Sunday, December 13, 2009

Some questions for Kollel only supporters

These are not my questions, rather Yonasan Rosenblum asked them of the Kollel only crowd.

(1) Do you think there are any differences of kind, not just magnitude, between the homogeneous group of idealists who rallied to the Chazon Ish’s banner and today’s chareidi community of three-quarters of a million nefashos?
(2) Do you have any idea of the degree of poverty in the chareidi world, including among avreichim? Do you see the chareidi world today as vulnerable? What, for instance, would happen if the Israeli Supreme Court ruled definitively that the state cannot fund schools that do not teach a common curriculum? Israeli welfare payments have grown twice as fast as gross family income over the last two decades. What do you think the impact would be if the Israeli government decided that disparity is unsustainable and imposed another dramatic cut in welfare payments, like the cut in child care allowances under Prime Minister Sharon (with Netanyahu as Finance Minister)?
(3) Do you see any cost to traditional Torah family structure from the assumption that the wife will be both the primary breadwinner and primary caregiver to very large families? Do you think most women are capable of sustaining both roles?
(4) Do you think the Gemara knew what it was talking about when it said that the primary source of marital strife is the lack of money? Do you see poverty having an impact on shalom bayis in the Torah community?
(5) What do you think happens to a eleven-year-old who is already struggling and falling behind in cheder when he asks his father what he is going to be when he grows up and his father tells him his only option is to be an avreich?
(6) Is there any point at which the communal cost in terms of drop-outs and broken families is too great to be sustained without being addressed at its core?

I have been asking many of these same questions (and others) myself and the answer is clear that kollel only is not the solution for everyone.


The Leader, Garnel Ironheart said...

The problem is that there are answers to all those questions. Not good ones, but here you go:
1) There are no differences. If the Chazon Ish said it, we must follow it.
2) If poverty is so bad, why did Rav Shteinman turn down the Wolfson offer of hundreds of millions of shekels to create Chareidi trade schools? Why does he repeatedly speak about how important poverty is for Chareidim?
3) No.
4) What does the Gemara have to do with real life?
5) Let him learn Torah and all will be solved.
5) No.

no one said...

I agree there is a problem when torah has become a means of parnasa. But this is not recent. I saw this long ago. People were just mouthing the right words about Torah lishmah. Yet I became convinced at some point that there is much more of a problem than using torah for parsana. It seemed to me some kind of hypocrisy was imbedded in the system. I never reached any conclusion as to this problem. But over the years I began to se the whole paradigm of torah in this generation is very different than that of the rambam so I stopped worrying about individual issues and decided if Charedi Judaism wants to ignore the Rambam that will no longer be my problem as far as I am concerned people can ignore the Rambam at their own risk. But I think a warning label ought to be put onto charedi Judaism the surgeon general Rabbi Moshe Ben Maimon has determined this product is dangerous to ones mental and physical health.
However that being said I must admit that people that are really learning torah lishmah I wish them all the success in the world—and I think there are many people like that in Israel.

pc said...

You can't consider questions in isolation, you also have to ask:

1. How can we save klal yisroel when 80% intermarriage is the norm in Los Angeles and the Gold Cost (Australia)?

2. To what extent does the intense core of Torah learning in Eretz Yisroel strengthen Jewish conciousness and self-identity globally?

3. How can we create osmosis of Torah knowledge from the more learned to the less learned and thereby assure Jewish continuity?

pc :-)