In what seems to be a slowly increasing phenomenon, a Detroit kollel is seeking to recruit a few new members, but with a catch. The new members will learn in the kollel from September through May, but in the summer months they will spend their time toiling in another occupation – they will be working for Madison Title of Lakewood.
The plan is to try and attract new members to the Detroit (Lakewood) Kollel, which was started 25 years ago by Rabbi Moshe Schwab, but without having the usual expenses of recruiting young families from Lakewood to join an out-of-town kollel. Under the plan, these new members would be working just a few months a year for Madison Title, who would pay them the bulk of their annual salary, while allowing the kollel to benefit from the additional members the rest of the year for just a fraction of the normal cost.
It is a reasonable concept, and one that would be expected to spread rapidly if it is at all successful. What would attract these members to the program would not be the money, but the challenge and novelty of discovering both a new community and a new career. Obviously, these yungerleit would be getting their feet wet in the real estate market while they are in kollel, thereby getting experience and a taste of the working world that they will eventually be joining.
However, I don’t believe the program will work out as planned. When these kollel yungerleit begin their ”working term” in June, right away it will become apparent that some of them are going to be great at the job, while others will be not so great. The home office of Madison Title back in Lakewood will surely take notice of the individual perfomance of the new members. Are they really going to let the star performers leave their jobs after 3 months to return to their seat in the kollel for 9 months? And are they really going to rehire the lousy ones one year later when June rolls around?
One really needs to believe in the supremacy of Torah learning over anything else in order to make this work as planned. While many people claim to have that belief, experience has shown that this is a rarity. Learning Torah is important to people. But making money usually trumps it.Tweet
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