Tuesday, November 19, 2013

an unfeasible solution

At the Agudah Convention (which I have never attended) there was apparently a video and much talk about the economic hardship in Eretz Yisrael.  The solution – please provide more support. 

I don’t get it.  There is only so much money out there.  I live in the Five Towns, a community which is considered well to do.  Our schools are not awash in cash.  There are plenty of parents who cannot afford tuition.  There are people who rely on Tomchei Shabbos to have Shabbos meals.  There are people who are unemployed and underemployed who are barely able to make ends meet themselves.  Most I think are people who do not choose to be in this situation.  Many of them have jobs, are looking for jobs, etc., but still cannot cope with the high price of an Orthodox lifestyle.  The same is true in many, many other communities.
Should the government provide more funding?  Governments need to take from one pocket to give to another.  If taxes are raised, then inevitably someone else feels the pinch.

Where is the extra money supposed to come from to support thousands of people who choose (not who are forced) to rely on outside aid, both government and private, for their basic needs? 
What is especially troubling is the false sense of entitlement that has been created, as if we as a community or the Israeli government owe it to everyone who wants to learn full time to be supported in those efforts, and if we fail or cannot meet those obligations, we are at fault or we are anti-Torah. 

I don’t think there has ever been a period in Jewish history where such a large section of the population has decided full time learning is a career path.  Baruch Hashem that is the case!  We should be thrilled.  We should encourage more people to learn for as long as possible.  But it behooves our community leaders to realize that economically, it is an unfeasible situation.  Baruch Hashem that there are thousands learning in the Mir (not to single it out -- I'm just giving an example).  But there has to be some plan to pay the bills that inevitable come due when you have thousands of people doing nothing other than studying Torah.   A simple question: what's the plan? 
As more and more children enter into the system, the strains will grow even greater.  It's time to come up with real solutions now.

1 comment:

  1. As Yirmayahu HaNavi illustrated when he showed Bnei Yisroel the Tzinzenes HaMan, no problem. Just trust in Hashem.

    Which shows what the real problem is. If the Rosh Yeshivot and Menahalim would follow that advice, then everything would be alright. By going out and collecting, and making declarations such at the Agudah Convention, they are torpedoing any possibility of Hashgacha.

    Note that the Michtav Me'Eliyahu faced a similar conundrum and solved it by positing that the only reason to collect for torah was to allow the donors to share in the great mitzva. Otherwise, it would be a p'gam in bitachon.

    My personal approach: I give what I can [and yes, I do "waste" a few hundred dollars a year on personal, non-essential items], and the rest of the time I feel miserable watching the self-contradictory thrashing-about of much of the Olam HaTorah. And no, when I say miserable I don't refer to the core "miser."