We were always taught in yeshivah that parnasa comes from Hashem, and that the goal of a Ben Torah is to be mosar nefesh for Torah, not to become like a businessman. We were taught that if we are zoche to be in the daled amos shel Halacha, we’re among the select few among Klal Yisroel who understand what it means to learn Torah; who understand that everything comes from Hashem, “Ein od milvado.” We understand that money is not determined based on degrees, or sound business decisions, but rather on Siyato Dishmaya! When Azarya went to Klal Yisroel and asked, “Lama lo asakta batorah?” they replied, “Who will support us?” So Azarya took out a container of “mun” and answered, “The same One who supported our ancestors in the midbar for 40 years.” We Bnei Torah understand all this. After all, we have heard these ideas in every Yeshiva, in every shmooze, in every musar sefer, for years and years.
So how is it that the same Bnei Torah today will only go out on a date with a guaranteed means of support?! If the girl’s parents will guarantee to give x amount of dollars per month for five years, then they will go out. Oh, by the way, does she have good midos? That’s hardly the burning question. Are today’s Bnei Torah only willing to learn on the condition that they have no financial hardships in life? Is that the extent of their mesiras nefesh for Torah that we all were taught in yeshivah? What happened to bitachon in Hashem, Ein od milvado, Siyato Dishmayo!? Are these same kollel yungeleight going to leave learning as soon as they are not sure how they can pay the rent? Was this the mesiras nefesh that created our Gedolim? Did R’ Aharon have such a guarantee of no financial hardship before establishing Torah in Lakewood, and across America? How can the same Lakewood bocher who learns in his yeshiva possibly believe that someone other than Hashem can guarantee him anything? If a bocher would look for a girl who was brought up to believe that “I will do whatever it takes to be mosar nefesh so that my husband can be zoche to learn Torah,” I’m sure such a wife will ensure many more years of learning than any empty “guarantees” of support! Maybe we should have all Bnei Torah go make a parnoso before they get married - after all, they might eventually give birth to a girl, and will soon need $60,000 in the bank for her to even go out on a date!! When did money become so important in our list of priorities for a good shidduch? Is money the backbone of a solid marriage? How can it be that after checking a girl out, and finding out the shidduch is tzugipast; they have the same hashkofos, the same personality, the same desire for chesed, the same chashivus for Torah, the same ideas of how to bring up their children, etc., everything seems perfect - the boy won’t even go out because of money!!! When did a good zivug come to depend on bank accounts? What happened to: We’ll work it out, Hashem will provide! Is that just some old fashioned phrase that we don’t really believe?!
My wife was expressing these concerns to a shadchan who is the Rebetzin of a choshiva Rosh Yeshiva, and her response was, “This is the way of the world.” Since when do we follow the “way of the world,” when the world is directly contrary to everything we’ve been taught in yeshiva? We don’t endorse going to college, we don’t teach our bochurim that you first worry about financial stability before you start learning, we don’t teach Bnei Torah to worry about money, we don’t believe money is a priority in life! But suddenly, when it comes time for this bocher to use all that he was taught in yeshivah to get married and raise a family in Klal Yisroel, we tell him “You should only marry a girl that has money, so that you have financial stability before you go learn in kollel.” It doesn’t matter that she has the right hashkofos, or that she is willing to be mosar nefesh for you to sit and learn, or that she is machshiv Torah her whole life: We can’t rely on hope, we need to see money in the bank. We need to know there will be support before you begin to learn Torah in the real world.
And that’s not all. Since when do we put a time limit on learning Torah: 3,4,5 years? We were always taught in yeshiva that we should be zoche to learn for as long as possible. What if the choson has a commitment of support for three years, but then wants to learn more? How in the world will he support his family? Who says he’ll be able to find a job? Besides, now he has two kids to support as well. Who will give him the so-much-needed financial stability now? We are taught not to worry about these things, because we realize Who always supports those who are willing to be mosar nefesh for Torah, if we are zoche to have a wife who is willing to go through the hardships of life so that her husband can learn. With such a wife, there is no time limit of 2, 3, or five years, because she is ready to really be mosar nefesh and she will push him to learn even when she is not sure how the rent will be paid!
I am proud to say I will support my future sons-in-law iy”H for as long as I can, with as much money as I can. How much money? That’s really up to Hashem to decide - which is probably worth more than most empty commitments. But I hope whoever is zoche to get my daughter will be ready to be mosar nefesh to learn Torah for as long as Hakadosh Boruch Hu gives him the zchus to learn - not determined by the amount of time promised by his in-laws! Someone who realizes that parnasa really comes from Hashem, upon whom we can really rely to keep His commitments to those who learn his Torah, even if we’re not sure how the rent will get paid. As for my sons, I’m looking for a girl with great midos, who understands that there is no greater zchus than having a husband who learns Torah! I’ll take such a girl whether the parents promise to support or not!!!
A Father Who’s Not Playing by the Rules