Torah and a Trade: Better for Haredim*

There seems to be a serious problem in the U.S. and Israel with the Haredim (translated as"ultra-Orthodox" by some) being forced--by their own standards--to pay for extravagant weddings for their children which they can't afford. Some fathers of marriageable daughters have considered selling an organ in order to pay for their daughter's wedding! In addition, their children are also not encouraged to learn a trade and earn a living, but rather study Torah--exclusively--and they end up living in poverty. When their children are at marriageable age, the cycle repeats again.

The fact is that not everyone is cut-out for full-time Torah learning. In Eastern Europe, most boys learned a trade, and continued learning Torah, if they were so inclined. Learning was and still is greatly respected; only the geniuses and those who exhibited great promise were supported by people in the community in order to learn. Not everyone is a Torah genius, an ilui. Most people are average (that's why it's called 'average!') and they would benefit from working full-time and learning part-time.

The community in which I live is mixed: Haredi, modern Orthodox, Yeshivish Agudah and Hassidic, and that problem is not so prevalent here (to my knowledge, at least.) Our Chabad rabbi's daughters all married Hassidim with professions or businesses, so they don't fall into that category.

I think it's time that Haredim, for their own benefit, started following the precept written in Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers), יפה תלמוד תורה עם דרך ארץ , which loosely translated means that learning Torah should go hand in hand with 'the way of the land,' which means work, labor.

Rabbi Levi Brackman says it very well in his article on this problem, here. It would be wise for the Ultra-Orthodox to heed what he says.

(*Nablopomo day#11)

Comments

N said…
To get a job is to confess you're not an ilui. A lot of people in the Yeshivish world are incapable of confessing their shortcomings. That's why they point out the shortcomings of others. And I say that as amember of said world.
Mystery Woman said…
It's not even about being an ilui. This is "the system". If you don't follow it, you're on a lesser level. I don't see that system changing any time soon.
Lady-Light said…
N: I'm glad you're able to visit again.
"A lot of people in the Yeshivish world are incapable of confessing their shortcomings. That's why they point out the shortcomings of others."
You are cutting to the heart with those words. Is there anyone out there listening?

Mystery Woman: You're right, it is the 'system,' but don't be so cynical: culture changes, if not by evolution, than by revolution; and people are starting to 'wake up'...
Batya said…
There's no real tradition for it as a profession. Just post WWII affluence facilitated it and it became an ideology.
It's not Jewish.
G-d commanded us to work for six days and then Shabbat.
Lady-Light said…
Batya: So you're thinking post WWII affluence is the source? Perhaps, but it was also a reaction to the Nazis destroying Jewish life and learning in Eastern Europe; it is a 'we will show them' reaction, by encouraging everyone to learn Torah and thus continue the Jewish people.

I understand that, but not at the expense of fulfilling the obligations of the ketubah-providing for your wife and family and being a productive member of society.

Your point, too, is well taken: we are supposed to work, and rest on Shabbat.

In essence, we have shown them (and anyone else who chas v"sh tries to annihilate us) by continuing to study our Holy Texts and creating the State of Israel--that the Jewish People are and will always be eternal.

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