Rabbi Yehoshua Alt

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R’ Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander Ztz”l for close to five years. He received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia Goldberg. R’ Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and publications. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of observance.

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Fascinating Insights—The Sefer (in English)

 

A Learner Earner

There are those that although they must work for a living, their mind is nevertheless focused on learning Torah and Avodas Hashem. This is how the Divrei Yoel interpreted יפה תלמוד תורה עם דרך ארץ, [1]Torah study is good together with an occupation, that one’s mind should be in Torah even while working. It is said that the Chofetz Chaim would learn in his store when he wasn’t busy with customers.

 

Many years prior to the Tchebiner Rav becoming a Rav and Rosh Yeshiva, he worked for a living. He once remarked that his growth in Torah took place primarily during those working years because since he had less time to learn Torah, he was always thirsting for it. When he studied Torah, he swallowed it like one who didn’t drink water for days.

 

There is a disagreement about whether one should work and learn—R’ Yishmael’s opinion—or just learn—R’ Shimon Bar Yochai.[2] Even according to R’ Yishmael that one should work and learn, it means only work that is necessary as your main preoccupation should be learning. For this reason, R’ Yishmael says הנהג בהן מנהג דרך ארץ (Torah study should be combined with earning a livelihood) meaning be accustomed in them—the Torah. That is to say, even when you are working, your mind should be on Torah.[3]

 

In this way we can grasp the Pasuk in Parshas Vayakhel לחשב מחשבת לעשת בזהב ובכסף ובנחשת[4] as even when one is working (לעשת בזהב ובכסף ובנחשת), he should think about Hashem (לחשב מחשבת).



[1] Avos 2:2. For one who works, he should have within him a Yissaschar and Zevulun. That is to say, when he works (Zevulun), it should be with the intention to support himself so he can learn.

[2] Brachos 35b.

[3] See Nefesh Hachaim 1:9.

[4] Shemos 35:32. The simple meaning is to weave designs, to work with gold silver and copper.

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