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Charedi Classic
It's the "Real Thing"
by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz
This article orignally appeared in Mishpacha Magazine

  Rated by 60 users   |   Viewed 53493 times since 2/16/09   |   111 Comments
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2/16/09

This past summer, at the Shabbos Sheva Brachos of our children Baruch and Alanna Apfel in Los Angeles, our mechutan invited me to say a few words. Several moments before I was called upon to speak, my wife asked me why I had that faraway look in my eyes. (Those of us who are married a long time correctly understand that question to represent a coded, polite way of asking, “Yankie; why are you ignoring me?”)

I motioned for her to look around the room and said, “Udi, we only have one more table to go.”

You see, the people attending the Sheva Brachos were seated by age – two tables for children, one for teenagers, two for young married couples, two for our age bracket (young-at-heart, but in need of reading glasses when it came time to recite birchas hamazon), and finally one for the members of the ‘Greatest Generation.’ I guess it was the reflective mood I was in due to the great simcha in our lives, but it had suddenly hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks that the sands of time are pouring through the hourglass at lightning speed.

With those powerful thoughts coursing through my mind as I walked up to the lectern, I decided not to use the speech I had previously prepared for the occasion. Instead, I faced the table where the grandparents of the chosson and kallah were seated and, addressing my remarks directly to them, extemporaneously said the following:

In this week’s parsha, Moshe Rabbeinu continues his charge to the Bnei Yisroel exhorting them to tread the path of Hashem’s Torah and to follow His mitzvos. One pasuk in the parsha attracts the attention of the gemarah and many of our commentaries. “And now, [Klal] Yisroel, what does HaShem ask of you except that you revere him” (Devorim 10:12). And while the gemarah (Berachos 33b) raises the question of how Moshe Rabbeinu could treat acquiring Yiras Shamayim as an easily achievable goal, one may wonder why he spoke about an overarching theme like fear of Hashem rather than mentioning specific mitzvos that are actively performed.

I would like to suggest that Moshe Rabbeinu was sharing profound guidance with the Bnei Yisroel in his charge to them – advice that we ought to strongly consider as we raise our children in these challenging times.

We all have limited ‘bandwith’ in our minds – meaning that we can only concentrate well on a few things at a time. With that in mind, perhaps Moshe was instructing us to focus the bulk of our attention on the fundamental underpinnings of our emunah and mesorah like Yiras Shamayim. In fact, a similar theme emerges from gemara’s discussion in Makos (24a) which analyzes the list of 11 core Torah principles cited by Dovid Hamelech (Tehilim 15) and progressively shorter lists noted by neveim who followed him (See Rivan and Maharsha).

I think that you and your generation followed that sage advice when you passed on the Torah values of your parents and grandparents to us. You kept things simple. In fact, I could probably fit all the instructions you gave us on the back of an index card. Be a mentch. Learn and master our Torah. “Farbreng nisht der tzeit -- make the best use of every minute of every day. Make a kiddush Hashem wherever you go – don’t ever forget that you are wearing a yarmulke. Get an education, be self-sufficient, and give something back to the community. Yet these simple themes encapsulated all the major components of our tradition.

At our Pesach sedarim, you didn’t distribute ‘matzoh cards’ to make sure that we had the proper shiurim or share profound divrei Torah with us, but your eyes brimmed with tears when you spoke to us about our glorious mesorah. You didn’t speak much about your generation’s extraordinary success in rebuilding your individual and collective lives after the Holocaust, but you taught us by example, what it means to sacrifice for Yiddishkeit and how we should treasure the gift of freedom you were denied. You didn’t deal much with segulos for parnasa like ‘chai rotel’ and ‘shlissel challah’ but always stressed the importance of ehrlichkeit in our financial dealings, living below one’s means, and scrupulously giving tzedaka.

Since your guidance dealt with very basic and broad themes, there was little in the way of the confusing blend of Halacha,minhag, chumrah and common practice that leaves our children groping for an understanding of how to prioritize. And there were no mixed messages about what you taught us, because you lived these values each and every day of your lives.

Wherever I go, people ask me why we seem to be having far more problems raising our children than did the people of your generation. Obviously, a question like that can be answered in many ways. But I think that the answer may be found in the pasuk we just discussed. I think that you had an easier time raising us, because you followed the advice of Moshe Rabbeinu and Dovid Hamelech, and just kept things simple.

On April 23, 1985, with much fanfare, Coca-Cola, the largest beverage manufacturer in the world, launched a sweeter version of the soft drink named 'New Coke,' withdrawing its traditional 99-year old formula. It was a spectacular failure. Coca-Cola sales plummeted and employees had to work overtime on its complaints hotline, which received an average of 1,500 calls a day.

Ten weeks after introducing the new Coke, and after publicly vowing that the original formula was gone for good, company executives brought it back. They added a “Classic” underneath the script Coca-Cola lettering to distinguish it from the new formula. Coca-Cola Classic began to outsell new Coke almost immediately, and revived the company’s sales.

I think there is a striking parallel between the experiences of Coca-Cola and our charedi world. My yeshiva-educated generation, for all the right reasons, and with the best of intentions, introduced a ‘new and improved’ brand of chinuch – with longer hours and progressively elevated standards (read: pressure) in academics, dress codes, and social norms for our children, with increasingly more and more emphasis on gemarah b’iyun at the expense of other limudim, general studies, hobbies, and exercise.

It is humbling and difficult to come to terms with, let alone say this publicly, but I think that your generation had a far better recipe than ours, though both generations have their successes and failures. You prepared us for secular culture whereas we shelter our children from it. You played offense; we play defense. You celebrated the enrollment of each and every Jewish child to a Mesivta or Bais Yaakov; we send rejection letters. You raised children; we tried to raise gedolim.

Over the past few years, I’ve increasingly felt that the most effective way of reversing the exploding number of kids and adults abandoning Yiddishkeit is to revert to the old-fashioned “Charedi Classic” education my generation was fortunate to receive from yours; and pass on those core values to our children and grandchildren.

Mazel tov, and may Hashem grant us the zechus of your presence and guidance for many years to come.

© 2009 Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, all rights reserved

Recommended reading:

Exit Interviews

Pulling in the Gangplank

Rolling out the Welcome Mat

Kiruv for OUR Children

Elevator Pitch

Army of One



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1. Right On the Money!     2/16/09 - 10:40 PM
JN - NJ

Well said and to the point. The following paragraph really resonated with me:

I think that you and your generation followed that sage advice when you passed on the Torah values of your parents and grandparents to us. You kept things simple. In fact, I could probably fit all the instructions you gave us on the back of an index card. Be a mentch. Learn and master our Torah. “Farbreng nisht der tzeit -- make the best use of every minute of every day. Make a kiddush Hashem wherever you go – don’t ever forget that you are wearing a yarmulke. Get an education, be self-sufficient, and give something back to the community. Yet these simple themes encapsulated all the major components of our tradition.


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2.     2/16/09 - 10:48 PM
bk

Thank you very much for the outstanding article! Just 2 questions, though: 1. What was the reason that the generation raised by the one you described turned to a "new and improved" version of Yiddishkeit? 2. What are the practical steps we could do to reverse this recent trend?


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3. As a Baal Teshuva for the last 6 years, I want to get off the train     2/17/09 - 4:16 AM
Lenny R. - Brooklyn, NY

The religious world is not the world that I see from reading the texts and consulting with the older generation.

Something went incredibly wrong over the last 25 years - incredibly wrong.

I find myself wanting and having more in common with secular people that don't know anything about Judaism, Hashem, etc. I'm starting to think that maybe they are closer to the truth than a society that claims to be speaking G-d's truth and just in reality running from it.


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4.     2/17/09 - 5:09 AM
yoni

Lenny, I notice this too... it disturbs me.


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5. simplicity     2/17/09 - 7:48 AM
anonymousfornow

At the risk of blowing my cover I'll say something I've said often. Right now, in 2009 I have the same goal my grandparents, born at the turn of the twentieth century had for their kids, that they grow up Shomer Shabbos with a bren for Yiddishkeit. But OTOH - we don't have their struggles, whether the brutal financial nisyonos of America, or the "refining furnace" of the Holocaust, so we have the luxury of expanding a bit. - we live in a world where even MO people will admit a need for more insulation. No responsible person will allow kids free access to TV, e.g. now. It's a world where we - not just say Chassidim who've historically been more insular - must set boundaries of some sort. That's made things much more complicated.


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6. One the mark, but one observation     2/17/09 - 9:08 AM
Friend from Eretz Yisrael - Eretz Yisrael

As usual, Rabbi Horowitz has knocked the ball out of the ball park.

One thing to note. As much as the heimishe world is different today than it was 50 years ago, so is the secular world. The moral degradation that has been in process since the mid 60s has taken its toll and no one in the heimishe world has come up with a solution. Extremism, chumras, more isolation are definitely not the answer. In fact, they are more likely a reflection of the problem itself. But something must be done and you are perhaps one of the few people who can do it.


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7. True Yiddishkeit     2/17/09 - 9:25 AM
Anonymous

Rabbi Horowitz, I always gain much insight from your views. You express the true Yiddishkeit, that is forgotten in our "modern" times. The world is so complicated today, it's ever changing,moving so fast. I feel like I'm on a constant roller coaster and can't get off. In the days when I was growing up, people worked harder, but took the time to enjoy the simple things in life. I feel it's the same way in Yiddishkeit today. We don't take the time to enjoy the simple things, like baking hamantashin with our families, instead we need themes to shalich monos, the more elaborate & costly, the better. Or enjoy the planning, shopping, and preperations for the beautiful chag of Peasach. Instead, we're planning for which hotel and resort we are going to. Let's get back to basics and see the true meaning and joy of Yiddishkeit.


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8.     2/17/09 - 9:27 AM
berel

At our Pesach sedarim, you didn’t distribute ‘matzoh cards’ to make sure that we had the proper shiurim or share profound divrei Torah with us,

Um, do you have issue with people who try to be medakak b'halacha?Are you really suggesting we should go back to the generation of well intentioned people who were mechallel shabbos due to ignorance?

but your eyes brimmed with tears when you spoke to us about our glorious mesorah.

how many people do you know today,who live according to the ideals of going to college (as bochrim) and being self sufficent cry when they talk about the Mesorah or any other religious ideal?In the (Lakewood type) Yeshiva I daven in for the Yomin Noraim I see plenty of people crying (silently)with Ahavs Hashem on RH and Teshuva on YK, which why I don't daven in my regular 'erlicher baal batisher- protype of this blog type- shul for the Yomim Noraim.

That is not to say the past generation didn't have it's good points, but is everything really the fault of (rightwing) Yeshivos?IMHO opinion the reason greatest generation was so pure and simple was because for the most part they didn't work in corporate America.


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9. corrections     2/17/09 - 9:52 AM
shaya g - chicago - gldmeier@rcn.com

yasher koach to R' Horowitz.

1. to friend for EY: you ought to qualify your comment about moral degradation. The sexual morals of America have loosened up, but morals overall have gotten better than they ever have been in history because of this country. freedom of religion, press, and speech. equal rights and abolishment of slavery. general morals are up, only sexual morals are more lax.

2. to BEREL: In telshe yeshiva some of those same "criers" on yomim nora'im would be ganavim or mean people the rest of the year. means nothing other than a cute show.


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10.     2/17/09 - 9:53 AM
yoni

coperate america is irrelevant as to the command to work.

secondly, yes, I know a few people who work for a living and cry when they talk about religious concepts, myself among them. its not hard.


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11. The entire religion is running a muck     2/17/09 - 9:59 AM
Chaim - NY

We've learned nicely from the Catholics. Our bais yaakov system certainly models their's. However, the catholic stress getting a job while ours stress staying in yeshiva and throwing all the pressure on our future father-in-law. How many kollel people could honestly pay a bill? We've been coddelling our children for too long and look at what we're left with - paying that can't pay their own bills and have no tools to survive in the world around us and don't really know anything about the world around us.

The Rabbis of the yeshivas and the parents are too blame for running orthodox judaism to the ground.


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12. Let Us Dance and Sing     2/17/09 - 10:05 AM
Poshut

Brilliant article - but let us not forget the times we are living in.

The fact that hundreds of thousands of yiden remain frum despite the arsenal of weapons which are available to the the yetzer hora is enough for us to dance and sing at the success of our chinuch and thank the Aibishter for the wonderful generation which we live in.

Don't forget you could be learning in a small holy Beis Hamedrash in the middle of Meah Sheorim and put your head down below the pile of Gemoras in front of you and turn on a pocket sized garbage can and access every possible piece of rubbish that tickles your fancy.

Who knows the reward that our generation will receive for remaining frum yidden despite the unparalelled tests that we face.


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13. You're right but you're wrong     2/17/09 - 10:13 AM
rabbidw - fFar Roackaway

My cousin is a big talmid chacham, he learns through shas every year. He has been teaching in the same yeshiva for twenty five years and he has commented on the growing hardness and chutzpa in more recent years. He says that he can handle the kids, he is exceptionally sweet, but this decrease in mentchlichkeit bothers him. I think part of the problem is what you dealt with in your column, but part is hardness and sense of kumpt mere, entitlement, that is growing all over. We live in a world, which in its own way, is as competitive as Japan and China, with only the top 5% able to make it and the cuts begin very young. The children know it, and the pressure is overwhelming. We must have a system which views success at anything, whether iyun or bekius, chumash, Navie, Chesed, music math, english, science or anything else as success. Life must be filled with opportunities for children to succeed, not chances to fail. Ratzah Hakodosh Baruch hu Lezakos es Yisrael, lefikach hirbah lahem Torah U'Mitzvot. God wanted to benefit Israel, therefore he gave them much Torah and Mitzvot. Different children, (and adults) will enjoy, if allowed to, different aspects of Torah life. This is to be encouraged. What is happening is our children are being forced into a mold, by well meaning mechanchim who think That everything their Roshei Yeshiva told them was meant for the ears of their talmidim as well.


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14. Who are the Erev Rav?     2/17/09 - 10:56 AM
Mordechai

What we're seeing at this time are the insidious actions of the Erev Rav, who have infiltrated and are now running our chedarim, yeshivos, and seminaries!

They don't want the Yidden to have a true connection with Hashem and His Torah. They only want power!

For those of you interested (and I hope it's each of you), please go to this site and learn the document entitled "Modern Erev Rav" for in-depth background info on who the Erev Rav are, where did they come from, and what do they want:

http://www.mishpattsedek.com/Docs/Modern_Erev_Rav.pdf


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15. to lenny #3     2/17/09 - 12:33 PM
Anonymous

lenny don't feel bad. as you can see from many of the rabbis articles, he has grown closer to the left as well. case and point, wears a shtreimel, yet davens by tendler. chasidshe garb, yet calls the mothers of students by fist names. so, its a sign of the times. nothing to feel bad about.


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16. R Shraga Feivel on Charedi Classic     2/17/09 - 1:10 PM
Shades of Grey

R SF Mendelowitz, in his educational philosophy, represented "Charedi Classic" in many ways(see "Rambam or Ra'avid", linked below).

Also, R. Mendel Kaplan taught life lessons--chochmas hachayim--in his shiurim, including appropriate marriage discussion to young students, and as I recall from reading his biography; R Elya Svei told students, in general, that "chocmas hachayim" wasn't bitul Torah. R. Yaakov Kamintesky, IIRC, said he wished he had a rebbe like R. Mendel.

Of course, R Shraga Feivel, in his spirit of eclecticism, would also focus on other Torah builders who contributed to "Charedi Classic"(I think he even sent his students to learn from the "Malach", before they were later expelled).

http://www.rabbihorowitz.com/PYes/ArticleDetails.cfm?Book_ID=941&ThisGroup_ID=346&Type=Article


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17. Fantastic I couldnt agree more     2/17/09 - 2:20 PM
Dovi - Brooklyn NY - mweiser@gficap.com

As is very often the case you are correct. But how do we get back to basics? How do we get our established Yeshiva's off their current path and back onto this one before we burn yet another generation?


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18. About the Erev Rav     2/17/09 - 2:34 PM
Mordechai

According to the Vilna Gaon in his sefer Kol HaTor, the Gimel Klipos Tamaios (the three completely impure sources of existence) are Eisav, Ishmael, and the Erev Rav.

According to Chassidus, the only way a Jew can elevate and refine the Gimel Klipos Tamaios is to distance oneself from them.

If the Erev Rav dominate today (and the Vilna Gaon and the Zohar and the Arizal and the Divrei Chaim and many others from every spectrum of Torah life say the Erev Rav will dominate just before Moshiach), why do we continue to be involved with them, their incompetence, meanness, and failing schools?

By all accounts, we should be distancing ourselves from them and creating our own chinuch systems instead, run by parents and true Yirai Shamaim. Better the children should truly learn in a storefront or basement school than be strung along year after year in discriminatory and unresponsive schools.

We truly are in galus.


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19.     2/17/09 - 2:38 PM
Anonymous

Why don't all you big talkers, who are repeating ad nauseam about what we have to do, go ahead and do it (yourself) already?


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20. You hit the nail on the head     2/17/09 - 2:45 PM
LK - Toronto

Rabbi Horowitz, I cant get over it. You took the words right out of my mouth. I am going to make copies of this article and distribute it everywhere. My children as well are struggling with this in addition to me as the mother! My husband also sees it everywhere. Something is very wrong ... we are trying to be a normal family and let our kids just have a good time and be erlich and appreciate Torah for what it really is. Even when i teach, girls tell me time and time again that they do not get enough of the "real thing". Measurements in regards to tznius, organizations for every little thing, looking over our shoulders to see who is more "frum", issues over genuine trivialities... i have had enough. This is affecting entire communities and entire cities. But my question is - how do we change this? how do we reverse the cycle?


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21. What to do?????????     2/17/09 - 2:53 PM
Yakov Horowitz - Monsey NY

several people posted comments asking, "what do we do now??

#20 asked -- "But my question is - how do we change this? how do we reverse the cycle?"

The answer is that you make the right choices for your children; picking schools that are child-centered and have child-appropriate learning levels.

We tend to write off schools like these as "shvache" schools, which causes schools to add pressure to our kids. why??? because that's what parents want. how do we know that?? because that is what we have.

i always say that there are many dozens of pesach hotel programs but only a few succos ones. why?? because consumers want pesach and not succos hotels.

So ....Why are the schools doing this (adding pressure upon pressure, rejecting kids, ...)?? because that is what parents must obviously want.

I left links to several columns at the end of this one. please read a few of those. it's all there.

YH


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22. Remember the Good     2/17/09 - 3:07 PM
Shades of Grey

Mention should also be made of the good as well.

Some time ago, I went to a wedding of a Baal Teshuvah, and I marveled at his friends, former(or current) Ivy League students now in yeshiva. I also see young bnei Torah in the Beis Midrash who, at least from the surface, look happy and well adjusted.

Despite the proliferation of the "improved" Coke, there is therefore good, as RYH has made this point elsewhere.

However, I imagine that national and international market forces will cause a increase in consumer demand for the Classic brand.


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23. 17 (and 19)     2/17/09 - 4:08 PM
anonymousfornow

I'm still trying to figure out what I can do on a macro level. On a micro level, I talk, honestly and frequently, to my teenage sons (who B"H have been matzliach at our local yeshiva). I tell them what the apparent reality is, and what we will expect of them before they can go on to each stage of life (i.e we won't help finance the shidduch quest if they're clearly not ready to get married).

We also had a very laid back approach in their upbringing.B"H they are serious bnei Torah but we never wanted them to feel disenfranchised if they were to need to go off the beaten track, whether in school choices or clothing. (Never happened but they knew there was a safety net.)


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24.     2/17/09 - 4:47 PM
Anonymous

Um, do you have issue with people who try to be medakak b'halacha?Are you really suggesting we should go back to the generation of well intentioned people who were mechallel shabbos due to ignorance?

good point

shall we also say that it was better in the "good ol' days" when people ate bugs in their vegetables, isurei d'oraisa?

how many people do you know today,who live according to the ideals of going to college (as bochrim) and being self sufficent cry when they talk about the Mesorah or any other religious ideal?

great question!

as for the simpler days when parents cried at the Seder, maybe that was true for your parents, for some Holocaust survivors, but many of us have American parents, grandparents and great-grandparents and we grew up with no tears at the seder but "I Love Lucy" and "Welcome Back Kotter" (among numerous other TV shows). Should we go back to that?

I don't agree at all with the premise of your speech, that simplicity is where it's at. How about an article about THE most significant change in frum life since the 1950's which is that back in the 50's, until the 70's, the majority of mommies were home raising their children. Not all, but most. There were no articles and speeches back then to frum women about "superwomen" about being "overwhelmed" about "juggling so many responsibilities." For the most part, women took care of the home and their children and weren't frazzled.

I dare you to write an article for Mishpacha magazine in which you exhort women to leave their jobs and stay home and raise their children.


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25. Misplaced Priorities     2/17/09 - 5:35 PM
JN - NJ

Who knows the reward that our generation will receive for remaining frum yidden despite the unparalelled tests that we face. We're not worried about rewards. We're worried about al lthe kiruvim who were mirachek due to the behaviour of many who should've known better.


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26. # 24     2/17/09 - 6:05 PM
Shades of Grey

"but many of us have American parents, grandparents and great-grandparents and we grew up with no tears at the seder but "I Love Lucy" and "Welcome Back Kotter" (among numerous other TV shows). "

Or parents who watched those shows as kids, but as adults learn Daf Yomi. Or kids who followed sports, but then outgrew it(or perhaps did not)--in other words, a slower progress. There was also no such as thing as the concept of a modesty committee(which only some communities have, but at least to me, is also unique to our times).

The difference, though, is today's culture is more decadent.


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27.     2/17/09 - 6:25 PM
Anonymous

My parents' generation (same as Rabbi Horowitz) unfortunately had a tremendous amount of people going off the derech. The number of chassideshe first cousins my parents have is equal to the ones who aren't observant. They both estimate that about a third of the people they went to yeshiva/bais yaakov are not frum. The generation after WW2 had tremendous yiras shomayim, but their chinuch is not what I would call "classic". To the contrary, they had been uprooted from their homes, and barely escaped with their lives, and to their credit, had to rebuild anew. But this period was an adjustment nonetheless, not one of sustained mesorah. For an example of sustained mesorah, you have to go back to pre-war europe. The yeshiva system that we have today, is the established result of what they started. It is also much more sucsessful by measure of how many stay true to yiddishkeit. The "at risk problem" we constantly hear about is partly due to the sensentionalism that we bring to every topic, where every challenge becomes a "crisis"


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28.     2/17/09 - 6:50 PM
Anonymous

In no way, shape, or form is mesorah being perpetuated through Torah U'mesorah. The organization founded by Rav Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz zt"l, to keep the flame of Torah alive. Every child in those days was more valuable than silver and gold. Regardless of the level of knowledge, parental religious observance level, or financial abilities, EVERY child was given a spot in a REGULAR classroom. Would a REAL rosh yeshiva like Rav Gifter zt"l refused a spot to a boy with a television at home?

The rebbeim back then knew each child needed to grow under their tutelage. They weren't given the option to say the child needs special help. With true Ahavas Yisroel they were able to reach MOST of their talmidim. They instilled pride of being an ehrliche Yid into each student. Even if they didn't become rabbonim, they were ehliche baalei batim. Now yeshivas push the new mesorah of kollel at all cost, and encourage ways to beat the system. Is there any wonder why there are so many frum financial scandals?

Rebbeim looked at teaching as a cause to live for, not a quick fix for yaider shoitah to try to make money off of. Can anyone compare nowaday rebbeim with the likes of Rabbi Joshua Silbermintz or Rabbi Hershel Mashinsky?

Who had the mesorah? Us or them?


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29.     2/17/09 - 6:55 PM
Anonymous

I am of the same generation as Rabbi Horowitz and I can attest that there are many people who went through the yeshiva and bais yaakov systems of our day who are not frum today. There are all sorts of reasons for this attrition, so blaming it on one factor or another is pointless.

When Rabbi Yehoshua ben Gamla established the yeshiva system 2000 years ago, it was in order to save Torah because the task of the parents teaching the children everything was becoming too great for the average household. But this innovation in education was never meant to replace good parenting!

We are not absolved from our mitzva of v'shinantom l'vanecha by paying tuition and packing a lunch. Too many of our fine frum families have totally relinquished their duty to teach their children to the schools. The children, however, don't all see things the same way. They could care less about tuition - they still look to their parents for some guidance and example. If we are not who we purport to be - ask Rabbi Horowitz - they will see right through us. If we provide them only with mixed messages, how can they not end up mixed up.

What we need are more parents to take control of themselves and their households and take responsibility for the chinuch and yiras shomayim of their children. And our schools need to make yiddishkeit relevant and alive for this generation of students, with its own unique challenges. Those educators who insist that there is only the Volozhin way or the Brisk way or whatever derech they espouse will reach only a few and lose the rest. Those educators who recognize the realities and see what their students see might just help save Torah for another generation.


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30.     2/17/09 - 7:32 PM
Anonymous

"how many people do you know today,who live according to the ideals of going to college (as bochrim) and being self sufficent cry when they talk about the Mesorah or any other religious ideal? great question" ------------------------------------------------------ This is a great question?? I beg to differ.

The temptation to view life in black and white is alluring--far easier on the brain than perceiving all the nuances. I've known modern-orthodox Jews whose emunah, spirituality, and emotional connection to Hashem runs deep and true. I've known Jews sporting all the outer trappings of ultra-orthodoxy, learning full time, who lack genuine integrity and heartfelt spirituality. I fail to see the use of sorting Yidden into boxes labeled 'black" and "white," certainly not based upon measurements of their tears in fluid ounces.

Similarly, while there is indeed much to be learned from our ancestors, I'm not really sure how to go about comparing entire generations, or what the purpose of this exercise would be. We should surely learn from the mistakes of our predecesors and draw inspiration from their successes, but canning them like labeled sodas is just a tad simplistic and appears to be an exercise in black-and-white idealization.

What instruments do we use for measuring frumkeit?


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31.     2/17/09 - 8:45 PM
lg

I agree with #30. It is always very dangerous to romanticize history. Unfortunately, this is done by almost every group. The people on this thread talk about how wonderful everything was in the previous generation. In truth, many people had a lot of problems raising families. Also, many Rabeim were entirely disinterested with helping children. Yes, as indicated in comment #28 there were some good Rabbeim, but there were plenty of bad ones. Charedim also romanticize history when they talk about how perfect Pre-war European communities were. All of this in not helpful. When we try to photocopy the actions of another generation without regard to the very unique challenge of ours, we cannot solve any of the problems that we are facing. Rather, let us try to learn from qualities of people that we look up to from earlier generations and apply those qualities to our current situation. This way we can utilize our minds and our Mesorah. This is far better than trying to mimic the actions of any previous generation.


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32. Europe     2/17/09 - 9:14 PM
Shades of Grey

"Charedim also romanticize history when they talk about how perfect Pre-war European communities were"

Jonathan Rosenblum does not romanticize it("In Praise of Fiction", Mishpacha):

"An old Lithuanian rav interviewed for the biography of Rabbi Yaakov Kaminetsky could not stop talking about the hunger that was widespread in the inter-War period. When a bochur applied for admission to yeshiva, there was always a suspicion that he was really looking for a place where he might count on a few slices of bread. All those familiar with Eastern European Jewry between the wars attribute at least part of the widespread flight from religious observance to the prevailing poverty."


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33. Teach a child according to his own path     2/17/09 - 10:26 PM
rabbidw - Far Rockaway

My Grandfather was a member of the nein un neintziker, a frum Shtieble on the lower East Side during the depression. His children, my father and his siblings walked to the Young Israel of Manhattan. Five of the six siblings remained Shomre Shabat as well as all of the grandchildren and great grandchildren, many of whom are Roshei Yeshivah. In my grandparents tenement building, there were many others who went to the nein un neintziker, who insisted that their children daven their, at the nein un neintziker. NONE of those children remained Shomre shabat and I do not know of any of the third generation, my generation, that returned. We can continue to raise the standards higher and higher, forcing more and more people outside, or accept that people will be different, and accept people in their diversity. There is nothing nonhalachic about making a living. There are serious questions about taking community money to learn, and not learn with aincerity and passion.


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34. Tafasta Marube - Lo Tafasta     2/17/09 - 10:35 PM
Anonymous

Wonderfully said; old not say it better myself May Hashem bless you.

Fellow Jew


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35.     2/17/09 - 11:30 PM
chani juravel - spring valley, ny - chanijuravel@verizon.net

beautiful piece. My father always says that the way to progress...is to move backward, closer to Sinai. That, he says, is what we mean when we ask Hashem, "chadesh yameinu k'kedem"- that we become modernized (wrong word?!) by going back to what was...


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36. Classic article!     2/18/09 - 1:25 AM
Moshe Borowski

both of my grandfathers were rabbanim, musmachim of various Gedolei HaDor in Eretz Yisroel and Europe.

When I whipped out my "Pesach shiurim card" during the middle of a seder, the looks on my parents' faces were a mix of wonder + amusement. I once spent a seder by my rebbe (an adam gadol in his own right, and the son of a rosh yeshiva), and there were no "cards" in sight. When I asked my parents, and years later my rebbe, "What about shiurim?", they basically answered that their fathers knew the shiurim and consumed/distributed the food items accordingly. That's how they experienced it in their youths, and how they in turn conduct their sedarim.

this is not a "knock" on things like Pesach cards, but there is a certain beauty and pashtus of how to run a seder, and on a broader level, how to run a life of "ehrlachkeit" (from what I am told, that was the prefered adjecitve (not "frumkeit")in Europe).

Reb Yanky, you are like a breath of fresh air. keep telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you G-d.


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37. Does anyone realize Jews 2,000 years ago were more worldly than frum Jews today?     2/18/09 - 2:51 AM
Historian - Chicago

2,000 years ago the average Jew knew much more than the frum Jew today. He knew much about the world and MORE torah. The yid then was able to travel to other parts of the middle east for trade and be able to socialize with all different types of people. He also had a skill and was able to provide for his family.

What we have today is simply Galut Judaism that isn't the Judaism from Sinai but rather some post 1800 invention that took over in the Ashkenazi communites.

If one wants to see how Judaism closely was then you need to search a Sephardic community. You'll see plenty of carpenters/plumbers/electricians/construction workers and also some kollelim in the mix. That is how the Jewish world was and always was.

I am waiting for the Ashkenazi Gedolim to come out and recognize the need for reforming the system now.


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38. to Dovi #17     2/18/09 - 4:43 AM
CB

But how do we get back to basics? How do we get our established Yeshiva's off their current path and back onto this one before we burn yet another generation?

I maintain that this kind of change — moving back to the basics — will not come from the top. They are on a certain trajectory and are only building momentum, especially when they hear talk like this, which is threatening for the status quo.

No, this kind of change will come from the bottom up. From you and me and my neighbor and your neighbor...

As I've mentioned before, it's already happening where I live in Eretz Yisrael. For decades, the conventional wisdom has been, "You can't fight the system." But those same people who were sighing but giving in supposedly for lack of any other choice continued to actually perpetuate the system that they acknowledged was broken by actively discouraging — and disparaging! — alternative choices, no matter how viable and even desirable.

Well, enough people I know are sick and tired of it and have been ignoring this kind of "conventional wisdom" and making decisions that are best for their families. They are bucking the system — successfully! They are taking back their chinuch responsibilities. They are taking back their families. You can too.

Change: Yes we can!


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39. Back To The Future     2/18/09 - 9:04 AM
Steve Brizel

We need to balance the fact that we live in a technological age and that we simply are far more precise than our forefathers in our need to be punctilious in halachic observance with the fact that our forefathers were closer to the Mesorah than we can ever hope to be. On the other hand, we need to rethink the fact that both in the Charedi and MO worlds, that our educational policies and other factors such as those that have been discussed re Shiddduchim are creating what is Lhavdil VElef Alei Havdalos, the equivalent of intellectual Aryans and disenfrancising many Jews from Am Yisrael.


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40. response to yh #21     2/18/09 - 1:33 PM
Anonymous

Rabbi Horowitz, B'mechilas Kevodcha your school does not adhere to what you are promoting! You are at the helm of a school that goes against much of what you write. This is puzzling at best. You knock the whole world about chinuch issues, and abuse issues. Both of the above are not delt with in your school as you tell the world they should do. I beg you to look in the mirror and clean your house first.


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41. At the risk of raising a few hackles...     2/18/09 - 5:13 PM
JN - NJ

I recently read an article portraying the extreme view of "Da'as Torah" (i.e. they are infallible) as having only arisen about the same time that the, l'havdil, Catholic church started promulgating a similar view for their pope.

Any thoughts?


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42. # 41     2/19/09 - 3:21 AM
Steve Gold - Atlanta,GA

You are exactly right. We emulated the goyim.

The Ashkenazim are running the Catholic Church. The Sefardim have moved to running the Jewish Ayatollah.

Daas Torah, lol. riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.


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43.     2/19/09 - 11:45 AM
Anonymous

My father graduated a major Brooklyn Yeshiva in the late 1950's and said about a third of his class is not frum now. So we always had this problem. 85% of the Jews alive today cannot in any way be called frum. This has nothing to do with this yeshiva education or that yeshiva education.


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44. #43     2/19/09 - 12:31 PM
Ding Dong

The same happened in the 80's in Monsey. When kids are used as objects for rebbeim to release frustrations on, why would a kid stay frum? Abuse is abuse, and is, was, and forever will be a major cause of abandonment of religion.

It is the responsibility of the principal to keep law and order of his/her staff. If a principal spends more than 10% of his day in the office, instead of peeking into every room with a door they are delinquent. They must be removed from office. In every other job, an employee works for their boss. The boss has the full right to scrutinize their work. Why do mechanchim feel above being supervised???? What are they afraid of????


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45. Anonymous #40     2/19/09 - 12:31 PM
Eliezer - Toronto

I don't think that preceding your comments with "B'mechilas Kevodcha" makes them any less of a slap in the face. But, then again, you probably realized that.

It's clear that you, for whatever reason, have an axe to grind. If you have an issue with Rabbi Horowitz or his Yeshiva, you should direct them to Rabbi Horowitz directly.

FYI to admin - I am not able to log in to use the Report This Post feature. I don't know if there is a technical issue with the website.


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46. To Administration     2/19/09 - 1:53 PM
CB

I too am sometimes unable to log in to report a post. Please look into this.


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47. Logging in     2/19/09 - 3:34 PM
Benzion Twerski

Logging in:

There are different locations on the pages to log in. The location on the left side does not work for me. I always go to the login/register button in the upper right corner, upon clicking it appears with my info already entered, and I can log in there without a problem. If that works for others, we have a way in, but the other door gets stuck.


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48. does it work?     2/22/09 - 7:15 AM
yitzy

Dear Rabbi Horowitz, I have been reading your posts for a while now and very often find your method upseting. Having said that, understood your mindset. I believe that this piece proves that this is not a strong way to promote good chinuch, and would like to use this post as the example. The above post has caused people to share thier gripes and taanos about the system and the gedolim behind it. It has prodused minimal advice, and the advice it has produced was mostly from your friends that you could have gotten with a email to them or a phone call. Why then do feel that this or any other of your pieces are service the klal in any way? Is this not just a free loshon horoh address for all, with no real purpose? I would love to hear you take on my question. Thanks


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49. #48 is too nice     2/22/09 - 8:17 AM
Anonymous

what do you think?! he is a PR machine! all about self promotion. just look on you tube and see his self promoting video


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50. #48 & 49     2/22/09 - 8:33 AM
Anonymous

For too long Rabbi Horowitz watched as klal yisroel destroyed itself neshama by neshama.

With the amount of teenagers, and adults experiencing far greater doubts about Judaism than we may care to believe, WE are not following the Mesorah. We have created our own brand of Judaism. Style is more important than substance in our minds. Outer trappings of frumkeit, have been elevated above the intrinsic value of Toras Hashem. The laws of bain adam l'chaveiro are trampled on. Without following these laws we create a decadent society, with every person doing as they please.

By writing this article, he will hopefully plant the seed of normalcy back into our minds.

To you #49:

Your chutzpah know no bounds, and doesn't deserve a reply. However, I want to point something out to a wise person like you:

Rabbi Horowitz is hoping schools will start designing curriculum for the benefit of the children. Curriculum meant for ALL to succeed. He is doing it for the sake of Yiddishkeit, not Yanky. Because, this would diminish the need for some of the services Project Y.E.S. offers.

Why would he "self Promote" to go against his own financial benefit?


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51. to # 50     2/22/09 - 8:49 AM
#49

if thats what he is tryng to do, why does he not do so for his own school. its all talk and no walk!! the exact issue that you are knocking the chinuch system for is taking place in his school. that is why so many of us parents are sick and tired of his act!!!!


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52. to #49, 51     2/22/09 - 9:59 AM
yitzy

I posted an honest question. I am hopeful still, to get a meaningful answer. Why do feel the need to bash Rabbi Horowitz? If you have points, ask. I'm not sure what you gain by bashing. That is exactly what the problem is with this forum. people like you


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53. Proliferation of the Torah VAdaas idealougy in this century     2/22/09 - 12:07 PM
Rocco Lampone - kitbrain71@yahoo.com

Yanki, why do you think Torah Vaddaas is not as successful as at it used to be? Do you think teenagers in the work place can remain as frum and ehrlech as their pears 40 years ago? Are you aware of the deterioration of morals in the work place (besides for internet)? Do you know how secreteries dress these days as a means for 'getting ahead'? Have you provided a method for youth to get a 'geshmak' in learning/a strong relationship with Torah that can keep them 'in the fold' without full time learning? Isn't it true, that those few who did not materially compromise their level of frumkeit in the workplace were those who expereinced learing in yeshivos with 'eletist models'? Yeshivos that provided shiruim to those on the higher levels and therby exposed all the talmidim to intenste and gratfiying lomdus? Stop taking advantage of R'Elyah's incapacitation.


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54. to yitzy     2/22/09 - 12:22 PM
Anonymous

you are right that i am bashing rabbi h, but all he does is bash the rest of the world. so that brings out the worst in me. either way he didn't respond to you even though you were very menshlach.


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55. 53     2/22/09 - 1:25 PM
Anonymous

Every derech has its maalos and chisronos, both inherently and as it effects particular individuals. In this world, especially in galus, utopia does not exist. The best we can do is examine each alternative through the prism of Torah, analyze what works and what doesn't,and enforce the required adjustments based on the chisronos of the derech we choose.

The Torah V'Daas derech produced--and continues to produce--many outstanding b'nei Torah, Talmidei chachomim, and erlich baalei batim who assume financial responsibility for their families, as the kesuva requires. Unfortunately, it is true that many alumni also fall short of these standards and may not represent the yeshiva's ideals, but this situation is by no means unique to Torah V'daas.

This existence of both successes and failures are a reality for every single yeshiva--in NY, in Phily,in Lakewood, in Europe, and in Eretz Yisroel.A hundred years ago, and today. As to your argument about the inability to maintain erlichkeit in the workplace, I can only share my observation that integrity and character are exceedingly difficult to encounter anywhere. Often, erlichkeit is sorely lacking just where you would expect to find it most. Just as frequently, it shines through where you'd least expect it. Erlichkeit is about the essence of a person--it is not about a situation.


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56. Secretaries dress     2/22/09 - 1:26 PM
Puzzled

> Do you know how secreteries dress these days as a means for 'getting ahead'?

I work for a large corporation and I hate to burst your bubble; the dress of women in Boro Park and some parts of Monsey and even Lakewood are far more alluring to the eye than the typical secular secretary.


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57. to 53     2/22/09 - 3:08 PM
Rocco Lampone

Nothing against Torah V'daas per se. Where is the evidence that it is currently more successfull than others? What is the justification for Yanki to advertise it as the salvation? Is the Torah V'Dass model as successful as producing elete scholars? Is Yanki espousing the universall acceptacne of such an approach besides for the fact that the elite don't flourish in such an environment in this century?


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58.     2/22/09 - 3:16 PM
Rocco Lampone

Yanki has a vision for the yeshivos that is a spin off Karl Marx's views on economic eutopia: eliminate the class differences and appeal to the removal of the lower class by promulgating a system that eleminates the strong. It won't work for the same reason that communism didn't. The ultimate motivator is the strive for excellency. This is the ultimate motivator of, not only the upper class, but of the middle class. There is no evidence that Yanki has any experience or personal expertese in how the upper class higher middle class operates. Therefore, he is not equipped to offer across the board socalistic views on how the whole system should change without harming that group.


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59.     2/22/09 - 3:37 PM
yoni

The Torah V'Daas derech produced--and continues to produce--many outstanding b'nei Torah, Talmidei chachomim,

idiots you mean.

as I have mentioned before, and will mention again, the current system is litteraly incapable of producing gedolim, for it sacrifices excelence for universal mediocrity, and raises that rediculously low standard on a pillar. How many people today finished shas by 15 or 16? its not because there aren't people who can do it.

You still have kids finishing the encyclopedia by 8 (a similar feat) why noone finishing talmud by 16?

I'll tell you why: no serious gadol was ever made in a traditional school enviornment, it cannot, will not happen because none of his compatriots can keep up with him. He cannot be mixed with any sort of shiur, not even the worthless excuse for schooling passed off as an "alef" shiur.

so whats the point in driving the kids crazy? let them progress at their own pace, and let the potential gadol be removed from shiur and privately tutored by one of the major rabbanim.

Most of our potential gedolim probably aren't even frum anymore because they felt so stifled in yeshiva.

Let yeshiva serve its purprose of training midrate scholars, and set up a yeshiva for the regular kids too.

whats the harm?


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60. to Yitzi and Rocco     2/22/09 - 4:16 PM
Yakov Horowitz - Monsey NY

To Yitzi and Rocco:

Thanks for taking the time to post your comments.

Yitzi: I propose that discussing the real issues of the day in our public squares (which only charedi papers and the internet are those venues) is an improvement in and of itself – even if “nothing is done” by the writer.

I endured much, much more personal attacks and accusations of ‘charedi-basing’ when I wrote about teens-at-risk 13 years ago and molestation 4 years ago (both topics were simply not discussed in public at those times. numbers don’t lie. Yitzi; Look up heimish publications and see how few columns were written about those topics then.)

Sadly; this is really the only way to begin improving things. I wish there were other ways of raising awareness in a more tznius manner.

Yitzi; imagine that you took my phone calls for a few evenings in 2002 and you heard brokenhearted parents night after night crying about their molested kids. talking about drug overdoses and suicides. don’t you think you would feel an achrayus to (politely) yell at the top of your lungs for people to watch their kids?

And don’t you honestly think that my efforts and those few others who have written about these subjects have saved many kids from this gehenom? –– Rocco:

The Torah Vodaas that I attended is not at all like the one today.

And, I never advocated lowering any standards. This is a discussion about communal achrayus to educate all our children. currently; any kid that is below average simply cannot get into a ‘regular’ high school.

Last I checked; 50% of kids are below average. That doesn’t even count the brilliant kids who are restless or those who have trying home situations.

We have turned our collective backs on our achrayus to our children and we will all have to give din v’cheshbon for this.

Take a look at Rabbi Bender’s Darchei Torah – he has a liberal admissions policy with tracked classes (aleph, bais, …) That is the closest thing to the way things were when I was growing up. Does it result in lowered standards? Absolutely not. Our son learned in beis midrosh there are it was of the highest caliber. And; … the bright talmidim learn humility and compassion by helping the shvache kids.

That is what I am advocating for. That we go back to treating all our kids as if they matter. That is not happening now.

I welcome your comments

Yakov (aka Yanki. BTW Rocco; I spell it with an e at the end -- Yankie :)


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61.     2/22/09 - 4:49 PM
Rocco Lampone

Sorry, I just think that is the truth


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62. 59 - Yoni, and the products our yeshivos are producing     2/22/09 - 7:35 PM
anonymousfornow

Something I've heard, not seen myself as a woman but sounds straight to me, is that the boys now are not being given the same type of general knowledge needed as a good background to gemara and basic skills. There are a lot of high school rebbeim who are concentrating on lomdus, rather than giving the kids skills and a bren for learning. Seems to me that that would be what's necessary to carry our boys through the vicissitudes of life. (And I just had a chance to listen to Rabbi Reisman's motzai Shabbos shiur of Feb. 14, on living in galus. Dovetails well with some of the posts on this board.)


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63.     2/23/09 - 12:31 AM
confused

Aren't we much frummer today? Back then they had mixed seating at many weddings. Quite a few "frum" women did not wear sheitlach. Cholov Yisroel was considered a chumrah not kept by everyone. Not every married man studied full time in kollel. We dd not have Bodek vegetables and filtered tap water. We ate lettuce, broccoli and strawberries, lo aleynu. Yeshivas would take almost ANY jewish kid no matter what level his frumkeit or learning, while now we can be selective to produce only the best, and to shelter our kinderlach from knowing about less religious people. The stringencies of tznius grow almost every year, including the thickness of the women's stockings, B"H. Could you imagine back then the kiddush Hashem we were zocheh to when a sheitle store was threatened and boycotted for having pictues of ladies faces with sheitlich and forced to take them down? The owners had had the audacity to say "we are not in Bnei Brak". Well maybe we are! Or something like it. There are more shtreimlich per kapita in Brooklyn then there were in all of Europe! Back then how many of us actually even did Kapparos with a live chicken, one of the holiest and most meaningful practices in all of Judaism. Now the chickens literally take over Brooklyn during Aseres Ymey Tshuvah. More and more people are eschewing the spiritual horrors of a secular education to live a dignified lifestyle of government "programs". And kashrus? There are items now that have not one but several hashgachas making them that much more kosher. And in order that we don't be tempted to see the world through the eyes of the goyim chas v'shalom, we now have Hamodia newspaper daily. More and more children are growing up third generation in America with English being their second language, B"H. Even non-chasidic men are choosing to wear white shirts only. And almost NOBODY gives a boy a haircut before 3 years old. Aren't these the issues that REALLY matter? And did you see the siyum hasahs at Madison Square Garden? Almost everyone is learning daf yomi. Even in federal prisons there are minyonim with kviusdike daf yomi shiurim! And the availability of glatt kosher meat throughout the country thanks to the Rubashkins with their "wholesome business practices". Doesn't this mean that we are going in the right direction?

Can someone please explain what Rabbi Horowitz is talking about? I am confused.


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64.     2/23/09 - 9:05 AM
yitzy

your responce is interesting. what i hear is i know i'm doing something wrong, but do you have a better way of doing things? two wrongs don't make a right. also why do you only respond to the comments calling you out, yet you allow and don't respond to yoni, who is really bringing the level of kovod chachomim down. you are responsable. noone else.


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65. To Confused     2/23/09 - 9:14 AM
The Law

To confused:

Love the satire...


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66.     2/23/09 - 10:08 AM
yoni

two wrongs don't make a right. also why do you only respond to the comments calling you out, yet you allow and don't respond to yoni, who is really bringing the level of kovod chachomim down

yitzi, do you know why we have such misserable leaders now? why torah is hidden from their eyes?

THe issue is that moshiach is comming, and he is comming now. Not in 20 years from now, but now, in the immediate and present sense. All hashem is waiting for is for us to turn to him in truth.

In the generations gone by we have slowly gotten confused and distracted from the important things, and so therefore has hashem given us even more confused leaders so that we should know and recognize our thirst for hashem's presence, and so that we should be so desperate for true leadership, with a genuine g-dly man, that hashem is "starving us" if you will, the same way that he commands us not to eat on friday, that we may eat on shabbos with relish.

When we all fully recognize the depth of the error of our leaders and cry out to hashem to end our sorrows and travails and to sweaten our lips with the goodness of his teaching, for it has been so long and we have forgotten the taste, then he will send us a leader who is upright and g-dly, with the foresight to end our troubles and restore the davidic monarchy.

But we must yearn for him first, and thus hashem is withholding the sweetness of his kiss that we might have a consuming taiva for it.

and so i point that out. That we are missing what we need.

you do want moshiach to take us out don't you?

and yet people seem to respond to the calamities in isreal by saying "we need more tznius" C"V. we have more tznius than we ever had in our history as a nation, and still it does us nothing but garbage.

no, what we need to turn ourselves to hashem and cry out to him, and to be able to get along with each other b'achdus. but what I see is nothing but sniping one to the other, myself included....

turn to your fellow, all of them, and love them, but not with the love of rabbi akivas students, who corrected each other, but with a love that takes into account each others essential character for each yid is beloved by hashem y'.


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67.     2/23/09 - 10:27 AM
yoni

and i would add how sorry are we that do not even realize that we have forgoten the sweetness of our beloved's lips, thinking that the peasant boy is our beloved, who could never understand a princess such as we.


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68. To # 53 - Tznius issues in the workplace     2/23/09 - 2:37 PM
Eliezer - Toronto

I would make a similar observation as comment # 56. I am a Kollel alumnus and have been working in the corporate world for over five years now. While there are certainly nisyonos, I generally haven't found dress to be a major problem at the companies where I have worked. In professional environments, it would not be considered appropriate for a woman to dress in a provocative way.

In fact, at one large firm where I worked, the Human Resources department would send out an email at the beginning of the summer reminding everyone of the company dress code. Of course, it would not be fully compliant with halacha, but I think your description of the issue (my guess is you're not speaking from personal experience) is exaggerated.

More fundamentally, I believe that the argument that men need to stay in Kollel in order to avoid being exposed to the nisyonos of the outside world is not well thought out. While it's certainly not a decision to be made lightly, I believe that in most cases the alternative is far worse.

First of all, if a Kollel yungerman is no longer learning productively, he will begin to feel down emotionally, which will take a large toll on him and his family.

Second of all, the family's financial situation will become more and more strained, unless they come from a wealthy family. Financial stress can have a debilitating effect on shalom bayis as well.

And if the "solution" to avoiding financial stress is to force parents and/or in laws into shouldering a crushing financial burden against their will, or resorting to defrauding government programs, I believe that an honest cheshbon hanefesh will reveal that learning Torah through such false pretenses is not what the Ribbono shel Olam wants.

In short, I believe that if someone is able to make ends meet in an erliche way while learning in Kollel, it's a wonderful thing. If not, I think we do him a great disservice by making him feel that if he goes into the outside world to earn a parnasa, he is somehow headed straight for gehinnom or worse.


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69.     2/23/09 - 4:45 PM
yitzy99

"The ultimate motivator is the strive for excellency."

The ultimate motivator is the love of learning and curiosity. And that should be an educator's and parent's ultimate goal (to keep curiosity and love of learning alive). Unfortunately, much of what goes on in yeshivas and homes today, only extinguishes it.


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70. 70     2/23/09 - 9:16 PM
Anonymous

Different children/adults are motivated in different ways. While most children are innately curious about their immediate environment, the inclination toward more abstract, academic learning varies widely. Some pple are more peer-motivated, some display great self-motivation, and some are motivated by a general desire to excel. Even Chazal are modeh, 'kinaas sofrim tarbeh chochma.'I am not suggesting that the learning environent should be dominated by competition, but the drive to excel should be harnessed in a balanced, healthy way. The wise mechanech realizes that the 'ultimate motivator' depends on the individual student and diversifies his motivational techniques accordingly.


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71.     2/24/09 - 12:01 AM
Still confused

Another thing that is better with the "New Coke" generation is that we keep yashan, which all of our parents didn't. And in the old days, if a Rebbe passed away, can you believe that people did not care enough about his successor that there was almost always a peaceful tansfer of power? Now we really care so much about doing Hashem's ratzon that we almost ALWAYS have machlokes l'shem shamayim involving fistfights, lawsuits splitting of chasiddus, wars among goups splitting up families. We REALLY care! Our leaders, in fact care so much about our moysdos Hakodesh that they have taken to laundering money to avoid paying income taxes to the "treife" government to provide more money for yeshivas. We also clearly have more emunas chachamim too. If someone had molested one of us, our parents would not have cared who it was or who said what, they would have gone to the police, but now we are much, much holier. We allow our yeshivas to cover up for molesters and don't say a word. Emunas Chachamim, mamash! We would never say lashon harah on a molester or chas v'shalom be moyser one to the police. There is only one thing that we don't do as well, in the old days a kid in school would have gotten a "frask in punim" if he misbehaved, now, ba'avoseynu harabim we have these modern ideas about abuse etc. BUT, we are at least kicking more kids out of yeshivas then EVER before in history for "not shteiging enough". If a boy and girl are caught talking to eachother both are immediately tossed. This is what is keeping our yeshivas so wholesome with so few sexual problems and hanky-panky. So many kids are going to learn in Eretz Yisroel for a year, which is clearly why we are producing so many gedolim, much more and better than ever before. In the old days, before a Ta'aynis, people wished each other an easy fast. Can you imagine that, as if doing a mitzvah should be easy? Now we say, "have an easy AND MEANINGFUL fast". In general, people liked being frum as a way of being close to G-d and a good jew, but they weren't smug and self-assured like we are, they weren't proud of themselves and their accomplishments and self-conglaturatory as a community, the way you find in our wonderful generation. And again, to reiterate, even the most "chashuva" rabbanim sat together with their wives at banquets and weddings, Rachmana Litzlan. How far we have come, Baruch Hashem. Before, people used to think it was good enough to keep Torah Umitzvos withough ever looking for a chumrah. Now, dial-a-shayla allows people access to rabbanim to ask shaylas they wouldn't have dreamed of years ago. Also, we have many more things to ban then they ever had: internet, cell phones, ipods, concerts, books on the making of a gadol and on science and Judaism, Touro college, television, women working in corporations, participating in anything with modern orthodox jews, accepting Lubavitch as a legitimate form of Judaism, saying a tfillah for the medina, the list goes on and on. When it came to saving yidden's lives (like in WWII), the frum oylam would work together with Reform and Conservatives, but now, B"H our leaders refused to participate in a rally for Israel in a shas milchama that would mix us together with these "goyim". And our music. All they had, nebach, was Carlbach. We have Shwekey and MBD and Miami Boys, real spiritual stuff! I am still perplexed by the idea that Classic Coke Charediism is better. In fact until recently they didn't even HAVE Charedim, its a recently coined term. It used to be just "frum Jews."


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72. # 53 needs to leave his kollel and work for a day     2/24/09 - 6:01 AM
Shwartzbaum - Chicago

I've been at 6 companies in the last 20 years. I have NEVER seen a secretary or woman in the office come in unprofessional. She'd be fired within 10 seconds.

I love how people that never left the confines of a Beit Midrash think they now know what's happening in corporate America.


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73.     2/24/09 - 2:59 PM
Anonymous

I went for jury duty. The female lawyer in the case was wearing a mini skirt. I thought she looked ridiculous but apparently it was not a breach of professionalism.

Employees in banks and libraries routinely dress in ways that are exceedingly immodest with plunging necklines.

If those who have posted their comments previously don't see an immodesty problem in the secular world, maybe it's because they have become used to it.


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74. Maybe...     2/24/09 - 6:00 PM
JN - NJ

If you kept your eyes on the cement (i.e. sidewalk) as Rabbi Miller zt'l always suggested, you wouldn't notice these things.

(Then again, you might just see those porno-cards with their 800 numbers.)


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75.     2/24/09 - 6:19 PM
Anonymous

Looking at cement/pavement/carpet while on jury duty wouldn't work too well ... ditto for bank, co-workers in the office ...


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76. 74     2/25/09 - 9:38 AM
Anonymous

What is so tzniusdig about looking around to measure other pple's level of tznius? Keep your eyes where u think they belong and away from places that make you feel uncomfortable. problem solved.


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77. 74     2/25/09 - 11:45 AM
Eliezer - Toronto

I think the issue here is that you are extrapolating from your experiences in your everyday life to what a professional would experience.

I was describing a professional environment that a ben Torah who goes out to work would likely be exposed to. Bank branches and libraries are not professional environments, and I doubt that a Kollel yungerman would consider becoming a bank teller or librarian.

An accounting or investment firm is a very different environment from what you are describing. Plunging necklines would generally not be encouraged/allowed. In my employer's email that I referred to earlier, they would specifically mention that low necklines and miniskirts are not permitted, among other things. My sister, who worked for Lehman Brothers (now Barclays) mentioned the same thing.

I can't speak about law firms, because I am not familiar with them, although it wouldn't surprise me if there's more of an issue there.Perhaps some other posters who are lawyers would be able to comment.


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78. law firms     2/25/09 - 4:24 PM
CB

In my previous life I worked as a paralegal in a midtown law firm where the women wore low cut tank tops and high cut mini-skirts, in silk of course, and I got flak once for wearing Keds sneakers on a day other than Friday.

My husband worked in the computer department of a Wall Street firm where the women wore the same thing, ie nothing.

If this is not a problem where you work consider yourself very lucky, but I do believe that is the exception rather than the rule, at least in New York.


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79. re 79     2/25/09 - 9:19 PM
anonymousfornow

Sounds right, at least if you read some of the magazines geared to professional women, like Oprah.


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80. "NEW COKE"     2/25/09 - 10:03 PM
Efraim

"New Coke" is far better then Charedi Classic.


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81. re #79     2/26/09 - 12:20 PM
Eliezer - Toronto

CB,

After I read your comments, I happened to be speaking to a friend of mine who works for a major financial firm in New York. He knows many people and is generally very perceptive.

I asked him for his take on this question and he said that in corporations, it would not be generally accepted for women to wear plunging necklines or miniskirts. Perhaps your husband had the misfortune of working among "bad apples".

In terms of law firms, my friend mentioned that often they have a culture which is dominated by male cheuvenism, where women are expected to provide "eye entertainment" for their male co-workers. This is an issue which is specific to law firms which is worthwhile being aware of, although I'm sure there are exceptions.

Ironically, my friend mentioned that the people he knows who have the most issues are those who work in "heimishe" offices. It seems that the smaller, more relaxed attitude sometimes leads the non-Jewish female secretaries/employees to take more liberties with their dress.

As a practical matter, this might be something to keep in mind when weighing the benefits of the corporate world versus a "heimishe" office.


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82. To Eliezer     2/26/09 - 1:46 PM
CB

I absolutely agree that "Heimish" offices are not necessarily better. In fact, I'm uncomfortable with the way the very sweet secretary in my son's cheder dresses, and I doubt she even has a clue.

There can be no generalities here. Every office environment must be investigated individually. I think I've mentioned once before that (after the Manhattan fiasco which, b"H didn't last long) my husband has turned down more than one potentially lucrative job offer from companies with an atmosphere that was just a bit too relaxed for comfort, not only in the area of dress but also in social expectations.

As far as bad apples go, computer departments even of major corporations are notoriously casual and have high expectations for "teamwork" which often means socializing during off hours. If you don't participate, you're not "respecting the team" and you'll likely get cut. This should also be considered.


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83. RE: Comment 3     2/27/09 - 8:23 AM
To Lenny R from Brooklyn

I remember growing up in the Lower East Side where the frummest ladies wore red, orange, hot pink, and yellow -my favorite colors which personify my personality. I rejected a man who was interested in me because when I questioned him about his attitude toward women wearing these colors he nearly jumped two feet high out of his seat in horror.He was really upset that I didn't want to date him again.Yiddishkeit in those days was not about colors but about your ability to help others, to be kind, polite, and shomer mitzvos. There are still many frum people with my values so don't give up Lenny.

P.S.I am BH now happily newly married to a frum man who likes my colorful clothing.


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84. Working at Corporations     2/27/09 - 2:19 PM
Tayerreh Baal Habos

>There can be no generalities here. Every office environment must be investigated individually.... If you don't participate, you're not "respecting the team" and you'll likely get cut. This should also be considered.

Agreed. I think it's time to establish a Vaad and before a yunger mahn accepts a job at a firm the Vaad should investigate. This is way too important to let the individual decide.


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85. To Tayerreh Baal Habos     2/28/09 - 1:30 PM
CB

Please tell me you're joking.


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86. One of the Best I've Read in a Long Time     3/1/09 - 5:42 PM
Cantor Henry Topas - Montreal - htopas@canpro.ca

I had the privilege of growing up in Lakewood in the 50's. Everyone treated each other with respect, whether Jew or Gentile, Frum or Not Yet Frum.

Today, the entire spectre of going to visit my family who still live in Lakewood is often a painful experience when I hear expressions to the effect of "Tatty, geb dus shikseh di gelt" or people referring to Gentiles as Goyim. It sickens me.

I was present when Rav Aharon Kotler ZTl was being Maspid in the original Bais Medrash on Forest Avenue.

When then Governor Robery Meyner's limo pulled up to escort the aron to New York, I didn't hear the word Goy.

Some of the preceding comments take issue with Rabbi Horowitz's mention of how our fathers conducted sedarim, without shiurim cards etc. These sedarim resonated with my generation and I would challenge anyone who witnessed a seder surrounded by all 4 types of sons to tell me that they can better remember a seder when each child is pushed to be the chacham, to outdo the other with more and more chidushim and regulations as opposed to the real beauty of Kol Dichfin, the notion that we are responsible for each other and that we share a common history which started on that night and G-d willing, may it long continue.

It won't when only the chacham is worshipped and "rachmana letzlan' we shun the other 3 sons who are entitled to no less a place of honor at the seder table and the table of Jewish life.

Rabbi Horowitz, keep it up.

Cantor Henry Topas Montreal


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87.     3/2/09 - 2:33 PM
Anonymous

So you're saying the rasha deserves a place of honor at the seder? Hmmmm.


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88. 88     3/2/09 - 3:24 PM
Anonymous

Cantor Topas' point was not to place the rasha upon a pedestal and you know it. His point was that every sort of child--not just the metzuyan--is acknowledged and has a place at the proverbial table. The haggadah does not mandate expelling or even ignoring the rasha; rather, it offers a precise mahalach appropriate for responding to the child.

By contrast, our system is casual about completely ignoring, shunning, and rejecting so many of our children, even those who are far from reshaim. Instead, we unabashedly shower our attention and admiration upon those we deem the cream of the crop. Lots of elitism, judgementalism, and exclusivity, aka sinaas chinam.


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89. re 88     3/2/09 - 3:33 PM
anonymousfornow

(I think I got the right number in my comment title; I'm referring to the short post about the rasha at the head of the table.) I've heard that the point of hakhe es shinav (blunting the rasha's teeth, as per the hagada) is that it should be a form of shock therapy, bringing the rasha home.


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90.     3/3/09 - 11:29 AM
Anonymous

Ah the good ol' days ... remember when we were more innocent and less frum and had mixed seating concerts (London Pirchei, Shlomo Carlebach, MBD) at Brooklyn College ...

The nostalgia as I look at my elementary school photos and see us with short sleeves and short skirts. We were not yet bas mitzva and back then, in our more lax and less frummie days, that way of dressing was fine for 11 year olds.

R' Horowitz calls that "simple chinuch." No clue what that means. Can we get a definition? Shorter hours in yeshiva=simplicity? School and camp performances based on secular shows ("Annie", "Oliver" etc.)=simplicity? Music concerts that were just money-makers not fundraisers=simplicity? Bas mitzva celebrations were modest (simple?) but had no Yiddishe tochen, is that something to yearn for?

The examples in the article sound like R' Horowitz's personal experience which others of his generation may or may not relate to, definitely not universal the way he makes it sound and nothing to do with simplicity.


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91. to the cantor     3/3/09 - 1:19 PM
Anonymous

do you say the brocho every morning shelo osanie goy or do you say gentile!!!???


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92. #91     3/3/09 - 3:12 PM
CB

The fact is that the system in the old days drew people in. The system today pushes people out.


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93.     3/3/09 - 3:41 PM
Anonymous

I heard Rebbetzin Paler comment on this issue and she said you can't pick just the nice parts of yesteryear and you can't turn back the clock. Years ago there were challenges and today there are challenges. She didn't buy your premise.


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94. #91 and others     3/3/09 - 5:16 PM
Eliezer - Toronto

First of all, I'd like to thank Rabbi Horowitz again for his fascinating presentation in Toronto this past Sunday. (For anyone who was there, I thoroughly enjoyed receiving the nickname Harav Excel!)

With regards to this thread, I think some posters have taken Rabbi Horowitz's comments out of context. Clearly, there has been improvement over the last several decades in dikduk b'halacha and tznius, for example. I don't believe Rabbi Horowitz is advocating that we lower our standards per se in these areas or others. (Rabbi Horowitz, feel free to correct me if I'm misunderstanding.)

As far as I understand, what he is telling us is that we need to change our focus. Instead of looking for more chumras and pressure to conform (both in terms of frumkeit and academics), we should be finding ways to make our Yiddishkeit more ehrlich and meaningful, less superficial. And the way to do that is by focusing on what's really important, i.e. emunah, bitachon and ehrlichkeit.

I once read in the name of the Vilna Gaon a distinction between the reasons for the churban of Bayis Rishon and Bayis Sheni which I think may be applicable here.

Basically, the Vilna Gaon explained that the aveiros of the people in Bayis Rishon were "external", while those of Bayis Sheni (sin'as chinam) were "internal". For that reason, the Galus after Bayis Rishon was relatively short, as it was simply a matter of purging the damage of their aveiros. On the other hand, the spiritual pollution of Bayis Sheni was more about an inner corruption, despite the fact that their outside appearance and observance was excellent.

This distinction speaks to me in terms of where we are as a community. It's true that our outer appearance and frumkeit is generally excellent (especially compared to the previous generation), but I can't escape the conclusion that we're rotting on the inside.

I hope that we can take Rabbi Horowitz's message to heart and find ways ways to become more ehrliche yidden.


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95.     3/3/09 - 6:56 PM
yoni

um, tzniut belongs in certain places only... moving out of where it belongs is not proper from a torah perspective.

and when one adds, one detracts. . .

may I point out that halachicaly, the way you define tzniut, it isn't b'chlal relevant to a child younger than 10 or 11?


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96.     3/3/09 - 7:33 PM
Anonymous

I liked what Eliezer had to say and think he did a good job framing the subject of this thread in a focused, constructive way. But here's my reservation: When we were zoche to the guidance of nevuah and ruach hakodesh, the tochachos recorded in nach and the observations of Chazal pointed clearly to the root of our tzaros.

Today we are no longer zoche to such clarity, and it is so difficult to pinpoint the cause of our problems. One person's shortcomings may lie in the externals--rituals and diukim behalacha--while another individual may need major internal avodah to forge a real connection with Hashem. When we attribute our collective matzav to a single cause--be it tznius, lashon haroh, or a myriad of other possibilities, we close off entire avenues for the introspection that allows each person to achieve whatever shleimus he lacks. Instead, each person can say, "I am tzniusdig--the galus is yenem's fault," or "I cry real tears when i talk about the mesorah; Moshiach will come when my neighbor who works in corporate America joins a kollel and weeps while he learns..."

We all have work to be done--both internal and external. Our mutual challenge is to draw upon the inspiration and motivation required to identify our individual tikun and rise to the occasion.


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97.     3/3/09 - 8:58 PM
yoni

may I point out that halachicaly, the way you define tzniut, it isn't b'chlal relevant to a child younger than 10 or 11?

or perhaps i should add the one crevat: that it does apply from a chinuch perspective, but thats only relevant from the age of 6 or 9, depending on your opinion, and either one is not so nogeah, and it should be noted that one may give a young child undersized tzitzis for the sake of chinuch. . . (because he is not yet big enough for the full sized i think the example is instructive.)

even though you may get more cooperation if you always did something, if you introduce the time at an age where the child can be actualy educated, then one A increases the likely hood that the behavior will be maintained on second consideration and B likely reduces initial fuss and resentment, because you can explain why the behavior is not a good idea. (however ascribing the reason to the bogus and heretical idea that its to protect boys aint going to help you, try and give a rational and intuitive reason, like the fact that we try to be tznius in all our affairs, boys and girls both, and this means not advertising what we have, be it physical, intellectual, or monetary. (in the same way that noone appriciates a braggart.) any child with a remote capacity for social behavior will intuitively understand, relate to, and accept this statement. however it seems to me that giving the true and honest reason for tznius would require a major cheshbon hanefesh on the part of the outragous opulance that the frum community is currently showing, as well as the outragous excesses of chumra that are currently eating the ruchnius in our communities alive and driving children off the derech in droves.

Tznius is not just necessery in clothing, in not showing how smart one is, and in how much money one has, but tznius is aslo required in ruchnius, and that, my friend, is a test that our communities not only fail, but if possible, make an numericaly impossible gade. if tznius means a ten or higher, we're rated at -5 million in terms of tzniut.

and is it a wonder that our daughters throug htznius out as something to be resentful of and as bunk?!

this reason is intuitive for any child, a lie can, is and will be detected by any normal child, and this is why people have such a hard time teaching tznius to our kids sometimes.

tell me, are you careful to be tznius about your yiras shemayim and how "frum" you are or do you wear it shamelessly as a badge for all to see?

Miracles we are not to be tznius about, but our frumkeit g-d forbid someone else should have the begginings of a clue about how frum we are.

This is why so many charedim make me so sick to my core and offended on der eibishter's behalf we are nothing but a worthless shame to him the way we are behaving. he isn't remotely proud of us. (because tznius is a klal gadol of the torah, and our tznius is like fasting on yom kippur and spending the entire day in a cassino.)


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98. To #92     3/4/09 - 6:53 AM
Cantor Henry


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99. To #92     3/4/09 - 6:59 AM
Cantor Topas

I say the brochos exactly as it is written b'lashon hakodesh, as I trust you do, as well. I am sure you are also familiar with the mishnah which, also b'lashon hakodesh states:

"Eizehu mechubad hamechabed es habriyos"

There is no conflict between the brocho you have noted and the mishna.

It is up to us to understand the difference and treat our neighbors of all stripes with the propert dignity which we, as b'nai Torah, must exhibit.

CHT


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100.     3/4/09 - 9:28 AM
Anonymous

As far as I understand, what he is telling us is that we need to change our focus. Instead of looking for more chumras and pressure to conform (both in terms of frumkeit and academics), we should be finding ways to make our Yiddishkeit more ehrlich and meaningful, less superficial. And the way to do that is by focusing on what's really important, i.e. emunah, bitachon and ehrlichkeit.

That's a great message but it's not what he said. Or he said it, but mixed in other ideas like simplicity, seemed to knock precision in mitzvos, and romanticized the chinuch of an entire generation, making them sound like paragons of virtue and models of what Judaism is supposed to look like.

If they were all such incredible people and parents, we would see the fruits in the next generation. Where does R' H. think all our problems have come from? Out of the air? Why does he think those super parents didn't produce children and grandchildren who follow in their footsteps?


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101. R Eli Teitelbaum on Charedi Classic     3/4/09 - 12:07 PM
Shades of Grey

I think R. Eli Teitelbaum zt'l would be an advocate for Charedi Classic.

From a tribute in a booklet given out at the "Event" concert this past Sunday:

"Always approachable, he showed us kids that Torah im Derech Eretz worked. You could have a good time and accomplish; yet, not forfeit your Yiddishkeit. I still remeber him organizing for some of us kids from Boro Park, one Chol Hamoed Sukkos day, a baseball game out in Kew Gardens. After the game, he brought us to his parents' home for a meal in their Sukka and to meet his father R. Yaakov Teitelbaum zt'l. Torah im Derech Eretz, that is what we took away that day."

At the above-mentioned concert, a rosh yeshiva who is also a composer mentioned that some think that Yiddishkeit is only about issurim. But this was not the approach of R. Teitelbaum's, he said, who taught that Judaism is also about partaking from the fruits of this world (as the Gemera says about giving a cheshbon for fruits which one didn't eat), and to that end, R. Teitelbaum organized separate-seating concerts in Yerushalayim(note: I'm not taking a position on that issue, just noting what R. Teitelbaum held).

In a video shown at the concert, Abie Rottenberg dedicated a beautiful song, titled "Somewhere There is A Star Shining Bright”, to the memory of R. Eli. This was based on the theme of "matzdikay harabim" shining eternally, like bright stars, and the point was that R. Teitelbaum used his creativity and originality to become this in many ways.


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102. Fabulous!     3/18/09 - 12:18 AM
Anonymous


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103. How True     3/20/09 - 5:17 AM
Areyh - Johannesburg

Rabbi Horowitz you have an uncanny ability to put in perspective what so many of us are feeling. We are living in a world where our Yiddishkeit has become rote observance, a yiddishkeit without neshoma. We are living in a world where the pressures to comply and conform externally are so crushing, which is why so many beautiful yidden are so frazzeled and unsure because inside they are "dying" but outside they are complying--How to live with such conflict is destroying. My "simple" advice is to find oneself a "Rebbe" who IS a mentsch but more importantly who loves Hashem and sees Hashem as our Tatte and not Chas Veshalom our destroyer.


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104. How True     3/20/09 - 5:17 AM
Areyh - Johannesburg

Rabbi Horowitz you have an uncanny ability to put in perspective what so many of us are feeling. We are living in a world where our Yiddishkeit has become rote observance, a yiddishkeit without neshoma. We are living in a world where the pressures to comply and conform externally are so crushing, which is why so many beautiful yidden are so frazzeled and unsure because inside they are "dying" but outside they are complying--How to live with such conflict is destroying. My "simple" advice is to find oneself a "Rebbe" who IS a mentsch but more importantly who loves Hashem and sees Hashem as our Tatte and not Chas Veshalom our destroyer.


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105.     3/20/09 - 11:07 AM
Anonymous

Here's an article by Dr. Yitzchok Levine called "New York Orthodoxy, Then and Now." He writes along the same lines as R' Horowitz, giving what I think is a more realistic picture of life in the 50's versus life now.

http://www.vosizneias.com/29104/2009/03/19/new-york-orthodoxy-then-and-now/


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106. 96 is mistaken on all counts     3/30/09 - 1:55 AM
Matisyohu Glenn

I challenge 96 to bring a single source for his statement - the only machlokes about tznius is between poskim who hold the requireets begin at the normal age of chiuch(say, 5), or whenever a child becomes pubescent or developed physically(this could be 9, 10, 11, but at 12 there is a chiyuv in any case 12, depending on the child). Chiuch requires that young girls be dressedd tznius.


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107. more on 96     3/30/09 - 2:02 AM
Matisyohu Glenn

Just where does tzius 'not belong'? the only ekor for such a heter is in the bathroom, for changing(this is a machlokes haposki in itself) or in a place where there are no men and where it is impossible to, say, swim in long skirts(although some yorei shomayim have decided to wear more tznius bathing suits, as i have been informed)

your assertion that tznius is to be kept sometimes and not others sounds eerily similar to the attitude that led to eating kosher at home and treif outside in the 'old days'. Tznius is meant to reflect an awe of G-d, that He sees you constantly, and even that when one is alone one must be tznius - it is not just about how one looks in front of others. You are abbrogating that entire chelek of the mitzvah, hopefully due to ignorance. Without an esrog, one can have all the cavanos in the world, and unless he is an ones he is not yotzei, at all. Same with teillin - you have this idea somehow, i have no idea where you got it from, that one can be mekayam tznius only on the inside and be a total prutzah on the outside - this is ludicruous. True tznius is defined by halacha. Not by what people do or believe or feel. If people feel they can be their on definition of modest without halacha - they're deluding themselves.


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108. made a mistake     3/30/09 - 2:29 AM
Matisyohu Glenn

When I said there is a machlokes about the age at which the obliation to dress tznius begins, I made a mistake - in reality, I as thinking of a different din, negiah, which is a subject of a machlokes if it's the age of 3(roi lebiah) or when the girl shows signs o femininity(if i remember right, 8 or 9, depending on the girl, I dont recall what the posek held) - i do not know if there is a machlokes about tznius regarding the age, but no one in their right mind would allow a 10 year old girl to dress untznius - by this time she is very cognizant of what tznius is, and can comprehend it(girls this age are already very much into fashion and the like). Yoni, I am sorry if maybe someone 'turned you off' to tznius when you were young, or perhaps called someone you know a prutzah, or the like - but everything you've said has seemed very emotional. heresy is degined as things against daas torah. Can you please explain why protecting men is against daas torah? Should one sell treif and say that it is fine because no one is making them eat it? Tznius is multi-dimensional, but hen a woman becomes a micshol, she is partially responsible, and becomes the tool of the soton. That is anything but apikorsus. Kindly recognize that you are thinking with your emotions, and do not make your emotions into halacha. Just because you have not seen it yet in seforim does not make an idea apikorsus. Thank you.


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109. Why don't you take your own advice?     11/12/09 - 7:07 AM
Mesorah Man

If your parents' generation were much better parents than we are; why don't we learn from them and give our kids a potch instead of a "Time Out"?


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110.     11/12/09 - 9:01 AM
Benzion Twerski

There are several problems with the "potch", many of which have been itemized in previous comments.

1 - If we are expressing our own anger, it is destructive, and is not part of mesorah.

2 - If the child receives the message that he is being punished for violating our rule, not encountering a natural negative consequence of his behavior, that this is neither tochacha, nor is it permitted. The posuk about tochacha clearly stipulates "Lo siso olov cheit". Exactly that happens when the child's perception of the "potch" is anything other than tochacha. Today's children do not have the environmental experience as earlier generations did. If you know your kid differently, swing away.

Most of us are more conscious about our child's world, and we can recognize, sometimes with some help, that our children will misunderstand the "potch".

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