There are many who learn in kollel that put aside learning for a few weeks (or months) to do seasonal jobs, such as lifeguarding or head counseloring in the summers. Some yungerleit are involved in selling esrogim, and others become a mashgiach for pesach in a hotel.
Why is this kind of activity permitted and even accepted? Isn’t this also a form of “leaving learning”?
Some will say that by doing these jobs they are able to manage learning in kollel the rest of the year. This however, is a poor disguise of the real truth.
One who willingly and truthfully wishes to dedicate his life exclusively to learn Torah, and forgoes the normal behavior of grown married men to earn a livelihood should only do so for the proper reasons. If one feels his life’s calling is to only learn and not do anything else, then he should only learn and do nothing else. The same mesirus nefesh which dictates their choice of occupation the rest of the year does not take a break for anything.
The real truth is that these people have had enough. They don’t really want to spend their entire life in kollel, and are just looking for a “socially acceptable” way out. They feel if they do these kinds of seasonal work, no one will consider them as having left kollel, since they are only temporary jobs.
What is sad about this is that they are only fooling themselves. If they would be honest about their situation, they would realize that its time to “officially” leave kollel, and get themselves a real job. Then they would not have to endure the low wages and poor working conditions that are the norm in these socially-acceptable-I-didn’t-really-leave-kollel jobs.
If you want to stay in learning, then learn. But if its time to leave, don’t fool yourself into staying longer than you are able to. The conditions are poor, and you’re only doing it for the wrong reasons. The only person you are fooling is yourself. Meanwhile, your wife, children, and most of all -yourself – are enduring the pain.Tweet