In the olden days of 20-30 years ago, learning in kollel “long term” offered very few options. Historically, a kollel was formed an extension of a yeshiva, which is geared primarily towards the lomdus of noshim & nezikin. After a few years, one would begin to feel a lack of satisfaction in continuing to learn those topics again and again. Picking oneself up and learning something “exotic” wasn’t much of an option, unless you were willing to do it yourself, without a chabura and perhaps not even a chavrusa.
Today, one who wishes to learn for an extended length of time, there are plenty of options. In Lakewood there are hundreds of chaburas learning everything and anything under the sun. One who wishes to find an exciting topic to learn doesn’t have to look far. Even areas that were once off limits for yeshiva guys, such as practical halacha, shchita, and hashgacha are very popular and well acccepted.
This leads us to the following observation:
If you are in kollel and feeling unmotivated, it may just be that you are looking for something exciting to learn. You may have had enough of the lomdus and the yeshivishe reid. Go choose from the endless possibilities that are available to you. Figure out what it is that entices you, that something which resonates within you, and go become the biggest specialist in that field. (Think of R’ Chaim Zvi Gorelick in T’chumin or R’ Eliezer Stefansky in Mikvaos.)
But if after choosing amongst all the possibilities you are still feeling unmotivated, and staying in kollel no longer excites you, that is a sure sign that it may be time to move on. Every person needs to feel special about themselves, especially about what they do. If it is in learning, go out and make a market for yourself by conquering a topic of learning that will be “yours”. But if nothing in learning excites you, it’s time to seriously consider moving on.Tweet