Searching for a Torah Scholar

[Be-Ahavah U-Be-Emunah – Naso 5771 – translated by R. Blumberg]

Question: Many girls are looking for a righteous, G-d fearing boy with sterling qualities, but some of them insist on going out only with boys who have decided to devote all their lives to Torah pursuits. The years go by and they don’t find what they are looking for. What is the proper path?
Answer: The girls’ yearning to wed a Torah scholar is appropriate, for Rambam wrote, “It is the nature of man to be drawn after the opinions and behavior of his friends and acquaintances, and to conduct himself like the people of his region. Therefore one must attach oneself to the righteous and always spend time with the wise in order to learn from their deeds. As it says, ‘To Him shall you hold fast’ (Devarim 10:20). One should wed the daughter of a Torah scholar and marry off his daughter to a Torah scholar” Hilchot (De’ot 6:1-2).
Obviously, we cannot know the future, and if a girl weds a yeshiva student whose plans are to learn Torah all his life and to be a rabbi, there is no guarantee that he will hold fast to this goal. Conversely, quite a few persons with various professions have decided at a certain point to devote themselves to Torah, and have emerged as Torah scholars. Yet if a yeshiva student is determined to become a rabbi, there is a much greater chance he will achieve this than if he has other aims in life.
Still, the central question is to define what is a “Torah scholar”. Our Rabbi, Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook, opposed the idea of “Kollel” for married students, and he viewed it as an option only for those who had already learned before their weddings to continue learning afterwards. He held this view because he was against fixing a defined purpose for a Kollel, such as a program preparing rabbinic court justices, rabbis or halachic decisors. Rather, he said that the purpose of a yeshiva must be to produce true Torah scholars. He explained that there are professional Torah scholars whose profession is Torah, and there are non-professional Torah scholars who have a different profession, yet who obviously are replete with Torah, its study, its fulfillment and its character.
This does not mean that they will have no influence on our Nation’s path, for as is well-known, influence does not have to be formal. Our master, Ha-Rav Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Ha-Cohain Kook, in his work “Eder HaYakar”, explains that the main influence of a Torah scholar comes about through his very personality, and his oral and written influence is only secondary. This is likewise the meaning of “The Torah’s application is greater than its study”. In other words, the personal influence of the Torah scholar is greater than his academic influence (Ein Aya, Berachot 7). This is true regarding anyone, all the more so regarding a Torah scholar’s wife, who when all is said and done is not influenced precisely by her husband’s articles or lectures but by his very personality, and the same applies regarding his children.
Therefore, a woman should not seek to wed precisely a Torah scholar who will provide her with the title of “Rebbitzin”, but someone who will lead a life of Torah.