web analytics
November 23, 2014 / 1 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



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.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
US Secretary of State John Kerry with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier before P5+1 talks. Nov. 22, 2014.
BREAKING: West About to Cave on Key Iranian Demand
Latest Sections Stories
Kupfer-112114

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

Astaire-112114-Horse

There were many French Jews who jumped at the chance to shed their ancient identity and assimilate.

L to R: Sheldon Adelson, Shawn Evenhaim, Haim Saban

As Rabbi Shemtov stood on the stage and looked out at the attendees, he told them that “Rather than take photos with your cellphones, take a mental photo and keep this Shabbat in your mind and take it with you throughout your life.”

South-Florida-logo

Yeshiva v’Kollel Bais Moshe Chaim will be holding a grand celebration on the occasion of the institution’s 40th anniversary on Sunday evening, December 7. Alumni, students, friends and faculty of the yeshiva, also known as Talmudic University of Florida, will celebrate the achievement and vision of its founders and the spiritual guidance of its educational […]

The yeshiva night accommodates all levels of Jewish education.

Recently, Fort Lauderdale has been the focus of international news, and it has not been about the wonderful weather.

Rabbi Sacks held the position of chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth for 22 years until September 2013.

The event included a dvar Torah by student Pesach Bixon, an overview of courses, information about student life and a student panel that answered frequently asked questions from a student perspective.

It is difficult to write about such a holy person, for I fear I will not accurately portray his greatness…

“Grandpa,” I wondered, as the swing began to slow down, “why are there numbers on your arm?”

So the real question is, “How can we, as hosts, make sure our guest beds are comfortable?” Because your guests will never say anything.

It was a land of opportunity, a place where someone who wasn’t afraid of a little hard work, or the challenges of adapting to a different climate and culture, could prosper.

Rule #1: A wife should never accompany her husband to hang out with his buddies at a fantasy football draft. Unless beer and cigars are her thing, that is.

There are many people today with very little training who put out shingles and proclaim themselves to be marital coaches, shalom bayis helpers, advisers etc.

The two World Series combatants, the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants, were Wild Card teams (meaning they didn’t win their respective divisions) that got hot at the right time.

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: