Thursday, April 24, 2014

Vilna Mussar about Educating Children towards Employment

(This is a re-post from a few years ago. It's about a sefer from 200 years ago which has some sharp mussar that is incredibly relevant today, for people educating their children in the charedi system.)

Rabbi Pinchas Eliyahu Horowitz of Vilna (1765-1821) was a kabbalist who is best known for his Torah-based encyclopedia of different fields of knowledge, entitled Sefer HaBris. This was a popular work which received approbations from numerous important rabbonim. In this work, R. Hurwitz has a very long chapter about the importance of training for a profession, including some extremely sharp mussar addressed at people who only teach Torah to their children. Note that the people whom he is rebuking are only against professional training for children; they are not against their children going into business, or being storekeepers. Thus, they are already in a better place than many Charedim today; yet he still condemns them for going against Chazal. I didn't have time to translate this piece myself, but a kind anonymous person volunteered to do the first part, and if someone would like to translate the rest, please be in touch. Here is the first part:


And behold, what I have determined to be correct: For any person who desires to be scrupulous in establishing as a cornerstone and basis for all G-d’s commandments that he wishes to fulfill, that they be fulfilled purely for the sake of His great Name, it would be advisable that such a person have a trade with which he can support himself through his own efforts, and thus he will not need to rely on others, nor sustain himself from sustenance received from others. The result would then be that all that he does in terms of the commandments of G-d, he will do solely for the sake of His Name, and his performance of the commandments will not be adulterated with the hope of gaining from others – he will not attempt to appeal to others, neither will he flatter them, nor will he fear them.

Also, such a person can be confident that he will not miss even a single day of his service of G-d, since his means of support is always at hand, and his sustenance is available in his dwelling and his own city. He will not lie down at night without having eaten, because a tradesman is never without sustenance, nor will he need to travel to faraway places in other lands to seek his sustenance. For when travelling, by necessity a person must be neglectful of the service of G-d, as is well known; there is no way to turn aside and focus on Torah and prayer with concentration when one is away from his place and has set out on the road.

Thus for this reason, a person is obligated to teach his child a trade, to do some type of work with which he can support himself, as our holy sages of blessed memory and the wise men have said “Just as one is obligated to teach his son Torah, so too is he obligated to teach him a craft.”

And as far as I am concerned, the current generation’s practice and custom, which is grounded in haughtiness, is evil; which is that most of the members of our nation do not want to teach a craft to their children, saying – with haughtiness and pride – “A trade is a great embarrassment to us.” Only involvement with business and sales, like shopkeepers, is honorable and becoming in their hearts. But ultimately, when they are unsuccessful in business due to bad luck – because there is a concept of luck among the Jewish people as I mentioned above — at that point they have no food, and transgress many sins, as the sages said “R’ Yehuda says: He who does not teach his son a trade, it is as though he has taught him the ways of robbery.” In other words, according to R’ Yehuda, even if he teaches him business – that is buying and selling goods - it is also as though he has taught him the ways of robbery. This is because sometimes he will not have any business to engage in, and he will then set himself up and engage in thievery – real work, making use of clever hands. Some of them engage in flattery of others and prostrate themselves for a cheap coin or loaf of bread; some openly steal and become thieves in the literal sense; some steal on the sly from Jews and non-Jews; some desecrate the Name of G-d amongst the gentiles due to the greatly disgusting acts in which they engage which damage the nations. This results in the gentiles saying “These are G-d’s people who have come out from his land; there is no disgusting behavior in which they are not well schooled, neither is there any trickery in which they are not expert, nor any forgery of which they lack knowledge”. This reaches the point that the gentiles say that the Talmud that the Jews teach their children is nothing but cleverness and slick ways to trick people.

However, if these individuals would have a trade with which to support themselves, they would not do all of the aforementioned, as our sages of blessed memory have said “Poverty leads a man to transgress the will of his Creator.” And the fault lies with the parents of these individuals in that they did not teach them a skill when they were yet young. Why should the gentiles say that Jews are swindlers who behave disgustingly? And why do they curse G-d’s Torah? All because you have looked upon the work of your hands as contemptible and disparaged those who engage in a craft.

And even more so do I feel anger towards those Torah scholars who do not want to teach their children a trade, and instead only Torah. They rely on the presumption that their children will be Rabbis or Judges, but ultimately many do not become learned enough in Torah to the point of becoming Halachic decisors among the Jews, and they end up “neither here nor there,” becoming schoolteachers. And as the number of those who hold of this approach increases, there end up being more schoolteachers than students, and as a result, these “schoolteachers” cannot even bring in enough for half of their household expenses, their households lack basic food and clothing, and consequently they cannot even engage in their holy work faithfully.

Some of these individuals engage with one another in some sort of side business, some serve as tutors giving lessons in private homes, and some venture off to study with students in far off lands, away from their wives, in order to earn their sustenance. As a result, their own children end up being boors, because they grow up without a father, and their wives must live with worry. Some of them, upon arriving at these far off lands, do not find any students, and their wives and children die of hunger. Some wander far and wide in distant lands, some become preachers focusing on speeches chastising their audiences, others prepare themselves to engage in homiletics, and they travel on long journeys giving lectures to the Jewish people, yet others travel to distant lands to collect handouts and they collect from the Jewish people. Others commit their words to writing and they publish these books and seek to sell them. Yet others wander off to all the far cities in search of sustenance – not chastising, not lecturing, not doing anything other than begging for sustenance for their household – that is, the individual’s own wife and children and their need for money. And all of these individuals are dependant on others, and are seeking sustenance. And this calamity is all the fault of the fathers who refused to teach them a trade when they were yet young.

Now indeed the fathers felt that they acted thusly for the sake of Heaven, relying on the opinion of R’ Naharai who stated “I set aside all trades in the world and I teach my son only Torah”. They do not understand that this is the method of the Evil Inclination, as is his typical way, to dress up and conceal things which are not good in the garb of piety, covering up all sins with love of G-d and fear of G-d and giving them an appearance of something that is for the sake of Heaven. And they do not know that this is not at all the true opinion of R’ Naharai, as the MaHarSha of blessed memory writes:
“R’ Naharai’s opinion is not that one should set aside teaching his son any craft other than Torah, for it has been stated in the first Chapter that every father is obligated to teach his son a trade, and there is no dissenting opinion. Furthermore, we have learned “Any Torah learning that is not accompanied by labor will not last and leads to sin.”

Rather, this is what R’ Naharai meant: ‘I set aside the study of all trades on a steady basis, and I teach him Torah on a steady basis and a trade on a sporadic basis.’ And that is what is meant that a trade only stands by a person when he is young, for then he has it in his power to perform a difficult job on a consistent basis. But when he reaches old age or gets sick he can no longer work enough to support himself. The Torah on the other hand, is not like that, for through the merit of his Torah learning he will be blessed with pleasant easy work which he can perform even in old age and he will attain achievements in both [work and Torah learning] areas, like the “early pious ones mentioned in Tractate Berachos.”

Furthermore, one who makes use of his Torah knowledge in connection with earning his livelihood, will never become rich through it; rather it will cause him to be taken from this world as the Sages of blessed memory have said “He who makes use of the crown [of Torah] shall perish”; thus you see that he who profits from Torah learning removes himself from existence in this world.

My brother, be shaken at this very great evil. For how long we will not direct our hearts to our hands, to encourage them to work? There is no doubt that anyone who transgresses the words of our Sages in this matter, and does not teach his child a profession, is destined to be held accountable for this before the Heavenly court, and will surely be punished. There will also be a punishment for the righteous person, who did this to his children out of noble intentions…

- Sefer HaBris 2:12:10 (2:13:2 in the DBS version). Download full Hebrew text here

(See too this post about Rav Zev Leff and Maarava high school)

41 comments:

  1. It’s interesting that there was someone of note protesting the practice of not training for a trade, but from the Chareidi point of view this strengthens their position. Apparently there is a tradition going back at least 250 years of not training for a profession, and going the business route when necessary.

    On another note, the attitude he described towards trades vs. business is interesting. Jews had been banned from the trade guilds for centuries. Perhaps one of the effects of the bans was a communal disdain for the trades, a collective way of saying, “Well, we wouldn’t want to do that anyway!”

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  2. Perhaps that is true Rabbi Slifkin, but we don't paskin like him :)

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  3. "Apparently there is a tradition going back at least 250 years of not training for a profession, and going the business route when necessary."

    G*3 - based on his description, they weren't bringing up their kids to be in kollel. They were bringing them up to be either rabbis or businessmen. That's not exactly the charedi approach!

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  4. Others commit their words to writing and they publish these books and seek to sell them.

    So the rabbi will be giving away his books and taking a job in zoology? :)

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    1. Another quote worth living up to:
      " but ultimately many do not become learned enough in Torah to the point of becoming Halachic decisors among the Jews, and they end up “neither here nor there,” becoming schoolteachers. And as the number of those who hold of this approach increases, there end up being more schoolteachers than students, and as a result, these “schoolteachers” cannot even bring in enough for half of their household expenses, their households lack basic food and clothing, and consequently they cannot even engage in their holy work faithfully."

      And Rabbi Slifkin's occupation by which he supports his household expenses is...?

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    2. Nebach, Rabbi Slifkin was educated in Charedi yeshivos. Not having learned a trade, maybe this is the best he could do...
      ;)

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    3. According to his website he has an MA and is currently earning his PhD. That with his his experience in teaching and running educational programs gives him a nice work resume.

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  5. Thanks for the translation.

    Mazal is more appropriately translated fate or destiny, certainly not luck.

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  6. I just recently became aware of a history of European Yeshivot available at Hebrew books (link below).

    There it describes the practice of many Roumanian yeshivot which had a philosophy of Torah and Melacha (Torah and work). Apparently these yeshivot had workshops for making furniture, belts &c. Some even engaged in agriculture.

    The students spent up to half the day there, the other half they learned. I wonder if Charedim are aware of this...

    http://www.hebrewbooks.org/2923

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  7. I would love to see the whole Sefer HaBris translated into English. There is some great material there. Any volenteers?

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  8. From the Desk of The Gedolim:
    With praise and gratitude to HaKodosh Boruch Hu we give thanks to He WHom We Cannot Name, also known as the Zoo Rabbi, for bringing it to our attention that current editions of the Sefer HaBris have been corrupted and altered by evildoers, may their names be misspelled, to include material which is clearly against the Torah and the mesorah which have remained unchanged since Moshe Rabeinu, a"h, brought it down from Har Sinai.
    We implore all Aibishter-fearing Jews who are yirei shomoyim to avoid any copies of Sefer HaBris that we have not ripped these offensive pages out of lest their souls be irreversibly tainted by the tumah therein.

    8-)

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    1. Absolutely wonderful.

      :-)

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  9. Rabbi Pinchas fails to point out, that these children who grow up to be thieves, feel stealing is justifiable, and teach their childern to be thieves.
    A.k.a. "The domino effect."
    o

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  10. "So the rabbi will be giving away his books and taking a job in zoology? :)"

    He's already indicated that he intends on pursing a secular degree, let's not badger him while he's working towards bringing his current situation in line with his current ideology.

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  11. Garnel, the sefer is known and respected in the Charedi circles. If you read it in its entirety, you will encounter plenty of strange and outdated ideas. It's very much a mixed bag.


    Rael, I don't think it's desirable to make it available in English as a complete work.

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  12. Great post! One wonders what Rav Horowitz' opinion would have been just after the Holocaust, when so many Torah greats and their students were murdered. Today, however, I doubt his opinion would be very different than Sefer HaBris.


    "Go to the ant, you sluggard, see its ways and get wisdom. For she has no foreman, no taskmaster nor ruler. She readies her bread in summer, stores up her food at the harvest. How long, O sluggard, will you lie there. When will you rise from your sleep? A bit more sleep, a bit more slumber, a bit more lying with folded arms, and your privation will come like a wayfarer, your want like a shield-bearing man" (Proverbs 6:6-11).


    "A person should not embolden himself to say: 'The blessed Holy One will save me,' or 'He will do this for me.' Rather, he should place his strength in the blessed Holy One, to help him fulfill the commandments of Torah and walk in the way of truth, for as soon as one comes to purify himself, he is certainly assisted [cf. BT Shabbat 104a: "Resh Lakish said, '... If one comes to defile himself, he is provided an opening; if one comes to purify himself, he is assisted'"]. So should one fortify himself in the blessed Holy One - in order that He may help him - holding fast to Him, not placing his strength in another. So, whose strength is in You [Psalms 84:5]" (Zohar 1:142a).

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  13. This was a great read three years ago, and is a great read again. Thank you for the reposting.

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  14. Thanks for posting this amazing piece.
    Regarding the posting concerning the Ma'arava yeshiva, this is a clear illustration that I believe many people are mistaken if they think that the "New Haredim" movement marks the beginning of a new approach of Israeli Haredim opening up to the outside world and accepting secular education and movement in a more moderate direction regarding Haredi interaction with the rest of Israeli society, both religious and secular.
    What Rav Slifkin pointed out in his piece about Ma'arava illustrates the problems with the "New Haredim" which pre-eminent among them is the lack of a real IDEOLOGY that backs up what they are doing, something like "Torah Im Derech Eretz". Simply having people who identify with Haredim while trying to enjoy the benefits of modern Israeli society leads them to having divided personalities. How can they really function in the long run and educate their children while maintaining loyalty to a Haredi leadership that doesn't hide its disapproval of what they are doing? Are the teachers in an institution like Ma'arava teaching their students that secular education is not only b'di-eved or actually a positive good, like TIDE teaches, or are they given the message that if they really want to be frum, they should reject the Modern Haredi lifestyle and values their parents are living by and even reject the secular education they are exposed to? This divided personality can often feel dee down he has to become MORE extreme in ideological matters, such as anti-Zionism or other political questions in order to make up for not being "real Torah Jews" by studying Torah full time.
    Of course, any change should be encouraged, but I do not see a real salvation coming to the Haredi society from this "New Haredi" movement.

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  15. Notwithstanding the Sefer HaBris, there are good historical reasons why Jews in Eastern Europe were for the most part not artisans. From medieval times they were severely restricted from joining trade guilds. Could be that by the time the Sefer HaBris lived things were different, but it's not easy to break a history going back 100's of years.

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  16. Nosson, can you make up your mind once and for all if you follow comments from rabbis who wrote things years back....
    You see R Moshe Finestien who wrote very strong language about the importance of learning in Kollel, you opined since he wrote that in 1964, how do we know what he would have held today.
    So why when you find someone from 1764 which follows your school of thought you are unhesitant to apply it to our generation?

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    1. Moish, there is vastly more Torah study today than there was in 1964. So it's reasonable to query whether R. Moshe would say the same today as what he said then.
      There is no less of a problem today of poverty amongst people without job training than there was two hundred years ago. So there is no reason to propose that R. Hurwitz would not say the same thing today.

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    2. weeeeeeeeeeeeelll

      that's not really true.
      nowadays, most kollel families (in israel) are not in danger of dying due to starvation or exposure or lack of proper medical care. they may have severe shortage of food, ugly cramped houses, and the bare minimum kuppah coverage, but that's still better than what poverty was two centuries ago.

      and that's the really bad-off ones, there are plenty a few notches higher on the poverty scale.

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    3. It is important to remember that this improved situation for Haredim who don't work due to full-time study of Torah is due to the development of the post-Second World War Western welfare state. This current situaiton CAN NOT last and is unsustainable. Europe and the US have economies in a state of long-term stagnation due to demographic decline and a stifling of growth due to a plethora of regulations due to things like the "global warming" hysteria. For instance, it was possible up until a few years ago in Scandinavia to live a middle-class lifestyle on welfare without ever having a job. This has ended...they now require people to take job training and to look for work. When the inevitable crunch comes, you don't want to have a "lost generation" situation of people who are already adults with families who suddenly are faced with going out into the world without having received the necessary skills in school. It is time NOW to prepare for the future!

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    4. To adi.

      weeeeeeeeeeeeelll [...] that's not really true.
      nowadays, most kollel families (in israel) are not in danger of dying due to starvation or exposure or lack of proper medical care....


      Weeeeeeell. Comparing levels of poverty is a tricky art. Certainly familiar benchmark data like caloric and protein intakes and life expectancy tabulations can provide empirical measurements, but they can be deceiving, as the damaging effects of poverty even in relative terms can be just as severe to a society when social systems break down due to this relative poverty. Besides, as Y. Ben-David points out, the current condition can quickly take a nose-dive if the social safety nets collapse. What would inevitably follow is a cascading effect of decline which can be astonishing and frightening in its speed and damage. Within in a matter of months, before social changes and channels of redistribution can be implemented, families and entire communities can plunge from a marginally tolerable existence to one of severe privation leading to a rise in deaths and long-term damage to individuals and the society due to effects of starvation, exposure and decline in health.

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    5. A thousand pardons for the forgetfulness; the above to adi was from Temujin the Anonymous.

      As is this...of course.

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    6. YBD said... "For instance, it was possible up until a few years ago in Scandinavia to live a middle-class lifestyle on welfare without ever having a job. This has ended...they now require people to take job training and to look for work. When the inevitable crunch comes, ....

      Fascinating. How smooth/bumpy was the transition? What would the Scandinavian model portend for a Chareidy crunch?

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  17. Moshe says.
    Teaching a trade is not really the same as secular education.
    But I prefer to look at it from another angle. What is wrong with secular education? The chareidim feel that once one has this he wont be doing Jewish education. So the question is why not.
    The mishna says one has to be fifteen to learn gemoro. Universities today start from eighteen. Most in Jewish education have already 'finished' by then, meaning although they may learn more blatt, they are not capable of learning the same blatt 'better' which is what Jewish education ought to be really about. So the answer is that secular education is really better and more 'advanced' than Jewish education today. The student finds it more fulfilling. Not every university subject is directly concerned with future employment.
    Till fifteen or eighteen today, since gemoro cannot really be learned, it is no different to a 'legal' book one should be doing as much secular education as possible. Almost all gedolim had some form of it. And I would add that this would completely 'enhance' his later Jewish education.
    Yeshivot today, are totally out of touch with Jewish learning. Unless they start doing it on a university basis, we cant expect many new gedolim. There arent any young ones today and the old ones were already gedolim at a young age.

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  18. Once again, "they could say it, we can't".

    That line is great. It just keeps giving and giving...

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  19. Only the first piece concerns men going into business rather than earning a trade (which we would today call a profession, like law or accounting.) Nowadays, Halevai they would go into business. That critique is no longer quite so valid.

    The second critique, which is that they go into "klei koidesh" and consequently cant make a living, is of course still valid. Actually its worse nowadays, because back then only the families of the individual were affected. Today, everyone is affected, because we all have to shoulder the tuition and communal burdens caused by those who shirk their responsibilities.

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  20. But ultimately, when they are unsuccessful in business due to bad luck – because there is a concept of luck among the Jewish people as I mentioned above

    This advice contradicts a clear ruling by the Rambam that astrology and Mazal are foolishness. We follow the Rambam. Whoever follows the path recommended here is instead following Darchei Emori. Unlike you, we choose the Rambam over the Emorites.

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  21. "….the attitude [Rabbi Hortowitz of Vilna] described towards trades vs. business is interesting. Jews had been banned from the trade guilds for centuries. (G*3)

    "Notwithstanding the Sefer HaBris, there are good historical reasons why Jews in Eastern Europe were for the most part not artisans. From medieval times they were severely restricted from joining trade guilds. Could be that by the time the Sefer HaBris lived things were different, but it's not easy to break a history going back 100's of years." (Moshe David Tokayer)

    Indeed so. Perhaps the answers to the puzzle of Rabbi Slifkin’s great little find is in the historical background. Yes, in most cases Jews had been prohibited from pursuing trades and agriculture since the latter Middle Ages. And these strict bans were understandably enforced by Jewish religious leaders who clearly invented a theological basis for turning Jews off such high-risk, low-benefit activities and parking their most potentially promising, productive, calorie-consuming and troublesome members…young males…on benches in seminaries. But the situation in Rabbi Horowitz’s time was vastly different. After the 17th century devastations by Chmielnicky and later, the war with Sweden, the Jews had been rebuilding their communities and benefitted from a series of favourable decrees by three Polish and Lithuanian kings...Vasa, Wisnowiecki and the better-known Jan Sobieski III. By the end of the Polish monarchy in the 1790s and the beginning of Poland's partition between Russia, Prussia and Austria, the Jews were largely ignored…which more often than not, such a state of a affairs is a Good Thing for Jews.

    It's Temujin's speculation, one short of a hypothesis and in dire need of close but hopefully friendly peer reviews, that it was this state of anarchy which opened up a slew of economic opportunities for Jews at that time, not just in retail (which Rabbi Horowitz snubs), but in small scale manufacture and possibly even to farming operations. Northern Europe was just beginning to crawl out of the Little Ice Age and the slight warming helped to bring better times with general rise in population after a series of wars and plagues and with renewed movements of armies and peoples. Food and consumer products were, again, in great demand. It’s this brief, relative and very choppy economic improvement Rabbi Horowitz’s mussar addresses. Alas, the damage had been done; centuries of prohibition of Jewish trades and the resulting theological inventions and prejudices against work (not to mention the revolutionary impact of the printing press) brought in a new economic class, that of “scholar-bureaucrats,” who found ingenious ways to “mine” the limited resources in their own communities. And this is what we’re still arguing about today.

    --Temujin Speculating

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    1. A nagging erratum:

      In his speculations above Temujin guessed that "Northern Europe was just beginning to crawl out of the Little Ice Age and the slight warming helped to bring better times with general rise in population..." (Temujin's emphases). Wrong.

      In a leisurely scan of the events of the period, began to nag at him was the rapid economic activity and ambitious political movements which typically only favourable food supply conditions bring about. So, he swallowed his pride and took a closer look at historical climate. Oops! No crawl or slight warming, but a veritable rapid heat-wave; the exit from the Little Ice Age was so dramatic that between 1694 and 1733 the temperatures rose a whopping 1.7 Cº in just 40 years! Those who might wonder what less than two degree Centigrade warming means should consider what an additional month or two with a leaner cloud cover can mean to a growing season, especially in North-Eastern Europe...guessing about 20%-30% increase in cereals production. Such cheerful conditions certainly might have improved Rabbi Horowitz's optimism about economic prospects of the Jews of his time.

      --Temujin the Chastened

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  22. My father, AH, and other Ger CHassidim told me that at the pre-war Ger MEsivta in Warsaw, there was half a day limudai kodesh, and half a day limudai chol. If secular studies were good enough for the Imrai Emes, why not for the current Rebbe?
    Hasn't the Belz Rebbe told his Chassidim to learn a trade or profession, to be able to support themselves?

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  23. I found the most interesting part of the selection from the Sefer Habris of Rav Pinchas Horowitz of Vilna to be the citation from the major talmudic commentary of the Maharsha (Harav Shmuel Eliezer Eidels) on the adage of R' Nehorai at the end of Kiddushin. He is, apparently, unwilling to concede that even 1 Tanna rules that one should teach his sons only torah (the majority opinion in Kiddushin, Berachot, and Avot is clearly to the contrary). He, therefore, reinterprets the phrase 'only torah' to mean primarily torah (I imagine that he takes the adage as a non-halachic sentiment exaggerated to make a point). Thus a major rabbinic figure of early east-European Jewry can be added to the list of those who advocated teaching the younger generation a trade or profession. Even the Chasam Sofer (Harav Moshe Sofer) a few centuries later accepted the 'torah only' adage for the diaspora, but not for Israel. Hence speculation about what Rav Moshe Feinstein would have held today about learning a trade or profession, or what the current figures reckoned as gedolim by the Hareidi world appear to believe, is neither binding nor is it traditional.

    Y. Aharon

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  24. Fortunately most of us in the chareidi world, not including Nosson Slifkin, rely on daas Torah to help us understand which path we should follow given the sometimes confusing and apparently contradictory opinions presented by gedolim of previous generations.

    As previous posters have pointed out, it is hard to know the context in which something was written when it was written in a vastly different time and place and it is even harder to know the degree to which it is applicable today - if at all.

    I and my chareidi peers are perfectly happy to follow the advice of those who are far better qualified to make these judgments than we are.

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    1. Well, according to Jonathan Rosenblum at http://www.cross-currents.com/archives/2009/12/13/kollel-is-not-always-forever/, the Gedolim agree with the message of this post, but can't say it.

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    2. As previous posters have pointed out, it is hard to know the context in which something was written when it was written in a vastly different time and place and it is even harder to know the degree to which it is applicable today - if at all.

      Eli, the whole notion of orthodox Judaism is contrary to what you say above. If halacha is so dependent on context, then the other non-Orthodox streams of Judaism are quite justified in their attempts to apply Judaism in a vastly different way given the obvious vast changes in circumstances in modern times. By your reasoning, they are following their leaders and you are following yours.

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  25. One of the following is true
    A. The piece is obviously a forgery.
    B. The opinion is a daas yachid.
    C. He could say it, but we can't.
    D. I'm just being playful.

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  26. Rabbi Slifkin, regarding some Charedim not earning a living: In a nutshell, Orthodox Jews believe that the fine nuances on how to conduct ones life was a God given platter to the Orthodox rabbis of each genaration to tweak as neccasary. The historic examples of this are to numerous to mention.
    So for example in the MO world they feel the chazal of marrying at 18 is not applicable for our genaration, this mishna is therefore finely tuned and the age is extended to 24 or whatever.
    Chassidim on the other hand follow their rabbis who say the mishna should still be applied today and marry at 18.
    Similarly how i understand from my rebbes, in our genaration where we are spiritually weak, and from 13 million jews whom the majority are not Torah observant, to have 40,000 jews in full time study - thats less than 1% of the Jewish People learning Torah is no big deal.
    So when us guys with the buck are happy to finance the Kollel families its not they are refusing to work its they are privaleged to be in a genaration where jews have the monet to be able to involve themselves in the talmud

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    1. The issues are 1) Charedim claim that is exactly what they are not doing, and 2) they look down on other Orthodox Jews who are more open about the fact that is what they do.

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    2. They get a pittance in kollel which is not enough to sustain themselves which means they don't only rely on those who donate to kollel. When they go to school (at least in the U.S.) they effectively force the entire community to make up the difference in their children's tuition and it has gotten to the point where even that isn't enough to cover the deficit so that they need outside donations. If their children have a special need then they can be in even greater trouble.

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