Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Should Kollel families have a family budget?

Someone wrote the following letter to Hamodia (printed today May 2).

Kollel families receive a certain siyata dishmaya that helps them to make ends meet in a near miraculous manner. If they were to begin to keep track of their income and expenditures, they would realize that theri finances just do not add up, and the husband might feel pressured to leave kollel.

I therefore don't think it's advisable for bnei Torah to adopt Mesila's budgeting practices nor to become Mesila clients. Instead, they should have bitachon that Hashem will provide for them and not look too closely at their finances.

This attitude is a big part of the poverty problem in the Charedi world today. People are just burying their heads in the sand. I was happy to see a long answer was given, which disagrees with the premise of the question. I will just quote the conclusion:

For individuals who are on high levels of bitachon as evidenced by their modest lifestyles ... obviates the need for a budget.

But for the vast majority of Bnei Torah, budgeting is not only appropriate but required. And when perople do wat is required of them, their siyata Dishmaya is not diminished but increased.


Orthonomics said...

This reminds me of an excahnge in the Jewish Observer years ago. A man wrote an article about investing and outlined how smart investing of money received for the birth of a new child could grow to a sizable amount by the time a wedding were to come along.

He received compalin letters of the same type.

Unfortunately, once a person is in debt, the debt spirals and can get out of control very quickly. Then a person finds themselves unable to pay their bills and violates many commandments in the process.

Zach Kessin said...

The Haradi community (or at least large parts of it) seem to be doing their best to be in Denail about their own finances. Every year it gets poorer and refuses to note this fact or do anything about it. Sooner or later the whole thing is going to come falling down like a house of cards. Probably when the banks stop giving out more loans.