Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Maarava - Not Enough, Or Too Much?

Maarava Machon Rubin is a charedi yeshivah high school in Moshav Mattityahu. It was famously put in cherem by Rav Schach for teaching secular studies - although, according to some reports, Rav Schach himself was manipulated/pressured into this, and maintained that Maarava was a valuable bedi'eved solution for olim. Rumor even has it that Rabbi Baruch Chait, the musical legend and founder of Maarava, used to carry a gun as protection against harassment from kanna'im! In this post I would like to discuss two mistakes that relate to Maarava.

The first mistake is made by many of my nice-but-naive neighbors in Ramat Bet Shemesh who have made aliyah from the US. They think that because Maarava is a high-level academic institution that offers bagruyot (high school matriculation exams in secular studies), sending their children there means that they will end up in professional careers, just like in America. But in Israel, you can generally only go to college, and be employed "on the books," if you have served in the IDF. And Maarava is a charedi school; most students are not going to break with the hashkafah of their teachers and peers in order to go to Hesder. Furthermore, the new vocational training schools for adults are also going to be an unlikely option, since in Maarava there is increasing pressure from teachers and peers - which usually outweighs influence from the home - of standard Israeli charedi values: that long-term kollel is the "right" way, and working for a living is only for people who are failures. To end up in a professional career, you have to want to get one - it's not enough just to have bagriyot! As a result of all this, there has been a steady decline in the number of Maarava graduates who end up in professional careers, and today it is only a tiny fraction that do so.

The second mistake relating to Maarava will come as a tremendous shock to many. I just discovered that Rav Zev Leff shlita, who was the mashgiach of Maarava for many years, now tells people that Maarava itself is the wrong approach! And it is not for the reasons that I wouldn't send my children there. Rather, he now believes that the entire notion of teaching secular studies to teenagers is fundamentally wrong!

This was reported to me by someone who attended a talk that Rav Leff gave at a parlor meeting on behalf of a local yeshivah ketanah in Ramat Bet Shemesh. (There was an attempt to create a local charedi yeshivah high school, but the kanna'im managed to torpedo it.) According to my source, Rav Leff said that yeshivah high schools in America were a necessary concession in light of the assimilated culture of Orthodox American Jews. But in Israel, he said, no such concession is necessary, and the formative years of a person's life should be spent solely immersed in Torah.

Now I will not claim that there is a definitive, single authentic Jewish approach to secular studies. Throughout our history, there have been many different approaches. But it is certainly the case that there were schools of thought which valued secular studies as innately essential, not a less-than-ideal concession. The Rishonim of Sefarad saw secular studies as important areas of knowledge for every Jew to learn throughout his life (and it was not just something that they did "once they became great Rishonim"). So did Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch and many later figures, who saw Torah im Derech Eretz as an ideal - contrary to recent revisionist attempts to cast it as a hora'as sha'ah. And even many figures at the other end of the spectrum, such as the Vilna Gaon and Chasam Sofer, considered studying the sciences to be important for understanding Torah, and engaged in such studies themselves - though in the case of Chasam Sofer, his studies of the arts and sciences during his teenage years has been expunged from popular charedi biographies. (Many more sources along these lines can be found in Yehudah Levi's Torah Study.)

Thus, there have been different schools of thought with regard to secular studies. There were those who valued them and incorporated them into their education, and there were those (such as the Rishonim of Ashkenaz) who did not. But the contemporary Israeli charedi system, where children go from Talmud Torah to yeshivah ketanah to yeshivah gedolah to kollel, is a complete innovation without any precedent in our mesorah. For although there were those in our history who did not value secular studies, they nevertheless always saw some sort of vocational training and employment as essential! They never abandoned Chazal's dictum that a father is obligated to teach his son a trade, they never abandoned the value that a person should strive to be self-sufficient, and they never had a system of mass kollel where entire societies would raise their children to have neither the education, skills nor desire to work for a living. Contemporary charedi society innovated all these, which has led to a severe economic crisis and many resultant societal problems.

For a long time, I have been critical of Maarava for not going far enough to instill Chazal's values. It was very disturbing to discover that one of its pivotal founding figures is critical of it for going too far!

89 comments:

  1. 1) When did this forum turn from a place to present the philosophy of Rationalist Judaism into an attack blog?
    Not that the subjects you deal with aren't worthy attacking, just that it seems posts used to be about what you stood for and now they seem to all be about what you stand against.

    2) The value of secular education is acknowledged by Chareidim whether they admit it or not. Every time one of them sits at my dining table, calls me "k'vod harofeh" or "tzadik gamur" and then tells me who to make the donation cheque out to, they're acknowledging it whether they realize it or not.

    ReplyDelete
  2. When did this forum turn from a place to present the philosophy of Rationalist Judaism into an attack blog?

    Duly noted. I had actually planned to get back to such posts after the Dialogue diversion, but then this came up last night and was fresh on my mind.

    ReplyDelete
  3. In maarava its not just that they do not prepare you for adequately for a job, but also the general hashkafa there is "Krum". Students are not allowed to wear any other kippah velvet and are forced to wear black hats and suit jackets as well. When did Chazal have any of that in mind???

    ReplyDelete
  4. "yeshivah high schools in America were a necessary concession in light of the assimilated culture of Orthodox American Jews."

    Funny- you can say the same exact thing about ultra-Orthodoxy- that its cloistered nature was necessary in a world where assimilation was rampant, but that is not a concern in Israel.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Nachum, excellent observation! Ultra-Orthodoxy developed in the 19th century as a reaction to Reform, in particular the unprecedented strident opposition to secular studies.

    ReplyDelete
  6. The real question that must be confronted when considering one's view of secular studies nowadays is not so much what the rishonim of Sefarad deemed valuable, but rather the practical and social implications that depriving one's self of secular studies has nowadays. This topic is discussed in an excellent article by Dr. David Shatz which can be found here:
    http://www.yutorah.org/_shiurim/TU3_Shatz.pdf

    This is related to the point that you make about secular studies helping one earn a living. One can't really compare the situation that Chazal dealt with in ancient Persia (although as Yaakov Elman has demonstrated, their attitudes were more varied than we may imagine), but rather with what it means to not have a secular education in a modern economy.

    The only reason the current charedi paradigm is possible is because the charedi community inhabits a state that is kept going by everyone else. This isn't just a question of money, but also every single endeavour (from garbage collection to the high-tech industry) that is necessary for the state of Israel to both survive and thrive economically. If one's view of Torah is one that believes that lechatchila Hashem, wants us to be able to thrive as a society and keep the Torah at the same time, then obviously all these endeavours are not merely be'dieved options for those who have failed in learning.

    All the bitachon in the world isn't going to tar the roads, or allow an economy to thrive with a 60% unemployment rate. If absolute disaster is to be averted, the Charedi paradigm must be drastically changed very quickly.

    ReplyDelete
  7. בזמן שישראל עושין רצונו של מקום
    מלאכתן נעשית ע"י אחרים

    as opposed to this:
    'All the bitachon in the world isn't going to tar the roads, or allow an economy to thrive with a 60% unemployment rate.'

    ReplyDelete
  8. >But in Israel, you can generally only go to college, and be employed "on the books," if you have served in the IDF.

    Is it just me or is that really, really messed up? How long can the rest of society consider Chareidim parasites if they handicap them this way? It's as if they are holding them hostage over the IDF issue. But wouldn't Chareidim be much less parasitical to Israeli society if they didn't go to the IDF but were able to earn documented, honest livings?

    Sorry, Israel. This is dysfunctional.

    ReplyDelete
  9. "Funny- you can say the same exact thing about ultra-Orthodoxy- that its cloistered nature was necessary in a world where assimilation was rampant, but that is not a concern in Israel."

    You COULD say that, but I wouldnt. I dont think ultra-orthodoxy was ever necessary, it just happened.

    A. Schreiber

    ReplyDelete
  10. בזמן שישראל עושין רצונו של מקום
    מלאכתן נעשית ע"י אחרים

    as opposed to this:
    'All the bitachon in the world isn't going to tar the roads, or allow an economy to thrive with a 60% unemployment rate.'


    It's not the case that all Israel is doing retzono shel Makom. Besides, that was the view of Rashbi, which Abaye observes did not generally work out!

    ReplyDelete
  11. How long can the rest of society consider Chareidim parasites if they handicap them this way?

    That was the idea behind the Tal commission - to give Charedim a chance to do a reduced national service and at least have them integrate into the workforce. An alternative is Nachal Charedi.

    But, in any case, many Israelis consider Charedim to be parasites precisely because they avoid serving in the army. After all, everyone in Israel needs the IDF, and nobody likes putting their children's lives on the line, so why should the Charedim be exempt?

    ReplyDelete
  12. >That was the idea behind the Tal commission - to give Charedim a chance to do a reduced national service and at least have them integrate into the workforce. An alternative is Nachal Charedi.

    Why is any of this necessary? It's a game of chicken. The rest of society presumably assumes they can starve the Chareidim into coming around, but that's just never going to happen. Israel survives decade after decade without Chareidim doing the army or national service. Why not continue to survive without it, only have a productive, tax paying work force from them?

    >But, in any case, many Israelis consider Charedim to be parasites precisely because they avoid serving in the army. After all, everyone in Israel needs the IDF, and nobody likes putting their children's lives on the line, so why should the Charedim be exempt?

    Life is not ideal. Chareidim can't do the IDF and continue to be Chareidim, and they're not going to voluntarily dissolve their society. This is where the attempt to try to starve them out in this cosmic game of chicken comes in. But that's not going to work. So why not go to Plan B? It's really messed up to prevent people from getting an education or working. In all likelihood education, honest work and increased wealth stands a chance of moderating the Chareidim, even toward things like the IDF or national service. Israeli society may end up with all of that anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  13. "How long can the rest of society consider Chareidim parasites if they handicap them this way?"

    Agreed with RNS. If Israel caves on this issue, even if only because of the need for integration, it effectively means the Charedim have won. You can refuse to do your part, with absolutely no price or penalty. It wouldnt be long before others claim to be "conscious objectors" and refuse to serve, and then where would the country be?

    At least now, if you dont want to serve in the army you have to pay a price, and that price is official poverty. [You have to commit to a certain lifestyle too, and I think they have spot checks to see if you're complying with it. When I was in Israel the bachurum had to sign an official govt document promising to abide by "toroso umnoso".]No doubt it has some impact on the macro economy, but it affects the Charedim a lot more than it does the rest of the country.

    ReplyDelete
  14. There is no requirement of poverty: Chareidi women have no legal restrictions on employment. And if a Kollel wanted to pay 10000 shekels a month, that would also be OK (and tax-free!). In addition, any spot-checks are spotty at the best (they do check to make sure that the guys are in Kollel, but they don't investigate their bank accounts).

    Another point: the number of people exempted from army service in the general population is very large: IINM it's somehwere around 30%.

    ReplyDelete
  15. >Agreed with RNS. If Israel caves on this issue, even if only because of the need for integration, it effectively means the Charedim have won. You can refuse to do your part, with absolutely no price or penalty. It wouldnt be long before others claim to be "conscious objectors" and refuse to serve, and then where would the country be?

    Are so few committed to the defense of the country? There's even occasional talk of a volunteer army. I know it's only talk, but presumably the reason why that isn't seriously considered is because of the positive role the IDF plays in shaping Israeli identity. But the Chareidim will always be resitant to that.

    Can they actually starve them into complying? (Putting aside ethical questions about that.) I say no, they can't. So you work out a Plan B.

    I'm just saying that it causes further division and "parasitism." It is dysfunctional.

    ReplyDelete
  16. "This was reported to me ..."
    "According to my source ..."

    Whoa, Rabbi, excuse my baal teshuva ignorance, but how is this not rechilus gamor?

    For the record, I'm not m'kabel.

    ReplyDelete
  17. How on earth is it rechilus? Many people hold of it as a valid hashakafah!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Wouldn't it reflect badly upon Rav Leff as a former mashgiach of Maarava, if now holds that the whole approach is wrong? Further -- as a leader and public figure in chinuch, I believe it would be damaging to his reputation if it were true that he flipped his own position so radically on chinuch ... was any justification asked for, or offered? And even if it's not rechilus, but why wouldn't you speak to Rav Leff and clarify the matter before blogging about it?

    ReplyDelete
  19. "Chareidi women have no legal restrictions on employment."

    Perhaps no legal restrictions, but in practice, there is certainly discrimination against Chareidi women in the job market.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Wouldn't it reflect badly upon Rav Leff as a former mashgiach of Maarava, if now holds that the whole approach is wrong?

    It doesn't reflect badly on someone that they change their hashkafah. In fact, it is usually positive.

    But in any case, it may not be that he changed his mind significantly. It could be that he always thought that it was a bedi'eved.

    ReplyDelete
  21. 1. Of course there is no *actual* requirement for poverty; the point is you cant work without army service, which in most cases is tantamount to poverty. Certainly there are avreichim who work illegally - pause for irony - and children of the wealthy upon whom the requirement has no impact.

    2. The overwhelming number of people excused from service consists of Israeli Arabs, for obvious reasons. The grounds of a Charedi not wanting to serve are not the same as that of an Arab, although there's room to debate if the latter should be allowed these exemptions.

    3. Dont bring any rayos from women. When we speak of an army, we speak of those in actual combat units, the guts of the army. The Israeli army, like the US army, could lose 90% of the women save those in the medic corps, and would be just as powerful as it were before.

    4. Fred, everyone agrees it's not great. It's been more than 60 years, rest assured people have thought about it. The problem remains, as RNS stated, you cannot get around the enormous resentment people have that Charedim are not putting their son's lives on the line the way everyone else does. These are Jewish parents too, and are just as nervous every night as any other Jewish mother. It's a massive chillul hashem, actually. To reward these people now for refusing to do their duty? Completely unacceptable, and as far as the economy goes, tomus nafshi im haplishitim. [Besides, the economy has been doing pretty well without them.] Let the Charedim change their mind about not serving, before we change our mind about not letting them work.

    ReplyDelete
  22. You can provide sources in Chazal approving of training for gainful employment. But where is your source that this must be done during high school age, which is what Rav Leff was referring to?

    On the contrary, the order in Kiddushin 29 of Mitzvos of the father:
    Circumcision (8 days)
    Pidyon Haben (30 days)
    Teach Torah (5-10-15)
    Marriage (18-20)
    Teach a trade (after that)
    mandates against it.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I know that it's listed at the end, but I don't think that this necessarily means that it is chronologically supposed to take place then. Nor is that what happened historically. Besides, the Israeli charedi system is not to do it at all. I once encountered a father who was teaching his married son how to schnorrer, but I don't think that that counts....

    ReplyDelete
  24. Basically, Maarava is an American style Mesivta. An acceptable Board of Ed diploma that promotes kollel.
    Lets not forget that Rabbi Chait is a Chofetz Chaimer, and that his Rebbi, Rav Henoch had a nuanced view of allowing a higher education without promoting it.
    I think it is fine. Perhaps parents shouldn't have goals of their kids becoming professionals, and should focus on making sure they have Yiras Shomayim and the tools to choose their own career path.
    I think most parents know what the yeshiva is all about, and know that it won't promote Hesder. Those that want their children to know that Hesder is a good option send to some of the fine Chardal yeshivos, such as Merkaz Harav, and Mitzpe Yericho (actually a great limmudei chol program and the RY Shabtai Sabato is a tremendous Talmid Chacham and Yirei Shamayim)and many more.
    As for some staff members having other views, that's a problem everywhere.

    ReplyDelete
  25. There is an explicit Rambam (De'os 5:11) on the question of the sequence in which one should learn a trade and marry. He writes as follows (translation from Torah.org):

    "It is the way of people with understanding that a person should first establish for himself a livelihood which supports him, then he should acquire a house, and then he should marry a woman. [This is] as the verses state (Deut. 20:5-7): 'Who is the man who has planted a vineyard and has not redeemed it [let him go and return to his house lest he die in battle]...,' '...who has built a house and not initiated it...,' '...who has betrothed a woman and not taken her...'

    However, the fool begins by marrying a woman, and then if he is able he will buy a house and [only] afterwards at the end of his life will he seek [to learn] a craft -- or he will support himself from charity."

    ReplyDelete
  26. Starving out the chareidim would be a viable option if the someone took on the project of re-educating us americans regarding the morality of giving "tzedakah" to chareidim. I have personally stopped this practice long ago and have advised my friends to do the same. The dowry system in the charedi community known as "hachnassos kalah" was created solely for the purpose of extoring money from americans in the name of tzedaka. By giving money to charedim we allow this cancer to prevade within israeli society. If we were to stop, the system would collapse and even the hardest liners would be forced to join nachal charedi or one of the other acceptable options and re-integrate themselves into israeli society.

    ReplyDelete
  27. The value of secular education is acknowledged by Chareidim whether they admit it or not. Every time one of them sits at my dining table, calls me "k'vod harofeh" or "tzadik gamur" and then tells me who to make the donation cheque out to, they're acknowledging it whether they realize it or not.

    Garnel, what they acknowledge is the value of money. If you were not financially successful and, let's say, were working for 'Doctors without Borders' and making less than a shochet, I don't think too many Charedim would be oileh regel to see you. Chareidi society values financial success not secular education.

    ReplyDelete
  28. "Contemporary charedi society innovated all these, which has led to a severe economic crisis..."

    Moshe Gafni retorted concerning a similar comment that the economy has been burgeoning in consonant with hareidi growth.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I was referring to a severe crisis in the Charedi world, not in the State of Israel.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I believe the intensification of the haredi aversion to any secular education has nothing to do with halacha or their understanding of the mesorah. Rather, as science has progressed, together with the improved modes of information sharing, the haredim fear for their survival.
    When their religious beliefs can so easily be shown to be incompatible with reality, their survival is dependent on ignorance of secular knowledge. And that is what they now aspire to.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I was just thinking about, here's the original text:

    כג [יא] דרך בעלי דעה, שיקבע לו אדם מלאכה המפרנסת אותו תחילה, ואחר כך יקנה בית דירה, ואחר כך יישא אישה--שנאמר "מי האיש אשר נטע כרם, ולא חיללו . . . אשר בנה בית חדש . . . אשר אירש אישה" (ראה דברים כ,ה-ז).

    כד אבל הטיפשים, מתחילין לישא אישה, ואחר כך אם תמצא ידו יקנה בית, ואחר כך בסוף ימיו יחזור לבקש אומנות או יתפרנס מן הצדקה; וכן הוא אומר בקללות, "אישה תארש . . . בית תבנה . . . כרם תיטע" (דברים כח,ל)--כלומר יהיו מעשיך הפוכין, כדי שלא תצליח דרכיך. ובברכה מה הוא אומר, "ויהי דויד לכל דרכיו, משכיל; וה', עימו" (שמואל א יח,יד).

    blogger won't let me post with my gmail account for some reason...

    sailorb

    ReplyDelete
  32. Agree with Garnel, and would add that the reason many of us doubters are here is because we are looking for something intellectually honest and historically true which will inspire us to believe in Torah and keep mitzvot. We're already disenchanted with the Charaidi world and this kind of post doesn't really serve any constructive purpose for us.

    sailorb

    ReplyDelete
  33. "Torah learning is best combined with an occupation, because the effort of both will keep one from sin. Torah study alone without work will in the end be nullified and lead to sin." (Avot 2:2).

    In light of quotes such as these, it seems that the Modern Orthodox are more frum than the Charedim! Anyway, the charedim are on their way (within the next few decades) to become the majority of the Israeli population, so it seems inevitable that a large proportion will eventually end up in the workforce. There are already some moves in that direction, I believe. Hasn't the proportion of charedim working been increasing?

    ReplyDelete
  34. 1) Charedi society exists because the American and Israeli governments subsidize it. Despite all the ideology and idealism, it simply could not exist if not for the welfare state.

    2) I agree that Israel should have a volunteer army. The country has six million Jews, not 1.5 and it's time to change things. Furthermore, the IDF fulfills a lot of functions that really should be done by the police force (like patrolling streets and guarding neighborhoods).

    3) I dislike charedism, but I wouldn't want to put my son's life in danger either -- especially when the only reason IDF soldiers' lives are in danger is because of a psychotic government that has emboldened an Arab population that once-upon-a-time used to cower before Israel's strength.

    Would we really need so many soldiers throughout the country -- and would their lives really be in danger -- if Israel adopted a normal policy toward the enemy in its midst?

    ReplyDelete
  35. Several hundred thousand Palestinians are planning to demonstrate this September. We need a big army.

    ReplyDelete
  36. S. wrote: "Israel survives decade after decade without Chareidim doing the army or national service."

    If things keep going the way they have for decade after decade, I'm going to live forever!

    "Why is any of this necessary? It's a game of chicken. The rest of society presumably assumes they can starve the Chareidim into coming around, but that's just never going to happen.

    How do you know that? In some ways it's already happening; cracks are appearing everywhere. Ever see a dam fail? The chareidi lifestyle is only possible in a heavily subsidized welfare state, and even then only temporarily. As with my purported immortality, the chareidi lifestyle will come to an end, and not in the distant future either. The non-chareidi public knows this and is not going to cave. Yes, it's a game of chicken, but who will outlast whom: the starving or the prosperous? Keep in mind that what precipitated the mass exodus from traditional shtetl life was access to economic opportunity. People haven't changed since the 1800s.

    "Life is not ideal. Chareidim can't do the IDF and continue to be Chareidim"

    Why is that of any concern to the people who involutarily support the chareidim? You may as well say they can't supoprt the charedim and continue to live like first-world Europeans; why would the chareidim care?

    "and they're not going to voluntarily dissolve their society."

    Then it will happen involuntarily.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Shmully - How can people in America merit that the Gedolim daven for them for yeshuos without tzedaka organizations which support Chareidim? Do you seriously think people will stop feeding tzedaka organizations that promise people more personalized tefilos by the Gedolim for more money donated?

    Anyway, if a guy comes knocking on my door from Israel collecting for what he says is Hachnosas Kallah to marry off his daughter or sister, and I give him a dollar, how far can that dollar go already and how many can he raise in a day already? A few hundred. Daily. Tax free. Hmmm. Maybe I SHOULD quit my day job...

    ReplyDelete
  38. All of this is missing the big points:
    1) There is nothing in Judaism that says that you can't serve in the army. The army in Israel has, in the past, bent over backwards in its efforts to accommodate Chareidi recruits only to be rebuffed with new excuses as to why yungerleit can't wear a uniform like everyone else.
    2) There is less than nothing in Judaism that says you can't do sherut leumi in lieu of army, which has also been offered to the Chareidi community and refused vehemently. Bottom line: it is not for Jewish reasons that Chareidim refuse to serve in the army no matter how piously they present their case.
    3) Please don't bring up that line about how their Torah study is the real protection for the State. For one thing, I doubt there's a single Chareidi bochur anywhere who's sitting at his shtender, knocking himself on the hand and saying "C'mon Shmulik, shteig harder, Israel needs you!" Mitzvos trichos kavanah and there ain't no kavanah here. For another, if Torah study protects why did all the Chareidim in Netivot and Beer Sheva clear out to Bene Beraq during Operation Cast Lead? Shouldn't they have done their duty and stayed put to protect the benighted chilonim around them?
    4) The main reason for the success of the Chareidi community is the money of the Chiloni community. If that were cut off, much of their piety would disappear as they began to starve and somehow a psak would appear telling them that Daas Torah says it's time to get a job.

    ReplyDelete
  39. FFB For Life

    >How do you know that? In some ways it's already happening; cracks are appearing everywhere. Ever see a dam fail? The chareidi lifestyle is only possible in a heavily subsidized welfare state, and even then only temporarily. As with my purported immortality, the chareidi lifestyle will come to an end, and not in the distant future either. The non-chareidi public knows this and is not going to cave.

    I'm not saying that they can't be starved into some amount of decay. (Again, putting aside the ethics involved, kids who didn't choose this, etc.) But you assume that their idealogy is weak and that a great number won't endure poverty. As someone pointed out, foreign Chareidim (and other Jews) will likely continue to subsidize that lifestyle anyway, so in the end we're not really talking about starving the community to surrender.

    >Yes, it's a game of chicken, but who will outlast whom: the starving or the prosperous? Keep in mind that what precipitated the mass exodus from traditional shtetl life was access to economic opportunity. People haven't changed since the 1800s.

    Then why not give them the economic opportunity? As I suggested before, in all likelihood the possibility of education and employment for Chareidim will be far more moderating (damaging) to their culture than squeezing them economically. As bad as it gets in Chareidei society in Israel, it's not Czarist Russia. To be crude, there's better garbage to pick from in Israel, if it comes to it.

    >Why is that of any concern to the people who involutarily support the chareidim? You may as well say they can't supoprt the charedim and continue to live like first-world Europeans; why would the chareidim care?

    Life isn't always fair. Every Western country has people on welfare. And you don't eradicate poverty by starving poor people into conforming. Should Israel also make vaccinations contingent on Chareidi conformity?

    >Then it will happen involuntarily.

    Or, it won't and there will be an ever greater social problem.

    Look at it objectively, not as an Israeli: is it normal to bar people from education and work? How can any society not do better with more people getting educated and working? The IDF issue? Yes, it stinks. Suck it up and do what's better for your country.

    ReplyDelete
  40. S. and FFB - your argument is exactly what the argument in Israel over the Tal Commission was about. It wasn't resolved then, and it's not going to be resolved in this comment thread! Personally, I understand both sides.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Yehuda said:
    'Would we really need so many soldiers throughout the country -- and would their lives really be in danger -- if Israel adopted a normal policy toward the enemy in its midst?'

    You might need more. Look around the Middle East. Also, army service should not be conditional on weather one agrees with the government or not. It's one's duty to the country and society.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Garnel wrote: "Bottom line: it is not for Jewish reasons that Chareidim refuse to serve in the army no matter how piously they present their case.

    Of course. It's as S. wrote: "Chareidim can't do the IDF and continue to be Chareidim." Chareidim, not Jews.

    ReplyDelete
  43. "foreign Chareidim (and other Jews) will likely continue to subsidize that lifestyle anyway"

    On what planet? Do you have any idea what it costs to subsidize an entire country of charedim? To paraphrase, it takes a nation of millions to hold them up. And it's not just in Israel that chareidism has a welfare state as a prerequisite. Ergo, foreign chareidim can't support themselves, and they're not going to be able to support another country's worth of them.

    "Then why not give them the economic opportunity?"

    I reject the framing. Who is holding them back from taking the advantage of the numourous economic opportunities offered, outsiders or their own rules?

    "As I suggested before, in all likelihood the possibility of education and employment for Chareidim will be far more moderating (damaging) to their culture than squeezing them economically."

    Maybe, but what will get them into the schools and marketplace is economic pressure. Nothing else has ever worked or ever will. Even you concede that, you just think they'll resist said economic pressure in a way never before evidenced.

    "As bad as it gets in Chareidei society in Israel, it's not Czarist Russia. To be crude, there's better garbage to pick from in Israel, if it comes to it."

    Behavioral economists have shown that economic satisfaction is relative; people judge their happiness not in absolue terms but in how they fare compared to their neighbors. In Czarist Russia picking garbage was only 2.3 times worse than having a job? Then if being chareidi in Israel is 2.3 times worse than being a non-charedi Israeli it will exert just as much sociological force on behavior. Chareidi kids living on non-picked-from-the-garbage gruel will still be confronted with the Israeli lifestyle.

    "Life isn't always fair. Every Western country has people on welfare. And you don't eradicate poverty by starving poor people into conforming."

    You switched out the premise! The premise wasn't about poverty, it was about voluntary, ideologically driven poverty. And Western countries certainly do so starve that out. Every effort is made to make welfare available only to people who fall into it, not people who plan on it. That's why US-based chassidim have to game the system so extensively. So rephrase: And you [do] eradicate [voluntary] poverty by starving poor people into conforming.

    "Look at it objectively, not as an Israeli: is it normal to bar people from education and work?"

    There's that backwards framing again. They're not barred from it.

    ReplyDelete
  44. >Of course. It's as S. wrote: "Chareidim can't do the IDF and continue to be Chareidim." Chareidim, not Jews.

    Exactly. They are 100% correct that the IDF is ultimately incompatible with being Chareidi. On Emes Ve-Emunah I constantly remind the ba'al ha-blog that when he critizes American Chassidim for things like not speaking English well (or at all) he is attacking their essence. Like it, don't like it, approve of it, don't approve of it. Everyone has an opinion. But don't expect Chassidism to exist without Yiddish and don't exist Chareisim to exist if most 18 year old boys join the IDF.

    ReplyDelete
  45. There is alternative national service for Charedim.

    There are regular IDF units specifically for Charedim.

    The government has provided very reasonable alternatives. If the Charedim refuse to take advantage of them they are the ones at fault.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Is there a synopsis of R Chait's philosophy? I know it is not YU and many of his students are anti-MO but beyond that ...

    ReplyDelete
  47. Carol,

    You wrote, "You might need more. Look around the Middle East. Also, army service should not be conditional on weather one agrees with the government or not. It's one's duty to the country and society."

    I completely disagree. Serving in the army is not a duty. It certainly is not in America. And it certainly should not be a duty to put one's life in danger on behalf of a community that is committing national suicide.

    Secondly, the volatile Middles East needs a strong IDF in case of a regional war. For that every Israeli man would need basic training. He would not need to serve for 2-3 years. A great many IDF soldiers are needed only because Israel refuses to expel the enemy in its midst, or at the very least, make it clear who's boss.

    Rabbi Slifkin, you mention hundreds of thousands of Palestinians protesting. This only underscores my point. It's Israel's refusal ever since the First Initfada to solve its Arab problem that requires such a large IDF (which often winds up fulfilling police functions). The problem will only get worse in the years to come.

    Hiding behind walls and giving up territory to rid oneself of a hostile population is both demeaning and only a short-term solution.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Maybe we should have a post about with it is a positive Mitzvah to serve in the IDF as in protecting Jewish lives as in Milchemet Reshut or Milchemet Mitzvah

    ReplyDelete
  49. "How can any society not do better with more people getting educated and working? The IDF issue? Yes, it stinks. Suck it up and do what's better for your country."

    But I dont think setting the precedent of letting Charedim getting away without serving IS better for the country.

    Anyway, this thread is almost dead.

    ReplyDelete
  50. I am puzzled by people who are very critical of the Haredi world and yet continue to want to be accepted by it. I am speaking of the situation in Israel, I realice the situation in the US and elsewhere is different. I know a Rav who is ultra-critical of the Haredi world yet he sent his children to Haredi schools. When I asked why, he replied "that's where the real tradition of Talmud study is". Is that really true. The National Religious world has major scholars and fine yeshivot as well. I see that the National Religious (unlike the MO's is America) don't go around worrying about what the Haredim think and it is a much healthier situation. National Religious youth are staying more and more within the religous world, in spite of serving in the IDF and going to University so they are certainly seeing something in Judaism that can stand exposure to outside ideas. I am NR and happy about it and coulnd't care less about the endless controversies that are convulsing the Haredi world. It is time for those who don't go along with the Haredi world to build up more self-confidence.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Actually, things are changing, albeit slowly, but they are changing. A friend of mine, a Psych professor at BGU, has been consulting with Rav Yosef's daughter, Adina Bar Shalom, on her Chareidi College in Jerusalem. It's really taking off. One thing that is very impressive is that in developing their Psych degree she insisted that the program and courses be exactly like those at BGU.

    The instant popularity of Rabbi Amsalam and his world-view is another indicator that things are changing. (His new party Am Shalem, is already polling at 10-15 seats.)

    The IDF does not have to be an issue. First of all, there are increasing numbers of Chareidim entering the military through various special programs. And with some creativity there is no reason that Chareidim (and Arabs) cannot serve their country by doing "National Service" (Sherut Leumi) in their local communities. The typical Yeshiva guys gets 3 months off a year. Even if you don't want to take away from their learning, there's no reason some of that time can't be directed toward volunteer service. (Davka around the Chagim when it's most needed.)

    As for Maarva, my son went there right off the "boat". As we were right-leaning in an American sort of way it was really the only place for him. (Our Aliyah actually depended on him being accepted.)

    It was a rough start, but in the end he excelled there. But let's just say it is not an ideal place for boys coming straight from America who are used to, and require, "warm and fuzzy" Rebbeim. Also, while they do have secular studies and take bagruyot, these subjects are not of the highest caliber and they cannot take the higher level bagruyot. (Somewhat handicapping their choices.)

    Only two boys from his grade of 36 did not go on to Yeshiva Gedola, there was overt pressure to do so. My son was one of the ones who broke the mold and when to Hesder. He ended up breaking the mold even further by moving onto Machon Lev as an Atuda student.

    While it's disheartening to hear about Rabbbi Leff, his presence at the school was more ceremonial than practical. (Probably because the Yeshiva is located on Rabbi Leff's Yeshuv.)

    ReplyDelete
  52. Yehuda said:
    'I completely disagree. Serving in the army is not a duty. It certainly is not in America. And it certainly should not be a duty to put one's life in danger on behalf of a community that is committing national suicide.'

    No. Your approach is the path to the national suicide. We are free to debate what is the best for the country, but if our commitment to the state and the army service is dependent on the outcome at the ballot box we will perish.

    I think we should let professionals decide the necessary length of the army service.

    ' A great many IDF soldiers are needed only because Israel refuses to expel the enemy in its midst'

    This is what Ratko Mladic tried and he is being extradited by Serbia to face the International War Crimes Tribunal. Sounds like another path to national suicide.

    ReplyDelete
  53. >S. and FFB - your argument is exactly what the argument in Israel over the Tal Commission was about.

    Let's not forget that the larger community (while upset with it ideologicaly) supported the Tal commission for pragmatic reasons while in the chareidi world, the Tal commission was attacked mercilessly as were the few rabbinic figures who supported it.

    Further, it was a dismal failure and very few chareidim made use of it. Fact, is the chareidi leadership does NOT want to change the status quo and battles attempts at compromise.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Yehuda-
    EVERY COUNTRY reserves the right to call on its young men to serve in the military and possibly give their lives in defense of their country. Even countries that traditionally did not have compulsory conscription, such as Britain and the US, have resorted to it when they felt it was necessary. The fact that the US does not have conscription now while Israel does , does NOT mean that a citizen of the US does not have a duty to defend his country if need be.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Michael says that the secular studies at Ma'arava are not the of the hightest level and that almost all graducates end up in the regular Haredi kollel system. Given this, I have to ask why do they even bother to give the secular studies at all and why was Rav Chait willing to endure the all headaches he encountered if the intention was to create something, that after all, was not that much different than the existing Haredi yeshivot?...unless of course, they really believe that the limited exposure to secular studies are of value in themselves, but I am doubtful of that because Haredim and even many National Religious educators view secular studies from a purely pragmatic (parnasa) point of view.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Garnel:


    3) Please don't bring up that line about how their Torah study is the real protection for the State. For one thing, I doubt there's a single Chareidi bochur anywhere who's sitting at his shtender, knocking himself on the hand and saying "C'mon Shmulik, shteig harder, Israel needs you!" Mitzvos trichos kavanah and there ain't no kavanah here. For another, if Torah study protects why did all the Chareidim in Netivot and Beer Sheva clear out to Bene Beraq during Operation Cast Lead? Shouldn't they have done their duty and stayed put to protect the benighted chilonim around them?


    While I broadly agree with your positions, you should note that Charedim are not the Borg.

    During Chomat Magen (Pesach) and the second Lebanon war (summer), Rav Ovadia called his yeshivot back into session, because the soldiers were fighting.

    Granted, Rav Ovadia is not "Charedi"--IMHO he is in his own category--but clearly there are people who say "toratam umanutam" who really believe it.

    ReplyDelete
  57. "But in Israel, you can generally only go to college, and be employed "on the books," if you have served in the IDF."

    Please explain:
    I know people who avoided the army, or who have never served (Olim for example) who have good jobs, and have access to the universities. And are "on the books"

    ReplyDelete
  58. That's why I wrote "generally." Olim are often exempt. So, occasionally, are other people.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Given this, I have to ask why do they even bother to give the secular studies at all and why was Rav Chait willing to endure the all headaches he encountered if the intention was to create something, that after all, was not that much different than the existing Haredi yeshivot?...unless of course, they really believe that the limited exposure to secular studies are of value in themselves, but I am doubtful of that because Haredim and even many National Religious educators view secular studies from a purely pragmatic (parnasa) point of view.

    From what I understand, 20+ years ago when R. Chait started Maarava and had to put up with all the you-know-what, there was more of a distribution as to where the boys went.

    Also, being a product of the Chofetz Chaim system, I do believe that R. Chait genuinely believes that giving the boys a foundation in secular studies is the proper Derech. (BTW, Maarava IS a Chofetz Chaim in everything but name.)

    The advent of SO many boys going to yeshiva Gedolah is relatively recent and is just another symptom of our mindless sweep to the right.

    From what I've seen of the boys in my son's grade, even if they go on to Yeshiva Gedolah initially, they are of a high caliber and very "normal". I'm guessing that many, if not most, will find their way into the working world.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Although I agree with the point that Haredim should be more willing to join the IDF, there is no question in my mind that almost all Yeshiva and Kollel students are aware that their learning is helping the soldiers on the front line, even if they are non-Zionist.
    In Israel there is a pretty strong feeling of solidarity that we are all in this together. I might add that this social solidarity is FAR more pervasive than in the Arab countries, in spite of all the media claims that Israelis are at each other's throats. That is simply not true.

    ReplyDelete
  61. ...there is no question in my mind that almost all Yeshiva and Kollel students are aware that their learning is helping the soldiers on the front line ...

    Well isn't that special.

    Or perhaps their absence from our front line is actually helping the enemy soldiers on the enemy's front line.

    ReplyDelete
  62. Speaking for myself and our circle of friends 30 years ago, we all believed that we were protecting Israel and helping the army fight by learning in Kollel. You may disagree with the idea, but people actually feel this way. I think it is very special.

    ReplyDelete
  63. "there is no question in my mind that almost all Yeshiva and Kollel students are aware that their learning is helping the soldiers on the front line, even if they are non-Zionist.
    In Israel there is a pretty strong feeling of solidarity that we are all in this together. I might add that this social solidarity is FAR more pervasive than in the Arab countries, in spite of all the media claims that Israelis are at each other's throats."

    There are three sentences in the above quote. Unfortunately, every single one of them is either totally false, or unsupported.

    ReplyDelete
  64. Garnel said:

    1) There is nothing in Judaism that says that you can't serve in the army.

    One of the reasons listed by Ramabam for the destruction of the second temple is that the Jews didn't bother to learn the arts of war.

    sailorb

    ReplyDelete
  65. "Perhaps no legal restrictions, but in practice, there is certainly discrimination against Chareidi women in the job market."

    Discrimination against general demographic groups is earned by that group over time. If Charedi women as a whole developed a reputation for giving jobs their all, employers would be scrambling to hire them.

    I do know of an employer who looks closely at Charedi applicants because an occasional one applies a sort of intensity toward everything they do.

    ReplyDelete
  66. "we all believed that we were protecting Israel"

    well, you were certainly protecting yourselves.

    ReplyDelete
  67. "I'm not saying that they can't be starved into some amount of decay. (Again, putting aside the ethics involved, kids who didn't choose this, etc.)"

    Those kids actually fare much better if the government doesn't facilitate the family having another 10.

    ReplyDelete
  68. DF-
    There is absolutely no basis for you claims that there is no solidarity in Israel. During the last two wars and the Homat Magen operation against the suicide bomber infrastructure in 2002, there was an over 100% turn out of reserve soldiers. Israel couldn't survive if there wasn't an extra degree of social solidarity present. Sure there are selfish people, but not like what I saw when I lived in the US.
    I know a lot of people, both Jews and non-Jews get a lot of pleasure out of pointing out Israel's flaws and no some doubt would get pleasure out of seeing the Zionist experiment fail. But it is one of the biggest success stories of the 20'th century and now the 21'st (sorry to use the loazi calendar but it sounds dramatic that way).
    The large majority of Israelis are proud of their country and have good reason to be. And for us religious people it is a daily thrill to see the prophecies of the TANACH and HAZAL coming true right in front of our eyes.

    ReplyDelete
  69. There is absolutely no basis for you claims that there is no solidarity in Israel. During the last two wars and the Homat Magen operation against the suicide bomber infrastructure in 2002, there was an over 100% turn out of reserve soldiers.

    I think that the point being discussed was solidarity (or lack thereof) between charedim and non-charedim. In which case the turn out of reserve soldiers is irrelevant.

    ReplyDelete
  70. Rav Slifkin-
    DF stated that all the statements I made were incorrect, including the point about national solidarity and that Israel has far more national solidarity than any Arab country.

    ReplyDelete
  71. "Israel has far more national solidarity than any Arab country."

    [citation needed]

    ReplyDelete
  72. In a charedi yeshivah one sits in Torah class from 9:am to about 3:30 pm. Most of the time learning nothing at all.

    Exhausted from siting all day doing nothing, and with no physical education whatsoever, makes it more difficult to learn anything in the remainning one and a half hours that is spent on secular studies.

    So you see, that even in the charedi yeshivahs that do have a secular agenda, it is still as problematic as those without one. And not to mention the resistive attitude towards secular studies instilled in the minds of the charedi students by their Rabbis, hinder their learning.

    On the other hand, the reason I believe the charedi Rabbis resent secular study is this.

    Most Rabbis have big egos, (that is why they have become Rabbis) they get a HIGH from the fact that people believe them to be very smart and righteous. (holier then thou) If the Rabbis were to give support for the study of secular knowledge, it would mean that they too would have to become secularlly knowledgeable, and for them to do this would be very difficult and nearly impossible, and would expose them for the frauds they really are, and then what would support their ego?

    As we learn in Pirkei Avos 2:2

    "Any study of Torah when not accompanied by a trade must fail in the end and become the cause of sin." Just look at the charedim's violent behaviour.
    o

    ReplyDelete
  73. "conscious objectors"

    To DF:

    I don’t want to be petty but the correct term is

    "conscientious objector"

    ReplyDelete
  74. Carol,

    You wrote, "[I]f our commitment to the state and the army service is dependent on the outcome at the ballot box we will perish. I think we should let professionals decide the necessary length of the army service."

    What you're advocating is a soft version of fascism: just trust the state and do everything the state requires whether one agrees with it or not. I completely disagree with this philosophy.

    (Incidentally, just so one shouldn't think I'm alone in thinking along these lines, Moshe Feiglin more or less echoes this point and so does Henry David Thoreau.)

    ReplyDelete
  75. I think the solution is that Israel switch to a volunteer army with a lot of incentives for people to join - like in the US. I have not heard in the media that this is impossible because every last man is needed to fight. (With moder technology the number of soldiers is lest important than the quality). Rather, I have heard that the army is bloated with people it doesn't need (especially the women who are given secretarial or other minor jobs) and is thereby inefficient. The reason that I have heard for why the army doesn't become volunteer is the belief that army service creates a unitied national identity where poor and rich are equal, where civic pride is instilled, and basic skills are taught for those who did not get it in school. Personally, I think that ending the Hiloni-Haredi hatred is more important than these ideas.

    ReplyDelete
  76. Here's what Ramchal said about working for a living. It's quite clear he undertands it as a l'chatchilla for those who it is appropriate for:

    וזה פשוט כי כל אדם לפי האומנות אשר בידו, והעסק אשר הוא עוסק, כך צריך לו הישרה והדרכה, כי דרך החסידות הראוי למי שתורתו אומנתו אינו דרך החסידות הראוי למי שצריך להשכיר עצמו למלאכת חבירו, ולא זה וזה דרך החסידות הראוי למי שעוסק בסחורתו, וכן כל שאר הפרטים אשר בעסקי האדם בעולם, כל אחד ואחד לפי מה שהוא ראוים לו דרכי החסידות, לא לפי שהחסידות משתנה, כי הנה הוא שוה לכל נפש ודאי, הואיל ואיננו אלא לעשות מה שיש נחת רוח ליוצרו בו, אבל הואיל והנושאים משתנים אי אפשר שלא ישתנו האמצעיים המגיעים אותם אל התכלית כל אחד לפי ענינו. וכבר יכול להיות חסיד גמור איש אשר לא יפסוק מפיו הלימוד כמו מי שמפני צרכו הוא בעל מלאכה פחותה, וכתיב "כל פעל ה' למענהו". ואומר : "בכל דרכיך דעהו והוא יישר אורחותיך

    ReplyDelete
  77. בזמן שישראל עושין רצונו של מקום
    מלאכתן נעשית ע"י אחרים

    Why not quote what the meforshim say on this "shas"bite? How do you reconcile this line with other lines in Shas and Poskim that clearly require learning a trade?

    Check out the Mesech Chochman on the posuk והשבתי חיה רעה מן הארץ in the begining Bechukosai:
    והנה אם אדם נוהג מנהג דרך ארץ, ואינו דבוק תמיד אל התורה, אז יש מקום למזיקין שישלטו בו, וכמאמר רבינו במורה שצדיק ורע לו לא קשה, שמחמת שבלתי אפשרי שיהיה דבוק לאלוקות בלי הפסק, לכן ברגע אשר נפסק דביקותו עלול למקרים רעים. לכן אמר 'מעבירם מן העולם'. אבל ר' שמעון לשיטתו, 'בזמן שישראל עושין רצונו של מקום' היינו, שדבוקים תמיד להבורא יתברך בלי הפסק, אז ''אין עוד מלבדו' כתיב' , והוא למעלה מעולם הטבעיי, ואינו עלול למזיקים ולשום פגע רע ח"ו... ולכך קאמר 'משביתן שלא יזיקו'. ופשוט.

    It's quite clear the Meshech Chochma is talking about a very very rare individual. The Rambam pretty much states that such individuals do not exist.

    ReplyDelete
  78. On the contrary, the order in Kiddushin 29 of Mitzvos of the father:
    Circumcision (8 days)
    Pidyon Haben (30 days)
    Teach Torah (5-10-15)
    Marriage (18-20)
    Teach a trade (after that)
    mandates against it.


    ---------

    רמב"ם
    הלכות דעות פרק ה

    כג : דרך בעלי דעה, שיקבע לו אדם מלאכה המפרנסת אותו תחילה, ואחר כך יקנה בית דירה, ואחר כך יישא אישה--שנאמר "מי האיש אשר נטע כרם, ולא חיללו . . . אשר בנה בית חדש . . . אשר אירש אישה" (ראה דברים כ,ה-ז).

    כד אבל הטיפשים, מתחילין לישא אישה, ואחר כך אם תמצא ידו יקנה בית, ואחר כך בסוף ימיו יחזור לבקש אומנות או יתפרנס מן הצדקה; וכן הוא אומר בקללות, "אישה תארש . . . בית תבנה . . . כרם תיטע" (דברים כח,ל)--כלומר יהיו מעשיך הפוכין, כדי שלא תצליח דרכיך. ובברכה מה הוא אומר, "ויהי דויד לכל דרכיו, משכיל; וה', עימו" (שמואל א יח,יד).

    ReplyDelete
  79. Well, this would certainly help with the draft issue...

    "In the future, robots will replace fighters in the field"

    http://www.idf.il/1283-11672-en/Dover.aspx

    ReplyDelete
  80. "(There was an attempt to create a local charedi yeshivah high school, but the kanna'im managed to torpedo it.)" Luckily for those of us with boys in RBS, you're totally wrong about that. The Mesivta of Beit Shemesh actually opened this past Elul (despite the kannoim!) and is Baruch Hashem doing AMAZINGLY well!
    There are 12 boys in the current inaugural 9th grade class and 20 more already registered for next year's 9th grade. It's a fantastic place for regular good boys- my son is doing really well there. It's about half and half Hebrew and English speakers.
    You should check it out and post about it!

    ReplyDelete
  81. And another:
    "רבי ישמעאל לא אמר המקרא 'ואספת דגנך' אלא בארץ ישראל, ורוב ישראל שרויין על אדמתן, שהעבודה בקרקע מצוה משום ישוב א"י, ולהוציא פירותיה הקדושים. ובועז ("גדול הדור", מדרש רות, סוף פרשה ה) היה זורה גורן השעורים בלילה (רות ג, ב) משום מצוה. (והטוען שיש בכך ביטול תורה, איננו צודק) וכאילו תאמר 'לא אניח תפילין מפני שאני עסוק בתורה'. הכי נמי לא יאמר 'לא אאסוף דגני מפני עסק התורה'. ואפשר אפילו שארי אומניות שיש בהם יישוב העולם, הכל בכלל מצוה" (חידושי חתם סופר למסכת סוכה, לו ע"א, ד"ה דומה לכושי).
    ....

    ונ"ל בזמן שישראל שרוים על אדמתם, מצוה לאסוף דגנך. לא לצורך פרנסתו וכו' אלא משום ישוב ארץ ישראל. ומשום הכי בועז זורה גורן השעורים, ואלישע שנים עשה צמדים (בקר) לפניו. ולא לבד עבודת קרקע, אלא לימוד כל אומנות משום ישוב וכבוד א"י. שלא יאמרו 'לא נמצא בכל א"י סנדלר ובנאי וכדומה' ויביאום מארצות רחוקים" (חתם סופר, תורת משה ,דברים דף לו, פ' שופטים ד"ה מי האיש).

    ReplyDelete
  82. I have not had time to read all 80+ comments, so I apologize if any of what I say has already been said. The comments seem to have veered off the main points of the original post anyway.

    I was at at that parlor meeting with Rabbi Leff and I think what you were told was not accurate. I'll get to that in a minute.

    You may be right with your assertion that in spite of Maarava's bagrut program, most of their graduates do not move on to professional careers. But how do you know? Because their graduates spend a number of years in a yeshiva gedolah afterwards, or maybe even into their married Kollel years? How is that different from American charedi high school grads? How many of us went to Israel after high school for Shana aleph, shana bet, and beyond, but later went on learn a trade, profession or family business? If you want to judge fairly, don't look at their graduates 1-5 years later, look 6-10 years later. Maybe you've done this, but I had to point this out.

    I also think your point about jobs only being available to those who serve in the IDF is not true today, if it ever was. Maybe for high end jobs in large companies such as banking, law, government and military careers. But there are many other options that don't need the network of IDF buddies to be successful I don't know if it's true in Israel, but in the US, more people are employed by small businesses than large ones. You don't need to be a millionaire to be successful, you need to support your family, and a trade or a small business can do that. My local charedi appliance repairman didn't serve in the army, he apprenticed with someone and is now on his own. He does a great job and I hire him - even though he didn't serve in the army. I don't know if Effie from Best Market served or didn't serve, nor do I care. He built himself a successful makolet, then took the risks and opened up a supermarket. How much protexia from his IDF network did that require? The same can be said about programming, web design, accounting, photography, video, and a number of other trades and professions. So I reject the notion that jobs are only available to those who serve in the army.

    Back to Rabbi Leff. I did not hear him say it was the wrong approach, he simply said it's not the ideal approach for all, and one shouldn't think that a program like Maarava is the panacea of chinuch. It may be appropriate for certain boys, and that requires careful consideration as do all major life decisions. But one shouldn't rule out the idea of Yeshiva Ketana because they think it will kill a boy's chance at earning a living. He explained how Rav Shach was against it at first, but then after hearing more information accepted the idea - for those boys it was appropriate for - but not across the board for all teenage boys.

    Whether they later choose a life of Torah im derech eretz or Torah Umnoso, both are acceptable. R' Leff said this specifically. But the high school / yeshiva ketana years are a time when they can really get in serious learning before they have real life obligations weighing on them. There's plenty of opportunity later for them to learn a trade or profession and the growing popularity and number of charedi training centers attest to this.

    I think that's the most important thing to take away from what he said. It's AN option, but it's not THE option. Let individual circumstances dictate.

    ReplyDelete
  83. Thanks for your input. My point about the IDF was not protexia - it was that without serving in the army, it's usually not legally possible to attend college and get a job, until one is past the age of conscription.

    ReplyDelete
  84. By the way, I don't think that anyone thinks that yeshivah ketanah "kills" a boy's chances of making a living. Rather, (a) it makes him much, much less likely to actually want to do so, and (b) it majorly limits his career options.

    ReplyDelete
  85. Y. ben David said
    1)almost all Yeshiva and Kollel students are aware that their learning is helping the soldiers on the front line.
    2)In Israel there is a pretty strong feeling of solidarity that we are all in this together.
    3) this social solidarity is FAR more pervasive than in the Arab countries.

    To which I say:

    1)Not true.
    2) Not true. I see no solidarity whatever between charedi and non-charedi. And even if there was, so what? So both are united against terrorists - therefore?
    3) Prove it.

    ReplyDelete
  86. To Yehuda,

    I was bothered when reading your comments, and racked my brain to figure out why.

    I knew it wasn't simply the content of your comments since I partly agree with you (although your comment about facism came out sounding as if little thought went into it).

    Then I realized what bothered me. (And it rests on the assumption that you live in the US, which I daresay is a safe assumption.)

    Imagine someone who isn't shomer shabbat, and he begins lecturing someone who is shomer shabbat about the best way to keep shabbat.
    Now, even if he is knowledgable about the halachos, no one wants to be lectured by someone without the courage/conviction/etc to do it themselves. It comes out sounding phony and hypocritical.

    For those of us blessed to be here, fulfilling the mitzva (or mitzvaot depending on a machlokus) of kibush/yishuv ha-aretz, it's difficult to listen to criticsm by someone who refuses to do the same.

    And interestingly, the same feeling exists (at least personally), even if I agree with the message.

    So, please, come and lecture us when you're here with us, and not from so so far away.

    ReplyDelete
  87. Ploni,

    I agree with you in part. However, on a pure intellectual plane, I don't think one has to live in Israel to be allowed to have an opinion -- even an extreme one -- on Israeli politics.

    (That being said, aliyah is something I do think about fairly often -- even though I can't stand many aspects of the country.)

    ReplyDelete
  88. DF-
    Okay, I'll prove Israel has much more social solidarity than any Arab country-
    Lebanon-failed state, massive civil war in recent past
    Egypt-failed economic system, massive religious violence
    Libya-civil war
    Yemen-civil war
    Algeria-failed econonmy in spite of oil wealth, civil war in recent past
    Syria-wracked with civil disorder, underying religious tension, failed economy
    Iraq-massive civil disorder, massive ethnic and religious tensions and violence.
    Saudi Arabia-totalitarian state
    with large-scale religious tensions with Shi'ite minority.
    Jordan-ethnic tensions between ruling Beduins and Palestinians, borderline economy dependent on foreign handouts


    Now, look at Israel. I think even you can see the difference.

    QED

    ReplyDelete
  89. Y. Ben David - I disagree with you, have not seen anything in your post that would change my view, and will simply leave it at that.

    cordials,

    ReplyDelete

Comments for this blog are moderated. Please see this post about the comments policy for details. ANONYMOUS COMMENTS WILL NOT BE POSTED - please use either your real name or a pseudonym.