The Jewish Eye
Without Bread There Is No Torah
"Im Ein Kemach Ein Torah" (Avos 3:21) Every Kollel Yungerman has been attacked with this Mishna at some point in his life by a person who felt that they should be working instead of learning. The typical response is the next words of the Mishna "Im Ein Torah Ein Kemach", if not for our Torah there would be no financial success. We are the power behind you. This answer doesn't usually resonate well with the other side since often the learner believes it even less than the businessman.
The Baalei Mussar ask why is it that in Birchas HaMazon where we thank Hashem for the food he provides us we also thank him for the Torah? In fact you are not Yotzei Birchas HaMazon if you leave out thanks for the Torah. He answered that without Torah who needs food? Life wouldn't be worth living. Any thanks for the food needs to bound to the fact that we learn Torah or else the food is meaningless.
Im Ein Torah Ein Kemach says the Mishna. True we need the businessman's generosity, his kemach, to support Torah. We would starve otherwise and would not be able to learn. But, answers the "Real" Ben Torah, even if I have nothing to eat I choose to live my life with Torah. To spend my days chasing Kemach is a life not worth living. Because without the Torah what would I benefit from all my Kemach?
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