Please enable JavaScript in your browser to experience all the custom features of our site.

RabbiHorowitz.com
Please Use Our New Website
still under constructions
to purchase safety books and educational materials
https://thebrightbeginnings.com

Mr. Harry Skydell, Chairman
Mr. Mark Karasick, Vice Chairman
Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, Director
Rabbi Avrohom M. Gluck, Director of Operations
The first 1000 members will have a chance to win a
16 GB
iPod
touch
with Rabbi Horowitz audio

Membership Benefits:

  • Save articles to your favorites folder.
  • Save and print selected articles in a PDF journal.
  • Receive emails containing the latest comments on your favorite articles.
  • Mark articles as "READ".
  • More member features coming soon...

Raffle Rules:

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. To enter, complete the signup form and join as a member. Incomplete entries will be disqualified. All entries shall become the property of CJFL. CJFL is not responsible for lost, misdirected or delayed entries.

The contest is open to the general public. Members need to be at least 18 years old. Identification must be produced on request. Employees of CJFL, its raffle sponsor, advertising and promotional agencies and their respective affiliates and associates and such employees' immediate family members and persons with whom such employees are domiciled are excluded from this raffle. ALL PREVIOUSLY REGISTERED MEMBERS WILL BE AUTOMATICALLY ENTERED INTO THIS RAFFLE. The prize is not redeemable in cash and must be accepted as awarded. Decisions of the raffle judges are final - no substitutions will be available. By claiming the prize, the winner authorizes the use, without additional compensation of his or her name and/or likeness (first initial and last name) and municipality of residence for promotion and/or advertising purposes in any manner and in any medium (including without limitation, radio broadcasts, newspapers and other publications and in television or film releases, slides, videotape, distribution over the internet and picture date storage) which CJFL may deem appropriate. In accepting the prize, the winner, acknowledges that CJFL may not be held liable for any loss, damages or injury associated with accepting or using this prize. CJFL retains the rights, in its absolute and sole discretion, to make substitutions of equivalent kind or approximate value in the event of the unavailability of any prize or component of the prize for any reason whatsoever. This contest is subject to all federal, provincial and municipal laws. CJFL reserves the right to withdraw or terminate this raffle at any time without prior notice. One entry per person.


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

  Rated by 60 users   |   Viewed 54872 times since 2/16/09   |   111 Comments
Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size    [ Change Font Size ] Email This Article to a Friend
   

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



To sign up for Rabbi Horowitz’s weekly emails, please click here.


Reader's Comments:      Rating & Comments Policy      Rate & Write a Comment!
 Average Rating:              Rated by 60 users    (111 comments)
Subscribe to this Article
(by subscribing you will receive email notification
when new comments are posted)
There are no comments yet. Click above to write the first comment.
Dear Readers:

Please visit our Parenting Resource listing to learn about agencies and services that you can make use of. If you know of an agency that can be of assistance to others, kindly drop an email to our site administrator at admin@RabbiHorowitz.com and pass along the information to him.

I ask that you please consider supporting the work we are doing to improve the lives of our children. Click on these links to learn more about our teen and parent mentoring program that serves hundreds of teens and their families, or our KESHER program, now in 20 schools in 4 states. Your financial support can allow us to expand these services and help more children.

If you believe in the governing principles of this website – to help effect positive change through the candid discussions of the real issues we collectively face, please consider becoming a daily, weekly or monthly sponsor of this website and help defray the costs of it’s maintenance.



Working with Families and Educators on Behalf of our Children

This site is managed by The Center for Jewish Family Life, Inc., 56 Briarcliff Drive, Monsey, NY 10952
Project Y.E.S. was founded by Agudath Israel of America
The Center for Jewish Family Life/Project YES - 56 Briarcliff Drive, Monsey, NY 10952 (845) 352-7100 ext. 114 Fax: (845) 352-9593
email: email@kosherjewishparenting.com


Advertisements