R. Shimon bar Yohai is famously quoted in Berakhot 35b as believing that:

אפשר אדם חורש בשעת חרישה וזורע בשעת זריעה וקוצר בשעת קצירה ודש בשעת דישה וזורה בשעת הרוח תורה מה תהא עליה אלא בזמן שישראל עושין רצונו של מקום מלאכתן נעשית ע"י אחרים

Is it really possible that a man should plow during the plowing season, sow during the sowing season, harvest during the harvest season, thresh during the threshing season and winnow during the windy season? If that is the case, what will become of the Torah? Rather, it must be that when Israel performs the will of the Omnipresent, their work is carried out by others.

This view is often cited by those advocating for full-time torah study in place of earning a living. See e.g. here.

My question is, how can R. Shimon bar Yohai allow this? What about issur kolel, the prohibition to attend a kolel where torah is studied full-time by married men, in lieu of earning a living?

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R. Shimon bar Yohai does not hold of the concept of issur kolel.

This is stated explicitly in Shevuot 24a:

רבי שמעון לטעמיה דלית ליה איסור כולל

R. Shimon is consistent with his reasoning, inasmuch as he does not hold of issur kolel.

And, as we know from Rashi to Shevuot 2b, stam R. Shimon is indeed R. Shimon bar Yohai.


You've made some incorrect assumptions about the kollel.

I've learned in a kollel, sometimes at night and sometimes during the day. So, it's not exclusive to those studying all day not "earning a living". There are numerous workers, as myself, who study in a kollel.

Second - who says that kollel is reserved for married people? Did you know that a kollel is one of the best places for singles to eventually get married? No, there aren't any women there (except for the occasional wife stopping by to bring a microwaved chulent to their husbands). But, numerous shidduchim and recommendations have occurred by singles attending a kolel. So, I don't think bar Yochai would have a problem with this situation.

Third - Even for unemployed married men who are there all day. Come on now, you think that they spend their entire time there learning? Have you seen how much schmoozing and eating as well as davening (along with the schmoozing & sometimes, eating, simultaneously!) occurs during the day at the kollel? So, there's really no issur involved here, because one is not studying all day.

  • I guess at least 2 people don't like what I have to say about a kolel? If I have inadvertently offended anyone, please inform me. I'm not sure how I might have done that. – DanF Feb 14 '18 at 23:12

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