Toward a Middle Path

It was with great interest that I read the exchange of letters regarding the angst of a yungerman who felt he lost the respect of his wife when he left kollel and went out to work.

While this phenomenon is certainly true in some kehillos, in others — such as the one I belong to — I find the opposite to be true.

Presumably because of previous negative experiences, and fearing for the shalom bayis of the many who don’t marry serious learners, many high schools in our community don’t stress chashivus haTorah at all. Some of the yungeleit in my kollel — true masmidim who really sit and learn all day — tell me that their wives would prefer that they go to work already. This isn’t their fault; they grew up in homes where their fathers worked, and their schools never taught about it.

My wife tells me that in her school, mesirus nefesh for a husband’s learning was never mentioned. And she attended one of the most prestigious high schools in the community. My sisters tell me the same thing.

There has to be a middle way for schools to adopt, one that would stress the great zechuyos of being a partner in the learning of Torah and mesirus nefesh for kvias itim, as well as for husbands who are in kollel full time, while still helping future wives adjust to the reality that many husbands will not show the greatest levels of hasmadah.

S. Lowy