So, What's Wrong With Kollel?

Real questions, submitted by actual OU Torah followers, with their real answers. NOTE: For questions of practical halacha, please consult your own rabbi for guidance.

Q. I have read that some ultra-Orthodox men do not work, but instead study the Torah all day. Is a Jewish man not required to work and provide for his family? 

A. Thanks for your question, which was forwarded to my attention. Men are absolutely obligated to work in order to support their families but there are several factors here of which you may not be aware:

1) Women who marry men who study in what's called a "kollel" generally want to marry men who study Torah full-time. They feel that the religious and spiritual growth is good for the family as a whole and are on board with the agenda. (When dating, girls are often asked if they're looking for "a learner or an earner");

2) Kollels pay a stipend to married students. It's not big money but it is an income. Studying Torah is their job;

3) Most men don't study in kollel for an extended period of time. It's usually just for a few years when they first get married;

4) This is how we groom religious leaders. Sure, some men should probably leave kollel and become accountants, salesmen or restaurateurs but others truly distinguish themselves and go on to become the top religious authorities of their generation. 

I hope this answers your question!

Rabbi Jack's latest book, Ask Rabbi Jack, is now available from Kodesh Press and on