Monday, May 6, 2013

Is It Better To Be Supported In Kollel Or To Work?

Recently I came across a book called Priorities in Tzedaka by a Rabbi Moshe Goldberger. It bears an impressive array of approbations from across the Orthodox spectrum. I was curious to see how it deals with the issue of supporting people in kollel, which is currently a very hot topic in Israel. The topic is dealt with on page 70, and here is what it has to say:
Is it better for someone to sit and learn with support, at a kollel, or to get a job as as to be self-supporting and to continue to learn in his free time?
It is definitely proper for a person to accept support in order to learn full time (Ramoh, Yoreh Deah, 246:21). Our sages teach that it is sinful not to accept support when one can learn more with support. Those who think they know better are being led by the wiles of the Evil Inclination to distract them from more Torah study (Igros Moshe, Yoreh Deah, 2:116).
This took me by surprise, to put it mildly. It has been a while since I learned the topic, but I was pretty sure that this wasn't how I remembered it. Still, human memory can be notoriously unreliable, so I went back to check the sources that he quoted.

Let's begin with the Ramoh in Yoreh Deah, 246:21 that the author quotes as saying that "It is definitely proper for a person to accept support in order to learn full time." Here is what the Ramoh first says:
לא יחשוב האדם לעסוק בתורה ולקנות עושר וכבוד עם הלמוד, כי מי שמעלה מחשבה זו בלבו אינו זוכה לכתרה של תורה, אלא יעשה אותו קבע ומלאכתו עראי, וימעט בעסק ויעסוק בתורה. ויסיר תענוגי הזמן מלבו ויעשה מלאכה כל יום כדי חייו, אם אין לו מה יאכל, ושאר היום והלילה יעסוק בתורה. ומעלה גדולה למי שמתפרנס ממעשה ידיו, שנאמר: יגיע כפיך כי תאכל וגו':
He says that a person should work to support himself, leaving Torah study to other times of day and night, and that it is very praiseworthy to be self-sufficient. Which is not at all surprising, since Chazal taught that Torah study should be accompanied by derech eretz, and in numerous places stressed the importance of being self-sufficient: “A person should hire himself out for alien work rather than requiring assistance from others”; “The man who is self-sufficient is greater than the one who fears Heaven”; etc. The Ramoh continues:
וכל המשים על לבו לעסוק בתורה ולא לעשות מלאכה להתפרנס מן הצדקה, הרי זה מחלל השם ומבזה התורה, שאסור ליהנות מדברי תורה. וכל תורה שאין עמה מלאכה, גוררת עון וסופו ללסטם הבריות.

Here Ramoh drives home this point even further, noting that someone who decides to busy themselves with Torah and live off charity rather than working has desecrated God's Name and brought the Torah into disrepute. He adds that Torah which is not accompanied by work leads to sin and theft (presumably because the Torah scholar/student is incapable of making a living via honest means). Similarly, the Rosh, discussing someone whose Torah is his profession, such that he is exempt from paying various taxes, defines this person as someone who only takes time away from his studies in order to earn a livelihood, “which is his obligation, for the study of Torah with derech eretz is beautiful, and if the Torah is not accompanied by work, it will end in neglect and will cause sin." This reflects the normative position amongst the Rishonim in Ashkenaz, where financing Torah study was unheard of; virtually all Torah scholars were self-supporting, and even financing Torah teaching was only reluctantly permitted by some.

At this point Ramoh notes that there is an exemption for people who are physically incapable of working:
וכל זה בבריא ויכול לעסוק במלאכתו או בדרך ארץ קצת ולהחיות עצמו, אבל זקן או חולה, מותר ליהנות מתורתו ושיספקו לו.
Such people are allowed to receive payment for the Torah that they teach.

So far, Ramoh has been unequivocal that it is forbidden and evil to take money for Torah rather than to be self-supportive. But at this point he introduces a lenient view:
ויש אומרים דאפילו בבריא מותר (בית יוסף בשם תשובת רשב"ץ ח"א, קמ"ז, קמ"ח). ולכן נהגו בכל מקומות ישראל שהרב של עיר יש לו הכנסה וספוק מאנשי העיר, כדי שלא יצטרך לעסוק במלאכה בפני הבריות ויתבזה התורה בפני ההמון...
As Ramoh cites, there is a lenient view, based on R. Shimon b. Tzemach Duran (Rashbatz), that permits Torah scholars to receive funding. Note, however, that Rashbatz specifically limits this to Torah scholars functioning in the role of community rabbi. In the referenced responsum, he argues that since the Kohen Gadol receives material support from the community, how much more so should a Torah scholar be entitled to such support; after all, he is equally performing a service for the community. Ramoh writes that “a person important to the community may accept money from it... without violating the prohibition against benefiting from the Torah, for he is honoring the Torah, not using it." He is not talking about a kollel student!

However, Ramoh proceeds to note that there are those who are even more lenient and permit even students to receive financial support, in order to strengthen Torah study:
ויש מקילין עוד לומר דמותר לחכם ולתלמידיו לקבל הספקות מן הנותנים כדי להחזיק ידי לומדי תורה, שעל ידי זה יכולין לעסוק בתורה בריוח.
So there we have it; after stating the primary view, that it is forbidden and wrong for Torah scholars to receive funding, then noting a "yesh omrim," an alternate lenient view that it is permissible for rabbis to receive funding, we finally have a further lenient view that even students may receive funding. However, Ramoh notes that it is still preferable for Torah students to be self-supportive, if possible:
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.
As Rashbatz writes in his responsa, “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.”

Thus, for Rabbi Goldberger, when responding to the question "Is it better for someone to sit and learn with support, at a kollel, or to get a job as as to be self-supporting and to continue to learn in his free time?" to summarize Ramoh's view as "It is definitely proper for a person to accept support in order to learn full time," does not seem particularly accurate.

Now let us move on to the view of R. Moshe Feinstein, in a responsum from 1964. He writes that it is "certainly fine" for kollel students to take payment, based upon this Ramoh. Which, I would humbly submit, is not exactly the Ramoh's position. R. Feinstein notes that R. Yosef Caro in Kesef Mishnah observed that Rambam's prohibition on Torah scholars receiving payment was not shared by other authorities, and permits a Torah scholar to receive funds. This is true; however, R. Yosef Caro 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 (although elsewhere he appears to be more lenient).

R. Moshe notes that even if it is not permitted for a Torah scholar (/student?) to receive payment according to the sources, it is still permitted based upon Eis la'asos l'Hashem, heferu Torasecha - the license given to overturn Torah law for the sake of the greater good. He writes that the generation is spiritually weak, and that Torah greatness will not be achieved if people do not receive payment for it. And, as Rabbi Goldberger correctly reports, R. Moshe is indeed of the view that "Those who think they know better are being led by the wiles of the Evil Inclination to distract them from more Torah study."

Still, R. Moshe's primary sources are referring to Torah teachers, not Torah students. And he admits that his license may well be based upon emergency measures, rather than expressing the original laws and priorities. And one cannot necessarily extrapolate from the state of Torah-emergency in 1964 to the situation in the twenty-first century, when there are tens of thousands of people in kollel.

In summary, then: while Rabbi Goldberger presents an accurate representation of Rav Moshe's view, I don't think that Rav Moshe's sources or his view are necessarily relevant to the kollel situation today. And certainly, if we are looking at Chazal and the Rishonim, the traditional approach is overwhelmingly that it is much, much better for someone to support themselves by working than to be supported in kollel. It's truly astonishing that there are people who not only do not acknowledge that this was the traditional and dominant view, but are apparently entirely unaware of it!

(See too my monograph on "The Economics of Torah Scholarship in Medieval Jewish Thought and Practice")


  1. We have a clear pesak from Rav Moshe saying that it permitted to receive money to learn and no convincing reason to think he would rule different nowadays. Since the rule is that halacha goes after the basra'ah, the latest poseik. it would seem that his opinion should be followed.


  2. That's not what hilchasa k'basra'i means!

  3. R' Shteinman is quoted as follows:

    צויין כי לאחרונה נשאל ראש הישיבה האם עדיף ללמוד הוראה שמחד זוהי התעסקות רוחנית אך מאידך קשה עד מאוד להשיג בזה או עבודה, או שמא עדיף ללמוד מקצוע אחר כהנדסאים וכדו' שההכנסה בזה היא כפולה ויותר קל למצוא עבודה.

    מרן ראש הישיבה השיב כי "צריך לחפש עבודה בדברים רוחניים, ולא בדברי חול המרוקנים מרוחניות".

    באשר לחובת ההשתדלות למצוא פרנסה, אמר הגראי"ל כי "חובת ההשתדלות של האדם תלויה בבחירה שלו, ואם בוחר בחיים - ברוחניות, חובת ההשתדלות שלו היא רק בזה"

    Recently the Rosh Yeshiva was asked [about the wife of a kollel student - my addition]if it is better to learn to be a teacher that on one hand is a profession that is involved in spirituality but on the other hand, it is very hard to find a job, or maybe it would be better to learn a different trade like engineering etc. where the salaries are much higher and it is easier to find a job.

    The Rosh Yeshiva answered, "you need to look for work in spiritual matters and not in mundane matters that have no spirituality".

    Regarding the obligation of making an effort (hishtadlus) he said "the obligation of a persons hishtadlus is dependent on the person, if he chooses a life of spirituality then his obligation of hishtadlus is only in that"

    The obvious question is what is the source of this. Where do we find any sources that a person should not work in a mundane professions? The Gemara (quoted by the Rema in the post) clearly states that a person should work to support himself, nowhere does the Gemara say that he should work in spiritual matters only. In fact, according to the first opinion of the Rema you aren't allowed to take money for that. In addition, we know that the Tannaim and Amoraim worked as blacksmiths, coal miners, carpenters, etc. (for example see teh Gemara Berachos 28A where R' Gamliel visits R' Yehoshuas haouse and sees from the black walls that he worked with coal).

    R' Yehoshua obviously chose a life of spirituality, yet he still worked in a mundane profession as did many of the Tannaim and Amoraim.

  4. This is one of the things that really bothers me about the Briskers (in Yerushalayim). They are חושש for almost every shita of the Rambam even if he is a דעת יחיד and yet when it comes to taking money for learning Torah where the Rambam is vehemently opposed (and was not a דעת יחיד), they choose to completely ignore the Rambam and sit and learn in kollel like everyone else.

  5. I really would like to understand R' Shteinman's (and the rest of the Charedi worlds) approach to how a Jewish state is supposed to be run. To run a state you need, engineers, doctors, electricians, plumbers etc. according to R' Shteinman where will these come from? Isn't Torah supposed to be a blueprint for society? Are we supposed to rely on non-Jews to run everything? How did they run the state in the times of the First and Second beis Hamkidash? Not with non-Jews. The Jews were the farmers and the shopkeepers and the builders etc. Who was in Dovid Hamelech's army? The Talmidei Chachamim NOT the sinners.

    Wasn't this the dispute between Rivka and Yitzchak about who should get the Berachos? Yitzchak thought that Yaakov should just sit and learn and not be involved in the world, Eisav would get he Berachos relating this world and support Yaakov. However, Rivka disagreed and held that Yaakov needed to have both, he needed to have the Berachos relating to this world as well and the Chumash clearly paskens like Rivka.

  6. marty bluke's question easily answered-----
    mashiach times= tei'aseh melacha

    all work will be done by goyim or the jewish equivalent

  7. The reasoning of Eit Laasot LaHashem Heferu Toratecha appears already in the kesef mishneh as explaining why one can take a salary for teaching torah.

  8. Cite this Rama next time you hear some rosh yeshivah or another railing against relying upon "yesh omrims."

    Agav, note carefuly the Rama's words, that "not everyone is capable of supporting himself and learning and becoming wise at the same time." We have to concede that its not easy to be a serious scholar (as opposed to superficial learning) and support yourself at the same time. Most guys in kollel for sure wouldnt be able to do it. But I would suggest that, as hard as it is, it is easier today than it was in the Rama's time.

  9. bluke:

    I understand most if not all of the chareidi world look upon R'Shteinman as their generation's Torah leader.

    However, you should understand that many other dedicated Orthodox Jews see a rabbi who would tell a bachor to travel to India rather than join the IDF in a different light.

    Story at YWN.

  10. aloeste,

    Last I checked Moshiach hasn't come yet. What do we do until then?

  11. Rav Slifkin. I commend you on your detailed review of these laws so that people can see the truth of these matters and not rely on people who are simply involved in an ex post facto rationalizaiton of the position they want, namely that sitting in Kollel is black letter torah b shamayim. In fact, we should see this position for what it is, a Modern entirely unjustified addition to the torah that has led exactly to the downside that our sages predicted.

    "Torah study alone without work will in the end be nullified and lead to sin." Yehuda Hanassi

    There continues to be sin, and a denigration of the Torah in the eyse of the world as people look inside the Torah world and see only lazy selfish people who don't want to work. Whether correct or not, that is the perception that their lifestyles are bringing to Torah.
    It has lead to Torah learning is best combined with an occupation, because the effort of both will keep one from sin. Torah study alone without work will in the end be nullified and lead to sin."

  12. Kessef Mishne does not limit accepting payment to teachers. He permits students to receive unless they don't need it (in his first opinion).

  13. The emergency measures are based on on final option in Kessef Mishne, which seems to be his final one, as he cites Rambam's view as halacha in SA. KM writes sudents and teachers.
    וגם כי נודה שהלכה כדברי רבינו בפירוש המשנה אפשר שהסכימו כן כל חכמי הדורות משום עת לעשות לה' הפרו תורתך שאילו לא היתה פרנסת הלומדים והמלמדים מצויה לא היו יכולים לטרוח בתורה כראוי והיתה התורה משתכחת ח"ו ובהיותה מצויה יוכלו לעסוק ויגדיל תורה ויאדיר

  14. Last I checked Moshiach hasn't come yet. What do we do until then?

    Why, you behave as if the Moshiach were here, which will surely help to bring him. Like the man says, "If you will it, it is no dream."

  15. Yoel B,

    That hasn't exactly worked well in the past.

  16. The issue of the desirability of full-time torah (talmud) study vs. gainful employment together with part-time study was addressed in the talmud and the latter was selected. This is clearest in T.B. Berachot where the dispute between Tana'im, R' Yishma'el (work with study) and R' Shimon (torah only), was decided in favor of R' Yishma'el ("many acted like R' Yishma'el and were successful, many like R' Shimon and were unsuccessful"). This is also the majority view of Tana'im in T.B. Kedushin in terms of teaching sons a trade. Only R' Nehora'i there comes out totally in favor of a torah only perspective. The 19th century's eminent European posek, R' Moshe Sofer (Chatam Sofer) ruled that we are permitted to follow R' Nehora'i in the diaspora but not in Israel where there are mitzvot dependent on developing the land that may not be neglected. The Hareidi leaders there generally give lip service to the views of the Chatam Sofer, referring to him as the head of the diaspora, but choose to disregard that one.

    A cynic could believe that all this Hareidi leadership posturing is for their self-interest in fostering adherents. A more generous assessment is that they are generally fearful of the potential loss of religious committment once people enter into the working world or army. In either case, their stance is doomed to failure. There is no way that the wholesale abandonment of productive labor by an increasingly larger component of the populace can be long supported. It is simply becoming too burdensome a load for even sympathizers to bear. Furthermore, this is no longer a time when the rationale of full-time torah study can be considered an exigency. There is no need for the many thousands of full-time, long term students in Israel and abroad. A few thousand of the best students should suffice. In any case, one would be hard pressed to find evidence of the great torah advances made by the many thousands of the full-time students.

  17. Regarding halacha being like basra'ah,I thought it means that you go like a later poseik rather than earlier because the later one has seen the earlier arguments etc. Why is this wrong?


  18. So Rabbi Ploni can say that he disagrees with all the Rishonim and Acharonim that preceded him, and that's that?!

    Halachah k'basrai is a concept that has changed over the centuries, but it was never a blanket principle that the chronologically final posek has to be followed. In fact, originally it was simply a protocol to be used to determine a course of action when everything else balanced out. For a thorough discussion, see Yisrael Ta-Shma's essay on it in "Creativity and Tradition."

  19. "the generation is spiritually weak"

    A dangerous justification when coupled with the concept of "yeridas hadoros" - i.e. producing the absurdity of an "eis la'asos" that never ends!


  20. Yes. It reminds me of something that Rabbi Dr. Yehuda Levi told me heard from one of the Gedolim - that the Gedolim of WWII instituted the mass-kollel innovation as an emergency measure to restore the losses of the Holocaust, but that even though this has long since been attained, "who are we to change things back to the way they used to be."

  21. @avraham1
    See Maharik shoresh 84. Halacha kebatrai applies from Rava and Abaye onward because previously, rabbis only studied the Braitot of their masters. They didn't cross reference with other Braitot cited in other yeshivot. Hence one wouldn't have a clearer view than his teacher. In the generation of Rava and Abaye, it became the standard to study Braitot from other yeshivot, hence that generation had a broader view than their teachers.
    That is one view of the statement. Accordingly, it wouldn't apply nowadays, and we'd go back to the rule of "The law is not like a student in place of his master."
    According to Ran in Succah 1a, the law is like the batrai only when he argues after his master dies, or not in front of his master.

    The words halacha kebatrai do not mean that nowadays the halachic decisions made by the latest, current day rabbis are binding. Doesn't Shulchan Aruch generally decide like the Rif and Rambam over the Rosh? In post Talmud halacic decisions, certain Codes and commentaries were "ratified" (lack of better word) by klal Yisrael. Some were given more prominence, others less. Different communities ratified different codes. Those Codes have become binding (though of lesser form than the Tamud), and current poskim must conform to those decisions.

  22. eis laasos that never ends isn't absurd. We still publish Torah Shebaal Peh.


  23. I think he was referring to one that ought to end, but which doesn't, because people claim that they aren't big enough to end it.

  24. Rabbi Slifkin,
    Its a hopeless task, inveighing against shallow exegetics advancing sclerotic interpretations to justify their own lame viewpoint.
    Of course Rabbi Goldberger is familiar with many counter arguments advanced by the talmud, rishonim and achronim against pursuing a livelihood and self sufficiency, That, or we may just assume that R. Goldberger is an ignoramus,
    I suspect however that he conveniently chooses to ignore the many fundamental halachic admonishments to become gainfully employed.
    Its a sad state of affairs that has infected Torah Judaism. Quite frankly its whole purpose become highly suspect.

  25. I think they mean they aren't big enough politically to pull it off.

  26. Here's what Rav Ovadia Yosef wrote on the subject:

    וסיימו בגמרא, אמר אביי, הרבה עשו כרבי ישמעאל (ששילבו תורה עם דרך ארץ, כלומר מלאכה אחרת) ועלתה בידם (והצליחו), כרבי שמעון (שעסקו רק בתורה) ולא עלתה בידם. וזאת משום ששיטת רבי ישמעאל היא הראויה לנהוג לרוב בני האדם, ואילו שיטת רבי שמעון לשקוד אך ורק בתורה, אינה ראויה באופן כללי, אלא ליחידים אשר אדיר חפצם להתעלות במעלות התורה ויראת ה' טהורה, ובפרט לאלה אשר חננם ה' בכשרונות מבורכים, בתפיסה מהירה וזכרון מופלא, אשר נשקף להם עתיד מזהיר להיות מורי הוראות בישראל, ולדון דין אמת לאמיתו, ולקרב את ישראל לאביהם שבשמים...

  27. bluke above quotes a Rosh Yeshiva:
    "The Rosh Yeshiva answered, "you need to look for work in spiritual matters and not in mundane matters that have no spirituality".

    I am no Talmud chacham, but is not the Talmud largely concerned about the application of the Law to "mundane" situations of torts, contracts, property rights, etc., in addition to and connected with religious obligations? How does one separate "spiritual" matters from "mundane" matters from a Jewish point of view?

    Someone reading this discussion would think that Kollel students meditate like Buddhist monks day and night. But on the contrary, Judaism is concerned with life in the real world, not in a cloistered monastery.

    How is one who has no experience of the real world to fully grasp the issues that come up in the Talmud?

  28. I forgot my handleMay 7, 2013 at 1:19 AM


    Generally, Kollel students ARE finding means of supporting themselves, and would not be considered shirking the duty of earning a livelihood. (certainly more true outside of Israel)

    Your misapprehension is due to the fact that many Kollel participants are less than accomplished. The colloquialism "Eis La'asos" is invoked with respect to the underaccomplishing class of kollel participants. However, these masses of "Eis La'asosnicks" are, by and large, finding means of support that are permissible and responsible. The incidence of Kollel families' financial situations amounting to being "train wrecks" is not at variance with with the societal norm. Kollel families whose finances are a disaster "suffer" for the same reason that a proprtionate amount of non-kollel familes "suffer" the same - mainly poor financial discipline, which is common across all parts of society.

    Stop trying to force halachic opinion into your political worldview. You criticize particular Hareidim for it, but are just as guilty of the same.

  29. Is it better to study history so you could learn from the experiences, differences and teachings of earlier generations, or is it preferable to simply rewrite history so no one can question your dogma?

  30. How many gedolim are prduced nowadays? Not so many, as far as I know. In fact, I'm not sure its all that different from 50 years ago.

    I never thought the idea of "it was needed to strengthen Torah study" was referring to numbers of people studying. I always took it as referring to a level of learning.

    Kind of like the meimra that "1,000 go into yeshiva....1 is able to pasken", or however it goes.

    I.e., in our spiritually degraded state, if we don't focus a lot on Torah study, we'll be in trouble.

    A number of years ago someone came to my house collecting for a mizrachi kollel. The problem was that they kept having to go to Chareidi poskim about many things because they didn't have what they needed in their camp. Which is understandable, considering how that segment handles the critical years of 18-23.

  31. I like how you use the word "leniencies." Sometimes it's best to remind those who rail against kulot that they're just as guilty as anyone.

    "all work will be done by goyim or the jewish equivalent"

    That's disgusting. Who, pray tell, are the "jewish equivalent?"

  32. So we have a machlokes Rabbi Moshe Fienstien and Rabbi Nosson Slifkin.
    Judging by what you yourself have written many times,that in all areas of knowledge (incuding Torah) we must trust the experts -those that have researched the topic well, by your own standards should the bnei torah not trust R Moshe more than yourself?
    Anyone who has seen the tshuva inside will notice the vast amount of knowledge R Moshe knew on this topic....yet you still feel he is wrong???
    Does this not undermine your own view of always trusting the experts in the field???

  33. So, waaay back almost 25 years ago in Gateshead Yeshiva I was "zocheh" to hear Reb Mattisyahu Salamon give a mussar shmuess about working for a living. He started out by quoting the Rambam (derech chasidim rishonim....etc) and by some amazing legerdemain managed in under an hour to come to the conclusion that the only good thing for a Jewish boy to do was to learn all his life and not chas vesholom go out to work.

    While listening to this....maybe I shouldn't say the word I want to use to describe it, but "travesty" will do... I kept on thinking "The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose" - it truly was awe-inspiring in a very sad way.

    I would say from that point on I found it difficult to take the rest of his pronouncements very seriously, which probably helped me out tremendously in life.


  34. Lone Flame - What makes you so sure that Rav Moshe studied the topic more thoroughly than me? Have you studied my monograph?

    And, by the way, there is not necessarily much disagreement between me and Rav Moshe. If I was writing in 1964, I might have written much the same thing.


  35. Kibi - That probably helped you with the time that he gave an entire mussar shmuez about you going out without a hat!

  36. One can only wonder why you bring proof from chazal that one should work for a living.Do you not sometimes claim they were mistaken? Why then would you use them as proof?
    And if you deem them correct because it makes sense, does that mean you only accept chazal's words when it makes sense to you?
    Charedim on the other hand understand that Chazal authorised a mesorah which was given to the Gedolim and Poskim of each generation (not to the zoologists) to decide the fine nuances of halacha.
    So in this post, its the charedim who win


  37. Chazal were sometimes mistaken on matters of science. We know this when science has proven otherwise. That has nothing to do with matters relating to values.

    Charedim on the other hand understand that Chazal authorised a mesorah which was given to the Gedolim and Poskim of each generation (not to the zoologists) to decide the fine nuances of halacha.

    What on earth do you mean by "mesorah"? Do you mean what Chazal and the Rishonim transmitted, or what was recently innovated? Are you traditional, or Reform?

  38. I forgot my handleMay 7, 2013 at 10:40 PM

    """Lone Flame - What makes you so sure that Rav Moshe studied the topic more thoroughly than me? Have you studied my monograph?"""

    WOW! Natan, that you can say things like this is why you have lost credibility and have become mistrusted. You did it to yourself!

    You speak of "suffering at the hands of the gedolim", but really, you are causing all of your own suffering.

    The Gedolim, Ketanim, Askanim, loudmouths, bored hockers or whoever else that had vocally opposed you some years ago had all turned out to be right-on, because your reactions to the various slurs and accusations have revealed some very ugly principles/attitudes which would make you and your pronouncements unwelcome in many, many Orthodox communities, not just Hareidi.

    Maybe that is what Rabbi Feldman saw which effected his turnabout some months after first having invested himself into your defense.

  39. "Still, R. Moshe's primary sources are referring to Torah teachers, not Torah students. And he admits that his license may well be based upon emergency measures, rather than expressing the original laws and priorities. And one cannot necessarily extrapolate from the state of Torah-emergency in 1964 to the situation in the twenty-first century, when there are tens of thousands of people in kollel"

    Rav Moshe learns Eis La'asos/emergency measures into earlier sources, and his only ref. to the current is a "kol shakain".

    Kesef Mishna brought in Shach 246 ends off with "lomdim umelamdim- students and teachers"

  40. RNS wrote:
    "It reminds me of something that Rabbi Dr. Yehuda Levi told me heard from one of the Gedolim - that the Gedolim of WWII instituted the mass-kollel innovation as an emergency measure to restore the losses of the Holocaust, but that even though this has long since been attained, "who are we to change things back to the way they used to be."

    Not so different than the reason you not to wear Tcheiles -- even though you agree the source is Murex Trunculus.

    (Oh!! Got it! The Lo Sasuru will make you change your mind:)


  41. To "I forgot my handle": Insults aside, why is it utterly inconceivable that RNS could have learned this particular topic more thoroughly than RMF?

    And are you claiming that the ban was only justifiable in light of RNS' later attitudes? Does that mean that it's okay for other people to believe that the world is millions of years old?

  42. I forgot my handleMay 7, 2013 at 11:18 PM

    It is utterly inconceivable for a so-called orthodox rabbi to expect to be taken seriously while they make remarks such as that one.

    It's OK to believe that you don't really know how long creation has been in existense - perhaps millions of years. It is ridiculous (for somebody who considewrs themselves orthodox) to stridently assert that science proves anything about how to interpret the creation timeline.

  43. I saw an interesting article on, a New Jersey news site today. Did you know that Lakewood's BMG does not limit acceptance to those with a comparable haskafic outlook or even to Jews only? Who knew?

    Or, do we believe they'll say anything to get state funding?

    It's relevant to the question of Kollel vs Work, because it reveals the outcome of a Torah study only approach as predicted by Chazal.


  44. So, according to "I forgot my handle", someone who is not as learned as Rav Moshe Feinstein can't be taken seriously if he disagrees on some halachic topic. Yet 'forgot' is perfectly willing to pontificate on a subject of which he knows little, i.e., the scientific evidence for the age of the earth. That is a subject which the banners of R' Natan's book(s) have also little knowledge. They only repeat and insist on traditional understandings of Genesis I. Rest be assured that those of us who consider ourselves Orthodox and do have access to such evidence will state with assurance that the earth is far, far older than the traditional alloted 5773 years. Name calling or attempted delegitimation will have no effect.

  45. R' Natan the noose seems to be tightening around your neck.
    Is it not time to call a spade a spade and admit that haredim have a solid basis for those who wish to further their studies and recieve money from those who voluntary give them.
    C'mon R Natan, as a champion of truth, all your suggestions to distort Rema and R Moshe Fienstien may get you cheers from elemir and ahg but for the majority of your readers who visit this site to read about Judaism portrayed in a honest fashion, this time you have failed us.
    I know admitting to the truth will be difficult. After all you became post charedi in Bet Shemesh only because people in Bnei Brak dont work for a living.
    But the major jewish poskim have spoken. Lets face the truth.

  46. Hello again, Winston/ Saul Lustington/ Eli/ Arnold J.! I wish you would stick to the same posting name - after all, your comments are always the same!

    Sure, R. Moshe is a source for those who wish to receive money for their studies. However, that has little bearing on the normative position over the ages. Furthermore, Rav Moshe is only addressing a case where the money is being offered - this has nothing to do with whether it is okay to avoid learning a trade and to insist that others support you. Which clearly goes against Chazal and the Rishonim.


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