Monday, November 18, 2013

The Charedi Tragedy of Ignoring Chazal

The following video, which tells the tragic story of the crushing poverty facing the charedi community in Israel, was shown at the Agudas Yisrael convention:


The video describes the standard charedi kollel family as having a total income of 5100 shekels a month, which is "not nearly enough to live off." As a result, we are told, "they must rely on chesed organizations for necessary expenses." And they often cannot afford to provide food, medical care or basic necessities for their large families.

The video indicates that this is all the fault of the government. Dov Krulwich explains why this is incorrect: "The cuts in government funding didn’t cause the unsustainability; the unsustainability led to the cuts in government funding. The government simply didn’t have enough money, and it cut almost everything, including critical army training and lots more, and raised sales tax (VAT), and cut child subsidies for all citizens, and more. The numbers of people collecting charity door-to-door had skyrocketed before the government cuts. The government cuts were an attempt to bring a solution by motivating chadorim and yeshivos to give the bare minimum of secular studies, as is done in America." When a large and rapidly growing sector of the population has only half the employment rate of the rest of the population, of course this is going to harm the economy. Cuts in funding are the inevitable result.

It is astonishing that a problem so grave has its cause and solution staring at them in the face, and yet they refuse to acknowledge it - even though they are ignoring Chazal's explicit directives.

The men need to WORK!!!

The video describes a typical man in kollel as "earning" 1200 NIS a month. But he doesn't "earn" it - he is given it as charity. He is accumulating Torah knowledge for himself, but he does not contribute a product or service to society. And even if you're going to follow the view of some recent mystically-oriented Acharonim and claim that the person is contributing spiritual energy to the country, it is clearly hopelessly inadequate for supporting one's family. Such people, if they cannot get by, need to leave kollel and go to work. (In fact, according to the Rishonim, they should leave kollel and go to work even if they can get by in kollel.)

A man has to work to support his family! There are countless sources in Chazal to that effect. “A person should hire himself out for alien work rather than requiring assistance from others”; “The man who is self-sufficient is greater than the one who fears Heaven”; etc., etc. It's even written in the kesubah. A rabbi from an outreach kollel wrote to me recently with harsh criticism of my Jerusalem Post articles, deploring the way that I use "the same old quotes from Rambam and Pirke Avos that the enemies of Torah have been quoting ad nauseum." It's extraordinary that people in the charedi world are so derisive and dismissive towards the teachings of Chazal and Rishonim. And then when they suffer the tragic results of ignoring Chazal, they blame everyone except themselves!

In an attempt to address those who would point out the obvious word WORK, one person in the video says that "even a man who works cannot pay for basic needs." Well, first of all, obviously someone who earns several thousand shekels a month is going to be in a much better situation than someone who receives 1200 shekels a month. Second, a good job, which enables a person to be fully self-sufficient, usually requires education and credentials - a high-school diploma, a college degree, and work experience. This is why Chazal said that a person is required to teach his child a profession. A profession is not something that you can rely on picking up on the spot when you're in your thirties. It requires an education from childhood.

Rabbi Gil Student points out: "What have we created with the kollel system and lack of secular studies? The only surprise is that anyone is surprised at this economic collapse of this unsustainable system. The long-term answer is not charity or government assistance because that, too, will eventually collapse. The answer is teaching the skills necessary to acquire well-paying jobs and creating a social environment where parents are applauded for providing for their children." To this I would add that there needs to be a social environment where parents are encouraged to fulfill their obligation to teach their children both the knowledge and the values necessary for them to be self-sufficient.

In the video, the mayor of Kiryat Sefer says that "we need a lot of rachamei shamayim and a lot of help to survive." No. That is only going to delay the effects of the problem, which will be even greater further down the line. What you need is to start listening to Chazal.

It's tragic that whereas many charedi yeshivah high schools in the US can provide standard secular education and high-school diplomas, yeshivah ketanos in Israel do not, because "the Gedolim say not to." Who are you going to follow - the Gedolim, who (as shown in this video) have failed Klal Yisroel, or Chazal?

90 comments:

  1. Charedim are neo-Christians. Whereas Christians dismissed the Old Testament, the Charedim have simply dismissed ChaZaL and Rishonim. Christians have saints; Charedim have "Gedolim". Catholics have Papal Infallibility; Charedim have Daas Torah. Early Christians were virtually indistinguishable from other Jews; Charedim too, are Jewish by birth and general practice.

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  2. If I were to give money to Kiryat Sefer it would be on the condition they post your article in the center square.

    In addition, people should have known long ago their Gedolim were failing them, the Gedolim solution to a financial problem was to go to America to collect.

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  3. Obviously we can't know this for certain, but the solution may be coming from the most unlikely source - the "gedoilim" themselves, who through their conduct in recent months and weeks are rapidly losing their standing and respect in the charedi street.

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  4. Its shocking how the Agudah had the nerve to play this video. their very existence is to promote this sort of lifestyle.

    Malkiel Kotler and the other people on the Agudah dais are the very people who perpetuate this system. How Kotler was able to sit there while this video played and not immediately announce that Lakewood is shutting down is beyond me.

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  5. I agree that mass Kollel is an aberration from traditional Torah, and that whole communities learning Torah full time and forcing others to support them, in ever increasing numbers, is not a sustainable situation (nor is it a noble or moral philosophy). It has to change.

    But let me ask you: Are sharp cuts in stipends the moral or intelligent way to do that? Is it a reasonable or ethical thing to do to take people off of life support without them first having the ability to support themselves? Is that called "weaning" or is it more like induced starvation? Doesn't the same government who granted those stipends and caused people to become dependent on them have a moral obligation to continue them - to whatever extent it can - until people gradually reach the point where they're able to function independently? Or at the very least, shouldn't such stipends be reduced very gradually, over the course of decades?

    Absolutely, I believe the government can and should intervene in other ways in order to facilitate the transition toward working, as in making government funding of schools dependent on teaching a core curriculum. But any financial policy whose result is increased destitution and suffering I have to call into serious question. And in that one sense I agree with the film.

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    1. The government grants and stipends are a result of political blackmail the haredi parties obtained for supporting the government of the day.

      Since the mid 70s a handful of seats held by Aguda, Degel & Shas could determin the rise and fall of successive governments. A position they were very quick to manipulate in the form of financial and other privileges for the haredi minority.

      For the first time in nearly 50 years, there is a government without these parties. Lapid, whether he realises it or not, is unlikely to be in government in the next term. There is no time for gradual reduction in stipends. This is a unique opportunity to realign the welfare system and though it is very painful for the victims, the actions taken need to be brutal to be effective.

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  6. I just don't understand why the people in America, from whom they are asking for money, are allowed to work? So these people are being 'Moser Nefesh' to learn. Literally 'Moser Nefesh' if they don't have food on the table. Also, why are they allowed to take money from the chiloiyni goverment? If they don't join the army or contribute to the chiloiyni society, why is taking ok?

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  7. As you quote, the only surprise here is that people are actually surprised that it has gotten this bad.

    IMO, it can only get worse, as the numbers of people who are dependant on State handouts and Tzedokah increases (the rate of birth being greater than that of death).

    Until something drastic changes in the Charedi attitude to working - and let's be honest, that really is unlikely - I can't see any hope.

    It is tragic.

    NB. It should be noted that the Belzer Rebbe has encouraged his Chasidim on several occasions to go and work if need be.

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  8. This video reminds me of the story of the kid who killed his parents, then asked the judge for clemency on account of being an orphan.

    You don't get to teach an entire generation to reject working and adopt a poor lifestyle, then complain about the hardships of being poor!

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  9. A little too touchyNovember 18, 2013 at 6:47 PM

    Scary how rabid this blogger is about Chareidim, could it possibly be because he has been rejected in such a major way from this society? I guess nursing wounds in private isn't the rage.....

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  10. Could it possibly be because he has been rejected in such a major way from this society?

    I suppose it's possible, although his extensive and fair-minded presentation of his opponents' arguments makes that scenario unlikely. But the more important point is that his observations are trenchant and compelling. Perhaps a small segment of the Chareidi community driven to begging and/or theft will console themselves by saying "at least we got to insult Slifkin", but one hopes the majority is mature enough to actually do right by their families.

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  11. Do you think that if all Hareidi people will be willing go to work there will be jobs for them?
    If so, why are there still so many secular's without work?
    I can guarantee you that the anti religious in Israel will cry that their jobs are being taken away.

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  12. Anecdotally, I can say your blog speaks for huge numbers of orthodox Jews, all of whom had the same reaction: Utter disbelief. That an organization dedicated to the worship of Gedoilim can show unabashed a video about poverty, a result directly attributable to the very Gedolim they worship. Madness.

    That segment of orthodoxy may have lost its way, but the fact that so many react with this type of revulsion shows that the ship is still standing.

    Gil Student is right. To expect people to affirmatively denounce their gedoilim is too much. Therefore, the solution is to end-around it, by creating a culture in which working people are celebrated, and not those in learning. It will have the same effect.

    [Sad Post script. RNS says that the people in Kollel are not helping society, and only accumulating Torah for themselves. Sadly, in most cases it is not even that much.]

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  13. "[Sad Post script. RNS says that the people in Kollel are not helping society, and only accumulating Torah for themselves. Sadly, in most cases it is not even that much.]" --
    That's too unquantifiable a statement to make. But I agree with the rest of what you wrote.

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    1. It is unquantifiable in that there is no scientific method to gauge the precise levels, however, DF used the term 'most cases' for which there is an abundance of anecdotal evidence. Furthermore, if one were to draw a parallel from the secular world, any university with a student role in excess of 130, 000 and produced as pitifully few proffessors over the past 50 years as the yeshiva world has produced gedolim, would be hard pressed to justify its existence.

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  14. "A profession is not something that you can rely on picking up on the spot when you're in your thirties. It requires an education from childhood."

    Dovid Kornreich, RNS "buddy," proves this "wrong."

    The conversation goes like this:

    Avi from BM of Rav Hirsch said: "Obtaining enough training and experience in order to earn enough to just tread water financially can take years."

    Dovid Kornreich responded:
    "Baloney. Anybody with a personality can sell insurance and earn a good living very quickly. Anybody with a good gemara kup can be a lawyer and catch-up very quickly.
    Anybody with good hands and a natural technological curiosity can be a good technician with minimum training taking apart and re-assembling computers.
    Anybody good in math can become an accountant or go into banking.
    Anybody with an entrepreneurial spirit can start up his own business and make his own niche in a global marketplace.

    I've seen all this happen in the Chareidi sector. It takes a lot of thinking out of the four-year institutional enrollment box, but its done all the time."

    Please see his comment here:
    http://slifkinchallenge.blogspot.com/2011/06/for-your-historical-information-rav.html#!/2011/06/for-your-historical-information-rav.html

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    1. If that's really what he wrote, he is a naive fool.

      I was in the Yeshiva and Kollel system for 6 years. When I finally emerged at the tender age of 26 I consoled myself that with my fantastic Gemora-kop I would find any profession a doddle. After all, a shverrer Toysfos is harder than the most difficult PHd.

      With that rosy thought in mind I embarked upon becoming an accountant. And came crashing down to earth when I realised how hard the exams are, and how the absence of any forced memory retention in Yeshiva if anything had allowed my brain to become lazy rather than supersharp. I struggled my way through bemoaning my naivety in assuming that the world works like Kornreich thinks it does.

      Either he is naive, or he is dishonest.

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    2. Not to get personal but I'm kind of curious to know how the maniac makes his money. Does someone pay him? If so, for what?

      I wonder if he is among those who decided in his 30's that he was good at math and would go into banking or otherwise compete in the global markeetplace and how that worked out for him.

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    3. This belief is very widespread and frightening. I recently took college courses in America, where the yeshivas do have secular education, and the professors were horrified at the bochurims' lack of english and math skills. They were severely handicapped relative to the rest of the population, and they learned less as a result of not having prerequisite knoweledge. I don't understand how someone can be "good at math" and not know algebra, without which you cannot be an accountant.

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  15. Christopher:

    I think that if Chareidi men were willing to work and educated sufficiently to enable them to do so, the vast majority of them would find work, and thereby:

    1) Significantly reduce the poverty rate in their community;

    2) Concomitantly, significantly decrease the need for welfare support of their community;

    3) As a result, significantly decrease non-Chareidi animosity towards their community.

    All of those are obviously good things. And before you ask "better than Torah?" - look to the example of Chazal, who worked for a living and directed us to do the same, rather than choosing poverty and then demanding tzedakka as though it were an entitlement!

    And how do I know that would happen? Well, the Israeli unemployment rate is only 6%. Yet the Chareidi unemployment rate is close to 60% (I am unsure which category that includes "Kollel" in). Dropping the Chareidi unemployment rate by 90% (or even 80%, if you want to argue that social prejudices would somehow keep Chareidim twice as unemployed as the general population) would have obvious benefits. More, "jobs" are not a zero-sum equation where there is a stable quantity of jobs filled by some portion of people, and the introduction of more labor into the workforce drives unemployment up. More workers generally leads to more growth, as businesses expand, customers have more money to spend, etc.

    In sum, WORK is the solution to a self-imposed cycle of poverty.

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  16. I myself am a victim of charedi way of thinking - didn't get a good education and now in a difficult financial situation. Yes, I agree that we've been completely fooled by the gedolim, and your blog has helped me open my eyes. But what do you suggest practically I do now, with a family and little skills? I think people like me need special guidance to help us get on our feet and, yes, do tshuva.
    (I'm completely serious here - I'm post-charedi and post-kollel, not at all trying to be sarcastic)

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  17. This is an abomination. How do people read from Gemara or from the works of our rishonim and justify this?

    "Oh, Rambam said that taking money to learn Torah kicks us out of the World to Come? Oh well, let's just skip this part."

    This is utter absurdity. I cannot understand how there are Jews that have devolved into this mess.

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  18. Akva-"I think that if Chareidi men were willing to work and educated sufficiently to enable them to do so, the vast majority of them would find work, and thereby:"

    People in general have degrees and still cannot find work. A degree does not = work.


    "3) As a result, significantly decrease non-Chareidi animosity towards their community."

    That's non-sense for the most part. Animosity towards them is usually driven because they are (at least perceived) to be more religious. That is the root.
    It is like saying that if only Jews becomes less successful anti-semites would hate Jews less. The rich or poor is an excuse rather then the cause.

    Anyway I do agree with work being a good solution, but you also need to know that finding and keeping work is hard in today's day and age after the global (near) collapse.

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  19. Can I pose a question and beg for an answer, since I've NEVER received one, despite asking the question numerous times. Ok, here goes:

    What is the purpose, reason, motivation, pathology, mitzvah-WHATEVER- that causes a family that is under extreme financial duress (aka, Poverty) to continue having more children that they clearly cannot afford to support?

    I'm no Posek, but I know there are leniencies- lots of them- for use of birth control. It's very expensive to have a child, and that not only includes food, diapers, clothes, medical bills, but also the time that must be spent caring for a baby , which is time that cannot be spent working.

    The pressure that results from this cycle must be enormous, and it can't have a positive impact on the family environment. On the contrary, it must be devastating.
    Yet, I almost never read about some common sense understanding, and implementation, of family planning, no matter how reasonable that approach may be.

    It seems to me that it severely perverted to structure Haredi society around the practise of receiving government support. This is no different from an institutionalized welfare state. That's bad enough; in fact, it's horrible. But to continue to have children while living off the public dole, or shnorring for basic sustenance, is insane- at least to me.

    Is there anyone who can comment on this? I'm willing to be be supported, or even criticised for asking these questions, but I'd love someone to address them who is more attuned to the situation than I am.

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  20. Sol,
    I was in the same boat. We have treaded water for over 2 decades. Ironically, the only explanation I can give as to how my family has survived financially (although there has been some serious fallout in other ways)is that Hashem has looked out for me as a reward for my previous sincere Mesiras Nefesh. (How twisted is my logic? :-) )

    I have instructed my children to go to college. They really didn't me to tell them that. They all understood that we were struggling, and they also understood that we would never stand in their way of improving their situations.

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  21. Sol:

    It depends where you live. If you are in the US, I would see about going back to school for a secular education that could take you down the road to a real career. For example, if R' Kornreich really did say a gemara kup is a boon to lawyers, I can tell you from experience that's true. It's a long road - but there are loans available for education that you can use to help support yourself (and family?) while making that move.

    Mr. Burstein: Sure, some level of animosity will always be there for some people. But for most chiloni Israelis, the issue is simply that a sector of their society is soaking up limited government funds not because even striving to be self-sufficient they can't make it, but by design and philosophy.

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  22. Somehow the poverty stricken Israeli kollel guys are somehow coming up with $250k for an apartment for their son in law.

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  23. Akiva- nope. That animosity always existed even when the Haredim were much fewer in numbers and the % taken by them was extremely low. It is still probably not that high right now as well.
    Also the leftists hate the Settlers and many of the Dati-Leumi as well even though they probably are the most productive in society. Soo its not about $ and poverty for the most part.

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  24. Fred - there are a few ways to answer your question. I'm sure that for some people, it's simply a given that it's wrong to not have a child for financial reasons. For others, it's taken for granted hat one must do what their posek says, and, in Israel at least, Charedi poskim often take a very hard line on this issue.

    There are also other issues that come into the picture, such as bitachon and social pressures. There's certainly an aspect of the rationalist vs. anti-rationalist debate in the various perspectives on this issue (see the conflicting opinions of Rabbis Schachter and Willig mentioned by R. Adlerstein here: http://www.cross-currents.com/archives/2013/10/17/now-what-considered-response-to-the-pew-report-part-two/comment-page-1/#comment-425717).

    What's interesting is that recent Charedi responsa that I've seen have shown more willingness to discuss financial considerations as a factor that may legitimately be taken into account in certain situations. I wonder if this is partly a function of the Israeli Charedi community's deteriorating economic predicament. See this from the rabbis at Dinonline for an example: http://www.din.org.il/2013/10/11/הולדת-ילדים-מול-שיקולים-כלכליים/

    For an excellent article on this topic, which elaborates on the points we're discussing, see here: http://finkorswim.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Contraception.pdf

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  25. Fred, the economics of having more children works as follows:

    Child subsidies in Israel used to be on an increasing scale - the more children you have, the more money you get per child. This ended a few years ago, but you still get money in the bank every month.

    The marginal cost is negligible, at least in the early years.

    Older siblings take over a great deal of the child care of younger siblings (take them for walks, pick them up from gan, etc). In town like Bnei Brak, it is not uncommon to see 6 yo girls taking care of toddlers.

    Clothes, shoes, and school books are passed down. Gemach lending societies provide much of the rest.

    It breaks down when it's time to get married - even if it's not an apartment, even if it's just support for a year or two, setting up an apartment, even just a sheitel for the kalla - people go into debt.

    No, I don't know how they get out of this debt.

    Children are considered true wealth, and it's worth sacrificing to bring them into the world.

    (Disclosure: I am not Chareidi, my husband and I both work to support our children, b"h, but I do personally know families in Bnei Brak with many children, and that is how they function.)

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  26. , the issue is simply that a sector of their society is soaking up limited government funds not because even striving to be self-sufficient they can't make it, but by design and philosophy

    From my very limited experience with Dati Leumi types, the animosity towards the Charedi sector comes from 2 main sources

    1) not just soaking up government resources, and leaching of the broader society, but doing so ungraciously while looking down their noses disdainfully and reject any obligation towards the state that funds them.

    2) Following on from 1; the D'L types would be less aggrieved by the charedim if they would simply serve in the army, or some other form of Sherut Leumi.

    I would add the obnoxious attitude that by wearing a black suit or covering one's hair with a wig automatically makes you "more refined" or "superior" and that your version of Judaism is the only "true" path is cringe worthy as well.

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  27. The dark side of this is, back in the old days (and not all that long ago, either) people who couldn't afford to support their families, lost kids - to malnutrition, disease. Large families were the norm, but most of the children didn't survive to adulthood. It was brutal. We live in a comparatively wealthy and protected time in history, so people don't know what this is like, and what's worse is that they don't know that it could become that way again.

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  28. > What is the purpose, reason, motivation, pathology, mitzvah-WHATEVER- that causes a family that is under extreme financial duress (aka, Poverty) to continue having more children that they clearly cannot afford to support?

    It’s something like this story I heard once upon a time: A chassidishe woman was in the hospital having her tenth kid. The doctor told her that she was straining her body by having so many children so close together, and that she shouldn’t have had as many as she did, let alone have more. She called her husband and told him to bring all the children to the hospital. When they arrived she had them line up next to her bed and asked the doctor, “So, which one should I not have had?”

    It’s a powerful emotional argument. The problem with it, of course, is that no one misses the tenth child who was never conceived. It’s only after a child is born that he or she not having existed becomes unthinkable.

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  29. This video represents an interesting study in how one can play games with numbers. At the beginning we hear "Today, the poverty rate in Israel has reached 20.9%, making Israel the poorest developed nation in the world. The poverty rate in crisis-stricken Europe during the current recession is lower: Spain 15.4%, Greece 14.3%,.."

    I wonder how many of the people in Greece or Spain, etc., have chosen not to work as opposed to not being able to find a job. Israel's high poverty rate is undoubtedly due to the large number of people learning in kollel, something they chose to do. Poverty was not forced on them. They wanted to be "moser nefesh". And now they're complaining!

    The rest of the video consisted of more bait and switch tactics. Good marketing, lousy reality.

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  30. If so, why are there still so many secular's without work?

    the national unemployment is about 7%, which in western terms isn't so high. however, what is important for the chareidim, especially those who live in easy travel distance to the mercaz (bnei brak, beit shemesh, el ad) is that the unemployment levels there are about 5.5%.

    anyone who wants a job can find one. he may have to take a job that doesn't pay much the first year, like construction, but there is work.

    secondly and more importantly, it is nice to cry "they hate us, they won't give us work", they doesn't excuse anyone from getting a job. i don't deny that there is discrimination against chareidim in the job market, there must certainly is. it is a hurdle. being an immigrant is a hurdle, as is being a woman (at least in many fields).

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  31. Shocking, they put pictures of GIRLS into their video..... How could the "geldolim" have possibly allowed that.
    Oh I get it, for charity you can do anything. Just like 1980 when Agudat Yisrael pulled their own law which had a majority in the Keneset, which would have banned the sale of pork products in return for a few shekels.

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  32. With all due respect, there are plenty of good jobs that don't require a degree.

    That a degree is often a prerequisite to a job speaks more about the current job market than it does about the necessity. Enough people are self educated and get jobs in computer help, painting, plumbing.

    That the Hareidim have high unemployment doesn't mean having an education will automatically fix this. Often, one doesn't need a major education for the work they do. Much of work is often learned on the job.

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  33. This is heartbreaking. Aside from your valid points, I ask, does a father (and even a mother) have the right to short-change their children? Does a couple have the right to sentence their children to a life of vitamin deficiency, poverty, rags, and further, to indoctrinate them so that they will sentence their own children to the same?

    It seems to me that Lapid acts more responsibly towards these children than their own parents. As a parent the most basic responsibility you have is to feed, clothe and educate your children. If you can't afford it, get a job, change a job, get education, do something to better yourself.

    My son got a haredi comic book as a present, and he brought it to me, asking about a chapter whose whole point was that the hishtadlus done in this world is in now way connected to the benefits that accrue. Think about this: the haredi author is teaching the young children that cause and effect is a lie, a mirage! You work hard and get money and buy food - it is not the hard work that got you the money! The money was a gift from God, unrelated to your work.

    The haredi world needs this type of faith to maintain its own justification for existence. And yet, it is falsehood - it is an absolute perversion of reality, and a perversion of Torah: מי שטרח בערב שבת, יאכל בשבת!

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    1. It happens to be that this idea is from Chazal and not "haredi". It is explained clearly and at length by the Chovos Halvovos in Sha'ar Habitachon. So, no, it is not a "falsehood", nor a "perversion of reality" and certainly not of the Torah.

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  34. Can you send me a scan of the relevant pages from the comic?

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  35. mevaseretzion,

    I am not sure why this surprises you, this is the prevalent Charedi hashkafa that a leaf does not fall without it being a gezera from Heaven. The Michtav MeiEliyahu states explicitly that hishtadlus is a test, a fake, it has no effect. A person gets money based on a decree from heaven and their efforts are meaningless and have no effect whatsoever. Any seeming connection between hard work and results is simply a test from Hashem.

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  36. The haredi world needs this type of faith to maintain its own justification for existence. And yet, it is falsehood - it is an absolute perversion of reality, and a perversion of Torah

    It is really a shame when people foam off at the mouth with no knowledge of basic hashkafah. This concept is found in both Chovot Halevavot and Mesillat Yesharim. But, as a rule with few exceptions, non-Charedim unfortunately don't give a damn about those sefarim.

    By the way, Natan Slifkin, I seem to recall that you solicit philanthropic donations to fund some of what you do, you parasite.

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  37. Student v,

    Don't be ridiculous. Obviously, he is the only thing that makes any sense for a real yireih shamayim, a Rebbe. But, like many people in his situation, he needs to make this argument or his ideals and way of life are false and the "Gedolim" are wrong. "Obviously," the Gedolim can't be wrong and his way of life is "emes," hence his argument that anyone who learns Gemara can accomplish anything.

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  38. > With all due respect, there are plenty of good jobs that don't require a degree.… computer help, painting, plumbing.

    Painting pays very little, maybe $10 an hour. If you can do fancy patterns and glazes you can make a little more, but that’s a talent most people don’t have. Plumbing is good money, but takes 5-6 years to become a journeyman. The same is true of most of the trades. It’s technically not a “degree,” but becoming a licensed electrician, carpenter, etc. takes as much training as becoming an accountant or a lawyer.

    There is an odd perception that working with your hands is less sophisticated than working in an office – and that anyone can do it. It might be true of menial labor, but anything that you can actually make a living doing (that will cover frum expenses) requires years of training.

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  39. Everyone I know who says "You don't need a degree to do such and such" has a degree.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Sol,

    It occurs to me that an additional level of your 'teshuva' may very well be to get out and educate more people, based on your life experience.

    Perhaps if you would have heard it sooner, you wouldn't have stayed on the wrong road for as long as you did.

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  41. If the Mih-deenah increases its stipends to the "poor" then the Knesses and the TZEEyoinim will declare "Koichee Vioitzem Yohdeee" solved the problem. We can't have that now, can we?

    Libby Ba'Mizrach

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  42. A different question is, was the showing successful? Was the choir inspired to remedy the problem? Barring the moral-ethical consideration of defying chazal, this would "solve" the problem.

    --

    Also, before being able to wean Chareidim off their attitudes, one must address some of their politically incorrcet source material.

    here http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=51471&st=&pgnum=217

    continued here
    http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=51471&st=&pgnum=218&hilite=

    Ramchal states that
    אך לא שההשתדלות מועיל אלא שההשתדלות מוכרח

    This confirms the specific point of the comic book.

    Here (top few lines)
    http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=14312&st=&pgnum=44&hilite=
    we find advocacy for ignoring children's hunger.

    Whoever can interpret the sources in a way that can Chareidim can hear can consider themselves as having done them a great favor.

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  43. Chovot Halevavot does not say that there is no nature, but that we need to recognize the wisdom and the will behind nature, and that is God. Similarly to Moreh Nevochim III 20 (or thereabouts, I don't have it in front of me).

    This is not to say that there is no causal connection, but rather to say that this cause and effect is God's will.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But what the Chovos Halvovos does say is that in regard to parnassah (livelihood), hishtadlus does not make a difference, though he does give reasons for why Hashem desires it anyway.

      Delete
  44. This is the whole idea of אין סומכין על הנס, by the way. Please explain how the parents of children with vitamin deficiencies, lacking warm clothing in the winter, etc, are not either סומך על הנס, or akin to child abusers who know that their life-choices cause their childrens' pain and hardship, but do nothing to relieve it? How are they not building their perceived spiritual greatness on the suffering of others?

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  45. Ramchal states that
    אך לא שההשתדלות מועיל אלא שההשתדלות מוכרח


    I am not saying that no one holds of the idea in the comic book - the book itself quotes Chassidic masters supporting this outlook.

    However, there are Jewish thinkers(amongst them the Rambam, R Bachyeh Ibn Pekuda) who presented a view that made nuanced sense of hishtadlut and its companion, cause and effect, instead of turning it into a manufactured game.

    The question is not, "is this view to be found in the sea of Torah literature". The question is, does this view withstand the test of reality? Do all our faculties point us in the direction of R' Bachyeh and Rambam, and does the view of the Ramchal require us to deny everything we know about the world? (As Rav Saadia says, the Torah does not require us to deny the reality that our honest senses deliver.) Does this comic book present this view in order to perpetuate a social structure that refuses a rejection of cause and effect which causes untold damage and suffering. The answer to these questions is yes.

    As an aside, the Ramchal's view - in moderation - does not lead necessarily to suffering: you can believe that cause and effect is a farce, but as long as you act in accordance with it, you will succeed. This, in fact, is the true view of Ramchal. The problem is that immediately after accepting the mystical view of cause and effect, the haredi world throws out hishtadlut. Hishtadlut becomes, say more tehillim! But that bypasses the very mechanism upon which even the Ramchal admits you must act!

    The question of if one is permitted to learn in kollel (and Rav Moshe's famous teshuva about it) must be separated from the question of "may one learn in kollel if they will place their children in harm's way in doing so?" In this case, it is clear that hishtadlut demands that one withdraw from his own spiritual growth for the physical sustenance of his family. And it matters not one bit if it is the Israeli government, staggering under growing burdens of social welfare, that closes the faucet of support, or one's parents. The responsibility to a family's welfare is ultimately solely that of the two spouses that stand at its head.

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  46. I seem to clearly remember CH matching the Rambam closely, but I can't look through the book and chapter right now (at work). I will, for the sake of total honesty in this discussion, withdraw CH as a compatriot of the Rambam until I have the time to go through it again.

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  47. Why not make agriculture a Charedi specialty. They could be set up in Kibbutzim and Moshavim. They could grow wines, organic fruits, exotic flowers, etc, all while applying high standards of Halacha. Larger families would be a benefit here.

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  48. I once quoted a book called Modern Orthodox Judaism, by the late Rabbi Dr. Menachem-Martin Gordon, whose excellent studies of mezuzah and netilas yadayim can be found linked on the side of this website. In a footnote on p. 31, he describes Rav Dessler's "anti-science position" as follows:

    "Rav Dessler’s book, Mikhtav me-Eliyahu, whose impact on the yeshiva world in recent years has been enormous, represents a radical departure from the Talmudic position (Hullin 105a, Niddah 70b), as well as the medieval philosophic tradition (Rambam, Moreh Nevuchim, 3:17), in its denial of the reality of natural law and the cause—and—effect nexus of human initiative (Mikhtav, I, pp. 177-206). For Rav Dessler, the study of the sciences - even medicine, for that matter - is pointless, since the exclusive determinate of human welfare is the providential hand of God responding to religious virtue. Similarly, serious financial initiative is unnecessary. The diagnostic skill of the physician (Mikhtav, III, p. 172), the financier’s business acumen (Mikhtav, I, p. 188), ostensibly critical factors in the effectiveness of their efforts, are only illusory causes, argues Rav Dessler. Admittedly, he concedes, one must “go through the motions” of practical activity (the notion of hishtadlut, Mikhtav, I, pp. 187-88) - visiting a physician, making a phone call for financial support - but such is necessary only as a “cover” for the direct Divine conduct of human affairs, which men of faith are challenged to discern. Recognizing the immediacy of the Divine hand behind the facade of human initiative is the ultimate test of faith. One should be engaged in practical effort only for the purpose, paradoxically, of discovering its pointlessness! Therefore, asserts Rav Dessler, to the degree that a man has already proved his spiritual mettle, his acknowledgment of Divine control, could the extensiveness of his “cover” be reduced. Or, alternatively, to the degree that a man is not yet sufficiently spiritually perceptive - wherefore pragmatic initiative might “blind” him to Divine control - should he limit such recourse. Accordingly, b'nei yeshiva are implicitly discouraged from any serious financial initiative - or involvement across the board in any area of resourceful effort, be it technological, political, etc. - since the circumstances of life are, in reality, a spontaneous Divine miracle. (Note Rav Dessler’s necessarily strained interpretation of Hullin, ad loc. and Niddah, ad loc., where one is advised by Harzal to survey one’s property with regularity, and to “abound in business.” in the pursuit of wealth! — Mikhtav, I, pp. 200-01)."

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  49. bystander said...
    > It happens to be that this idea is from Chazal and not "haredi". It is explained clearly and at length by the Chovos Halvovos in Sha'ar Habitachon. So, no, it is not a "falsehood", nor a "perversion of reality" and certainly not of the Torah.

    It may be a traditional interpretation, but it is certainly a falsehood and perversion of reality.

    If you really don’t believe in cause and effect, then I’m sure you’d have no objection to being hit with a 2x4. After all, you won’t feel pain unless there’s a direct gezeirah from shomayim.

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  50. Daniel:
    Obvious, i already do it. When charedim come to my door to collect I politely tell them that i don't have what to give and I explain why.

    The real question is, should I get out and educate more people now, when I'm still a nebach, for better effect, or wait till I hopefully start making more serious parnasa, but then people will say "see, he was able to use his gemora kop and make money..." :))
    I can just imagine a beggar sitting in front of the mirer yeshiva hoding a sign "learned in kollel my whole life, and now it's too late to get an education to get decent work, can I have some spare change please..." I'm sure it will strike a nerve of many of the avrechim who're nearing the same situation...

    But seriously, is there anyone to turn to who can actually guide us how to get out of this situation? I'm speaking here in EY. Otherwise poverty can become a vicious cycle - you know that outside of kollel you won't even have your 1200 a month, so you stay, and keep your kids in the same schools, and on and on and on... There should exist real quidance for people who want to break out of that crooked system, and there're many who want to break out but don't see how.

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  51. Moshe Dick says:

    I saw the video and read the many comments. The video itself is pure propaganda. It is just another blatant attempt at gettting even more money from the Americans. Nothing wrong with that but it only evokes cynicism as there is nowhere even a hint that part of the reason why such families are poor is because the husband- who should be the breadwinner- doesn't work. His being in kollel is accepted as normal. What a distortion of Judaism!
    As far as the many comments about "hishtadlut". Call me an apikores but it is laughable to maintain that everything is "min hashomaim' and one cannot change anything. According to this, one shold stay home and wait for the money to tumble through the postbox. Everything, but everything, in divrei chazal and in reality denies this approach, from the mishne in first perek of kiddushin to the gemoro in berachos (35), all of it tells us clearly that chazal did not rely upon such fancy thought. Yes, to be successful is part of the reward we get from the Almighty but to do nothing goes against the laws of HKBH. Do all these kollel jumgeleit do nothing when their child has a fever or do they rush to the doctor? Seems to me that the kollels are always fighting for mone money- why don't they just sit at home and wait for the money to arrive in the mail?
    The fact is that virtually no-one has such "bitachon" and therefore it is a travesty of Judaism to accept what Rav Dessler zz'l wrote. Jechidim- very few people- can live like that and to teach the klal to do that is a perversion of our traditions. This is also why you do not find this approach favored by the chassidim- they live in the real world, not in their own make believe world.

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  52. > . This is also why you do not find this approach favored by the chassidim- they live in the real world, not in their own make believe world.

    Nah, they just live in a different make-believe world. One in which you’re a great and holy man because your father was a holy man, even if it seems that you’re just a greedy man who’s fighting with another greedy relative for control of the family fortune/title of rebbe.

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  53. Again, no sarcasm intended, with all this discussion of hishtadlus being unrelated to success, how are we to understand what Torah tells us not to think "kochi v'otzem yadi"? Seriously, I lean towards agreeing with you that the world works on cause and effect. It makes sense to me, and it seems like a much healthier way of thinking too - when I used to be in the charedi mindset that hishtadlus is just an illusion I felt at times on the border of mental illness from it. So it seems to me that thinking "kochi v'otzem yadi" is perfectly fine - YOU worked hard and got results, just like it's supposed to be. How are we to understand it then?

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  54. What is the deal with sephardim and kollel/not working? I feel like it is only the ashkenazi charedim who dont work.

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  55. They are ignoring Chazal, but it's not that simple because in a sense they are following Chazal: Sifrei on Devorim 17:11 suggests that we should follow the Torah leaders of each generation even if they tell us left is right and right is left.

    So even though the life-long-mass-kollel-without-work some Israeli charedi gedolim are promoting would seem to contradict many statements of Chazal (calling right left, you could say), their followers would say, well we have to follow our gedolim no matter what.

    The answer must be either to create a grassroots groundswell among the charedi population, putting pressure from the street on the gedolim to change their tune, or to persuade the charedi masses to follow other gedolim. Or perhaps there are other possibilities?

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  56. Moshe Dick to G.3: It is indeed a tragedy that today the struglles in some chassidic circles is all about money. Nonetheless, I do not see chassidim look down on other jews and still ask for their moeny because the feel they are better. That is the attitude today in israel. Give me the chassidim anyday- at least they will not conisder me lower class.

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  57. Sol,
    You're asking some great questions.
    First, I didn't mean to say that educating the masses takes priority over extricating yourself and your family from a bad situation. Aderaba, when you become more successful, I see you as having an even better perspective to share with others.
    As an example, I was a college dropout for the first ten years of my adulthood. I then had to return to school, while working full time. I not only finished my first degree; I also got a master's ( and with HKB"H help, it was easier than pursuing the bachelor's).
    I share my experience with others regularly; to me, it's a wonderful lesson in applying yourself even when it's difficult.
    Your כחי question is a longer discussion. Suffice it now to say that we are required to do the first steps. Halevai that all Jews should have enough success to then have to tackle that issue. I wouldn't expend the mental energy on that now.
    I can discuss privately more, if you like. Hatzlacha Rabba!
    Daniel

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  58. Regarding impoverished children with vitamin deficiencies: When I lived in a chareidi community in Israel in the 80s, there was a surge of classes on "Checking Produce for Insects." There were many vegetables we were told to avoid eating altogether, and there were some that were able to be eaten only after extremely time consuming and intricate examination. Now, take a harried mom of 6 small children or more - - she simply doesn't have the time necessary for this type of checking, so although a certain "difficult" veggie might be permitted, it's easier to simply avoid it altogether rather than go through the hassle of checking it.

    A few months after this series of bug-checking shiurim, our community doctor, who was also chareidi, started noticing vitamin deficiencies in children. He discovered it wasn't so much caused by poverty, as it was from the lack of a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables, which had been discontinued due to the chumras imposed about checking for bugs!

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  59. Some comments:
    (1) In Israel it is common, due to the Marxist-socialist background of the founders of the existing political system, to view the government as some sort of miraculous money machine that is obligated to give out this money it creates. In reality, the money the government belongs to the PEOPLE, the taxpayers, and the people have the right, through their elected representatives, to give out the money available to those it sees fit to receive it. It is interesting to note that this Marxist view of the gov't is now spreading to the US because of its entitlement mentality. Liberal economist Robert Samuelson recently wrote an article saying there is no choice but for the US to cut entitlements, and in the comments I read I saw many people say "I deserve the gov'ts money more than other people do so they should keep giving it out". This is a very bad way of looking at how the gov't operates.

    (2) Revolutions are caused and lead by intelligent people who are held down by an existing system and feel very frustrated. This was true of Washington, Jefferson and others in the US who resented British restrictions on their business activities, in Russia where many intellectuals were repressed by the system, the same in France and in many other places. Today, the Haredim, through their restrictive educational policies, are creating a time bomb within their ranks of frustrated young people who are not cut out for the life of learning Torah in poverty (which I believe is the majority) even if they still want to be part of the Haredi world. In the 19th and early 20th century, many Jewish Communists and socialist Zionists who were very anti-religious came out of traditionl, religious families in eastern Europe. The founders of MAPAM, (today's MERETZ) mostly came out of what we would call Haredi families. It would be a big mistake if Haredi leaders were to think such a rebellion couldn't happen again. Certainly, there are differences, those in Eastern Europe also faced massive antisemitism and governmental repression in addition to the Jewish societal pressures they resented, but each generation faces different challenges. That is why the Haredi leadership should view those who are pushing for reforms from outside their system are really trying to help them!

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  60. which had been discontinued due to the chumras imposed about checking for bugs!

    huh? what fruits and vegetables that require extensive checking (according to the strict school on this issue; rav vaya is not the only voice here) do not have adequate substitutes, fruits and vegetables that require little or no checking?

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  61. Hi! I'm Chareidi, 35 years old, father of 4 and on my 3rd year of BA in accountancy. Learning at this stage of my life isn't easy and I wish I have done it before, but here I am.
    I also respect the people who learn in Kollel, maybe disagree with their point but respect. I think the mayor thing is not for us to debate who is right and who is wrong.
    The most important thing is action, so if you believe that Charedim should learn a degree or a profesion, please support kemach and make a donation (yes, they gave me a scholarship for my degree).
    http://www.kemach.org/

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  62. BugChecker, what a negative attitude you have!

    First of all, from the time of the Chazal up until the latter part of the last century, humans lost the ability to eye lens nucleus and cortex into a microscope, while Evolution saw the emergence of nearly-invisible bugs which could only be identified and removed by a mashgiach.

    But for every problem there is a solution, sometimes two or three even, and it's a bonus and a blessing when some can make parnassa out of it. Thus, we have excellent classes on bug checking, as you noted, and they bring folks closer together with bug exciting obsessions erupting and when they are done, Hindu Jains with their bug-blocking gauze over mouth and nose have something to be impressed by. High technology also comes for the rescue with cool-looking goggles with jeweler's loupes to be used together with otherwise obsolete film negative light tables re-marketed as "bug lights." It is an impressive, futuristic sight to behold, the goggled mistress of the house peering at a clump of strawberries on a lit-up surface, exclaiming "ah-hah" at every suspicious-looking strawberry seed. Miracles too have a way of appearing at just the right time, and right at the peak of the Great Bug Panic, a slew of pricey, but prominently hechshered frozen and canned berries and veggies processed in the bug-free tri-state area magically appeared on the shelves.

    And why worry about the kids? Vitamins, shmitamins...where does it say in the Gemarah that we need them? First check the mezuzahs before panicking over silly things like shmitamin deficiency. Kids hate fruit and veggies anyway, and a cookie or two from a box will do even a better job of shutting the little beggars up before dinner time.

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  63. Hershel Firbank,
    Kemach sounds like a wonderful solution.

    But I bet most of the posters here would not donate to them because they want every remnant of chareidi thinking to be obliterated. Heaven forfend you should check for bugs in your lettuce! Or read too much non-rationlist Ramchal or Michtav M'Eliyahu. Better that you should suffer and just go away!

    You won't get many to admit this, but this is often what people think but don't say.

    I am all for supporting kollel people who want to get out there and work as professionals! You have much to offer the world, including those pesty marei m'komos the rationalists wish didn't exist!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Calling BS on former kollel guy's comment. I would bet most everyone here agrees the finest form of tzedaka is teaching a man to fish. Personally I want to help Jews even if I do think their method of checking lettuce is over the top pointless

      Delete
  64. former kollel guy -
    How do you know what people think but don't say?

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  65. I guess he doesn't believe in Chazal's mandate that one should judge people favorably.

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  66. But I bet most of the posters here would not donate to [Kemach] because they want every remnant of chareidi thinking to be obliterated. Heaven forfend you should check for bugs in your lettuce! Or read too much non-rationlist Ramchal or Michtav M'Eliyahu. Better that you should suffer and just go away!

    Mr Former Kollel Guy, that's quite of a hyperbole of an accusation. The post-War Haredi movement, which initially made an honest effort to reach out to observant and non-observant Jews captured the imagination of many and set new and welcomed standards for learning and observance. That and the Fiddler on the Roof film. Fast-forward to the present, and we have a growing perception of stubborn arrogance, corruption, arbitrariness, idleness, of chumra one-upmanship and abuse of authority. That is an actual, verifiable problem, in fact a very typical one which every rapidly empowered, strictly stratified and top-heavy class encounters. Such groups either find the intelligence and systemic flexibility to improve at the early signs of serious discontent, or as Y. Ben-David aptly pointed out, they will double-down, radicalize their critics even more and suffer dissent and "revolutions" as a result. Shame on you; this is not the Failed Messiah crowd here, so your accusations of ill will and cackling schadenfreude are as insulting as they are baseless.

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  67. Sorry everyone. Being a former kollel guy and very much part of the working world for quite some time, I have spoken to many people who visit this site and similar ones and this is what I hear from people who assume I think like them. Funny thing is there are chareieim who think I'm one of them and I hear many things that upset me from that camp too.

    Anyhow, sorry for being so contentious and not being dan l'kaf zchus. I must have had a bad night's sleep! Perhaps everyone here is pure, kindhearted and well meaning as white snow!

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  68. Moshe Dick says:
    One poster (Yishai) claims that today's policies of "kollel for everyone all the time" is acceptable, in spite of being in clear contradiciton of many divrei chazal , because today's Gedolim's words are in line with "lo sussur min hadovor asher lecho jomin usmol". You must follow the (so-called) gedolim even if they tell you that right is left or left is right. Hence, today's Gedolim can actually go against chazal and we must follow them.
    This argument is specious.
    First, today's Gedolim would never use this argument on any other mitzvah and would be appalled if it would be used for any other Mitzvah(shemitta,for example!). Secondly, it is a false reading of the Possuk. The possuk deals with "halacha", matters that deal with actual interpretation of mitzvos.It does nto deal with "milei d'alma", matters of everyday life (such as making a living!). One does not have to check one's brains at the door when dealing with daily life. Hence, it is totally false to obligate us to follow Gedolim's words blindly (such as in WWII).
    This approach has given way to the false concept of "daas Torah", that we must follow every word of a Godol. That makes them infallible, something which does nto exist in Judaism.

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  69. Temujin salutes Former Kolel Guy for being a mensh with his candor and apology...and more so for being a quick-minded strategist with his superb slap-shot right back at his critics.

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  70. Temujin,

    When I was in kollel, we would get a weekly mussar schmuess which was always very gentle mussar. And it always ended with the words "of course I am not speaking to this kollel, as you are all fine talmidei chachomim, yeraim u'shlaimim."

    Gentle is always more effective. And the truth is, in many ways I am truly more in your camp than the other. I truly meant no harm.

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  71. Rabbi Slifkin; I utterly agree with your point - the poverty among Charedim devours all: stable families, children's religion, spousal relationships, self worth, health, personality and character. This is reflected in numerous maameri Chazal extolling the value of work; in fact idleness during Chanukkah is prohibited! On a practical level there needs to be a vast change in aspiration and education.

    But apparently, 'twas ever thus. I have already quoted Eruvin 21b/ 22a on this blog before, with Rav Addah bar Massenah, who abandoned his wife and children to forage in the swamp while he learned. I would reference to this the gemora in Sukkah -the cry of the Rationalist from time of Channukah -

    “Wolf, wolf! You consume the Jewish People’s wealth, but you don't answer them in their time of need!”

    To appreciate the different strands, and movements within Judaism and Jews; to live with complexity - is the work of a lifetime. This doesn't mean a laissez faire indifference to the undoubted wholesale spiritual, moral and economic destruction of the nation on a policy level; but it should inform our inner religious and spiritual response.

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  72. > Nonetheless, I do not see chassidim look down on other jews and still ask for their moeny because the feel they are better.

    That’s true.

    > …at least they will not conisder me lower class.

    But that’s not. Yeshivish and to the left is “modernishe.”

    Years ago I was at a wedding and I was talking to a chassidishe guy who commented on how different a modern wedding is from a chassidishe one. Confused, I pointed out that the baalie simcha were as yeshivish as they come, and at modern weddings there’s mixed seating and often non-Jewish music interspersed with the frum dance tunes. He said to me, “You mean the real modern. I just mean people who wear short jackets.”

    Given that community’s attempts to pretend that the modern world doesn’t exist, I don’t think “modern” is meant as a term of affection.

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  73. PointlessMoniker

    it is one thing when anshei segula like Rav Addah bar Massenah take an extreme course of action. however, even if one can understand or even approve of his actions, that doesn't mean that you proscribe that lifestyle (or anything like it) to the masses.

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  74. Temujin took no offense, Former and he enjoys good, clean fencing. But the magical ether and its powerful Google overlord failed this man: "Your search - yeraim u'shlaimim - did not match any documents." Harrumph.

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  75. Temujin, alas yeraim u'shlaimim are indeed hard to come by. And so it has always been, Google searches notwithstanding.

    סוכה (דף מ״ה ע״ב) ראיתי בני עליה והמה מועטים

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  76. Temujin thanks Former Kollel Guy for his kind attempt to clarify. Alas, neither actual, nor transliterated Hebrew can help this man, as he is...ehem, well...not nearly as advanced in his learning as Former Kollel Guy and every other laddie and lassie here as well for that matter. One tries and struggles though, with furrowed brows and a serious demeanour, one reads and attends shiurs and lectures, but one still has a long, long way to go. So, Temujin has little choice but to hang his head sheepishly and confess that since Mr Google cannot help in this instance, he hasn't the foggiest about what you mean. Yes, it's that bad.

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  77. Temujin,

    Condolences on the loss of your pet. Perhaps this will help fill the void.

    yeraiim = those filled with yirah (fear of God)

    u'Shlaimim = and (u') whole people (i.e. perfectly behaved individuals)

    In other words:

    " "of course I am not speaking to this kollel, as you are all fine talmidei chachomim, full of fear of God and perfect behavior."

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  78. Thank you Akiva! It's good to be "in" on inside stuff. One is usually able to find a translation for most obscure-to-Temujin terms on the Net, but not for this one.

    Just to make sure, the forum "pet" one referred to is a contentious commenter, a pro-R.Meiselman troll one has attempted to tame, who goes by the moniker of "Observer." This man misses his hilarious logic and his skill at using up all the classic fallacies within a single post. But this is not Temujin's blog, and he imagines that R.Slifkin doesn't appreciate it too much when badly behaved pets tear up the couches and soil the carpets here.

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  79. I've recently had this discussion with a friend of mine- pointing out the view of the Rishonim, that people need to work- and the response to me was "You think the Gedolim don't know what the Rishonim say? and they are still saying that Kollel is the right path". What would your response be to this?

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  80. To Sol,

    "Kochi Ve'otzem Yaddi" is the error of thinking you are the self sufficient cause of your success, when infact the abilities you possess which you use to succeed are a gift from G-d. That is really the plain meaning of the verse. We should rejoice in well deserved success, but remember to be thankful and charitable too, because without the basic abilities we received from outside ourselves, (be they from G-d or any of His emissaries)that success would be impossible.

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  81. Can we take the first step - and stop callling them Gedolim - the only thing gedolim about charedim rabbis is the greatness of their betrayal to the Word of Hashem - the greatness of their rejection of Israel - the greatness of their Chilul Hashem to create impoverished families - the greatness of the fools that follow them...

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