Life Without Risk…

August 23, 2012 | Comments 1

…equals a life without reward. The only investments that are risk-free, are paying 0.04% interest. For something to grow, you have to be willing to risk it.

The same is true with people. If you want them to produce, you need to introduce risk. The best way to motivate an employee is if they know they’ll otherwise be out of a job.

Kollel is a paradox of sorts. On the surface, it sounds so perfect. Give money to┬áthose who can learn so that they should be able┬álearn. It’s a great idea to increase Torah and to develop talmidei chachamim.

But what’s missing is risk. There is no risk associated with learning in kollel, and so there is very little reward. While it’s true there are a few truly self-motivated individuals, there are far too many who are not utilitzing the full extent of their capabilities. The grand idea of “investing in Torah” by supporting a kollel then translates into a poor return on investment.

A 32 year old relative of mine was stunned and felt depressed when his elderly Rosh Yeshiva told him to start looking for a job. Although the Rosh Yeshiva was referring to a position in chinuch, he thought that he was learning well in kollel and should continue. What the Rosh Yeshiva was telling him is to introduce risk into his life. When the fear of losing a job is hanging over your head, there is no better motivator to produce.

As parents, we are naturally inclined to protect our children, to do everything we can for them. So when it comes time to marry them off, we try to make sure they are set up with no worries, and they are financially set as they begin their life in kollel. But when we do so, we are robbing them of their motivation to produce returns. Are we really taking care of them when we “set them up”?

Take a step back and let them cross the rope of life on their own. There’s nothing that can compare to the feeling of satisfaction when they reach the other side on their own – without you holding them the entire way.

Filed Under: Inspiration


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  1. LFD says:

    Nice to see you posting again. Risk is a good word and so is pressure. People need some type of pressure to produce and succeed. I wonder if creating a community board of sorts to spontaneously visit kollels would fly. No one like being “audited” but with no system to push, people just coast. A push forward can also be a push out, just what some people need.

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