Readers’ Scoop: A Kollel Wife Asks

BMG main_wmDear Lakewood Scoop,
I have been reading your reader’s scoop letters for  months now. I never imagined I could have something to add to the local news scene. Politics, I don’t get involved. Downtown,  I appreciate all the efforts to help save it,  but that’s about it. I do not understand snow removal, or traffic issues. I don’t pay property taxes yet,  and I  don’t care much about schools yet either. As a newlywed with one baby girl the one thing that affects me most is never discussed. That is bein hasdorim. I have been married now for over a year. From the second week of our marriage I have been commuting to New York almost every day for my job.  My husband who is a very dedicated kollel yungerman drops me off at the bus, takes my daughter to a sitter, then picks her up bein hasdorim. Drops her off before second seder. I am home around 6 pm and pick up my daughter. I eat supper alone (I am usually famished), and put my baby to sleep, all before my husband walks in the door.

I asked my husband what he does bein hasdorim. He told me if the baby naps, he naps.
So I was thinking. Why do we need bein hasdorim for two hours? Why can’t yeshiva have a break for lunch, and then resume learning until 6 pm. This way yungerleit could spend time with their kids,  and eat with their wives, before going to night seder. There would be no more afternoon rushing, or traffic at two o’clock, clogging the roads, and no need for a second car for struggling kollel families like us.

I understand that in Europe and Eretz Yisroel they had a noon break because that is how all people lived. But here in America we do not live that way. I just want to know if there is a halacha or minhag that says we need to keep doing things this way. I know many couples that would have a better sholom bayis if their schedules worked together. There would be less traffic and the babysitting and playgroups would have it easier.

So please if someone reads this that knows the reason behind the Yeshiva schedule please explain it.
I am not trying to suggest what Yeshiva should do, I am only asking because I am sure there is a reason for all this.

Thank you scoop for taking the time out from talking about snow, who is running for mayor,  or local police to address this question.
Kollel Wife

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  1. I have no clue- I go through basically the same thing as soon except I work a full day in Lakewood until 5. Its a long break in the afternoon for no reason and then I wait until 7:15 for supper.

  2. this is the way it is in all yeshivas, yungerleit belong in kollel not in yeshiva look in new york all the kollel have lunch brake and r home 6:30 .
    and by the way if you r married you shold work close to home so you have time to take care of your family

  3. The reason is so the bochurim and yungeleit have some time during the day to take care of any business that would not be available in the evening (bank, post office etc.)

  4. Well to answer you in as simple a manner as possible: You say if Yeshiva would only have a break for lunch(from your article you seem to imply that it would be strictly for lunch and men would not leave yeshiva or if they would it would be for a very short period of time) your husband would be able to eat with you and his kids….he’d be able to talk to you more….Inasmuch as you are right that all these things are absolutely necessary for a solid marriage and chinuch,I guarantee you that if Yeshiva would adopt your proposed schedule,YOU WOULDN’T HAVE A HUSBAND TO TALK TO AT ALL!! You go try learning from 9:30-1:45 and see if you could do another 3-3.5 hrs after just a 30-45 minute break. There’s a reason why learning Torah was given to men and not to women. You understand what you cannot handle on a Friday afternoon. Guess what 95%+ of yeshiva yungerleit would not be able to handle the schedule you propose. They’d come home wiped to say the least. I fact I don’t think they’d be able to handle sucha schedule for a week. I happen to be in the workforce for a few years already but I too was in Yeshiva and know just what it’s all about.

    And BTW next time you have these types of questions-why don’t you discuss them with your husband??? A little bit of communication on your part may bring out some more on his. Good Luck.

  5. I ran your post past my husband (right when he woke up from his almost 2 hr nap) & his take on it was, it is very hard to learn properly from 9:30-6:00 with just a short lunch break (i guess he means in addition to coffee breaks). He says his 2nd seder is of a different ‘sug’ (did I spell it right?) when he naps. Please inform if I answered your question.

  6. i would repeat what all the others said but that would be so blog-ish typical. Instead let me tell you that you sound very level headed and you should move to NYC where your husband can have that schedule and your commute will be shorter. Meanwhile you can bake hamentashen and clean floors and still have time to help your husband learn chofetz chaim

  7. His response was that the current seder hayom was set up with the intent that yungerleit would be at home at night NOT going out to night seder!

  8. You are 100% right. Many out of town Kolles work that way. BMG is a Yeshiva, started for Bochrim on there scheldule. It might be the largest Kollel in the world, but that is another story.

  9. Rabbi Saloman actually proposed this schedule but it was nixed as it would be diverting from the way rav ahron wanted . as someone in the next stage in life , it would help even more when the kids are older to be home for them . the teachers especially the lady ones give homework without rachmonis. and my poor wife barely manages around that time. I work now, so I’m home during that time slot ie 6pm , but I can’t imagine how my wife would survive if I wouldn’t be there. I definitly think the schedule could b rearranged especially when kimat none steps in yeshiva before 4: . yeshiva should finish at 130 ( davened and all ) then rebegin at 3-6 . its plenty of time to recharge and would help the shalom bayis all over . Case Dismissed!

  10. And now they are advocating that we have a bus system so we can perpetuate this schedule to include service to all the ghettos in lakewood at the times needed. This schedule is responsible for the bottleneck traffic in the afternoon on rte 9. I would even be so bold as to say it is responsible for our kids at risk issue in lakewood. Let’s see someone make a change for the better for once. Instead of repairing their bad ideas with more bad ideas. Buses and road widenings are a lot harder than changing a bad schedule around for the yungerleit. Thank you kollel wife for bringing up this important issue. It causes many problems in our town. I learnt ten years in kollel and never once slept bein hasdorim. If I got tired I napped on my shtender for five minutes and learnt vaiter

  11. After hearing both sides of the debate, there is nothing for me to add except to say – hats off to this choshever wife that shlepps miles out of town everyday and leaves her precious baby with others al so that her husband can shteig in Torah. I want you to know that regardless of the outcome of this debate, just know that the zechus that you have is big and your oilam habba is going to be bigger than big. I now work after years in Kollel and I never forgot that its because of my wife that went to work every day so that I could learn Torah, and if I could just say that if a husband doesn’t thank his wife constantly for her mesiras nefesh so that he could learn than a very fundemental part of him is in serious need of change. So again chazak ve’ematz and you have a real stake in your husbands success in Torah.

  12. To all kollel yungerleit: Do you think its easy for the woman who are mothers of children to work all day straight and then come home and make sure their husbands have a warm nourishing meal, take care of the kids and keep house – cleaning up and doing laundry? Its definitely easier for the men to learn from 10-6 with a 4o minute break then do what all these wives are doing. And BTW – the woman who go to New York to work (to earn a little more) leave by 7:30 am and dont return home until 6:00- trust me , this is all much harder than learning from 10:00 -6:00 with a 40 minute break…..

  13. gee, my husband didn’t spend time in kollel, he went out to earn money at a real job, and I didn’t see much of him either. You learn to adjust your life to what you need. Just appreciate Shabbos together! And stop whining about not seeing your husband. You are only married a short time.

  14. You might look into some smaller kollelim, even in Lakewood, where the schedule is designed for a yungerman rather than for a bochur.

    On the other hand, if you are a programmer, for example, you might try getting your employer to agree that you telecommute a day or two per week. You have a grueling schedule & I hope you can eventually cut down some!

    I know as my kids began to grow up, I told my husband, you can learn 22 hours a day but from 5:30 to 7:30 I can’t survive on my own. It was about then he ended up taking a job in chinuch (boruch hashem) & was able to be home for supper & homework.

  15. The yeshivas schedule is: first seder from 9 30 until one fourty then mincha, second seder starts at THREE THIRTY! not four fifteen so there aint much place for change. Maybe the oilam should start actually keeping the sdarim they will see more hatzlacha.

  16. The answer is that the zmanim were set up originally for bochurim and the intent was to occupy as uch of the day as possible so they shouldn’t be done at 6 with the whole night ahead of them.

    Now, as to whether the zmanim should be targeted for yungeleit or for the bochurim, it seems the yeshiva held to go l’chumra. (which makes sense if you think about it)

  17. Let me tell you, there are husbands that are working that are NEVER home. There are husbands that are busy being askanim and are NEVER home. You dont win. Its all attitude. But let me tell you from experience,
    The fathers who are home and spend time with their kids – this is more important than ANYTHING. Your kids have one father and they will only be kids once. What a father can give them – nobody else can. All you fathers and husbands- make sure to spend time with your children now before they grow up ant its too late. Chesed begins at home.
    You will definitely regret it later on. (When your kids are not what you thought they would turn out to be)

  18. My father was never home when i grew up. He was always working or doing askanas. Yes, everyone else thought he was great etc, and at that time my siblings and i didnt think we were missing too much. However, now that i’m a father – we have alot of resentment of what we missed out as children. Maybe i would be a little more Yeshivish like my father is had he been home more and had more hashpao on us.

  19. If one can learn 4 hrs straight (9:30-1:30) then one can learn 9 hrs straight if he got his body (and mind) clock accustomed to such a schedule.
    Most people have trouble learning 4 hrs and the only reason it works in Yeshivahs is ‘mind over body’. This works for any schedule.

  20. Torah mateshes kocha shel adam . There is no perfect system but changing the seder hayom is not an option maybe work something out with your husband . And please everyone stop mentioning the internet to cop out of helping a chashuveh Aishes chaver . Bracha vihatzlacha

  21. Wife of a working guy- with all due respect to you, that was extremely mean spirited ofd you to tell this kollel yungerman’s wife to stop whining, when she is in no way doing as you suggest. She is bringing up a very real concern that affects all those learning in BMG, some more some less. And while there may be many that don’t agree with her there are many that clearly do, and that’s what makes the scoop so popular in that we could have a debate and hear all sides. And so your comment was not appreciated. And if I could say more that while you may not see your husband all day remember its him that goes to work and you are taking it easy at home getting up late, working out etc. so maybe given the hard day that she has, she deserves to have her husband home when she feels is the right time.

  22. You know what? I am so disappointed in everyone who says its too hard to learn without breaks…WHAT??? She has to take the BUS to NY everyday!!!! While her husband just goes and sits down all day, I’d like to see him or YOU #7 ProudLkwrdr… get on the bus at the crack of dawn everyday to support your family. I am so proud of the original poster that she has no chip on her shoulder in regards to supporting her family.

  23. My take on the matter:
    * if YOU as a mother aren’t home with the kids, shouldn’t those kids get SOME time with at least ONE parent PRE kvetching time?
    * high cost of SECOND sitter in cases like yours, working in NY.
    * the problem becomes serious when kids grow up and need totty for gemara learning and homework. At that point of time your points are valid
    * some suggest, with people lacking communication skills and having bad sholom bayis, better keep the men far from home as much as possible
    They are many more points to make, but as a beginning, I think the above is enough

  24. Create a schedule with your husband that works for both of you! The yeshiva does not have a ‘sign in’ system it has set up a basic schedule and by all means feel free to modify it to better suit your needs!
    And, if you are worried about deviating from the norm just take a walk outside yeshiva anytime of the day and you will see men (who look very yeshivish) coming in and out-constantly!
    Enjoy your new schedule!

  25. #28 – “remember its him that goes to work and you are taking it easy at home getting up late, working out etc.” HA! Have you ever stayed at home with your kids for just one day straight?! Probably not, if you think that women who stay at home just “take it easy” and “get up late.” Anyone that I’ve asked who’s stayed home with her kids (and yes, I stay home too) has said that it’s definitely harder to stay home (this from people who have done both). It’s people like you that make it even harder to be proud of being a stay-at-home mother and raise your children, rather than let a babysitter do it for you. Shame on you.

  26. To #28-COOL MASMID-

    Your not so cool if you don’t know what you are talking about.

    I happen to go out to work too, we have tuitions to pay.

    I wish I had time to go to the gym or sleep late. I work just as hard if not harder- I just don’t get paid for everything I do (i.e. clean the house, do laundry, cook, take care of the kids after school, etc)

    So keep your cool comments defending this woman to yourself, or are you her husband?

  27. Rabbi Yitzchok Abadi Shlita’s new kollel has fantastic hrs. starts at 8:30. break at 12:30-2:30 for lunch and is over at 6. it is much more convienient for eo. kol tuv!

  28. I’m not sure cutting out the lunch break would be the correct approach here. Maybe shortening it a little is doable but yungeleit really need a rest even if they don’t sleep just to relax a bit. In Lakewood what cold be changed is the starting time. Perhaps if first seder started at 9am and you took half an hour off of lunch the yungeleit could come home an hour earlier at night.

  29. In my opinion: There is no mitzvah to be moiser your children`s nefesh for your husbands full time learning. There is no mitzvah to sacrifice your shalom bais for your husbands full time learning. There is no mitzvah to begrudge your husbands learning for the sake of your husbands full time learning. Learning full time should be considered a real privilege. There are certain commendable sacrifices that you can make as a kollel family to stay in learning however there should be a very clear line that should not be crossed. One can gain more schar by “working” and maintaining a healthy frum lifestyle (including a nice learning seder of course) than one who learns full time but makes silly sacrifices.

    I know I didn`t quite answer your question but maybe this prospective would help.

    P.S your daughter and future children really need YOU home for them.
    This may sound strange but I think there is a point here…would it make sense to have children and give them up for adoption in order to stay in kollel? Of course you will take them back as soon as you can!
    Ok… maybe I`m taking this a bit to far but this is something I really feel strong about.

    Thank you Kollel wife for bringing this topic up.

  30. The long lunch break works well for mothers that finish work after 2:00 and before second seder. The husband picks up the kids from the babysitter / playgroup and this way the little children get to spend some time with the husband (less hours with the babysitter = more hours with their parent) and when mom comes home here husband can leave to second seder. Everyone pitches in to make it work!!!!

  31. First off Mr cooljew is right on the mark, you must realize how special your actions are and how much reward you will recieve from them. Regarding the actual question, I think its important to observe that in generall the people who are answering this question are not in learning and therefore would be hard pressed to give a correct answer. I who have been there can say that those who do learn 9 hours straight are either not well and therefore aren’t learning for the right reasons, or much more seldom are real יחידי סגולה. I can say this bec I was one of those who did learn the 9 hours straight. Sadly it was for the first reason and not the second. Even though I would love to learn 24 hours straight still today, I now realize that my PREVIOUS actions in this area were based on an obsession and not for the right reasons. (The common refrain of people snapping from learning IS false. Learning isn’t what makes the problem its the act of obsession that does. More for another time.) Making Seder 9 hours straight with a half hour break would lead to an almost impossible situation. Even those who aren’t in learning but once were, if they were honest, would tell you the same. Just look at the rest of the comments. Not to put down those Kolel wives, but commuting to manhattan every day and working a full day doesn’t begin to compare to learning 9 hours straight. I’ve basically went through both stages at different times in my life, and even though I’m not learning the whole day now, I can be honest and give those people who are the credit they deserve! Ps To the moderater: Please don’t leave out any part of this message, since bs anyone who DID learn the 9 hours straight will attest to (even though he would love to do it today). Thank you.

  32. can someone pls write a blog about why there are no english classes in most of the yeshivas herein is embaressing when some of my out of town freinds read some of the comments here..e.g. #33.

  33. #43 hahaha did you read your own comment?? Maybe your frIEnds would be embaRRAssed if they knew it was you posting the misspelled comments. Not like those are uncommon or hard-to-spell words.

  34. I used to learn with a fellow yungerman that made me wake up at six am so we could learn for an hour before shacharis in yeshivah. He would start seder ahalf hour early. Take a half hour for lunch learn straight through till maariva nd supper. Then learn till he was falling asleep usually around midnight. He took me along for the ride. The learning I did in those years was the best I ever did. He went to another yeshiva out of town. He is now a rebbe and I was told he can say a chaburah on any inyan with twenty minutes prep time. I on the other hand am on the scoop. I hock, I waste hours of my life on shtussim. And I learned it all here. When I first came to lakewood I was learning and amashgiach told me I looked tired. I should go take a nap. This was foreign to me at the time. I was used to learning till I couldn’t see straight.
    A career in learning should be just that. If you can handle the hours and mental gymnastics you deserve The. Support. If not go work and pay someone that can.
    BMG is filled with amazing masmidim. Yet it only takes a few hangers on to give them a bad rep.
    There is no reason a yungerman cannot learn nine hours with only a small break for lunch.
    You need to love learning so much that you can’t rip yourself away from it.
    Otherwise you have a chiyuv like every other human to make a parnoso.

  35. Kudos to this kollel wife. She is really moiser nefesh for her husbands learning. She has a valid concern and brought it up very respectfully. if in fact Rav Mattisyahu had the same concern shows the validity of this question.Therefore, those people puttinfg in their sarcastic comments have no place here. Besides, where is the nossai beoil im chaveiro here in the way people are talking about kollel wife whining.

    I do beleive thogh that it’s impossible for most yungelleit to learn without a substantial break. They also need time for errands in middle of the day. In the earkly stages of marriage ,they might spend the time sleeping bein hasedorim. As time goes on, there is much more going on that would be required to take care of in middle of the day.

  36. Didn’t you say that your husband picks up your daughter by lunch break and then drops her off at another sitter before second seder??How would he do that if he didn’t have a lengthy break???Now if you don’t mind I will go back to reading about snow storms and politics

  37. Seriously, move to flatbush, you would have a much better life. its a great place to bring up children, you just live YOUR life, and you would see your hubby too. i lived there for many years, and I’M ready to move right back! btw, ITS LESS EXPENSIVE TO LIVE THERE

  38. as everyone has answered already this schedule was set up for bochrim. and it really makes no sense for yungilite. you should consider going to a different kollel , but of course you cant because you have to do what everyone else is doing. which is probably why your husband is in kollel in the first place.

    dont get me wrong. i am very pro – those who are lifetime learners. they are the people who support the world. BUT , before you become a lifelong learner, you must become a daylong learner. just sitting there there to warn the bench has no use. there is absolutly no reason why you cant learn 9-10 hours straight with a 30 min break in middle. all the real choshive people who became something , all learned straight for even longer.

    did R SHMUEL BIRENBAUM get too tired to learn more than 8 hours a day even in his old age????

    if you dont think you can do it, i suggest you get a job for a year or two , maybe in a law firm where you work 12 hours a day , give you a little training what hasmadah is all about.

  39. It’s clear that the letter writer’s proposed seder hayom is much more family friendly. There are many yungerleit who are ready to start seder at 9:00 am as well as many many families who would love to have supper with their children–as a family meal– and then help with homework and getting the kinderlach to sleep. It’s also disorienting to start 2nd seder in the wintertime when it’s starting to get dark. There are also many days when you can’t rest bein hasedorim.
    Is the reason there is no change in the schedule because the yeshiva thinks that the current hours are better?
    Or is the reason because it’s hard to change the status quo?

  40. As I’m able to learn with a much clearer mind in the morning, I wish
    1st seder (and the playgroups) would start earlier.
    2nd seder usually starts 20 minutes after the official time, so more balanced hours–like 3:00 TO 6:30– works for me.
    To have supper with my family and to take care of and talk to the children—would be a big benefit for our entire family.
    Night seder from 8:00 to 11:00 would be geshmak– a real serious seder. Just speaking from my perspective. I had a similar schedule in a kollel in eretz yisroel.

  41. Rabbi Yitzchak Abadi shlita’s kollel on Carasaljo in Lakewood has first seder from 8:30-12:30 and second seder from 2:30-6. That seems to be the exact setup you are looking for.

  42. I am proud of this yungerman, and many of Lakewood. I can only learn a few hours a day. If he needs the break and it helps him learn, so be it. I wish I coud learn even 2 hours straight.

  43. Do you really think the whole yeshiva should change their schedule so that YOU could eat supper with your husband?!!?!?

    Why don’t you be a true eishes chayil, have a little snack when you get home and then WAIT to eat supper with your husband???!!!!!

    Why can’t you ‘fargin’ your husband to rest a little during the day?

    Appreciate how lucky you are to have a husband who is learning!!!

  44. to: part of a lucky nation

    who do you think you are? do you abuse your wife too? part of living normally and healthy is to eat supper with your wife! they start the day late and end late, missing out on everything from waking up early to eating with the wife and family. BMG should make first seder start earlier and second seder end earlier. then make a bigger night seder.

  45. why is it that i see some pulling up to yeshiva at 9:30-10? what time did they wake up? ppl who learn all day should know basic halachah and wake up early to daven and then go learn like a mench! learned ppl shouldnt be running into satmar after the zman to catch a minyan! so i ask again why doesnt yeshiva start the day earlier? the talmidim should be up already anyway?

  46. Intersting that everyone seems to say that the kollel guy would be wiped without a nap and alot of time off for lunch. what about those who work and only have 1 hour for lunch if that? are you people crazy??????

  47. Your question is right on the money ! My feeling is that you should move to bklyn or passic or somewhere closer for you ….youe husband if hes really a serious fellow and plans on sitting on the koilel long term is than his responsibility to make it easier for you ….ive been a commuter to manhattan for 18 yrs. and it will not work for you unless its a short time only ….

  48. Talking about pharmacies in town. did you ever go into the pharmacy and the guy behind the counter screams out “Rabbi/Mr. ____, which medicine did you order?” do you really think i’m going to make a public announcement that i came to pick up _______?

  49. if you see somone come late to the BMG it is nun of your business y he came late you dont know what is going on in other people life i daven 6:45 and com to the BMG at 10:00 and it is nun of your business y

  50. guess what folks? people who work for a living (excuse the 4 letter word) usually get 1/2 lunch break during the day and that’s it. (talk to the cashiers at any local market!) If these guys who are being supported by others really loved the learning they are doing they wouldn’t need such a long bein hasedorim. They have a easy lifestyle. All the doors open for them. let them try to work an 8 hour job and THEN come home eat and run out the door for night seder. They are soo pampered I question if they would be able to. Don’t get me wrong, the REAL kollel guys belong there, the ones that are going out on bein hasedorim to get their sushi and cappichino, are NOT what Reb Ahron ZTL had in mind. This wife will receive a lot of reward but her husband should get off his lazy rear end and help her with household duties. I saw REAL Kollel and the yingerlight helped their wives during bein hasedorim.

  51. I am sitting here and laughing at all those that maintain that you can’t learn unless they have at least a 2 hour break during the day.
    How many people who work have a 2 hour lunch break?
    How many working people have 3 months vacation during the year, yes 3 months, Tishrei, Av, Nisan.
    Is it no wonder that yungerlite today who leave yeshiva can’t hold down a job. they can’t get to work on time because they are used to daveenning at the 9 AM minyan, can’t survive without their 2 hour lunchtime nap that they have enjoyed since their teenage years, and can’t work more than 4 months staright without a month vacation. We have become a nation of lazy bums. Try finding a minyan in the early morning. These minyanim are far and few between because Kolel has become the easy life for many.If you don’t believe me come any morning to Satmar shtiebel in the heart of Lakewood and see “hundreds” of bochurim and yungerlite still davenning at 10 am. Their fathers and shvers have been up since 6 am to learn the daff or go to a shiur while these guys are still “poofing” for 3 hours.
    Learning in a yeshiva in NY I was in yeshiva at 9:30am till 6 pm with a 1 hour break. I then went to college till 11pm 4 nights a week to earn a degree in accounting.I was in yeshiva every day so don’t tell me learning is tough until you can match that day

  52. I don’t understand something here. Many people are saying it is too difficult for a man to learn straight through from 10 am to 6 pm with only a short break for lunch. Yet, we expect our 13 year old sons to be in school straight from 7:40 am to 9:00 pm at night! What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

  53. You are so right. The mesivta boys’ schedule is brutal.
    For one week, all Rebbeim who teach in mesivtas should have to stay in yeshiva for 13 consecutive hours like the bochurim. Perhaps then the seder hayom would get changed.

  54. Just a point here. My wife is asking a question that we had discussed. Neither one of us fully understood the reasoning behind the way things are. She is also kind giving loving and amazing. There is not a selfish bone in her body. But she still is interested in respectfully understanding the system. It’s her life after all. Her question was clear and well written. The talk of “why can’t you be a better eishes chayil” is silly and off point.

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