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Sep 1, 2008

segulah for parnassah

I was initially not going to write about this topic, as many other bloggers already have. I usually avoid writing about what everybody else has already written about. Especially on a topic like this where pretty much everybody is saying the same thing. I also have nothing new to offer, except the way I am going to say it.

Jonathan Rosenblum wrote an article about poverty in the Haredi community. The main thrust of his article is the increasing poverty due to the decreasing of handouts, both government handouts and charitable handouts from foreign tzedaka.

Rosenblum only addresses the potential solutions by discussing available solutions in the form of increasing the handouts, and adopting a lifestyle more commensurate with the actual income (i.e. budgeting even more).

JR missed the main solution. He did not even mention it as a possibility. Getting a job. Obviously, getting a job also means adding forms of education into the system. It does not have to be the feared "tochnit ha-liba" of the Misrad HaChinuch. It could be in the form of vocational studies optional for sudents at older ages for those students who want/need it (or perhaps even require it for all at a certain point with exceptions only for the outstanding students).

I had a rebbe who once said that yeshiva bochurim and kollel guys have no business looking for segulahs for parnassah. It is very common that they do, asking for brachas for parnassah and doing all sorts of questionable segulahs. The biggest segulah for parnassah, he said, is to get a job. If you are not going to get a job, but dedicate your life to learning in Torah (generally in poverty), then you have no business looking for segulahs. Again, he said when asked for a segulah for parnassah, the biggest segulah for parnassah is get a job.

I once called in to a radio show that was discussing jobs and parnassah (it was a show hosted by Dov Shurin), and repeated this statement that greatest (and first) segulah for parnassah is to get a job. My friends liked that phrase, and I thought it appropriate to add it now to this discussion.


  1. First I must admit that I dont comment to your blog because I read it off a RSS feed on my blackberry and it wont let me comment.

    Second, I suck at budgeting.. I hold that money is meant to be spent...

    Thats not to say that I waste my money, I constantly invest my money into my business, but I dont save a dime.. yeah I suck lol.

    I dont know how hard it is to earn a living, I baruch hashem have been blessed with a very good head and have bh excelled at business.

    I worry it will tank in c'v but I figure i'd just find something else.

    People need to study business and economics.. if thats not for you.. then study savings and investing.. books like: rich dad, poor dad, richest man in babylon, smart couples finish rich etc.. will open your mind to investing.

    That is if you have a job!

  2. well said.

    arnie draiman

  3. Somebody came to my door asking for tzedakah, and I asked him if he has tried to find full time employment.
    He said he hasn't because then he wouldn't receive his welfare!

  4. anon - that is a funny situation. afraid to make money because you lose welfare.

  5. Rafi- As a commentator wrote in Cross Currents, this article appeared in Mishpacha,a Charedi publication, frowned upon by the right-wing, so they wont let JR write everything he wants. Suggesting going to work instead of staying in learning is against the charedi ideology.
    You will not be able to change this.
    So when JR writes that he doesnt know what is the solution he is right: given the current ideology, there is no solution.
    I believe though that he expects the Mishpacha reader to come by himself to the same conclusion as you or other bloggers. This is his way to send a message without saying it explicitely.

  6. Rafi,

    Does is count as having a job if all you do is blog (and/or post comments to other blogs)?


    To those familiar with it, Rich Dad, Poor Dad is generally considered, besides by its diehard fans, to be a pretty bad book at best, and containing dangerous advice at worst. (One thing I heard was that the author has made most of his money from sales of the book, which is pretty ironic considering the book is about how he made money.) Not exactly the kind of investing book to recommend.

  7. bohr - mishpacha is a charedi paper, but they are far from being standard charedi. They advertise landers college,, they advertise vocational training programs, they discuss solutions to problems in charedi society very openly (they took on smoking,m they are currently running a campaign about road safety, they ran a campaign about the wedding system, they have openly discussed changing the system of buying apartments for young couple, etc.).
    Mishpacha is far from afraid of offering solutions, real solutions, to problems in haredi society.

    That does not mean this is one they would be willing to offer. I do not know their position on this, so perhaps the commenter you quote is correct.

    Yoni - if it is a Jewish blogger on Jewish/Israeli topics, I do not think it counts. I do not think anybody blogging in the jewish blog world is making enough money to call it a job.

  8. Rafi-Mishpacha discusses indeed various problems,but not issues resulting from an ideological choice made by the Gedolim. This they will not touch.
    As for apartment buying this is a core issue for the charedi world. And one of the biggest paradoxes of charedi life that officially advocates histapkus bemuat, but practically does not give the means to achieve it. A RZ couple can achieve this by living modestly in a caravan in a Yishuv with minimal amenities, a charedi will not do that. Dealing with the housing issue would go a long way to reduce the poverty issue.
    I met recently the German rep of a company who told me that he lives 70 km from his work place. It takes him by rapid train 15 minutes (yes 15!) of travel.
    If the charedi askanim would really want to help the tzibur, they would fight for a system of rapid transportation that would enable people to live anywhere in the country and be near available workplaces. This would profit the entire society. A charedi couple could live in some development town in the South and one of the spouses could travel daily to work in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem.

  9. I hear you bohr, but they think small. They only work on issues and solutions that affect their community solely. They avoid (at least directly) having an affect on general society. For better or worse.
    It is a system I disagree with. I do not like sectoral parties. But that is the way it is.

  10. Yoni,
    I dont run my business on what ive heard.. I read dozens and dozens of business books and BH I sell alot.


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