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Jun 7, 2006

A faulty system

I was on my way home last night from a softball game (we slaughter-ruled a Division A team 15-0) and was listening to Radio Kol Chai (a religious radio station). They have some interesting talk shows and I tuned in to the end of one.

A woman called in to the show. She is complaining about a problem. Her son is an avreich in a Kollel in Netivot. He has learned in Kollel since he got married and now has 8 children. The kollel check has not been enough and he has not been able to afford paying for his childrens schooling. He has not paid tuition (despite it being very minimal in Israel) for about 6 months, so the school has dismissed the children and is not allowing them back. He can't get them into other schools for the same reason.
The father has decided he must get a job so he can pay for their schooling. He goes out looking for a job as a Rebbi in a yeshiva ketana or cheder. Unfortunately, nobody will hire him.

This is a classic problem of the yeshiva/kollel system. Here is a person who has gone the whole yard and is then rejected by the system. How do they expect kollel yungerleit to pay tuition for 8 kids on a 700 shekel a month "salary"? Schools need money to survive, but they are training people to stay in yeshiva and not make any money and not be able to afford schools and other things. What is a person in this situation to do?
This guy has now spent 10 -15 years in Kollel and can't get a job. He can't get a job in the general market, because he has no training or skills. He can't get a job in education because the schoosl are flooded with teachers and applicants. He also has not training in education. (I do not understand why kollel men think they can automatically go into education just because they spent so many years learning. Almost none of them go for training. Maybe that is part of the cause of poor education in the schools. Some people are naturally talented and do well, despite no training, but they are rare).

The system should be changed, but until then it should at least be more forgiving for those that have given their lives for it and have "played along" faithfully.


  1. Right it aint fair. The system just does not work. It is all too difficult for these kollel guys to just find a job when needed after many years. But good for him that he picked up and looked for a job at least.

  2. yes, at least he is trying..

  3. rafi - I love you dearly, but you are so focused on the wrong problem. The problem isn't how can the system keep him in it, but maybe he never belonged in that system. kolel has ecome so abused and such a hiding place for people that way too many people oughtn't be in kolel. As well, who decided he should have 8 kids on that salary - It is he who has the obligation to find a LIVING WAGE, NOT THE KOLELS JOB TO PROVIDE ONE. hE KNEW WHAT THEY WERE PAYING FROM THE BEGINING.
    I think this is a classic case of the system being abused and now it's the kolels fault for not providing -uh uh! not in my book.
    I have rachmanus for his situation, but he put himself there. Next month he'll be at my door collecting.

    sorry - bro - this ain't the systems fault all by itself. some personal responsibility is needed here.

  4. The Kollel concept is a sickness that must be eradicated. Schneerson and Teitelbaum were very against it.

  5. Shaya - that was not my point. Obviously at the end of the day every person bears responsibility for his/hew decisions and lives with that responsibility.
    However, many people do not know anything other than what they are taught. The yeshiva/kollel system teaches people to follow blindly and believe that what they are doing is 100% correct. As a fallback maybe he was told if necessary he could alwways go into chinuch.
    I am willing to give this guy (without knowing him) the benefit of the doubt and say he spent his time in kollel honestly learning. Let's say he was the best guy in the kollel. It makes no difference. Of course he is responsible for having chosen that life, but the yeshiva/kollel system has trained people to believe that they are doing the most moral and uplifting thing there is and that is giving up everything to learn Torah.
    This is not a guy with rich parents or in-laws in Belgium or America who is spending a few years learning before he goes into business, or honestly dedicates his whole life with the financial support of his family.He (stereotyping based on where he comes from and what his background sounded like) probably is sefardi and comes from a small town down south and is living without external support and really believed he was being moser nefesh to learn torah and ,assuming he was learning, will get a lot of schar for that. However, the yeshiva/kollel system si flawed for making people believe that they should have no ability to get a job and not giving them the tools to do so when necessary, nor the support when they finally cannot make it any longer.

    The kollel does not need to provide for him, but when someone tows the party line for that long, the party should minimally support him when he fails as a result. I am not talking about sending him a check every month of $1000 or whatever amount he needs to barely get by, but at least keep his kids in school. They should get no education because their father is in kollel? The father is taught his whole life that money is not important but then his kids are thrown out of school and are prevented from learning Torah (and that is all they were learning in the school they were going to) because they do not have money? That is what I am talking about.

    Yes there are people abusing the system, and that is another issue. I think there are more people who are victims of the system than there are those abusing the system.

    anonymous - Rabbis Schneerson and Teitelbaum agreed on something? Amazing!

  6. rafi - i wasn't questioning his effort or honesty. I am sure he is a wonderful and honest person. My point is though, he knew the pay and salary and tuition. He made his choices. Here in the states, there are various forms of scholarships or minimum tuition amounts that have been decidied by the schools on a per family need basis. If the school wants all or nothing, then I'd agree with you. I do not know what they are asking for though, nor do you say. If he cannot afford anything for tuition, maybe 3 or 4 kids prior, he should have recognized that and started looking for work, or studying for classes. Kol hakavod, he has 8 kids. I am not CHV"S saying not to have the kids (ok - maybe I am a little), but some responsibility is needed. His kids school is not the school that told him to sit in kolel for those years.
    In fact, this happens in my work every day. I borrow on credit from the supplier who knows that my customers do not always pay on time. They don't care. when the bill is due it's pay up or no more product. According to your logic here, they should keep selling me because I am following their system and just because I couldn't keep up is no reason to cut me off.
    The "system" is not "to sit and learn and all will be forgiven and handed to you". The system is " either sit and learn and figure out how to pay your bills or get a zevulun for yourself".
    Maybe our perspectives are different because I didn't and you did learn in kolel. But I beleive our ideas of the system are different. That school; is not part of his kolel system. If he doesn't pay his share of tuition, everyone in that school suffers. That's not right for the parents who do pay and are following their system. He's known for years he didn't have enough money. that was his choice of mesiras nefesh for learning.

  7. I agree with you that he is responsible, but I do not think you understand the system here in Israel. Kollel's in America are nothing like kollel/yeshivas in israel. The pressure to conform is tremendous and the rejection of general society (and participation in it) is overwhelming and there is a tremendous amount of peer pressure and influence exerted to deter people from leaving the system. That is aside from the additional "problem" such avreichim have that they are saddled with the army service they have deferred. Sure, it is easy to say so let him serve in the army, he chose not to, and overall you are right. he made the decision not to. But that would be ignoring the line he was fed his whole life by the system that the army is the worst thing he can ever do and it is a chilul hashem and it is full of peritzus and can't keep kosher and should never serve and they are all evil or whatever other way they use to convince people to tow the line. Such people know nothing else and the decision is therefore taken out of their hands before they even begin. The system is faulty. Sure he is responsible, but the system has created the problem.

    Sure there are some people who have the cojones to break the mold and do what they feel is responsible despite the pressures against. they leave kollel, maybe do some army service, maybe get a little training, take a course or two somewhere, some do more and go to university or a vocational school, some might get a job by a family friend or a family business, and sababa, all is good. But they are the exceptions. Most people don't do that.
    I have a friend who is Israeli and comes from an American family, though he lived here his whole life and went through the whole system and is in kollel. He is doing ok because his wife has a decent job. He came out to play basketball with us one friday morning and we were talking about the kollel system. He mentioned he would liek to leave kollel. Someone asked him why he doesn't go take a course or college or go otu and do something, since he wants to anyway? his response was he can't because of the army.
    These guys are trained to not even consider it as an option. Unless the specific person is one who has the cojones to break out of that, his chances are nearly "afsi" (translated loosely as "nothing" or "no chance") of actually being able to do anything.

    Then when a proposal comes up in the political spectrum to somehow reform the system to allow people to leave the kollel system and join the workforce with a marginal army service, the haredi world via the politicians fight against it tooth and nail because they do not publicly want to give up the control they have over these guys.

    Another example, Rav Steinman (the 94 year old Rabbi who replaced Rav Shach as "gadol hador" a number of years ago after Rav Shach's death)a few years ago rejected a donation of a very wealthy supporter to build a vocational school for haredim. He came under alot of criticism at the time. Why did he reject it? Who knows the real reason, but this was the explanation at the time. Rav Steinman is not against people going otu to work. He is even well-known as a Rav who had advised many privately that they should go to work. However, he felt that to publicly take money to build a system that, he felt, would publicly encourage people to leave kollel was wrong. On an individual basis it is ok if someone needs to go to work, but to support something that might cause people to en masse consider leaving kollel he had to reject. They do not yet want to give up on the system and on the power they wield because of it.

    you just wait. Soon in America the system will start changing slowly to be more like Israel. As people become "frummer" and take on more chumros mindlessly thinking they are so frum for no specific reason, things will become more and more like the system here. the one benefit the system there will always have is the lack of the army problem. Rav Steinman on his most recent trip a few weeks ago to USA spoke at a Torah U'Mesorah convention and exhorted the mechanchim and educators not to encourage ball playing by the yeshiva students and not to participate in it (I guess many Rebbeim play ball with the students) and he spoke strongly against secular studies.

    You watch. The American Haredi scene has in recent years gotten much more invloved with the Israeli rabbonim than ever before. Now the Moetzes Gedolei Yisrael of Agudah America is no longer frum enough for the American Haredi public, rather every major "issue" requires consultation with Rav's Steinman and Elyashiv. That was never true in the past.

  8. interesting point. many more kolel members here have better financial backing than in israel and their only fera here is getting a job,not the "ARMY". I understand your explanation of that. I know of R' Steinman, I beleive he is R' Cohens new superhero/superRabbi.

    But, the scarier point you bring up is the evolution of Judaism that we are going thru. I agree that we are watching the growing masses become "frummer and frummer" and yet, more and more halachically ignorant. going back to a previuos blog of yours - Daf Yomi is partially responsible. I know many people who believe thay are fulfilling their "required" learning for the day by doing DY -no chumash, no halacha , DY is enough. meanwhile they don't know what to do with the spoonthey just dropped into the soup pot. Yes, in Chicago, there is a raw but growing split between the black hatters and those that aren't. The most interesting part to it are those caught in themiddle, like myself. I still wear my hat, but I have become so disgusted by the leadership, politics, and fraud, that I have become more and more non-BH (i don't know what to call it other than this). My hat has simply become a holdover from my past, because I have come to resent what it represents.
    I heard and read many blogs about R' steinmans absolutley ludicrous psak - good for him. He wants to keep his rebbeim distanced from the kids who need that type of contact - great. Those are the kids who probably wouldn't fit his mold anyway.

    "es is shver tzu zein a yid" used to be a kvetch about just following the shabos and basic mitzvos. Now it has become the rallying cry for many frum jews here who simply cannot stand the hijacking and "machmirus" of judaism today.

    The problem is I have no answer for myself or my kids. maybe this is turning into a more privae discussion you and I should have, but Matis is getting rady for yeshiva and I don't have one for him, because of these issues. So we keep plodding along, meanwhile the resentment keeps building and who knows how each person will let it manifest when it is ready to pop. I can now understand why some people go "off the derech". what the hell is the right derech anyway when you look at these rabbonim. Look at what's happing on the east coast with this KOLKO putz. How do you stay religious when you see rabbis, not arguing that the police should sort it out and then determine guilt or innocence, but that , it can't possibly be true - he's a rabbi and you are not. R' Stolper had the same issue, he hid a molester in his organization for years.

    I give up.


  9. Whenever I've asked a kollel guy what he plans on doing down the line when he has kids and bills the response is invariably "hashem will provide."

    now you'd think that people learning in kollel might study the occasional tract of talmud where every rabbi was a shoemaker or carpenter etc. and providing for your family is clearly an important issue.

    So I guess evolution is important here...orthodox judaism has evolved to a system of rigid chumras and messianic faith.

  10. Dan - rigid chumros I agree with. messianic I don't most orthodox Jews dont think about mashiach except in lip service..

    "now you'd think that people learning in kollel might study the occasional tract of talmud where every rabbi was a shoemaker or carpenter etc. and providing for your family is clearly an important issue. "

    you'd think, wouldn't you?

    also we have a phenomenon taking place, as has been mentioned in many blogs, of rewriting history to fit today's chumros. For example the famous picture that was published in the new biography of Rav Aharon Kotler, the Rosh Yeshiva of Lakewood Yeshiva. They printed an old picture of him at a Chinuch Atzmai dinner with Rav Moshe Feinstein. The original picture has surfaced and in it is also Rav Soloveitchik. In the printed picture they cropped him out. Obviously they did not want to show that Rav Kotler had contacts with "modern Orthodox" Rabbis, as that would deligitimize everything they try to push nowadays about elitism of the pure Haredi methods.

  11. good response.

    Although, what I mean by messianic is not the mashiach per se but a 'cult of personality' behavior.

    And while it is true that each person can choose to be whatever kind of jew they want in the real world there are limited resources. There are only so many organizations and synogauges and schools and you have to choose an affiliation.
    And for me, looking at the cults of personality in the orthodox world and what they have made judaism into I think the secular organizations simply offer a more multi-dimensional affiliation.

    Let me put it anouther way; I asked the folks a few weeks ago, "why did you send us to beis yaakov and telshe? we (at the time) were not members of that community?"
    At the time they couldn't come up with an answer but later mom called and said "we sent you guys there because we felt they could provide a better jewish education and we could supplement the english at home."
    and I've heard that from many others as their reasoning as well.

    Except, the english was not suppllemented and the jewish education was a talmud/rabbinical education. As I look at schools for Lia I find that the secular jewish schools are zionistic, teach the kids hebrew, teach jewish history and culture and do not skimp on english/science/math etc.
    And they take everybody regardless of what "type" of jew you are.

    So the situation with the kollell guy is not unique, we have a whole generation of jews growing up untrained and xenophobic.
    The orthodox community's refrain is that the left wing, primarily through assimilation, will cause the demise of judaism. However, the left look at the ever tightening circles of sects in the
    orthodox community and see no future...at least not one worth being a part of.

  12. I hear you. We send our kids to a school that has absolutely fabulous Torah studies but nothing of secular studies (other than basic math). We do so because we were advised to stress that and we could make up the rest "at home".
    While we successfully make up the liberalism at home and acceptance of Jews of other colors and types, we never get around to making up the secular studies. There is nothing like a school setting.. it just does not happen.
    I hear your point

  13. so - what's your plan then? Now that you've admitted there's a problem, you've written a blog about apotential issue for your own kids to run into, why keep them in the program they're in? how do you plan on preventing them from falling into the same "matzav" as that poor kollel fellow? You are maskim that you aren't supplementing. So.....? Do you just assume "shomer p'sa'im hashem"? and no - do not use the excuse - "oh it's too late now, the kids have friends and they're so far along". that excuse will not fly.

    I understand that people don't like change, but it is sometimes necessary. Dad loves chopped liver - but if he wants to live to see more chasunos, he had to give it up. If it's not the best place for your kids,as you are now maskim, then what's your solution?

  14. I do not have a satisfactory answer. I know we are setting ourselves up for trouble. Life in Israel is very polarized and we are stuck with the system. Sending them elsewhere is a very big change we do not want to make, and we will be in trouble for it. We have agonized over it a lot and are not making that change (yet?).
    I don't have an answer.. it is a problem. Maybe the Sam Malone method of problem solving will work.. :-)

  15. "and we are stuck with the system."

    why? are there no schools that offer a more complete education? Chicago has a far smaller community and while high school is a huge problem for the orthodox at least for grade school arie crown seems to offer a comprehensive education. Are there no arie crown style schools in israel?

    "Sending them elsewhere is a very big change we do not want to make, and we will be in trouble for it. "

    not wanting to change is different then being in trouble...but what does that mean you will be in "trouble?" With who? these are your kids not someone elses...what do you care what anyone thinks and why would you let that get in the way of what you think is best for them?

    "Sam Malone method"
    I just gave that answer to meier for a question he had...isn't it interesting what sticks with us. But, seriously, taking advice from fictional charachters doesn't really work(except for advice from the simpsons).

  16. SORRY RAF - this time i agree with danny - what the hell does "we will be in trouble" mean? trouble - what are you gonna get a "potch"? Maybe you won't get an aliyah? sorry, we are big boys now, there is no "trouble" you couldn't handle. Unless....you or your wife, are trying to fit into a system that maybe, YOU, don't really belong. kinda of like ma. you are doing the same thing. wanna look and act frumer, but your hashkafa isn't on the same level. I only know that doesn't work out for most people in the long run.
    You're not alone in this problem, but your response is juvenile. (coming from me, that's pretty bad - lol)


  17. it is easy to look for diversity but those other schools have pther problems. We chose this on a combination of advise asked and received and a decision of which problems we wanted to deal with..

    as I said life here is more polarized and you do not get the middle ground as clearly as you can in the US...

  18. wimpy, wimpy, wimpy....

    btw, it isn't any more centralized here in the USA. The Bh'ers are constantly trying to hijack the schools and threaten kids about being accepted to high school and all sorts of other threats. as I stated earlier, Matis, and more so with my girls, are going to be a problem for high school.

    good luck, I am going to rely on "shomair p'sa'im ha'shem" myself. I can only hope and pray that one day, God looks downs at us Jews and sees the mess we've made of the religion he gave moshe and a Bas kol comes out and says "NOW CUT THAT SH-T OUT - I'VE NEVER SAID THAT"!!

  19. I am not sure how to argue this because I am not sure we are doing the right thing. W ehave argued these exact points among ourselves a number of times. by "we will be in trouble" I mean we will later have to deal with the problem of our kids not having an education and needing to get a job. The only comfort I have is that we do have a more liberal household and they will always be able to go to vocational school of some sort and learn how to do something, even if they are starting out as underdogs. They will not have the family pressure against getting jobs and going to army, but will have our full support if they decide to do so.

    ON your last comment, I can say "Nichamtani" - you have comforted me. If you send your kids to Arie Crown and have the same problem, I don't feel quite as bad any longer...

  20. I wish you both the best of luck.

    Why don't you guys come over to my side? Jump in the waters' fine.

    Seriously. We all think that the b'h ers havehijacked ortho judaism, so why not go at least right wing conservative? like opa.

  21. Black hatters = b"h'ers

  22. "as I said life here is more polarized and you do not get the middle ground as clearly as you can in the US..."

    Not living in Israel I hesitate to say anything about life there,however, I have found that the further to one side a person is the harder it is to find middle ground. Compromise and finding likeminded people apparantly has more to do with the individual than society. So whole lifemay be more polarized in ramat bet shemesh or in geula or meah shearim or bnei brak it may be less polarized and more diverse in tel-aviv or hod-hasharon.
    Its hard to imagine that among 6 mil jews you can't find a diverse and accepting community...but maybe Im wrong.

    I guess my point is really this, people used to tell me that if you don't raise your kids ortho, and send to an ortho school etc. then you are not giving your kid the full package of what life has to offer. So it really is a question of what will benefit the kid most as an education and lifestyle.

    If you believe that learning in the kollel style is best for the kids and that vocational school offers all they will need then gezuntaheit. But, I don't nessasarily agree. I don't disagree either but do they have doctor vocational schools? lawyer? engineer? marine biologist?

    We grew up in amuch more diversecommunity and I can say unequivicoly that I feel short shrifted by the education I recieved and I know how much harder I had to work to get an education once I left the community.

    So I guess first you have to agree with the hashkofa, then you also have to agree with the system. And if you don't agree you have to weigh that against what is the middle ground offering. And you have to figure out what the middle ground is, is it mizrachi or conservative or reform. I know Israel has a huge conservative community that is very diverse and accepting.

    So its not that there is no middle ground, it is that your community would not accept you looking for a middle ground.

  23. actually, w/o knowing the full neighborhoods, I know of 2 families who in the last 2 years made aliyah to Modi'in. The feel that it is very much like arie crown. Frum, Learned, yet liberal and not fundamentalist - as dad calls them - "the jewish Taliban". So while modi'in may not be everyone's answer, there are more centrally polarized communities that you chose to not live in. you chose a place that rapidly went psycho. yes, there are wonderful people living there - but you know what I mean. I don't think there is any question that in terms of hashkafa, you are not on the same page (or even book with some of them) as the rest of your neighbors. This is not an insult. It is a difference. You choose and chose to live there. It's like that kolel guy - your choice, but there are other choices.

  24. Dan - you are right, if you choose to be not religious it is not polarized among the not religious community. However we are not choosing to be not religious, secular or Conservative or Reform. Those are not options we are choosing from or are interested in choosing from. Being that we are religious, all religious areas are polarized. Either national religious or haredi or whatever other sub-groub you wisjh t o label a neighborhood.

    There is diversity in my neighborhood. There are also schools that provide a better secular education in my neighborhood than the schools my kids go to. However, we chose these schools because the other schools while they have a better secular education have other issues we did not like. You are right. This is what we chose. I did nto say there were no other options. I said this is what we chose. I am not 100% happy with the choice, but that is the choice and we live with it. Maybe one day we will change our decision for a different option, but right now this is what we chose.

  25. Shaya - not to "dis" Modiin, from the friends of mine who have moved there and the little I know about it, I feel Modiin is more of something like Hillel Torah rather than Arie Crown. Not that that that is bad, but it is not for us...
    You are right. We choose to live here. There are wonderful people here and we have a nice community. The shul we daven in is not "taliban" style. Some wear hats and some do not. Some have kipa sruga (though most wear black). A full range of schools is represented in my shul - from the most haredi to very zionist and even religious public school. We do not have commmunal pressure to send where we send. If anything, the opposite. we are in the minority in our shul sending to such a Haredi school..
    You are right. That was our choice and we will live with it. Maybe later it will change. Every niow and then we re-argue out the issues of the schools...

  26. good for you! at least you discuss it. I like arie crown alot, but am scared to death for our high school choices.

  27. i didnt read all the comments yet, but i will add to the chulent pot with the following comment: This world is not olam habah. We have to work.

  28. "if you choose to be not religious it is not polarized among the not religious community."

    forgive my nitpicking but I am sure you mean 'orthodox' instead of 'religious.'

    But I get what you mean.

    I am curious though, and feel free not to answer if you don't care to, why those other sects are not in your list of choices? I ask specifically because of the orthodox vs. religious terminology. You can be,for example, conservative and religious. Orthodox doesn't by definition mean one is religious, it is merely a sect, a community of like minded people in a sociological setting. If you believe in the torah and that it was handed down etc.. you can practice that and be religious without being a member of that particular sect. So I guess my question is why the ortho sect as oppossed to anouther?

    What are the benefits and problems that weighed on your decision both with school choice and sect choice.

    If you care to share.

    P.S. I think Dad just got on the plane.

  29. "if you choose to be not religious it is not polarized among the not religious community."

    forgive my nitpicking but I am sure you mean 'orthodox' instead of 'religious.'

    But I get what you mean.

    I am curious though, and feel free not to answer if you don't care to, why those other sects are not in your list of choices? I ask specifically because of the orthodox vs. religious terminology. You can be,for example, conservative and religious. Orthodox doesn't by definition mean one is religious, it is merely a sect, a community of like minded people in a sociological setting. If you believe in the torah and that it was handed down etc.. you can practice that and be religious without being a member of that particular sect. So I guess my question is why the ortho sect as oppossed to anouther?

    What are the benefits and problems that weighed on your decision both with school choice and sect choice.

    If you care to share.

    P.S. I think Dad just got on the plane.

  30. Dan - "sect" was not a choice. I was born and raised orthodox. Yes, I choose to remain orthodox, but there is a difference between choosing to do something and choosing to stop doing something.

    I say religious/religious rather than orthodox/conservative/reform because that's what it is here in Israel. There are conservative and reform communities, but the overwhelming vast majority of Israelis who are not orthodox are not religious. They are not conservative or reform. When they choose to do something they choose to do it Orthodox. Here it seems it is mostly accepted that the choices are ortho or not religious. Obviously conservative and reform are trying to change that and maybe their numbers are slightly growing, but I have heard from a number of Israeli not-religious people that they choose not to be religious, but when they feel like doing something religious they know Orthodox is the right way, not conservative/reform.

    I choose to remain orthodox because I believe in it. While maybe there are some issues that Conservative/reform react better to, mainly liberalism, overall I do not feel that is the way to go. I do not want to get into a debate which group is better and why or why not. I am not familiar with all the practices of all the various groups or sects, nor am I an expert in the arguments. I read the "debate" book between Rabbis Reinman and Hirsch "One people Two Worlds" (or whatever it was called) a couple of times and I honestly felt that aside from maybe one issue, the Orthodox position was much stronger and showed much more integrity. The Reform side showed more liberalism and dynamism, but I do nto feel it is for me. I believe, and while maybe I am nto happy with everything that happens in Orthodoxy, that is not a reason to give it up (for me). If I was not religious and felt like becoming religious, maybe I would choose otherwise, I do not know. But I am religious and Orthodox and see nothing that convinces me to change that.

    School choice I do not really want to get into. Maybe at a later date. I am happy with certain aspects of the schooling and unhappy with other aspects. I am not confident we made the right choice, but right now that is where we are at. We still debate it out between us about the schooling issues every now and again..

  31. The other day we were in the final hours of a big food sale at an event. A man who is a local shnorrer came by and asked if we had leftover food. We were selling out like hotcakes and running short, but we gave him a plate. He then comes back 2 minutes later asking for a free drink. We handed him one and continued with the steady stream of customers. 15 minutes later he comes back and asks if there are more leftovers. My husband told him that he is taking advantage and it is not right. The man becam indignant and started shouting "Ever heard of chesed? Ever heard of tzedaka!!!" He made a commotion and we gave him more food to quiet him down and he went on his way. This is a man who comes to every community festival, picnic, gathering and preys on orthodox people's obligation/desire to give tzedaka.

    He makes no attempt to work and, in fact, makes his meager living by gambling on lawsuits. He trips, falls, slips, bangs into public buidling and sidewalks, then sues property owners. He also has single-handedly helped to drive good doctors out of our state by sueing for malpractice any chance he gets. Fortunately, most of his unfounded cases get thrown out of court. But he has made a mint on several. He makes no bones about the fact that he doesn't work and claims he can't get a job. So, the community lifts him up as well as many others like him.

    I know it is not my cheshbon to judge - I give the tzedaka and G-d judges the person who asks if it was really necessary. It still is hard to swallow, though.

  32. anon - there are scum and cheats and connivers and manipulators and bad people wherever you go and whatever the system of the community may be. There will always be people who cheat and take advantage of the situation and manipulate people's guilt and religion to get something for nothing. I do believe the majority of people are not like that though..
    I judge similarly. when people come collecting I give and say God will judge whether he took honestly or not..

  33. Dear MR. Anonymous (the first one),

    you are a no good stinky head and you should be put in cheirem. Goldstein and Pinar are very against you.

  34. meier - who are goldstein and pinar?


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