Cognitive Dissonance

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

I received an e-mail informing me that Agudath Israel of America has designated tomorrow as a day of prayer, protesting the plan in Israel to decrease welfare and enforce a standard school curriculum. I have trouble as a registered Republican, currently working hard during busy season and negotiating to take off two of the busiest days of the year for Yom Tov, while my children currently study for NY State mandated regents exams, to understand exactly what I am supposed to pray for.

When I told my rebbe that I was leaving kollel to support my growing family, he quoted me the following Gemara (Berakhos 8a):

גדול הנהנה מיגיע כפיו מירא שמים… שנאמר יגיע כפיך כי תאכל אשריך וטוב לך. אשריך בעולם הזה וטוב לך לעולם הבא

R. Chiyya b. Ammi further said in the name of Ulla: A man who benefits from his own labor is greater than the one who fears heaven… As it says: “When you eat the labor of your hands, you will be happy, and it shall be good for you” (Tehillim 128:2). “You will be happy,” in this world, “and it shall be good for you,” in the world to come.

If believing this makes me Modern Orthodox, I’m happy (in this world and the next) to be with many others.

(PS This does not make me a Chareidi basher. It makes me, at most, a non-Chareidi. Learn the difference.)

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Editor of, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student has served two terms on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and currently serves as the Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. He serves on the Editorial Boards of Jewish Action magazine, the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society and the Achieve Journal of Behavioral Health, Religion & Community, as well as the Board of OU Press. He has published five English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

Leave a Reply

Subscribe to our Weekly Newsletter

The latest weekly digest is also available by clicking here.

Subscribe to our Daily Newsletter