Thursday, March 12, 2015

More Emptying of the Yeshivos

There is a fascinating report in Kikar Shabbat about a charedi man from Jerusalem, Binyomin Gorlin, who has filed an official complaint against Rav Shalom Cohen, spiritual leader of Shas. Rav Cohen issued a directive immediately following Purim that all yeshivah students should devote their afternoons and evenings to political campaign work. Gorlin complained that yeshivah students are supposed to be studying in yeshivah, not engaging in politics, and that they receive a draft exemption specifically on the grounds that they are learning Torah full time.

Amazingly, of the various responses quoted in the article and in the numerous comments to the article which disagree with Gorlin, not one even attempts to present an argument as to why his argument is incorrect. Instead, they all hurl abuse on him for daring to argue with a Gadol B'Torah.

Amongst the responses to yesterday's post, Empty the Yeshivos!, a number of people argued that even charedim always say that one has to do normal hishtadlus. For army duty and the economy, that hishtadlus is done by non-charedim, and for elections, that hishtadlus is done by charedim. But as someone pointed out, the yeshivah world talks endlessly about maximizing Torah learning, minimizing hishtadlus, and implementing bitachon. Yet when it comes to getting votes, they minimize Torah learning, maximize hishtadlus, and do not implement any bitachon.

Furthermore, the amount of hishtadlus being done here is far more than the normal amount, if we measure it against the hishtadlus done by other sectors of the population. Other sectors did not have rallies of 100,000 people, not because there aren't 100,000 supporters, but because their millions of supporters are busy with important jobs and don't have several hours to take off in the middle of the day for a political rally. And other sectors do not have enormous numbers of people that are instructed to take off several hours every day for over a week to engage in political campaigning.

When it comes to causes that are really important to charedim, such as getting money from the government (which is ultimately what the politicking is directed towards), they clearly believe that worldly hishtadlus is much more important and effective than learning and davenning and having bitachon. That's why they empty the yeshivos in order to do it.

38 comments:

  1. Regurgitating the previous post, and just as misguided and wrong. I won't repeat what I wrote in the comments on the previous post. Suffice it to say that every single party does what it needs to maximize their voter turnout. UTJ does the same. Stop with the openly biased posts.

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    1. Have you ever learned in charedi yeshivos? I did, for many years. I was taught endlessly that Torah and bitachon is the best way to achieve Divine assistance, and that to the extent that one truly pursues those paths, one can make do with less hishtadlus. Yet here, the charedim are doing as much hishtadlus as possible, more than anyone else.

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    2. If you learned in Haredi Yeshivos then you know. This is the norm in every election. Getting out the vote is the difference between 6 MK's and 7 or even 8. That's a huge deal, but we need to get the vote out for that. That's the basics of Hishtadlus, and I challenge you to find one Haredi sefer that says that Hishtadlus is unnecessary.

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    3. "Get out the vote" happens on Tuesday. Massive rallies that are not the day of the election are not "getting out the vote".

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    4. I know it's the norm in every election - that was precisely my point.

      Nobody says hishtadlus is *unnecessary*. They say that one should maximize Torah and bitachon, and minimize hishtadlus.

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    5. Not precisely. Hishtadlus is what is reasonably necessary to accomplish the desired result.

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    6. "Getting out the vote is the difference between 6 MK's and 7 or even 8. That's a huge deal, but we need to get the vote out for that. "

      Really?

      It's such a huge deal to have one extra MK?

      Such a huge deal that they have to empty out the yeshivos for it?

      Doesn't the Ribbono Shel Olam control our fate, not having one extra MK?

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    7. That's where Hishtadlus comes in.

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    8. When it's time to roll out the tanks or bring home the bread, get out the books! Just don't pull any shtick when it's time to get out the vote.

      I'm sorry, but that is what it looks like.

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  2. CJ Srullowitz wrote:
    "Once again, I implore you to go back to what you are good at - explaining science through a Torah lens, and Torah through a scientific lens. These constant anti-Hareidi sideswipes make you look petty and vindictive."

    CJ, you are making a mistake. R Slifkin's primary goal is anti-Charedi swipes. His teaching of Torah through a scientific lens is merely another way to accomplish that.

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    1. You are being extremely unfair. R. Slifkin did a great job with his books, and he really put forth a strong ideological case for his views. His work is great and are prominent in my library (right alongside R. Meiselman's book...). His anti-Haredi views are not related to his Torah views, and I can easily agree with his approach to Torah and Science and disagree vehemently with his views on Israel.

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    2. How can you separate his scientific views from his anti haredi views? Haredim don't just reject his ideas, many attempted to destroy his life because of those views.

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    3. I'm with CJ on this one. Yese, the Chareidi community gives plenty of opportunities for us to take swipes at it but it's always easier to criticize than to create. Rav Slifkin is in the valuable position of building a system of rational Jewish thinking and those who like this look to him for ways to increase their rational Jewish practice. It's when he concentrates on the positive that he really shines.

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    4. Much easier to say that when you don't live in Israel!

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    5. (We is confused. You took down my comment, but left up the comments of those who responded to mine?)

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    6. I didn't take down your comment - it was on the previous post. Someone transposed the discussion to this thread.

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    7. (Sorry. I see it now. All cleared up then!)

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    8. Frum Rabbi, You actually believe that? Or is that what you want to believe?

      Rabbi Slifkin's goal, from what I can see, is to educate. My point is simply that his criticism, while valid for the most part, nevertheless remains harmful to his underlying cause. This blog, which could be and should be an educational tool to present Mada/Derech Eretz to all streams of Klal Yisrael is instead becoming a forum for a self-selected group who all share the same Weltanschauung .

      It's his blog. He can direct it as he sees fit. I just think it's a shame.

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  3. This has nothing to do with the army issue. The primary reason why chareidim do not send their children to the army is because they view Israeli culture at large, of which the army is one of its primary (if not the primary) element as being antithetical to Torah Judaism as they understand it. It is not because they think that it is bittul Torah. It is because it does not fit with their version of Torah living. Now, you can say that this is a corruption of Judaism, and why should others serve and not them, and many other claims, until the cows come home, but there is absolutely no contradiction between that position and going to a political rally.

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    1. Stick to what you know, for Pete's sake!March 13, 2015 at 10:44 AM

      Thanks Yehoshua, and although this may be the truth, irrational and biased hatred is sooo much more gratifying. Yes, yes, he went to Chareidi yeshivos, blah blah blah, but when there's personal pride involved, some people just never recover. Chaval, if he would just let this rampaging and immature vendetta go, he actually seems to be not such an am haaretz in the zoology field.

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  4. David Attenborough from Vine StMarch 12, 2015 at 10:06 PM

    Can no one see the eternal flame of daas torah shining through this blog? Rabbi Slifkin says the same things as Rambam and R SR Hirch yet somehow the Chachmei Hatorah saw R Nosson Slifkin in a different league and banned his works, something they have not done to the works of the 2 former.
    Gedolei Yisroel, with their wisdom, saw that here we are talking about a man bent on destroying the reverence towards talmidei chachamim, like the last 2 posts so clearly demonstrate.
    Yes, I am waiting for Slifkin, Ohsie, Ahron etc etc to respond with examples of daas torah getting it wrong. I can bring you examples too...
    Yitzchak Avinu and Rabbi Akiva were both duped. No one says Talmidei Chachamim cannot err
    But for me, the foresight of the ziknei Hador in 2005 demonstrates daas torah at its best.

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    1. "yet somehow the Chachmei Hatorah saw R Nosson Slifkin in a different league and banned his works, something they have not done to the works of the 2 former."

      And that's where you're crucially wrong. Rav Elyashiv said explicitly that he would be equally opposed to a popular edition of the Moreh. And Rav Moshe Shapiro and Rav Elya Ber Wachtfogel (the primary Gedolim behind the ban) declared that Rav Hirsch's writings on Torah and science are kefirah, and therefore could not have been authored by him (but they were!)

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    2. Gerald Durrell from StenecourtMarch 13, 2015 at 12:38 AM

      I can see the daas Torah shining through this blog. Like chazal said, אם אין הבדלה, דעת מנין
      Rabbi Slifkin asks the questions that can lead to the development of daas. Blind following and acceptance does not lead to anything resembling daas .

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    3. Moniker from Vine Street and othersMarch 13, 2015 at 12:42 PM

      Just like to add to the Manchester meme..... yes, the Irwell runs through my bleeding heart too.

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    4. > Rabbi Slifkin says the same things as Rambam and R SR Hirch yet somehow the Chachmei Hatorah saw R Nosson Slifkin in a different league and banned his works, something they have not done to the works of the 2 former.

      The Rambam's books were burned, and the Chareidi world insits that RSRH only meant his approach for his time and place, as an attempt to combat Reform, despite R' Hirsch having explicitly written that he meant his approach l'chatchila.

      Who knows, maybe a thousand years from now someone will make the same claim about a controversial figure, "The Chachmei Hatorah banned his works, but not R' Slifikins..."

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  5. This is why BT's get such condescension from FFB's in the Chareidi community. The BT's actually believe in all these bromides like "Torah protects" and "We only follow the Gedolim" while the FFB's know that it's just for public consumption.

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    1. Not only BTs. Also BACs. (Born Again Charedim.)

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    2. So those charedi ffb's know they are part of a phony "learn all day and let others do the work that keeps us safe and provided for" cult and don't even believe the lies (self acknowledged lies according to what you say) trotted out to defend the program? And they willingly perpetuate this?

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    3. It's not that Chareidim are deliberately deceiving others. When you live in a culture, you intuitively know what you're supposed to do. Torah really does protect, and hishtadlus really is a game, but you have to turn out for political rallies. That these things are inconsistent doesn't occur to most people. It's just what you do.

      We all have inconsistencies in our cultures that we don't notice until someone points it out.

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  6. The people coming out in droves to election rallies do not see themselves as being involved in "politicking" or "getting money." They view it (because it's branded this way by the leadership) as no less than TORAH ON THE LINE in the coming election. A war against Torah is perceived as being waged on multiple fronts (i.e. by all the other parties), so it becomes everyone's Torah duty to get out there and make sure Gimmel (or whatever the religious party of choice) wins.

    About hishtadlut, they would agree that "someone" has to go out and physically get things done. Just that in the case of the army, there's someone else who will do it if they don't. (Whether that's moral or not is a separate discussion.) In this case though, no one's going out to vote Gimmel if not them.

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    1. Yet an actual war launched against the followers of Torah and all the Jews by genocidal arabs, is not a war on the Torah?

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    2. David, going out to vote is one thing, spending endless time campaigning is something else. Whatever happened to cutting down on hishtadlus and achieving Divine assistance via Torah?

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    3. David Bar-Cohn-
      Satmar and the Eda Haredit oppose voting entirely, so they obviously don't believe that these elections can prevent a "war against the Torah" and they would no doubt view it as bittul Torah to attend such rallies.

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  7. Personally I think a new law should be put in place, saying before a person can vote in an election he/she has to sign a document recognizing and accepting the State of Israel.

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    1. With an alternate one that says that he recognizes and accepts the State of Israel's money.

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  8. The thing that really annoys me is the artificial sense of perpetual emergency. Rav Kanievsky said in yated this week that everyone must vote gimmel, especially now when the anti-torah are so strong. In the history of קריאות קדושות has there ever been a time that isn't 'especially now'?

    Granted this isn't only done by chareidim, but it is certainly overdone by chareidim.

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  9. "A Yid's tafkid is to be osek in meleches Shomayim. Gashmiyus is an unfortunately necessary heycha timtza to accomplish this. Therefore, hishtadlus in gashmiyus must be minimized; and those who truly ibergegeben to Torah and Yiras Shomayim will have siyata d'Shmaya in their gashmiyus, as well. But ruchniyus, which is 'ki hem chayenu v'orech yomenu', is davka where we must be mishtadel!"

    (A Jew's purpose is to busy with the work of Heaven. The instruments of physical life are an unfortunately necessary means to accomplish this. Therefore, effort in physical ventures must be minimized; and those who are truly dedicated to Torah and fear of Heaven will have Heavenly (divine) assistance in their physical requirements, as well. But spirituality, which is 'our life and the length of our days', is specifically where we must exert effort.)

    I did my best to express this in Yeshivish with a rough English translation. Even Charedim, who are not generally Rationalists, can rationalize.

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