Sunday, August 29, 2010

Kindly Keep Kollel Kosher

I’ve been away for some time, but I present the following snippet from the Jewish Star …


…What really irked me this week was when a father wrote to the court that his wife, my client, was violating his religious freedom by forcing him to leave Kollel and seek employment in order to pay his child support obligations…

Now it may be true that not everyone today in Kollel belongs there, and the system is probably not sustainable, but the argument that Kollel should be only for the gifted few is somewhat flawed. There is no comparison in religiosity between someone who only attended Sunday Hebrew school and one who attended a day school full time. There is a difference between one who attended day school and one who continues through high school. There is a difference between one who merely attends high school and not a Beis Medrash program, and finally one can not compare a family built on a foundation of Kollel and a family whose father only attended Beis Medrash.

When a young woman agrees to live the life of a Kollel wife in agreement with her husband, why should a separation force the Kollel man to go to work? If he was in medical school, wouldn’t the judge understand that he should finish his schooling rather than go to work to support his paternal obligations?


  1. You bring up an excellent point. Many complain how Kollel is not for everyone, thinking that we have enough leaders...but what they don't realize is that each person who sits in Kollel for several years will raise a family more steeped in the Jewish traditions.

  2. there is also no comparing one who learned in Kollel for 2-4 years to one who learned for 8-12 to one who is a kol yumuv-nik.

    I don't think that there is a pat uniform answer to this question nor to the hypothetical one you posed about the medical student. Each case must be judged on an individual basis taking a myriad of variables into account.

    don't know the details of this particular case but making two assumptions:
    1. that the mother has full custody of the child/ren and
    2. that among the causes for the divorce was the wife/mothers disaffection with the Kollel lifestyle
    why should she/ her child/ren have to suffer through diminished alimony and child support so that her ex can prepare himself for deeper religiosity with his next family? That is completely his/his future families business and has nothing to do with his obligations towards her.

  3. Bray, Suppose this fellow feels he can become a giant in Torah learning if he would have a few more years under his belt. His wife must have agreed to the Kollel lifestyle when they got married. Why should he go to work just because she got tired of the conditions she originally agreed to?


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