web analytics
March 1, 2015 / 10 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Learning The Hard Way (Part II)

I am still getting calls and e-mails from mothers and grandmothers with girls for “Avi” (a non-New Yorker), the ben Torah “earner” who was having trouble finding girls in his community willing to go out with him because he was not learning full time.


Many of the phone callers decried the current attitude in the heimische community – that married men should be “professional learners and not professionals who are earners.” They felt that the failure of young married men to have the responsibility of supporting their family, the way it has been for thousands of years, has resulted in an unhealthy “es kumt mir – I deserve” mentality. There is an expectation that their financial needs be fulfilled – without any effort on their part – by their wives, parents, the community and even the government.


Yet inexplicably, in many frum social circles learning boys are in great demand, sought after by girls who have become very idealistic (via their high schools and seminaries) and have what I call the Rachel Syndrome – patterning themselves after the wife of Rabbi Akiva, a girl from a wealthy family who gave up a pampered lifestyle and embraced a life of dire poverty when she married the illiterate shepherd Akiva, encouraging him to learn. Parents may secretly not be happy with their daughter’s choice of a learning boy, but go along with it since it seems everybody’s kids are into learning and they want to “fit in”. Their choices are dictated by “What will my friends think?” I truly believe that their friends have the same thoughts – “I have to accept my son’s learning lifestyle/ my daughter wish to marry a learner – or what will my friends think?”


And so they toe the line and allow their daughters to date learners or allow their sons to become full-time learners – whether they have the talent to learn or not. Rabbi Akiva became a leading sage in Israel with thousands of students. However, a great number of the young husbands today who are full-time learners are not made of the same stuff as Rabbi Akiva – not in their learning and not in their acceptance of a materialistically-challenged existence. Many have a very strong sense of entitlement, which leads to another issue that was brought up by several of the distraught mothers who called. The families of learning boys will not give the slightest consideration to a girl whose family “does not have money”. It doesn’t matter how amazing the girl’s middos or personality is, the family has to have money (or incredible yichus). The boy’s family understandably does not want to shoulder the whole burden of support on their own – they want a daughter-in-law whose parents will share the load with them. Hence many wonderful girls are hitting their mid-20s unmarried, since their family finances don’t measure up. And yet many of these girls still insist on marrying “learners” – refusing to date “earners” and possibly “marrying down”. To a certain extent, the “shidduch crisis” may sadly be self-induced.


This phenomenon of supporting a young learning couple has been going on for years and is commendable when it involves serious, gifted learners. The sacrifices made by both sets of parents in the name of Torah are admirable. But there are two issues that have changed the nature of full-time learning. One is that every Yankel, whether qualified or not, can become a learner – and may do so for the wrong reasons; some in order to avoid having to learn a trade or get an education due to a lack of motivation or laziness; some because they also want to “fit in” or get a “good” shidduch; some because their parents insist they do – either because they have their hearts unrealistically set on their offspring being a talmid chacham – or again because of “appearances.” Supporting these young men who don’t belong for a long term in a beth medrash is a mistake.


The second issue is that times have changed and whereas one income used to adequately support a household, two barely do. The price of a house and rent are sky high. Even when both spouses are working, their parents often need to help out. And usually there are married siblings who are being assisted by the same set of parents. It is unrealistic to expect a wife who is juggling work and children as well as parents who have their own financial responsibilities – to pay the bills while the father of the household is in the beth medrash learning – or just schmoozing. Even the well-intentioned but mediocre learners should reconsider their choice. For while it is true that man does not live by bread alone, it is also clear that “im ein kemach ein Torah,” if there is no meal there is no Torah.


About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Learning The Hard Way (Part II)”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prays at the Western Wall ahead of his speech next week at the US Congress.
Netanyahu Visits Western Wall before Leaving for US
Latest Sections Stories
Golan Wine Medals

‘Double Gold’ awarded to 2012 Yarden Heights wine & 2011 Yarden Merlot Kela Single Vineyard.

Niehaus-022715

One should not give the money before Purim morning or after sunset.

Mendlowitz-022715-Basket

The mishloach manos of times gone by were sometimes simple and sometimes elaborate, but the main focus was on the preparation of the delicious food they contained.

Astaire-022715-Countryside

One of the earliest special Purims we have on record was celebrated by the Jews of Granada and Shmuel HaNagid, the eleventh-century rav, poet, soldier and statesman, and one of the most influential Jews in Muslim Spain.

Jews, wake up! Stop educating the world and start educating yourselves.

The lessons conform to the sensitivities and needs of the Orthodox community…

The program took on special significance as it marked not only the first anniversary of Rebbetzin Kudan’s levayah but also the 27th yahrzeit of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson, a”h.

It captures the love of the Jewish soul as only Shlomo Hamelech could portray it – and as only Rabbi Miller could explain it.

Erudite and academic, drawing from ancient and modern sources, the book can be discussed at the Shabbos table as well as in kollel.

I’m here to sit next to you and help you through this Purim with three almost-too-easy mishloach manot ideas, all made with cost-conscious paper bags.

Kids want to be like their friends, and they want to give and get “normal” mishloach manos stocked with store-bought treats.

Whenever he did anything loving for me, I made a big deal about it.

“OMG, it’s so cute, you’re so cute, everything is so cute.”

A program that started with a handful of volunteers has grown exponentially to include students from a wider array of backgrounds.

More Articles from Cheryl Kupfer
Kupfer-112114

Divorce from a vindictive, cruel spouse can be a lifelong nightmare when there are offspring.

Kupfer-092614-Books

Not knowing any better, I assumed that Molly and her mother must be voracious readers.

Unpleasant happenings are quickly discarded if they do not affect us directly.

I have always insisted that everything that happens to anyone or anything is min Shamayim.

It is so hurtful to heighten people’s sense of inadequacy and guilt in a matzav that is already horrendous and difficult to bear.

Make no mistake: in the wrong hands cars are weapons of mass destruction.

Where once divorce in heimische communities was relatively uncommon, nowadays every family has a son, daughter, sibling cousin who is divorced – sometimes twice or even three times!

Many go about the business of living frum, observant lives, but they are only going through the motions.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/learning-the-hard-way-part-ii/2006/05/24/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: