Did Yonason Rosenblum write those words in his Mishpacha magazine column? Well, he did not write those exact words, but he did say this:
In the world of learning, there are few measures of progress or tests. The only demarcation is between yeshivah and kollel, and the difference is not that great. Pressure must be self-imposed. My guess is that those who enjoy the greatest satisfaction in learning, and are the most likely to become maggidei shiurim and authors of seforim, are not necessarily those seen as the most talented in their youth, but those who are best able to set concrete goals. (Yonason Rosenblum, Mishpacha Magazine March 30th)
Kollel provides a great opportunity to sit and learn without interruption from other “occupations”. But does it produce results? As Yonason so eloquently writes, the only real motivator that gets his columns finished on time is the knowledge that a pink slip is waiting for him. Most kollelim don’t have that sense of accountability. So what happens? Well, human nature tells us that for a large majority of people kollel will not produce much value.
If that is the case, why do we have kollelim? For the general public, kollel does have its place for the first few years of a person’s married life. A few solid years of torah learning will ensure the family is build on a strong spiritual foundation. However, once a few years pass the benefits of kollel for most people begin to fade, and lots of negative consequences arise. Not much good comes out of an occupation that has no built in challenge for excellence.
There are the few that kollel does work for. These are not the brightest minds or the greatest lomdim. Kollel works best for the ones who are self motivated. The ones who are in the beis medrash learning during seder and after seder. Yes, the ones who are in their seats Rosh Chodesh Cheshavan and on Rosh Chodesh Nissan. For these people, learning torah is a goal that challenges them on their own, and kollel is just the means for them to carry out their mission.
And those people are far and few in between. But they are truly worthy of our support.
(NOTE: I know that I am picking lately on Yonason, but it does seem to me that he is a reader of Kollel Guy. Yonason, if you come across this can you drop me a line? I think we’d have a good time together.)
Filed Under: Limud HaTorah