Thursday, September 26, 2019

"NOW You Tell Me?!"

Rafi Goldmeier, of Life in Israel, translated the following Facebook status that was posted by an Israeli charedi man undergoing a divorce:
This is what I said this morning to the Dayanim in Beis Din at the end of the proceedings regarding how much child support I need to pay:
"You explained very well how much I need to pay as a father responsible for his daughters, and that as of now I do not have a profession but I need to take care to get myself one. You are 100% right. It is my responsibility and I will do everything to fulfill it.
"I only have one question.
"Now you come and tell me this???
"Our entire lives you have educated us that we do not need professions, that we can sit and learn in kollel, we can bring home 1500 NIS per month with ten children and it will be enough and all will be fine. And now suddenly you remember to tell me that a father needs to bring home 1400 NIS per child??
"You, as dayanim who deal with this issue regularly and understand and recognize the problem, have a responsibility to take care that this should change, that children and bochurim should be prepared in advance for the situation in which they will need to support their future children, and not just to wait until the last moment in a crisis to remember suddenly to tell them!"
And they had no answer.
(One of the dayanim joked that the education we give is only valid as long as nobody gets divorced, but he too realized it is not a joke.)
Of course, even without getting divorced, there are many charedim men who get harshly woken up to being woefully unprepared to support their families. And Chazal, forseeing this obvious problem, required parents to ensure that their children can earn a living. Alas, the Gedolim and the MKs don't seem to care.

On another note: I'm going to be packing my trunk and heading to the US in November. I am available for a scholar-in-residence engagement in the tri-State area for the Shabbos of November 16. Preference for Teaneck or the Five Towns! If you are interested, please email me at director@biblicalnaturalhistory.org.

22 comments:

  1. As a rationalist you should realize the Facebook post may be a malicious fiction. Just pointin' it out.

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    1. Whether the post on facebook is fiction or not i can tell you having been there that it is clearly OFTEN true.! and chaval.

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    2. he is clearly also charedi and on the NEWS

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kABEFUMY8oI&fbclid=IwAR11afVjHQaO7P6rlfkq7gZTm_MAxJeXiy1Ggy8F6XgMJThCaKMLRpZG668

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    3. Does it sound at all fictional to you?

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    4. Are there any details here are not 100% clear on a macro level?

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    5. I stand by my position for a different reason. A Google search reveals that David Uman is not a normative avreich. For one thing, he has a Twitter account. In addition, a recent tweet expresses absolute denigration of Rav Chaim Kanievski. He is someone with a bone to pick.

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    6. @Avraham
      .....which I guess you might have after that. Be interesting to see which came first.
      I don't know if you are aware of how tough the Israeli system is on divorcing fathers. They are loaded with payments that force them to work unreal amounts to pay. The suicide rate of divorced men is awesome. There is no consideration for the possible role of the mother in the divorce - in a recent case where the mother killed her children there was actually a news blackout on the story for a while simply because it was socially unacceptable for the mother to be the problem.

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    7. To Skeptic - divorce court is definitely biased and discriminatory towards men. But are you sure fathers can be "forced to work unreal amounts to pay"? Usually it is a deduction from what you actually make; if you make nothing, the deduction is nothing. Is what you state accurate?

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    8. Wishing you success in avoiding overweight baggage fees on your trunk.

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  2. Such an obvious and damning indictment of Charedi education and philosophy! Well said.

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  3. I'm confused what the family financial arrangement was til now. He said he doesn't have a job now. Did he used to and lose it? Or was his wife the breadwinner.

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  4. Yes, likely his wife was the breadwinner. Statistics show that Haredi women participate in the Israeli employment market at around the same level of participation of other Israeli women. However, Haredi men participate in the Israeli labour force at a rate that is FAR below women's participation. Moreover, Haredi women are far better educated in secular subjects than their male counterparts. Even if a Haredi man goes to one of the sanctioned colleges he is likely to fail (70+% failure rate) because he doesn't have the k-12 (+bagrut training) to prepare him for higher education. So in sum IF a Haredi male is working it is likely in a low paying, non-skilled position. Based on all of that, the assumption is that this person in the facebook post did not have a job (or at the best low paying job) and his wife was THE breadwinner. The shame of it is that he wanted the joy of having a family without taking on the hard responsibility of taking care it it. Now that he is divorced he will be forced to take on some of the responsibility, but has no skills to do so. That is a perfect example of a corrupt system.

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  5. He has to pay 1,400 hundred shekels per child, 2800 for his 2 children. This is $700 a months and may be more then what he needed to spend on them when married, but it's a reasonable amount. What's not reasonable is that not a word is said about his current occupation and income and he has been working for years. There maybe no problem in his case, we don't know. Maybe he is successful financially?


    Now, and this is funny, at the age of 24 after 4 years in kollel, I'd told my mashgiach that I need to do something for parnosah. He suggested that there is an opening to wash dishes in the yeshiva kitchen. I was mad, packed my bags to NYC and got a job on the first day I started looking for one. We stayed in touch through the years and I had a feeling that he was expecting me to become hiloni. All his children, while learning and living simply, do have their own apartments and all their needs provided for, so it's not that he doesn't know how to do it. אלה משגיחיך ישראל!

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  6. RNS, I believe there is a Tanna who says that he will teach his son nothing but Torah. How do you understand that?

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    1. Rabbi Naharoy said: I put aside all other means of livelihood and I only teach my son Torah.
      Shwekey sings this. Nice tune.

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    2. Did the concept of child support for divorces exist in the times of the Gemorah?

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    3. My Rosh Hakollel, a yerushalmi of many generations, explained that the tanna had felt that his son was suitable for that life.

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    4. First note that R. Nahorai is identified with Rabbi Meir who in the same Mishna states that one should teach an easy clean trade.
      See the Maharsha who clearly understands that R. Nahorai also requires a father teach his son a trade.

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  7. When divorce was a stigma, couples had to struggle to solve their problems or else face that music. Fast-forward to nowadays w/o the stigma and the soaring divorce rate. But Chareidim still have a card to keep 'em tagedder, that the couple, at least the husband, often can't afford to divorce ;)

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  8. I'm going to make a not very popular argument here.
    I am happy that this gentleman understands the gravity of supporting his children. It does not seem that he planning to shirk his duty, and I hope he is able to do so. For the record, 1400 shekels per kid is not that much. Seems like its girls, so Bais Yaakov is practically nothing. Boys' Chadorim can run 700 per child.
    As for the specifics of is argument, I empathize with him. But there is something here that I think we are missing. I don't think that the whole learn forever was ever meant to be taken literally. It is like any university, or higher educational system, attempting to create greatness. Princeton wants to produce Einsteins. The argument is that they should focus on the 1/1000 to create greatness. Its like teaching a kid to swim and telling him its only 10 ft when you know its really 15 ft. Yes it is a lie. But many of us do that, and it was definitely normal methods used in the yeshivat prior to ww2 (see Sridei Aish and R Nosson Kaminetzky about psychological games that the Alter of Slabodka played with his students). It is up to parents, and students to realize when to cut and do their own thing. We can get involved in sugya of whether a proper iluy can spend his life dedicated to Torah study, can study and ignore financial realty, but most people on the street would be ok with it in limited circumstances. The educational system is focused on allowing that to happen.
    When I was in yeshiva high school in USA, I noticed a fascinating concept. Frum yeshivish parents, would send their kids to yeshivish yeshivas, knowing that the yeshiva would rail against going to college. Yet, the boys all took SATs because their parents insisted on it. They didn't send their kids to Ner Yisrael, or Torah Vodaas which allowed college education. At the time, I thought it was weird, but now, as a father, I sort of get it. The parents wanted to encourage the higher level of learning demanded by the more yeshivish yeshivas (real or perceived, as I have no clue of the level of the 2 yeshivas mentioned), but were not about to give up on their options.

    I had a friend since yeshiva high school, he was considered a great learner and rabbis pushed him to be great. Sometime in 11th grade he dropped out of yeshiva. Later, in his 20s, he cleaned up his act and is today a frum professional. I've told him that his problem was that he believed the rabbis too literally. He should have been more cynical, and taken it all with a grain of salt. I made it through the system, and enjoyed it, bec I never fully bought into what they were teaching. I took part and ignored part.
    It is possible to argue that psychology sandwich games, and being untruthful to students is not a proper way to educate.
    It is possible to argue that the method of pushing all to be gedolim is incorrect. I can accept that criticism as well.
    It is also fair to criticize that even within the method, they limit the studies in yeshiva to very narrow specific area of study, that is also fair criticism.
    One can argue that basic secular studies is important for everyone to know, even if they were to stay "in learning" their entire life, and the purpose is not just to prepare them to support themselves and family, rather it is part of basic derech eretz. I happen to agree with this one.
    Still, I think that for the most part, critics of the general method are failing to see that it is more of a method than a belief. There is the mantra, and then there is what each individual needs to know and do.

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    1. If I understand the above argument correctly, our Torah educators are expecting the students to be more cynical about what they are told, not to take what they are told to seriously. THAT is very serious.

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  9. The only way to end this satan among our nation is to separate RELIGION AND STATE. Let the free market determine which sects and streams stay afloat! The catch? ZERO PUBLIC FUNDING. FREE MARKET. You want to starve your kids and die? That's on you. JUDAISM Will fix itself. No more Half-Baked Rabbis leading their people and the JEwish World off a cliff.

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