Isaac Kaplan

"Is it any wonder I've got too much time on my hands?"

Monday, July 12, 2004

The Rebbi Who Ripped Lawyers

I was at a shiur earlier this year, and as in many yeshivos, the age-old topic of working for a living came up. Considering that the yeshiva I was in happened to have been a college yeshiva, the rebbi actually said that working was okay, believe it or not. He mentioned the Rambam, who says one should work a few hours a day and learn for the rest of the time. With that in mind, he suggested professorships and dentistry as ideal jobs for the ben-Torah. And he also singled out law as being detrimental for one's Torah learning, considering the long hours that many lawyers work.

My take? Here goes:

a) Suggesting that people should be professors, I believe, is impractical. Many people have no teaching skills, and some just wouldn't enjoy the experience of being a professor. Besides, unless one is smart enough to get a prestigious position, what are the chances that the job will be enough to help make ends meet?

And as for dentistry, it's gotta be one of the most boring jobs out there. Staring at people's mouths? Boring. And definitely not for most people. And they spend a few years in dental school etc. working pretty hard.

b) And for the most part, in our generation of expensive houses, high tuitions, and countless other costs that come with having a large family, how many professions out there guarantee a decent living? Accounting? Another exciting one. Plus you have tax season for a good part of the year. And there's no guarantee that you'll make it big there, either. A friend of mined tried accounting and wasn't going anywhere, so what did he end up doing? Law school.

And business is just too risky. Plus, it's not for most people. If you're not street-smart with a good business head, the chances aren't too great. And the opportunity to make a chilul Hashem is quite large for business-people.

c) Plus, I know many lawyers out there, that after a few years of hard work, have moved on either to their own firms or to another position with less strenuous hours. And they do a whole lot of learning, too. So what it comes down to is that a lawyer can actually have a life and sit and learn for a decent amount of time. Is every lawyer like that? Certainly not. But even people of other professions are also working night and day. And people in med school/ residency don't have it too easy themselves.

d) And if someone's crazy enough to want to become a lawyer, and feels that he's truly cut out for that kind of work, then why not? The seforim say that one should choose a profession that he feels he'll enjoy.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did the rebbi ever hear of yizzocher and zevullen? By supporting Torah you get a chelek in Torah. Its all discussed in Yoreh Daeh Hilchos Talmud Torah. A Lawyer can be a part of Torah by paying someone to learn.

9:33 AM  

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