Monday, June 18, 2012

Yated Wars: Reactions to the New Charedim

There is a ferocious battle going on regarding the takeover of the Israeli newspaper Yated (which is entirely unrelated to the American Yated). In part, it relates to the general power struggle taking place with the decline of Rav Elyashiv's court. It also relates to attitudes to the new chareidim.

The old Yated was vitriolically zealous. It represented the most extreme group of charedim, whose figurehead was Rav Elyashiv and whose natural successor is Rav Shmuel Auerbach (more about him, with whom I am personally familiar, in another post). Here is a link to an editorial from the pre-takeover Yated, regarding the "new charedim" that I discussed in the previous post. It's a strong condemnation of the "new charedim," concluding with a declaration that the Yated is proud to be  extremist. The editorial insists that it is not categorically opposed to the idea of a person working for a living, as long as the person recognizes that it is not the ideal. The ideal is for a person to be supported by others! And to raise one's children with that goal! (It amazes me that they can propose this so brazenly, apparently without an inkling that is entirely contrary to Chazal.)

According to my sources, this editorial was the last straw. The newspaper has now been taken over by the other Charedi camp, whose figurehead is Rav Steinman and who is funded by an American called Shimon Glick. They are not moderate in any objective sense of the term; see this interview with someone from that camp, who cites Rav Shteinman as saying that one should not support any hospital or other institution, only limud Torah! Still, they are certainly more moderate than the previous group. Although not exactly supportive of the new charedim, they aren't in an all-out war with them.

But both camps are in a war with each other. Check out the following links:

Rav Chaim Kanievsky: Rav Shteiman Is The Manhig HaDor

The Shameful Truth Surrounding Yated is Revealed
בשירות המדינה - יתד נאמן (PDF)
 הסכסוך ביתד נאמן: זעקה בבית הרב אוירבעך

Coming up next: The Future of the New Charedim

62 comments:

  1. It's maddening reports like this that ought to remind us to really absorb the following teaching from Tractate Sotah (daf 49):

    Upon whom can we rely? [only] Upon our Father in heaven.

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  2. this is a note i wrote on the blog of Garnel yesterday but it applies to the subject discussed here also.


    In spite of the greatness of learning Torah I am forced to say that one should not be paid for learning Torah. I happen to know the amazing energy that is at the core of Torah. But I have been forced to conclude that using the Torah as a shovel to make a living is wrong. This is not just wrong in terms of it being asur (forbidden) according to all poskim (Mediaeval Authorities). It is wrong in its effects also. I creates a mentality of people to think they are the masters and those not in kollel were created just to serve them. They see themselves as a entirely new species that has evolved above the dreg of us ami haartetz (ignoramuses). If this would be true then perhaps I would not mind. But there is nothing to indicate that people in kollel are any more or less moral than Joe Smo down the street. They consider themselves as heroes and gods. No. They are just trying to make a buck in the only way they know how.
    They think they are fighting evil. No. Firemen, the IDF, the American Air-force, doctors, policemen, the FBI fight evil. They protect the free society we live in and help people in need. People in kollel are dong none of this.

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  3. Proud to be in kollelJune 18, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    Hi,it baffles me how you contradict yourself from one post to the next.
    Three days ago you questioned the Charedim for following the minority view of the Chinuch in regards to listening to Gedoiley Hador as in your view it refers to Bes Din Hagodol. Fine.
    But in the last 2 posts you do seem to want us to follow the minority view of the Rambam who holds it is forbidden to receive payment for learning Torah (if you can find me another halacha in Rambam so widely opposed by nearly all the Achronim, starting from the Tashbatz and Kesef Mishne i will market your books)
    So please make clear when a minority view should be followed and when not?
    Now us charedim dont have a problem when to follow the minority, you see we have a mesorah handed down by the Ziknei Hador of each generation, we are consistent in the fact that we understand the Mesorah to be a vital part in the understanding of Torah and what Ribono Shel Olam wants from us, but you...... your views seem extremely inconsistent

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  4. you do seem to want us to follow the minority view of the Rambam who holds it is forbidden to receive payment for learning Torah

    Rambam's view is that it is forbidden to take payment even for teaching Torah! THAT is the minority view.

    The idea that one should support one's family via work rather than beg for money is not Rambam's; it is Chazal's.

    Now us charedim dont have a problem when to follow the minority, you see we have a mesorah handed down by the Ziknei Hador of each generation

    Alas, this is not true. First of all, it's not as though anything is being "handed down" - it is constantly transformed. Second, it is transformed not by Gedolim, but by a wide variety of social pressures. Third, the Gedolim are often not even aware whether a certain shittah was historically a majority, minority or even existent view - as we see in the case of the ban on my books.

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  5. The most fascinating aspect of this is that at the end of the day, money is deciding on who has daas Torah. If Glick would be a fan of Aurbach, then the yated would be promoting Aurbach, and R Steinman would be sidelined.

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  6. As I wrote on my blog, the big issue here is the acknowledgement of change.
    Like the Minitrue in "1984", Chareidi society changes over time but then revises history to pretend that the way they are is the way they've always been. Pointing out 'No, you've changed!" effectively enough leads to a strong reaction in which further change is delayed.
    The "new Chareidim" are important and a welcome change but perhaps no one should have pointed this out.

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  7. That's a good point, Garnel. But I've always felt that it will be strange for someone like Jonathan Rosenblum, 10-20 years from now, when things will have changed, to look back on the articles he wrote, defending not paying taxes and not serving in the army.

    It's one thing to say "Charedim feel they're contributing as much as soldiers by learning" when you're forced to justify it because it's the current way of life. It'll be much harder for him to explain that to his grandchildren and great-grand-children. Of course, as you say, a little re-writing of history will be done. It's just a little harder to do that when everything is on record.

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  8. YS:

    You are correct, Jonathan Rosenblum is a useful idiot for the Charedi establishment and he will come to regret the intellectually and morally indefensible positions that he has taken over the years.

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  9. The war is about the "New Charedim"?

    Don't think so.

    Here are some useful links:
    http://bektzara.blogspot.co.il/

    http://bshch.blogspot.co.il/

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  10. YS, you raise a point that I've blogged about before. For some reason there are those across the frum spectrum that just don't "get" the internet's power yet.
    You have a video on YouTube of a prominent Chabad rabbi discussing how the Rebbe, a"h, even now runs the world but ask your local shaliach (like I did) and he'll either deny it happened or say that you didn't understand it.
    You have to remember that Rav Rosenblum (please don't call him an idiot, he's a very knowledgeable and well-meaning person) is not just writing for us kofrim but also for his own community and that community never looks to the "outside" but works with information handed it to. So if kids in a generation or two are handed the new version of history they are unlikely to pull up old articles from 25-50 years ago to compare.

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  11. I didn't mean that JR is stupid. He's clearly quite intelligent. When I called him a "useful idiot" I meant it in a technical sense.

    From Wikipedia:

    "In political jargon, useful idiot is a pejorative term used to describe people perceived as propagandists for a cause whose goals they do not understand, who are used cynically by the leaders of the cause."

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  12. I don't want to come across too harsh, but the term "manhig hador" is pretty idiotic.
    The whole dor? Can't R Kanievsky see reality?
    Not the Chassidim, and they are huge. Just Belz and Gur together are bigger than the whole litvish yeshiva world in EY. I'm sure in a potential showdown, Chassidim will follow their rebbe.
    Does dor include Eida Charedit?
    How about Sefardim. Just demographically, ROY gets about 5 times as many people to vote for his Shas party than all the Litvish Roshei Yeshiva.
    What about chutz laaretz? Satmar anyone?
    Of course we haven't begun to mention more controversial (in his eyes) groups like Chardal, Dati Leumi, Chabad or YU, YI.
    So what is manhig hador supposed to mean?
    How about a reality check.

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  13. Garnel,

    It's because I respect Rav Rosenblum intellectually and I believe him to be a decent and an intellectually honest person that I don't envy him when he takes a look back at his columns 20 years down the line.

    I wasn't referring to others reading those articles. I was referring to Rav Rosenblum himself and his family-members who read the articles.

    I used to read him fairly religiously. He lost me when (I believe this was in the late 90's) he wrote something to the effect that his son learning in yeshiva was doing as much to protect the people of Israel as a soldier manning a Patriot missile battery.

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  14. Lest anyone think this is hyberbole, think again. The following is taken directly from the linked Yated article , descrbing a "true" charedi as compared to a "new" charedi. It is just nauseating:


    "If circumstances force him to leave the beis hamedrash and seek a livelihood, he will do so against his will and not proudly declare that he is "a working chareidi". His career is no source of pride for him . . . He will constantly reaffirm to himself and his family the realization that Torah scholars are on the highest attainable level, beyond any comparison to him."

    "The New Chareidi creates an inverted pyramid of values which promotes going to work as an ideal and he admires Western material careerism. He seeks to create a class of working chareidim that will be recognized as admirable and praiseworthy."

    And on it goes. Like I said, nauseating.

    A Schreiber

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  15. Proud to be in kollelJune 18, 2012 at 9:25 PM

    Adam Zur and YS, you both bemoan how Bnei Torah think they are heroes and elitist etc etc
    Take a look in Yoreh Deah 243:2 where the Halacha states that those involved in learning Torah most of the day, (even if its not Toroso Umnoso, as long as they are learning most of the day) do not need to pay taxes for the security of the town as their Torah guards the city.
    This is not R Eliashiv speaking, this is Shulchan Oruch.
    Dont get me wrong, i have no problem with the blue shirts who
    go out and work, they are doing what Ribono Shel Oilom wants from them, however those who are lucky enough to be the shevet levi and delve in Torah are on a different plane as the blue shirts.
    So now is the time for both of you to show if your worth your salt, you complain that we charedim ignore rabbinic writings that dont agree to our mindset, so are both of you going to accept the halacha that we bnei torah do not pay taxes as our learning guards your city?

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  16. koillel nick:

    Maybe he would answer that the others (Chasidim, Dati Leumi, etc) simply don't realize who's really being manhig, while the lita'im do.

    You hadn't heard that the KB"H himself appointed the "Bnei Torha' (ie. the Lita'im) to be manhig the world?

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  17. For the life of me I cannot understand how politically conservative, frum Jews in America are proud of their children learning in kollel in Lakewood or Israel.

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  18. "Adam Zur and YS, you both bemoan how Bnei Torah think they are heroes and elitist etc etc
    Take a look in Yoreh Deah 243:2 where the Halacha states that those involved in learning Torah most of the day, (even if its not Toroso Umnoso, as long as they are learning most of the day) do not need to pay taxes for the security of the town as their Torah guards the city."

    Not sure what that has to do with elitism. But in any case, you haven't learned the sugya properly. See my post Who Doesn't Believe That Kollel Students Are As Good As Soldiers?

    Here's part of that post:

    Note that Responsa Radvaz 2:752 greatly restricts the extent of the Gemara's ruling about Torah scholars being exempt from contributing towards security, including stating that it does not apply in cases where the rabbis consider themselves in need of protection. (I have seen quotes of other sources that the exemption only applies to situations where the protection is from theft, and not when lives are in danger.)

    Second, and most significantly: Regardless of the sources that someone might dig up/ reinterpret to claim that yeshivah and kollel students are protecting Israel, the bottom line is that (a) the facts on the ground demonstrate otherwise, and (b) when push comes to shove, the charedim don't even believe it themselves.

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  19. "Proud to be in kollel", I have four questions for you.

    1) How do you square the kollel lifestyle with Chazal's statements about "kol Torah she'ain imah melachah sofah betalah," and about how it is better for a person to take a lowly occupation than to rely on others for charitable support?

    2) How do you account for the fact that there was virtually no such thing as kollel until about a century ago?

    3) How do you reconcile kollel with the kesubah, as well as general halachah and hashkafah, which places the onus of support upon the husband?

    4) Are you raising your children with a means and desire to earn a livelihood, or with no secular education and a belief that they have essentially failed if they go to work?

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  20. Proud to be in kollelJune 18, 2012 at 9:53 PM

    Rabbi Slifkin, please dont accuse me of not listening to Chazal who command us to support our family, of course i support my family albeit on a meager level with my paycheck of $600 that i bring home every month.
    Like all other bnei torah we work hard for our living, we use our mind in the most intellectual way in understang the Shev Shmatsa and R Boruch Ber. And sometimes when it gets a bit tough a cup of coffe helps us through.
    Yes,i will admit it is not always easy, sometimes i do think how more enjoyable it will be to sit in an office with a computer, however we Bnei Torah are being honest with ourselves and know that eventhough we may not feel the kedusha of Torah all the time, we do know we are sitting next to Hashems throne and giving him nachas that cannot be compared to anything else.
    So please just back off will you with us bnei torah, you are most welcome to join us but if not just watch your words, we are the Meshichei Hashem and you dont want to start up with us.
    And finally can i remind you to provide me with a Rambam that is more hotly disputed by the Achronim than this Rambam that you like to quote in not receiving money for teaching Torah

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    Replies
    1. Proud - you have got to be a shill. "We are the mishichei Hashem"?! Really? Such is the humility of the kollel world? Only a stringer would write such obscenely arrogant words. Shame on you.

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  21. @David T.

    Charedim are just like Reform. They pick and choose which bits of Halachah apply to them. The difference is attitude. Reform are live-and-let-live with respect to other Jews who have picked a different subset. Charedim, on the other hand, believe that their subset is the true path and all others are false.

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  22. @Proud to be in kollel,
    You just ignored the Rema at your cited halacha that limits Talmidei Chachamim to someone who can answer in most places in Shas and piskei hageonim. That's a pretty tough call. How many kollel guys can do that? Can you?
    And whats this about "most of the day?" Beis Yosef there cites Rosh that says he can't waste any time from learning Torah.
    Also there, Pischei Teshuva, citing Kenesses Yecheskael basically throws the whole halacha out the window for anyone without an appointed job as rabbi.

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  23. Proud to be in kollel said...we do know we are sitting next to Hashems throne and giving him nachas that cannot be compared to anything else.

    So, now it's not just the "gedolim" but every Tom, Dick and Harry who sits in Kollel who knows what is in Hashem's Mind with perfect clarity?
    I know Kollel doesn't concentrate on Tanach, but maybe you'd better review Isaiah 55:8 Hint, it'll be read on July 8th at mincha

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  24. Proud to be in Kollel wrote:

    "we do know we are sitting next to Hashems throne and giving him nachas that cannot be compared to anything else."

    "we are the Meshichei Hashem and you dont want to start up with us."

    Zu Torah ve Zu Schara?

    The combination of simple-mindedness and arrogance is astonishing.

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  25. "It amazes me that they can propose this so brazenly, apparently without an inkling that is entirely contrary to Chazal."

    The 19th century Reformers were equally brazen, except that most of them at least knew that they were acting contrary to Chazal.

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  26. @proud to be in kollel,
    Shulchan Aruch holds like the Rambam that it is prohibited to take money for studying Torah. In Kessef Mishne he offers 2 options. First he argues on Rambam. Second option, he agrees but works with eis laasos. Since he cites Rambam's halacha word for word in SA, we are left with second option. Which basically means that according to SA, kollel may be permitted as a necessary evil.

    Also, it isn't that Torah scholars are guarding the city, for in that case there would be no need for anyone in the city to need netirussa, rather the Talmid chacham himself does not need netirussa. Big difference.

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  27. Rabbi Slifkin, please dont accuse me of not listening to Chazal who command us to support our family, of course i support my family albeit on a meager level with my paycheck of $600 that i bring home every month

    Which is collected from tzedakah. I don't think that this counts as supporting one's family. Otherwise, beggars are also supporting their family!

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  28. And finally can i remind you to provide me with a Rambam that is more hotly disputed by the Achronim than this Rambam that you like to quote in not receiving money for teaching Torah

    I never brought up this Rambam! You did! I certainly think that it's an aberrant minority view, and I myself take money for teaching Torah!

    So please just back off will you with us bnei torah, you are most welcome to join us but if not just watch your words, we are the Meshichei Hashem and you dont want to start up with us.

    Your ga'avah is astounding.

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  29. David T. wrote:

    "Which is collected from tzedakah. I don't think that this counts as supporting one's family. Otherwise, beggars are also supporting their family!"

    Reminds me of a time I was in Manhattan talking to a panhandler. After a couple of minutes, he said that he couldn't talk to me anymore because he had to get back to work.

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  30. Proud to be Torah Im Derech EretzJune 18, 2012 at 10:54 PM

    "you are most welcome to join us but if not just watch your words, we are the Meshichei Hashem and you dont want to start up with us."

    Kollel guy, you are most welcome to follow Chazal's recommendations and practice Torah im Derech Eretz. But if not, just watch your words, we are the real Ovdei Hashem and you dont want to start up with us! Nyaaaa!

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  31. There shouldn't be any shame in receiving support to learn Torah, as long as the benefactor is given credit too. The first tractate of Mishnah that I learned was Zevachim. The second mishnah there cites "Shimon, the brother of Azariyah". Azariyah supported his brother's learning, so it was seen fitting to give Azariyah equal billing.
    Rashi also makes note (Devarim 33:18) that Zevulun gets a brachah before Yissachar, because he enabled Yissachar to devote himself/themselves to learn Torah.

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  32. "Rabbi Slifkin, please dont accuse me of not listening to Chazal who command us to support our family, of course i support my family albeit on a meager level with my paycheck of $600 that i bring home every month."

    That's not working for a living. In fact, for the halachic reasons we discuss, it's actually referred to as schar batalah. You are paid NOT to work.

    "Like all other bnei torah we work hard for our living, we use our mind in the most intellectual way in understang the Shev Shmatsa and R Boruch Ber. And sometimes when it gets a bit tough a cup of coffe helps us through."

    And sometimes, even when it's not tough, because it never is, we take off to go to a wedding, or do whatever else we feel like, because we're not responsible for anything. Some of us actually learned in kollel so let's not make up stories.

    "Yes,i will admit it is not always easy, sometimes i do think how more enjoyable it will be to sit in an office with a computer,"

    You would think so, because you've never had to work.

    "however we Bnei Torah are being honest with ourselves and know that eventhough we may not feel the kedusha of Torah all the time, we do know we are sitting next to Hashems throne and giving him nachas that cannot be compared to anything else."

    It's a good thing you're so brutally honest with yourself.

    "So please just back off will you with us bnei torah, you are most welcome to join us but if not just watch your words, we are the Meshichei Hashem and you dont want to start up with us."

    Okay, moshiach. This is why it's so hard to affect charedim. The more obvious it becomes that what they do is ridiculous the more ridiculous the justification becomes. The gap between reality and belief becomes so wide that bridges can no longer be constructed. Belief either loses any semblance of reality or crumbles.


    "And finally can i remind you to provide me with a Rambam that is more hotly disputed by the Achronim than this Rambam that you like to quote in not receiving money for teaching Torah"

    The rambam you refer to assurs being paid for learning/teaching. Those who argue are matir. Being matir an individual and making something an ideal for an entire society are two very different things. R' Hayyim Volozhiner's reinterpretation of R' Yishmael's shittah notwithstanding, the gemarah is clear that learning and not working is not a good idea for the masses. As you seem to like challenges, I challenge you to find shittos older than 300 years which advocates everyone sitting and learning.

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  33. Paid rabbis and teachers exist in every Jewish community, even though many sources condemn the practice.

    But Haredism goes far beyond that. It claims that earning one's keep is worthless, a waste of time, and that the best thing able-bodied men can do is to make themselves and their families a burden on society, willing or otherwise, in order to learn full-time.

    This idea is self-destructive, meretricious and oppressive. It also contradicts what Hazal said--and what they did. Working for a living was good enough for the Tannaim, Amoraim and Rishonim.

    And to the self-described "meshichei Hashem": Get a grip. That unctuous feeling you're experiencing is not God's work; it's just you being a greaseball.

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  34. "Although not exactly supportive of the new charedim, they aren't in an all-out war with them"

    While I think that the term "new Chareidi" had not been coined yet, there is a video of Rav Steinman shlita saying that the desire to exclude the daughters of a "new chareidi" woman (not "modern", just not our type, "open minded" etc.) from a school was arrogance.

    http://daattorah.blogspot.com/2012/05/rav-steinmanreject-kids-who-are-wrong.html

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  35. One "system" of combining working and learning I heard in a shiur on the book Pele Yoetz (a similar sentiment could be found in Me'am Loez on Pirke Avot, if I remember correctly): A person makes an account of how much money he needs to earn every day. If he manages to earn it by midday, he devotes the rest of the day to learning. If it takes longer to earn what he needs for the day, he continues to work until he earns that amount.

    The problem is, working now is a lot more complicated than when the Pele Yoetz was writing--which jobs will allow you to stop work when you've earned "enough"? Even though such an ideal is written in seforim, it seems impractical nowadays.

    Perhaps the same could be said about devoting a life to learning--society is perhaps too complex now to allow for it, than when this ideal was stated.

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  36. I would encourage readers to read the last 20 comments or so on the post regarding Kollel vs. soldiers. RNS is closed-minded about it, but he is essentially arguing on the Netziv and R' Moshe Feinstein. RNS' arguments in that post are extremely weak.

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  37. Proud to be in KollelJune 19, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    Hi all, i am back and i can see i really disturbed all of you with my comments on how to view the picture from my side.
    I cannot answer all of you individually but allow me just 2 points:
    Alot of you came up with Torah im Derech eretz which Chazal advocate in many places. True, and i will admit i do not know how to reconcile those chazals with a kollel lifestyle.
    But for heavens sakes try being a bit consistent. You all accept Rabbi Slifkins vast knowledge of animals as Torah Misinai as after all he studied animals for 20 years and is a pro in that field, so R Dessler, R Kotler and Ponivizer Rov who all studied Torah for 60 years and were therefore pro's in the field of Torah, do you honestly think they did not know this mishne of Torah im Derech Eretz and how to apply it???
    So do you believe in the experts or not? For secular knowledge yes but for Torah no... your inconsistentcy never fails to amaze me.
    Now as i said in an earlier piece, our consistency is in that we follow the mesorah which is vital in how to apply Chazals teachings, but for you guys who dont appreciate/believe in Mesorah why are you so careful with Torah im Derech Eretz but lax in ben shmone esreh l'chupah....why do you pick one and not the other? again your inconsistency never fails to amaze me.
    Now for my second point, the anger you all have against us Bnei Torah which was evident from between the lines from nearly all of you was in my view most irrational. We have never condemned your lifestyle with the same passion as you are condemning ours, in fact i havent seen any Godol condemn someone who chooses Torah im Derech Eretz i have just seen them not advocating it.
    Your passion and high blood pressure when this topic gets raised just tells me you are all to emotionally involved and i dont feel i can have a mature debate with most of you.
    So i wish all of you hatzlacha,I love every single one of you as you are all doing what Hashem wants from you, and you are giving him nachas in your own way, but for us Bnei Torah we remain proud for being the princes of Klal Yisroel.

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  38. RNS is closed-minded about it, but he is essentially arguing on the Netziv and R' Moshe Feinstein.

    Reminds me of the days of the great Torah-Science controversy, when people said that I was essentially arguing on Maharal and Chida. Of course I was, but then so were Rambam and plenty of Rishonim.

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  39. "so R Dessler, R Kotler and Ponivizer Rov who all studied Torah for 60 years and were therefore pro's in the field of Torah, do you honestly think they did not know this mishne of Torah im Derech Eretz and how to apply it???"

    The Pope has been learning the Chumash for 80 years, do you honestly think that he does not know how to apply it???

    Saul Lieberman learned Talmud for 80 years, do you honestly think that he does not know how to apply it???

    But in any case, there is a simpler response. None of the figures you cite lived in a world in which tens of thousands (or even thousands) of people learned in kollel. They permitted kollel in an era when it was a few people and Torah was on the verge of extinction - an Eis La'asos if there ever was one. No comparison today.

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  40. Here is a quote from an article of R' Aharon Lichtenstein on exemptions for yeshiva students (Tradition, Fall 1985) who presents a very compelling argument against draft exemptions:

    Finally, even if we grant that the Rambam's statement does imply a categorical dispensation in purely halachic terms, it remains of little practical significance. We have yet to examine just to whom it applies. A levi [sic] is defined genealogically. Those who are equated with him, however, literally or symbolically, are defined by spiritual qualities; and for these the Rambam sets a very high standard indeed. He present an idealized portrait of a selfless, atemporal, almost ethereal person - one whose spirit and intelligence have led him to divest himself of all worldly concerns and who has devoted himself "to stand before God, to serve Him, to worship Him, to know God; and he walks aright as the Lord has made him and he has cast off from his neck the yoke of the many considerations which men have sought." To how large a segment of the Torah community - or, a fortiori, of any community - does this lofty typology apply? To two percent? Five Percent? Can anyone... confront a mirror and tell himself that he ought not to go to the army because he is kodesh kodashim, sanctum sanctorum, in the Rambam's terms? Can anyone with even a touch of vanity or a concern for kavod contend this? Lest I be misunderstood, let me state clearly that I have no quarrel with economic aspiration or with normal human foibles per se. again, least of all do I wish to single out b'nei yeshivot for undeserved moral censure. I do feel, however, that those who would single themselves out for saintliness should examine their credentials by the proper standard

    See my post Who should be exempt from serving in the army? for more.

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  41. Reminds me of the days of the great Torah-Science controversy, when people said that I was essentially arguing on Maharal and Chida. Of course I was, but then so were Rambam and plenty of Rishonim.

    Great! So you don't think Kollel is illegitimate, and indeed there are great authorities to rely upon. Eilu V'eilu.

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  42. "our consistency is in that we follow the mesorah which is vital in how to apply Chazals teachings"

    That's not consistency. You're following your charedi Gedolim of today, not the historical tradition.

    why are you so careful with Torah im Derech Eretz but lax in ben shmone esreh l'chupah....why do you pick one and not the other?

    Because there are very good reasons for getting married after 18 in today's society, and there are not good reasons for creating a society of economic ruin.

    We have never condemned your lifestyle with the same passion as you are condemning ours

    Baloney. I learned in charedi yeshivos, I heard much worse things said about "our" lifestyle than anyone has said about yours. Also, the non-kollel lifestyle does not impact you, whereas the kollel lifestyle does impact the rest of us (in Israel, where the burden of military service is not shared).

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  43. @proud
    I am not high strung...
    Can you reply to my two comments above? 10:12 and 10:26 ?
    Without polemics please. Just pure sugya.

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  44. "for us Bnei Torah we remain proud for being the princes of Klal Yisroel."

    Fine, if you want to ignore Chazal and basic common sense, that's your business. Just don't expect the rest of Klal Yisrael, who follows Chazal, to admire you or fund you.

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  45. "Great! So you don't think Kollel is illegitimate, and indeed there are great authorities to rely upon. Eilu V'eilu."

    Don't know where you get that from.

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  46. RNS can you explain yourself, you write the facts on the ground do not support the halacha that the rabbis bring security to the town.
    Do you pray for sick people eventhough the facts on the ground do not support that it works?

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  47. Never mind science, Chareidi schools just at least teach Jewish History. It's a mitzvah, after all.

    Getting married at 18 may be in the Mishna, but for most of the time of the Rishonim, boys would be married off 13-16. That was Masorah for Ashkenaz. Why don't you follow it now?

    Meanwhile, the Rambam brings down as Halacha, that one should first have a firm economic foundation, and only then get married, no age limits, and that's what was nohug by several Jewish societies, and men married in their 30s.

    The problem with "Masorah" is that it was destroyed for the vast majority of the Jewish People. We don't know, and those who know, ignore it in favor of a mythical world that never existed.

    For instance: Proud, how many of your grandfathers learned in Kollel?

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  48. Do you pray for sick people even though the facts on the ground do not support that it works?

    Sure I do. Now you answer a question. Would you rather live in a yishuv in the West Bank with a kollel but no fence or guards, or in a yishuv with a fence and guards but no kollel?

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  49. Dear R. Slifkin. I did not mention the gemara in bava metizia because it seemed to me to have nothing to do with the actual issue of serving in IDf for the sake of Milchemet Mitzvah.
    So I agree with you that yes Torah scholars don't have to build the wall of the city. But still the mitzvah of IDF is a different issue. Also I agree that learning Torah is a great thing. But it should not be used as a shovel to make a living with. And it is not a petur from IDF.

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  50. Looking back at our history,it`s hard to find any period that could possibly afford any kind of subsidised learning program-education was simpler,and barely affordable at that, for a child who was too young to work. Never mind an able-bodied adult. All the stories we hear are about grinding poverty. Once in a long while, an illuy was given support in order to learn, but most people lived on the edge of starvation.

    Maybe the argument we`re having here is the exact cause for the discouraging of kolel-it invites cynicism. You can pile up all the haskamas you want,tell me again and again how learing al day is the way to go. But the pshat of this posuk is that kolel is an excuse to not engage in a livelihood,and to have the community and family support you. It brings the Torah into disrepute, ch`v.

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  51. mentioning the tashbatz is not helpful. the tashbatz never says that to learn torah for pay in permitted. he address the issue of hiring a rav for a community and paying him--not for learning but doing regular types of things that ravs do.
    there is no rishon that allows tasking pay for learning Torah.
    you would think that people that make it their business to know torah would know this simple fact. but come to think of it maybe they have some reason not to acknowledge this fact. So either they know and are lying. Or they don't know and then you can wonder about what they do all day?

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  52. Looks like Rav Yisrael Gellis and Rav Slifkin disagree:

    "I love getting the free weekly Yated Ne'eman and the other Israeli Charedi weeklies. They are so valuable! They are the absolute perfect size for lining the cage of my fruit bats." - Rav Slifkin, http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2012/06/to-batcage.html

    "The newspaper today is problematic and it simply worthless. Once upon a time there was one newspaper, Hamodia. It was good for many things, to clean windows, sift flour, wrap fish and do many things with it. Today B”H there are a few, each with a purpose. HaMevaser today is still good to clean windows. Mishpacha is good for wrapping fish since it is a better quality paper. Yated Ne’eman is good for nothing." - Rav Yisrael Gellis, http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/article.php?p=130337

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  53. Meir says.
    Really this kollel-nick needs a much longer reply for him to accept reality. No one disputes the fact that real learners should be paid to learn. The real question is how 'real' are you.
    Will you be growing up a Rav Elyashiv or anyone remotely similar. Unless that is the case, the money you obtain is no different to g'naiva. Can you tell us how many mesechtas you have already learnt and how much each have costed the public. Or better still how much time you spend 'really' learning a week.
    It is a 'soft' option to have others work for you and you dont even appreciate them.
    You say you have to 'think' about learning, does it disturb your sleep at all, and do you really think about it. You read the gemoro make some sense out of it and thats that. And in the meantime you drink your coffee, talk on your cell phone and turn over the page. Whom are you fooling if not yourself.

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  54. Maybe I am wrong, but I thought the whole concept of a kollel was that there would always be a few young men, who were just starting out with families, learning Torah full-time for 1 to 3 years. They would be "special" people who had shown they have an aptitude and the intellect to understand the nuances of Gemara and Halacha and who wanted to solidify and deepen their understanding; not much different from individuals who go on and get graduate degrees.
    After that they would leave the kollel and work at some profession, maybe the rabbinate, maybe not. Maybe they went to college, maybe not. But now, as truly learned Jews, they would be able to give back to the community and help others solidify their learning. Communities who value such people and want such an institution support it. Sometimes the kollel members help teach as part of their stipend, but not necessarily. It depends on the agreement between those who are providing the financial support and those who are learning. since, ultimately a contract needs to be drawn.
    Where did the idea arise that men would sit and learn in a kollel, with a small stipend, for their entire adult lives, while trying to support a family consisting sometimes of 8 or 9 children on $600/mo?
    I know too many older couples, in their 60's, 70's and 80's that have children with large families who must continue to work full time to support their children and grandchildren, because their kollel children are incapable of supporting themselves. I don't call that religion or Torah, I call it dependence and enabling that borders on mental illness. It causes families, and societies to question the sanity of an observant life and those who adhere to it.
    We live in a universe that requires physical efforts, and physical give and take. We live in a universe that requires reciprocation and payment for everything we do... I am not interested in how kollel guys protect me spiritually, I can do that on my own, thank you. I am interested in seeing everyone able to support themselves physically. This is what leads to a healthy and joyous life, with real spiritual opportunities.

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  55. Nebech how the concept of mesorah has become so distorted. Tanach, talumud, and reshonim out the window to be replaced by more recent achronim and the 'manhig hador' in bnei brak. One more thing to lament this July 8th.

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  56. Anonymous said: "No one disputes the fact that real learners should be paid to learn. The real question is how 'real' are you."

    Rav Chaim Shalom Deitch, the Rosh Kollel of the Tzemach Tzedek Kollel, in Jerusalem's Old City, once related a conversation he had with the Lubavitcher Rebbe. The Rebbe threated Rav Deitch that if the avreichim in the kollel don't produce a pamphlet of their chiddushim at the end of the year, he will have the kollel shut down. Proper in-depth learning must have tangible results.

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  57. What i dont understand is, why are there people still funding these kollels. Just Lakewood and Mir alone have a monthly budget of over a million. This kind of money is not coming from your average Mr Charedi from Coney Island, this must be coming from the big boys with the big bucks, level headed buissnessmen some of them not even orthodox.
    They are not being forced to give, they are pouring in millions to support the kollel guys by their own choice.
    Why are they doing it? i just dont get it

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  58. Anonymous said: "No one disputes the fact that real learners should be paid to learn. The real question is how 'real' are you."

    It's often posited in discussions such as this one that learning full-time (and the avoidance of military service and employment) is ok for a select few, the top yeshiva guys, some of whom will become the leaders of Klall Yisrael.

    There's also an idea, promoted in the yeshiva-world, that leaving the yeshiva for a period of time, say, to do the army portion of hesder, causes a yeshiva bachur to have his learning broken up and causes him to stop growing in learning, perhaps permanently impacting his growth in Torah.

    In actuality, serving in the Israeli army (and probably in some other armies too) is crucial to one's development.

    I strongly believe that army service in Israel and employment are essential to someone's growth as a person. You can't have a truly informed opinion on any issues related to the army/Yesha etc. if you haven't served and a soldier's time in the Israeli army is a critical part of his development as a member of society. And if you haven't actually served, then you have no idea what being in the army is about, no matter how many stories you hear from your friends. This is true, albeit to a somewhat lesser degree, of someone's familiarity with the notion of employment and business.

    To argue that it's ok for the future leaders of society to be completely shielded from these experiences because they're need to be growing in learning and can't grow as people is a mistake made by people who feel they need to show that they understand the importance of learning.

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  59. When did R' Shmuel Auerbach become a candidate for "Gadol Hador"?

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  60. Jeremy,

    "big boys with the big bucks, level headed buissnessmen "

    You would be surprised how superstitious the very rich businessmen are.

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  61. I'm fairly surprised that smart people like yourselves can't read between lines.

    It's impossible that R' Shteinman and those in his camp only believe in supporting limud torah without exception. Do you honestly think R' Shteinman believes there should be no hospitals? no doctors? no other wonderful institutions? Countless chesed organizations have haskoamos from him and those in his camp.

    What he is saying, especially to those in his inner community, is that there are plenty of Jews to support hospitals and chesed organization that WON'T support Torah/limud Torah causes. Therefore, those that want to further Torah knowledge should focus exclusively on supporting limud Torah.

    This appears to be very pragmatic and simple to understand.

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