I’m a 29-year-old single guy learning in BMG full-time. I just wanted to share some thoughts I’ve had for a while now and especially since BMG’s Adirei Hatorah event.
I believe the message conveyed at the event is that kavod hatorah and those that represent it are paramount. That we should respect, cherish and honor those that sit and learn all day and not allow them to live in a way that our baalebatim wouldn’t dream of living. If I got that message right (and I’m pretty sure I did), I’m not sure how older bochurim got left out of the picture. Do they not sit and learn the same way yungeleit do? I’d be pretty confident saying that they learn more than yungeleit do. Do they not have financial struggles? Of course, they do. Friends my age don’t own a car, because their parents can’t afford an extra one for them.
Is it kavod hatorah for a 30-year-old guy to wait at the hitching spot to get a ride home for shabbos? Or for him to have to ask his younger married sibling to pick him up from yeshiva on erev shabbos so he can stay by him for Shabbos? When was the last time a yungerman had to do that?
Is it kavod hatorah for him not to be able to buy himself supper one night a week when he does not wish to eat what the yeshiva happens to be serving that night? To not be able to buy a piece of clothing without asking his parents?
I know of a fellow older single who drives a school bus in the mornings to support himself and another who tutors for hours at night just to afford basics because his parents don’t support him.
I B”H have very supportive parents who pay for my car and other expenses, and I tutor by lunch and supper time to have some money of my own, and yet I constantly struggle with the thought of whether I should go out to work, just so I can live independently and not rely on my parents; so that I contribute financially at family events the same way my siblings (who are learning) do. I’m pretty confident saying that most older singles could use the money more than the yungeleit, who do have a source of income.
I’ve floated this thought to many (married!) people in recent days and gotten almost unanimous agreement.
I’m not suggesting that bochurim should receive the same amount that yungeleit do or that 22-year-olds should be getting kollel checks. But shouldn’t a 27-year-old guy sitting and learning despite his difficult and uncomfortable circumstances be receiving some sort of income? There comes a point when it’s not socially acceptable to be completely supported by your parents.
Assuming that the message of BMG’s event was authentic, which I’m sure it was, I’m not sure how leaving bochurim out at that point can be justified.