אין המדרש העיקר, אלא המעשה
...is what it says in 'Avot'. On a personal level I never fully agreed. What if someone has a whole life full of helping others, and doing good, but he has not ever pondered deeply about them- what good are his actions? What good are actions done without thought? I'm having a very hard time verbalizing this at the moment, but I just want to jot something down.
Take myself for example; I don't want to see myself as someone who's mental academical and spiritual development will have to come to a quick end because I might have to marry, and/or start having to work many hours to support myself. What good is an unexamined life? I'd (theoretically) not get married till I'm 40 if that would allow me to pursue my intellectual (as well as any other time consuming) interests. I very much prefer the 40 year old well-thought-out traveling homeless man to the mother who lives in a suburb, has a few kids, and works in an 'unimportant job'. But then again, maybe I'm saying that only as a result of my being male...
I was on the train a few days ago, though, and I was pondering people -as I most often do- and I noticed the business man; who brought his lap-top along with him onto the train to continue his work, and a sense of conscience came over me; that my previous thoughts found their source in Lucifer's conniving mouth. If one continues to study, someone will have to support him. In my case it would be my mother. It is obviously not at all ethical to let ones mother support them (especially in the "Kohnian" model...may even be considered a form of thievery.), one must be at least self sufficient as soon as possible. Though hopefully can even help support, or perhaps at times, wholly support others (perhaps including ones wife and family).
I find it interesting to note, and therefore will, the words that follow Paul's admonishion of "Let him that stole steal no more" in Ephesians 4:28- "but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth"! Something which many Jews (for example) seem to overlook- the way to discourage any forms of stealing is working and supporting others.
I see therefore that the ideal at least is not not study in celibacy and irresponsibility, but of course to follow the dictum of our blessed (and wise) sages 'אין המדרש העיקר, אלא המעשה'.