[Avodah] Torah and Poverty

Micha Berger via Avodah avodah at lists.aishdas.org
Mon Jul 6 14:45:52 PDT 2015

On 7/3/2015 3:16 AM, RnTK wrote to Areivim:
: But our mishna does describe this as the "way of the Torah."
: True Torah scholars will live contentedly under conditions of
: denial and poverty.

The beraisa (Avos "6":4) says that darkah shel Torah is not to quit
learning even if you have to live off bread, salt and water you have to
ration, sleep on the ground and otherwise suffer.

Not that this is their normal condition, or even one they should desire.

There is still the take on the chatas of someone ending nezirus (Rabbeinu
Bachya, in contrast to the Ramban) that it's for forgoing permissable
pleasure while a nazir.

And the Y-mi (Qiddushin 4:12, vilna 48b, the end of the mesechta) in
which Rav is quoted as saying "A person will have to give a din vecheshbon
on anything his eye saw but he didn't eat. R' Leizer [Elazar? Eliezer?]
was chosheish for this, and would use Shabbos to enjoy one such pleasure.

This is on the mishnah where R' Nera'i promises to only teach his son
Torah, to the exclusion of a profession. But the Y-mi understands this
to mean that keeping the Torah (not learning in particular) will provide
wealth. Whereas a profession leaves you stuck in your old age, or if one
otherwise become unable to work. But it's "vekhein atah motzei be'avinu
Avraham *sheshimer* es haTorah" and was wealthy.

However, the Bavli famously reports that this was tried experimentally
and it generally doesn't work. Okay for a R' Shimon bar Yochai, but
not R' Yishmael and the like. (Which could be a difference in kind or

No one today would qualify as either a Rashbi or a R' Yishmael, so I
don't think the Y-mi's promise should be counted on.

And neither gemara lauds poverty.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             A sick person never rejects a healing procedure
micha at aishdas.org        as "unbefitting." Why, then, do we care what
http://www.aishdas.org   other people think when dealing with spiritual
Fax: (270) 514-1507      matters?              - Rav Yisrael Salanter

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