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    Studying in Kollel – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. How can it be right for married men with children to continue sitting and studying the Talmud for years without taking a job?

    A. Arguments against remaining in kollel include the view that a person should not withdraw from the community or rely on others almost indefinitely for economic support; not everyone is capable of postgraduate study and many would be better off in the work force; and the Ethics of the Fathers advise combining Torah with a worldly occupation.

    There is however the Issachar-Zevulun concept. According to the sages, two of Jacob’s sons had a partnership – Zevulun made a living for both of them and Issachar studied Torah for both. In modern times the destruction of so many great scholars and centres of learning in the Holocaust has made it vital to rebuild Torah learning, and communities everywhere derive benefit from the new generation of scholars and willingly support their learning.

    But to be fair and honest, the kollel scholars should, whilst studying, go out to the community and teach and spread Judaism. They should also recognise that there comes a time to emerge into the world and be responsible for oneself and one’s own family whilst still finding time to study part-time.

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