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Receiving Charity for a Little Learning

This is a more broader subject however I’d like to focus on 2 points:

An older person (with a large family) that is theoretically able to make a parnasah (healthy, able-bodied, etc) however chooses to sit and learn and rely (perhaps wouldn’t admit to this but it’s certainly what they do) on the support of others (not because he has family or friends that want to support him but must go and ask for the money — sometimes from family and friends, sometimes from others.) If the person is not a rov, kosh kollel, maggid shiur, rosh yeshiva, etc (someone that teaches Torah al col panim) and simply learns a few hours here and there throughout the day, and has a very average hasmada…b’kitzur someone who’s not going to be given the most shvachim for his “gadlus” in Torah whatever it might before (however certainly can learn.) Is this acceptable for such a person do rely on others (in terms of Hilchos Tzedeka, hashkafa wise, etc.)

If someone is taking money for learning from those that want to give however they have a certain impression of who this person is in their mind and they really don’t live up to it l’maseh however continue to accept the money (partially on this basis and understanding) is this considered to be stealing? (even though there is no really “tanai” between the 2 however is given based on a certain impression.)

Sensitive topics but that’s what I’m asking….

Answer:

People who give money to kolelim and to other institutions of Torah study know that not every person who studies there is a great masmid, and this is part of the deal.

The Gemara says that one thousand go into the Beis Midrash, and only one comes out for hora’ah, which most people understand.

This is true even for individuals. Although he might have a long grey beard and bid pe’os, this does not guarantee that he is a great Torah scholar or supremely diligent in his studies. This, too, is a well known fact, so that when a person with a beard and pe’os collects money for himself, most people will not assume that he is not necessarily supremely diligent etc., and therefore the donation is legally fine — there is no “mistake” involved.

This answer does not deal with the morality of learning or not learning at the expense of others. Note that a person lacking higher (and often basic) education that gets older will not have many options of finding gainful employment, so that even after he is “burnt out” of learning he doesn’t have many real options.

Best wishes.

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