46 Year Old Yungerman Loses His Kollel

September 09, 2012 | Comments 2

It’s always heartbreaking when you hear the story of a 46 year old father of 8 getting laid off from his job. But in this case, what is heartbreaking is the person’s response.

This fellow was a member of a kollel that recently closed. He was part of the kollel from when it started, and now he finds himself with no place to learn. In terms of parnossa, there was no loss of income. Whatever he earned from the kollel could easily be replaced by just a couple of hours of tutoring or private learning sessions. But, he found himself with no place to call “home”. Where was he to spend his days learning? In desperation, he applied to join another long-standing kollel in his area. To no one’s surprise, they refused to accept him. Even assuming the kollel had funds for new members, someone of that age would not be considered to fill those spots.

So, to stress the point that he is committed to the kollel, he began learning there this zman as a non-member. He figures that eventually the kollel administration will relent and accept him onto their payroll.

How sad that this fellow didn’t take the opportunity to fly free and chart his own path, and instead is insisting on keeping the status quo going as long as possible – even when it seems to be hopelessly over. After spending 25+ years of full time learning, he surely has a wealth of knowledge that can be put to use in creative ways. He could start by learning one-on-one with bochurim or even older men looking for a talmid chochom for a chavrusa. Maybe he take upon himself answering simple sha’alos, or begin a specialized shimush by a renowned mora hora’a to gain an expertise in a particular topic.

The opportunities are endless, but only for someone looking for them. His insistence on clinging to the past comes more from a fear of the unknown, than from a genuine love to continue learning.

Filed Under: Deciding to Leave


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  1. Miriam says:

    Ah but surely you have heard the final defense for the kollel system, after all arguments are discussed: “And if someone is just mediocre, and instead of going to work he sits and learns all day for all his life – isn’t that the greatest thing he can do for the world anyway?”

  2. aaron says:

    isn’t that the greatest thing he can do for the world anyway?”

    Who says? Did he first try something else?

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