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Mar 12, 2013

Interesting Psak: People Studying Torah Must Take Parnassa from the public

The conflict over the exclusion of the haredi political parties from the government coalition has been interesting in the way it has revealed both political and social alliances.

Rav Tzvi Tao, the head of Yeshivat Har HaMor, has issued a psak in a letter he published and sent to alumni of the yeshiva. Yeshivat Har HaMor is a dati leumi yeshiva that was founded originally by students of Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook zt"l, and it was founded after breaking off from Yeshivat Merkaz HaRav.

Rav Tao paskened that a talmid chochom who took upon himself to study Torah is like a soldier fulfilling his duty for the nation, and such a person has the right to take his parnassa from the general public. Rav Tao says people who learn Torah and get supported by the public must fulfill their duties faithfully, learnign Torah l'shma and by giving up of themselves and in holiness, and not take advantage of the arrangement to receive pleasure or to get rich. But when he does, he is serving the entire nation, and if he should have to give up his toil in Torah in order to work to support his family, the entire public is hurt by it. Taking money for his livelihood by learning is part of taking responsibility for establishing the Torah in the nation. He should receive his parnassa from the nation.

Rav Tao differentiates between charity given to support the poor and charity given to support Torah learnign. When tzedaka is given to support the poor, it is to alleviate his suffering, while doing chessed. Tzedaka that is given so a talmid chochom can learn Torah is part of building the Torah of the nation. As well, poor people are supposed to avoid taking charity, and if they must they feel shame. A talmid chochom who dedicates his life to Torah learning should not need to stop learning in order to get parnassa by working, which will take a lot of work and time to earn money taking him away from a lot of learning time, such a person does not need to refrain from taking tzedaka in exchange for toiling in Torah. He is like a soldier fulfilling his duty and it is upon the nation to support him.
(source: Kipa)

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  1. Not surprising since the rav Tau called to vote gimmel or shass during the elections.
    When you've heard him, it makes suddenly look like the Rav Aviner much less haredi as ones thought...

  2. Does this mean to persuade the public of the value of the learning activity so that a public consensus drives the public support? Then the #1 need is to make a persuasive case, certainly not to make idle threats and accusations.

  3. I didnt hear threats in his words. Frm what I understood, he wa sinstructing his followers in the Dati Leumi camp to not lead an attack against the haredim, to not force a draft on them, to not punish them by removing funding, and the like. Just the opposite - he is saying we must support them, and they must take the support so we have the zchus and it becomes the nations torah.

  4. Rav Tau's understanding of halacha makes sense for Rav Tau's yeshiva, where the students truly see themselves as connected to Klal Yisrael and see their learning as a means of bringing merit to Klal Yisrael.

    Also, because there are no slackers there -- whoever learns there, it is because they have dedicated themselves to doing so and not because their surrounding culture demanded it of them.

  5. Rafi,

    I meant that anyone advocating for public support (not specifically the Rav quoted) should use the tool of persuasion, and not any counterproductive measure.

  6. "He is like a soldier fulfilling his duty and it is upon the nation to support him." Does he then take Charedi Rabbis to task for not supporting the actual soldiers fulfilling their duties? Or are Charedim not part of the nation he speaks of? If everyone must do their part, and deserves honor for the role they fulfill, why does he align himself with anti-Zionist Charedi parties?
    Also, remember, this is the same Rabbi who stated educating women too much would "harm the quality of life for the nation."


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