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YISSACHAR-ZEVULUN PARTNERSHIPS

By: Rabbi Daniel D. Levy

1

 

           How does the mitzvah of
           a Yissachar-Zevulun partnership work?

The Ramah inHilchotTalmud Torah(Yoreh Deah Simon246:1) states that one may make a condition with his friend whereby his friend will toil in Torah learning, he will sustain him in his livelihood and they will divide between them the reward of Torah study and the financial profits earned [Shach 246;2). The reason this arrangement is referred to as a Yissachar-Zevulun partnership is because Yaakov’s children were the first two individuals who made such an arrangement. The pasuktells us that Moshe Rabeinu encouraged Zevulun to be happy when he went out to do business. Why? Because Yissachar was in his tent (referring to the merits he received from supporting Yissachar’s learning). As David Hamelech says in Tehillim, “Torah is the tree of life to those who hold onto it and its supporters are content.” 

 

 

2         How is the mitzvah of
           a Yissachar-Zevulun partnership
           different than the mitzvah of giving
           charity specifically to support Torah? 

R’ Moshe Feinstein [in Yoreh DeahVol. 4 Siman36] brings down that there is an equal partnership in both worlds for the Yissachars and Zevuluns among us. It is derived from this that, a Zevulun must give 50% of all his profits to the Yissachar in his life. The Chofetz Chaim  says that the Zevulun must supply his Yissachar with all of his needs (Shem OlamVol. 2 Chapter 6 in the Hagah). If one can’t afford it, it is advisable to become part of a corporation and join up with other Zevuluns to collectively purchase shares in supporting the needs of this Yissachar. Of course, the more shares one has in this endeavor, the more merits one accrues.

3

 

           How much must one give for
           this partnership to be binding?   

Every penny that one gives to support Torah learning earns him tremendous benefits in this world and the next world, including being resurrected by tehiyat ha’meitim(Ketubot 110). However, the benefit of knowing every aspect of Torah equally well in Olam Habais granted only to one who partners with a Yissachar. Furthermore, the great blessing of financial prosperity in this world is granted specifically to one who partakes in a
Yissachar-Zevulun partnership.

4

 

           Is one obligated to learn
           if he is already supporting Torah?

The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah 246;1) clearly states “Each man in Israel is obligated to designate time to learn Torah.” Regardless of whether he is rich or poor, physically fit or suffering, young or old, married with children or single, Torah is the instruction book which teaches us how to live our most fulfilling lives as Jews. Therefore, despite the fact that he supports the Torah study of others, one is obligated to learn Torah. There he will learn how to conduct himself properly, how to serve his Creator and how to live a beautiful,
rewarding life.

5

 

           Is the Yissachar “giving up” part of
           the merits of his Torah learning
           because the Zevulunis sharing in them? 

The Peleh Yoetzin Erechentitled “chizuk” states that one does lose part of his merit in the learning done through this partnership. However, Hacham Ovadiah in Yabia Omer Yoreh Deah17 expresses the opinion that one doesn’t lose part of his merit gained from the Torah learned. Ohr Hachaim explains: “Just as two can benefit from the physical light in a room without one taking away from the other’s enjoyment, so, too, the spiritual light emanating from one’s Torah study has the ability to equally illuminate both the learner
and supporter.

 

6

 

           What qualifications should a Zevulun
           search for when seeking a Yissachar
           to partner up with?

Anyone who desires to partake in a Yissachar-Zevulun partnership may do so. However, just as not all stocks are same, not all people have the same potential for growth. Just as one takes care to invest in a stock which will yield great dividends, so, too, when choosing his investment, a Zevulun should search for a person who is notably Gd fearing, dedicated and capable of toiling in Torah study. The Chafetz Chaim in Shem Olamuses the terminology “Talmud Hacham Muflag” – a distinguished Torah scholar. Obviously one will have greater dividends if he invests in someone who seeks to accomplish morethrough his Torah study.

7

 

           What are some of the benefits
           of one who supports Torah
           particularly  through a
           Yissachar-Zevulun partnership?  

Among the numerous benefits received are wealth, great success in all of their endeavors and wonderful children, especially boys. (Tana D’vei Eliyahu Ch. 20) One who supports a talmid hachamis given extra Divine Providence with which to overcome their evil inclination, protection from death during wartime and protection against extreme suffering and other calamities. He is also promised a great portion in Olam Habaand resurrection by techiyat hameitim. These are all the wonderful benefits a Zevulun can enjoy by supporting a Yissachar (Kuntris Or Aharon).

 

8

 

           May women partake in the mitzvah
           of being a Zevulun supporter?   

Yes. In fact, it is advisable for women to support Torah, as this is the only merit for which one can obtain a portion in Olam Haba. Females, who themselves are exempt from learning Torah, may accrue the merit of supporting Torah by taking their children to learn Torah or by encouraging and facilitating the opportunity for their husbands, brothers, or boys to learn Torah. Of course, financially supporting Torah learning is a great means through which anyone can accrue this special, highly beneficial merit. (See answer #7).

9

 

           Is one allowed to support
           his relatives in such a partnership,
           as opposed to supporting others first? 

Yes, one may have such a partnership with a relative. However, one should take into consideration the positive and negative effects this may have on their relationship. (See answer to #6 for guidelines as to whether this is the best individual to partner up with as a Yissachar.)

 

10

 

            Can one purchase another’s
            Torah learning after it was
            already learned? 

The Ramah in Hilchot Talmud Torah[Yoreh Deah 246;1] says clearly that one may not purchase Torah learning after it has been learned. One who attempts to do so is actually looked upon
as a disgrace.