that marriage is not ideal until 18. The only way that the communities who still practise marriage at a young age achieve this is by imposing crushing social conformity, and especially amongst women, who don't have much of a chance to build themselves as people. And there are nisyonos after marriage too.
    People should get married when they are ready. In YU, I think they have a relatively healthy approach to this - boys learn for a few years, whilst acquiring the means to support a family, and generally only then get married. This is what the Rambam envisioned. He says that people who learn to support themselves before they get married are 'ba'alei deiah'.

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  44. Chazal made it an imperative that young men should get married ideally at 18, and if possible no later than 20 years old. See Even HaEzer 1.
    ==========
    IIRC they also said that a parent no longer had to support a child after age 6. Perhaps one needs to take into account changes in society in some cases?
    KT
    Joel Rich

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  45. Carol, there is no "biological need" whatsoever to get married at 18.

    Todd, go tell it to Chazal - 'Ben shmone esreh lechupa'.

    The biological need is the sexuality. I am very surprised that you don't think so. Unlike brain death this force was well known in all times. There is a Gemara about Chazal wanting to be mevatel it. IIRC it was Abaye who said that he had an advantage over his colleges because he had married at 16 and had he married at 14 he could have challenged the Sotan himself. Which I understand to mean that his mind would have been completely pure.

    The charedim seem to have gotten it right here I think the modern crowd has a lot to learn from them.

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  46. Joel, I'm not an expert on this, but yes, they surely do. Many (Israeli) charedi schools don't teach any math or science or English, right? There needs to be more support in the charedi community for all kinds of professions, and not just ones that don't require a lot of college. Within a few decades charedim will be the majority of Israel. By that time they need to be represented within every sector of the economy and society, or else Israel as a society will undergo and lot of strain and difficulty. There needs also to be a widespread, broad-based movement of charedim trying to combine regular study with work, as Chazal originally prescribed. The Pirkei Avot 2:2 Movement!

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  47. Eliyahud,

    WADR, the socio-economic situation 500 years ago was a lot different than today. Biologically, there is no question that marriage 18 is ideal, as it will diminish the possibility of sin. 500 years ago, marriage at 18 was the better choice. However, when you weigh the cons of marriage at 18 in today’s complex world, such as unsettled livelihood and education; getting married at 22-25, as is done traditionally in the Jewish community, is a far better choice.

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  48. BTW, how can you disagree with drush?

    If its a drush she'll dofi. Like the case in point which ridicules the Avois and is void of ethical value.

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  49. @Aryeh
    Here is a way to see the Gemaras in a way which does not support not working at all:

    --1) Kiddushin 82b: "Tanya: Rabbi Nehorai says: I would (if I could) put aside all the skills in the world and teach my son only Torah, because all the skills in the world only stand for a person in his youth (this world?), but in his old age (the next world?), he is stretched out and starves. But Torah stands for a man in his youth and in his old age..."

    2)Berachot 35b: "Tana Rabanan: The Torah says, "You will gather in your wheat ..." (Devarim 11:14), but elsewhere it says, "This Sefer Torah shall never leave your mouth ..." (Yehoshua 1:8). You might think that the latter verse is literal, yet the former verse says, "You will gather in your wheat ..." According to Rebbi Yishmael, this means one should accustom his Torah along with his work. Rebbi Shimon bar Yochai says: Can a man plow, sow, reap, etc. during their times, and Torah will still be upon him? Rather, when B'nei Yisroel do the will of G-d, their work is done for them by others; when they don't, then they have to do their own work."--

    1)Torah knowledge can be a Melakha if you are a rabbi,judge,etc

    2)Rashbi meant that at those times we would have slaves or other workers who would do the work for us so that we could spend the time learning.

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  50. Todd, March 2, 2011 8:45 PM, wrote:

    If we look at European Jews there was a time when boys of a certain class who were contracted for marriage might move in with the family of the bride-to-be. One notes that some sexual contact which could not lead to pregnancy was condoned.

    Could you explain what you meant with that last sentence?

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  51. I didn't get the point about him having to spend a small amount of time sending people to collect for him

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  52. Eliyahud, the point I'm making is that this ideal is not the norm for human beings. It does not seem to have been even in much of our history in times and places where we are told people were more pious than today. The often harsh realities of life and the imperative to make sure children are provided for has always provided stern arguments against it.

    There are many things which are considered ideal. If they are incompatible with the economic security of the household they are more honored in the breach.

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  53. J, I understand 'man havya li liyemu?' as a kosher way of having an intimate encounter. I think there are women who would be interested today just like there were women then. But I am not going there. What I think is a good approach is to get married when one is ready and to go on birth control until ready to have children. This way people have their yishuv hadaas, are happy and can pursue their studies, the army service, carriers or whatever. The appropriate age is between 16 and 20 for most people. Let's be practical and honest - a soldier without a woman is an oxymoron. If you disagree go tell it to the Golani or to the Marines. The problem is that this option is not offered to the orthodox public. It is either abstinence or a house full of kids. I am advocating the middle way which is appropriate for our times. I agree that times have changed but not the peoples' physical nature.

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  54. @loveandlivethetorah

    You said:
    1)Torah knowledge can be a Melakha if you are a rabbi,judge,etc

    2)Rashbi meant that at those times we would have slaves or other workers who would do the work for us so that we could spend the time learning.


    Just as easily, I can interpret it my way:

    1) That's not what the Gemara says. Rebbe Nehorai clearly says his reasoning has to do with the value of learning is significantly higher than toiling for a living. Perhaps becuase it has a better reward, or because you can do it at any age. That could apply to a judge, or anyone else.

    2)I could argue that if there are those willing to pay (and there are, but sometimes you need to find them) that kollels should be supported, thats the same as slaves doing your work for you. Also, I don't think its talking about slaves, it could very well be talking about other Jews (i.e. the community).

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  55. "Rabbi Yochanan said: Who is a scholar whose work it is the duty of his townspeople to perform? He who abandons his own interest and engages in religious affairs; yet that is only to provide his bread {= basic necessities}.

    kol tuv,
    josh"

    Um, isn't this referring to a community leader, like one who takes on the responsibility for the kehilla at large and deals with their problems ("engages in religious affairs"), not some shlub who sits in a study hall somewhere that thinks he's engaging religious ideas in an ivory tower no one ever hears from?

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  56. שו"ת אגרות משה יורה דעה חלק ד סימן לו

    ומוכרחין לומר דודאי גם הרמב"ם סובר דכשיודע שלא שייך שיבין היטב מה שלומד כשיצטרך לעבוד איזו שעות ביום לפרנסתו, שמותר וגם מחוייב להתפרנס ממתנות דאינשי, וכ"ש מן הצדקה, דאין לך עני גדול מזה שלא יוכל להתפרנס ממלאכתו כשילמוד התורה. ואין לך קידוש שם שמים ומכבד התורה גדול מזה, שמתבזה ליטול צדקה בכדי שיהיה לו האפשריות ללמוד התורה.

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  57. There is no way that Rambam would have agreed to that. Rav Feinstein was regrettably unfamiliar with the Maimonidean worldview.

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  58. About giving Tzedaka without checking them out first, see Yoreh De'ah 251:10.

    (also see this article by Rav Aviner http://www.ravaviner.com/2010/02/giving-tzedakah-to-beggars.html)

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  59. Rav Feinstein was regrettably unfamiliar with the Maimonidean worldview.

    Nonsense. Rav Moshe was as aware as anyone of the sources in Peirush Hamishnah to Avos, Bechoros, and Mishneh Torah, which are the primary sources of his worldview on the topic of learning (and it isn't only learning - it is receiving money for any Torah related field, so writing monographs for money is as great a violation of the Rambam as the one coming collecting for his Yeshiva-bound son) versus being supported. Please see the referenced responsum inside.

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  60. There is no way that Rambam would have agreed to that.
    -------------------------
    I would guess r'moshe might say it's not important what the rambam himself believed but is it a legitimate interpretation?

    You may find this shiur, which will be reviewed in an upcoming audioroundup, of interest (i'd guess you would disagree with some of it )

    http://download.yutorah.org/2000/1053/757126/The%20Relationship%20between%20Chachmas%20Yisrael%20and%20traditional%20Talmud%20Torah.MP3

    Rabbi Michael Rosensweig - The Relationship between Chachmas Yisrael and traditional Talmud Torah


    KT
    Joel Rich

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  61. Student V:
    "Um, isn't this referring to a community leader, like one who takes on the responsibility for the kehilla at large and deals with their problems..."

    indeed, that is more or less how i would understand the gemara.

    kt,
    josh

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  62. Rabbi,

    I am sure Rav Moshe was familiar with Rambam's worldview. However, he understood Rambam differently than you. Nevertheless, that still does not constitute a Gemara.

    I am going to check up this Rav Moshe because I would like to hear his reasoning as to why we are "Forced" to say that the Rambam would hold this even though HE EXPLICITLY says that this is forbidden.

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  63. Look, Rav Moshe also wrote that Rambam believed in the protective power of holy names and amulets. See http://seforim.blogspot.com/2007/07/marc-b-shapiro-response-to-rabbi-zev.html. And he claimed that Rishonic manuscripts speaking of post-Mosaic additions to the Chumash must be forgeries.

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  64. Student V:
    "Um, isn't this referring to a community leader, like one who takes on the responsibility for the kehilla at large and deals with their problems..."

    indeed, that is more or less how i would understand the gemara.

    kt,
    josh


    Me too. Otherwise, why does it need to define what kind of talmid chacham it is talking about?

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  65. " so writing monographs for money is as great a violation of the Rambam as the one coming collecting for his Yeshiva-bound son"

    Ah, but the monographs are academic science not torah so its ok! (I kid)

    Now, I understand that the gemorah does not say that you have to give money to anybody who is learning in Yeshivah, however your post still says that no such gemorah exists. Anybody who reads your post and does not read the comments will not be aware that a gemorah does say such a thing.. it just doesn't apply in the case of the person coming to your door.

    I am curious why you do not correct the posting.

    Granted also, you can argue that you must do the Talmid Chacham's work, and since this bachur has no work you can't really help him, but that is a different issue entirely. :)

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  66. "Um, isn't this referring to a community leader, like one who takes on the responsibility for the kehilla at large and deals with their problems...""

    Keep in mind that this is also how the Kollel system understands the gemorah.

    But, since the community does many sins, and learning Torah, according to them, is the only way to protect the Jewish people... then these bachurs are taking on the "responsibility of the Kehila at large" and without them we would all be doomed.

    At this point, we are quibbling over the meaning of what is "take on their work", and what exactly counts as a Torah scholar... but this gemorah does exist.

    What is most interesting to me, is that the Gemorah does not tell us this is a rule, the gemorah only tells us a qualification to a seemingly already known rule... but doesn't give any other opinions on it. (seemingly) It is almost as if it was taken for granted that the community would support scholars, but now there is an increase in scholars and the rule has to be refined.

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  67. My posting was correct. There is no gemorah which says that the community has to give money to someone who is Toraso Umnaso (as the collector claimed). All the Gemara says is that the community has to support a particular type of talmid chacham - one who is osek b'meleches Shamayim.

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  68. I apologize. It seems like you are right about Rav Moshe. Also, I looked up the relevant Igros Moshe( http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=922&st=&pgnum=267) I didn't find any real compelling explanation for his position except that learning Torah MUST BE acceptable to do even if you are supported by the community because it is Torah and learning Torah is what we are meant to do. I couldn't really understand his explanation for the Rambam because he makes some leaps of logic that don't really seem to be there in the Rambam's reasoning. I encourage people to read the whole thing themselves and try to understand Rav Moshe's logic.

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  69. SteE-man, if you will find what R.Moishe's reasoning was please post it. I don't think you will find it, though. So, unless you believe that these words of his are a forgery and that his writing that Rambam believed in the protective power of holy names and amulets was also a forgery, you are left with a tough logical conclusion. I am not going to spell it out, but just let's not hide our heads in the sand. Let the text speak for itself and let's allow for Rambam to be Rambam and for Reb Moishe to be Reb Moishe.

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  70. E-man,

    You aren't obligated to accept Rav Moshe's resolution of the apparent contradiction between Talmud Torah 3:10 (if you accept money you are the lowest of the low) and 3:11 (it is a great level of piety not to work and not get paid for one's learning).

    But you aren't qualified to pasken for other people that they should, or even may, accept your interpretation of the Rambam. Rav Moshe was qualified to pasken for others that they may, or even should, accept his.

    True, Rab Moshe isn't a Gemara. But it is a legitimate position to follow, as it is legitimate for you to withhold support if that is what your Poskim hold.

    But telling the collector off that he should go work for a living, unless you are qualified enough to dismiss Rav Moshe as a valid Halachic position, is overstepping your bounds, and the Halbanas Panim and Onaas Devarim involved in making him feel uncomfortable about following a position he may legitimately follow is nothing to be proud of.

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  71. Ameteur - your reading with proposed creative haredi sophistry is not plausible. The gemara says melecheth shamayim, NOT "learning of Torah."

    What you say is also quite ironic for 2 reasons.
    1. The haredi philosophy is NOT nationalistic and the haredim do not consider themselves as part of the same kehilla as secular people. So please tell me why the haredi-working-man's sins are so much greater in number than the haredi learners'?

    And 2. (Although I already alluded to it w the above question) haredi kollel learners also have enough of their own sins that they do, so who will atone for their own transgrssions if they are so busy all day trying to atone for everyone else's? (And I say the second half of that with a roll of the eyes) ?

    I suspect that even you consider what you wrote to be silly.

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  72. SMA - As far as I recall, Rav Moshe was saying that a person is entitled to take financial support for his learning, NOT that a community is obligated to provide it.

    And it is no disrespect to Rav Moshe to point out that many greater authorities than him would have frowned upon the current situation of people begging for money rather than even attempting to look for work.

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  73. Natan Slifkin,

    So don't support him.

    The overwhelming consensus of the Poskim is not like the Rambam, and the Rambam himself concedes this. The Tashbetz, Kesef Mishneh, Ohr Hachaim (Rishon Letziyon), the Chafetz Chaim and others strongly disagree, on theoretical, and especially practical, grounds.

    You would be hard pressed to find a Posek of significant stature in the past few centuries deciding practical Halachah in accordance with the Rambam.

    And, be that as it may, even if Rav Moshe were the only one to have said it, he is still a very legitimate postion to follow, and you don't have the right to tell him to go to work and shame him.

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  74. To SMA: how exactly does one "pasken" on the acceptance of an interpretation. One either finds it compelling or doesn't, you can't "pasken" someone's brain waves.

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  75. To SMA: The Rambam was only unique in his insistence that a person may never RECEIVE money for learning or even teaching. But the general trend amongst all the Rishonim and Acharonim was certainly against modern charedi practice. Rishonim in Ashkenaz held that people should always support themselves. Rishonim in Sefard had a system of financial support in Spain for Torah scholarship, but this was not referring to some sort of medieval precursor of the modern kollel system. Many of the Rishonim in these lands limited this license to Torah scholars who were serving in a professional capacity for the benefit of the community, with some extending it to Torah scholars training for such a role. Furthermore, even to the extent that financial support was permitted, it was constantly stressed that the ideal is to be self-sufficient. There are many statements in the Mishnah and Talmud about the problems with taking payment for Torah, and about the value of being self-sufficient, and the Rishonim maintained this value system.

    People have the right to follow Rav Moshe, and other people have the right to follow the normative view of the Rishonim, which is also seen as being the correct understanding of Chazal. It's not shaming a collector for one to state one's view on this.

    Besides, I think that even Rav Moshe would say that if someone has no money to get married, they should try to find work. As far as I recall, he was only saying why it is legitimate for someone to be supported, not that they should go begging for support.

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  76. I believe that the Rambam's position on the matter of the support of a non-working torah student by a stranger or community is sufficiently clear - despite attempts at revisionism. It is also true that later authorities held a contrary view. Of particular interest to me is the position of Harav Moshe Sofer (Chatam Sofer) in a teshuva and in his commentary. He distinguishes between Eretz Yisrael and the diaspora. In the diaspora, the accepted halacha has been to allow full-time study and engagement in torah based on the minority view of Rebbi Nehora'ie in Kiddushin and Rebbi Yochanan b' Zakai in Berachot. In Israel, however, there is no such heter given the mitzvot involving development of the land. In other words, there the majority view of the Tana'im and Amora'im, e.g. Rabbe Yishmael in Berachot, on the need to combine torah and avodah prevails. Ironically, those who would normally be most prone to rely on the judgment of the Chatam Sofer are the ones who proclaim a "torah only" approach. Ironically, too, is the fact that the "torah only" approach is more prevalent in Israel than in the diaspora.

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  77. "I suspect that even you consider what you wrote to be silly."

    That I find them silly is irrelevant. The question is if in the kollel system world view it is consistent.

    But from the kollel's hierarchal of needs, what could be greater "melechet shamayim" then learning torah?

    Some might say "melechet shamayim" is bringing peace to Israel, some might say its social service work, some might say its the building of the beis hamikdash. Each community is going to have their own definition of "melechet shamayim"


    as an asside, I read an article by some rabbi giving the argument I gave, about the nation and keeping the world from destruction by their torah study. So even if they don't agree with the state of Israel, they still believe in the Jewish nation.

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  78. 1. The Gemara speaks of one "who abandons his own interest and engages in religious affairs". Mark that important qualifier - WHO ABANDONS HIS OWN INTEREST. The idea is that if someone already working decides to learn for the sake of heaven, the community should make sure he has food on his table. Possibly we could extend that to one who is in school, or has a plan for a job, then decides to study Torah. But the Gemara does not refer to people who stay in yeshiva because it's the automatic default position, then want to be supported. VK"L.

    2. Even without point 1, It's pretty obvious that Gemara has no application to modern times, when we are seeing kollel yungeleit in the tens of thousands. The Gemara envisioned one or two lone, unique individuals in the little town who felt a divine calling. It has no relevance to what we see today, and that's a dovor poshut.

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  79. Natan Slifkin,

    Sources please.

    From the Kesef Mishneh through the Tashbetz, Ohr Hachaim, Aruch Hashulchan, the Chafetz Chaim, and R' Moshe, all justified taking money for learning. The practical system that was in place is irrelevant, and the fact that being self-sufficient is ideal, is true, but not at the expense of Torah knowledge. It is best if one can balance both, but if not, other than according to the Rambam (which you violate as well), unless one holds by Rav Moshe's interpretation, Torah knowledge takes precedence. The Chafetz Chaim wrote that one who sacrifices his Torah study for self-sufficiency is making a very big mistake.

    I don't give a flying flip what YOU think is the correct approach. Just don't shame others who have every right to follow those who are virtually unanimously considered the greatest Poskim of the 20th century - the Aruch Hashulchan, the Mishnah Berurah, the Chazon Ish, and Rav Moshe Feinstein. And claiming your demanding that he work isn't shaming him is disingenuous in the extreme.

    You are wrong about Rav Moshe's position. He may go beg provided his wife consents. See the end of that segment of the Teshuvah.

    Y. Aharon,
    The Chasam Sofer you cite is not as clear-cut as you make it seem. There are open Gemaros that one is justified in leaving Eretz Yisrael for the sake of improved quality of learning, and one may certainly stay in EY and not sacrifice the quality of his Torah learning for Yishuv haaretz. What the Chasam Sofer is saying is that if it does not hamper his Torah study, he should busy himself with Yishuv haaretz as he busies himself with tefillin.

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  80. You mentioned Tashbatz as saying that self-sufficiency should not come at the expense of Torah knowledge. In fact, Tashbatz states that “scholars and disciples who waive their entitlements and provide for themselves by the work of their hands, or by making do with less, will see great reward for their efforts, which are considered as piety. It is better for them to take a little time away from their constant study than to depend on the community for their livelihood.”

    The person at my door was certainly not following in the path of the Rishonim. And I am not at all convinced that he was following all the 20th century Poskim that you mention, who were not living in a society where "work" was a dirty word.

    And you claim that I am inappropriately "shaming" him makes no sense. How exactly is he inappropriately being shamed? You mean, by me telling him that he's going against Chazal and the Rishonim? I never heard that someone shouldn't give their view on that. The problem here is that, according to Chazal, these people SHOULD feel ashamed that they are begging for money (or sending other people to beg on their behalf), but they don't, because they have inverted values in which being self-sufficient, and teaching your kids a trade, is actually bad, and it is better to beg and be supported.

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  81. "But telling the collector off that he should go work for a living, unless you are qualified enough to dismiss Rav Moshe as a valid Halachic position, is overstepping your bounds, and the Halbanas Panim and Onaas Devarim involved in making him feel uncomfortable about following a position he may legitimately follow is nothing to be proud of."

    Apparently, this fellow did not hold of Rav Moshe, or even know his psak, because he was claiming it was a Gemara, which is false. If he would have answered Rav Slifkin that he holds like Rav Moshe and that is why he is doing it, then maybe Rabbi Slifkin would have given. But he didn't, he said it was a Gemara, and that is false Judaism.

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  82. Apparently it is worth pointing out, yet again, that Rav Moshe himself would never have held that I have "no right" to disagree with him. He held that everyone has a right to their opinions. Whether the opinion is worth anything will be evaluated by others.

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  83. Ameteur, you said -
    "But from the kollel system's hierarchal of needs," what could be more melecheth shamayim than learning Torah.

    This is really puzzling to me. You're taking an existing 'kollel system' (I refrain here from calling it a cult), and based on what would benefit that system, orchestrate an Orwellian newspeak reading of a gemara in order that this gemara serve the interests of this system (even tho not plausible) and then trying to tell me that's simply "an interpretation."

    The suspicion that you thought what you wrote was silly was barely an afterthought to my comment. You didn't address my substantial objections.

    As to what you heard a rabbi say or what one wrote in an article, I've heard rabbis say a lot of things, but I think its an insult to my intelligence to expect me to believe that rabbi's explanation is anything other than an attempt to justify and rationalize the "system" in the eyes of the seculars.

    Nonetheless you still ignored my substantial objections to that line of "reasoning" even if we take it at face value.

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  84. Two additional points.

    Aside from the fact I mentioned that haredim do not consider themselves part of the same kehilla as secular people, in most cases they don't even consider themselves part of the same kehilla with "that sephardic shul down the block" or "the hungarians" or "a different community" etc or what have you. It makes the claim even more specious.

    Lastly, who decided that learning Torah is the "only" way to protect the Jewish people?! That's news to me.

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  85. SMA, the issue of the circumstances allowing one to leave Israel is a separate matter from the issue under discussion. Nor is the requirement of R' Yishmael in Berachot 35b that one engage in productive activities limited to short periods of interruption - such as for tefila and tefilin. If that were the case, RSHBY would not have the counter argument that such activity must detract from torah study. The evident understanding of the Chatam Sofer was that he ruled according to R' Yishmael in Berachot, R' Meir (82a)and R' Yehuda (29a) in Kiddushin, and R' Shimon b' Gamliel in Avot - when in Eretz Yisrael, since the development of the land is a mitzvah.

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  86. > I don't give a flying flip what YOU think is the correct approach.

    Very nice. And you are representative of what you call "Bnai Torah"?

    (signed)
    Chillul H.

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  87. Actually Rabbi Slifkin was telling someone who is working as a Meshulach his opinion. If there would be a big shame it would be if he told off the one the money was collected for.

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  88. Based on something I read: Rav Yisroael Salanter was extremely reluctant to accept financial support from someone who wanted to support him. He only did so eventually because he saw no other way of continuing his travels and work to spread Mussar. He felt uncomfotable and when he finally agreed to accept support from someone who was urging him to accept it, he only took what he needed, nothing more.

    The modern kollel system is worlds away from this. These kids (most of whom are nothing to write home about) think eveything is coming to them. Staying in yeshiva is a matter of course. It doesn't occur to them that they actually should ask their parents (or community or government) for money as opposed to assuming it will come to them as a matter of course. They live better than 99% of the world and 99% of men in history. The whole thing is sick.

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  89. my post was too long, so I'm breaking it up...

    Student V, I am not sure what the substance of your argument was. But reading through your original comment again I'll just make this short.

    1. "melecheth shamayim" is not a defined term. Collecting garbage from the beit kineset could be "melechet shamayim" we just don't know. And for many jews, being involved in Torah is by definition "melechet shamayim"

    2. Who is part of the nation is a moot argument. If "nation" is defined as 10 guys in the minyan you go to, the logic is still the same. And to Hareidim "The torah protects". As for one man's sin being greater than another's, we can not know. According to Kollel, safer to study thnn to pretend to know who is better than who.

    3. Learning Torah and prayer obviously atones for their own sins, as well as for others. I think you fail to realize how central and all encompassing "Torah" is in the Kollel world view. In fact, the Gemorah says the same thing. However, non-kollel people understand the gemorah's statements about Torah Kulah in a less extreme manner tempered by other gemorah statements. The Kollel system takes them at their full potential weight. I really don't understand how you can seriously be asking how a system which makes no physical sense might have some sort of physical limits. I mean, seriously, how would you even go about doing this without making the whole enterprise absurd?

    Does each letter you read count for one sin, part of a sin, a sin who's name has the same letter? Does reading 250 words per minute mean that you have protected the world from 250 sins? If you and your chavrutah read the same passage, does that count as two protections or only one? The whole line of questioning is absurd. But from Halacha, a kohen can bring a sin offering for himself, or a kohen can bring a sin offering for the community. How can the same kohen bring an offering if he has sins of his own to worry about? Not sure, but according to Halacha, he can.

    4. again, what I consider silly or not is irrelevant compared to how someone else understands the gemorah.


    R. Slifkin,
    I do not think it is fair to say that "no such gemorah exists" If I said that the gemorah teaches that we have to say shemah by 1:00am tonight, are you going to tell me that the gemorah says no such thing, because I used language which was not the language the gemorah used? That seems a bit pedantic to me. Maybe someone understands the gemorah to mean we have to say it by 12:00am or 12:15am... regardless of the details, the gemorah says all three statements. The question now is only how you define the word "Chazot" I think with the Gemorah that Josh waxman quoted, it is the same sort of disagreement.

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  90. Student V,
    I'm sure you will spin this article, but I suggest you ignore the commentary in the article and look only at the actual quotes.

    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/features/it-won-t-look-good-for-the-yeshiva-boys-to-be-on-holiday-1.194331

    The fact is, both R. Avadya Yosef, and Rabbi Yosef Shalom Eliashiv both said "The Torah protects" and during a time of war, the boys need to continue studying.

    Perhaps they only consider their small group of people the community, regardless, they view studying Torah as the only protection worth doing.

    And there is this quote:
    “There are those who speak about yeshivot, as though they were cre­ated solely for great Torah schol­ars who will become rab­bis and rab­bini­cal judges, and if that doesn’t suit the per­son, he should go to work,” Yosef said of Amsalem’s doc­trine, with­out nam­ing him.

    “These are not the voices of Torah, but against it; Torah learn­ers sus­tain the world,” Yosef said.

    “Who­ever tells yeshiva boys to go to work is lack­ing faith in our Torah,” he said later in the talk.

    So I don't know where you are getting your ideas from, but they directly contradict the words that come out of the mouths of the people who actually live by the kollel system.

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  91. I am now really curious if people think that this gemorah can only mean one thing.. and I'm curious what that one thing means.

    To quote it again:
    "Rabbi Yochanan said: Who is a scholar whose work it is the duty of his townspeople to perform? He who abandons his own interest and engages in religious affairs; yet that is only to provide his bread {= basic necessities}."

    As an excercise, or as a comment, I would love to see an objective, agreed by everyone definition of the following terms in this quote.

    1.What counts as a "scholar"?
    2. Who are the "townspeople" in the modern era? How do we know if it is different from a "townspeople" in the ancient era. Is it only the rich townspeople, the poor townspeopel, only the middleclass? Only people who live there, people who were born there? people who moved in voluntarily? visitors also?

    3. What does it mean "whos work it is the duty of the people to perform" Does this mean providing money? Going to do his work for him? Farming work? factory work? Or only bread making work? Does it mean the townspeople have to perform his religious affairs, since that is apparently now his work?

    4. What does abandon his own interests mean? That he doesn't bathe? that he doesn't pay taxes? that he doesn't behave well? That he is neglecting some inheritance he has? He isn't providing for his family?

    5. How much is "only provide him his bread." Again, is this literal, for a farmer who is negletcing his field and to make his own bread? Or does it mean his money.. and how much money? And does it include making him look good so he doesn't smell or repulse people? If he is neglecting his own needs, that mean we only have to provide for him to the current level, or to the level of the other people in town. The poor people or the rich people? Is marriage a basic need? Is education a basic need? In today's world, is internet access a basic need?

    I really don't think these questions can be answered without taking into account the greater views of the community or school of thought that a person belongs to. I.e., there is no objective understanding of this gemorah, and I don't think there was intended to be one.

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  92. And for many jews, being involved in Torah is by definition "melechet shamayim"

    But this is definitely NOT what the Gemara is referring to. Because a talmid chacham is by definition someone who is involved in Torah. So it would make no sense for the Gemara to say, "Which person involved in Torah must be supported? One who is involved in Torah." Obviously "osek bemelechet Shamayim" means something OTHER than being involved in studying Torah.

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  93. they view studying Torah as the only protection worth doing.

    Baloney. Them themselves don't think that, they just pretend to think that. Do you think that Kiryat Sefer does without any form of security?

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  94. Just want to add my 2 cents to the issue of the Rambam's view on being supported by the community:

    Rav Qaffah in his peirush on the Rambam has a unique viewpoint:
    עת לעשות לה' הפרו תורתך
    Nowadays, in order to become a world class Torah scholar, there is no choice but to be supported by the community.

    Would the Rambam agree to this nowadays? My guess is probably.

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  95. "Baloney. Them themselves don't think that, they just pretend to think that. Do you think that Kiryat Sefer does without any form of security?"

    That is normal human behavior and has nothing to do with what they "truly believe"

    I'm sure you fully believe that the electricity in your house will provide you with lights, but you still own a flashlight.


    "But this is definitely NOT what the Gemara is referring to. Because a talmid chacham is by definition someone who is involved in Torah. So it would make no sense for the Gemara to say, "Which person involved in Torah must be supported? One who is involved in Torah." Obviously "osek bemelechet Shamayim" means something OTHER than being involved in studying Torah."

    I don't agree with your definition of "talmud chacham."

    1. I think someone can be involved with Torah, and be far from a Talmud Chacham.

    2. I think a person could have once spent his time learning, but now he spends his time doing other things, but he is still a talmud chacham.

    In the first case, the gemorah is telling us that just because a person is doing "melechet shamayim" doesn't mean the community has to support them, unless they are also a talmud chacham.

    In the second case, the gemorah is telling us that even though this person is a talmud chacham and used to spend lots of time studying Torah, now that he is not studying Torah, you no longer have to support him. (But he doesn't lose his status of "Talmud Chacham")

    Infact, I would not be surprised to learn that this is exactly how they learn this gemorah in the Kollel. (*raising my thumb*)
    If you become a talmud chacham and then you start to work or leave yeshivah, then you might still be a talmud chacham, but the community no longer has to support you. However, if you stay in Yeshivah, then the community will support you.

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  96. "Baloney. Them themselves don't think that, they just pretend to think that. Do you think that Kiryat Sefer does without any form of security?"

    That is normal human behavior and has nothing to do with what they "truly believe"


    That makes no sense. It's only normal human behavior because we know full well that there are dangers. If they really believed that "studying Torah is the only protections worth doing", they wouldn't have security guards.

    I'm sure you fully believe that the electricity in your house will provide you with lights, but you still own a flashlight.

    Er, I have a flashlight because sometimes there is no electricity!

    I think someone can be involved with Torah, and be far from a Talmud Chacham.

    I think that the rest of your comment proves that to be the case.

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  97. You mentioned Tashbatz...

    He clearly means when it will not significantly impair his Torah acumen and knowledge. That's his whole point.

    The person at my door was certainly not following in the path of the Rishonim.

    Neither are you if you're taking money for monographs and books.

    And I am not at all convinced that he was following all the 20th century Poskim that you mention, who were not living in a society where "work" was a dirty word.

    Ah, so your problem is not that he doesn't work, it is that he disdains it. How do you know?

    I never heard that someone shouldn't give their view on that.

    You want to have a talk with him, fine. But you're throwing it in his face. [YA - you are right. But then this משולח is either working in taking a cut, or doing chessed, not learning. I think it is clear that he is represnting the learner's interests, in the sense of משולחו של אדם כמותו in bearing the shame of it.]

    The problem here is that, according to Chazal, these people SHOULD feel ashamed that they are begging for money (or sending other people to beg on their behalf), but they don't, because they have inverted values in which being self-sufficient, and teaching your kids a trade, is actually bad, and it is better to beg and be supported.

    Chazal DO NOT say that it is better to be supported and not beg in order to learn Torah. Even the Rambam did not say that. If anything, they say that one should not denigrate Torah by taking money for it. Which you do too.

    How do you know who says it is bad to teach one's son a trade? Some have such a warped view. Many say it is just far better to learn Torah, even at the expense of being supported by others. And they have a definite right to such an opinion and lifestyle, and you have a right not to support it if you don't feel like it.

    שו"ת אגרות משה יורה דעה חלק ד סימן לו
    ומש"כ מע"כ ידידי מה שהרבה יראים ושלמים עוסקים באומניות חשובות ועכ"ז עיקר מגמתם בחיים הוא עסק התורה והמצוות - האם נימא שאינם בני תורה. למותר הוא להשיב כי כבר כתבתי שודאי הם אנשים כשרים, אבל לא שייך להחשיבם לבני תורה. אלא דהתורה נתנה קולא שליכא חיוב ממש על כל יחיד שיעשה תלמיד חכם. אבל בני תורה ותלמידי חכמים אין נחשבים אלא מי שמקיימין מצווה זו דלימוד התורה כראוי, שהוא להיות מוכתר בכתר תורה. דהוא דווקא כשלא יסיח דעתו לדברים אחרים, ולא יעסוק במלאכה וסחורה אלא כדי חייו. וכשלא אפשר לו בזה יצטרך לזון מן הצדקה. אבל בזמננו זה מאות בשנים שנוהגים היתר אף לכתחילה לקבל משרת רבנות בשכר, וכן משרות מגידי שיעור בישיבות גדולות וקטנות, יצטרך ליקח אחד ממשרות האלו. אבל אם ירצה דווקא להתפרנס שלא ממשרות אלו, אלא מאומניות שטרוד בהו כל היום, כי רוצה לחיות חיי עשירות, וכ"ש כשרוצה להתפרנס דווקא ממלאכת רפואה וההנדסה וכיוצא דווקא, שצריך לבטל לגמרי הרבה שנים אפילו עוד קודם שיהיה שייך להרוויח מזה כלום, ועוד צריך להשיג במתנה ובהלוואה על הוצאת הלימוד דחכמות אלו, לא שייך כלל לחשוב מזה למי שרוצה להיות בן תורה שיעשה בן תורה מזה.

    Anonymous,

    I was not previously aware of the vulgar connotation of that phrase. Thank you for pointing out its impropriety. My sincerest apologies.

    Y. Aharon,

    You are not interpreting the dispute between RSBY and RY correctly. ואכמ"ל

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  98. Yes, they are slicing baloney. I have a hobby of collecting wills, because I find it fascinating what people have to say for themselves when they are holding by neila. So check out the Tzelemer tzavaah, for example. It's a neat little book called Btzel Hachocma Btzel Hakesef'. The name says it all and there is the content to boot. It's a prat hamelamed al haklall.

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  99. "That makes no sense. It's only normal human behavior because we know full well that there are dangers. If they really believed that "studying Torah is the only protections worth doing", they wouldn't have security guards."

    So you think a security guard will always prevent an attack or robbery? They never fail? Give me a break. It is the behavior that causes cognitive dissonance, and people do all sorts of things that "go against their beliefs" on a daily basis.

    The extent of human hypocrisy knows no bounds.

    "Er, I have a flashlight because sometimes there is no electricity!"

    And do you have enough flashlights to cover your entire house with lights? Do you have enough spare flashlights in case some of those bulbs die? Do you have backup generators? Most likely not, Because power to your house is all you really need. Yet sometimes people still have flashlights.

    I would not be surprised if a kollel fired the security guards if money became tight and they needed to add an extra student.

    Regardless, I would be embarrassed to tell anybody what they do or do not believe, and whether or not they were "faking it". One would have thought you have been on the receiving end of such criticism enough to know better.

    "I think that the rest of your comment proves that to be the case."

    How very mature of you.

    Shabbat Shalom.

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  100. Ameteur, its unfortunate that so much proverbial "ink" was spilled without you even addressing my question. Here was my question:

    Lastly, who decided that learning torah is the only way to protect the Jewish people?!

    Please read it carefully before responding. And here I thought that the bold emphasis was worth all the trouble typing symbols on my phone...


    As to your article, I can only laugh because just before the operation cast lead when rockets were landing in all new places it was published in the paper that a kollel learner studying in one of these places now getting hit with rockets asked rav eliashiv what he should do and rav eliashiv instructed him to move to a different part of the country where there are no rockets falling and learn there. What happened to the ONLY protection? I guess the Sderot children are more protected than a kollel learner in ashkelon or wherever because they don't leave. You are just going on tangent after tangent rather than addressing the issue.

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  101. Your comment that my "ideas" directly contradict the words of the kollel people is peculiar to me. Which ideas would those be? You mean the question I asked which you didn't answer? How can a question contradict something?

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  102. Ameteur said...
    ""I would be embarrassed to tell anybody what they do or do not believe, and whether or not they were "faking it". One would have thought you have been on the receiving end of such criticism enough to know better.

    "I think that the rest of your comment proves that to be the case."

    How very mature of you."

    I agree with both comments. There is a certain unwarranted and ultimately self defeating aggressiveness present. Maybe this is considered standard genius from ordinary bloggers but it is the opposite for a serious blog like his.

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  103. SMA, it is inappropriate to simply walk away from a debate by stating that my understanding of the gemara in Berachot is incorrect. State your understanding, i'll offer mine, and let the readers judge for themselves. By the way, in my original comment I refered mistakenly to Rabbe Yochanan b' Zakai. That should be Rabbe Shimon b' Yochai (RSHBY).

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  104. "Lastly, who decided that learning torah is the only way to protect the Jewish people?!"

    I apologize, when I first read this I thought it was rhetorical. As in "Who are they to tell me what to believe?"
    Since I don't believe this myself, but was only pointing out that some have this belief and read the gemorah accordingly I thought it was too much of a tangent.

    However if it is a serious question, then I have no idea.

    Who invented the modern day kollel system?

    Your ideas that these people do not believe that their studying of Torah protects the nation, contradicts their own words. Your belief that because Israel has a majority of people who are not kollel going Haredim they don't care about "The Jewish people", is also contradicted by their words.

    Also, over shabbat I realized my electricity example was a bad one. Perhaps a better analogy would be the American belief that a person is a grown adult and can make their own life choices when they reach the age of 18. However, they are still not allowed to drink alcohol until the age of 21. This does not negate the fact, that in America, it is believed that people at the age of 18 can make their own life decisions. It is merely normal human behavior which becomes the cause of cognitive dissonance.


    "paper that a kollel learner studying in one of these places now getting hit with rockets asked rav eliashiv what he should do and rav eliashiv instructed him to move to a different part of the country where there are no rockets falling and learn there"

    That is interesting. I am curious, was the whole yeshiva moved or just this one person asking the question? Was the person asking the question concerned about safety, or concerned about being distracted? I am sure this episode causes cognitive dissonance with many in the Kollel world.

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  105. regarding the moving yeshiva, see here:
    http://lifeinisrael.blogspot.com/2009/01/whom-does-torah-protect.html

    kt,
    josh

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  106. Natan Slifkin said"...

    And for many jews, being involved in Torah is by definition "melechet shamayim"

    But this is definitely NOT what the Gemara is referring to. Because a talmid chacham is by definition someone who is involved in Torah. So it would make no sense for the Gemara to say, "Which person involved in Torah must be supported? One who is involved in Torah." Obviously "osek bemelechet Shamayim" means something OTHER than being involved in studying Torah."

    A Talmid Chacham is by definition someone who is learned in Torah. It doesn't denote that he is always involved in Torah. Suppose for instance an outstanding Yeshiva Bochur became a tailor. That one would still be called a Talmid Chacham. Also you can't say ""osek bemelechet Shamayim" means something OTHER than being involved in studying Torah."" and expect the rebbes and academics to have to come up with a meaning whether or not they can find one. You are insisting an interpretation is to be found in theory but leaving the rabbonim and academics to pick up the pieces.

    I doubt you would accept a "there surely must be some other explanation" for a pshat from your opponents.

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  107. SMA said,

    "You aren't obligated to accept Rav Moshe's resolution of the apparent contradiction between Talmud Torah 3:10 (if you accept money you are the lowest of the low) and 3:11 (it is a great level of piety not to work and not get paid for one's learning)."

    Sorry, I forgot to comment on this. SMA, what the heck are you talking about??? 3:11 in the Rambam says:

    מעלה גדולה היא למי שהוא מתפרנס ממעשה ידיו. ומדת חסידים הראשונים היא. ובזה זוכה לכל כבוד וטובה שבעולם הזה ולעולם הבא שנאמר יגיע כפיך כי תאכל אשריך וטוב לך אשריך בעולם הזה וטוב לך לעולם הבא שכולו טוב:

    It is great FOR SOMEONE WHO SUPPORTS HIMSELF! That is the exact OPPOSITE of what you are saying. So, how does the Rambam reconcile his statement that one is not allowed to study and be supported by the community and his statement of one should work? THat is simple, the Rambam says one should work and not be supported by the community, DUH!

    Was this a mistake or a blatant forgery hoping no one would look up the source?

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  108. my guess is that he meant that the contradiction is: (a) in the former, it is the level of obligation, for otherwise one is the lowest of the low. (b) in the latter, it is the level of reshus, for it is considered a level of piety, and middas chassidus.

    i'd have to see rav moshe's teshuva inside to confirm that this nuanced point is what he is driving at, but it makes sense.

    kt,
    josh

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  109. It was a mistake, which should have been obvious since I contradicted myself in mid-sentence- that should read "to work and not get paid for one's learning."

    But the contradiction is between it being a terrible, horrible thing to accept money (3:10), vs. a great Maalah to live off of one's labor. (3:11)

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  110. SMA-
    "It was a mistake, which should have been obvious since I contradicted myself in mid-sentence- that should read "to work and not get paid for one's learning.""

    You didn't contradict yourself mid-sentence, but thats ok. Case in point: You aren't obligated to accept Rav Moshe's resolution of the apparent contradiction between Talmud Torah 3:10 (if you accept money you are the lowest of the low) and 3:11 (it is a great level of piety not to work and not get paid for one's learning). Where is the contradiction?

    Anywho, Rav Moshe makes a leap that does not seem to be muchrach at all. I don't understand how one can learn that the Rambam would be ok with RECEIVING CHARITY for sitting and learning without contributing to the community. I do see the Rambam saying that one can learn and earn money by disseminating his learning where it is impossible to learn 8 hrs a day and work 4 hrs a day. Personally, I agree with this opinion and I am very pro community kollels that pay 10 guys to sit and learn and teach the community Torah. I think that is very important. I believe this is the kesef Mishna's position on the Rambam as well as many meforshim there.

    What I am very against is people sitting and learning just for the sake of sitting and learning without the intention of ever getting a job or contributing in any way to the community to which this person feeds off of.

    I have never seen a source until modern day poskim, that says accepting charity to sit in kollel all day is ok. If you (SMA) or anyone else know of one, let me know. But remember, schar for teaching is not accepting charity.

    Also, I can give my opinion to the public and if someone finds my reasoning more compelling than Rav Moshe's, that person can follow my reasoning. I don't see why not. Especially since my reasoning is backed up by generations of Rabbis and Rav Moshe's is fairly recent, hence why he doesn't quote anyone as saying what he says, he just tries to explain the Rambam.

    In fact, I am not sure why we are allowed to even follow Rav Moshe in this situation since he seems to be Nogeiah bidavar. He came out with the psak that one can sit and learn all day in a kollel while he was doing this very thing, no? Is that not being Nogeiah bidavar and the Gemara tells us that we are not allowed to listen to a Rabbi that paskens while he is Nogeiah bidavar? Explain that one to me?

    But, anyway, I don't care if others follow Rav Moshe. What I do mind is someone coming to the door, asking for money and claiming it is a Gemara and not a new psak by modern day poskim.

    Again, I don't know every single Rishon, Gemara, Achron, etc, but I am fairly certain this sit and live off of charity is a fairly recent psak. Please, if anyone knows otherwise tell me the sources.

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  111. "However if it is a serious question, then I have no idea.

    Who invented the modern day kollel system?"

    No one did.

    But you are basically acknowledging that there really isn't a source to support this point of view.

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  112. "Your ideas that these people do not believe that their studying of Torah protects the nation, contradicts their own words."

    What I am asserting is that this "belief" however prevalent it might be (or however often they CLAIM it to be so, in order to defend their system in the eyes of seculars, or to lambaste the seculars that they should not be working but should be in the kollel system themselves, as in the case of this article), is NOT, repeat, NOT, the reason they do it. It's not the reason they run a "kollel system" and not the reason people participate in it. Ultimately, it is occasionally used as an excuse or a way to promote their "system" to seculars (or defend it, or rationalize it, or to say why learning should go on during a dangerous time - what else are they going to do, stop and hide in shelters instead?), but I don't believe for a second that the reason thousands of "kollel guys" get up in the morning and go to learn with their havrutha is because it "protects the nation" or is the "only" protection of the nation and that they honestly believe that, no matter how many times it is said.

    Rav Ovadia in the article does not attempt to give a reason or purpose or mission statement of "the system." He is merely lashing out at the seculars and other so-called faith-lacking Judaism adherents who dare to work for a living. (And lashing out at Rav Amsallem who gives them encouragement). Of course kollel system "protects" because it also does everything else, while anything other than "the system" is inept at doing. Didn't you know?

    "Your belief that because Israel has a majority of people who are not kollel going Haredim they don't care about "The Jewish people", is also contradicted by their words."

    No, this is supported by the article. Rav Ovadia asserts in the article that every Jew should be in "the kollel system" and there is no value to doing anything else. Anyone who is not part of "the system" is ostracized by being labeled as lacking faith. Therefore not within the kehilla. I rest my case. Only the kollel system inhabitants really count.

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  113. E-man,

    I did contradict myself (not work and not get paid), but never mind.

    WADR, you are confused on the Sugya in question. The Rambam does NOT distinguish between taking money for teaching or for learning. He adamantly opposes both. Your idea that he is opposed to accepting charity for learning vs. getting paid for teaching is not in the Rambam. See his Peirush Hamishnah to Avos.

    The Kesef Mishneh ARGUES with the Rambam in allowing people to get paid for learning or teaching.

    Saying that RMF is nogeia because he grew up in a system that supports Kollel, and we can't trust what he says, is just ridiculous. I think you are more nogeia the other way since you are a Westerner.

    You are very against people "sitting and learning and not giving back to the community", but this is just a form of Apikorsus of מאי אהנו לן רבנן לדידהו קרו ולדידהו תנו.

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  114. SMA said:

    "You are very against people "sitting and learning and not giving back to the community", but this is just a form of Apikorsus of מאי אהנו לן רבנן לדידהו קרו ולדידהו תנו."

    Of course, I forgot, you are Charaidi so of course you have to call me an apikorus for disagreeing with you.

    Notice how you can't provide a single source?

    Why is that question on Rav Moshe ridiculous? You can't just say it without giving an explanation. That is not how logic works. Maybe in your fantasy land.

    I think the Kesef Mishna is saying more like the Emunah vitorah found here: http://hebrewbooks.org/rambam.aspx?mfid=11710&rid=190

    מעלה גדולה היא למי שהוא מתפרנס ממעשה ידיו. נראה דהיינו בזמנם שאפילו בעל אומנות למד תשע שעות ביום וכמו שביאר הרמב"ם לעיל פ"א (הלכה י"ב), והספיק להם למחייתם דוחק רב, אבל בזמנינו שהצרכים נתרבו ונמשך לזמן הרבה ואינו יכול להיות שקוע בתורה, פשיטא שבשביל הנהגה טובה להתפרנס ממעשי ידיו לא כדאי לאבד שכרו כעוסק בתורה תמיד, ואשרי מי שעמלו בתורה וכו'

    NOTICE, PLEASE< how he is explaining how he thinks the Rambam would hold. Also, the Rambam IMPLIES this by specifically saying CHARITY in halacha 3:10.

    SMA- please answer the points and don't just make ridiculous statements. I asked for sources, if you can't give any I will assume you have no argument and are just spewing nonsense.

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  115. Student V,
    I hope you are just trolling.
    Your distortion of other people's POV is dishonest and you should be ashamed of yourself.

    Obviously, according to you, everything is done for selfish manipulative reasons by all people and nobody has any friends. I feel sorry for you.

    If you aren't trolling, no evidence in the world will change your mind, so conversation is irrelevant.

    However, the POV that the kollel system espouses, is the same POV that Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai is quoted as espousing in the Gemorah. (Shabbos 33b)
    The Kollel POV is very old, and the fact that G-d punishes R.S.B.Y. for his behavior apparently did not remove the POV from the Jewish people.

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  116. Looking back at our kollel years I would say that practically all the students and their wives believed in the kollel system sustaining the world and protecting Israel. I am not sure that Roshei Hakollel believed in it to the same degree and the Gdoilim definitely don't. During the first Lebanese war my husband stayed in kollel because he felt it was a more important contribution. Now he regrets not having fought than, but I still think that his learning was a greater contribution. The lomdus involved in justifying the kollel is above my head, but those were the best years of our lives. This having been said, to put masses of primitive, uneducated and unitellectual people with no financial resources into kollelim instead of into the army and the workforce is absurd and THAT has no source and makes no sense.

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  117. Does Torah study protect Israel? Is the IDF even necessary?

    For an answer to this I think we might want to turn to a Muslim story.

    Mohamed was very big on prayer and trusting in the Almighty. One of his friends came to him saying "My camel wandered off."

    "Did you tie him up?"

    "No. I did what you said and trusted in the Almighty."

    "Trust in the Almighty, but first make sure your camel is tied."

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  118. E-man,

    When it is what the Gemara calls Apikorsus then it is Apikorsus, what can I do.

    Please see the Rambam to Avos - the Rambam's critique applies equally to learning and teaching, and the Kesef Mishneh states so clearly.

    The Emunah V'Torah you cite SUPPORTS Rav MOSHE! He's talking about LEARNING.

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  119. SMA- I see you can't really learn that well. First off, that Gemara is talking about a person who says what worth are the Rabanim that are teachers and dayanim not the people who just sit and learn. Hence, Rabbanim, aka the leaders and the Rabbis of the Gemara.

    I am sorry that you don't understand the kesef mishna or the emunah vitorah.

    Again, one source that holds like you. One that says explicitly that one can learn all day and be supported by chairty without teaching, being a dayan or anything else.

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  120. SMA- When it is what the Gemara calls Apikorsus then it is Apikorsus, what can I do.

    I will tell you what you can do. Stop lying, misreading the Gemara and not providing sources for your misguidance. Thanks!

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  121. I also feel that it is necessary to point out that the Rambam DOES hold that a person who is teaching Torah or being a dayan is allowed to accept money. Case in point Hilchos Shekalim perek 4 halacha 4:

    גר שמת והניח זבחים אם יש לו נסכים קרבין משלו ואם לאו באין מתרומת הלשכה. כהן גדול שמת ולא מנו אחר תחתיו מקריבין את החביתין מתרומת הלשכה. מבקרי מומים שבירושלים ותלמידי חכמים המלמדים הלכות שחיטה לכהנים והלכות קמיצה ונשים המגדלות בניהן לפרה אדומה כולן נוטלין שכרן מתרומת הלשכה. וכמה הוא שכרן כמו שיפסקו להן בית דין:

    That is how many commentaries understand this Rambam, just look in the sefer mafteiach in the back of Rambam Frankel.

    The difference between there and here is that here the Rambam SPECIFICALLY SAYS Tzedaka (non-earned money). CLEARLY stating that it is only those who plan to live off of tzedaka to be the problem.

    Also, many other meforshim come to explain that the only problem is when someone comes to be supported by the community without their ok. But if the community accepts upon itself to support the scholar, that is ok. Again, see the sefer maftaeich in the back of rambam frankel.

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  122. Sorry for posting so much, one last thing that has to do with a previous point I made. The Emuna vitorah is CLEARLY talking about a Rav of a community and not just someone sitting and learning without contributing in 3:11 because he says this in 3:10

    ויתפרנס מן הצדקה הרי זה חילל את השם ובזה את התורה. עיין בכ"מ שלא נהגו ליזהר בכך, ונראה מדיוק לשון הרמב"ם כאן שבמתפרנס מן הצדקה הרי זה חלל את השם, ונראה דמיירי כשהעם עניים מאד כבזמנם, וקימצו לצדקה מעיסתם ונתנו מזה גם לרב, זהו בזיון התורה וחילול השם, אבל בזמנינו הספקת הרב אינו בדרך צדקה, ולא ממה שמקמצים מעיסה, רק מקובל לכל אחד שמגיע לרב שכר מכובד שאפשר להתפרנס ממנו בכבוד, ואין בזה בזיון התורה או חילול השם ומותר בלי פקפוק.

    Notice, he specifically says the Rav of the community can accept funds for being the Rav.

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  123. E-man,

    Your comments are interesting, I have to say, because you accuse ME of not being able to learn.

    Rabbanan does not mean teachers in the Gemara. Holy anachronism!

    לדידהו קרו ולדידהו תנו - get it?

    The Emunah V'Torah supports RMF! There's one source right there! BUt what's the point - you don't know how to read sources.

    The Kesef Mishneh writes:

    רבינו ז"ל הרחיב פיו ולשונו בפירוש המשנה פ"ד דמסכת אבות על ההספקות שנותנין גם לתלמידים גם לרבנים

    Is that clear enough?

    There's really no point in this debate with you. The readers can decide who doesn't know how to read sources.

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  124. Ah, now I see where we are getting confused. Read the whole Kesef Mishna. Thanks!

    Also, look into that sugya about the guy who says we don't need the Rabbanim.

    If this is too hard for you, I understand. I appreciate all your time that you put into researching the various subjects before calling anyone an apikorus. Oh, my mistake, that didn't happen. SHOCKING!

    For anyone who cares to look at the sources, just pick up a Rambam Frankel. Rambam 3:10-11 in hilchos talmud torah. See the kesef mishna, past the first line that our friend SMA quotes. Then take a look in the sefer hamafteiach and the different sources found there.

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  125. E-man,

    Please. You haven't put one tenth of the research I have into the subject, and I'll prove it:

    1) If you knew anything about the Sugya, you would realize that you are טועה בדבר משנה. The Mishnah in Bechoros 29a states הנוטל שכר לדון דיניו בטלים, paskened by the Rambam in Hilchos Sanhedrin 23. The Rambam in Hilchos Shekalim is the anomaly that has to be explained somehow, not the rule(see Tosfos to Kesuvos 105 and 106). This is the absolute Alef Beis of the issue.

    2) That you don't even realize that the Kesef Mishneh is flat out arguing on the Rambam (except at one point where he tries to somehow interpret the Rambam in another way) is shockingly ignorant of the topic. I'm sorry.

    3) You want sources that one may take Tzedaka to learn, here:

    a) שולחן ערוך יורה דעה הלכות תלמוד תורה סימן רמו סעיף כא

    ויש מקילין עוד לומר דמותר לחכם ולתלמידיו לקבל הספקות מן הנותנים כדי להחזיק ידי לומדי תורה, שעל ידי זה יכולין לעסוק בתורה בריוח. ומ"מ מי שאפשר לו להתפרנס היטב ממעשה ידיו ולעסוק בתורה, מדת חסידות הוא ומתת אלהים היא, אך אין זה מדת כל אדם, שא"א לכל אדם לעסוק בתורה ולהחכים בה ולהתפרנס בעצמו.

    b) See here from the Or Hachayim (that's the 1700s):

    http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=37773&st=&pgnum=217

    In Simman 255

    האידנא דנתמעטו הלבבות ... פשיטא שיותר מצוה הוא ללמוד כל היום ולהתפרנס מהצבור

    c) Chafetz Chaim Shem Olam Shaar Hachzakas HaTorah 11 - see there.

    4) Those who say that those who learn Torah do not contribute to the community are Apikorsim. If you have another way to interpret that Gemara, share it.

    רש"י מסכת סנהדרין דף צט עמוד ב

    מאי אהני לן - והם אינן יודעין שעולם מתקיים עליהם.

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  126. I haven't been following this debate, but I will say that Rashi's comment about how Torah scholars contribute to the community has nothing to do with taking money for learning. No Rishon in Ashkenaz did such a thing - even taking money for teaching was only permitted sometimes, as sechar betalah.

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  127. Rashi's comment has EVERYTHING to do with distinguishing between taking money for learning versus taking money for teaching - because one supposedly "gives back" to the community and the other just sucks up its resources while "contributing nothing". This is Apikorsus.

    BTW, the Bartenura to the Mishnah in Bechoros there goes ballistic against what goes on by Rabbis in Ashkenaz - who were chosen as Roshei Yeshivah - who DID take money for arranging Gittin, way more than justified for Schar Batalah.

    This is the gist of what the Rambam means, not the "living off the community while contributing nothing by just learning" nonsense, an abhorrent idea which I challenge you, or e-man, or anyone to find stated explicitly in ANY source at all.

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  128. A number of authorities were of the view that one may only financially support those in teaching or community roles, not those only learning. This seems to be the view of R. Yehudah b. Barzilai and Ramah. In Ashkenaz, many felt that even teachers may not take money, not even as sechar betalah, or only permitted it begrudgingly.

    Now it could be that all these were apikorsim. But more likely is that even though they considered Torah students to benefit the community, they did not see it as being acceptable to pay them for this, since it is not actually a service being provided to the community.

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  129. THAT is a legitimate distinction - hiring someone versus not hiring someone, where the hiree can accept Schar Batalah. But it makes no difference if one is hired to teach, shecht, be mesader gittin, learn Torah, or say Tehillim.

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  130. I don't know how you can say that it makes no difference. For many of the Rishonim, in both Ashkenaz and Sefard, it did indeed make a difference. They only permitted it for those actively providing a service for the community, not for people solely learning.

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  131. Sources please - that the distinction is teaching vs. learning, not hiring vs. not hiring.

    IOW, that one may not be hired to learn, say, L'illui Nishmas someone else's grandfather, or to fill the community's Beis Medrash, but one may accept gifts from people who did not hire him to teach Torah, because he is a teacher of Torah.

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  132. Please provide one source.

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  133. See the discussion in Kanarfogel, Ephraim. “Compensation for the Study of Torah in Medieval Rabbinic Thought,” in Ruth Link-Salinger (ed.), Of Scholars, Savants, and Their Texts: Studies in Philosophy and Religious Thought: Essays in Honor of Arthur Hyman (New York: Peter Lang 1989) 135-47.

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  134. I don't have it and don't have access to it. Please provide one source in a Halachic work making this distinction.

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  135. Ok SMA, I guess I will just point it out to you.

    If you actually read the Gemara in Sanhedrin you would see that the Rabbis are referred to those who paskin Halachos. Case in point, if you read continuing on to 100a you will see when Rava comments the definition is of what use are the rabbis to us they have never permitted us to eat a raven or forbidden us to eat a dove. AKA, they are the people who paskin halacha, they are the dayanim. They are the Rabbis who teach! You don't even need to look in a single peirush to understand this simple point.

    I never claimed that studying Torah is not great. What I claimed is that people who study for themselves and do not contribute to the community, that action is assur. Therefore, I am against it. Contribute meaning what the kesef mishna says, being a dayan, a teacher etc. Someone who is payed to do something.

    The first opinion in the gemara that you quote is saying that the rabbis learn, teach and paskin halacha only for themselves. That is why that person is an apikorus.

    Again, to see all of these opinions please look up the sefer hamafteich for all the sources in the back of the Rambam frankel.

    " That you don't even realize that the Kesef Mishneh is flat out arguing on the Rambam (except at one point where he tries to somehow interpret the Rambam in another way) is shockingly ignorant of the topic. I'm sorry."

    EXACTLY, he tries to reinterpret the Rambam to agree with him. DUH!


    שולחן ערוך יורה דעה הלכות תלמוד תורה סימן רמו סעיף כא

    ויש מקילין עוד לומר דמותר לחכם ולתלמידיו לקבל הספקות מן הנותנים כדי להחזיק ידי לומדי תורה, שעל ידי זה יכולין לעסוק בתורה בריוח. ומ"מ מי שאפשר לו להתפרנס היטב ממעשה ידיו ולעסוק בתורה, מדת חסידות הוא ומתת אלהים היא, אך אין זה מדת כל אדם, שא"א לכל אדם לעסוק בתורה ולהחכים בה ולהתפרנס בעצמו.

    ARE YOU SERIOUS??? First there is a whole long speech that says EXACTLY like me. So, I guess the Rama (this is in the Rama Rav Yosef Cairo) is an apikorus too.

    Anywho, if you notice, he doesn't say they can collect from Tzedaka, but from those who want to give in order to empower Torah learning. AKA, not allowed to receive funds from charity unless it was specifically designated to be given to them. I never disagreed with this. I disagreed with accepting charity from the community. I hope you understand the difference. I also would not be against a father supporting his son in learning the rest of his life. If someone wants to pay for someone else to learn, they have that right. However, that is a minority opinion and is looked on as a bidieved.

    רש"י מסכת סנהדרין דף צט עמוד ב

    מאי אהני לן - והם אינן יודעין שעולם מתקיים עליהם.

    I already pointed out above why this is irrelevant.


    "1) If you knew anything about the Sugya, you would realize that you are טועה בדבר משנה. The Mishnah in Bechoros 29a states הנוטל שכר לדון דיניו בטלים, paskened by the Rambam in Hilchos Sanhedrin 23. The Rambam in Hilchos Shekalim is the anomaly that has to be explained somehow, not the rule(see Tosfos to Kesuvos 105 and 106). This is the absolute Alef Beis of the issue."

    REally? If you look in the sources in the Rambam frankel they say the exact opposite. Where do you think I got the idea from?

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  136. SMA (AKA The Bidieved Jew)-"Sources please - that the distinction is teaching vs. learning, not hiring vs. not hiring. "

    As you have pointed out, the Rama quotes the opinion that one is allowed to hire someone to learn. However, it is a YEISH MAKILIN. It is by FAAAAR not the accepted opinion. But, you are allowed to be bidieved if you want.

    The same Rama you quote talks about how a Rav of a community is allowed to accept schar for his Job as Rav in certain situations. That is the Rav of the community not some joe shmoe who wants to just learn. Read your own sources!

    Also, if you look, like I have been saying TIME AND AGAIN, at the sources in the sefer hamafteich they make this distinction.

    Enjoy the research. Sorry, it isn't online, but I am sure your local bais medrash has a Rambam frankel.

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  137. SMA- 1) If you knew anything about the Sugya, you would realize that you are טועה בדבר משנה. The Mishnah in Bechoros 29a states הנוטל שכר לדון דיניו בטלים, paskened by the Rambam in Hilchos Sanhedrin 23. The Rambam in Hilchos Shekalim is the anomaly that has to be explained somehow, not the rule(see Tosfos to Kesuvos 105 and 106). This is the absolute Alef Beis of the issue.

    You know how I know I read it correctly and you are the one misreading it? Because I have the beir halacha, Davar shmuel and several others on my side. Thanks for playing.http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=14164&st=&pgnum=274

    Clearly saying the Rambam holds that one could teach for schar.

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  138. Yes, yes. The 'lechatchila' is to think, as you do, that the Rama [is] Rav Yosef Cairo (sic) and the 'bedieved' is to know Shas and Shulchan Aruch inside out while being supported.

    Your readings are hopelessly distorted, but seeing the above convinces me that further discussion is truly futile. All the best.

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  139. SMA, I left out the word not, RAMA is not Rav Yosef Cairo. But, I see you need to attack a left out word instead of the actual points. The RAMA actually says it is a yesih makilin, HOW IS that not BIDIEVED?

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  140. "Yes, yes. The 'lechatchila' is to think, as you do, that the Rama [is] Rav Yosef Cairo (sic) and the 'bedieved' is to know Shas and Shulchan Aruch inside out while being supported."

    I would just like to point out how you ADD THE WORD IS. That is chitzpah. Anyway, it is clear that I meant he is not Rav Yosef Cairo because I was responding to your source quoting. You claim it is in the Shulchan Orech without clarifying that it is in the Rama, that is why I added that in. Unfortunately, in my haste, I left out the word not.

    You are truly a funny man SMA (the bideived Jew). You think a yeish makilin is a lechatchila. Enjoy practicing Judaism that way.

    There it is folks, SMA the bideived Jew loves taking your money without contributing. Enjoy SMA, but remember, the Rambam and the RAMA are against your lifestyle.

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  141. Here is the corrected part of my comment for those who care. I left out the word not.

    שולחן ערוך יורה דעה הלכות תלמוד תורה סימן רמו סעיף כא

    ויש מקילין עוד לומר דמותר לחכם ולתלמידיו לקבל הספקות מן הנותנים כדי להחזיק ידי לומדי תורה, שעל ידי זה יכולין לעסוק בתורה בריוח. ומ"מ מי שאפשר לו להתפרנס היטב ממעשה ידיו ולעסוק בתורה, מדת חסידות הוא ומתת אלהים היא, אך אין זה מדת כל אדם, שא"א לכל אדם לעסוק בתורה ולהחכים בה ולהתפרנס בעצמו.

    ARE YOU SERIOUS??? First there is a whole long speech that says EXACTLY like me. So, I guess the Rama (this is in the Rama *NOT* Rav Yosef Cairo, it would be nice if you specify your sources, or should I say your NON-sources) is an apikorus too.

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  142. I apologize for assuming you did not know that (but the name is Caro, not Cairo).

    The Dvar Shmuel states openly:

    ואיך יעלה על הדעת שיורה בכגון זה הרב ז"ל שיותר טוב לאדם לאחוז בסכלות וחסרון החכמה כל ימיו אשר הוא גרמא לכמה נזקין ומכשלות תלמוד המביא לידי מעשה ולמנוע טוב מבעליו מפני היותו נהנה מאת אחיו


    Allow me to give you some more sources :

    Tashbetz I:148 - please read it carefully.

    Sefer Hachaim (Maharal's brother)
    -
    מזונותיו של ת"ח מוטלת על כל ישראל ואינו מתנת שכרם חלף עבודתם עבודת הלימוד המוטל על כל ישראל לעשותו

    ]רבינו בחיי שמות פרק טז פסוק ד

    כנגד מתנות כהונה תקנו מתנות לחכמי ישראל המתעסקים בתורה, שנאמר: )משלי לא, יד( "היתה כאניות סוחר ממרחק תביא לחמה".

    ברכי יוסף יו"ד רנה

    שאם נחמיר על לומדי תורה כיוצא בזה יניחוהו בקרן זוית

    חפץ חיים שם עולם שער החזקת התורה

    ויש אנשים שממאנים בזה וחושבים שלא לעשות כן מפני שגדול הנהנה מיגיע כפיו... ושוגגים בזה שגגה גדולה דכי מפני מדה טובה בעלמא יאבד הונה של תורה

    And many more sources to this effect.

    Taking money for learning today is no more Bedieved than writing Torah Sheb'al Peh (which everybody does), or than using all kinds of leniencies in the IDF, for national security demands it.

    If one cannot learn with the same depth or breadth, then one who decides to work (certainly, more than three hours a day, which is all the Rambam allowed - you need to learn for nine hours a day. Do you?) rather than take money and master Torah, is making, in the words of the Chafetz Chaim, a big mistake.

    It is a far bigger bedieved to be lenient on the requirement of mastering Torah than to be lenient on taking money for it, and like I mentioned - the 4 greatest Poskim of the 20th century held this way, and you can throw Rav Ovadia Yosef into the mix as well (see the whole Teshuvah).

    שו"ת יביע אומר חלק ז - יורה דעה סימן יז

    המורם מכל האמור שעדיף לבחור ההצעה ללמוד תורה כל היום. ולקבל משכורתו לצורך פרנסתו ממחזיק פרטי, או מהנהלת הכולל, יותר מאשר לעסוק במלאכה או בסחורה כמה שעות ביום לצורך פרנסתו, וילמד רק בשעות הפנאי,

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  143. 1. Others may well hold this view, but that doesn't make it Rambam's view.

    2. You are assuming that one cannot adequately master Torah if one is working. There is no basis for this. On the other hand, if one is not working, and if one is not teaching one's child a trade, one is certainly compromising several principles of Chazal.

    3. you write "work (certainly, more than three hours a day, which is all the Rambam allowed." That is NOT all that Rambam allowed - he certainly did more than that himself! Rather, that is a suggested ideal. If someone is not self-sufficient with that, Rambam would say to work longer.

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  144. SMA- I will let others decide if you are reading these sources correctly, I don't think you are in many situations. Also, I agreed that more modern poskim, like the chofeitz chaim held one should learn all day and live off the community even without giving back in any way shape or form. I am unsure where his sources are, but there is a Yeish makilin that we saw in the RAMA. I guess that is what he is holding like.

    I find it offensive that you think the writting down of the Torah Shebaal peh is equivalent to people sitting in kollel all day and not teaching, being dayanim, etc and getting paid for it by the community tzedaka. These are not equivalent at all. THat is why it is a yeish makilin (there are those that are lenient) because it is not really necessary. Many people are great Torah scholars and teach and act as dayanim as well as those that have other jobs.

    I am sorry you think the Torah would be lost if we had a kollel in a community that actually taught all the baal habatim and gave their time to actually help their fellow jews learn as well. The kollel's that do this are great, the ones that don't are AT BEST bideieved.

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  145. SMA is also assuming that everyone who is 'learning' all day is actually doing so. There are plenty of people in the Mir doing nothing all day!

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  146. Natan Slifkin,

    1. Others may well hold this view, but that doesn't make it Rambam's view.

    You don't follow Rambam either. Sorry.

    2. You are assuming that one cannot adequately master Torah if one is working. There is no basis for this.

    Ridiculous. EVERYONE from the Tashbetz on down says that one cannot do so. With the amount of hours one must work today to make ends meet, one cannot.

    On the other hand, if one is not working, and if one is not teaching one's child a trade, one is certainly compromising several principles of Chazal.

    Wrong. He is following the Rambam at the end of Hilchos Shemitta V'yovel, and he is teaching his child a trade - in a Torah related field.

    That is NOT all that Rambam allowed - he certainly did more than that himself! Rather, that is a suggested ideal. If someone is not self-sufficient with that, Rambam would say to work longer.

    Bedieved. Like taking any money for any Torah, learning or teaching, at all.

    SMA,
    I'm not sure what your problem is. 99% of the Kollel people who can teach someone something, end up doing so. Who d'ya think writes all the current elucidated books.

    The whole approach of those who denigrate Kollel on principle is a tremendous chutzpah against all the greats of the past century plus, at least. I find it incredibly offensive that all of a sudden Chazal don't matter when it comes to teaching Torah Sheb'al Peh to women, you don't care, and this is ONLY because of the shoulders of the greats of the exact parallel time of widespread Kollel, who espoused it. And there is no Yesh Mekilin in the Rema on teaching women Gemara!

    Anonymous,
    Of course. The batlanim are batlanim.

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  147. You don't follow Rambam either. Sorry.

    Of course. But I don't try to rewrite Rambam to fit in with what I do!

    With the amount of hours one must work today to make ends meet, one cannot.

    I know plenty, plenty of working people who learn Torah every day and become accomplished in it. So what if they're not the biggest talmidei chachamim? That's not obligatory.

    Wrong. He is following the Rambam at the end of Hilchos Shemitta V'yovel

    Absolutely not. Rambam is talking about somebody who is self-sufficient, not someone relying on others to support him!

    and he is teaching his child a trade - in a Torah related field.

    That's not a trade. As evident from how many people with that skill are in dire straits and begging for money.

    The whole approach of those who denigrate Kollel on principle is a tremendous chutzpah against all the greats of the past century plus, at least.

    It's a chutzpah to disagree??? Well, I guess all these greats of the past century have tremendous chutzpah to disagree with the Rishonim on so many things, from Chazal's scientific knowledge to the purpose of shiluach hakein to the propriety of mass kollel.

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  148. Of course. But I don't try to rewrite Rambam to fit in with what I do!

    Nor I. But the people who criticize Kollel on rambam grounds, while taking money for any Torah related field, are hypocrites.

    I know plenty, plenty of working people who learn Torah every day and become accomplished in it. So what if they're not the biggest talmidei chachamim? That's not obligatory.

    Until the know כל התורה כולה they are not fulfilling their obligation.

    שו"ת אגרות משה יורה דעה חלק ד סימן לו

    נמצא לפי זה דלהרמב"ם מחוייב כל אדם ללמוד כל התורה ולידע אותה,

    Absolutely not. Rambam is talking about somebody who is self-sufficient, not someone relying on others to support him!

    ביאור הלכה סימן קנו

    סופה בטלה וגוררת עון - כתבו הספרים שזהו נאמר לכלל העולם שאין כולם יכולים לזכות לעלות למדרגה רמה זו להיות עסקם רק בתורה לבדה אבל אנשים יחידים יוכל להמצא בכל עת באופן זה ]וזהו שאמרו בברכות ל"ו ע"ב הרבה עשו כרשב"י ולא עלתה בידן ר"ל דוקא הרבה[ והקב"ה בודאי ימציא להם פרנסתם וכעין זה כתב הרמב"ם פי"ג מהלכות שמיטין ויובלות ולא שבט לוי בלבד וכו' עי"ש ובפרט אם כבר נמצאו אנשים שרוצים להספיק לו צרכיו כדי שיעסוק בתורה בודאי לא שייך זה ויששכר וזבלון יוכיח:

    That's not a trade. As evident from how many people with that skill are in dire straits and begging for money.

    Many people with various skillls are in dire straits.

    שו"ת אגרות משה יורה דעה חלק ד סימן לו

    אבל בדורותינו שהתירו ליקח שכר, אדרבא מהא שמלמדו האב תורה הרי הוא ממילא גם כמלמדו אומנות, אם לימדו כל כך שראוי ללמד לאחרים וראוי להיות רב באיזה מקום, ויהיה לו גם פרנסה מזה.

    It's a chutzpah to disagree??? Well, I guess all these greats of the past century have tremendous chutzpah to disagree with the Rishonim on so many things, from Chazal's scientific knowledge to the purpose of shiluach hakein to the propriety of mass kollel.

    They are greats who knew the entire halachic corpus, and they can even disagree with the Rishonim, and pasken thus halachah l'maaseh for others. You are not, and you can't decide anything l'maaseh for how others should behave. Denigrating those who follow those greats based on your own opinions of what should be is a chutzpah.

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  149. ' I find it incredibly offensive that all of a sudden Chazal don't matter
    when it comes to teaching Torah Sheb'al Peh to women, you don't care, and this is ONLY because of the shoulders of the greats of the exact parallel time of widespread Kollel, who espoused it. And there is no Yesh Mekilin in the Rema on teaching women Gemara!'

    Please. To send the girls to goyishe public schools, like it was done in Europe, only not to teach them Torah is very wise. What were those gdoilim thinking? Who would want to marry those yeshiva bochurim? The products of that secular educational system led hundreds of thousands off the derech. In the 20th and 21st century when I, like many others, spend most of my income on supporting kollel learning and I have a right to know what is being learned there, regardless of what anyone says. Today there is nothing wrong with a woman learning Gemorah if she is interested. I wish more would care, but hardly anyone does. I did attend Gemorah shiurim for years and I listen to Torah tapes. I know a lady that has been through Shas a few times listening to her husbands daf hayoimi shiur. What exactly is your problem?

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  150. "Bedieved. Like taking any money for any Torah, learning or teaching, at all."

    No, the Rama doesn't say this at all. He says it is ok to accept money for teaching Torah. Also, so does the Kesef Mishna (Rav Yosef Caro). So do many others. In fact, most explain the Rambam to hold this way. JUST LOOK UP THE SOURCES IN THE SEFER haMAFTEICH.

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  151. I said
    Natan Slifkin said"...

    And for many jews, being involved in Torah is by definition "melechet shamayim"

    But this is definitely NOT what the Gemara is referring to. Because a talmid chacham is by definition someone who is involved in Torah. So it would make no sense for the Gemara to say, "Which person involved in Torah must be supported? One who is involved in Torah." Obviously "osek bemelechet Shamayim" means something OTHER than being involved in studying Torah."

    A Talmid Chacham is by definition someone who is learned in Torah. It doesn't denote that he is always involved in Torah. Suppose for instance an outstanding Yeshiva Bochur became a tailor. That one would still be called a Talmid Chacham. Also you can't say ""osek bemelechet Shamayim" means something OTHER than being involved in studying Torah."" and expect the rebbes and academics to have to come up with a meaning whether or not they can find one. You are insisting an interpretation is to be found in theory but leaving the rabbonim and academics to pick up the pieces.

    I doubt you would accept a "there surely must be some other explanation" for a pshat from your opponents.

    Well now Rabbi Slifkin said:
    "I know plenty, plenty of working people who learn Torah every day and become accomplished in it. So what if they're not the biggest talmidei chachamim? That's not obligatory."

    I agree but Rabbi Slifkin here referred to people who do not only learn as not the biggest Talmidei Chachamim. According to everyone his statement leaves open the possibility that some at least are Talmidei Chachamim but just not the biggest or even big ones. According to the definition Rabbi Slifkin gave, however we would have to reinterpret him to mean they are not considered to be really Talmidei Chachamim since they do something other than learn. Bias on your side rabbi made you twist the Gemara I would claim. It can happen to everyone. It doesn't make Halacha subjective but it does make it that each person tries as a human being to interpret it correctly and subjectivity can come into play. The Torah's on earth though and what it says is determined by us. In that sense Moshe Rabbeinu's Sefer Torah is just that if it contradicts ours. It is his Kesiv and we have our own Keri and even Kesiv.

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  152. Carol, there is a fundamental difference between what a girl/woman can study on her own and what a father is or isn't advised to teach his daughter. The language of the Rambam which is carried over into the Shulchan Aruch is clear. A woman can study any and all parts of torah, and receives a divine reward for such sincere efforts - albeit, he adds, not comparable to that received by a male student, since the latter fulfills a torah command. The problem with teaching a daughter the oral torah was enunciated by the tanna, Rebbe Eliezer in T.B. Sotah, who considered it equivalent to teaching her 'tiflut'. While Rebbe Eliezer's views are not normally decisive (shamusi hu), the halacha, as codified by the Rambam and Shulchan, follows his enunciation. Those who chose not to follow his dictum in the modern world, such as RYBS, R' Aharon Lichtenstein, and the late Lubavitch Rebbe, did so for the same reason that the Chofetz Chaim, Belzer, and Gurer Rebbes approved of teaching torah to girls. such instruction was felt necessary to properly educate girls, given their education and achievements in secular studies. It seemed paradoxical that women who could master highly analytical disciplines like math, physics, and law would be considered incapable of properly appreciating the intellectual discipline of serious talmudic study.

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  153. Y. Aharon, thank you for reviewing the sad history of female Jewish education. I am aware of the sources and history. I just hope that one day it will be considered a lechatchila rather than a bedieved for a woman to learn Torah. It is said that we, Orthodox Jews, are always behind the curve instead of leading the way when it comes to human rights.

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