More Discussions for this daf
1. Studying Torah and Child Support 2. Mussar

Steven F. Friedell asked:

On daf 22a, is Rava praising a person who studies at the expense of providing basic child support? If so, how can this be squared with the gemarah in Ketubot 49b which seems to require at least an attempt to persuade the father to support his children. And the Rosh there seems to say that until the age of 6 even a poor father can be compelled to support his children.

Thank you very much.

Steven F. Friedell

Rutgers Law School

The Kollel replies:

We find in Gitin (6b) that the sages condemned those who allow the study of Torah to override providing support for one's wife and family. (This appears to be the understanding of Tosfos there, DH v'Yitnu, and Kidushin 29b DH Ha Lehu. According to Rashi in Kidushin, this point may have been the hub of an argument of principle between the sages of Israel and the sages of Bavel. However, even according to Rashi it appears that the Babylonians only went to learn before they had children, and with the permission of their new wives, and not after they had children to support; see rashi Gitin ibid.)

However, it seems that our Gemara refers to when one is providing the basic, support for his family even while studying Torah. (The Gemara refers to this basic amount of support as "eating the cheap vegetables of the swamps.) If so, Rava is saying that the study of Torah overrides providing any more than basic support (as we find, for example, in Eruvin 55b, Rashi DH Ein Talmid Chacham). He means to teach that a person should not let himself be convinced by his families pleas for a life of luxury to leave his studies.

All the best, Mordecai