Today in an ironic way is the yartzeit [day they died] of both my father and Reb Aaron Kotler. [Kislev 2 on the Hebrew calendar]. My father did not want me going to yeshiva. He believed in the Oral and Written Torah but that was not the issue. He thought learning Torah is a great thing. The reason he did not want me going to yeshiva was he thought all yeshivas are rabbinical schools or they use the Torah to make money.

To Reb Aaron the most important thing in the world was to make yeshivas.

The result of his efforts was the Lakewood yeshiva in NJ and several kollels in different American cities. One, for example, in Los Angeles. I was there at the beginning of the kollel of Lakewood in LA. They asked me to go to people I knew in Beverly Hills to ask for money for them. Why? Because it is a mitzvah to learn Torah. {That is they were saying since they learn Torah people ought to give them money. We will learn in short order that that is not really what they think. Rather they want people's money, and have found a way to con them to give it to them. A there are always people around to oblige them. A sucker is born every minute.}

This is a hard issue to  resolve. On one hand I never intended to use the holy Torah for money and I thought the type of yeshiva I was going to was really trying hard to learn Torah for its own sake and not for money.

On the other hand I learned the hard way that my father was right. I was for some years in Israel after learning at the Mir in NY. After a period in Israel my wife and I decided to return to California. When we got to LA the people in the Lakewood Kollel told my wife to divorce me because I was learning Torah.
Thereby giving me direct proof that my father was right all along. But not just that but since then I have seen many others proofs to my father's position.
So what we have from this is in fact it is a great thing to learn and keep Torah and the more effort one puts into this the better. But we also learn that there are people that claim to be learning Torah and claim that it is  a mitzvah to give them money. One should avoid these types as much as possible. They are extremely dangerous. And they give  a bad name to Torah. After people experience religious teachers, no wonder they are turned off from Torah. Who would not be? It is up to people that care about Torah to remedy this situation and do what ever is possible to stop this scam.

[No offence to Reb Aaron. He should not be held responsible for all the jerks that came out of his yeshiva. He was after all only intending for the sake of Heaven. But by the same token we could say why blame communism for the millions that Stalin murdered? Or why blame Nazism for what Hitler did in the name of Nazism? Maybe it was a few jerks that did not understand Nazism?]

So what I think is that we already know that kollels are against the Torah. If the Torah itself says this is forbidden and people choice not to listen and pretend that what they are doing is Torah then why blame the Holy Torah? 

 Once people think they are God's gift to mankind the trouble begins. [I should mention my critique here is not against Reform or Conservative groups whom I have generally found to be upright. Not am I criticizing people that learn Torah for its own sake as should be. And many people like that are around in Israel and in NY yeshivas. One bad batch does not spoil everyone else.

What I suggest is we can admire greatness. But we need vision to recognize greatness. In my father and mother were real greatness. The kind of greatness that lives according to Torah --not just learns it.

That is what I suggest is that my father was a more accurate representation of how the Torah wants people to live. The more so called "strict" approaches I think are not accurate and also wrong.