Friday, July 07, 2006

Welcome to the Real World II (Kollel Follow-up)

Jewboy has a wonderful follow-up to this post today. Here's an excerpt:
Kollel is not a default option; if you're too lazy or dumb to do anything else, heck why not roll out the rich father in law and let him support you? Kollel is for those individuals who are committed to sacrificing material comforts for the sake of learning. I believe long term kollel should be confined to those who genuinely want to be rabbis or are truly gifted enough to make contributions to the Jewish people through learning. Somewhere along the line young bochurim have gotten the message that working hard to support your family is old hat, why go to that effort if you can sit back and live off the labors of your parents?
Read the whole thing.

On a separate note, here's a comment my sister-in-law (SIL) wrote on a (very worthwhile) Orthomom post a few months ago which is highly relevant:
It's not that Black and white :)

Kollel doesn't necessarily mean that:
- the husband learns Torah all day for the rest of his life and doesn't work at all
- they get money from their parents
- the wife doesn't work

My husband learns full time in yeshiva and we DO NOT get support from anyone. I work full time and my husband has a few side jobs. We live very simply. My sisters' husbands who are also in Kollel both work very hard to bring in income. No one I know is planning to be in kollel forever. Many men who are in kollel are also in school at night or studying for their CPAs, LSATs, etc. so they can work when they feel that it is time. (Even in Lakewood, most people learn for about five years in kollel.) It isn't true that everyone learns in kollel, regardless of their ability to do so. Trying to learn all day, if you can't, can be very demoralizing and most guys wouldn't subject themselves to it. People naturally like to feel productive.

There is a whole range of situations. Some kollel families are self-supporting. Some kollel families get help with rent. Some kollel families are fully supported for a few years. Very few people stay in kollel for life and are being supported by their own fathers-in-law who are also still in kollel. Do you know anyone like that? And if someone has the finances available, he could choose to fully support his children.

The worst thing is that parents feel pressured to agree to support in order to get their daughters married off, even if they can't afford it. Really, if a girl wants to marry a kollel guy, she should make sure to have a job with good earning potential. (Um... speech therapist?)And when they have kids, they should pray for an amazing babysitter.