Friday, January 1, 2021

An Argument At The Door

So I got into a huge argument with a guy collecting at my door.

He was a very nice man, very respectable, a rebbe in a Talmud Torah, collecting for four of his thirteen children, who recently got married. As I opened my wallet, I asked him what his children are doing in life. He said that they are all in kollel. And we got into it.

It lasted a very long time, and went in many circles. I didn't even get to the topic of contributing to society and the economy (he would no doubt have claimed that learning Torah is a contribution). The gist was as follows: I pointed out that Chazal and the Rishonim and Jewish tradition are all very clear that a man has an obligation to support his family, that one should take any job rather than beg for charity, and that a parent has a duty to raise their children to earn a living so that they don't need to turn to charity. He readily acknowledged that Chazal and the Rishonim and Jewish tradition take such an approach. But said that since Rav Chaim Kanievsky also knows all this, and yet nevertheless says that people should raise their kids to go to kollel, he should follow what Rav Chaim Kanievsky says, since Rav Chaim surely knows why these statements of Chazal and the Rishonim and Jewish tradition are not applicable.

I was horrified that he would so happily abdicate all responsibility to Rav Chaim Kanievsky. He was horrified that I could reject Rav Chaim's authority. 

I argued that Rav Chaim is not infallible, that he is very old and not necessarily in touch with things. He was horrified that I could speak in such a way about Rav Chaim. I pointed out that Rav Chaim was once fooled by a very obvious charlatan into believing that the man was a king and made a berachah on him. He replied that it must be that according to shittas Rav Chaim the man was indeed a king. At this point I decided not to bother telling him about the time that Rav Chaim attested to the innocence of Malka Leifer and another serial abuser on the grounds that his rabbis also did.

I said to him, "Look, you've been learning Torah for many years, you're a rebbe. You're a talmid chacham. How can it be that you're comfortable with saying that you can't reconcile this lifestyle with the positions of Chazal and the Rishonim and that you're relying on Rav Chaim? How can it be that you can't provide your own justification for this lifestyle in light of Jewish tradition?" He replied that there's lots of things we do in life which we don't understand the reasons for. He asked me, "Do you understand why you wear a kippah? I don't! But we do it anyway!" I replied that I most certainly do understand the reasons! But I acknowledged that, yes, there are things that we do for reasons that we don't understand. Nevertheless, I said, when it comes to something as basic as what one does in life, how can you say that you have no need to understand why you are going against Torah and tradition, and can just rely on Rav Chaim? But I didn't get anywhere.

The collector reassured me that I don't need to feel sorry for him, and that if I don't take the opportunity to support the Torah study of his children, he can find others who will. He said that he is perfectly happy with his lifestyle, and so are all of his children and their wives, as are all the kollel families he knows. Now, unless he only knows a very select group of people, this was clearly false; there is much unhappiness in the charedi world stemming from poverty and its consequences, and I said as much. He replied that there are problems in every sector of society and that rich people also have problems. I countered, Yes, but poverty brings more problems! He didn't accept that.

As he turned to leave, I offered him a small amount of money. He said that he didn't want to take it unless I felt that it was a great zechus for me to be able to support his children in kollel. I replied that I didn't consider it a zechus at all. So he refused to take the money, wished me well and left.

I was a bit shaken by all this and I called an old friend of mine who lives in the heart of charedi society and culture. He told me that I should have challenged his claim that Rav Chaim endorses his lifestyle. My friend said that after a similar collector claimed that Rav Mordechai Goldstein, the Rav of the very charedi neighborhood in RBS-A, endorsed avreichim going door-to-door collecting, he decided to call Rav Goldstein and check. Rav Goldstein replied that if they can't live off a kollel check and their wives' salaries then they have to go to work.

I really have no idea whether Rav Chaim Kanievsky would be in favor of people collecting at the door to support their kollel lifestyle. But when learned Torah scholars see it as ideal to abdicate all responsibility, all decision-making, all understanding as to whether their lifestyle is in accordance with Torah tradition, to the proclamations emerging from the court of a very old and cloistered person who is totally manipulated by his unethical handlers - this is truly terrifying.

 

See too: Rosenblum: We All Need Charedim To Get Academic Education And Professional Employment

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63 comments:

  1. One small point. You refer to "the very extreme charedi Rav of the charedi neighborhood in RBS-A." Rabbi Goldstein is an American, and Americans generally have a different take on this issue than Israelis do. Also, the term "very extreme" is not very useful (by what standards?) and is probably also incorrect here. For example, I have heard Rabbi Goldstein has advised families that it is fine for post-high school girls to attend michlalot, instead of the standard Beis Yaakov programs.

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    1. Except for those Americans who "go native," of which there are lots, and they have their reasons.

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  2. Very interesting story

    1. He didn't need to rely on R' Chaim specifically. There are plenty of younger, in-touch authorities he could have quoted. Does he not have his own rebbe or rosh yeshiva who supports the kollel lifestyle?
    2. You agree that people should rely on authority for everything else. I don't understand vaccines, yet I get them. So why should Torah be different? But I agree this person who is a Torah scholar himself should have some insight into what he is doing. It's not like there are no answers (whether you would accept them or not is a different story).
    3. There is no indication that chareidim are unhappier than society at large. Despite their poverty, there are countervailing factors which would tend to increase their happiness.

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    1. "You agree that people should rely on authority for everything else." Not in a case where you are capable and obligated to acquire sufficient expertise yourself!

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    2. RNS, ok. But suppose all my rebbeim say one way (stay in kollel) and after researching the sugya, I conclude it is prohibited? Should I defy the superior expertise of my rebbeim? Should I do this with other halachos as well? How is it different than one who "acquires expertise" by doing his own research on vaccines and concludes they are harmful, in defiance of the superior consensus?

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    3. "3. There is no indication that chareidim are unhappier than society at large."

      Yes, there is. The charedi community is not happy with their lifestyle at all. Rav Chaim Kanievsky knows this (or doesn't). If you have to live pay-check to pay-check or door-to-door, you must be miserable. Surely this is not your lifestyle. If it is not, ask why isn't it? If the answer is that you would rather not live in poverty, how could you expect others to be happy at such a low level?

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    4. RNS and Turk Hill, I'm just curious how many actual kollel people you know, and what percentage of them are unhappy. I'm not in kollel, but I happen to know many who are. The vast majority of them are happy to be doing what they're doing. Some of them are supported, some live very very simple lifestyles (and even have to collect from time to time). I'm curious to hear if your actual experience is different, or you are coming to this conclusion based on "logic" and/or third-party reports

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    5. Actually, if I remember correctly, Charedim consistently score highest of all Israeli sectors in reported happiness. That's not to say that if they were wealthier they wouldn't be happier, though.

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    6. @Danny I found this Haaretz article, fortunately I have no subscription so cannot see the details. https://www.haaretz.com/you-just-have-to-be-happy-1.5397545
      Also this https://worldisraelnews.com/majority-of-israelis-pleased-with-their-lives-haredim-the-happiest/

      I think my comparison above of disputing one's rebbeim to a vaccine skeptic was incorrect. Because a vaccine skeptic is disputing all authorities, whereas when it comes to contentious issues like kollel or other halachos, there are authorities on both sides to rely on. "Rely on" and "authorities" being the key words here, I agree with Benyomin Zev Wolf below that when it comes to the Torah, we are always relying on authority. Thus there is no taanah on this gentleman for relying on the psak of R' Chaim in this area, any more than relying on his psak for Hilchos Shabbos.

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    7. Turk Hill - If you have to live pay-check to pay-check or door-to-door, you must be miserable.

      What a small-minded irrational thing to say! You are measuring others by your own yardstick. I may not live like that (I actually do live paycheck-to-paychek, like most people in America), but why would I think that someone else feels like me?

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    8. @Turk Hill: If you have to live paycheck to paycheck you must be miserable? I cannot remember reading a thought that was more shallow or less jewish than that in quite a while.

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    9. No, you always have to go straight to the top for authority, which is why every new "top gadol" annointed has to be in the late eighties at least these days.

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  3. "You aint gonna learn what u dont want to know"

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  4. Your whole argument was an appeal to authority (Chazal and the rishonim and the Jewish tradition) so why are you surprised that he appealed to authority right back with Rav Chaim?

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  5. “He was a very nice man, very respectable, a rebbe in a Talmud Torah, collecting for four of his thirteen children, who recently got married...
    As he turned to leave, I offered him a small amount of money.”

    As someone who understands his Hashkafa, and who commands charity to sustain his self imposed impoverishment, why would you contribute to support that lifestyle? If a Xtian or Buddhist were to request the same of you, would you support it?
    Why would you perpetuate a religion with a contribution that is in opposition to your Torah and Halacha?
    Their Hashkafa is unsustainable. Ultimately it will become an existential threat the equal of Iran. Why are you willing to presently support it ?

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  6. The comparison between the king of africa and the kollel lifestyle is totally off the mark.
    Nobody thinks that you cannot fool anybody about the details. The king of Africa didn't invent a continent or a planet and convince Reb Chaim that he was the creator of that planet. Africa exists, there are primitive tribes living there, and some have kings. The small detail connecting this fellow to that job was something that it would be possible to fool Reb Chaim about. The Kollel lifestyle is a major part of society and culture in Eretz Yisroel. The suggestion that Reb Chaim just happened to have made a mistake about it negates his whole being and chashivus. It is basically saying that his life is one big mistake. A mistake about a molester (if that happened, I don't recall) is not similar at all, as upsetting as that might be.

    As a Charedi, I don't trust Reb Chaim's opinion about coronavirus. But regarding Kollel I don't need his opinion. The issue is easily learned in the sugya, and the halacha has accepted the idea of people living on the public's cheshbon and spending their days learning. There is more to the sugya than that, but for a layman who looks up everything in Mishna Berura, the MB decided the halacha some generations ago.

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  7. He may be typical but something is off. He could have said many other Gedolim and not just stick to Reb Chaim which points to the infallibility of one instead of an entire group which is harder to dispute. Plus, he didn’t take the money! I would’ve given him the money for not taking it as he obviously takes the learning seriously!!

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  8. Also - isn’t it time to assess how much learning, and of what quality , this entire “industry”has produced?? I get the daily email of new seforim from a Jerusalem bookshop Very rarely is there an announcement which makes me sit up. No idea who buys these books.

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    1. The books don't need to bought. They are paid for before publishing by the donors honored on the front and concluding pages.

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    2. Avraham:
      Many are paid for by the author.
      Some are not even competent in raising funds.

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  9. He has a chiyuv to support his wife due to his commitment in his kesubah and if his kollel pay check is not sufficient he is obliged to take a job. It appears that he has a job as a rebbe in the Talmud Torah.He was collecting for his children and I assume it was due to his commitment at their wedding to support them for a few years in kollel. I am not sure what the problem is here. After all he wasn't able to marry them off without this commitment.

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    1. He may have a chiyuv to support his wife, but the idea that this chiyuv extends to taking a job is a matter of dispute between Rabbeinu Eliyahu and Rabbeinu Tam. It is possible that the whole chiyuv is only if he has money, but he does not need to go and work to get that money.
      The Rema seems to pasken that he does need to go and work, but the Vilna Gaon, in an appeal to authority, paskens otherwise (אבל רוב הפוסקים פסקו כר"ת).

      Someone who does not work to support his wife has on whom to halachically rely

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  10. Johannesburg RationalistJanuary 2, 2021 at 10:30 PM

    It is not only Rav Kanievsky that approves of learning in Kollel. If you look at Piskei Teshuvos 156:1 you will see that almost all recent Gedolim not only permit but strongly advise that a person learns in Kollel nowadays.

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    1. Ah, Piskei Teshuvot. You should have seen what erupted in Israel over the weekend over Piskei Teshuvot.

      Of course, that's kind of self-selecting. "Almost all recent Gedolim" is a phrase that, of course, simply excludes any actual gadol who felt otherwise, which is a logical fallacy. I think you'd be hard-pressed to find, say, a non-charedi gadol who would advise learning full-time l'shma for more than a few years for any but a very few.

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    2. What happened over the weekend about the פסקי תשובות?

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    3. R' Aviner was asked if a woman can be motzi her husband with kiddush. He answered "vadai lo," citing, bizarrely, the Piskei Teshuvot- which doesn't even say that!

      The fact is that black and white halakhah in the Shulchan Aruch, the Nosei Kelim, the later codes, and almost all poskim is "vaddai ken." But for some reason he had to dig up this one source.

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    4. That isn't the fault of the פסקי תשובות. But just so you know, the פסקי תשובות is notoriously unreliable.
      Btw, רבי עקיבא איגר is unsure how a man can be motzi his wife with kiddush. But that is a different issue

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    5. Oh, of course it's not his fault.

      Indeed, the point that it's not even clear that a man can be motzi a woman was raised. But at the very least, a woman can be motzi a man.

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    6. The point is that there are many many Gedolim who advocate learning in Kollel. IT IS NOT ONLY RAV KANIEVSKY

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    7. Forgive my am Ha'aratzus. Men and women are both chayiv in Kiddush on the same level - d'oraisa,
      due to zachor and shamar. concept of areivus teaches that one person can be motzei someone else in a mitzva (ala shofar). what's RAE's question?

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    8. It is not really a רבי עקיבא איגר, he is the one who answers the question.
      The issue at hand is that men have usually davened before and women haven't. Thus, a man was יוצא מן התורה his chiyuv of Kiddush, and a woman has not. Women do not have a din of ערבות and therefore how is a man motzi his wife.
      ואמנם מה שאני מסתפק אפילו באיש המקדש ומוציא אשתו ובני ביתו אם הנשים לא התפללו ערבית והאיש כבר התפלל ערבית ואם כן האיש אינו מחויב מן התורה והנשים שלא התפללו חייבות מן התורה אם יוצאין בשמיעתן מן האיש ואך שכל הברכות אך שיצא מוציא כמו שכתוב במסכת ראש השנה דך כ"ט ע"א היינו מטעם ערבות שכל ישראל ערבים זה בזה כמו שכתב ש"י שם והרי כתב הרא"ש במסכת ברכות בפרק ג' דך כ' ע"ב שהאשה אינה בכלל ערבות לכך אינה מוציאה אלא מי שחיובו מדרבנן ע"ש ואני מסתפק אם האשה אינה בכלל ערבות דהיינו שהיא אינה עריבה בעד אחרים אבל
      That is the דגול מרבבה in או"ח רע"א מג"א סק"ב

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  11. Ask a charedi in America why he doesn’t make Aliya and he’ll also tell you Rav Moshe Feinstein and Rav Yaakov Kamentsky (or another set of Gan favorite) didn’t say to go or didn’t go himself ..
    It’s the way they think and maybe the question should be asked on them and not the thousands of followers

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    1. The book "To Dwell in the Palace" (or maybe its companion volume), which was aimed at getting charedim to make aliyah, had an imaginary conversation in shamayim: "Why didn't you make aliyah?" "Well, R' Moshe..." "Ah, did you follow every single chumra of R' Moshe that you felt yourself worthy to follow what was at best a kula of his?"

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    2. "Did you follow every single chumra of Rav Moshe?" The question is hard to understand. Suppose I asked my shul rabbi, who, relying on Rav Moshe, recommended I don't make aliyah. Is that any different than relying on Rav Moshe himself? Am I not to trust my shul rabbi either? Who, then, should I rely on (assuming I can't definitively pasken every single shaila myself)?

      I think when most people quote Rav Moshe on this, it isn't a case of selecting kulos from Rav Moshe, but the minhag haolam al pi Rav Moshe. Same thing with this gentleman quoting Rav Chaim.

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    3. Minhag HaOlam? Far more charedim live in Israel than in the US. Far more religious Jews live in Israel than in the US, and far more Jews live in Israel than in the US. That's some "olam" you have there.

      The same for this case. Most Jews- surprise- don't actually learn in kollel. A lot of them are- surprise!- perfectly religious Jews.

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    4. Nachum I was talking about the minhag haolam of America, obviously. Americans can't have a different minhag than Israelis?

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    5. The minhag haolam of America is not to be religious, if you want to go there.

      The minhag haolam of religious America is to be pro-aliya and Zionist. Most Orthodox Jews (in both America and Israel) are not charedim.

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    6. You are being ridiculous. Charedim can't have a different minhag than MO?! And the vast majority of MO in America are not making aliya either!

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    7. By the way, most American Orthodox Jews ARE charedi, or at least call themselves chareidi, according to Pew
      https://www.pewforum.org/2015/08/26/a-portrait-of-american-orthodox-jews/

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    8. Why didn't you make aliya? Didn't realize that was one of the questions quoted in the Gemara. I guess we should also include: Why didn't you daven neitz? Why didn't you have always have fleishigs for a melava malka? Why didn't you wear techeles? Why didn't you say tikkun chatzos? Why didn't you grow a beard? etc. etc.

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    9. Jake - techeiles is the only valid claim of yours. The rest are not chiyuvim or even mitzvos. They are chumros, extra credit matters that need to be weighed according to their benefit.
      For example, davening Netz. Many Dayanim have noticed that a disproportionate amount of Dinei Torah are among people who daven Netz. Waking up too early can cause anger and other issues, a person needs to use his sechel.
      Growing a beard is nothing at all, no mitzva or anything. If a person uses a depilatory cream, there is no credible accepted shita that even thinks there is anything wrong.

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    10. Beard - there is actually a whole sefer by a Rabbi who clearly is obsessed with the topic and he quotes the CC and many other sources that say a person should grow a beard for both halachic and kabalistic reasons and that a person who doesn't is making a big mistake, isn't doing what they are supposed to as a Torah Jew, etc. [I shave... but I am just saying that for this person and his crusade, not shaving is his ya'arog val yaavor, but aliya may not be]
      Other ones I mentioned - The point is that there are considerations for not making aliya as well. Those that champion it Kol HaKavod, but you also have people that champion lots of other issues (you call them chumros, others call them "meis mitzvas") the point is that it is a sliding scale and everyone has their thing that consider extremely important in Judaism (another examples of things that some people consider to be ikkarim in Judaism and that without them you are missing something - [chabad] Chassidim thinking you need to learn Chassidus to really connect with the essence of the Torah; mekarvim that say that it is of upmost import to be mekavrev people; Rav Avigdor Miller zt'l who criticized a whole host of things including having a tv or going to college; those who hold you have to quadruple check lettuce for bugs and not ever eating a raspberry etc etc )

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    11. You have made yourself a mishmash of issues, that are mostly irrelevant.
      Someone who learns Halacha, knows that the Shulchan Aruch clearly permits shaving the beard. The fat sefer to which you are referring was written by someone with an ax to grind, and it is from the few Seforim that Reb Moshe categorically refused to give a haskama (remember that Reb Moshe gave haskamos quite easily).
      The other points are equally irrelevant. Yishuv Eretz Yisroel is a mitzva, fleishige melave malka is not at all. Tikkun Chatzos is an inyan, not a chiyuv. They are not similar at all.
      I too live in Chutz La'aretz, I just didn't like your comparisons כחומץ לשינים וכעשן לעינים

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    12. Hmm. I did not know that about Rav Moshe and the Sefer. Parenthetically, I think he keeps coming up with updated issues and seems to bring many sources but at same time like you said it clearly is allowed in the Mechaber, so I don't know what is going on there.
      Yishuv Eretz Yisrael is a Mitzva Kiyumis and clearly many Jews (Roshei Yeshiva, Gedolei HaDor, etc.) have not done it so in that respect it is comparable to things that are championed by one group but not by many other Jews, like my other examples (albeit agreeably they do not raise to that level).

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    13. The chidush of Reb Moshe is that it is a mitzva kiyumis, that was certainly not the consensus before he came along. Which is why the question is valid, why are people accepting a שיטה לקולא from Reb Moshe, when they are machmir on milk etc.

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    14. They would say it's practical.
      Lakewood/Brooklyn is their Makom Torah, and they can't just up and go.
      Being Machmir on Cholov Yisrael, on the other hand, is easy nowadays wherever you are.

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  12. He learns all day... In order to say that his learning is inadequate because only Rav Chaim Kanievsky knows the truth, and what he himself sees in the words of chazal and rishonim he cannot reconcile with Rabbi Kanievsky's (supposed) opinion? So what is this "learning" that he's doing? Is it like chanting mantras all day?

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  13. I have prepared business cards to give to such schnorrers. Each one has on one side, the text ofרמה"ם הלכות מתנות עניים פרק י' הלכה י"ח, and on the other side, the text ofשלחן ערוך יורה דעה סימן רנ"ה סעיף א'. If you want some, please email me at rosenthal,avi0@gmail.com.

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  14. I enjoy your writings and especially your usual additions of mekorot as appropriate to validate your arguments. In this particular case -- actually in general with your arguments of the charedi world and need for education/work/etc -- I beg to differ. In general Chazal recommend to not engage in arguments with someone either incapable or unwilling to understand another point. You are trying with a poor collector to change his entire ideology that has been brainwashed into his mind for his whole life. I think it is slightly 'sadist' to think that you will actually change him. Instead, object quickly and move on. The Learned (such as you and I and others) need to work with educating the young and engaging in economic power to change this mindset.

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  15. " he should follow what Rav Chaim Kanievsky says"
    Okay. What does RCK say?
    One of the cornerstones of charedi-kollel ideology is the last הלכה of שמיטה ויובל- that anyone can have the status of שבט לוי. RCK comments on this "halacha" in at least two places- his קרית מלך & his דרך אמונה.
    Here's what he writes in דרך אמונה:
    ‫אין‬ ‫כונת‬ ‫רבנו‬ ‫שיקח‬ ‫מהבריות‬ ‫שהרי‬ ‫בפ״ג‬ ‫מת״ת‬ ‬‫ה״י‬ ‫התרעם ‫ע״ז‬ ‫הרבה‬ ‫אלא‬ ‫כונתו‬ ‫שיעשה‬ ‫השתדלות‬ ‫מועטת‬ ‫והקב״ה‬ ‫ישלח‬ ‫ברכה‬ ‫במעשה‬ ‬‫ידיו‬ ‫ויוכל‫ לפרנס‬ ‫בכל‬ ‫מה‬ ‫שצריך‬ ‫לו‬ ‫‪.‬‬
    "The Rambam doesn't mean that he should collect money from others.. rather he should make a little effort & Hashem will send a blessing in all his endeavors ensuring that he will making a living sufficient for all his needs." (my loose translation)
    In his קרית מלך he cites the following (from ע"ז יט) as the source for the Rambam:
    כל העוסק בתורה נכסיו מצליחין לו
    That is "his properties will prosper"- that means he will be sustained by his own properties- and by implication, he will not need to collect charity or demand gov't handouts.

    Oh yeah, by the way RCK also "paskened" that the yeshivos should follow health guidelines.

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    1. These quotes are interesting but only add to the questions. If your source material is correct it should manifest in Charedi lifestyle... But they don't. Does RCJ really not advocate kollel? If so why are people in dire straights to stay learning? There seems to be a disconnect here.

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    2. @Ephraim, good point!

      I would just say that this Rambam is more used as a source to exempt yeshiva students from the army, as continuation of what he says in halacha 12, that the Leviim don't engage in war (yes, I am aware of the contradictions from the Rambam elsewhere.) Rather than a justification for paying them.

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    3. hgl: Correct. The Rambam sets a high standard for שבט לוי type of scholar. Rav Ahron Kotler also distinguished between those scholars (יששכר) who depend on others for support- and those (לוי) who depend on הקב"ה. He was preceded by the כתב סופר citing his father.
      It does seem to me that the Rambam's firm opposition for scholars to take money is disputed (or at least diluted, re-interpreted or assumed inapplicable) by those who came after him. But the Rambam's model for elite scholars remains. Still there are other models, whether the modern יששכר or learner-earners. But for a modern kollel guy- who depends on the largess of family, community & government to claim שבט לוי status & thus an exemption from military service- that goes against the דעת תורה of RCK.

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    4. Ephraim, I don't think RCK is against kollel. I would assume he would just say we don't pasken like the Rambam on the issue of taking support, just like many authorities before him. But maybe he would pasken like the Rambam on the issue of army exemptions? I don't have the דרך אמונה handy, does he say what limitations are for "Leviim" and if they apply to today's kollel?

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    5. Ok, I got hold of a דרך אמונה. He says that Torah scholars are exempt from army service! Now, who is a Torah scholar, that is a different issue he doesn't deal with. He also explains the contradictions by saying that although Leviim are exempt from the army, they can join voluntarily. Anyways, thanks for the mareh makom.

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  16. There are plenty of Gedolim that supported this kollel lifestyle way before R. Kanievsky. Rav Kotler was one of the first to push this lifestyle to make up for the great loss of Torah during the Shoah. This is the general Charedi theme supported / encouraged by almost all charedi leadership.
    What I cant understand is this complete lack of mesorah when it comes to sitting and learning in a kollel vs working. For thousands of years men worked and woman took care of the kids. Now its completely reversed. Women are expected to go out and work while men go learn in kollel and take care of the kids in the afternoon.
    Furthermore, if you dont live this lifestyle you are looked down upon. It is expected of true charedi families that the husband learns in kollel and the wife works. If you dont live like this you cant live in certain neighborhoods or send your kids to certain schools. And yet they claim they are living the true mesorah lifestyle.

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  17. Even in his best days, R' Kanievsky was never particularly clear in his instructions. For quite a while now, he's been in the hands of a particularly vile and venal set of relations, most notably a grandson.

    For some reason, charedim get hugely offended when this is pointed out.

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  18. I suppose you realize that "collecting for children who got married" usually means "I need to buy them an apartment."

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  19. Rabbi Slifkin: ala your Karate Mussar article, could you present the perspective of the *gedolim* on the kollel issue? You've written about the self justifications of the chareidi world when it comes to the real reasons why they don't go to the army, etc. but I wonder what is the reasoning of the gedolim of our generation, not the hamon am. That is, not only Rav Chaim (who didn't just arrive on the scene as a nonagenarian of course), but Rav Shteinman z"l, Rav Elyashiv z"l, etc. After all, as your new friend pointed out, they also know the Chazal and rishonim. I found that to be a thought provoking point. I'm not suggesting that we submit to their authority. I'm asking what are they thinking. (If you've already written your thoughts on this, could you direct me to that post?)

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    Replies
    1. Excellent question! I will write a post on that.

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    2. Please also include why a classic Yissachar/Zevulun partnership should not be a valid option to anyone wanting to support Torah learning.

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