Thursday, September 22, 2022

Tzedakah: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

How do you tell apart a good charity from a bad one? It can be very difficult to know who is actually honest. But the first step is to be aware of what actually differentiates a good charity from a bad one.

Last year, an explosive piece of investigative journalism in The Marker revealed that in the high-profile campaigns about how so-and-so has kidney disease and suchlike, only about 10% of the donations actually go to the recipient - in one case, only 2%! The overwhelming bulk of it is divided between the activists behind the campaign, including journalists, broadcasters and procurers of rabbinic support. (Thank goodness there are newspapers and magazines that do proper investigative journalism - something that does not exist in the frum world.)

Of course, everyone would agree that this is scandalous. This is why organizations such as the Vaad HaRabbonim promote their charity by claiming that 100% of the proceeds go to the poor, with gifts such as magic challah knives having been separately donated. (Of course this is somewhat disingenuous, since doubtless the person who spent a fortune on magic challah knives would have given this money to the charity's general funds had there been no need for magic challah knives.) 

But the problem here is that giving all the money to the poor is also very far from the ideal, and this is a harmful message to send. In part, this is because every successful charity needs funds for professional administration and fundraising. But it also relates to how modern society is different from traditional Jewish society.

For thousands of years, Jews followed the values expressed by the Torah and Chazal. Doing one's part for the nation was critical, and there was no way to get an exemption. Being self-supportive, and raising one's children to be self-supportive, was generally seen as the ideal. Living simply was praiseworthy, but living off charity was shameful. The concept of the food that a poor person receives being called nehama d'kisufa, "bread of shame," was so obvious that it became a metaphor for other things. And learning Torah was not seen as a valid reason to idealize or even justify such a way of life (though teaching Torah was, by most authorities, considered acceptable).

Nowadays, it's entirely different. The rise of the welfare state has made it possible for many people to live in a state whereby they are poor by modern standards but do not starve to death. The opposition in some circles to Zionism has created an isolationist mindset which causes some people to not care at all about the impact of growing poverty on the national economy. And the innovations of mystical-charedi theology have entirely negated Chazal's value system, leading hundreds of thousands to believe that if you are in kollel then living off charity is not only not something shameful, but actually a privilege to which they are entitled, and to which they should raise their children.

With such a situation, when you have funds to distribute to the poor, and you just hand out all the money to the sort of people described above, this only alleviates the problem of their poverty in the very short-term. In the long run, it does not help at all, and may even make things worse. When these people are encouraged to believe that their lifestyle is both noble and manageable, they have little incentive to change anything for the next generation. And so in the next generation, the problem is many times bigger. If you're wealthy person supporting ten families in kollel, each of whom has four boys that they are raising towards a kollel lifestyle, are you so sure that your own children will have the desire and ability to support forty such families?

The Jerusalem Post, in a recent article relating to this topic, quoted Prof. Yuval Elbashan, who founded and directed the legal department of YEDID – The Association for Community Empowerment. In reference to charities that give hand-outs, he stated that “The aid of the charities is problematic because it is actually about giving paracetamol, something that reduces the distress a little but really does not treat the root of the problem."

As Rambam writes, the highest level of charity is to ensure that the person does not need to live off charity in the future. In previous times, that could generally be accomplished with monetary gifts or loans, since the recipient was motivated to try to get himself out of poverty. But today, when there is an entire society which presents the lack of self-sufficiency as an ideal, and most jobs require some sort of education or training, charity needs to be done smarter. Instead of just giving all the money to the poor, it is important to invest in professional assessments and training programs to enable the poor to become self-sufficient - and to spread a message that this is what poor people should themselves be aiming for. Supporting poor families to preserve their kollel lifestyle, or helping a young couple get married when the husband has no intention of working to support his wife, is not acceptable. Charity dollars need to be prioritized for helping either those who are unable to help their own situation or those who are trying to do so.

Many community charities promote themselves by talking about how many families they help - because this is what is effective in fundraising. But we should all be making it clear that this is not the sole or ideal metric by which a charity's value should be measured. What counts even more than how many families they help is what proportion of the families that they have helped in the past no longer need to be helped, because of the work that the charity has done.

That is the standard set by the community charity in Ramat Beit Shemesh, Lemaan Achai, whose motto is "Smart Chessed." It should serve a model for community charities everywhere.

 

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82 comments:

  1. Lemaan Achai sounds great. Another worthwhile charity is Paamonim, which takes the same approach (professional support to help people stay out of poverty permanently) and operates across Israel.

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  2. Aside from the agrarian matanos levyonim, I don’t think pishuto shel mikrah supports outright charity. Perek 15 in Devarim at least, completely turns on graciously giving loans without worrying about shemitah canceling them and releasing slaves sold (presumably because they could not land a loan or to repay existing debts although that’s not how the meforshim interpret it) with haanakah. There is no mention of charity in the pesukim. It seems to be an entirely rabbinic reading which I don’t even know was initially considered more than an asmachta. Although i believe it is considered d'oraiysa by the monei hamitzvos

    I’m wondering if it was introduced as a response to the christian notion of charity and grace?

    I was actually theorizing, and maybe this is a bit simplistic, that is it judaism and christianity l’shitasam.

    Judaism, which believes that man can overcome evil and live a virtuous life, and embraces the commandments as something attainable, with the ability to earn ones reward from God, is correspondingly light on handouts, which is demeaning and life denying to the recipient (the famous nahama dkisufa).

    As opposed to the antinomian christianity, which holds that man is unable to vanquish evil, and everything handed to him is via divine grace and charity conditioned on correct belief, therefore, in the spirit of its version of imitatio dei, is pro unearned handouts to the poor.

    Im of course not suggesting that the Torah doesn’t encourage compassion to the pauper widow and orphan — it most definitely does

    It’s just outright (financial) gifts that are not necessarily part of the biblical framework

    The matanos earmarked for the poor — contra the ones meant for cohanim and leviyim — which are remuneration for their service, can, for the most part, be categorized as a show of compassion that would otherwise border on heartlessness to collect the leket and shikcha and totally ignore the plight of our poorer brethren by not even leaving a token amount for them (peah) as well as sharing our food with them

    maasar ani is admittedly trickier although it only comes every few years and isn’t consistent support

    Btw, relatedly, I think the word tzedakah in tanach, also does not necessarily refer to charity in the original intent, rather was reinterpreted in light of the emphasis on charity, with the added nuance of it even being the just thing to do which is the connotation of tzedakah

    Alternatively, after the bayis was destroyed and they went into exile there was presumably much less opportunity to work the land and even if they did there is no obligation to give tithes from the produce as they are land based obligations that are dependent on being located in Israel proper and they were outside of it so maybe for all those reasons the emphasis shifted to monetary tithes and distributions etc

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    1. New ground being struck here in Lolbertarian Ziocringe. If Pirkei Avos is not Jewish enough for you, go open Sefer Mishlei.

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    2. Is this a loan? Or a christian influence?
      הֲלוֹא פָרֹס לָרָעֵב לַחְמֶךָ וַעֲנִיִּים מְרוּדִים תָּבִיא בָיִת כִּי תִרְאֶה עָרֹם וְכִסִּיתוֹ וּמִבְּשָׂרְךָ לֹא תִתְעַלָּם:
      (ח) אָז יִבָּקַע כַּשַּׁחַר אוֹרֶךָ וַאֲרֻכָתְךָ מְהֵרָה תִצְמָח וְהָלַךְ לְפָנֶיךָ צִדְקֶךָ כְּבוֹד יְדֹוָד יַאַסְפֶךָ:

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    3. Was never denying sharing bounty with less fortunate, specifically discussing outright financial gifts - not loans

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    4. This is an interesting interpretation, Nachum. As you yourself state, there are weak points in it, but the strongest element is probably your point about the word tzedaka - how it really means justice in the pesukim (similar to tzedek) rather than charity.

      Of course, the phrase then "tzedaka u'mishpat" which which is a major goal throughout Tanach, becomes repetitive. Other scholars can deal with this; it isn't the first time there are repeated words in the Torah, and we can certainly come up with nuances of difference between these two. (Personal judgment and business judgment? Judgment with an eye toward the less fortunate? etc)

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  3. "The concept of the food that a poor person receives being called nehama d'kisufa, "bread of shame," was so obvious that it became a metaphor for other things. And learning Torah was not seen as a valid reason to idealize or even justify such a way of life (though teaching Torah was, by most authorities, considered acceptable)."

    This is an outright LIE that Slifkin continuously gaslights his readership with. He seems to be either very disingenuous or very ignorant. The Rama rules in Yoreh Deah 246 that it is permitted and even praiseworthy to take support in order to devote one's life to Torah. There are countless Talmidiei Chachamim over the years that intentionally did not hold a Rabbinical post, including the Vilna Gaon and R' Yaakov Emden (even R' Akiva Eiger wished to remain a 'kollel' student, but was pressured into taking a rabbinical post). There is an inherent value of Torah, in it of it's own, and even if the one studying it is unable/unwilling to teach it, as the Gemara in Sanhedrin 99b is clear. In fact, the MAIN POINT of the mitzvah of maaser kesafim is to support Talmidei Chachamim learning!!

    ספר אהבת חסד חלק ב פרק יט על פי מדרש תנחומא סוף פרשת ראה:
    "עשר תעשר. עשר בשביל שתתעשר, עשר כדי שלא תתחסר, רמז למפרשי ימים להפריש אחד מן עשרה לעמלי תורה". וכן מביא השיטה מקובצת בכתובות דף נ ע"א בשם הרב המעילי, שמצוות חומש היא כנגד שתי המעשרות שמפרישים מתבואה, ומעשר אחד יש ליתן "לצדקה לבני עניים כמו שהיה נותן מעשר ראשון לכהנים וללוים למען יחזקו בתורת השם!!

    I will agree that Kollel is more prevalent nowadays than it ever was, and in part because society is more affluent than in the past and in part due to generous government subsidies. I can understand the argument that Kollelim should not be taking money from people who hate Torah and Mitzvos, but from the little I know about Israeli politics, that was already terminated in the first Lapid government in 2012.

    "If you're wealthy person supporting ten families in kollel, each of whom has four boys that they are raising towards a kollel lifestyle, are you so sure that your own children will have the desire and ability to support forty such families?"

    This is just plain ridiculous. If say for every 10 people there is one gevir, then if we were to multiply that by four for the next generation, we would need to multiply the gevirim by four as well, resulting in 4 gevirim for 40 people! Especially as the trend at least in America is more and more chareidim going to work.

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    1. What an extraordinary distortion of the Ramoh. 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.

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    2. 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.”

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    3. "If say for every 10 people there is one gevir, then if we were to multiply that by four for the next generation, we would need to multiply the gevirim by four as well, resulting in 4 gevirim for 40 people!" No. It's much easier and more likely for a kollel guy to raise sons who are unable to support themselves than for a Gvir to raise four sons who are all as financially successful as he is.

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    4. LOL!
      Talk about distortion!
      After absurdly contending
      "And learning Torah was not seen as a valid reason to idealize or even justify such a way of life"
      Which rightfully elicited a whack on the face with a Remah who ABSOLUTELY DEFENDS THE PRACTICE, RNS pretzels and distorts, trying to wriggle out of the obvious.
      Would be funny if it were not so utterly shameful.
      You don't need to defend the broad all encompassing Kollel framework of today which is a step over the Remah, but to deny the validity of someone being supported in order to study is just plain ludicrous.
      Most here aren't illiterate (though some comments call this into q at times), we know how to read the sources.
      DO YOU? Or is it a selective reading issue that is plaguing you?

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    5. " שהיה נותן מעשר ראשון לכהנים וללוים למען יחזקו בתורת השם"

      This is controversial. Others explain that תו"מ were in exchange for service in the בית המקדש and not for support of Torah study.

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    6. Mekarker,

      Sweet dreams. In my town you should hear the 'tumuling' (yeshivishe politics) when a new kollel down the road opens offerering a few kopeck more. How they run. Just like a worker runs to a better paying job. Because for many of them, kollel has become a a tool for parnossoh. Jusy a job really.

      Also the arguments that go on when one accusers the other of stealing his talmid Re the private lessons they give.

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    7. Ely, did you even read the Rema? He says explicitly that taking money for learning is a minority heter that is preferable to avoid.

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    8. Ely, please explain why you think Rabbi Slifkin is wrong. He quotes the R’MA who says exactly what Rabbi Slifkin stated.

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    9. Ely, you appear to be entirely incorrect. Please explain.

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    10. Lol, suddenly infantile dancing chassid icon guy clams up.

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    11. @ RNS

      I don’t get it. What are you trying to do, PROVE beyond doubt that you are ignorant and disingenuous? I said that the Rama rules that it is permissible to be supported for learning. The Rama indeed says that, as even you quoted. So what am I missing here??

      It’s very interesting that people who have no problem consistently following the lenient opinion in Shulchan Aruch (or even using opinions outside of Shulchan Aruch or just plain concocting their own) suddenly find it necessary to be so ‘machmir’. Especially as the poskim say that the custom was precisely LIKE the Tashbatz!! Did you bother looking at the Maharhsal? The Shach? The Kesef Mishna? The Aruch Hashulchan? The Bach? All these poskim say that the custom is not like the Rambam! Some, such as the Aruch Hashulchan I believe (don’t have time to look up all my sources as it is erev yt) say that it is not even a b’dieved but an ideal. R’ Moshe Feinstein in a teshuva strongly promotes the Tashbatz’s opinion. Did you even bother looking up the Tashbatz inside? Obviously not! Because he is very clear that this heter is not only for “Rabbanim” as you claim, but also for Talmidei Chachomim who do not hold any rabbinical position! And you seem to have misunderstood the Rama as well, because he is paraphrasing the Tashbatz about two opinions if it’s only permitted to take the bare minimum or even to be מתפרנס בריוח, not whether it’s permitted only for rabbis or Kollel students. It’s quite shocking that you seem to have done almost no research about a topic that you manage to fit into every third blog post!!

      "If say for every 10 people there is one gevir, then if we were to multiply that by four for the next generation, we would need to multiply the gevirim by four as well, resulting in 4 gevirim for 40 people!" No. It's much easier and more likely for a kollel guy to raise sons who are unable to support themselves than for a Gvir to raise four sons who are all as financially successful as he is.

      Who told you that? In my original comment, I was entertaining leaving off with a snide remark recommending you go for a degree in math next, but ultimately decided against it. But I seriously think that as a quasi-journalist/academic, you need to educate yourself more about the methods of collecting data, because you seem to be very oblivious about conflating your own conjecturing with fact. Do you know that today’s fundraisers, some of whom I know personally, say that the trend over the last 20 years is that they are seeing more and more young Chareidim in the US going out to work and doing well?? Do you know that they say that proportionately, to their knowledge, there has never been so much wealth in Chareidi Jewry? Do you know that unfortunately, the pool of people who are אינם רואים סימן ברכה בלימודם and going out to work is slowly getting younger and larger? BMG more than tripled their budget overnight to over $50m a year because Chareidi Jewry is so flush with cash! You don’t seem to know any of this! Yet you feel that you are qualified to make unilateral and ridiculous statements about a society that despite being OBSESSED with, you don’t know too much about.

      I would really like to devote more time to this comment to bring even more sources to show just how wrong you are, but it is it is Erev Yom Tov and I haven’t got the time. All will agree that someone who can learn AND support themselves is the ideal, but many if not most of the poskim throughout the generations had no problem following the Tashbatz. And because it is Erev Rosh Hashana, I did exercise some restraint, despite this obfuscation of yours boiling my blood.

      Kesiva V’chasima Tova

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    12. @Eyes,

      Maybe get yourself some glasses. The Rama doesn’t say that it is preferable to avoid. He says it is a “midas chasidus” to avoid. Showing up an hour before every tefilla to meditate is also a midas chasidus. Do you do that? Besides for the fact, that the Rama clearly says that to be עוסק בתורה and to be מתפרנס ממעשה ידיו is a מידת חסידות ומתת אלקים אך אין זה מדת כל אדם שא"א לכל אדם לעסוק בתורה ולהחכים בה ולהתפרנס ממעשה ידיו. Clearly implicating that the ideal is to be both self sufficient AND learned, rather than being learned and dependent. But being self sufficient and ignorant and apathetic doesn’t even seem to be entertained as an option.

      @TSLR

      I am not sure what you are trying to prove and how it is relevant to the theological topic being discussed. A few years in Kollel would have done you a lot of good.

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    13. It's not just the Rema.
      This issue of Kollel support has been adequately dealt with, yet people think they have discovered America when they see the Rambam. The Rambam is and always was a minority opinion. The maximum we can discuss is what the other opinion is. But quoting the Rambam is a red herring and a sign of ignorance.

      And the truth is exactly as the Mishna Berura and others quote. The general Torah knowledge of Kehillos that do not support those who want to learn in Kollel is comensurately lower. Without Kollelim, we would be much poorer in Torah knowledge

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    14. @binyamin
      Seriously?
      You honestly think that RNSs clearly nitpicked portrayal of the sugya is at all accurate? Despite the fact that the Remah providing justification for the "behavior" he's obscenely decrying? (Which is absolutely accepted by the אחרונים)
      Why don't you take an objective look at the sugya. מכרכר has provided a short list of מר״מ for those that don't seem to be able to open the book themselves, and naively believe what RNS harps on.
      כתיבה וחתימה טובה לכולם!

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    15. "because he is paraphrasing the Tashbatz about two opinions..."

      Someone pointed out to me that although the two opinions are whether or not it is permitted to be "מתפרנס בריוח", it is not two opinions of the Tashbatz, rather a machlokes Abarbanel and Tashbatz. Like I mentioned, I did not have time to look over the sugya when writing the above response adequately (although I have been through the sources thoroughly in the past, unlike others who seem they have not), and hope to go over it more thoroughly over Shabbos and post a more detailed and sourced response Motza'ei Shabbos.

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    16. The Rambam is indeed a red herring which is why I never mention him in this context. His view, that one may never take support even for teaching, is extreme and unique to him. But the normative view, as found in the Rishonim, is very far from that practiced in the charedi world today. In medieval Ashkenaz, financing Torah study was unheard of; virtually all Torah scholars were self-supporting, and financing Torah teaching was only reluctantly permitted by some. In Sefarad, on the other hand, there was a system of financial support 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. Contrast that to today, when the value system has been completely perverted, and the entire charedi community is raised to believe that it is a lechatchila for everyone not to work, not to raise their children to be self-sufficient, and to rely on others for support. There's no way that you can say that this is consistent with the values of Chazal and the Rishonim.

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    17. For someone who has a regular refrain of adapting to the times for justifying all sorts of changes to our traditions, this rigidness vis a vis Torah scholars and self-sufficiency is indeed retarded.

      Given the hyper-specialization of the modern economy, compared to even 50 years ago, along with the economic manipulations made possible by a fully-untethered currency, it could argued that full time Torah learning as discussed here is indeed a profession not so different than any other, regardless of how it is supported, and given its centrality to our values (if they really are "our" shared values), it makes sense that communities, and even the entire nation, come together to support full time learning for some segment of the men who wish to engage in such. Whatever the particulars are is just quibbling.

      No doubt, you still would dispense with the quibbling part and disagree with the entire premise and hold fast to ancient rules which are impossible for most to approach today, and which clearly are not representative of the majority opinion in any case. Ideal or not. But then, you would just be another retard for your incoherent flexibility on some issues and inflexibility on others.

      Delete
    18. How is it a "profession like any other" when it has no economic value?! Not to mention that those engaged in this "profession" raise all their kids to be in the same "profession"!

      Delete
    19. AnonyMous, you're so clever! How is a non-profit any different? They have state support too. Yet you have no problem with them in general. Just regarding learning Torah. Given how inaccurate the perception of Charedim is here, how do you actually know all the children are raised thusly? I lived in a Charedi area for decades in Israel and this is just not the reality at all. Can you make the same claim?

      You don't even rise to the level of retarded. You are "Not even wrong." As a consolation, you can claim to have been commented to by me and not called a retard. A first.

      Wikipedia:

      "Not even wrong refers to any statement, argument or explanation that can be neither correct nor incorrect, because it fails to meet the criteria by which correctness and incorrectness are determined. As a more formal fallacy, it refers to the fine art of generating an ostensibly "correct" conclusion, but from premises known to be wrong or inapplicable."

      Delete
    20. @ely

      RNS quoted the RM’A accurately - that’s the point. You claimed that he did not. Yes, there’s lots of other mekoros, and yes there’s room to disagree with RNS. But the RM’A himself clearly mitigates towards some sort of self-sustenance, even if we choose not to abide by what he says because of later halachic consensus. Wishing you and all a כו׳ח טובה!

      Delete
    21. Irrespective of various complaints re current models, WILL @RNS RETRACT THIS RIDICULOUS STATEMENT
      "The concept of the food that a poor person receives being called nehama d'kisufa, "bread of shame," was so obvious that it became a metaphor for other things. And learning Torah was not seen as a valid reason to idealize or even justify such a way of life"
      IN LIGHT OF THE INCONTROVERTIBLE EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY?

      Delete
    22. 1/4

      Ok, I'm back. I will have to be relatively brief, long selichos tomorrow so can’t make it a late night. First, I want to retract something I said. I originally wrote ‘but many if not most of the poskim throughout the generations had no problem following the Tashbatz'. After looking through the sugya a little, it seems that NO ONE paskens like the Rambam! If there is some outlier opinion maybe Jew Well can jump in and tell us about it, but I was unable to find anyone.

      Just to clarify, the sources that I have are in support for taking money for LEARNING Torah, not for teaching. Indeed, most of the Rishonim and Poskim don't seem differentiate between the two and use the two terms interchangeably. And it is no wonder, because unlike you, they appreciated Torah’s own inherent value and did not think that “learning Torah was not seen as a valid reason to idealize or even justify such a way of life”.

      The amount of sources that I found like the Tashbatz is overwhelming and I cannot copy and paste all of them. R’ Yitzchok Elchonon Spektor wrote an entire sefer, Eitz Pri, about supporting Talmidei Chachamim in learning. But based upon your last post, I think that first it is important to understand exactly what the Tashbetz holds:

      שו"ת השתב"ץ ח"א סימן קמ"ב
      ואפילו התלמידים העוסקים בתורה כל ימיהם אף על פי שאינן ראשי ישיבות חייבין הצבור לפרנסם דרך כבודם כדאמרינן בפרק ואלו קשרים (קי"ד ע"א) איזהו ת"ח שבני עירו מצוין לעשו' מלאכתו כל שמניח עסקיו ועוסק בחפצי שמי' למאי נ"מ למיטרח לי' בריפתיה. ואמרי' ביומא (ע"ב ע"ב) ר' יוחנן רמי כתיב ועשית לך ארון עץ וכתיב ועשית ארון עצי שטים מכאן לת"ח שמצוון /שמצווין/ בני עירו לעשות מלאכתו. וכבר היתה להם קופה מיוחדת לקבץ בה ממון לחלק לתלמידי' לפרנסם דרך כבוד' כדמוכח בפ' הנזקין (ס' ע"ב) כדאיתא התם ההוא שיפורא דמעיקר' הוה בי רב יוסף ולבסוף בי רבה ולבסוף בי ר' יוסף ולבסוף בי אביי ולבסוף בי רבא. וראיתי בתשובה לר' שרירא גאון ז"ל שכ' שפירש שיפורא תיב' כמו י"ג שופרות דשקלים ואמר הגאון ז"ל שהיתה תיבה לקבץ בה ממון לחלק לתלמידי' ופירושו יותר נכון מפרש"י ז"ל שפי' שופר של תקיעות ערב שבת והביא הרב ז"ל ג"כ פי' הגאון ז"ל בפירושיו והוא הראוי לסמוך עליו שדברי הגאונים ז"ל קבלה הם והרי ענין זה נהוג בימי חכמי התלמוד ז"ל כפירוש קבלתנו ולמה יקשה עלינו זה והלא אפי' למלמדי תינוקות אמרי' בבתרא פ' השותפין דמסייע להו ממתא ולמה לא נלמוד ק"ו מזה לת"ח ואף לראשי הישיבות זה מצינו בתלמוד מפורש.

      So it seem quite clear that the Tashbetz felt that there was an inherent value in supporting Talmidei Chachamim for it’s own sake, and that it’s more obvious than paying for school teachers!

      Delete
    23. 2/4

      Elsewhere in that Teshuva the Tashbetz notes that in the times of Chazal:
      כשהיו פרנסי הדורות רואים ת"ח דדחיק להו עלמא טובא היו משתדלי' למנותם בראש כדי שיפרנסו' הצבור דרך כבוד וכו'...
      Meaning, that the reason why Talmidei Chachamim took Rabbinical positions was to support themselves, not that they became Talmidei Chachamim in order to take Rabbinical positions! (And then there’s that pesky little Gemara that you keep trying to ignore in Sanhedrin 99b that says that one who says that talmidei chachamim have no value because they do not teach others is an apikores).

      As far as your egregious claim that these are not the values of Chazal, I suggest that you look in that above teshuva of the Tashbetz where he literally brings dozens of Gemaras that show that Torah support is indeed condoned by Chazal. Truth is, I wanted to paste the ma’amarei Chazal here, but there are so many ma’amarei Chazal that support this (many brought in the Tashbetz, and some brought in some of the other poskim that I saw over Shabbos) that I don’t even know where to start, so I just picked two random ones out of a hat, rather than post over the entire responsa of the Tashbatz. But do yourself a favor. Before making such ignorant statements publicly, look into the sugya a little.

      תלמוד בבלי מסכת כתובות דף קיא עמוד ב
      כל המשיא בתו לתלמיד חכם, והעושה פרקמטיא לתלמידי חכמים, והמהנה תלמידי חכמים מנכסיו, מעלה עליו הכתוב כאילו מדבק בשכינה. כיוצא בדבר אתה אומר: לאהבה את ה' אלהיך ולדבקה בו - וכי אפשר לאדם לידבק בשכינה? אלא, כל המשיא בתו לתלמיד חכם, והעושה פרקמטיא לתלמידי חכמים, והמהנה תלמידי חכמים מנכסיו, מעלה עליו הכתוב כאילו מדבק בשכינה.

      תלמוד ירושלמי (וילנא) מסכת מעשר שני פרק ה הלכה ג
      רבי יונה יהב מעשרוי לרבי אחא בר עולא לא משום דהוה כהן אלא משום דהוה לעי באורייתא. מה טעמא [דברי הימים ב לא ד] ויאמר לעם ליושבי ירושלים לתת מנת הכהנים והלוים למען יחזקו בתורת ה’.

      קדושין פ"ב ע"א
      ר' נהוראי אומר מניח אני כל אומניות שבעולם ואיני מלמד את בני אלא תור' שכל אומניו' שבעולם עומדות לאדם בשעת ילדותו ולעת זקנתו מת מוטל ברעב אבל תור' עומדת לו לאדם בעת ילדותו ונותנת לו אחרית ותקוה בעת זקנתו בילדותו מהו אומ' וקוי ה' יחליפו כח יעלו אבר כנשרי' בזקנתו מהו אומר עוד ינובון בשיבה דשנים ורעננים יהיו.

      Delete
    24. 3/4

      And now to take some of the MAIN poskim (like I mentioned, it there are too many poskim to bring from all of them):
      בית יוסף יורה דעה סימן רמו
      ומ"ש וכל המשים על לבו שיעסוק בתורה ולא יעשה מלאכה ויתפרנס מן הצדקה הרי זה חילל את השם וביזה את התורה וכו'. הרמב"ם אזדא לטעמיה בפרק ד' ממסכת אבות (ה"ה) שקרא שם תגר על ההספקות שנותנים לתלמידים ולרבנים. ואף על פי שנראה מדבריו שם שרוב חכמי התורה הגדולים שבזמנו היו עושים לא נמנע מלהשיב עליהם כמה תשובות. ובאמת לא נהגו חכמי הדורות כמותו, והראיות שהביא לדבריו יש לדחותם ואדרבה יש להביא ראיות להחזיק ביד הנותנים והמקבלים וכן ראוי לעשות דאם לא כן כבר היתה התורה בטלה ח"ו ועל ידי ההספקות יכולים לעסוק בתורה ויגדיל תורה ויאדיר. וכבר כתב והאריך הה"ר שמעון בר צמח בתשובותיו (ח"א סי' קמב - קמח) לחלוק על הרמב"ם ולסתור כל דבריו ולהחזיק ביד *החכמים* *והתלמידים* הנוטלים פרס מהציבור והביא כמה ראיות מהתלמוד והמדרשות.
      The Bais Yosef is coming from the Tashbetz who very clearly holds of supporting Talmidei Chachamim as an ideal, and he does not tell us that he only intends to allow his heter for rabbis or those studying to become a rabbi. And in Kesef Mishneh, he goes into it even more in depth. There he dismisses the Rambam’s proof that Hillel was a wood chopper by saying that he was only a wood chopper when he was not as well known, and because there were so many talmidei chachamim in those days and not enough money to go around, they only gave to the most gifted amongst them. Not that they only gave to the Rabbanim or those studying to become career Rabbabim.

      ים של שלמה מסכת חולין פרק ג סימן ט
      הרמב"ם אזל לטעמיה, וכאשר כתב במסכת אבות (פ"ד מ"ה) וקרא תגר על הלומדים הגדולים שנהנים מן הבריות, ועל ההספקות שנותנים לתלמידים ולרבנים, והאריך שם, ולא השגיחו בו חכמי התורה בדורו, ואף הבאים אחריו, ושמעתי שחכם אחד נקרא הרשב"ץ האריך בתשובתו (תשב"ץ ח"א סימן קמ"ז) לחלוק עליו, ולסתור את דבריו, והחזיק ידי הפירושים בראיות ברורות, וכדאיתא בפ"ב דכתובות (ק"ו ע"א), שהדיינים והמלמדים העוסקים במלאכת שמים היו נוטלים שכר מתרומת הלישכה, וה"ה לדידן, ואמת שאל"כ כבר היתה בטלה תורה מישראל, כי א"א לכל אדם לעסוק בתורה ולהחכים בה, וגם להתפרנס ממעשה ידיו, כמו שהוא יגע בענייני הרפואות, ועוד אני אומר, מי שהוא בעל ישיבה ומרביץ תורה ברבים, וצריך עתים קבועים מחולקים חציה לו וחציה לאחרים, וא"א לו שילך מביתו כי אם לדבר מצוה, עון הוא בידו אם לא יקבל מאחרים, אפי' יודע מלאכה וחכמה שיוכל ליגע בה להרויח כדי לפרנס את ביתו, בוז יבוזו לו באהבת התורה ולומדיה, כי א"א שיבטל מלימודו, אכן אם יש לו ממון כבר המספיק לו לחיות את עצמו [ולהלוות] בריבית לכותים והדומה לו, שאין ביטול תורה כלל, אז עון בידו ליהנות משל ציבור, אלא יגיע כפו יאכל, ומה שמקבל מן הצבור יוציא להוצאת ת"ת, ואם מוסיף משלו מוסיפין, גם מחוייבים הקהל ליקח מן החכם את מעותיו ולהרויח בהם, וזהו שאמרו רבותינו (פסחים נ"ג ע"ב) המטיל מלאי לת"ח כו', וכל מ"ש בענין ת"ח בעבור תורתם, ללמוד וללמד.

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    25. 4/4

      Despite being 100% sanctioned by Chazal and the Poskim, in the times of the Rishonim and Achronim, Kollel was not as widespread as we know it. They didn’t have any of the other financial or social benefits that we have today either. People barely graduated with the most basic education, and the truth is, by and large they were able to remain faithful Jews. It was only in the late 18th and 19th centuries when the Industrial Revolution and Enlightenment swept through Europe, did people begin leaving religion in droves. After the war, we realized that widespread Kollel is the way to get a handle on this. The same way that we are advanced in so many other ways: medically, scientifically, financially etc. So what if they weren’t able to create a widespread Kollel system in medieval Germany?! They didn’t have insurance policies in medieval Germany either! As with everything else, b”H society improves with time. Some people didn’t get the memo and then why they wonder they have over a 30% attrition rate. And ironically, it’s those who like to think of themselves as advanced.


      Delete
    26. Peanut Butter & JellySeptember 25, 2022 at 7:01 AM

      Binyamin, actually RNS completely misunderstood the R"MA. He thought that he as offering a third b'dieved opinion about allowing Kollel. Actually, besides for the fact that it is not b'dieved, as Mecharker pointed out, it is also not even talking about Kollel (as Mecharker further pointed out)! Kollel is part and parcel of the Tashbatz's main heter! See Mecharker's latest comment where he brings that the Tashbatz says so explicity! The final opinion in the Rama is whether it is permitted for a Talmid Chacham to take generous support, or only the bare bones basics.

      Delete
    27. :מכרכר בכל עוז@

      What you don't seem to understand is that all those quotes you bring about the value of supporting talmidei chamamim is that they're talking about a historical PREEXISTING minority elite who were already learning full time - yes, it's a big mitzvah to support Rav Nissim Karelitz in his learning.
      That's very different from obligating one to support an entire sector of the population in Israel who have decided they don't want to work.

      Delete
    28. Weaver:

      “What you don't seem to understand is that all those quotes you bring about the value of supporting talmidei chamamim is that they're talking about a historical PREEXISTING minority elite who were already learning full time”

      Who told you that? The sources don’t say anything that can be construed that it’s only for ‘an elite’. You made that up. What’s more, the Kesef Mishneh implies that even in the times of Chazal that there were masses of lomdei Torah, had there been enough money to go around, they would have supported everyone. See Bava Basra 8a which clearly says that it is a worthy cause to support even a random unknown talmid chochom.

      And I never said you are obligated to support them (although that is the words of the Tashbatz). I was just saying that it is a 100% legitimate and worthy concept, unlike what RNS erroneously thinks. You can continue using your charity to plant trees in the Jerusalem Forest and leave the obligation to us.

      Delete
    29. Weaver:

      This is the Tashbetz's (and in fact Chazal's) definition of a talmid chochom that one is obligated to support:

      שבת קי"ד ע"א

      איזהו ת"ח שבני עירו מצוין לעשות מלאכתו כל שמניח עסקיו ועוסק בחפצי שמיא למאי נ"מ למיטרח ליה בריפתיה.

      "Who is a Torah scholar that the members of his city are obligated to do his work? Whoever sets aside his own business dealings and instead devotes himself to heavenly matters. What is the practical ramification? To provide him with bread."

      Don't see anything about a 'minority elite' here!!

      Delete
    30. @Weaver
      Who is "obligating one to support an entire sector"? RNS absurdly claimed that people who are receiving funds from donors who appreciate the value of learning Torah full time are somehow wrong and should not be doing so. He based this on thoroughly ludicrous sources and מכרכר is nailing him for.

      Delete
    31. מכרכר בכל עוז@

      "Who told you that? The sources don’t say anything that can be construed that it’s only for ‘an elite’."

      The established historical reality of the time tells me that. Most people were working then, not in kollel.

      So according to you, the Tashbetz is saying that anyone who doesn't want to work can sit and learn and obligate the community to support him. When did we ever do that?
      (It's also possible that anyone who can truly "set aside his own business dealings and instead devotes himself to heavenly matters" is by definition a small minority. Most people can't do that.)

      Delete
    32. @Peanut Butter

      The RM’A has three levels - the last two being a יש אומרים and then a יש מקילין. It seems fairly clear that the RM’A is not adopting the Tashbat’z as a l’chatchila.

      Delete
    33. I finally have some time to respond, albeit not at length. But here are some important points:
      1. Tashbetz originally justifies Torah scholars taking money by comparing them to a Kohen Gadol. Note that (A) it's something that needs justifying, and (B) the justification is given by comparing them to someone who is serving the community.
      2. Even though Tashbetz ultimately permits students taking money, he STILL says that it is better for them to spend less time learning and work to support themselves rather than rely on the community. (And note that he was in an era where hardly anyone was learning, not in an era of mass kollel.)
      3. R. Yosef Caro, in Kesef Mishnah Talmud Torah 3:10, specifies that receiving money is only permissible in a case where he is teaching students, acting as a rabbinic judge, or studying in order to take on a teaching/judging role.
      4. If you look carefully at all the sources cited above, you will see that they are talking about people in TEACHING roles, or special Talmidei Chachamim, or eras where it was so rare to have someone dedicated to Torah that it was Eis Laasos to bend the rules and support them. Never was Chazal's value system undermined as it is today.

      Delete
    34. 1. “Tashbetz originally justifies Torah scholars taking money by comparing them to a Kohen Gadol. Note that (A) it's something that needs justifying, and (B) the justification is given by comparing them to someone who is serving the community”.

      Nonsense, the Tashbetz says openly ‘Torah students’ in multiple places, as I pointed out. This limitation of ‘serving the community’ based on the fact that the Kohen Gadol also serves the community is your own. And the Tashbetz goes on to bring from multiple sources in Chazal that supporting Torah is a legitimate cause of unto itself. I even copied some of them into the comment above.



      2. “Even though Tashbetz ultimately permits students taking money, he STILL says that it is better for them to spend less time learning and work to support themselves rather than rely on the community. (And note that he was in an era where hardly anyone was learning, not in an era of mass kollel.)”

      Ok, we know. But if there is any greater time when Kollel is needed, it is today. Due to materialism and advances in technology, religion for the most part around the word is dying or dead. We need to look no further than our compatriots to see the terrifying attrition rate of those who do not have Kollel. This is besides for the fact that many in Kollel also have their own side hustles to help support themselves. And that is besides for their wives extending themselves to help support the household as much as possible.



      3. “R. Yosef Caro, in Kesef Mishnah Talmud Torah 3:10, specifies that receiving money is only permissible in a case where he is teaching students, acting as a rabbinic judge, or studying in order to take on a teaching/judging role”.

      Nonsense, you made this up. As I pointed out, he says לפי שהיה בזמנם אלפי ורבבות תלמידים לא היו נותנין אלא למפורסמים שבהם או שכל מי שהיה אפשר לו שלא ליהנות היה עושה אבל כשזכה לחכמה ולמד דעת את העם התעלה על דעתך שהיה חוטב עצים, clearly implying that the only reason they did not have mass Kollel in the times of Chazal was simply due to budgetary constraints!! Some of the sources that he brings against the Rambam are indeed talking about judges and teachers, but many are not. So not sure where you see that he says this. And he ends off discussing that the community is OBLIGATED to support those who are filling community roles, implying that they are not obligated to support Talmidei Chachamim that are not (at odds with the Tashbetz, see my dialogue with Weaver above). Again, that is NOT what I am talking about, rather whether Kollel is a "permissible" and legitimate enterprise. It is not different than a Yissochor-Zevulun (or שמעון אחי עזריה in Chazal’s lexicon) partnership, which is endorsed by Chazal. Regardless, the Poskim pasken like the Tashbetz who takes this heter the most broadly.

      Also, most people in kollel long term end up taking on at least some sort of teaching/Rabbinic role.



      4. "If you look carefully at all the sources cited above, you will see that they are talking about people in TEACHING roles, or special Talmidei Chachamim, or eras where it was so rare to have someone dedicated to Torah that it was Eis Laasos to bend the rules and support them. Never was Chazal's value system undermined as it is today."

      Nonsense, you made this up. First of all, I don’t know why you keep referring to it as “Chazal’s value system”. The Tashbetz and Beis Yosef literally have dozens of Chazal implying that is worthy to support Talmidei Chachamim learning Torah on its own merit, even if not done to become a teacher/judge. I even copied and pasted some into the comment to make it easier for you. Yes, there are conflicting Chazals, such as the Mishna in Pirkei Avos, but you are not the first one to discover America (or England? Beit Shemesh?) and many wiser and smarter men than you have already worked to reconcile this, instead of ignoring all these other Chazals.

      As I pointed out, the sources quoted above are all talking about both learning and teaching. And as I mentioned earlier, there is probably no bigger Eis Laasos than today.

      Delete
    35. Peanut Butter & JellySeptember 28, 2022 at 10:56 PM

      Binyamin:

      Huh?? How, by the RM"A saying 'Yesh Omrim', does it imply that it's b'dieved?! The RM"A begins many of his glosses by saying "Yesh Omrim"!! Are all minhagei Ashkenazim b'dieved??

      Delete
    36. Weaver,

      I agree that the historical precedent has never been Kollel for the masses. But not necessarily by design. B"H Klal Yisroel is wealthier and more advanced today than ever in history to support thousands in Kollel. And just in time too! Because the winds of secularism are stronger than they ever were!

      Delete
    37. @Peanut Butter

      I don’t pretend to be an absolute baki in the nuances of every different way the RM’A presents his opinions - though I believe there are reasons for the way he does this. In this case (which I confirmed with an extremely distinguished posek) where he presents three opinions, with the first being very direct and strong, the RM’A seems to be saying that in an ideal world if one is able to support himself and learn Torah it’s highly preferable. The next two alternatives are entirely valid (I guess I should avoid the terminology of l’chatchila/bdieved) but are less ideal.

      Delete
    38. Peanut Butter & JellySeptember 29, 2022 at 6:29 AM

      Binyamin, I think we are entirely in agreement now. Yes, if someone can learn Torah AND support themselves, I think EVERYONE would agree that they should definitely do so. I indeed know of serious Kollel students who support themselves entirely through side hustles and do not take a kollel stipend. The problem is that very often one comes at the expense of the other. And being that it is 'an entirely valid' approach to follow the Tashbetz, many people will opt to do so rather be denied the opportunity to learn Torah seriously.

      Delete
    39. @Peanut Butter

      True. But this raises further questions, chiefly about the current model for Kollel learning. Typically a Kollel family is sustained by a) a stipend from the Kollel b) the Kollel wife’s salary from working as a teacher (or something similar) c) family support d) side hustles. It often takes all of these to make things work. Should an effort be made to change some of these parameters, even slightly, to follow an ideal? Should a Kollel fellow take a course one bein hazemanim that enables a ‘side hustle’, which possibly might lead to less dependency, and fulfills at least somewhat the ideal of supporting oneself? In the RMA’s ideal situation, where the person totally sustains himself AND learns, obviously there is some amount of time taken away from
      study, which in theory lessens the potential growth of the individual. The Kollel fellows I know who do ‘side hustles’ generally miss perhaps about two days worth of scheduled Kollel learning monthly. Is that good? Should everyone do it? I think the goal is, as the ‘yesh makilin’ opinion states, to learn and actually develop (l’hachkim) into a true Talmid Chochom - but to what level? If I could know every P’ri Megadim (almost an impossibility) but I decide to support myself slightly so that I’ll just know every Sha’ch, is that ok? I’ll stop now. Balance is the key, I think, which means at least reflecting on the ideal versus the real.

      Delete
    40. Binyamin, there is really no daylight between you and the Chareidi mindset! The ideal of the vast majority of Chareidim is to not stay in Kollel indefinitely and develop into R' Elyashiv, rather long enough to develop into a well rounded Talmid Chacham and enough of a Ben Torah to face the real world without compromising on one's Yiddishkeit. Eventually most move on to either the Rabbinic\Chinuch world or business world.

      Delete
  4. Recommended reading about getting hareidim into work:
    https://www.ynet.co.il/judaism/article/hy9vdbuei

    ReplyDelete
  5. But the problem here is that giving all the money to the poor is also very far from the ideal, and this is a harmful message to send. In part, this is because every successful charity needs funds for professional administration and fundraising. But it also relates to how modern society is different from traditional Jewish society.

    What percentage of the funds raised used for administrative purppses by Lmaan Achai?

    ReplyDelete
  6. RNS - Are you on Lemaan Achai's payroll? So many posts pushing this one org..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Norm, I surmise that RNS’s enthusiastic promotion of Lema’an Achai might be related to his strong belief in their philosophy of tzedaka as well as seeing them marginalized for absolutely no reason by certain elements in RBSA over the years.

      Delete
  7. I guess a simple enough rule is, if the tzedaka *says* "We provide professional support," then of course it's all right if money goes to it. But by making that part of their stated mission, it isn't really "overhead."

    If the tzedakah never claims to do anything but give money, then the lower their overhead, the better.

    "(Of course this is somewhat disingenuous, since doubtless the person who spent a fortune on magic challah knives would have given this money to the charity's general funds had there been no need for magic challah knives.)"

    In fairness, they may make a calculation that, say, for every hundred dollars spent on knives they make 500 more than they would have. (And usual incentives, like books, are dirt cheap.) If that can be calculated, that is, and even if it can be, I doubt it's done.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Though this is not quite as good as the Sergio Leone film, it is still a very important and necessary post, thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Article Summary: “Give a man to fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime”

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, that's “Give a man to fish, feed THEM for a day. ;^)

      Delete
  10. We have always been taught the highest level of charity is to help someone become self sufficient. Why settle for a lesser mitzvah of continuing dependency

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anon 09/23 6:35PM

      Why classify tzedakah resulting in continuing dependency as a lesser mitzvah? It’s no mitzvah at all. It should be considered an aveirah.

      Delete
  11. You shouldn't have written this post, nor the last few.

    The most important thing is to have Frum descendants. Reports are beginning to come in from Yakov, Mekharker and others with firsthand knowledge that DL & MO lag far behind in that area. Daniel http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2022/09/bibi-destroys-charedi-accomplishment.html?showComment=1663279269289#c5727753639379153504 brings a study published by the chevra dati leumi bnitunim that dati attrition is 40% while Chareidi attrition is 2-3%. As soon as those comments came in, it was time for us to freeze in our tracks. If this is true, the city isn't on fire. The future is.

    Stop reading the news, composing blogs or whatever else you're doing. Get and follow the list of alumni from your children's schools. What percent remained Frum? Get and follow the list of alumni from other schools—what percent remained Frum? What about grandchildren's schools? Invest your children in the safest one. If the safe ones are too radical for you, follow our great Rebi the Rambam. He says that if you live in a bad country you leave. Check out the schools in the UK and the US and anywhere and move. Leave your home and career behind and save your children.

    When I taught semi-religious students, our Kiruv agenda included trying to get them to stay in a Jewish setting ALAP—keeping them out of gentile schools and delaying or avoiding them going to gentile colleges. If they came from western families, we had a fighting chance to encourage them to go, depending on the ages, to a Jewish high school or for the older ones to a Yeshiva College or Israel. But if the parents were Russians we couldn't do anything. The kids were fiercely devoted not to budge an inch from their parents plans for them. What's this talk about that you can't tell kids what to do? If you're animated towards Judaism, the kind that statistics tell us that they carry over well to the generation, you can tell them. Or you don't have to actually tell them cause you created the right kind of atmosphere throughout their entire childhood.

    We had two brothers *Dan and *Josh. I taught the older one but not the younger one. The older one was quite religious. Later he was "a beard" at Yeshiva College. The younger one didn't work out well. By the older one's graduation, I greeted the father, a Baal Tshuva of sorts. He told me, “Hi. You know, [the younger one] has to go to college”. (Others on the staff also reported his single-minded concern that his son go to college in their conversations with him.) Well, if college is the first thing out of his mouth, that helps explain why that son isn't Frum. Being Frum has to come first. Investing enough, that means investing generously and with sufficient sacrifice, makes all the difference. How many people from the older generation would rather die than marry a Goy? Yet their kids haven't the slightest problem whatsoever. Your values have to be communicated, in word and deed. They have to be a priority, even at the possible (or probable or certain) expense of not maximizing your job potential. If it's very very important to you and you're dynamic about it in front of the children, you have a chance. Otherwise, like this poor father who I'm not blaming, the odds are stacked against you.

    ReplyDelete
  12. CONT'D

    The sorry statistics, if they are true, speak for themselves. As a bonus, we can explain how they got that way. There is nothing particularly Jewish about certain forms of Bein Adam Lachaveiro, Zionism, and Tikun Olam. If that's all you have to offer your children, they have no use for Jewish identity, let alone Judaism. You're good enough, they tell themselves, Frai or a Goy. And this world's pleasures beckon.

    The monarchy is in the news. Does it have inherent value or is it an empty shell? The answer isn't important, more important is its attrition. Harry had enough. (Edward left, but that's a whole different story.) What about our children?

    A prominent speaker at an Agudah convention or dinner said, “We have our critics and we listen to them. When they say something of substance we try to correct what we can. (*This doesn't include calling up Israeli Chareidim with advice, and only selectively getting involved in sticky issues.) If not, we move on.” I read blogs the same way. I take heed of some of your suggestions. But that's not what you are looking for. Rather, that Chareidism and its western relative, YO, be abandoned wholesale. And what will fill the vacuum? MO and DL, with their attrition rates. It's bad enough for the children of people already found within MO and DL, but you'll have UO, ChO, and YO also to lose this most important thing, Frum descendants?

    The rest, whether it stinks or not, is bathwater.

    כוח"ט!--לכבודו, ולכולם.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @ Anon 9/23 11:37 PM

      Why is it so important to have frum descendants if your “frum” progeny develop traits that are harmful to the larger society in which they reside? A society that refuses to work for a living to support his family is not “frum”, it’s krum. And one whose demographics grows larger by the day resulting in an existential threat by refusing to join their fellow citizens in defending their country is not frum. It is krum. A society that claims. There is nothing religiously righteous about a society that refused to teach their children math and science.
      So yes, I’d rather opt for a society where 35% of their folks go OTD than be raised in one where ignorance and benightedness is a mark of holiness. There is nothing “frum” about that society, nothing at all.



      Delete
    2. "So yes, I’d rather opt for a society where 35% of their folks go OTD than be raised in one where ignorance and benightedness is a mark of holiness."

      Well obviously, you are OTD yourself, as you have demonstrated here many times quite clearly. And btw, the ones who glorify ignorance are precisely the same ones have the 35% OTD rate. They know almost nothing about Torah.

      Delete
    3. Fraitchka, who's talking to you? Of course anyone with your attitude to observance, Chazal, etc. etc. won't mind Frai descendants. And won't mind being Frai themselves. And can talk about the Frum as if they are the Frai ones, and about the Frai as if they are the Frum.
      But do people putting in efforts to be Frum want that? To them there's what to say and who to talk to.

      Delete
  13. Anonymous at Sept. 23 at11:38 PM. In the U.S. men "learn" and go to college. They're called "Yeshivish".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The majority of Yeshivish men in the US do not go to college. Although there are those that do go (usually through frum programs) for accounting, law, special ed, psychology etc.

      Delete
    2. Moshe, Anonymous September 25, 2022 at 8:07 AM responded nicely to you.

      Additionally, there's one thing to go to college and another thing about it being the first thing out of your mouth.

      And there's one thing going to college with years of Jewish commitment behind you and another thing going there with unstable commitment.

      Finally, it's one thing to sit at the computer and give advice and another thing to spend years teaching and keeping track of your alumni and networking with other teachers from your school and others and then deciding what's right for which student.

      Delete
  14. Wow you just maligned and disregarded the vast majority of Jews living today and who have lived up to today.
    Nice to see what you think of your people who comprise Klal Yisrael. It’s quite literally the definition of snobbery. I wish you a long life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Neither the vast majority of Jews today, nor the vast majority of Jews who have lived up to today are MO.

      Delete
    2. So many anonymous comments who can keep track?!

      "Neither the vast majority of Jews today, nor the vast majority of Jews who have lived up to today are MO."

      This is technically true about Jews prior to today (or the onset of MO as a thing), because MO as an ideology didn't exist then. But it is clear there have always been Jews who were like that, chafing against mesorah and halacha, but were in the closet, so to speak, because there was a true dichotomy of choice available to Jews: remain Jewish or leave entirely. Jews abandoned Judaism in extremely large numbers the instant a third choice became available by way of emancipation. So how resolute were those Jews who left and their ancestors before then? In general, not very. Even pre-war Poland was at the vanguard of assimilation, regardless opinions on the subject. MO and its variants like OO is just the latest expression of this tendency.

      When faced with the starker choice of exile or baptism, look at how many (tens of thousands? hundreds of thousands?) Jews opted for the latter in Spain.

      Delete
    3. And I guess Shimshon you think that you would have been among those that chose death or exile over baptism. So you compare yourself to Jews facing inquisition in the 15th century and obviously you win. Because they were retards and you obviously are the anti retard.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous September 25, 2022 at 2:14 PM:

      Why do retards project so much? My observations have nothing to do with what I would or would not have done. I compared myself to nothing. You are a retard for projecting these feelings of yours onto me.

      Throughout history, there were many tens of thousands that chose correctly. I would like to think I would have been among them. But how can I know when I am not in that situation?

      Delete
    5. I believe the comment above regarding the maligning of the vast majority of Jews , was referring not to MO / OO or whatever you label them, rather anyone to the left of chareidi (more appropriately acc to anon's definition - anyone who would consider a college education, presumably extending to anyone who harbors any form of ideal of contributing to, or from, the outside world). That's a lot of Jews to be written off as not having "worked out so well", as if that brother, and all non-chareidi Jews are hardened criminals and menaces to mankind.
      I am not sure what to say about a kiruv program that approaches its fellow Jews with such a condescending midset ( do you think perhaps that the father's attitude toward his his son's college education was a product of what he viewed as your less than positive influence in the older bearded brother's life?).
      For all those who yearn to 'bring Jews back' to what is the 'original' practice and pure unwavering and unchanging tradition, I might remind you that these fellow Jews, i.e. the vast majority of Jews both today and historically, are direct products of that rigid system and elitist mindset.
      If you want to be rigid and elitist, with even hints or perceptions of condescension in your approach, don't be surprised when nearly all Jews end up on the other side of the fence.
      A fence mind you, defined by yourselves.
      How lucky we all are to be better, purer and more worthy than them.

      Delete
    6. Peanut Butter & JellySeptember 28, 2022 at 11:14 PM

      Smash, if I understood Anon's gripe with the kiruv school father correctly, it was not the fact that he wanted to send his son to college. There are plenty of Chareidim or non-denomination religious Jews out there with college degrees. Rather, it was with the father's obsession over it. If he is instilling in his his kids that going to college is the most important thing, than Judaism is going to fall by the wayside. Unfortunately, certain denominations within 'frum' society likewise put an emphasis on the sideshows such as college, and tragically do not have too much success keeping their kids 'Frum'.

      Delete
    7. Hi, this is Anon 11:37 & 11:38. I don't understand how my comments generated so much misreading. I spoke positively about the brother who went to Yeshiva college. (Besides that he had a beard, he had red, blue, yellow etc. shirts. But in his case the beard was his way of stating his commitment to observance and relevant to my description of him as observant. [And did I say that's the only way to express your commitment?]) He's not Chareidi. He "worked out well." Why am I maligning anyone left of Chareidi?

      About the brothers, we at the school weren't the major players in their lives. "Beard" got devoted from the synagogue rabbi and by the way learned with us too. (He was also bright and motivated in all areas, a "likely to succeed" type. I imagine he's making a good living.) The father had little to say to us about him.

      A side point- very roughly UO is about twice as large as MO, as has been discussed on this blog in the past. And both together are a small fraction of Jewry in total. Thus MO is a minority of a minority.

      Regarding me being a maligner, I'm a messenger (available for your shooting). I specifically wrote, "The sorry statistics, if they are true, speak for themselves." I didn't say anything about the general way of MO life. Why is it arrogant or condescending to point out a problem? Why am I assumed to be smug about it? Is it not possible that as a part of the Jewish people, this attrition bothers me, to say the least? And I called not for an immediate charge of life trajectory but to investigate the claims. And to see what has been done within MO to keep the children. Are there specific causes for the attrition that can be avoided, such as by spending extra quality time with the children? Being more Koveiah Ittim? Or any other suggestions? Do those improvements have a track record comparable to the UO statistics?

      Then there's another point. Changing from one stream of OJ to another to save your children and grandchildren is undoubtedly overwhelming--(but should still be gravely considered). But to cease and desist from encouraging people to defect from UO to MO, and to cease and desist from discouraging the reverse, that's easy, and you'd perform an inestimable service to their future.

      A long life and Shana Tova to all.

      Delete
    8. @Smash,
      1. pea bee 'n jay got my drift pretty well.
      2. "If you want to be rigid and elitist, with even hints or perceptions of condescension in your approach, don't be surprised when nearly all Jews end up on the other side of the fence."
      Regards the perceptions of condescension, they come from misreading, as in my other comment.
      Regards that flexibility trumps rigidity, indeed the Kiruv world engages in much flexibility. But that flexibility trumps rigidity, what do you know beyond your personal experience? Have you ever read R Meyer Shapiro's (of Daf Yomi) contrast between Prague and Pressburg/Bratislava. Are you aware of its existence? And his resounding answer to your question? And are the rigid Satmar and the various Jerusalem zealots heading to extinction? Did everyone disappear from their side of the fence?

      While you are outright dismissing rigidity as found throughout Chareidi society, I am not dismissing flexibility where it works.

      Kt.

      Delete
  15. Off topic, but maybe for another day?

    What is the rationalistic Judaic (is that good English) view of a monarchy? Is concepts like 'mulchysoh d'rakia k'ein malchusoh dishmayoh' purely non-rationalistic? When the novi and chazal talk endlessly about Hashem as a king, what do they mean exactly? If the entire world was republican from brias ha'olam would Hashem still be kinglike? Is the rationalist view that a Jewish king was a purely social construct to build a better society? If so, why all the annointing stuff? Just because that's what the nationd did? Lots of questions.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Anonymous at Sept. 25 at 8:07 pm. When I grew up in the 60's 70's in the US the majority of "yeshiva lite" went to college. There were no "frum programs".This .was after the lights went out in Lakewood Yeshiva because Reichmann, the frum supporter of Kollel, suffered major financial setback




    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous @ September 25, 2022 at 8:07 AMSeptember 29, 2022 at 6:59 AM

      First of all, my last name is AM, not PM. Be careful about מכנה שם over there. Secondly, I said "go" to college, not "went" to college.

      Delete
    2. Cause the Reichmans busted in the 90s therefore yeshiva lite went to college in the 60s?

      Delete
  17. It's absurd to compare Dati-Leumi to Chareidi educational institutions. DI Amit and Mamlacti Dati public religious education have light religious education as compared to Chareidi religious education which have no secular studies. But there are excellent DI high school yeshivot. Also if you compare Hesder Yeshivot you will not find the absurd statistic of those leaving religious practice as compared to Charedim. The Chareidim stay in Yeshiva until 22 or later to avoid the army and under severe social pressure and family control.In the Chareidi controlled environment you won't see much leaving of religion. I don't believe you will find Hesder Yeshivot graduates leaving observance more than Yeshiva Chareidi students. But you will find I'll equipped Chareidim who can't deal with secular intellectual challenges as indicated by some of the comments on this blog. You won't find by the DI the viciousness lack of respect and non civility that you find on this blog by Chareidim or OTD former Chareidim on this blog.

    ReplyDelete
  18. "if you compare Hesder Yeshivot you will not find the absurd statistic of those leaving religious practice as compared to Charedim."

    At last, a response to those claims. Where do the remaining DLs go?

    "under severe social pressure and family control.In the Chareidi controlled environment you won't see much leaving of religion"

    Leaving Frum descendants isn't worth that?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "under severe social pressure and family control.In the Chareidi controlled environment you won't see much leaving of religion"

      I'd be glad to be raised with whatever it takes to be Frum. I'd be glad to return the the favor down to my children.

      Obviously this needs to be balanced with loads of love. Looking at some well adjusted people I know, this has indeed been done properly.

      Delete

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