Hello, my name is … I am turning 22 soon. Officially, I’m at the age of a 4th year Beis Medrash student. Just so you know I have emailed a question before. Honestly my mind is being driven crazy partly because of my anxiety and mixed messages that I hear regarding what a boy at my age should be doing on a day to day basis. I’m sure and hope that you are aware of these situations. On one hand, I am being told from a Rebbi in my yeshiva in Eretz Yisrael to continue full time learning and to worry later on about supporting myself and my wife. This is a Rabbi who has known me for 3 years and knows my capabilities as far as Torah learning and what I can do with them. He even said that as far as a personal Tafkid in life being a Rebbi in Cheder would be a good job for me. On the other hand I have my parents who are nervous about my bank account not being filled up (I’m not exaggerating what I’m saying, that is really how they feel) and wanting to control the result of that by pestering me to start earning a livelihood now. Other people in my community are saying that same line, which I hate so much with passion, that “you need to build and focus on your future and therefore focus on earning a parnasah” and that is something they believe hashkaficly. I honestly think that their hashkafa is based on the societies in America that promote jobs after high school and going to college which “builds your future ” and that they try to use the Torah sources that talk about parnassa to validate their secularly (influenced) outlook. I say that b/c I’ve had conversations with those people and that really seems to be the case. I’ve heard other reasons which I don’t think are legit such as, a woman won’t feel safe with a man who’s job is to learn all day even if they are bringing in a substantial amount of income from it or a woman wants to be with a guy who is doing something. Forgive the language but what kind of תינוק שנשבה reasons are these?! I personally think that if people in my community, who work almost all day, really knew and understood the values of Torah learning they wouldn’t be worrying about work all day but such is life. I felt it was necessary to vent these things before asking the question. I am a guy myself who has looked into the Gemara sources regarding parnassah in ברכות and מנחות as well as the Mishnayot in Avot 2:2, ibid 3:17, and ibid 3:17. I also saw the Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 156:1 who seems to say that one should combine Torah study together with earning an income but that one should make his learning the first priority and his parnassa secondary and his reason for his psak was that Talmud Torah without work will ultimately be abolished and cause Avonot. My question is as follows. Based on this halacha in Shulchan Aruch would I be doing anything wrong halachically by studying Torah full time in yeshiva (that provides sustenance for all Talmidim) for another year or two without earning a livelihood during that time period especially since I don’t have a wife to support now? Moreover, is it true that the pasuk which states, “אדם לעמל יולד,” is referring to both Torah study and working or just the study of Torah? My goal was to have the first question answered as soon as possible. If you need me to resend the second one please feel free to let me know. Also, please let me know if there are other personal details that I should have included.
Before answering your question, I must state that a question of this nature has to be discussed with you Rebbi, He knows you and your situation, while I don’t know you personally, and I can only respond to the question as it was asked.
Let’s deal with your first question. I side with your Rebbi. Nothing will happen to you if you will learn for another few years, grow in your learning, in your understanding of Torah, reach new levels of understanding what the world is about, and most of all. How YOU want to run YOUR life.
On one hand I understand the people that are trying to convince you to devote your life to making money, and living the American dream of money and luxury. This is the way they see the world and to them this is the best advice they can offer. Unfortunately, they weren’t taught the Torah’s outlook on life, and on our purpose in this world. Some people tell young boys, you have to prepare yourself for your future. That is very true and that is exactly what you are doing. Just not the short-sighted future, rather your spiritual, and the spiritual future of your wife, and children, and the future of your neshoma after it leave this fleeting world of 70-80. You are indeed looking at your future, but a lot more than what they are looking at. You ARE investing in the future, and you ARE putting money in the bank, however it is in a bank that will give you dividends, and social security payments forever, even after our body is no longer attached to our soul. This does not mean to ignore that fact that you will need parnassa, however parnassa is something that has to be taken care of. It should not be your identity nor the main goal of your life.
There is another advantage to staying in Yeshiva at this point. There is a big difference to many (at least Bais Yaakov girls, who want to build a torah home) between a “working boy”, and a boy who is right now learning, interested in continuing his spiritual growth, and when it will be needed, he will then provide his family with their needs. The working boy, especially if he is already busy with his career, will be devoted to making money, and most instances, (although there may be a few scattered exceptions) he is going to lead a materialistically oriented life. The other boy, although he might have to eventually go and make a living, however his priorities, and direction in life, are that my torah is the keva, and the melacha is the array. This makes a profound effect on the atmosphere, of your marriage, and the silent messages that your children will receive.
As a side point, when the time comes for you to look to get married, it is important for you to know what kind of girl you want and what her outlook on life is. This will have a profound effect on the type of home that you will IY”H set up.
Hashem should help you with your challenges, and guide you in the right direction.