How does one cope with the stress of having חובות, debts?
Number one, is that you have to have a job. It’s very important to learn a פרנסה. There are so many ways of making a living. America is the land of opportunity. You will only have a problem if you think you’re a choshuveh person and that it’s beneath your dignity to work. You want to act like a תלמיד חכם and live on charity and live in debt! You should know, Hakodosh Boruch Hu is not satisfied with you. טובה תורה עם דרך ארץ. You have to work and make a living, together with learning. כי יגיעת שניהם משכחת עוון. Because that will keep you far away from sin. And if you work, you’ll pay off your debts. But if you don’t work, your debts will increase and multiply. It’s a very important principle in life to not live a life of idleness. So you’ll tell me, “I’m learning all day long. I have בטחון.” No, no. That’s not בטחון. It’s just wildness. Just wildness. It’s just yielding to the יצר הרע.
And therefore, it’s so important for people to learn a פרנסה. Now, you might say, “That’s a contradiction to our function in life. We should sit and learn all day long, all our lives.” No! You’re contradicting the תורה. It says הרבה עשו כרבי שמעון בר יוחי ולא עלתה בידם. Many people didn’t succeed in following the path of רבי שמעון בר יוחי of dedicating their lives completely to לימוד תורה at the expense of a פרנסה. It’s not for many people. It’s for a מיעוט – a small minority. The majority of people cannot do that.
And therefore, it’s necessary for people to be honest with themselves and go out and make a living. The best way to deal with debt is by not getting into debt in the first place.