When it comes to earning a livelihood, a great deal of Bitachon in Hashem is necessary to keep focused and calm, and to not become worried about the future. This applies to parents and their concerns for their children as well. Parents are occasionally worried or concerned about how their children will support themselves as they reach adulthood.
Reb Avraham Zaltzman was one who staunchly believed in Hashem as the Provider Who provides everyone with their פרנסה, whether or not they pursue a higher education and earn a college degree. He used to repeat, ‘’He who gives life, will provide sustenance for it.’’
This is how Reb Avraham raised his children as well. He expressed strong opposition to the so-called necessity of earning a degree. He often claimed that to earn a פרנסה in this world it is sufficient to have a very basic knowledge of mathematics, reading and writing.
More often than not, the option of pursuing a higher education presented the choice between behaving like a Yid or not. Usually when one received a prestigious position, their commitment to yiddishkeit was compromised. When someone would brag about his son becoming a big doctor, Reb Avraham would immediately respond, “And what is with his Yiddishkeit?”
Reb Avraham’s focus was that in regard to פרנסה for his children, there was nothing to fear, especially since their Yiddishkeit would be at stake if they would pursue a college degree.
This was something Reb Avraham would take no chances with; to him the main thing was that all his children remain committed to Torah and Mitzvos. And indeed, one of Reb Avraham’s sons, Berel Zaltzman, learned how to create signs, opened his own sign-making business, and employed many Chassidim, including some who held a university degree, enabling them to earn a decent livelihood without working on Shabbos.
When a nephew of Reb Avraham returned from the war, he was advised by some to seek out an intellectual career, such as teaching. Reb Avraham maintained however, that he should be helped to open a small store so that his Shmiras Shabbos wouldn’t be challenged.
“Better to work at a less respected job, surrounded by Yidden than to work at more respected career surrounded by גויים,” Reb Avraham said.
It was so important to Reb Avraham that his children remain frumme Yidden, that one year before Rosh Hashana he raised his eyes heavenward and choked with tears called out to Hashem, “Ribono Shel Olam, my one request of you is that my children should remain erliche Yidden. If chas visholom it was decreed they should go off the Yiddishe path, please take me first so that I should not witness it.”
Shuddering, his wife screamed, “How can you say such a thing when our children are Boruch Hashem complete in their Yiddishkeit?”
“Yes, you are correct,” said Reb Avraham, “but these are difficult times, and one cannot know what the morrow will bring, and therefore if they do go off the way I won’t be able to live and so I’m asking Hashem to take me first.”
Reb Avraham is a vital example for us, even today. Like Reb Avraham, we need to put the focus on the correct areas, namely, the chinuch of our children and ensuring that they continue on the Yiddishe path in a complete manner. Part of this is ensuring to not including any unnecessary secular education, especially with the purpose of making it the source of the פרנסה, for all פרנסה ultimately comes from Hashem and only He decides how we should earn it.