Did They Teach You This In Yeshivah?
What did they teach you in yeshivah about kollel vs. working? I was taught that kollel is the only legitimate option, and the normative route for a Torah Jew. My roommate in yeshivah, upon telling the Rosh Yeshivah that he was leaving to university, was told "I'm sorry that you're being lost to the world of Torah." But here's a fascinating letter from Rav Shlomo Wolbe:
"I was delving into the topic of Torah Im Derech Eretz which is, ultimately, the foundation upon which live most Shomer Mitzvos in the world. We do not sufficiently relate to this approach, and the result of this is that many Bnei Yeshivah who eventually leave to engage in business and suchlike see this as a contradiction to the life of Torah, which is a great mistake. I head in the name of the Steipler that today's effort to make people stay permanently in kollel is a horaas shaah (temporary decree), and Rav Chaim Kanievsky said that it is reasonable that his father said this. The basic path of the Torah is that a person works for a living and also establishes regular times for Torah study..." (from אגרות וכתבים)
It is deeply ironic that many people in the charedi world claim that the Torah Im Derech Eretz approach of Rav Hirsch was a hora'as shaah, and do not acknowledge that the fundamental societal approach of the charedi world is a hora'as shaah!
It goes without saying that the hora'as shaah of mass kollel, intended to compensate for the losses of the Holocaust, has resulted in there now being far more people in full-time Torah study than ever before in history, with a host of resultant problems. I once heard from Prof. Leo Levi that he asked one of the charedi Gedolim (I forget which one) that surely it is time to officially cancel this temporary decree, and the Gadol replied that he lacks the koach to do so. Alas, this is one of the problems of the weakness of charedi leadership - and the problems of a society which elects nonagenarians as its leaders.