Tuesday, November 01, 2005

By George I Think the Rebbe's Got It

I am glad to see the Belzer Rebbe has recognized a myth central to ultra-orthodoxy, namely that you don't need to find a job because:

(a) The job detracts from time spent studying.

(b) A job is unworthy of a "Ben Torah."

(c) Only secular Jews need to work.

(d) You don't need a job because God will provide.

(e) You don't need a job because the kollel can mooch off the community.

It's like the old joke. This guy spends his whole life praying to win the lottery. Sadly, he is on his deathbed and he looks up and cries out, "God, why didn't You let me win?" A Heavenly Voice responds, "You could have at least bought a ticket."

I think there are some people whose time would be better spent studying, but for the vast majority, kollel is a ticket to instability and poverty.

From the article:

"Students who have the talent and economic ability to spend years studying in kollels are blessed and fortunate. But those students who, after a year of poor studying, whether this was due to their skill level or because of their financial situation, must go and learn a trade that can support its practitioner," the rebbe said on Simchat Torah last week, according to Channel 2.

A Belz hassid who asked to remain anonymous told The Jerusalem Post, that abject poverty in the haredi street was a driving force behind the new phenomenon of haredim going out to get jobs. "People come to me begging for a job worth NIS 3,500 a month. 'Give me any job,' they say. There is no bread to eat on the haredi street."

Asked if the situation was worsening in the wake of the budget cuts in recent years, the hassid emphatically concurred. "The average student," he added, "isn't willing to live in poverty anymore. It's getting harder for the haredi public to accept the claim that wealth distracts the mind from study."

It's so refreshing to hear a moderate voice these days.