Not So Simple

The letter on your editorial page which called on mechanchos, when teaching their students about the beauty and& zechuyos& of being a selfless and long-term& kollel& wife, to “please keep in mind that not everyone can stay in& kollel& indefinitely after the& chasunah,” oversimplified what actually is a very complex issue.

Indeed, in an ideal world, we should be able to tailor the lessons we give our students for their specific individual needs. However, teachers — at least those whom I know — don’t have ruach hakodesh. They can’t possibly know whose husband will stay in learning indefinitely, and whose will go out to work a year after the chasunah.

It takes much mesirus nefesh to be a full-time-kollel-learner’s wife, especially in those situations where the wife brings in the primary income. It is very challenging for teachers to try to train their students to aspire to this lofty role, while at the same time telling them that another, equally good option is for a husband to go to work and attend a shiur at night.

While I am sympathetic to the concerns expressed by this husband who feels that his wife is disappointed in his decision, if we want to ensure future generations of kollel wives, such unintentional “side-effects” are — at least to a certain extent — all but unavoidable.

B.M. Green