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The Plan "A"
An Open Letter to Yeshiva Bachurim
by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

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11/22/06
My Dear Yeshiva Bachurim:

Some candid talk is in order - from myself; a forty-something parent and mechanech, to you, my dear yeshiva bachurim, Klal Yisroel's greatest treasure. After all, you and your fellow bachurim are our future: the husbands of our daughters, the fathers of our grandchildren, the Roshei Yeshiva, rebbeim, and lay leaders who will teach and lead the coming generation. You are now entering a very exciting and challenging period of your lives. Over these coming years, you will, with the help of Hashem, crystallize your value systems and search for life partners. You will begin building your own homes, creating a legacy for your children and grandchildren.

Our generation, children of pre-war European parents and/or Holocaust survivors, grew up in a dramatically different environment than yours. Our parents came to this great country and built new lives for themselves and their children. But, as well as they have done, and some have done remarkably well, they never truly felt in-sync with American culture. All of them have seen hunger and poverty - real hunger and real poverty. We were, therefore, raised by a generation who grew up without the safety net of social security and the utopia of 'The Great Society' and its social programs. When my parents got married, poor people starved; they didn't just drive old, rundown cars and take inexpensive Chol HaMoed trips.

I think it is important that you understand one of the most fundamental differences between your generation and mine. You see, by mid-adolescence we had to have A PLAN. We were asked by our parents, usually in grade 10 or 11, how we planned to support ourselves and our families and what our dreams and goals were. Our parents had rock-solid bitachon that survived unspeakable tragedy and spiritual trials and believed with every fiber of their being that "Der Aibeshter vet helfin" (G-d will help). They believed that G-d would help them, meaning that Hashem Yisborach would support their endeavors and bring them to successful fruition. G-d's help, they believed, needed their own attempts to help themselves. From us they wanted to know what our hishtadlus (contributory effort) would look like. What complicated the equation for thousands of us yeshiva bachurim in the 60's and 70's was that virtually all our parents had an almost reverent respect for higher education (read: college). Having been robbed of the opportunity to compete for well-paying white-collar jobs due to the language barrier and the childhood that was cruelly stolen from them, many of them had no choice but to work very hard at manual, blue-collar jobs in order to provide for their families. In their day, the "ticket of admission" to a financially secure vocation, career or profession was often a college education. Perhaps many of them overvalued a college education. Perhaps the downsides of attending college were less real or less evident than they are today. But that mindset was the reality among the vast majority of our parents.

And so, as my friends and I passed through our late teens, there was almost no home that was not filled with long, passionate sessions with our parents about TACHLIS, as in - "Vus vet zayn a tachlis mit deer"? (Loosely translated as, "What will become of you?"). Tears were shed on both sides. Mamorei chazal were quoted (mostly on our side) as we pleaded our case to allow just one more year of uninterrupted yeshiva study. And then another year. But at no time during the many discussions was there any thought of presenting no plan at all.

The trial of fire that we had to endure to pursue full-time learning made us stronger b'nei Torah. We searched our souls, consulted with our Roshei HaYeshiva, and discussed with our parents. We embraced each block of hard-fought-for time as the treasure that it was.

A Different World


Things have changed considerably in the past generation. In virtually all 'black-hat' yeshivos, it is certainly the norm, Baruch Hashem, for boys like you to learn full time until their wedding and perhaps a year or two beyond that. But at the same time that we rejoice in this monumental accomplishment, this should not discourage you from developing your master plan while you are still in your late teens. Search your soul, discuss this with your parents, and seek the counsel of your Rosh Hayeshiva. Call it a cheshbon hanefesh or call it strategic planning, but regardless of what you call it, just do it! Go into this process with the understanding that your plan will, in all likelihood, change - not once, but perhaps several times over the next decade. Just remember, that an amended plan is a lot better than no plan at all.

Starting out


A good place to start is to set clear, practical goals for your limudim. Read the biography of my great rebbi, Rav Avrohom Pam z'tl. While in his late teens, he decided to dedicate a two-year period of his life to master all of Shulchan Aruch. Then, he single-mindedly pursued this colossal goal until it was accomplished.

A plan is a dream with a deadline. It is the embodiment of "sof ma'aseh b'machshava techilah" - beginning with the end in mind. Living your life with a plan is like walking one mile to catch a bus, knowing that it will leave in 20 minutes. You stride with purpose and clarity. Living without a plan is taking that same walk with 2 hours on your hands. In this case, you are much more likely to meander, or worse yet, get distracted to the point that you miss the bus altogether.

Mastering a mesichta of gemorah needs a plan. Reflect upon your goals and targets for the misechta, and ask some questions of yourself: Are you striving for mastery of bekius or iyun - or both? Are you looking to retain the yediyos ba'al peh? Which Rishonim will you be looking to learn? How many dafim would you like to learn - by which target date?

Ask your Rebbi or Rosh Yeshiva to help you develop your personalized learning plan that will enhance your strong points and strengthen your areas of weakness. You may wish to add focus and self-evaluation to your own limudim by writing a summary of each perek of gemorah you have learned or by taking some of the excellent bechinos created by Mifal HaShas or the Dirshu Kollel.

Planning for Your Life


The next step is to start developing a plan for your future life. Going into chinuch is a plan. Going into rabbonus is a plan. Striving to become a Rosh Yeshiva is a plan. Becoming a carpenter, an accountant, or a businessman is a plan. But having no plan at all will dramatically increase the likelihood of you leading a floundering and unfulfilled life both in ruchniyus and in gashmiyus.

Once you decide what you want to do, think long and hard about what tools you will need to succeed at this vocation, and get started on developing and honing those skills - today!

Every one of these vocations needs a detailed, multi-year plan to master your profession. Take chinuch, for example. If at age 17 or 19, you feel that you have a future in chinuch, by all means pursue it. Create your plan - and get started on implementing it ASAP! Give a shiur in your summer camp or tutor a weaker talmid in your yeshiva. (I decided to enter chinuch after teaching a learning group in a summer camp at age 17.)

But don't stop there. Think of the other skills you will need to succeed in chinuch: public speaking, writing skills, lashon hakodesh, and computer graphics. All of these skills will be enormously helpful to you in your quest for chinuch excellence and will impede your success if you don't master them. As one who interviews dozens of potential mechanchim each year to fill positions in my yeshiva, I can tell you firsthand how important proficiency is in these areas.

So, get to work. Volunteer to write and edit your yeshiva's newsletter. Deliver a d'var Torah in public whenever you can. Volunteer to spend a summer in Torah Umesorah's Seed Program. Prepare well for your chaburah, and, b'ezras Hashem, it will be the first link in the glorious chain of your own harbotzas haTorah. (One of my rebbeim was fond of saying the there are two bodies of water in Eretz Yisroel: the Yam Kinneret and the Yam Hamelach. The Kinneret has water coming in and water going out. Therefore, its water is sweet. The Yam Hamelach (Dead Sea) only has water coming in. Thus, its water is salty and undrinkable. My rebbi would tell us to see to it that we continue to share our Torah and talent with others and produce sweet water in the yam shel Torah.)

"Er hot zich yetzt genumen tzum lernen"
(Lit. "He just started learning")


Allow me to share with you an observation of mine - one that has, in my opinion, great ramifications for you. Very often, a couple will consult with me regarding a decision that they need to make regarding their son who is currently in shana beis or gimmel (The second or third post-high school year). They and their son agreed that he would learn full-time for a predetermined time after high school. It is now 6 or 12 months after the 'deadline'. Their son, begging for more time, pleads, "But Ma, I just started really getting into learning." His Rosh Yeshiva echoes the sentiment during discussions with the boy's parents. Coincidence? Of course not! Surely the maturity that comes with the passage of time and an acquired appreciation for the virtual Gan Eden of learning Torah lishma makes the third year generally more productive than the first.

There is, however, another factor that makes the last year most productive - the simple fact that it is the last year. Any arbitrary deadline gets your adrenaline running and forces you to crank up your productivity several notches. There are 105 days between January 1st and April 15th. With all those days to choose from, more than 25% of Americans file their taxes on one of those days…the deadline, April 15th.

Please don't wait for the last year or two to fully appreciate the historically unprecedented opportunity that members of your generation have to devote yourselves completely to learning mitoch harchovas hada'as. Spending some time in your mid-to-late teens doing some serious planning for your future life will help you get more focused and productive long before the final year or months arrive.

Getting a Rav


Another thing that has dramatically changed over that past generation or two is the size, b'lei ayin harah, of the largest post-High School Yeshivos and Kollelim. While walking into a Beis Midrosh that has thousands of bachurim and kollel yungerleit learning Torah is an awe-inspiring experience, it is of utmost importance that you find a personal rebbi within that yeshiva to nurture a long-lasting relationship. Asey l'cha rav is an obligation on you, the talmid.
You will have so many critical, highly personal decisions to make over the next few years - and beyond. Please see to it that you afford yourself the important opportunity to discuss these matters with your rebbi, and be able to seek his guidance.

Embrace life


I write these thoughts on an airplane as I return to America from a trip to Eretz Yisroel. While I was in Yerushalayim, I spent some time meeting with families who lost sons and brothers in terror attacks. There are few experiences in my 45 years that have moved me more than the hours that I spent with these bereaved family members. There were many messages that I personally took from the incredibly powerful effect of those meetings. Most relate to things that we in Chutz La'Aretz can do to stand up, be counted, and assist our brothers and sisters in Eretz Yisroel. But, as I looked at the framed pictures of the teenage victims, who, due to these horrific attacks, will forever remain young, I kept thinking that we, who are fortunate to be alive, should make every moment count.

My dear chaverim, at this stage, your lives are virtually a blank page. You need to believe that with the help of Hashem, you can achieve your dreams and aspirations. So many of the underachieving kids I deal with honestly don't appreciate the gift of life and subsequently squander the precious days, months and even years of their youth. Embrace life! Unwrap every day as the gift that it is and live life to the fullest.

May Hashem grant your wishes, and may you be zoche to plan for - and realize - all of your dreams.

B'yiddidus,

Yakov

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1. Enlightening     10/6/06 - 12:00 AM
Anonymous - random8me@yahoo.com

as a 17 year old student, i havent given much thought to my future, practically. its interesting how this letter points out the attitudes of different generations. my "plan" is to go with the flow. after all, im young, and when the time comes a"h, ill deal with stuff then, although maybe i should rethink that. we'll see. skoyach for a great article


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2. When does the plan actually start???     1/7/07 - 12:57 PM
Anonymous

Rabbi Horowitz, Can you please be more specific when you say young men today need to have a plan. At what point do they need to practically start doing the plan? Nineteen? Twenty? A few years before they are married? After marriage? For example, I have a son who has learned for two years full time after high school. We made him go to a yeshiva now where he can attend college at night two nights a week. He is going for a BA in psychology, perhaps because it is a quick and easy major - or perhaps because he really wants to be a guidance counselor one day as he sometimes says. Not sure which is the real reason! In any case, we would like him to pursue a Master's Degree when he finished his BA, which will probably take him two years. He, on the other hand, says he would like to learn for a year or two full time after the BA and then he will figure out what he wants to get a Masters in. To us, this is not a plan - it is just pushing off the responsibility of pursuing a plan that will enable him to support his family one day, G-d willing. We understand why he speaks this way - he is following the trend of many many boys who do not seriously consider their responsibility of parnasa, and are listening to others who say they are too young to worry about that now. They can get married and worry about when the time comes to start working. (In the meanwhile everyone else around them can worry about the parnasa.) Please, Rabbi Horowitz, address this issue so that so many parents like myself can get some clear guidance on this. Thanks!


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3. To the point     2/8/07 - 11:33 PM
Eliezer

Where was this article whan I was in yeshiva? I agree wholeheartedly with your point about setting goals while in yeshivah for what you want to acomplish. This is from a guy who is now married and working, and every so often I bemoan the fact that I didn't acomplish x, y or z.

Buchrim, heed his words carefully as once you are no longer learning full time, it is not as easy to acomplish what you could've in yeshivah.


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4. keeping it for my kids     2/23/07 - 9:10 AM
Shuli

my son is only 7, but was thinking about those years. i still have the "european" mindset and was wondering how I will blend it in with current trends.

thank you for the guide!


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5. Great letter!     3/26/07 - 4:15 PM
phxmom

thank you, will save it for when my boys will be teens.


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6. why not preach to the puppeteer?     3/26/07 - 4:28 PM
Yitzchok - brooklyn, N.Y.

The common sense expressed in this article and addressed to Bochurim, is very well written yet is in need of re-direction. The issues raised in this article need to be explained to the Roshei Yeshivos who are responsible for the excessive emphasis on "kolel study for all" with little hope for the 60% that do little in yeshivah. Thinking "what will be" is still very much "der Eibishter vet helfen" just learn learn learn, which seems like a plan - until you sit down with this very yeshiva's administrator 10 years later with 6-7 kids- unable to afford basic tuition, expecting a break for having followed the saintly words (plan) of the rosh yeshiva, and you get that blank stare as if to say- are you kidding me! its 4-5 thousand a year no exeptions... Try sending a the unpaid tuition statement with a post it note attached saying: Dear Rosh Yeshivah, Iv'e followed your "plan" when I asked about my future, now I am reminding you "der Eibishter vet helfen"


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7. Yasher Koach     3/26/07 - 5:52 PM
Elisheva - Rhode Island

I am so happy to hear rabbonim and those in chinuch are now voicing this. I recently spent a while in the world of shidduchim. I can not tell you how many hours I spent trying to pin a prospective match down on where he was heading in life. So many quality bachurim I met had no plan at all. They were going to figure it all out when they got the chance. Although it is important to keep an open mind, I don't understand why it is acceptable to have othing in mind at all! Many bachurim were going to learn for x number of years, and then they figured they'd "try out" chincuh, or kiruv. One thing you did not adress is that by the time these boys have figured out what they want to do, they will already have families for whom they are responsible. The inability to pin oneself down could affect a lot more than just the bachur in question. Thank you for voicing this concern in a public forum!


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8.     3/26/07 - 6:50 PM
Goldy - NJ

As I have expressed previously, there is the concept of supply and demand. If parents of daughters will not allow them to go out with a young man without a viable plan, then the young men of today will have no choice but to start developing REAL plans for their future responsibility of supporting their families. But as long as parents are "buying" husbands for their daughters and marrying them off to young men who are not responsible and mature, this trend will continue on. On the other hand, we need parents of young men to force their sons to go to a frum college or other institution (part time, so they can still learn most of the day if they wish to) BEFORE they start dating and BEFORE they are married. In today's world you need both a bachelors and masters degree in most professions, so this is a many years' long process. And to start this process AFTER a few years of marriage does not make sense!


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9. next, phD?     3/27/07 - 7:32 AM
Anonymous

when my father was in yeshiva in the 50's, his mother insisted that he also get a degree from college and then he could learn as he pleased

he went to college while still in yeshiva and got his degree

she was happy

now I'm reading that a B.A. isn't good enough anymore

parents are insisting on a B.A. and a Masters

how many more years will it be before parents will insist on a B.A., Masters, and phD? BEFORE marriage, of course ...

I don't know the solution.

I know that the idea of telling our roshei yeshiva and various leaders what to do sounds absurd to me.

If they need to be told what to do, how about if the people commenting on this blog take their place?

In saying this, I'm not saying I think our current leaders are right in all they say. I don't.

But how about considering the ramifications of what you're saying? Are you also telling your children that our leaders are out-of-touch with reality? Why then, will your children remain in the olam ha'Torah altogether? Who wants to be batul to clueless leaders?

Another question - what if your son or daughter's date tells you his plan is to become a rosh yeshiva? He plans on accomplishing this by learning fulltime. It's a plan. It's a goal. Rabbi Horowitz said so.

Oh! But you don't LIKE this plan? Hmmm.


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10.     3/27/07 - 12:48 PM
Goldy

Anonymous, perhaps I was not clear in my posting. Those degrees, if necessary for the young man's chosen field, do not all have to be finished by the time he is married..but he should at least be in the middle of pursuing these degrees. If he is 22 when he is married, then he will be earlier on in this process, and if he is 27 when he is married, he may be done with it. These degrees can be earned at the same time that he devotes a large part of his day to learning Torah. In regard to the plan of being a rosh yeshiva, I think it is fair to say that the positions of roshei yeshiva are very hard to come by. How many yeshivas are there in the US compared to how many young men want to be one when they are older? I do not think it is a realistic plan for most young men today.


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11. Wake Up!     3/27/07 - 3:07 PM
Frum but Normal

Okay, let me spell out the hypocrisy of the Roshei Yeshivas, their best customers for their Yeshivas are wealthy well educated lawyers, accountants, doctors and people with good professions that can afford to pay full tuition, dinner campaigns, building funds… Yet, the Roshei Yeshivas discourage college, discourage learning a trade, and neglect to teach our young boys the importance of RESPONSIBILITIES to provide for their future wives and families. It’s unbelievable, are they trying to raise a community of beggars that can’t afford basic needs for their families because they neglected an education to learn a trade. When will they wake up? Not everyone has a wealthy father-in-law that owns real-estate to support them, the majority of people, don’t get hand outs and need to support their families (on their own). As I previously mentioned on this site; "Learn a trade or regret it for the rest of your life." How many marriages have ended in divorce over financial difficulty? But does the Frum Community learn from these mistakes? No, they will always shift blame on something else.


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12. just curious     3/27/07 - 4:50 PM
Anonymous

side point - just curious, how do you explain the high divorce rate among those with lots of money, great jobs?


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13. Some thoughts     3/27/07 - 5:58 PM
Yakov Horowitz - Monsey NY

"Frum but Normal": I ask you to be respectful of our Roshei Yeshiva.

Comments and disagreements are OK; but I will edit your commment.

For the record, I think parents are the ones who need to direct and guide their children. If one is uncomfortable with the 'derech' of any particular Yeshiva, they ought to send elsewhere.

There is much to be said on this. Perhaps I will post on this at some future time.

Please keep the comments respectful.

Thanks. YH


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14. Change on both ends     4/8/07 - 3:10 AM
MS - ny

There has to be change from both ends - the boys and girls. As long as the girls are taught that their goal in life is to support someone learning full-time and anything less than that is failure (at the expense, of course, of being a full-time mother), and the boys are being told by their Roshei Yeshiva not to think of any kind of parnossah, nothing will change. Both sides have to revamp what they are preaching. By the way, how do you answer a teenage daughter, a "very good girl", who questions when previously discussing this issue, "Ma, how can it be that the rest of the world is wrong and you're right?!"

Rabbi Horowitz - Have you ever shown this article or discussed this "plan" with any Roshei Yeshiva? It seems to me that the changes would have to start with the Roshei Yeshiva and girls' principals.


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15. Good idea     4/8/07 - 11:48 AM
Reuven Meir - San Diego, CA - sumseq@hotmail.com

I just found your website (on the link you provided on Emes vEmunah.

I must say, I quite enjoy this post.

I admire your blend of respect of learning and the needs of a trade or "plan".

I am a BT, (learned in Monsey), and when I found out about the tuition, poverty, and ignorence caused intentionaly by the frum community, I became quite discouraged. Not discouraged from being frum chas v'shalom (I became frum from realizing that Torah is emes), but discouraged from being a part of the "velt".

Thankfully, the Yeshiva I attended encouraged all the bochorim to have a plan in order to be allowed to stay at the yeshiva for any length of time. This got me to apply to graduate school, and now I am married, and in a PhD program in computational science.

However, even in my yeshiva, I knew too many guys who had no plan at all. They stayed year after year after year.

I don't understand. I was taught that halachicly, a man is REQUIRED to provide shelter, food, clothes, a bed, and a table for his wife and family. I thought this would mean that the most frum people, would also be ones that IF NEEDED, would work to support thier families. Apparently I was wrong.

Of course learning full time is ideal, and if someone have rich relatives that allow this to be done, then zie-gezunt! (Although Torah without derech eretz is bad acoording to PA, somehow people darshen around that one too!)

I think its about time to learn from Chazal's and the Reshonim's way of life. Imagine a young Rambam telling a Rosh Yeshiva of today that he wanted to become a great national doctor - in Egypt! Or a gem maker? Imagine anyone today allowing the great Chazal working part of the day as a blacksmith or sandle maker! Never! Who could allow such a great leader of Torah work such a remedial task?! Well, that is the way of Torah. Good honest work (only for what is needed, no excess) combined with Torah study. And for those select few (like Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai), learning full time without work is ideal.

I think the Rabbi Shimon's need to be identified and funded, and the rest of us need to work... at least for a roof, food, table, and a bed.

www.sumseq.com


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16. Response to MS and Reuven Meir     4/11/07 - 1:43 PM
Frum but Normal

Thanks for adding candid responses to why the Kollel Plan is wrong to be preached to everyone. If all roshei yeshivos today believe that the Kollel way is the only true (emes) way, then today's chachamim should maybe re-word the Kesuba. "I promise to sit and learn, and not support you or our future kids, I promise to allow you to work and support me and our future children, I promise to not give you the opportunity to stay at home to rasie our future children (remember that you'll need to work and support the family), I promise to not take upon myself any responsibilities beyond sitting in Kollel, I promise to not earn an honest living, but rather to accept money from your parents, or mine, or the frum community". Why is there no concern from the Kollel Supporters that they are going against Chazal, and contradicting the Kesuba?


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17. oh please     4/16/07 - 2:35 PM
M

think supporting people in learning is a new invention and that all the people involved are sinners? oh please, never heard of the Yissocher-Zevulun relationship before? Women have the halachic right to forego their kesuba and many seem eager to do so.

Re Rambam - how many Jewish doctors (and lawyers, accountants, computer programmers, etc.) do you know who are of the Rambam's caliber? Even accounting for the "diminishing of the generations," how many frum professionals and businessmen are talmidei chachamim (not people who snooze at a daf yomi shiur)?

I don't think every shmerel and berel ought to be learning full-time for years after marriage, nor do I think mothers of children at home should be supporting them, but that's not to say that some men shouldn't be supported in their learning.


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18. Response to M     4/19/07 - 1:39 PM
Shalom

It appears that you're a big "Kollel for Everyone" fan. Good Luck with your kids! and please don't turn to the Community for help, we have more sincere ways to give Tzedakah out to those in true (unfortunate) needs.


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19.     4/19/07 - 10:56 PM
Anonymous

Sorry, but many of these Yeshiva boys are under the influence of society which means "the shver will provide", therefore what is the worry. There are parents who give their sons a script to follow. Many of the boys are so called learners, sit in Yeshiva for many years, go out too much and eventually some of them at 25 are no longer what they were at 22. With parents providing them with cars, cellphones and credit cards they don't even realize they should be thinking of what will happen if this ends. Within the family we have an eligible young frum girl who has dated such boys and the minute she asks the question of providing the shidduch is off. It's a no no question.Many of these parents don't even know their sons and what they are really up to. The boys then go back to the dorm and discuss the girls. Of course you are right but go speak to the Rosh Yeshivas!


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20. a word from a bachour     6/25/07 - 12:12 AM
Anonymous

I am a bachour "in shidduchim" who learnt in a very prominent Yeshiva,in the US. My Rosh Yeshiva told me,personaly, that I should learn in Kollel but I must do so resonsibly.

I would like to add that I know many other bachourim who are very aware of the finanical realities of life and plan accordingly.


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21. I'm glad "Bochour" is anonymous     6/25/07 - 8:41 AM
Ari

Dear Bochur: I don't mean this to hurt you cholila, only as a benefit. You seem sincere and seem to have your head in the right place. The Internet is not known for perfect spelling, but your short letter has too many spelling/grammatical mistakes for someone who is really aware of the financial realities. 1) bachour 2) learnt 3) personaly 4) resonsibly 5) finanical

Rabbi Horowitz's "Plan" and discussions on secular education are on the money. Many well meaning boys are simply not ready, even when they intend to be.


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22. WORRIED-HELP!!     6/25/07 - 2:00 PM
Anonymous

How does a parent protect a boy from those who wish to brainwash him not to go to college? My son has chosen to go to a "top" yeshiva in Eretz Yisrael but he also has everything you need to be an outstanding successful student in college including an SAT score in the top 99% of the country.I'm proud that he got into such an outstanding yeshiva,but I will be very unhappy if he is force-fed ideas that I do not agree with.Presently he is planning to attend college.Does anyone have any ideas???


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23. WORRIED-HELP!!     6/25/07 - 2:01 PM
Anonymous

How does a parent protect a boy from those who wish to brainwash him not to go to college? My son has chosen to go to a "top" yeshiva in Eretz Yisrael but he also has everything you need to be an outstanding successful student in college including an SAT score in the top 99% of the country.I'm proud that he got into such an outstanding yeshiva,but I will be very unhappy if he is force-fed ideas that I do not agree with.Presently he is planning to attend college.Does anyone have any ideas???


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24. Reach understanding     6/25/07 - 3:52 PM
AK

Hi, You need to reach an understanding that addresses his concerns and your concerns in an empathetic way and what your financial commitments would be. I think he should meet people who are successful in both worlds , and read what parents write here. His real education and what will define his personality is his yeshivah training , not university. Ultimately you will be paying for him and yeshivahs in Israel really milk chutzniks , so you have some leverage , but in order to preserve the relationship , you need agreements


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25. advice for anonymous     6/25/07 - 4:50 PM
Goldy

Anonymous, you asked for some advice. The best thing I can tell you, since you already agreed to have your son go to a "top yeshiva" in Israel, is to make sure he comes back after one year. Because if he stays for more than that, you may lose your control over him. Also, I do not know what kind of college he is planning on going to afterwards, but if it is not a frum college then chances are he will not be going even after the one year of learning in Israel. Personally, I think it is better if he DOES go to a frum college such as Touro Landers or to a Bais Medrash program where they allow boys to attend college at night (one example is Ohr Hachaim in Kew Gardens Hills, and there others as well). If you would like to speak to me personally please email me at GR2100@aol.com. Hatzlacha!


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26. open ended     12/2/07 - 11:29 PM
Anonymous - itcha316@yahoo.com

In theory, the article possibly broached a valid point. However, for the majority of yeshiva bochurim these days there is no feasable plan. The percentage of us who have the potential to become R"Y and Rabbanim is minimal. Regarding Chinuch, the only qualafications one needs to be a successful Mechanech is a)tbe right personality b) the right connections, and possibly c) a couple of classes given by R' Joel Kramer or T'uM. It is not clear from your article whether you are advocating that colledge should be considered more seriously than it presently is. You are toting a dangerous line, because many of the anti-yeshiva people use the " would you marry someone who doesn't have a plan for the future"? I admit that it is a serious issue in contemporary yeshiva world. However, there is no pragmatic solution, for the average bochur, than to take leave of the confines of the yeshiva.


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27. I agree with #26     12/4/07 - 5:48 AM
Nechama

The article's way of thinking (making a plan and deadlines, and a primary goal of being self-supportive) does not seem to "shtim" (fit) with regular Charedi bachurim mentality. Instead of insisting that the whole system must change, (which should only be suggested at the advice of Gedolie Hador), or that the responsible individual should, after checking with his Rov, leave learning young and get himself a profession, how about encouraging a Bachur or kollel men and women to try to change himself? That is, if they are trying to follow the system, and its not working, you can make practical plans, you can make practical changes, but, in addition, or instead, you can change how you view things, upgrade your relationships, and particularly, think about Bitachon, learn about it, and plan how to upgrade it. One person's true Bitachon appears to others (lacking in Bitachon as Meshuga'as (Rav Dessler, zatzal). But the honest truth is that Parnassa is in Hashem's hands, and so following the Charedi derech may be difficult, but not because there is a problem with the derech. Rather, many "charedim" haven't yet taken the time and energy to become truly Charedi in their hearts.

I do not mean that parents should bury their anger at their "irresponsible" learning children, in their hearts. This is not Bitachon. This shows that they do not have Bitachon. Either upgrade your relationship with your kid, if you really believe you are right, so that you can effectively communicate why you think they need to make a reliable Parnassa, and how to do it. Or upgrade your relationship with Hashem so that you accept that Rabonim advocating kids learning unusually long and without adequate funding is correct for nowadays.

With regard to Chinuch, many yeshiva men do not plan to take this up, they are just talking about the option to show their parents that there may be financial solvency at the end of a stint of learning. Thus although R' Horowitz shlita suggests planning how this teaching will eventually be effective, I politely think he is ignoring the reality that they do not right now want to distract themselves in any way from their learning, and this undistracted learning should be encouraged.


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28. to '26' and Nechama     12/4/07 - 6:48 AM
Yakov Horowitz

Nechama; you mentioned the notion of mesorah and how it relates to the ideas I floated in 'the plan.'

All I can tell you is that the article reflects the mesorah that I was given by my parents and my rebbeim.

look at the talmidim of my rebbi Rav Pam, Reb Yaakov and Reb Moshe zichronom livracha. Nearly every person of my generation who were their talmidim had 'a plan' by their late teens/early twenties.

those who wanted to go into chinuch volunteered for JEP, took rebbeim jobs during the summer, et al at the age of 17, 18 or so.

rabbi sherer z'tl gave public speaking classes in torah vodaas, as does reb avi shulman yibodel l'chaim. These were given to high school seniors.

does this 'distract from learning'? i think not. in many ways, it gives bachurim an appreciation for their time in the beis midrosh.

finally; if you would see what i see regularly -- so many wonderful, sincere b'nei torah in their mid-late twenties with a few children at home, mounting debt, and eroding simchas hachayim, who approach me looking for chinuch positions without the skills described in my article for those entering chinuch, and have your heart break as you listen to them tell you how they applied for positions in dozens of yeshivos and didn't get interviews due to skimpy resumes (many cannot prepare a resume), you just might get the urge to hand out copies of 'the plan' in your local grocery.

I look forward to your response.

Yakov


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29. Agree 100%     12/5/07 - 3:09 AM
Abbi

This newfangled 'mesorah' will help neither the community at large nor individual bochurim and their families any times soon, no matter how much bitachon you have or how charedi you become in your hearts.

My zayde, who grew up in Munkatch and sent every one of his sons to away to yeshiva as teenagers, made sure every one had the necessary preparation for some parnassa. He cannot understand where this idea of learning indefinitely comes from and laments it fiercely.

Take a look at the charedi world here in Israel to see what life will be like in 10 years. It's not a pretty picture. Bitachon will not buy you bread for sandwiches. I firmly believe Hashem is very disappointed to see thousands of able bodied men depending on tzedakah to feed their children.


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30. bitachon     12/5/07 - 10:13 AM
Anonymous

I'm glad you brought up the subject of bitachon nechama and abbi - I agree with your last line about tzedaka but not that "Bitachon will not buy you bread for sandwiches". If you learn about bitachon in Chovos Ha'Levavos etc. you discover that TRUE bitachon will get you anything. This is not to say that such bitachon is commonplace, for it is not. So where are the articles and classes to raise baalei bitachon? Or do we not really believe what it says in the Chovos Ha'Levavos or imagine that it's for another generation?


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31.     12/5/07 - 11:57 AM
David - dave3754@yahoo.com

Anonymous, You say you are quoting the Chovos Halevovos, but it sure doesn't sound like it. I have been listening to Rav Avigdor Miller ZT"L's tapes on the Chovos Halevovos while walking to and from the train, so I admit that I haven't learned it inside, but according to what Rabbi Miller has quoted from there, having Bitachon has nothing to do with not putting in the proper Hishtadlus. The way he has explained it is that Bitachon is something that a person has to work on in his mind, but a person has to act and do things in this world as if he has no Bitachon. In other words, Bitachon does not excuse a person from taking care of his health, going to the doctor, and yes, even getting a job. I have heard him a number of times disapprove of what is currently going on in Lakewood ( and this was at least 7 years ago), that is, everybody following this one derech, regardless of capabilities. Please don't take this as an opportunity as another Kollel bashing session; he was only talking about EVERYBODY doing the same thing as opposed to those who are truly accomplishing and who should therefore be supported with tzedakah.


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32.     12/5/07 - 1:33 PM
M

I can't answer for R' Miller. I'm reading a book called "Trust Me" -an anthology of emuna and bitachon by R' Eliezer Parkoff. One point that's emphasized is that it's not like you have it (bitachon) or you don't. There are many levels of bitachon, and the amount of hishtadlus you need to do varies. That's why it's surprising that you quote R' Miller as saying one size (klal) fits all.


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33.     12/5/07 - 2:15 PM
David - dave3754@yahoo.com

I was quoting Rabbi Miller who was quoting the Chovos Halevovos, so I was challlenging the other commenter who says that the Chovos Halevovos says something else. I'm not sure what you mean when you say that Rabbi Miller advocates one size. One size what? Besides which, are you saying that a person is objective enough about his own level of bitachon to judge what his own level of hishtadlus should be?


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34. passing on the Plan.     12/9/07 - 3:47 PM
Nechama

Rabbi Horowitz, shlita.

I personally ascribe to the Plan, but not exactly as you describe it.

Firstly, I encourage all young men to get a BA, (or similar marketable qualification) but not in a non-Jewish college, and definitely not instead of a solid start in learning, but alongside learning. Just the qualification alone is enough to be able to get some level of jobs. After they have this qualification they can leave it until they need it. I'm sorry I did not make this clear in my posting #27, that I think men should take seriously the rule about supporting their wives and fathers teaching the son a parnasah. With Bitachon, one can try be'ezras Hashem to push off using this parnassa option as long as possible (if he is learning well, and they are managing financially, and the couple are happy with each other).

Secondly I encourage all young men to speak good English/Hebrew, to be good at self expression, and to be interested in getting feedback as to how they are doing.

Thirdly, I oppose young men thinking that they can easily get a job in Chinuch. There are several cognitive distortions (twisted reasonings) obvious in the example you gave above about the people who can't (or won't learn how to) write a resume, but expect jobs. So, I encourage people to examine their cognitive patterns, because it is these that cause so much heartache, not the lack of a plan ("a dream with a deadline") per se.


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35. "one size"     12/9/07 - 5:25 PM
M

By one size I mean, "Bitachon is something that a person has to work on in his mind, but a person has to act and do things in this world as if he has no Bitachon," that everybody has to do the same thing, act as if he has no bitachon.


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36.     12/9/07 - 5:53 PM
yoni

M, halachicaly you're oiver on a lav if you rely on any kind of miracle whatsoever.

its just plain assur.

and infact, torah teaches us that those who expect things to come to them in a supernatural fashion and don't do hishtadlus, hashem won't help them and will not protect them from the trap of their own design.

Bitachon is purely and exclusively something intended to help one have the peace of mind to make the right decisions, not something that could lead you to relying on non-natural means of support or sustinance.


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37. What "bachur" means     4/4/08 - 9:44 AM
Aharon - Monsey

My Rebbe taught me that the shoresh of bachur means "to choose." Boys at this stage of life have the luxury of almost unlimited options to choose from, choices that will affect them for the rest of their lives. Heed Rabbi Horowitz's words and think well, get advice from mentors, choose and daven for hatzlacha. Don't forget that not having goals is also a choice, a very poor, but easy one - the choice to do nothing.


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38. Are you aware...?     4/4/08 - 10:33 AM
wish I could say

...that in at least one of the top kollelim in Eretz Yisroel, if an ad is posted for a bein hazmanim chinuch training seminar, the rosh kollel has it removed. His explanation is those that need to leave learning full time (which should be the default plan for everyone who has the zitzfleish and cup) should do so after assesing their situation and consulting with their rosh kollel. Nobody should be tempted to thinking of leaving, even to go into chinuch, before that time has come.

I kid you not. I was there.


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39. re R Horowitz, 28     4/4/08 - 10:53 AM
anonymousfornow

As phenomenal now as it was 2 years ago. How and when are boys to volunteer, etc. when they can't even be camp counselors (a. the counselors are no longer the creme de la creme as they were in your and my day, b. the summer bein hazmanim is often too short for camp.). I personally have no regrets for the 4 essentially unsupported years we were in kollel. I know enough professionals and people who didn't start off in kollel who've had financial issues. But 20 years later, we are still struggling. I can't set my kids up for this. And, I will not let them take money from machatanim who can't give.


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40. An excellent wake-up call     4/4/08 - 12:28 PM
Aharon - NY

Why bother? Someone will always be there to pay the bills, right? That's why I held out for the girl with the money....what? You mean my father-in-law can't support me and my 5 children anymore because he's doing that for his 6 other kids as well? That's not fair! I have no real skills or resume; how do you expect me to get a job that pays enough to maintain my lifestyle?

But on a serious note, Rabbi Horowitz (as usual), is on the mark. B'h I had parents and in-laws who always encouraged me and my wife to think ahead and plan, which led to me leaving yeshiva "too early," according to some of my peers, despite the fact that I was married with one child at that time. Fortunately I ignored them. Down the road, how many of them will struggle under the crushing weight of higher home costs, tuitions, and general bills, and how many of them will be willing or able to adjust their lifestyles to their new incomes? May Hashem protect us and them from this.

A cynical friend likes to joke that we have created a socialist system in the frum community, as those who make more money bear the brunt of higher tuition costs while simultaneously spending less time with their families. Those in the "upper brackets" thus have less incentive to work hard, as any incremental gains are taken away. This is unsustainable by any measure of common sense, and to me is an important and overlooked factor in many young people today taking the easy way out. The sad truth is that it is easy today but much, much harder down the road.

From one young person to another, I implore you, listen to Rabbi Horowitz and plan ahead. It's hard now but the payoff is worth it.


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41. frum socialism     4/4/08 - 1:04 PM
Yoel B

A cynical friend likes to joke that we have created a socialist system in the frum community

Many a truth is spoken in jest. Looking at the history of the last century or so, socialist systems aren't very healthy for religious life.


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42. What's the Shaila?     4/4/08 - 3:19 PM
Baal Habos

In re 26-28: How could having a plan and being prepared not be part of the Mesorah? Whatever happened to the Chiyuv of a father to teach his son a trade, an Oomnah?


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43. speak to the roshei yeshiva     4/4/08 - 4:57 PM
speak to the roshei yeshiva

I have a friend who was desperate for her son to go into marriage with a plan but when her son asked his rosh yeshiva he was told, "Don't worry; there are plenty of girls who will take care of you." sure enough, he married a rich girl. Parents are no match to a spiritual mentor to a post teenager. perhaps you should send this article to rosh yeshivos.


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44. its all about parents     4/4/08 - 5:26 PM
yakov horowitz - monsey ny

I know many will disagree with me, but from my vantage point, it's all about parenting.

I'm almost sure that the rosh yeshiva in the story above made no secret of his hashkafos.

So, why are parents sending their kids to schools that don't match their hashkafos and then complaining.

You can't blame people (schools, roshei yeshiva et al) for doing exactly what they said they were going to do all along. A rish yeshiva has a right to chart a derech for his talmidim. If that does not match your view, send elesewhere.

We all need to take achrayus and stop blaming others


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45.     4/5/08 - 7:50 PM
Suzy - England

That its all about parenting there is no doubt, but its a very fine line to talk to all ages even very young children when you are big...what will you do? is it the Talmid Chochom, or business man, its our slant of what we want our children to become.

If you speak to people who are being supported in Kollel even for 10 15 years there is an attitude of well if they want us to learn they have to support us, so much of being a parent in our society is taken advantage of by children and this feeds down to all ages.

Its inbred, Rabbi Horowitz you are right,we should choose a right enviroment that matches our Hashkofos. I know what i was "brainwashed" in sem with for 2 years, it sure wasnt about a working husband. My parents, and my understanding of their finaces enabled me to be honest and say I wasnt looking for long term learning. Most beople are not able to stand out from the crowd, pay through the nose and suffer the consequences. Maybe Sems and Yeshivos are different to 15 years ago, but somehow I doubt that. They would rather you put future on the back burner, turn it offcompletlt, than give it consideration now when you are ment to be Shteiging. Call me cynical i dont see this changing. A well spoken Rosh Yeshiva can turn a loving parnet into the "Yetzer Hora" that they shouldnt listen to when it comes to thougthts or actual physical practising of working, (its almost a dirty word,)

All in all, the whole system is alive with covered up black mail, putting enormous pressure on parent and mostly if we take advantage of our parents support, where does that leave the Chinuch of the next generation of kids?

This needs to be targetted to 16/17 year olds, where are they?

Find them.


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46. Shmitta and learning full time     4/5/08 - 9:34 PM
BubbyT

Pardon my ignorance but doesn't shmitta teach us that the original "plan" (of the Torah) was to work the land for 6 years and take a year off for learning?


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47. To Rabbi Horowitz, It's time for me to respectfully challenge you     4/5/08 - 10:45 PM
tb

Rabbi Horowitz, I have read your insistence here and in other places on this site that parents should see themselves as in the drivers' seat and should choose the schools that match their Hashkafa. I need to address that respectfully and say that we are now in the second generation of this mess and the second generation thinks that they are choosing wisely. They don't know, are brainwashed as the previous commenter states and are guilted into things they shouldn't be doing and choosing. If they are alert enough to be worried, they don't even see a Hashkafic choice. I certainly don't. The Rebbeim today are part of the brainwashed army. Even in the more "middle of the road" Yeshivos. At the end of the day, there are only a few men who are setting the tone here and all the black hat Yeshivos revere them. If these Rashei Yeshiva are merely taking the tone from the Klal, which some people on this site are saying, then what is a simple, well-meaning Yeshivish parent to do? I'm sorry, Rabbi Horowitz, but you are oversimplifying the problem here and I understand why you are doing so. You do not wish to encourage the bashing of the Rashei Yeshiva. I do think, however, that it is time for the Yeshiva parents who aren't buying this horrible, twisted system to physically make appointments with the Rashei Yeshiva to discuss the "facts on the ground." Not all of them have the guts or the inclination to send their children to MO day schools as I have. Not all of them recognize the Yashrus and beauty of Halachic MO. So, they are still going to be stuck in a system that is working against them. Even if they send to a more middle of the road high school, their son or daughter is likely to be brainwashed in that year or two after. It's a losing battle of hopes and "crossing fingers" if you will. Many lose and must stand idly by while their daughters go off to leave their young children in day care while they work to support their spouses or their son sit for years in a Yeshiva with absolutely no plan to support his children. I have known way too many sad parents who have tried to instill the right values only to have them banished from their children's heads in schools. I can't save them all with my MO ideas. They think I'm lost. I wish you could help them within their own prison of a system, but your comments are naive at best when you make it out to be in their control. All Yeshivos--even more middle of the road--lead to the same place.


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48. more clarity     4/5/08 - 10:50 PM
tb

And I'd like to add that for every parent who sent a child through the system and wound up with an accounting major in Landers' college who is Kovea Itim and a mentsch there are 20 who wound up sitting in Lakewood while their wives worked like dogs while churning out children every two years. For every girl who shyly and bravely asks the Shadchanim for a boy in college with dedication to learning and a clear plan, there are 100 who are dying to have that apartment in Lakewood and that full time job while their precious husband sits and learns for years. We are lost if we do not recognize how difficult it is to extricate yourself from this horrible mindset.


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49. Ask a girl in Shidduchim     4/5/08 - 10:55 PM
tb

Ask a girl in Shidduchim how difficult it is to find dates with good boys who are in college. How difficult it is to market a straight, extremely principled Frum girl who wants to be supported and take care of her future children. Ask. I have wonderful young women like this in my family and they are just sitting. One is married, B"H, to the sweetest, most sincere Mentsch who learns regularly and supports her and their children. The rest...It's an uphill battle. "No, but you see, she is really straight. Really frum. She just doesn't want to work to support someone. She is getting a degree in case they need the money, but she would like to be a stay at home mother. Hello? Hello?"


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50. No choices     4/6/08 - 12:15 AM
Yossie

Rabbi Horowitz writes in his comment (#13), that if you don't like the derech of the Yeshiva, send the kids someplace else. However, most frum Yeshivas nowadays compete with who can keep the kids longer, and all of them advocate Kolel for ALL, except maybe the more modern Yeshivas. Roshei Yeshivas have taken over all aspects of life, not only in school. I have gotten some letters, where oficially I had to get permission to send my children to their Grandparents. Parents should make decisions about their children, but these days they are not allowed, because Roshei Yeshivas have usurped that power and responsibility for themselves. I think that as a group, parents have given up too easily, perhaps out of fear that their children will be thrown out of school, or they will have trouble with their Shidduch, and the way things are going, their fears are not totally unfounded.


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51. No Choices??????     4/6/08 - 6:41 AM
Yakov Horowitz - Monsey NY

A Gutten Chodesh, all:

OK: For all those who agree with Yossi and the others who say there are no choices; here are some questions/thoughts to ponder:

How many Succos hotel programs are there? (less than ten or even five depending on the year)

How many Pesach hotel programs are there? (well over a hundred)

Why is that so?????

Did our leaders (gedolim) decide that this is the way it ought to be, or did we the consumers create this reality?

If mesivtos open up declaring that there are no general studies taught there, who created that reality; the heads of those schools or the parents who sent their kids there?

Are there really no choices for us, or do we not have the courage or honesty to send our children to mosdos that match our true core values?


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52. re 48, and to Rabbi Horowitz     4/6/08 - 10:09 AM
anonymousfornow

Dealing with a daughter who wants a working boy or close to it, one thing we really have to look for now that my parents didn't question was, why is he doing this? Did he not he have success in learning? Any chips on his shoulder?

As a mother of teenage boys, I have this to say: we will not support, financially or emotionally, their dating till we are convinced that they are resourceful and sufficiently prepared to shoulder the burdens of life. It may mean their starting to date LATER, not earlier as is being proposed by letters writers to a certain periodical.

Rabbi Horowitz, can you give us a list of post high school mosdos for boys that will not sabotage our chinuch? How can we evaluate yeshivos, especially since it seems that boys end up at certain yeshivos because of the type of learning, and their chevra all picking up and going? What are we to do if there is a great yeshiva as far as learning and the solid chevra go, but the administration will present long term learning as the only option? Nix the yeshiva?


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53. to tb     4/6/08 - 11:10 AM
Anonymous

Most of the people I know who are in the MO world think it is a supreme value for girls/women to have a career, so I don't understand how you promote the MO world for its values while simultaneously promoting the idea that a woman should be home and raising her children.


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54. Choices     4/6/08 - 1:17 PM
Benzion Twerski

I hate to cast aspersions on Roshei Yeshivos, but there are several kinds, almost as many as individuals. Some are great scholars, and their expertise lies in giving shuirim. Others have breadth of knowledge in many other areas, and their bekius is their claim to fame. Yet others build strong bonds to their talmidim. One more feature is the capacity to be daas Torah, where there is a breadth of knowledge in ways of living and the issues that arise. Not every Rosh Yeshiva has each and every one of the above traits, and not every one needs to be everything. It is part of the fabric of Klal Yisroel that we are complete in achdus, each compensating for what another lacks, and that having lacks does not make us weak or less than.

The trend has become to seek top send our children to yeshivas with prestige. The gadlus of a Rosh Yeshiva is a factor, though that gadol might not necessarily be the optimal guide for our son’s choice of career. Asei lech rav might not refer to a Rosh Hayeshiva whose guidance in derech halimud could be unsurpassed, but to a Rav and Moreh Derech who can consider such elements in the decisions as family background, location of residence, personality factors, etc, besides for a thorough understanding of the current generation and its challenges.

There are no pat answers to whether a boy should plan on staying in kollel after marriage. It should be an individual decision by someone who can provide life guidance. If the direction is kollel, what other advice is appropriate? If not kollel, what advice is there to insure that Torah remains a pillar of the lifestyle?

There are choices, and many belong to us common folk. How we handle this is up to us.


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55. Shopping or opening a new yeshiav.     4/6/08 - 2:33 PM
Peoria

Rabbi Horowitz, How can you compare opening a school with going to a hotel? How can you compare the resources that are necessary to create a Yom tov in a Hotel compared to opening a yeshiva? Let's say I live in Peoria and I want to open a yeshiva, , I need to take out a long term lease on a location, I need to find principals, teachers, Roshei Yeshiva that are willing to move to "out of town" , & I have to find like minded people in my community. We have to get government accreditation etc. On the other hand, if I want to go to Hotel for Pesach, no one from Peoria has to go to any or the same hotel, I just pick a location plunk down a couple of grand and voila my Pesach is taken care of. Previously, you said that if the yeshiva does not fit my hashkafas, I should shop around. I belong to the chareidi camp but I do not agree with the direction that the chareidi world has taken. What do I do now,? Join a Young Israel, send my kids to a MO school and to camp Moshava? It doesn’t work that way. It’s a different culture. I am a so-called chareidi, and I want schools that fit my weltanschauung,. top learning and secular studies to prepare them for a future in today’s world.


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56. I'm with Anonymous for Now, please answer     4/6/08 - 2:38 PM
tb

"Are there really no choices for us, or do we not have the courage or honesty to send our children to mosdos that match our true core values?"

Rabbi Horowitz, I have many friends and relatives in the system. I'm sorry, but there are no Mosdos out there that truly match the values that we are talking about here. There are Mosdos where the parent body has more members that match our values, but at the end of the day, as I stated before, the messages the kids are getting in the Mosdos by the Rebbeim and female teachers are still the same as the more "right-wing" Yeshivos and do conflict with those of these members of the parent body. I am glad that "anonymous for now" asked her question and--while this may be something that you may prefer not to answer personally--perhaps a reader may answer here.

As for "Anonymous"'s question to me, I will tell you something that I recently told a Yeshivish friend of my husband's when he was confused about the very same thing. Not all MO people are alike. Not all MO women are feminists. While all of us will aspire to a secular as well as a religious education, including college and will encourage our children in this path, many of us choose to be supported by our husbands and many are able to either stay home with our young children or at least work part time. In fact, in the very large parent body of our MO day school, most of the women are either stay-at-home moms or part time workers. My husband's friend thought Modern Orthodoxy meant desire for luxuries and materialism, striving for higher incomes, etc. He had no idea that there is real Torah scholarship, respect for Halacha, Yashrus, and great respect for the care of our children. I sent him to YU Torah.org and now he's slowly straightening out his misguided thoughts. Are there those of us who don't spend enough time with their kids and are too materialistic? Absolutely. But, frankly, that is pretty common these days in the Yeshiva world too. It is across the board the biggest challenge to Orthodox Judaism today. The terrorist threats are nothing compared to this systemic illness in our community and threat to the spiritual and character growth of our children.


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57. How can Yeshivish parents find choice?     4/6/08 - 2:50 PM
tb

Peoria, The time has come. The time has come for those in the Yeshivish community to either seek out the one or two MO day schools in their area (not all are alike and some are more right wing than others), consider moving out of town if your children aren't too old--there are communities out there with separate high schools and more middle of the road sensibilities, or to band together somehow to start new Mosdos--a herculean task, as you imply. I work in a school, have been a teacher for years and years and I see the changes. I know that not all of you are ready to join Modern Orthodoxy and are worried about what that means. But, I worry about your kids just like you do. I worry about the fact that so many adults and teens are angry and that all this energy is going in the wrong direction--to angry blogs, venomous conversations, rebellious behavior by adults and teens. How can this energy be channeled into getting the middle of the road Yeshivish parents, the ones who value the importance of the mother in the home and of the control of the parents of their children's Hashkafa to make proactive choices to help themselves in this mess? How? Rabbi Twerski, Rabbi Horowitz you are not addressing the reality of this situation. These people do not have the choices you suppose. Someone has to address this reality realistically.


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58. no disrespect for Kollel here     4/6/08 - 3:06 PM
tb

Rabbi Twerski, You mention that Kollel should and can be a choice. It should. And it has been stated many times before. I am not demeaning Kollel. It's just that it was a minority choice as it should be. Not a majority as it is now. The notion that mothers should not be raising their own children is anti-Torah. Period. I don't care who advocates it and why. I will never be Mekabel this Shita. My alter Zaidy in Europe who was Chavrusa with a very well-known and respected Chasidishe Rebbe, a true Talmid Chacham by all accounts, stated very strongly that there are 24 hours in a day for a reason. 8 for sleeping, 8 for working, and 8 for learning Torah. Obviously eating and spending time with family is in there and he had a wonderful relationship with his children, but his point is clear. I don't know what on earth happened here??? But, no, there are no clear choices for the Yeshivishe Velt. The Chasidishe velt has more of a respect for the importance of the mother and the importance of being Mefarnais her. Also, I know wonderful men in the YU world, more than you think who are Kovea Itim for learning and are supporting their wives. They have Rabbanim that they follow, they know large amounts of Halacha, some have Semicha, one or two are actually learning for Semicha in a program assigned just for those who are already in the work world. The idea in the Chasidish or MO world that a woman would have to bear the burden of caring for a large family and financially supporting them is completely ridiculous. The idea of relying financially on older parents of retirement age who could be sitting and learning full-time themselves--as my Zaidy did when he got old--is ridiculous and disrespectful. It is unheard of in the Chasidish and MO world. So, you see, the parents in the Yeshiva world have to take back their system somehow and I don't know how.


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59. grown-up time     4/6/08 - 3:31 PM
Yakov Horowitz - Monsey NY

To Peoria (#55)

A few days ago, someone contacted me and bitterly complained about the 'wacky' rebbi his son has. The rebbi said all sorts of things about the Internet; "it's treif, it's avodah zarah, ...."

So I asked the father what sort of chinuch he is providing for his son by announcing that his rebbi is 'wacky'?

I asked him if the school changed its hashkafa in the past 5 years since he made the choice to send him there (to a quasi-chassidish yeshiva). He said no. So, I asked him how could he blame the yeshiva for doing what they said they would do? It is not the school's fault. There are parents who share that view. He doesn't. He should not have sent there.

Or; he should walk the walk. Stay home motzoei shabbos and stop running to ...., live a truly chassidish lifestyle, tame down the vacations he goes to, on and on.

I'll say it again and again, parents make choices.

His community has many schools; some who have internet policies that match his worldview. That's where he should send his kids.

The problem is ... es past nisht to send there.

1)Because he wants his kids to have peyos behind his ears 2) And learn in Yiddish 3) And not have anything to do with 'those' families.

So he sends his sons and daughters to schools that are way to the right of where his family really is, and figures that things will swing back one day.

In the meantime, he is living a lie and disparaging all the school stands for.

That is exactly the disconnect that is driving our kids NUTS. Is it a wonder that the phones in Project YES ring off the hook??

Let's forget the kids for a while and get our own acts together. We need to grow up and make choices that are right for us and our families.


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60. Stunned     4/6/08 - 4:21 PM
Peoria

Rabbi Horowitz,

I am a stunned by your example. The father is obviously wrong and does not provide the proper example. I don't appreciate the insinuation.

We send to quasi-chassidishh yeshivas. We do not allow our children to use my computer or the internet under any circumstances. We do not go one any extended or fancy vacations and never without our children. We do not open the television in the motel room. We do not watch videos of any kind at home, including Uncle Moshy or of rebbes. We do not go to concerts. We stay home Motzei Shabbos and if not we go together on a family trip. We rarely go to pizza shops and when we do, we do not go to those pizza shops that are pritzusdik. We do not have video in the car. We do not have a fancy car. One car. We pay our bills at the grocer. We live in a simple home. We do not have a country home nor do we go to the country. We teach our children the value of a dollar. We do not wear designer clothes. We do not leave our children with any baby sitters during the day. Never. We use frum jewish girls to babysit at night, and only when neccessary. I do not travel for business. My wife is a stay-at-home mom. You get the picture, we talk the talk and we walk the walk.

All I want is my children to have a proper education and become responsible adults. The greatest present I can bequeath them is to be self-sufficient and not to have to rely on others., i.e. us and their in-laws.

I do not want my grand-children to be brought up by an Hispanic Catholic or a Russian Orthodox woman. Is that asking for too much? We want our sons, to be able to support their families, is that asking too much? Yes, I knew the yeshiva has this pro-kollel slant. So what should I have done? Where I live the choices are limited? In fact the chareidi world has limited options.If my sons are not the best learners, will it be proper to keep them in yeshiva as long as possible, just to get the right shidduch? No it's not. The message coming from the schools is to stay in yeshiva as long as possible. We all went to yeshiva, we know what the message is. Rabbi Horowitz, you are ignoring what the people are saying and are skirting the issue by using an example of someone who is two-faced and therefore implying that we are all not honest with ourselves. We are not perfect, we are trying our best.


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61. Sorry     4/6/08 - 5:05 PM
Yakov Horowitz - Monsey/NY

Peoria:

I'm terribly sorry. I did not mean to imply that you are not sincere.

I'll try to respond later. In the meantime, I apologize for offending you.

Yakov


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62. to tb: what percent?     4/6/08 - 6:47 PM
Anonymous

many of us choose to be supported by our husbands and many are able to either stay home with our young children or at least work part time

This is off-topic but I'm curious as to what % of MO women you estimate think as you do about this. My guess would be a really small percent which is why I don't see how promoting MO schools is helpful if you want women to raise their own kids.

I have no reason to think that yeshivish mothers hire babysitters any more than MO women, albeit for different reasons (the yeshivish women - to support their husbands' learning and pay tuition and the MO women - to actualize themselves and pay tuition).

If you want women to raise their own children, you would be best off recommending the Satmar, New Square and the like communities where a high percentage of women stay home, and running a household is considered an admirable pursuit, far more than in MO circles!


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63. Many different perspectives - all need to be addressed     4/6/08 - 9:36 PM
Sherree

There are many different valid points here: 1. Choose the right Yeshiva for your children, it is your choice where you send your child from day one. Know the rules and be prepared to follow them.

2.Be involved in the Yeshiva and "don't" give over control of your children to the Yeshiva. Be the "parents" and parent your children. Build a parent association in your yeshiva so that the parents have a say. There is power in numbers, and you won't be afraid that if you bring up an issue with the yeshiva your son or daughter will be kicked out.

3. Yeshivas should not be changing the rules in mid-stream. Changing the rules should be discussed with the parent body, because that brings about the issue where Rabbi Horowitz and the posters are running around a circle. If one chooses a Yeshiva in the early years because it fits appropriately, but then as the child goes through that system, the Yeshiva starts to change the rules and move more and more to the right, or to the ridiculous the parent rarely has a choice. You can't just remove the child from his/her environment and friends where they are doing well and switch schools. It is rarely "good" for the child to keep moving them from school to school. So even when a parent makes a good choice initially, it doesn't always turn out to be a good choice in the end, and a parent chooses to ride it out until the child reaches the next level such as High School or Bais Medrash to look for a new environment, unless it becomes a true issue and they have no choice but to move.

When a parent tries to move a child, the prospective new yeshivas are hard put to accept a new child and worry about the "reasons" for the change.

4. Chinuch Bonim includes the hashkafos that the parents want to instill in their children in regard to how they raise their children and how they hope their children will raise the next generation. In essense, we as parents should make clear to our children how much we love them and how important it is to us that our children give the same love,importance and attention to their children that we give to them. We as parents must teach our boys that it is their responsibility to be mefarness their families and not their wife's obligation, and we as parents much teach our children that it is their responsibility to support themselves when they get married and that parents are there as a safety net and not as a financial institution.

If we as parents keep feeding into this notion that it is OK to take advantage of parents and we "enjoy" supporting them for as long as they are willing to accept "our" support then "we" continue to create the monster situation. It is up to "parents" to raise children to believe that they are not going to do this. Even if the "rosh yeshivas" try to teach the children otherwise. If a child comes home or calls home to say that my "rosh said...." the parent should counter with, "that sounds very admirable, how does the Rosh plan on supporting you while you do that? I can't and won't be able to support another family while you are in yeshiva and I don't agree that Jewish babies should be raised by shikses. The Kesubah states that a man must be mefarnes his family, does the Rosh interpret the Kesubah differently?"

It is very admirable when a couple can live the Kolel life at least for a year or two after they are married. However, as Rabbi Horowitz said, there must be a plan. A couple that has a baby right away might have to change that plan to accomodate for raising that baby and for the mother to be home to raise that child while the father goes out to make a parnasah and find time to learn around that schedule. A couple who do not have a baby right away can delay having to give up the Kolel life until the children come into the picture. A man who loves learning so much that it would be painful for him to give it up and go to work, should speak to his Rosh and family members to see what accomodations can be made to help him out financially and support him in his learning while his wife may still stay home and raise the children, or maybe another family member can help with the children while the wife helps with the parnasah. But this is not the normal situation. Many, many men are capable of going to work and find time to learn. Their hearts don't break because they give up their seat in the Bais Medrash.

The concept of what a normal Jewish home is all about has changed dramatically over the past two generations and if it continues down the path it is currently on it will chas v'sholom dissintegrate all together. The burden placed on parents and grandparents is unbelievable. What kids expect today is beyond chutzpah and in many cases beyond reality. There is no busha in having a job and making an honest living, as a matter of fact that is something to be proud of and it is a kidush hashem. Every time a Frum Jew does a business transaction according to proper Torah guidelines and true Torah ethics he performs another Kidush Hashem.

What was once a true family unit is no longer. Every home relies on goyim to run it or to raise the children. A truly peaceful and beautiful shabbos depends on whether the shikse shows up or not. Shalom Bayis depends on the support checks of the parents, in-laws or both. Kids are falling behind and have learning disability and learning delayed issues because mothers are not at home to raise them and they lack the normal stimuli mothers at home provide pre-school children. There are tremendous AT-Risk issues because mothers are not at home to notice if the children are happy when they get off the school bus, nor do parents have the time or patience to do homework or chazer with the kids. Parents are stressed and so are kids. Couples years into marriage resent what they are doing and what they got themselves into and find themselves unhappy, unfulfilled, stressed out, overworked, underapprecicated, confused and detached from the partners they swore they were prepared to spend their whole lives with. The more women are out in the workforce the more they compare their non-working husbands with the professional men they work with and their husbands don't always measure up. The more a woman plays the role of "superwoman" the more chances that she will eventually "crash and burn".

The more you try to change the natural order of things, the more chance that you wind up with more issues and more problems than you bargained for, hence the rise in divorce and dysfunctional families. We also have a rise in At-risk teens, drop-outs, alcohol and drug use both in the teen generation and in the 20, 30 and 40 somethings.

As a frum society we are spiraling out of control. Of course there are people who are going to say, we are more frum now than ever before, we have more kids learning, etc. That is all fine and good, and if you want to look at only the success and look at things with blinders on, then you are being very naive. To see if something is really successful you have to look at the whole entire picture. You can't measure an issue by it's success, you have to measure it by its failures. Because if there are too many failures it is not working.

Change begins within each and everyone of us. If we fear what others think and what others will say then we have no one to blame but ourselves for going along with the problems and feeding into them. If you don't want to be part of the problem then you have to begin being part of the solution.

If you have to start a Shidduch club for boys and girls who believe that a husband should work and a wife should raise a family then that is what needs to be done. Parents of Shidduch age children should get together, meet with a shadchun and/or a local Rav and get started. Necessity is the mother of invention. I guarantee you if you get started you will get hundreds of "hits" on your website if you state your goals clearly.

Before supporting Yeshivas with donations ask them where they stand on the issues that mean the most to you. Stop sending money to mosdos that don't agree with your hashkofos. Don't send your kids to mosdos that don't agree with your haskafos. Don't keep your hashkofos to yourself, discuss them with your kids and your friends, you will be surprised how many parents will agree with you and how much support you will get. But if you keep blaming other for things that are within your own power to control, then you are rendering yourselves useless instead of empowering yourselves for success.


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64. Peoria; What I was driving at .....     4/6/08 - 10:08 PM
Yakov Horowitz - Monsey/NY

With that rambling story was that very often parents are ok with selecting a school that is quite to the right of where they are -- but not to the left.

In fact, overall, I think that moderates have been cowed into submission.

I ask you to please read this column for my general view of things

http://www.rabbihorowitz.com/PYes/ArticleDetails.cfm?Book_ID=909&ThisGroup_ID=238&ID=Most%20Viewed&Type=Article

Basically, moderates hardly ever speak up for fear of looking less frum.

This affects everything -- parents picking schools that match their worldview (many are afraid to), parents not seeking alternatives for their children who are not cut out for full-time learning, the list goes on and on.

and, peoria; there are very fine yeshivos where bachurim are guided as individuals -- with some steered to kollel, some to chinuch, and others to parnasah. they do exist. (many) parents would like to send there ... but don't.

That's what I mean when I say that parents need to assume responsibility.

Again, a Rosh Yeshiva has every right in the world to steer his talmidim along his derech. And they don't make a secret of it. So, parents should choose a yeshiva that's right for their family. It's better for all parties that way -- and then there is a more congruent message sent to the children.


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65. anonymous and Rabbi Horowitz if you might actually reading what I write     4/6/08 - 11:00 PM
tb

Anonymous, a. stats: looking at the class lists tonight of my children and of my students, I'd put it at about 80% of the parent body at our school. That's just the circles I choose to run in. I don't speak for MO in Manhattan and other places and other schools. I don't exaggerate. I merely report. There is a segment of the MO population that many Yeshiva people would do well to get to know. They don't have to join, but they should know that this exists in Frum society. b. I love Chasidim and the Chasidish lifestyle (although there are differences among the groups). It's just that it is a pretty closed society and you can't just join. I'm quite cool with Chasidim in theory and reality. c. I don't push MO on anyone. I just push Yashrus and if a person is struggling with their chosen path in Yiddishkeit, he/she should know that there are others and then make a decision. Rabbi Horowitz mentioned choices. We do have choices in Yiddishkeit.

Rabbi Horowitz, You don't address my questions and that is disappointing. So I will just end this with the following question: you mention in your last comment that there are places where "Bochrim are guided as individuals" and all I can say is where would those Yeshivos be? Also, like I said before, what happens when they go off to Israel for the year? Is it individual then? Also, I went to Prospect Park years ago--a school that is agreed upon as middle of the road for girls, some even thought left wing--and even then, we were told over and over again how important Kollel was and how it would be such a great Zechus for us to support our husbands this way. We were encouraged to marry a specific type of boy and to get educated so that we could support him. This was years ago. It is much worse in the schools now. So since you are not addressing me, I ask the Klal to suggest places that would be helpful in the Yeshiva world to ensure the Hashkafos that the parents want. Believe me, I don't want to bash the Yeshiva world so much as I want to shed light where it needs to be shown. No one is really being honest about the lack of choice within that world today.


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66. TB     4/7/08 - 10:02 AM
Sherree

There are many, many small yeshivas for boys in E"Y, that offer more individual attention and where boys do very well. However it seems that everyone is running a race for their kids to be in the "TOP" most famous yeshivas. It is not necessarily a "good fit". And by the way, some of these best and well known Yeshivas grew to be what they are today, because they started out as a small Yeshiva that gave the utmost individual attention to their bochurim. Go figure.

On the other hand, where the girls are concerned, there are new seminaries that open every year, but because of the Shidduch parsha, families are hard put to test the waters and are very careful where they sendc their daughters for fear of not getting a shiduch because of their daughters not being in the right seminary. Unfortunately, there is something to this theory. This is a very sad statement to make, because it shows a lack of true Yiddish values on the part of basic good and moral Jews.

One more point I would like to make on what you said that is very, very valid. When the girls schools and the boys yeshivas push and promote the "Kollel" life and how wonderful and beautiful it is and that is the only life their students should strive for, and then when their students come back to register their children in their alma mater, because they want their children to get the same wonderful education they received as a child, what do you think happens? They get turned away because the Kolel couples they themselves created cannot afford to pay the tuition they are asking. That's right, they do not have a fund for their former students that they "pushed" into the beautiful and amazing Kolel life. They turn away the children of their former students because the life they promoted for them cannot afford "their" tuition so the children of the Kolel families cannot receive the same education their parents received for lack of the financial stability necessary to pay for it.

So Prospect Park is as guilty as the others for turning away former students (and I know this from former students who complained) who couldn't afford the tuition on their Kolel budgets. And they literally cried to the administration and said "but you told me to marry a Kolel boy!!!!" The spiraling down continues.

Think clearly about the choices that you make and where they will lead you. Think about what your plan is and what kind of lives you choose to lead, what you are willing to give up and what is important to you. Today's kolel yungerleit are really not living the Kolel life of generations ago. Wealthy parents give them everything their hearts desire, but for how long can this go on? Who will support their children in the style they were accustomed to? What will happen to the next generation? And who will explain what being a true baal Ruchnius means?


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67. Kollel Family - Prestige     4/7/08 - 11:01 AM
Benzion Twerski

In probably the most quoted cartoon in history, Pogo makes the statement “We have met the enemy and he is us.” The notion of large yeshivos with prestigious names is something of our only recent history. Lakewood was not established by Rav Aharon Kotler ZT”L to become the metropolis it has become. Many other names can be added to this list. The dictate in Pirkei Avos (1:2) ???? ??????? ???????, establish many talmidim is not a statement about numbers. It is a statement about the quality of the limud, that it is a process of “standing him on his feet”. Perhaps the masses will follow, but that is far from the tachlis. We have made this situation, and as a sociological trend, we can only intervene with small measures that will erode the folly and bring reality back into focus.

I personally have paid little attention to any of these images of prestige and names of yeshivos. There is no one single “right” way, since each person is individual. I have trouble accepting cookie cutter statements when I research possible shidduchim for my children. These types of responses tend to speak about a boy from Yeshiva X as a prepackaged product, though we know that uniqueness is far more important. The girl from Seminary Y is no more interesting to me than a nameless face or faceless name.

The “kollel family” phenomenon has appeared in many articles on this website, and I applaud the exposure of this as incompatible with the advancement of Klal Yisroel. It is something that had its time. Without any intent to minimize the importance of Torah learning, the standardization has its downside and we need to find a better pattern to maintain Kedushas Yisroel without sentencing children to poverty and our mosdos to fundraising.


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68. Plan? Is this targeted at all sorts of Yeshiva Bochurim?     4/7/08 - 11:47 AM
Moish

Hi I was wondering if this article is targeted at all Yeshiva students or not. From the introduction: "My Dear Yeshiva Bachurim... Klal Yisroel's greatest treasure. After all, you and your fellow bachurim are our future... the Roshei Yeshiva, rebbeim, and lay leaders who will teach and lead the coming generation." it would seem that all are included. If so, I was wondering what is the PLAN for the one who chooses to be a Talmid Chochom? No not a Rosh Hayeshiva (which by the way, is not a planned profession), and no not a Mechanech. And no not a Rav or a Rabbi. But a learned pious man who chooses a life the way Chazal explained to us countless times, (Mishna Ovos "Ubatorah Atah Amel..") Do you really think the next generation will know what a true Talmid Chochom even looks like, if every one at the age of 19 or whenever were busy writing a MASTER PLAN of so called Tachlis? OK, so of course the answer is, "But this is not for everyone". right? And who said it was? From this article it is obvious that Chazal's plan is for NO ONE in our generation. The article brings up some very good points, but I believe the target audience should be the more secular oriented Yeshiva students who will NEVER be in the group called "Klal Yisroel's greatest treasure. After all, you and your fellow bachurim are our future... the Roshei Yeshiva, rebbeim...." If you do write an article for the the future Talmiday Chachomim, stick to the part that outlines goals in learning, not financial goals and so called "Tachlis". The true Ben Torah calles your Tachlis "Hevel Havalim", and has a different understanding of the true Tachlis.


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69. re 68     4/7/08 - 12:51 PM
anonymousfornow

Why are we lowering the bar for the "baalei batime"? Why can't our non full time learners also aspire to become talmidei chachamim? Some practical ideas to attain this: - boys might consider starting to date at an older age to get the maximum amount of undisturbed quality learning - boys might consider starting to work in a profession that will allow them to work part time, at a fairly early point in their married lives, or maybe even earlier. There are programs for "learner/earners" - maybe we need to broaden the scope

There are many serious talmidei chachamim out there who spent most of their adult years in the work force. Check out the senior kollelim.

And let us not forget, galgal chozer ba'olam, one is not assured steady parnasa, there may still be considerable rough patches even for people who seem to have done "everything right". But OTOH there is reasonable hishtadlus, and when the community as a whole is generating new income (vs. diverting the funds to support children, regardless of whether that is the right thing to do for each child, because sometimes it IS the right thing to do) fewer people going through rough times may fall through the cracks.


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70.     4/7/08 - 1:23 PM
Anonymous

I ask the Klal to suggest places that would be helpful in the Yeshiva world to ensure the Hashkafos that the parents want.

Chasidishe girls' schools do not promote supporting one's husband l'olam va'ed. Problem is, you would like boys to have a top-notch English education, then college, in order to have a chance at making good money, but the ones marrying these boys are often not the type who were inculcated with the ideal of being a balabuste!

The Chasidishe girls who are raised to be homemakers are marrying boys whose secular education was minimal and who cannot become professionals (though when they go into business, some of them do far better financially, than professionals). So there's your paradox. And yes, there are exceptions, but overall, that's the way it is.

I was wondering if this article is targeted at all Yeshiva students or not

That's a recurring problem with the articles posted here. They don't target anybody specifically as though all frum people from MO to Bobov have the same chinuch problems, when they don't.


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71. Eretz Yisroel vs. Chutz LaAretz     4/7/08 - 3:47 PM
Anonymous

My understanding is that the model for Bnei Torah has always been "Torah Im Derech Eretz" -- Kvias Itim LaTorah combined with an occupation for Parnasah. Even the Gdolim of the generations (e.g., RASHI, the RAMBAM, the Chofetz Chaim, etc., etc.) had a Parnasah independent of their learning. Only the best Bnei Torah were encouraged to learn full-time, but only till they were ready to assume positions as Rabbanim and/or Mechanchim. No one spent their entire life in a Kollel.

For Bnos Torah the ideal has always been "Kol Kvudah Bas Melech Pnimah" and "SheLo TeHei Yatzanis"; i.e, as a full-time Baalas HaBayis and mother.

These are the models that we should follow today BeChutz LaAretz.

In Eretz Yisrael, however, there is the problem of army service. If a young man does not learn full-time in a Kollel for many years, he will be drafted. Pritzus and all the other dangers and negatives of the Israeli army outweigh any other consideration and require the sacrifices inherent in a Kollel style of life.

Accordingly, the Kollel Hashkafah of the Israeli Yeshivos and Seminaries is appropriate there, not in the U.S.


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72. Thoughts of a Happy Kollel Wife/Mother     4/7/08 - 6:44 PM
Chaya

As a Kollel wife, I have a few thoughts.

1) I can't say too much about the U.S. because I have lived in EY since I got married. But I do have one observation: So many commenters have written against the Kollel "system", partly or in toto because husbands have to work so their wives can stay home with the kids. Frankly, I know very few families in the US in which only the husband works. Most of the time, one salary is just not enough.

2) While leading a kollel lifestyle for a long time is definitely a struggle, it seems to me that most of the commenters writing against it have never experienced it close-up. My husband was in full-time learning for over 12 years and I would not have given it up for the world. No, neither my parents nor his supported us. We did it on our own. Since I knew ahead of time that I wanted my husband to remain in learning as long as possible, and that I also wanted to be with my children as much as possible, I chose a profession that would enable me to do that. Last year, my husband felt that the time had come to give over Torah. He enrolled in a chinuch course and is today my husband a first-year melamed and,in the words of parents, a "neches" (precious asset) to the cheder in which he teaches. The years he spent in kollel have given him a clarity, both in learning and hashkafah, that make him a better melamed than he would have been otherwise. And he still goes to kollel after he finishes teaching.

My point is that, for those who are dedicated to the ideal of kollel, there are options to make it work. Will you have to make sacrifices? Yes. Is it easy? Absolutely not. But there are very few things in life that are worth achieving and can be achieved easily. Those who have never tried it should speak to more people who have made it work.


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73. BTW     4/7/08 - 6:48 PM
Chaya

As a side point - for those who mention the Rambam as a prime source for combining Torah with a profession, he eventually left medicine to dedicated himself to Torah full-time.

The Chofetz Chaim, too, eventually closed his store.

In previous generations, people worked just to make a living, literally. Today, it has gone way beyond that.


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74. Kollel standard     4/7/08 - 7:15 PM
Benzion Twerski

To the Happy Kollel Wife/Mother

Reading your description is truly a nachas. It is wonderful that you and your husband were able to make this dream into reality. I would have trouble understanding anyone who would say that your lot is anything other than wonderful. Those who achieve what you did are not the issue. No one said that the kollel mission in life is not good. The difficulty is the image that circulates that every bochur is material to remain in kollel at the expense of the families and the community, and every girl is set to be a kollel wife/mother.

My problem is the unrealistic expectation that my daughter must marry a career kollel yungerman. That means that I must assume the responsibility of supporting an additional family, and I must also assume that the boy she marries is cut out for that lofty mission. Neither of these assumptions is guaranteed. Entering a relationship where the stated goal is kollel for an extended time, only to find that the yungerman is not prepared for that, or has expectations of certain accoutrements that are beyond the kollel lifestyle, disappointment is looming. These situations become shalom bayis cases, and bounce around among rabbonim, roshei yeshiva, and finally by therapists. Not all women are capable to manage full time employment on top of managing a growing family.

Making kollel a “given” needs to be questioned.


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75. to Chaya     4/7/08 - 7:35 PM
Yakov Horowitz - Monsey NY

Thank you for sharing your view of thngs with our readers.

I learned in kollel for 1 year full time and then for 6 years afternoons and evenings when i started teaching. Those years were beautiful ones and I'm glad people can see things through your eyes.

What is of note was that you had 'a plan,' and so did your husband. You decided to stay with your children and he enrolled in chinuch classes before he started teaching.

BTW; my plan was to stay in kollel full time for quite a few years, but after our first wasborn, my wife wanted to stay home with him; so off to work I went.

Much hatzlacha to both of you.

Yakov


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76. No respect for the working ben torah     4/7/08 - 7:40 PM
MB

Rabbi Twerski & Rabbi Horowitz, I have a different question. My husband was in kollel for more than 7 years. I worked part-time until I lost my job. We had minimal help from others. We made do with very little. I did not have a dining room set, we drove a very old car, we did not go on vacations. We managed with little and were happy. When I lost my job, my husband's Rosh Kollel told my husband to prepare himself to go to work. He took courses while we lived on unemployment. He got a job, learns with a chaburah every night and on Shabbos, has an additional chavrusah, and is a wonderful father to my children. I stay home with my baby and supplement the income by working a little from home. Sounds good, right? He took the responsibility, the Rosh Kollel encouraged it, and it ended well, right?

Wrong! In my family, he is a second class citizen, a balabuss, and the object of mussar for "deserting" Torah for money. The bachurim in my family, not yet married, do not respect him, although I remind you he was in Kollel for 7 years. When we applied to the girls school for my daughter she was not accepted because her father works. Did I remind you that my husband was in kollel for 7 years?

SO, there you have it. A man who took responsibilty and is treated without respect because he did the right thing - and followed daas Torah when doing it. I feel very bitter about it and I am not the only one. My father, who worked hard to raise a large family, gets little respect from his own sons because he is a balebuss. I don't blame them - I blame the chinuch. I love the Torah and respect those who learn it - but if someone can't learn all day (after a number of years) - is he worthy of less respect???


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77. which city?     4/7/08 - 9:07 PM
Anonymous

When we applied to the girls school for my daughter she was not accepted because her father works

You didn't know that this is a requirement for entry to this school?

What city is this in?


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78. on sacrifices     4/7/08 - 9:33 PM
tb

Chaya, I believe that Kollel should be a choice for the minority and only if the commitment to the mother raising the children can be made as you have done. You said, "Will you have to make sacrifices? Yes." Well, I think both you and I agree that the sacrifices should not be made by the children. Infants and young children should be cared for primarily by their own mothers and preferably not in large group settings. When will this become a priority in the Yeshivishe Velt?


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79. Sheree and Rabbi Horowitz     4/7/08 - 9:36 PM
tb

Thank you for helping to prove my point.

Rabbi Horowitz, This was a tough question I raised, not easy to answer, and raised by others on this thread. Am I coming off as so disrespectful that you cannot even try to address the issue. Is it possible that even with involved and aware parenting, that the Yeshivos and girls' schools, especially in Israel, are emitting way too strong of a signal to be overpowered?


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80. To MB #76     4/7/08 - 9:44 PM
Benzion Twerski

To MB #76

I am having a personal problem when reading your description of how something was done so right but has not been accepted by others. It is honestly painful that people are judged by externals that have only certain relevance. Allow me to digress for a moment to relate a story from the Baal Shem Tov. He was sitting with his talmidim, and asked them to each place his hands on the shoulders of the talmidim on either side. When the Baal Shem Tov completed the circle, the talmidim instantly transcended to where they heard the sweetest singing of praise to Hashem. When the Baal Shem removed his hands and broke the circuit, the experience stopped. He repeated this several times, and the talmidim began begging him to take them back to that “place”. They finally asked him where such sweet, spiritual music was being produced. The Baal Shem directed them to a beis hamedrash elsewhere in town where there was a poor, unlearned Jew reciting Tehilim. Coming from my chassidishe background, I was raised with deep respect for the kedusha that can be found by the simplest Jew who gives his best to avodas Hashem. The externals mean much less.

It then becomes quite difficult for me to read about someone who holds a job, doesn’t sponge off others, and still makes Toraso unmaso. Even bnei Torah should marvel at this. If they do not, I question what kind of hadracha they have. I am perturbed more strongly by any school that will reject an applicant whose father learns but is neheneh miyegi’ah kapo, which is greater than yiras shomayim. I hope not to meet the leaders of a school that has such a policy. The nisayon I will face in confronting them may be more than I can bear. How dare they reject a bas talmid chochom because he works for a living.

I’m sorry for unloading here, but I cannot contain the anguish over thwarted values that have blindly become mainstream.


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81. To Chaya and MB     4/7/08 - 11:54 PM
Sherree

To Chaya,

What you neglected to point out is a simple matter of finances. In E"Y you are not burdened with the high cost of Yeshiva tuition, in my neighborhood it is roughly $15,000 per student per year, plus building fund and chessed dollars. Add to that the cost of health insurance and other incidentals such as a two car household because parents are also carpooling their children to school.

So before you judge the two income families, you haven't really "tasted or experienced" their lifestyles either.

In addition, as you say that those who haven't experienced the Kolel Lifestyle close up, are the naysayers, I just wish to clarify that we are not saying that the Kolel lifestyle isn't a beautiful way of life. We are saying that it is a luxury WE can no longer afford. It has taken its toll on way too many parents,grandparents, communities and more important innocent children who had no choice in the matter. It is living in a Utopia that really no longer exists in the real world, because it has divided the nation into a hierarchy which places unreasonable demands and expectations on unwilling and unintentional participants.

As MB mentioned the euphoria that she and her husband experienced for 7 years was stolen from them by a vicious display of negative judgmental criticism of her husband's choice to do the right thing and satisfy the mitzvah of being mepharnes his family as stated in Masechta Kesubos. Shame on them, and shame on the entire family and community for not honoring this very honorable man. A man who is a true leader and good role model not only for his own children but for others to follow.

What kind of elitest society has bred a girls school that will not accept a child whose father has followed his Rosh Yeshiva's advice and became a melamed to teach what he has learned all of his life? And what kind of melamdim are hired by this school? Did they not have to leave learning to take a position in this elitest school?

Can we not see the hypocricy right in their own midsts? What exactly is going on here? What are we breeding here? Who are we supporting when the doorbell rings day after day, stranger after stranger? Another new yeshiva opened up in E"Y, another Kollel needs your support. Should we give or not? If we give are we feeding into this shtus or are we really helping those who deserve our help?

If you choose to live a Kolel life who should be supporting you? And what are your responsibilities and obligations to those people? Is it the responsibility of ALL K'lal Yisroel to pick up the tab? Should your parents and grandparents be doing this? Should the community be paying your expenses? What about the fallout for your kids? Should the community be dealing with the expenses that you can't afford to pay for your kids? This is the plan Rabbi Horowitz is talking about. Sometimes the choices you make affect others. How does that fit in with your plan? Is it fair to just let the chips fall where they may, and let others pick up your pieces or clean up the mess of your choices?

If you choose to follow in the path of just learning Torah and not generating any income, how will that effect your marriage, your children, your future, your children's futures,paying for their weddings, supporting them in the future when they continue on your path? Who will feed them and clothe them? Who's responsibility will it be when you bring 3,4 or 10 children into the world?

Chaya, you said you made sacrifices, which is very comendable and appropriate for the choices that you made. But in all honesty how many Kolel couples make the sacrifices you did, and how many rely on others to pay their way? How many Kolel couples expect to have everything that everyone else has even though they are not working to earn those things? How many Kolel couples do you know that are truly living a simple ruchniusdike lifestyle?

I have to tell you that when representatives from the big Kolel Yeshivas come to my door to collect for their mosdos I laugh. I tell them straight out, I am collecting for AT-Risk kids, maybe you would like to contribute. Believe me they need the money more than you do. Your couples are capable of raising money or earning money on their own. Please call the wealthy parents who are supporting most of the couples at your Yeshiva and ask them to contribute funds to those less fortunate than their own kids. I have more urgent tzedakah funds and needs to fill.

When I find some of these Kolel couples on vacation when my own kids are working so hard they can't afford to take a break and go on vacation, I have to think twice before contributing to a Kolel fund.

I personally feel that if you choose a Kolel Life you are responsible to live a Kolel lifestyle. You just can't have it both ways, you can't have your feet in both worlds, and yes you do have to make sacrifices and those sacrifices are yours to make and not your parents or other family members. So before you fantasize about the beauty of taking on this lifestyle understand what you are getting yourself into and understand that you have to have a true sense of maturtiy to take on the real responsibility of such a choice.


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82. in response to #77     4/8/08 - 12:12 AM
MB

77. which city? 4/7/08 - 9:07 PM Anonymous

When we applied to the girls school for my daughter she was not accepted because her father works

You didn't know that this is a requirement for entry to this school?

What city is this in?

You have missed the point entirely. It does not matter which city I live in. My point is what kind of requirement would make it necessary for the father to be sitting and learning in order for the daughter to be a "bas melech" and worthy of a jewish education. Yes the school may want a very yeshivish type, very frum, very tzniusdike girl - but who says that she did not fit the bill simply because, after 7 years, her father went to work.

We were not making the mistake that Rabbi Horowitz speaks about of choosing a school that did not fit our lifestyle. We WERE a kollel family with a kollel lifestyle of simple materialistic ideals, Torah hashkofos and a yeshivish mentality, but because my husband was now supporting the family, we no longer made the grade!


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83.     4/8/08 - 4:38 AM
tf

Sherree has touched upon, what I believe is the sore point of the Kolel lifestyle. The definition of Kolel lifestyle of 20 years ago is very different than today. Today, all it seems to mean is having 'kol tuv', sacrificing nothing, and having others pay for it. When I see young kolel couples driving updated late model minivans, buying expensive clothing, going on vacations, remodeling their houses, and talking on their unlimited cell phone plans, I can't help but get annoyed when my family is squeezing into a 10+ year old van, my children wear hand-me-downs, we never go on vacation (start calculating nights in a motel!), the house is B"H too small, and renting a bungalow for the summer is out of bounds financially. My husband works at a good financial job and makes a very nice salary. Expenses though, outweigh the salary. Of course, my neighbor's children go to day camp for half of what I pay because "he's in kolel." The system is just laughable. At least, I feel, get to yeshiva on time! Why are you consistently leaving at 10 am?!


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84. Reply to MB     4/8/08 - 10:06 AM
Baal Habos

>We were not making the mistake that Rabbi Horowitz speaks about of choosing a school that did not fit our lifestyle. We WERE a kollel family with a kollel lifestyle of simple materialistic ideals, Torah hashkofos and a yeshivish mentality, but because my husband was now supporting the family, we no longer made the grade!

Dear R. Horowitz,

When I first got married, I wanted to sit and learn in Kolel all day long. But neither my In-laws nor my parents were able to support us. And for technical reasons, ny wife could not work, so I had to go to work immediately.

My hashkafos remain that of Kolel and I even live in the same street as all the other young Kolel couples. Yet now, my four year old-daughter can't get into the school that accurately reflects my Hashkafos and she doesn't understand why she is not with all her friends.

I don't understand why this is happening.

MB, see what I'm getting at? Ela Mai? The whole system is broken.


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85. school policy     4/8/08 - 10:54 AM
Anonymous

You have missed the point entirely.

Why are you assuming I missed the point because of the questions I asked? I didn't say it mattered which city you live in, but I asked nonetheless. If you don't want to reveal that information, fine. I'm not sure why, if you are denouncing this practice, you are protecting the school. Would it be lashon hara to say which school has this policy?

My point is what kind of requirement would make it necessary for the father to be sitting and learning in order for the daughter to be a "bas melech" and worthy of a jewish education.

Nobody at the school said your daughter is not worthy of a Jewish education and your bitterness should not be falsely putting words into their mouths. Here is why I think they have this policy: they might very well think you are wonderful people and have the kind of home and children that they want for their parent/student body. However (and I'm sure you know this on your own), if they don't have a clear rule, "we want children of fathers learning in kollel," then it will be difficult for them to say yes to people like you and no to others who are ostensibly like you but whose values have changed since the father has left kollel.

And again, if you knew this to be their policy, why did you apply? The school wants children whose fathers are presently in kollel, period. I may not like a school's policy about this or that but unless it is the community school, i.e. the only school in town, I think a school can make any rules it wants. When you open a school, you can do the same.


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86. To Anonymous - 85     4/8/08 - 11:10 AM
b

I agree that schools have the right to set this kind of policy. Do you think these kind of policies are healthy for Klal Yisroel, in the long run?


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87. Ahavas Yisroel     4/8/08 - 12:51 PM
AK

B,

I agree that schools have the right to set this kind of policy. Do you think these kind of policies are healthy for Klal Yisroel, in the long run?

If you connect the 2 questions , then no school can be treated or run like a private business.

Ba'al habos,

As a friend of mine said your money may be kosher , but you are treif in their eyes.

Difficult to see how a father's occupation reflects on values even if he learns in Kollel , again it is externality , chitzoyiniyus that counts.


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88. it was not the policy     4/8/08 - 1:09 PM
MB

I don't think the school had a specific policy, at least we weren't told that, or we would not have applied in the first place. I do not live in Lakewood, in case you were wondering. This school is in Brooklyn.

However at the interview their reason for refusal was implied. "99% of our parent body - the father is learning. If you, as a mother, wants to be home that's fine for you, but most of the mothers in our parent body are working." So I guess that became their primary criteria. BTW, when my husband heard that line, he was no longer interested in the school anyway, because he wanted to send my daughter to a school where the message should be that ideally a mother should value being a mother as her primary tafkid. So, it was bashert that she wasn't accepted.

BUT, my point still remains. Why was the primary criteria only about the father's occupation, not taking into account past history and present hashkofos???


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89. What's good for the goose is good for the Gander.     4/8/08 - 1:31 PM
Baal Habos

>BUT, my point still remains. Why was the primary criteria only about the father's occupation, not taking into account past history and present hashkofos???

MB, you didn't address my comment above (84). Where was your geshrei and concern for the newly married young couple who, because they weren't zoche to have family support them at all, was not permitted into your school?


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90. welcome in m     4/8/08 - 1:43 PM
MB


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91. welcome in my school     4/8/08 - 1:50 PM
MB

Baal Habos, Actually, in MY daughter's school there is a beautiful mix of clintele. The criteria is frumkeit, tznius, simplicity in lifestyle, and mentchlichkeit. My daughter has friends whose fathers are in kollel, chinuch, the business world etc... The only thing the hanhalah looked for is a similarity in hashkafos and I couldn't be more pleased. So there are schools that welcome everybody that fits a sensible criteria - the level of yiddishkeit at which the family is at. There are those who would argue that everyone should be welcome, regardless of family lifestyle, but I would not agree. I do think that my daughter should have peers with similar hashkafos and lifestyles so that I don't have to battle peer pressure for fancier clothing, exotic vacations, splashy chol hamoed trips, and tznius issues.

And before you ask - the name of my daughter's school is Bnos Yisroel. It is a wonderful place, where the emphasis is on midos and loving Yiddishkeit and not on whose father will be the next Rosh Yeshiva.


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92.     4/8/08 - 2:13 PM
yoni

other than from a torah perspective, someone who wants to remain in kollel for more than just a few years is entirely missing the point...

The only people who belong in kollel are the same ones who would have litteraly no trouble finding people willing to support them, without any degree of social coercion. The sort that if they were to tell someone that they wished to leave yeshiva and do as torah says (which is to work) that (any group of) people would threaten to boycot his buisiness and ruin him if he left, and litteraly offer total financial support for him.

otherwise, I don't think its his business, and I don't think that he belongs in kollel and actualy I think its a chillul hashem he's still there, not to mention totaly missing the point of torah.

(now, if you happen to be exceedinly wealthy, and can support yourself with minimal effort, ok, but thats still earning your own living, and even then the mechaber states that he should take up "a little work" to occupy some of his time, perhaps a hobby.)


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93. So the question remains,.....     4/8/08 - 4:40 PM
Sherree

Is the Kolel life a choice that effects only the participants? Or do we ALL need to realize that when a couple chooses a Kolel lifestyle they are choosing to burden K'lal Yisroel with their expenses and the costs of feeding, clothing and raising their families.

This is a reality check that they must take into account before making that choice. If they choose the Kolel life they also must choose the sacrifices that go along with it and not just assume that the rest of the world will pick up the bills. That is where Rabbi Horowitz' concept of the plan comes in. When you choose to go into Kolel for the long run, you must have a plan. How will your family be supported while you pursue this worthy endeavor? Who will be paying your bills such as rent, insurance, electricity, food, clothing? If you live chutz L'aretz add on tuition, medical costs, etc.

Will you be satisfied living in a 2 bedroom apartment even if your family grows to 5 or more children? Will it be fair to the children you bring into this world? If your living expenses rise from $1,500 a month for an apartment to $3,000 a month for an apartment and you are not contributing to your financial obligations is it fair to your supporters to raise the bar. If you continue to procreate and have a baby a year up to 10 kids, B"H, and each child costs b'erech $15,000 per year for at least 14 years of schooling, who is footing that bill? Who is paying for the medical cost? Are you expecting the government to pay for it? When that happens the rest of us get a raise in income tax, so in essense we foot the bill unappreciatively and unwillingly. Will you go on food stamps and welfare when you are perfectly capable of going to work? Many of us consider that a chilul Hashem because there is nothing physically wrong with you preventing you from getting a job, so it is a matter of choice and that too raises the cost of our taxes. So your choices effect others.

Will you take time out from your learning to go "collect money to support your family", well you could get a job and earn the money that you beg from other people, how is that fair? Do you have wealthy parents and in-laws who have worked all their lives that put off their own retirement and relaxation to satisfy your needs? Is that kibud Av-v'em? And how will that filter down to the next generation when it comes down to prepare them for their future homes and handle their future expenses? How much money will your parents and in-laws have for all your children's future choices and needs? Again, where is the plan? How can this continue to exist with no realization that it will one day collapse.

Money is tight all over, and people are not willing to support the strangers that keep coming to the door begging for support for Kolel couples. We say the same things over and over again. Either we are supporting our own children, or our children are working so why can't they?

If you CHOOSE, this lifestyle then you have to figure out a way on your own how you are going to support this lifestyle. And you are going to have to realize that if you don't live in E"Y where medical costs and tuition is paid for by the state, you are going to be faced with major issues that are going to have a major effect on your children.

It is time to face reality. There is a time and place for everything, and it is time that young couples faced the realities and responsibilities of a mature relationship and obligations of marriage and raising a family. There is no reason why couples cannot maintain an amazing level of yiddishkeit and beautiful hashkafas while still supporting their own families and spending as much time with their families and making as much time for learning and Torah as possible. There is no reason why Torah cannot be the main focus of the home and the foundation of the "bayis" they build. There is no reason why the work they choose to do can not be built on Torah Values and cannot be made to be a Kidush Hashem in every aspect of its functions. Easting, sleeping, and breathing Torah is still possible while supporting one's family and keeping ones family intact as a frum family unit being raised by both mother and father collectively.


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94. Too much judgementalism     4/8/08 - 7:54 PM
Anonymous

How come bochurim who want to learn until they are 30 don't start dating until they are 25? If you tell me that there is too big a yetzer hara, that is probably not the guy who you want in long term kollel. There is no downside to waiting to get married. That's what was done in Europe.


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95. how should they check?     4/8/08 - 8:59 PM
Anonymous

Why was the primary criteria only about the father's occupation, not taking into account past history and present hashkofos???

easy, because if the father is in kollel, that tells them a lot

you SAID you have kollel values, but how are they supposed to know from an interview?


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96. Ridiculous     4/8/08 - 9:40 PM
Sherree

"you SAID you have kollel values, but how are they supposed to know from an interview?"

This is the most ridiculous comment, it then shows that learning in Kolel is worthless, it is only a prison and a geder for keeping young people in line. Are you saying that the 7 years in Kolel does not define this fine young man's haskafos? And that if he leaves Kolel, it changes them? Ridiculous. Leaving Kolel to be mepharnes his family does not change who he is or who he was while sitting in Yeshiva all day. And if it does then the years he spent in Yeshiva all day are totally worthless and therefore no one should support anyone in Kolel.


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97. Please address the question of choices--are they really choices?     4/9/08 - 9:04 AM
tb

If two parents who want to raise their children in the black-hat system want to send their children to black-hat schools and want their sons to have a plan and their daughters to marry someone who is willing and able to support them when children come, then to which schools should they be sending their children? And what percentage of those who go on to Yeshivos and Seminaries in Israel will continue to follow their parents' Shitta? What are the stats and what are the names of the institutions where the stats are more likely? Also, how many parents out there have made the "right choices" according to Rabbi Horowitz and been disappointed with the results? Why can't we openly address this problem in this forum? Please, someone, answer me.


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98.     4/9/08 - 10:55 AM
yoni

How come bochurim who want to learn until they are 30 don't start dating until they are 25? If you tell me that there is too big a yetzer hara, that is probably not the guy who you want in long term kollel. There is no downside to waiting to get married. That's what was done in Europe

actualy having a yeitzer hara is one of the few reason why halacha permits one to learn in kollel.

If someone is able to learn the whole oral law (I suppose for this purpose the gemorah) or at least learn how to learn the whole thing appropriately, but "his mind has no peace" and he can't focus because he's thinking about how lonely he is or thinking about doing things with girls, then he's allowed to get married and spend a few years in kollel in order to finish his learning, meaning until he has two children, because at that stage "his needs are not so pressing and he will not be beset with worries" on account of feeding his family.

But otherwise? unless they're sure you're going to be a major talmud chacham and big rabbi? no, he's not allowed to learn in kollel unless he can pay for it with his own money.


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99. TB     4/9/08 - 11:03 AM
Sherree

I have to agree with Rabbi Horowitz on this issue. I know girls who went to Michlala and to Darchei Bina and each chose a different path. From each seminary some are supporting Kolel husbands, and some are married to professionals.

I know boys who went to Torahs Moshe who have continued on with their learning for years and some who came back to go to college and be mepharnes their families. The yeshivas do have a profound impact on what they advise and sometimes brainwash the kids with, however, WE the parents raise and mold our children as well. And we the parents have a say on what we are willing to do, and we are also the role models for our children. The Roshei Yeshivas do not nullify who we are or what we stand for. If we send our kids to a certain Yeshiva for the great learning and haskofos they provide and know tht most of the great yeshivas in E"Y promote the kolel lifestyle, we must prepare our children before they go that the yeshiva will promote a lifestyle that we don't believe in or we can't support. If they "choose" to be persuaded by their Roshei Yeshivas, they must work out a plan with them how they will be supported financially and "don't worry" is not an answer. When someone says don't worry, it is definitely time to worry about it.

Also I want to say something and be perfectly clear about this. When one choosing to look for a shidduch that will agree to a Kolel lifestyle one must understand that they themselves are agreeing to take upon themselves at least half of the expense to support their child in this lifestyle. DO NOT DEPEND ON THE MECHUTONIM to support YOUR child. Just because you marry off a child it does not mean they are no longer your child. If you buy into this concept and you choose to look for a Kolel shidduch do not ever say "I can't afford, or I have no money" expecting the other side to pay for it. That is totally irresponsible of you as parents. It breeds resentment and it promotes sholom bayis issues down the line. Just because a couple chooses a Kolel lifestyle it does not remove from them honest human emotion or painful frustration and the issues of your parents versus my parents do come up. As well as the tug of war between parents when it comes to simchas and yomim tovim.


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100. Sheree--do you hear echoes when we post?     4/9/08 - 9:50 PM
tb

"we must prepare our children before they go that the yeshiva will promote a lifestyle that we don't believe in"

Sheree, with respect, my husband and I will never knowingly place our children in a learning environment that espouses a lifestyle or Hashkafa that conflicts with our own. It may work occasionally and for some people, but it isn't Yashar and it backfires just as often as it "works."

Also, when you say that you are "with Rabbi Horowitz" on this one, are you also with his decision to ignore my concerns and questions? You see, I know way too many people in the Yeshivish world who are suffering and unhappy, who choose to berate or sigh with resigned submission and who are overtaxed, worried...The issue of whether there is a real "choice" is on the table and it merits being discussed openly.


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101. phenomenal     7/29/08 - 7:13 PM
Anonymous

Yasher Koach, your words are truly an inspiration, even to those of us who have already begun the "trek".


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102.     8/1/08 - 6:05 PM
r - monsey

My kids are all under 10, yet I ask them every once in a while what are they going to be when they grew up. I think they are pretty clear that we, their parents, expect them to be educated and have a profession. My father when I was growing up told me that it is his obligation to make sure that I have a profession that I can make a living with. Preferably a practical profession that is easily transferable across borders. I am quite dismayed when my kids come home from yeshiva and tell me that they get quite a different message from their Moros and Rebbeim. It is sad that I have to contradict what they are learning in school.


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103.     8/3/08 - 2:33 AM
Goldy - NJ

Will the frum social workers/psychologists and therapists of all kinds (OT, PT, ST) please comment on this question: Is it possible that the increase in physical, emotional, social problems that we are seeing in frum babies/toddlers/children today (ADD, speech delays, aggressive behavior, learning disablities, sensory perception issues, etc.) may be linked to the lack of maternal attention that they are getting at the early stages in life (when babies from as young as six weeks of age are placed in babysitting services with many other chidren or day care centers, as these are cheaper options than a babysitter in one's own home)? If this is in fact the case, please, as professionals, speak UP LOUD AND CLEAR in public forums/newspapers, etc. Perhaps this will begin to change the tide in our frum society and start a revolution to get mothers back in the home raising their babies at least for the first years of a child's life, and get fathers out into the workforce where they belong according to the kesuva.


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104. Difficult Choices     8/3/08 - 4:22 PM
Anonymous

I would lke to respectfully respond to Rabbi Horowitz' comment, #44. True, Rabbi Horowitz, we always have choices and indeed logic would dictate that if our hashkafos lack congruence with the Rosh Yeshiva's derech, then it is our parental perogative and responsibility to enroll our chldren in mosdos that more closely mirror our own values and convictons. That we, as parents, as individuals, and as members of klal Yisroel, bear enormous personal responsibility for our choices remains indisputable.

Responsibilty, however, exists on all sides--including the side of our well-intentioned leaders who have contributed to the creation of a super-rigid, unforgiving system. This dynamic consistently confronts us with difficult, extreme choices that persistently feel neither comfortable nor right. That the experience of being human in itself thrusts upon us the obligation of bechira is responsibility enough; that our social infrastructure corners us into impossible choices adds an entirely unwarranted layer of frustration and challenge.

So while a parent can theoretically rise to the challenge of personal responsibility by selecting a different mosad, in reality the lack of diversity severely limits choice--to an extreme. Our predicament issues a call for communal responsibility and demands serious examination by all members of the klal--including those at the helm. And while surely we owe our Rabbinc leadership a tremendous debt of kavod and hakoras hatov, it appears entirely appropriate to respectfully question if within the all-encompassing emes of Torah our Gedolim might help us discern a better, more flexible and compassionate derech.


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105.     8/3/08 - 6:29 PM
Goldy - NJ

Yes, Anonymous under Difficult Choices, and all others who wrote. It is not so simple. There are very very few choices that we parents have if we still want our children to develop a love for learning. Those who are at the helm really need to understand the frustration of hundreds if not thousands of parents. We want our sons to love learning but we also want them to take responsibility for parnassa. I have a son in his early twenties and it has been a battle to get him to understand this. At this point, he has a bachelors degree and is currently back to learning full time. The plan is for him to go for a masters before he starts dating. There may be some good news out there. There is a seminary in the brooklyn area that is having a program with LIU university to offer an MSW for the seminary students (meaning separate classes just for the women, either at the LIU campus or at the seminary or combination thereof). If this idea takes off and is expanded to yeshivas so men can also get their masters without being in coed classrooms (whether for MSW or other masters degrees), perhaps we can start changing the tide - because one of the reasons given why men should not be in college is because of the women there. I know that this will not help in those cases where the powers that be say it is a waste of time for an unmarried man (or a husband without children) to be in college as he should rather be learning Torah. But for we parents who want at least half a chance to get our sons into a masters program, we may be able to offer to them a program that is only for men, so there will be less resistance to the idea.


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106. re Goldy (105)     8/3/08 - 9:42 PM
anonymousfornow

One thing as parents we can do is not finance or encourage our sons starting to date till we are confident they are resourceful and responsible enough.


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107. link to "kosher" degrees     8/3/08 - 10:30 PM
Goldy - NJ

Many parents do not want to "spoil their relationship" with their sons and therefore give in to them on such issues as dating before there is a parnasa plan in action, or going to college, etc. It is time that we as parents toughen up and stand up for what we know will make sense for our children in the long run. If we parents of boys will insist on proper preparation for parnasa BEFORE marriage (not necessarily completed but on the way), we will create a pool of shidduch candidates that will meet the criteria we are looking for for our daughters. As mentioned previously there are many BA programs that can be earned in a kosher way, and I hope to see in the near future Masters programs as well (meaning men only and women only). There are also accredited BA and MA programs that can be earned on line. I have also read of classes given in yeshivas via videoconferencing from university sites. It may be useful if readers would post such programs (both regular, videoconferencing and on-line)that they have had good experiences with so we can all know about them. Would Rabbi Horowitz be agreeable to having a link on this site so parents can post these programs there?


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108. re 107     8/4/08 - 8:54 AM
anonymousfornow

Not only will be creating a pool of boys for our daughters, we'll be doing what's best for our boys. Maybe they'll never use the plan, or they'll recreate themselves but they will have the tools and confidence they'll need later in life.


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109. Our Chachomim have spoken - Sotah 44:1     8/4/08 - 9:32 AM
Benzion Twerski

Please note this quote from the gemora in Sotah 44:1. Translation is mine, so if you feel the actual translation might differ, check the source.

Tonu Rabonon: Asher bonoh, asher nota, asher airas (the three conditions that one was to be sent back from military service in milchemes reshus – optional war). The one who built a new house and did not move into it, the one who planted a vineyard and has not yet benefited of its fruit, the one who engaged to marry but has not completed the marriage (these should return home). The Torah teaches us “derech eretz” the proper way of conduct, that a person should build a house, then plant a vineyard, and then marry. Simple explanation is that one should establish his plans for the life after marriage prior to getting married.

At some point in our relatively recent history, our leaders felt that the concept of “kollel” was viable and necessary to launch a life as a ben Torah. I do not believe we need to challenge this, though I would be curious to hear today’s gedolim examine this with a critical eye as to its ultimate success. Regardless, the idea is clear that our Chachomim mandated that there should be some degree of planning prior to marriage. What I observe all too often is that the boys in shidduchim and getting married only have plans for “kollel” and being supported by working wives, parents, and in-laws. In my eyes, this violates the intention of the Chachomim in the gemora quoted above. The notion of holding back a young yeshiva boy getting married from entering the working world until spending a few years learning “al taharas hakodesh” may be a great thing. But some idea of career needs to have been established. I cannot believe that any of the gedolim who fostered the development of the current “kollel” system had any intention to nullify the words of this gemora.

Some may look at creating a pool of boys for the shidduch market that maintain Torah values without the disadvantages of the pattern. I am choosing to view this as one of the directives that our great Chachomim gave us, which we should study, understand, and follow.

If anyone has a better explanation for this gemora, please share it.


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110. yeshiva guy     8/4/08 - 10:20 AM
Anonymous

you guys are right, but we bachurim listen to our rabbeim and roshei yeshivos,and there is not one rebbe or rosh yeshiva that I know of that would tell a bachur (in a "regular" yeshiva)to go learn a trade or go to college before he gets married, and even if they would,those of us who want to would feel inferior to the ones that continue to sit and learn,so till you change society and our roshei yeshivos I dont think much will happen.


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111. "It's coming to me!"     8/4/08 - 10:49 AM
Anonymous

Having had the special zchus of beginning my married life in kollel, I believe I speak with a genuine appreciation for the chashivus of building a Yiddishe home upon the foundation of talmud Torah. My husband and I lived simply--very simply-- and the notion of taking from others to realize our personal dreams was unthinkable. My husband had earned a degree prior to our marriage and Baruch Hashem was prepared to assume the Holy responsibility of caring for a frum family at the proper time. We made our decisions guided exclusively by a desire to fulfill Retzon Hashem and with the input of daas Torah, but WE, not the system, dictated our choices.To this day, Torah remains THE priority in our home and learning is paramount.

The paradigm of kollel life, however, has shifted dramatically; it has evolved into a lifestyle rather than a way of life. Real bitachon used to drive the system; today "bitachon" has become another word for "the contract my shver owes me." What is most frightening is that boys often receive direct encouragement from their well-meaning Rebbeim instructing them that they are "reuyim" for x amount of years of support. How can the chorus of gedolim and the intensity of our system's expectations possibly compete with a gemorah in Sotah which is telling us something we rather not hear? Who amongst us would not opt for privileges without responsibilities?

A fine bachur I know who certainly displays superlative kishronos in learning and is amel b'Torah with tremendous hasmada recently approached me to inquire about a certain family whose oldest daughter was suggested by a shaddchan. The girl's father is a renowned talmid chochom and possek in his community and the girl herself appeared to be an appropriate match for the young girl. The parents had committed themselves to at least 5 years of full support for the couple--a commitment which I personally view as an extremely generous gift. The boy, however, was not satisfied with this level of generosity as his rebbe had instructed him that he is "desererving" of ten years. I guess my expression must have betrayed my feelings, as the bachur added, "I'm not trying to say that it's coming to me, just that learning is who I am."

What we have today is a generation of bochurim deluded by notions of grandeur and an inflated perception of their own significance. Some believe that their level of learning is so lofty that it should be clear to everyone that to distract their learning for the purpose of fulfilling basic responsibilities with which even chazal themselves were unabashedly misasek would be a terrible avla. Isn't the absence of a plan or even a plan to think about formulating a plan just another way of asserting, "It's coming to me?"


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112. what about their own kids?     8/4/08 - 1:00 PM
Anonymous

Will the frum social workers/psychologists and therapists of all kinds (OT, PT, ST) please comment on this question: Is it possible that the increase in physical, emotional, social problems that we are seeing in frum babies/toddlers/children today (ADD, speech delays, aggressive behavior, learning disablities, sensory perception issues, etc.) may be linked to the lack of maternal attention that they are getting at the early stages in life (when babies from as young as six weeks of age are placed in babysitting services with many other chidren or day care centers, as these are cheaper options than a babysitter in one's own home)? If this is in fact the case, please, as professionals, speak UP LOUD AND CLEAR in public forums/newspapers, etc

How do you expect them to speak up when so many of them are pursuing their degrees and working in these fields while they themselves have their babies raised by babysitters and in programs?


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113. Anonymous #12     8/4/08 - 2:10 PM
Anonymous

You are right in that, but I am referring to professionals who have been practicing for many years before this whole thing started. People like Dr. Miriam Adahan, Dr. Meir Wikler, Dr. Yakov Solomon, Dr. David Pelkowitz to name a few. It is interesting to hear from the bochur who said we are right but their hands are tied. Is there someone out there who has a good eitzah how we can take back control as parents and not let the roshei yeshiva and rebbeim tell our sons that they "deserve" ten years or more of support? I still feel if we can start spreading the word about male only BA and MA programs we will stand half a chance with our sons. We can INSIST that x and y will not happen until they enroll in a program of this sort. If it means they have to wear the same suit and hat for five years, etc., so be it. If it means that they have to pay for their own car and gasoline to take a girl out on a date, then so be it. Let us use what we have in our control to change the tide. Don't be afraid to stand up for what is right. If we don't help ourselves and our kids, no one else will.


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114.     8/4/08 - 2:19 PM
Goldy

That ANONYMOUS was really me! I want to add if our sons ask us for money for something, like a car or gasoline or new shoes, we can send them to their rebbeim.


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115. adahan     8/4/08 - 3:20 PM
Anonymous

You mention Miriam Adahan. Here is her opinion:

http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/308404/jewish/Abandoned-Baby-Syndrome.htm


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116. To Goldy-NJ     8/4/08 - 3:34 PM
CB

My children are not yet "in the parsha" but for what it's worth, I am behind you 100%!

As you all know by now, my motto is "never underestimate the power of the individual." At this point, these problems are so fundamentally entrenched in the system that it is clear that change of this magnitude will not come from the top.

Never mind; we'll get in the back door.

Your philosophy is based on clear Torah principles (i.e. that mothers should be raising their children and husbands should be supporting their families). Be courageous and raise your children this way. I can guarantee that there are likeminded families looking for shidduchim with families such as yours, as I myself know many, and this is in a community that is not exactly considered open-minded.

One thing I would suggest is do not be quiet about your views. Talk to people informally, talk to groups of mothers formally, introduce the Torah concepts that are so important to you (and should be to the rest of us) that are being undermined by the yeshivos and girls' schools.

For better or worse, even adults are susceptible to peer pressure. You have no idea how many people are waiting for someone to say these things out loud and give some permission, as it were, to disagree with the status quo and do things differently. Break the taboo among the people you know.

Some people are natural leaders; some are natural followers. The world needs both. If you have the courage to speak up, even to one person at a time, I urge you to do so. I have a strong feeling that you will find a following.


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117. To CB     8/4/08 - 3:55 PM
Anonymous

What I like about your comment (#116) is your emphasis on personal responsibility. Every one of us bears some level of responsibility for the "system;" a system is the conglomerate of many "selves." To the extent that we go with the flow and conform to the system's expectations, we play an active role in its perpetuation. And to the extent that we demonstrate the courage of our convictions--even by simply refusing to remain silent--we rise to the challenge of personal responsibility. This is what is known as "erlichkeit."


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118. Thanks CB     8/4/08 - 5:37 PM
Goldy - NJ

Thanks CB. I have already taken your wise advice and I speak to many other parents about this. I have also written numerous letters (anonymously) to the Jewish Press about this issue. In additon, I made copies of three different articles (including Miriam Adahan's Abandoned Baby Syndrome) and sent them to about twenty five roshei yeshiva and bais yakov high school principals with a cover letter explaining the repercussions of a whole generation of babies not being raised by their mothers. On a personal level, my husband and I forced our son to get a BA at Touro at night while attending a yeshiva program during the day.(This was, by the way, after shlepping him out of two other yeshivas where college was just not going to happen). He is currently learning in Eretz Yisrael now but the deal was that he could not go until he applied and got accepted into a Masters program here that he could defer for a year - and that is exactly what he did before he left. We also are making him pay his monthly rent bill there (about 150 per month) so he can understand the value of money. So parents out there - TAKE A STAND with your kids!! As mentioned in a previous post, I feel it would be very helpful if there would be a link on this website to BA and MA programs that are not co-ed so that parents can have something to offer their sons without being told that it is assur to be in class with females. Rabbi Horowitz, how do you feel about this?


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119. to Goldy     8/4/08 - 6:31 PM
Anonymous

Please excuse me if this sounds like heresy. In this age of "shidduch crisis" what would be so awful if the girls and boys actually took some classes together at a stage of life when they are ready to contemplate marriage? Have our Bais Yaakovs and yeshivos turned out such lowlives that they cannot be trusted to behave with propriety and restraint?


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120.     8/4/08 - 6:39 PM
Goldy

The point is that we have to be realistic with the situation as it stands right now. And that is, those in the more right wing circles are the ones who more than likely do not have "a plan" and i think that is mostly who we are discussing here. Others more middle of the road do not usually have a problem going to co-ed classes. Those more right wing have many reasons why they do not want to go to any college, so if we can open up an opportunity where one "negative" factor is erased, it can prove fruitful - i hope!


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121.     8/4/08 - 7:28 PM
Anonymous

There was a time when Bnei Torah from the finest homes sat at night-college side by side with aidel bais yaakov girls with the full haskama of Roshei Yeshiva such as Rav Yaakov Kaminetzky and Rav Moshe Feinstein, ZTL. Countless shidduchim came about in this manner and today klal Yisroel reaps the nachas borne of these encounters. I am not unrealistic and naive enough to think that we stand a chance of turning back the clock--and yes, things are quite different today on a variety of levels.

That said, I would like to respectfully offer my observation that your comment reveals a desire to help your own children get around the problems of our system while refusing to do the difficult work of addressing their core: our collective refusal to think responsibly and honestly about our choices and decisions. As pointed out previously on this blog, the issue is less about the crises of shidduchim, parnassah, kids at risk, etc. than it is about our lost sense of "erlichkeit."

Our challenge is to think through our "bechiros" in a way which reflects honesty and a real desire to do right and be right rather than to behave in ways which look good on the shidduch resume but also save our children from lives of financial struggle. Let us be real rather than realistic; let us be erlich rather than expedient.

Please, anyone, answer the question: what is so horrible about eligible, frum men and women taking a few courses together? We complain incessantly about the difficulties in shidduchim but compulsively reject any kosher opportunity for boys and girls to meet anywhere which resembles a normal, natural setting.


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122. To Chaya re #73     8/4/08 - 8:56 PM
Anonymous

The Rambam paskened that it is forbidden to receive public support or payment in any form for either learning or teaching Torah. His learning was accomplished on the basis of a private Yissochar-Zevulun arrangement with his brother, Dovid, a wealthy gem-dealer. In the year 1166 (I think!) an accident at sea took his brother's life. It was then that the Rambam began to practice medicine, rising to the challenge of supporting his brother's family as well as his own. Note that he the Rambam managed to run a successful medical practice, participate in public political life, and compose an astonishing number of seforim, essays, and letters--all at the same time!

As far as the Chofetz Chaim ZT"L is concerned, it is told that he decided to close his grocery store due to an overwhelming concern that running a business carries with it the burden of numerous prohibitions relating to acts of dishonesty--even inadvertant ones. Such was The Chofetz Chaim's level of yiraas shamayim and emeskeit. I don't know if this story is historically accurate, but I do know that the Chofetz Chaim's integrity was beyond rapproach and, as such, I am quite certain that even when he closed shop, he did not extort support from his shver although I would imagine that he was a top learning boy.

Your point about working to earn a living as opposed to working to finance a life of luxury, however, is right on the mark.


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123. To anonymous 121     8/4/08 - 9:50 PM
Goldy

I do not understand what you are saying, sorry! I am not trying to get around the problems of the system, bur rather trying to deal with the problems in a way that makes sense. Not sure, either, what you mean that it looks good on the shidduch resume. My personal goal is to have a son who is planning for parnasa in an active manner before he starts to date. It may be a good thing on a shidduch resume to some people and to others it may not be! The problem today is that many women, whether in college or in the supermarket or at the bank, are dressed totally inappropriately. I myself as a woman am embarrassed to see how many women dress today. So that is how things differ than years ago when there was a certain standard of modesty that all women followed.


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124. on college     8/4/08 - 10:01 PM
tb

I would like to add one more concern to the fray which is that the cost of these separate sex programs is considerably higher than city college. I understand your concerns, Goldy, but I know of some wonderful black hat boys in NY and out of town (good boys) who attend co-ed schools. Their parents are "old school" and have no problem sending them there. The boys learn with a serious attitude and will continue to do so, no doubt, when they are supporting their families. They have had their year or two in Israel post-high school. One of these boys followed their parents' ultimatum to finish college and then learn. He is doing just that. He will be learning in Kollel now that he is getting married, but he will already have a degree in his pocket. The separate sex solution is more expensive. The online courses are limited in how well they prepare our young people to earn competitive salaries. Remember, competitive salaries mean more stay-at-home time for the mothers. The co-ed city college solution presents some issues but then so does the work force and we all agree that if the mothers are going to be staying home as they should, then these young men will be in the work force pretty soon. It is, as someone mentioned above, about ehrlichkeit and about priorities. It isn't impossible--in fact, it is highly probable--that the red flag dangers that have been drilled into the heads of many in the Yeshiva world in recent years are not necessarily the pits of lava waiting at our children's feet that many make them out to be. It is a complete shift of thought to personal empowerment. Can we comport ourselves as Bnei and Bnos Torah while moving within today's world? Our parents' generation proved that. Why have we lost faith in ourselves and our ability to be true Bnei Torah who build beautiful homes of Torah where women stay home and care for their children and men support them financially, where being frugal and saving on college costs and other expenses is worth something to the middle aged parents who are helping to provide it and to the future young families that will be built on it? What happened to the vision that built our parents' beautiful homes of Torah? Was that so disposable a vision? Was it so dangerous?


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125. To Goldy     8/4/08 - 10:51 PM
Anonymous

Ever view photographs from the early years of the Agudah convention? You may be suprised to learn that the women were clad in short sleeves--YES!--short sleeves with head coverings which I highly doubt would pas today. Right in the same room as the Vaad Hamoetzes who btw did not ask anyone to leave.

Baruch Hashem, there exists today an elevated awareness and emphasis on hilchos tznius and surely as Jewish women we assign tznius a critical level of priority. True, some women may have some room to grow in this department, but don't you and I as well? Aren't we all a work in progress?

Anyways, I am not advocating throwing our bochurim into the lion's den of city-college. I am talking about frum bnei Torah and Bnos Yisroel. By and large, our mothers,Bais Yaakovs and seminaries have been quite matzliach, B"H, in inculcating a strong commitment to tznius in our girls. They appear refined, modest, and full of Yiddishe chein. As far as the few who appear otherwise, all I can say is that I trust that my college-aged son who is armed, B"H, with strong hashkafos, genuine yiraas shamayim, a love of Torah, many blatt of gemorah under his belt, meaningful connections with his rebbeim and rosh Yeshiva, and a secure sense of self-respect, will know how to conduct himself as the ben Melech that he is.


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126. Anonymous     8/4/08 - 10:53 PM
Anonymous

Having been raised in a modern orthodox home and become "frummer" during my post-high school/pre-shidduch days, it is increasingly concerning to me what goes on in the "yeshivishe" lifestyle. Having read through the thread on this topic, what comes to my mind is sadness at how people so devoted to a frum lifestyle are missing the point in so many ways. What is obvious to all, is that Torah is the basis of our lives. However, shouldn't resolving the sinas chinam that brought about the destruction of the bais hamikdash and the kedusha that comes along with it, be THE focus of our own lives and of the chinuch of our children? To hear, for example, how some schools will only accept children from a "kollel home" and the attitude that is so often displayed between various factions within Jews who claim to live a Torah life, of how others somehow don't make the standard (e.g., working families) - it is very disheartening, and frankly, I feel that it is a tremendous chillul Hashem, of the highest order. Jews not respecting other Jews, both in the US and more potently in E"Y, is the antithesis of what our lives should be about - ahavas chinam and bringing others closer to true yiddishekeit. Having left behind many of the values of the modern orthodox lifestyle, I have to admit that I don't see a clear path where I feel comfortable raising my children. In the modern orthodox day school, there was much lacking, however, the emphasis on treating others respectfully, understanding the concept of kiddush Hashem (in front of other Jews as well as non-Jews), and other such fundamental Jewish concepts- are things that I have been finding lacking in emphasis in the "yeshivishe" world. Obviously thesse are things that come from the home, however, they are either reinforced in school or not - a place where our children spend most of their day. I understand what Rabbi Horowitz says about choosing the schools that are most appropriate for our hashkafa, and my husband and I have done that - at the expense of hearing from others "You send your children THERE?" - mind you a place hwere the students come form Torah filled homes, no TVs, etc - and yet there is still this response. Perhaps one day the frum community will straighten itself out, realize that the Torah does not lay out that Kollel for ever is even the ideal for the entire klal yisrael to pursue, however, conducting ones's daily activities from a Torah perspective, treating others respectfully, and placing family life in a primary role (without the woman expected to be the superwoman foever)- is the way to bring about peace in klal yisrael and the third Bais Hamikdash.


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127. To anonymous 125     8/4/08 - 11:56 PM
Goldy

I am referring to the general public that attends college - not frum women. And I am not talking about short sleeves, sleeveless or even pants. I am talking about very inappropriate dress that many women are wearing today in public. This is a big problem today that we did not have to face years ago. I am glad to hear from other posters that there are frum young men attending colleges and doing ok despite all this. But I know that many frum young men of today would not feel comfortable sitting in a classroom with women dressed totally inappropriately. And I do understand that these men will one day have to be out in the real world, but perhaps it is not such a terrible idea to have male only programs until that point in time. (especially if it will be the only way to get some young men into a college setting). I do not know how many posters on this site actually have sons in their twenties so that these discussions are not just theoretical. Because when it becomes reality you will see for yourself that it is not easy to convince a young man in his twenties to do something that he has been told in yeshiva is assur. That is why I am trying to find a happy middle ground for these young men - a compromise that may not be perfect, but at least may be palatable.


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128. the realities of moving in the world     8/5/08 - 10:39 AM
tb

I totally understand where you are coming from, Goldy. You seem to be very reasonable. I just think that this is "Hamavin Yavin." Those in the Yeshiva world who get it, get it. The rest have been made to feel so uncomfortable with these things that they can't fathom putting themselves in the position. Whether it be the parents or the boys. The bottom line is that there will be women in the classes, but the reality of college is that it is what you make of it. You can attend classes, do your homework, and leave. In areas like accounting and computers there isn't a lot of forced conversation. If a young man is pre-law, he can get a degree in political science and not engage too much with his classmates. The very presence of women who are not tznius does not have to be a deterrent. It has been presented that way and it has been drilled into their heads that way, but again, what are our priorities? If our priorities are to get through college as inexpensively as possible and to get a job with as competitive a salary as possible, then co-ed college must be considered. The tznius tradeoff is a tradeoff. But, please explain to me why the women working to support families while bearing child after child is not a bigger tradeoff? When did we say ok to trading off the spiritual and physical needs of our children? The commenter who grew up MO mentioned something that no one speaks about. There are things that those in the MO or middle of the road Yeshivish communities are trading off, but it seems that in the Yeshiva world there have been tradeoffs lately that outweigh the others. There is a serious lack of Mentchlechkeit and Ahavas Yisrael and a major decline in Yashrus whether it be in relation to government assistance, Dina D'Malchusa Dina, business dealings, home purchases...In the more worldly circles--whether MO or middle of the road Yeshivish--these Mitzvos are taken more seriously. I think it's interesting recently how Tznius has completely trampled on Yashrus as the "call to arms" of the moment. The Yeshiva community seems completely off-balance with emphasis on Tznius issues when we have real painful and pressing issues of Yashrus and Ahavas Yisrael to deal with. So, in short, I am not screaming for everyone to attend co-ed college, but I think that those of us who know the realities of college---even today--know that getting a degree in accounting as cheaply as possible and being a straight, honest Frum Jew Kovea Itim L'Torah supporting a wife and children and paying for your own house and physical needs allowing your parents to spend more time learning and have more Yishuv Hadaas, having your kids be cared for by their mother, that is a lofty goal. The tznius issues pale in comparison to the end result. And if you can afford Landers', good for you. But you have to be able to afford it without pressure. You have to really look at it and say, "Can we afford to do this for all our kids without refinancing our home?" Can our kids be sent off to likely get good jobs so they can save for down payments on their homes and pay their bills? Can an online degree really count for something in terms of competitive salary? If my son is going to be dealing with non-Tznius secretaries and women in business occasionally, then why is it completely out of the question to have him enter that world for his education? In the old days, these issues were discussed with parents and Rebbes. There are Shiurim for businessmen on the Halachic concerns of moving within the world. The Yekkish community has dealt quite well with these issues in the last generation. We can't wish away all the tradeoffs, but we have to deal with them openly. Total shift of thought on our practices. It will have to start with the parents because--as you say--the sons are being told differently. And it's high time that someone started addressing the costs. The costs of seminary and learning for boys in Israel, the costs of separate-sex colleges, the costs of supporting couples in learning for years at a time, the costs of renting the kids the apartment as opposed to having them earn a living and rent it themselves, the cost of buying them all of this fancy furniture that they get nowadays...What is it all costing the average middle-aged Baal Habas?


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129. re 128, realities     8/5/08 - 11:19 AM
anonymousfornow

You raise some interesting points. With my girls, after seminary, they take out their own student loans for any additional education. (We certainly can't fully finance everything.) I'm not up to boys yet but have no idea how we'll manage. And my boys definitely need more than one year post high school. I guess that if the local yeshivos work for them, that will keep us going for a while.


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130. To TB     8/5/08 - 11:23 AM
Anonymous

Rav Yisroel Salanter was quoted as teaching that our ruchnius is to worry about yennem's gashmius. A concept totally lost on many--not all--of today's leaders.


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131.     8/5/08 - 3:44 PM
Anonymous

I'd be more willing to read lengthy posts if they were broken up into paragraphs. Those of you advocating college probably learned how to write properly in school. How about mentchlichkeit in writing?


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132. on paragraphs     8/5/08 - 5:05 PM
tb

My experiences have been that posting does not always allow for paragraphing (or margins, as you can see). I am attempting to capitalize where necessary which I do not do when I email my other college-educated friends. I do refrain from abbreviations like IMHO. I do understand if you find the lengthy posts annoying, but as to their showing a lack of Mentschlechkeit, we disagree there. You are always welcome to skip over mine as I'm sure many people do. There are a few of us on this blog who talk too much. Interestingly, I always read the other lengthy posters. Hmmm.


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133. see, the proof is in the pudding     8/5/08 - 5:06 PM
tb

I just indented twice and it did not post my paragraphing. We, college advocators get no respect.


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134. To Anonymous #121 and TB     8/5/08 - 5:31 PM
CB

I have to disagree with you here on a number of points and I reiterate my support for Goldy.

Yes, her idea for separate men's and women's MA programs would help her with her own son. And it would also neutralize one of the most significant impediments to formulating and executing "a plan" for hundreds if not thousands of other yeshiva bachurim as well.

It is a creative and pragmatic solution that is responsive to the current reality. And considering that there are already separate men's and women's BA and vocational programs — demand for which is quite high, despite the higher tuition — creating separate MA programs is the logical next step.

Believe me, I can appreciate a tight budget, and while I acknowledge that budget constraints are a reality for many (myself included!) this does not seem to me to be a valid reason to discourage the development of "a plan" that would be a satisfactory solution for so many just because you or I might not be able to take advantage of it.

If we are truly looking to be part of the solution we must acknowledge the reality that the problems in our system are too huge and too deep to be solved to everyone's satisfaction in one fell swoop and encourage creative and pragmatic thinking towards even partial solutions that address the concerns of at least some of us at a time.

It doesn't have to be "all or nothing" and in fact it can't be because our concerns and our needs are diverse.

Goldy's proposal addresses the reality for a huge percentage of our boys and I encourage her to pursue it.


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135. To TB     8/5/08 - 5:37 PM
CB

And now about the tznius issue:

I, too, cringe at the "hellfire and damnation" approach to tznius of our yeshivos and Beis Yaakovs. But let's not throw out the baby with the bathwater.

Tznius as it pertains to separation between genders is a fundamental Torah value. It is what maintains the Kedusha of our families and indeed the nation, and it is what separates us from the nations of the world. Extra sensitivity in this area is wholly appropriate.

Human nature must be acknowledged. Hashem intentionally created man to be desirous of woman. This is a good thing — a mitzvah, even — but only at the right time, with the right woman.

It is likewise a clear mitzvah in the Torah not to place a stumbling block before the blind. Sure, he's got a stick and a seeing eye dog to help him get around but you still wouldn't intentionally lay an obstacle directly in his path — and you'd probably go out of your way to remove one if you saw it, even though you could be fairly certain he wouldn't actually trip, what with his stick and his dog. But you'd never take that chance, no matter how small. That's yashrus.

There is a story told of the Chafetz Chaim when he was already advanced in years. After a young woman repeatedly entered and exited the room he was in, he turned to those he was with and asked, "Does she think we are malachim?"

No, acknowledging and working around human nature does not equal being a "lowlife" as someone in a previous post suggested.

I agree that tznius if often presented in the wrong way and overemphasized at the expense of other equally important Torah principles, but it is a beautiful and unique fundamental Torah principle that takes into account the reality of human nature. And as I have said, I have a first-hand appreciation for the reality of budget constraints. But "the cheapest education possible" is not a Torah value if it comes at the expense of fundamental Torah principles.

And if something is a true Torah value then one should be willing to pay for it, in much the same way we don't think twice about buying kosher meat although it is far more expensive. This cannot in any way be equated with buying huge, ostentatious houses, committing to support children who are obligated by the Torah to support themselves, going into debt to pay for houses/apartments for married children, etc.

I am not saying that everyone must send their children to separate colleges. As a rule, I do not believe in One Size Fits All because OSFA is not a Torah concept. But this size does fit many, and therefore I think it is worth pursuing.

As far as the previous generation is concerned, we live in the here and now and have to respond to the reality of our own times. The world is different today. Our children have been raised differently. We are different. We cannot fight today's war with yesterday's battle plan for the battlefield has changed completely.


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136. To CB     8/5/08 - 6:10 PM
Anonymous

"There is a story told of the Chafetz Chaim when he was already advanced in years. After a young woman repeatedly entered and exited the room he was in, he turned to those he was with and asked, "Does she think we are malachim?"

Can't accept this story as true--the Chofetz Chaim did not speak lashon horah.


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137. Thanks TB and CB     8/5/08 - 7:46 PM
Goldy

Thanks for both of your postings. TB, I am a very frugal person and I understand where you are coming from. HOwever, as CB mentions (I think), we have to deal with the reality as it exists. And for those who can scrimp and save in other matters, it may be worth the extra costs to get our sons into a college program where they will eventually be self-supporting (G-d willing. This may be our only alternative. If they end up not going to college, we may end up supporting them for many years to come, which will end up costing us more money in the long run! I spoke to the person at LIU today and he said that he first has to see how it goes with the women's program this year. If it goes well, then they will consider doing the program with a men's school next. He said i should call him in January for an update. Btw, Bramson ORT in queens is having a program together with a lubavitch school for men. THey are offering different programs but I do not know exactly what they are. You can probably check the website to see what courses they are offering. If I hear of anything else I will post and I hope others will do the same. Thanks.


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138. worth ten years in learning     8/5/08 - 8:13 PM
RG

I personally am rather upset that people are being counselled in this way. I mean, if the truth was that a boy was ALREADY engaged to a girl, and he is a big Tzaddik, and wants to stay in learning, and the parents of the girl gave some vague commitment that they would support the young couple for a number of years, and they are not yet married and the parents are not trying to crystalize their commitment by saying they are offering five years of support, and if the Rosh Yeshiva knows first hand that the parents are really extremely wealthy and could easily support the young couple for ten years, and that the only reason that they are not supporting them is because they don't realize how the young man is really dedicated to learning and would really be able to learn with Hasmodo for ten years in which he would make a substantial difference to his own life and that of those around him with his learning; and if the Rosh Yeshiva would know that the parents won't be offended and that the young man is just lacking self esteem, assertiveness or confidence in his own ability to learn well and be a good investment for his parents in law; then I do understand that a Rosh Yeshiva might tell a young chosson to try to encourage his parents in law to possibly help support him for ten years, not just five - although even in this case, wouldn't it be better if the Rosh Yeshiva spoke directly to the parents.

But what I don't understand ONE BIT is how Rosh Yeshivas can tell boys to make their top priority a certain number of years of support as opposed to the girl's goodness, or her family's goodness. Isn't this the basis on which marriages of the past took place (including Yichus as well). I think this 'years of support' business undermines the very foundation of marriage, in which parents try to find a young lady who is suitable to build a bayis ne'eman beyisroel with their son. Two people marrying each other, lesheim Shamayim. But this marriage with unwilling parental support or marriage choices based on whether they'll be able to learn in the future or not changes the whole feel to a sort of business deal. How can love flourish under such conditions? How can it even begin to grow?

The truth is that the parents or wives being taken advantage of, or husbands not taking into account their feelings, is a big problem, but is not only the fault of the young men or their advisors. It is also flourishing firstly because of our environment in which suffering people are not encouraged to be in touch with their own suffering, but are told to 'try harder', or 'it will pass'. There is a lot of denial of suffering, by the sufferer and society. Secondly, people are not taught to be assertive, others are not taught to be creative (in their impressionable youth). Thirdly, many parents and wives seem to be comfortable with the victim role, either because they don't believe they have any power as an individual, or they believe themselves to be victims of a society that promotes parents being taken advantage of. Fourthly, there is a lot of control and pressure in many schools, leading to some teens acting out, and others trying very very hard to conform - as a matter of religion.

So my point is that we have to shape up ourselves in these matters. If we've been overcontrolling or underassertive, or overwhelmed or underaware, etc etc, we can work on these aspects in our own lives and they will have ripple effects on the whole world. Middos middos middos. The world is built on Middos, or it can be destroyed with Middos. Whoever works on themself in their own private life is putting that Koach into the world.


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139. typo above     8/5/08 - 8:14 PM
RG

sorry, in the previous post I wrote 'the parents are not trying'. I meant, 'the parents are trying'. sorry.


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140. To RG     8/5/08 - 8:56 PM
Goldy

Thanks for joining in the discussion. It is said somewhere (in the Gemara) that anyone who marries for money will have rebellious children. It also says in Pirkei Avos that one should not use his Torah as a spade with which to dig. However, we can discuss this back and forth for years - but instead of talking we have to start taking action. I have suggested in previous posts some ideas. Let's all work together and try to implement as many as possible - and feasible - based on individual circumstances. (eg, don't buy your sons new hats, shoes, gas for the car, etc unless they are putting in the effort to train themselves for a future livelihood - and by the way, it can also be vocational training or mentoring undering a plumber, electrician, etc., stop giving into the monetary demands coming from the boys' side (no supply, then no demand), approach yeshivos asking if they are willing to look into joint programs for men only for BA and MA degrees, and share such knowledge with others, insist that your sons pay for certain expenses from their savings so they will understand that money does not grow on trees.


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141. My two cents     8/6/08 - 3:42 AM
Sherree

One cent worth - firstly to me, putting a time frame on learning is ridiculous. If a couple has a bunch of kids one after the other in quick order, the father should make an immediate effort to pick himself up and fulfill his mitzvah and obligations of his Kesubah and be mepharnes his own family. By doing so he will gain the respect of his wife, children, parents, and in-laws. Anyone who wishes to learn, will always make time for learning.

And BTW, I would love any and ALL Roshei Yeshivas to explain to me why its a mitzvah for any 70 year old father or father-in-law to continue working to support their children and sons-in-law so they could sit and learn. Maybe at the ripe old age of 60 they should have the opportunity to retire and sit and learn if they choose to securely knowing that they children can support themselves and pay their own rent and/or mortgages as well as pay their own childrens' tuitions, medical insurance, food bills, clothing costs, food and diapers. OH! did I forget, grandchildrens' weddings, great grandchildrens' tuition.......

On the other hand, if a couple unfortunately don't have children right away, does that mean that if his contractual number of years is up, he has to go to work anyway? Of course not. Hashem is in charge, and a couple must do what is best for them and what works for them and they won't know what that is until after they are married and living together. No one could possibly know what that would be before the marriage.

Cent or (sense) number two: Once upon a time, just a generation and two ago, the previous Roshei Yeshivas would go over to a Kollel Yunger man who was married a few years with a child or two and tell him it is time for him to leave the Kollel and be mepharnes his family and make a seder with chavrusa after or before work. These were the Rebbeim with compassion, these were the Rebbeim that truly believed in Shalom Bayis, chinuch Bonim and mitzvos bein Adom l'chaveiro.

JMHO, Sherree


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142. to Goldy and CB     8/6/08 - 9:34 AM
tb

Thanks for not stoning me. This is a respectful conversation. I think that if a family can afford the tuition, it's great if there are legitimate programs like Landers that have a good track record with job placement and grad school. I am concerned about the new "programs" popping up everywhere that I do not feel are well-planned or likely to get these boys and girls decent-paying jobs. We've all seen the ads for these quickie education degrees and mortgage broker/real estate management training programs. I am concerned that some of us are being taken in by these misguided, albeit well-meaning programs. I have friends who have taught in the girls' programs and are very disappointed. The girls think they are doing the right thing by going and in the end wind up just part of the pack with no real marketable degree. Ditto for the boys in those real estate courses.


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143.     8/6/08 - 9:51 AM
Goldy

TB, that is why I am thinking that an established university that decides to have a joint program with a men's yeshiva would be an ideal solution. I would assume that the university would not lower its standards for these students.


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144. to cb on tznius and debt     8/6/08 - 9:52 AM
tb

I always appreciate your measured responses. I am a practical person and a practical frum Jew. If a family can afford a separate-sex college, that's great. Some of us think that "afford" means going into debt because we are permitted a line of credit. Please see the blog "Orthonomics"--a wonderful source of information and an enlightening perspective on matters of finance in the frum world. If there will be debt incurred by either the parents or the student, then city college should absolutely be considered. The idea that a 20-year old man will not be given tools to navigate the outside world, not be able to openly dialogue with his parents and Rebbes about the fundamentals of being Frum while moving in this world is sad. No, you shouldn't put a Michshol in front of him, but if he will be working in the modern world and you haven't at all prepared him, then who is placing the Michshol in front of him? And, is he not going to be working among women? I am confused. If we are preparing him to support a family, then he will most likely be working in a secular environment. While some men find jobs in Heimish environments, not all do and with tuition what it is and our families growing B"H the way they are, how can a man support a nice-sized family and pay a mortgage if he isn't a professional? And who here knows accountants, lawyers, doctors, dentists, computer professionals who do not deal with women? Is the argument that these men are married so that is a different story? OK. I accept that to a certain degree. But it all goes back to how much debt is acceptable to us and the bar of "acceptable debt" is way too high. Please read Orthonomics. As to the world being a different place, I don't buy that. Like I said, most courses do not require a lot of back and forth and the clothing issues do not present themselves as prominently until late spring and summer. I know because my husband informed me this year that May is the season where some of his Chasidic co-workers get a little annoyed about the clothing choices of some of the female workers. Some actually have quietly spoken to the boss about it. So, practically speaking, the changes in the world do not necessarily come into play that much in accounting 101. But, in the end, I can't change the reality of people's sensitivities at this point, as you say. I can merely bring up that "minor" issue called DEBT that so many of us have completely thrown to the wayside.


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145. Goldy, please continue to spread the word     8/6/08 - 9:56 AM
tb

These university programs sound good. I hope everyone understands the difference between those and the other "programs." Please spread the word. Many who want to set themselves up for Parnassa without going to co-ed college, really don't have the understanding that you do.


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146.     8/6/08 - 10:57 AM
Anonymous

Goldy, I appreciate your efforts in this department, and I do not recommend being passive, but I don't quite agree with your approach either. I don't think lasting change is ever done by forcing people, even the younger generation.

The point is to convince them, not deny them their real needs to force them. Nor to deny them what they think are their rights - rather to teach them what parents are, and why they do things, like pay for extras. ien that we don't do these things because society demands it, or because the kids demand it, but we do it IF we can afford it, and because we love them and they are our top priority. In the same way we can be open and honest about how much money we earn, how much we can spare for them when they get married, how they have a variety of options of making money - or of helping us make money for them sometimes. There are lots of ways the discussion can go, but it should be in the spirit of open and honest communication and not in the spirit of threats.

We can talk about the pros and cons of college, and what type of job they admire in people having, and how much retirement costs and houses in various places. We can talk about us wanting to support them all their lives, and being torn between that and encouraging and enabling them to be self sufficient after we are gone, or in the case of emergencies. We can talk about how much variation in job ops there is nowadays, and whether college leads to the kind of job they'd feel OK doing. This discussion obviously takes several years and should not be begun when they are 20. When I taught my nine year old how to change his bike tyre, I told him it's a good way he might like to earn himself a few bucks in the future> so far he's done it for me a few times, and I've paid him. He grew confidence in his money making abilities. The conversation can talk about what a marriage feels like when it's dependent on unwilling parental or wife support. Also tell them how much actual cash is being made when wives are being paid 10 dollars an hour for intense teaching, from which they need to pay a substantial amount in childcare. Also get the kids in touch with some people who've tried this route and are ten years married. let them tell the kids directly the pros and cons, the payment and the reward.

It's a shame if one's kid is not mathematically inclined because the realities of life do require a lot of hard numbers. Ditto it's kind of hard to be convincing if you believe that Brocho only comes in hidden things, so you never talk openly about your financial affairs. I don't know how this quote applies in modern times but we are divorcing our children from reality from hiding so much from them. The more real you can be, the more convincing you can be.

About single sex colleges being right for every child or every family. I'm not sure. But they should be available, because many many people do need them.


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147. to anonymous 146     8/6/08 - 2:03 PM
Goldy

How old is your son now? Mine is early twenties and here is the problem. You can discuss and explain this and that for many years, but when your son gets older and is influenced by his yeshiva rebbeim and roshei yeshiva, a different factor comes into play. As your son hopefully falls in love with learning, it is his rebbeim, etc. who become his role models as to what is right and what is wrong - not his working parents. What do you do when you hear your son's recorded shiur and it says that when parents talk that way it is really the yetzer hara talking to them? And that parents who pull their sons out of yeshiva too early will be punished in the next world? If you want to get a sense of what the attitude toward working parents is check out the Jewish Press website, under Rebbetzin Viewpoint, July 2nd edition articles. To TB - your point about when someone is married it makes a difference - is a big point. That is why many (more middle of the road yeshivas) will tell their students to go for their masters after they are married for a few years. But go try finding a yeshiva that will tell them to go before they are married!


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148. to TB     8/6/08 - 4:34 PM
CB

Stone you?! You must have no idea how much I look forward to reading your posts, how much I respect your worldview, your spiritual and intellectual honesty, and how much I gain from your perspective on these issues. These discussions, even when we disagree, are always a pleasure!

Actually, I think that on this issue we mostly agree; our differing perspectives are more like different facets of the same prism. We are looking at the same thing, but from different angles — i.e. different population subgroups of the same whole — and we bring to the discussion our individual experiences, which combine, not compete, with each other to form a more complete picture, hopefully for the benefit of us all.

Your point about the proliferation of "programs" with less-than-professional standards, which are thus churning out a glut of less-than-professionals is well taken. The time and money spent on these are wasted. I would agree that what we need is definitely not more of these and parents should be aware of the difference.

But about the world today being different, I still disagree with you.

In previous generations there was a general sense of purpose, focus, and industriousness at a level of intensity that just does not exist today, coupled with schedules so packed with obligations that there was no time for frivolous social interaction.

In contrast, our children like to chill out, relax, and have fun, even while they work. The atmosphere everywhere today, including in college, is so much less formal and more relaxed. There are fewer boundaries between people and much more time for hanging out.

Some years ago, a good friend of mine, a fine Beis Yaakov girl, attended Brooklyn College. She fully intended to go to school, do some studying, and go home. But you know how it is — the (frum) guy behind her missed something in class and asked her to fill him in afterwards (innocently), which she did (innocently). Then again. Then when they passed each other on campus walking from class to class, how could they not say hello? Then when they each had a break in between classes at the same time… Then when they were in the cafeteria with their friends at the same time... Before she knew it they were a crowd — she and her friends, he and his friends.

Yes, it was innocent. No, I am not saying that this is objectively wrong for everybody. But the point is that she had principles and she dropped the ball, and she hadn't even noticed because it was so slow and subtle. This is the atmosphere in college today.

My friend is now happily married to the kind of man she was originally looking for and she suffered no ill effects of her temporary lapse in judgment. Nevertheless, this remains a period in her life about which she is still deeply embarrassed. The lesson she learned from this is "al ta'amin b'atzmecha ad yom moscha" because the challenges are real.

As far as exposure in the professional world, it is equally challenging, if not more so. When I worked in Manhattan before I was married, my boss had a "minhag" of taking each employee out to eat on their birthday and there didn't seem to be any way out without insulting him. But this was completely inappropriate for a frum girl (or man, for that matter), even though he took me to a kosher restaurant, and it would have been even worse had I been married.

His wife was an off-off-off Broadway director and we all had to go to her weird plays. I squirmed out of some, but it was becoming obvious so I had to get with the program if I didn't want to be working in a hostile environment. I knew way too much about the people I worked with and they knew way too much about me. You get the point.

Potentially higher salaries notwithstanding, for a frum Jew working in the secular world may not be worth the price. I would never do it again and we certainly wouldn't send our children into that environment. I know this is not for everyone, but my husband has turned down potentially lucrative positions here in Israel in companies with a too-relaxed-for-comfort mixed environment. It's a value to us and we put our money where our mouth is.

As far as debt is concerned, I agree with you in a general sense that debt is not good and we have taken far too frivolous an attitude toward it for things that are, well, frivolous. But at the risk of repeating myself, I maintain that to many this is a deeply-held Torah value and is thus not frivolous. In a cost-benefit analysis, many would decide that in the long run, higher tuition is the cheaper option here.

I guess I now qualify for honorary membership in your lengthy posters club, if I haven't already!


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149. How sad once again     8/6/08 - 5:55 PM
Sherree

"Some years ago, a good friend of mine, a fine Beis Yaakov girl, attended Brooklyn College. She fully intended to go to school, do some studying, and go home. But you know how it is — the (frum) guy behind her missed something in class and asked her to fill him in afterwards (innocently), which she did (innocently). Then again. Then when they passed each other on campus walking from class to class, how could they not say hello? Then when they each had a break in between classes at the same time… Then when they were in the cafeteria with their friends at the same time... Before she knew it they were a crowd — she and her friends, he and his friends"

In my day this would have led to at least a couple of shidduchim!!!

Another point I want to make, I have a friend whose son is literally a genius. He was a computer nerd in HS and wound up being Valiictorian. He always took AP classes and it didn't take much effort for him to be at the top of his class. Well all expected him to ace college and become a doctor like both his parents. He went to E"Y and we expected him to come back in a year and wiz through school 1,2,3. Well he has been studying in E"Y for 5 years now, and decided to go to college and get credits towards Law School via the internet from E"Y. We can all see what is most important to him. As he had no intention of coming home and being a Lawyer, and he started dating and actually is getting married next week in E"Y, he chose to learn to be a Sofer.

He realized that he will have to make a parnassah some how, and although he could do anything he wanted to at any time, because he has the brains to, he chose to learn something connected to Torah and learning, something that would be a mitzvah so he can basically stay within his own daled amos and still be mepharnes his family to some degree and not depend on his wife and parents.

I am using this example to show that a bochur can and should use the seichel that Hashem gave him, and the brain that learning Gemarah trains to understand his own responsibilites as an adult and a married man, no matter what the Rosh Yeshiva tells him. He is not a puppet and he should remember that he has an obligation as a Torah Jew to first honor his parents before honoring his Rosh Yeshiva. I think that we should train our children to be able to stand up to the Rosh Yeshiva and ask them straight out "Are you saying that I should disrespect my parents? I can't do that, that is being over one of the aseres hadibros and I don't believe that the Rosh Yeshiva would ask me to do that!"


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150. Rabbi Horowritz's opinion about distractions from learning.     11/10/08 - 7:48 PM
Ploney

"does this 'distract from learning'? i think not. in many ways, it gives bachurim an appreciation for their time in the beis midrosh." Response to number 26

Such a statement should be reserved for those steeped in Torah learning. People that are experts in acheiving excellence in learning, not merely raising those from the low tiers to medierocracy.


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151. English speaking Torah observers and secular knowledge     11/12/08 - 10:12 PM
Tzaddik ben Yekke - Washington Heights

A whole generation has been robbed of a decent education,influenced by so-called 'gedolim' and roshei yeshiva who say G-D will provide,just sit and learn. Learn WHAT? Most boys do not have the patience for that. most have very little self-discipline and therefore,no self respect. Too many of our suopposed roles models re hypocrites. You should know,you've been in chinuch all your life and had a T I D E education.The rabbeim pride themselves in making fun of secular knowledge and a command of English.Ignorance is bliss. Someone will provide. It is the duty of the community to support the lazy.

SHOLOM AL YISROEL

--- > virtz@aol.com wrot

RABBI HOROWITZ MAKES SOME GOOD POINTS (AND YOU CAN SEE HOW POOR THE ENGLISH OF SOME OF THE RESPONDENTS IS!). CERTAINLY THOSE WHO CAN COMMUNICATE WELL HAVE A HEAD START IN GETTING A JOB AND EARNING A DECENT LIVING, AND THE REBBEIM WHO DENY KIDS THE SKILLS TO COMMUNICATE IN ENGLISH ARE DOING THEM A GRAVE DISSERVICE. BUT, AS IS POINTED OUT, THERE ARE NUMEROUS OTHER FACTORS IN CAUSING FRUM KIDS TO GO OFF THE DERECH, INCLUDING OVERLY STRICT PARENTS AND TEACHERS, HYPOCRISY IN THE FRUM COMMUNITY, AND OUTSIDE INFLUENCES. THE ONLY TRUE SOLUTION SEEMS TO BE THE Coming of Moshiach who WILL speak ENGLISH


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152. to cb     11/13/08 - 6:46 AM
tb

Thank you for the compliment. It means a lot coming from you. I just know way too many frum,ehrlich people working in the secular world of 2008 who maintain very high standards of Torah Judaism in business and at home. Some of these are members of my own family so I know the ins and outs of their lives pretty well. There are risks to moving within the secular world, but--as you must know--I believe Torah triumphs most of the time. I am, after all, a MO Jew who believes 100% in Torah U'Madah. I have Chasidic family members and friends whose husbands work among non-Jews (albeit in more blue-collar environments) and many of them continue to live and lead their families in Torah-true lives. It's all in what you allow yourself to see. I see the examples. I am comfortable with them for my sons. For women, things are more challenging, but (being a teacher) I know many women who work in the public school system and--once again--they are leading fine, Torah-true lives. As for your story, I am quite disappointed. I think I could come up with much worse horror stories about the risks of college and work in the secular world. The statistics, though, are there and they support my opinion that the vast majority of those who attend secular college remain within their own world and attain their career goals without compromising their spiritual ones. If two young frum people happen to meet in that environment, that's a major plus. If a frum college student happens to meet another frum college student who is not of the same frum cultural base and they "hang out" then I have bitachon that Hashem will help that student do what is ultimately best. If not, that would have to be a bit about the power of each of us as an individual to make a choice. Personally, I think it is way more easy to get set up on a Shidduch date with a guy from a "wonderful" family who sweeps a girl off her feet and winds up being a really difficult spouse to live with and perhaps not as ehrlich as he may seem. In short, bad stuff happens and I think we need to trust our young people just a wee bit more and ourselves. We are living in a generation of emasculated adults and young people who have been duped into thinking they can't function as Torah Jews without being completely babied and choice removed completely from their lives. It's sad and a bit scary to me.


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153. To TB     11/15/08 - 4:36 PM
CB

I'm glad we're still speaking!

I think I could come up with much worse horror stories about the risks of college and work in the secular world.

The point I was making wasn't about the "horrors" that may or may not occur in a college setting but about the "small stuff," the subtleties and nuances that may seem insignificant (especially in comparison to the "horrors" that could occur) and are often dismissed, but that to many of us committed to living and raising our children with a higher awareness of the implications of every seemingly-small act, are not worth the risk.

But not in an "open pits of fiery lava" sort of way (a direct quote from one of your earlier posts, the imagery of which has not left me!). Consider as an example the laws of the harchakos. I might say — especially in today's day and age — what difference does it make if I pass him the salt or if he eats my leftovers? He's already holding the pitcher in his hand; can't he just pour me a drink? What's the big deal?

Halachic obligations aside, these interactions are meant to make a difference, they're meant to be a big deal and it's for my benefit. How much richer, more exciting and more meaningful my marriage if every mundane gesture is laced with implication. It's a completely different level of consciousness and I — and by extension, my family — benefit from this in both tangible and immeasurable ways, despite the restrictions which to some might seem archaic and irrelevant today.

Another example is the Halachos we have for putting on our shoes — our shoes! Could you get any more insignificant than that? The point is that every act and event is spiritually significant, not only what we would consider "the biggies." If this is lived honestly and taught properly, it should carry over to every area of life, most importantly bein adam l'chaveiro, where every small gesture and act has significance. And where this awareness is lacking — or worse, dismissed — in some areas, it will be that much harder to impart it in other areas. To raise my children without this awareness in every area is to rob them of this elevated — and, if our focus is in the right place, essential — dimension of life as a Jew.

Of course, every Torah principle exists within a context, and for each family and each individual, the context will be completely different. That's why it might be totally acceptable — recommended, even — for one person to attend a secular, mixed college or work environment while at the same time totally inappropriate for another. The point is for the above consideration to enter into the cheshbon. Incidentally, in another thread (where we were discussing Israeli army service) someone offhandedly mentioned something about integrity, and I've been thinking about this for a while. To the human mind, the credibility of a given principle is filtered through the integrity of the person conveying it. (For example, I believe the reason it is so hard to accept "Torah principles" that are invoked with regard to Israeli army service is because some people — but by far not all — abuse these principles. One of the reasons why I made no mention of the importance of Torah learning to our physical safety is because I believe that this concept — although absolutely true! — is being abused. Any man who truly believes that with his learning he is protecting the lives of Jews in Israel as much as any soldier, should and would be as bound to his learning as a soldier is to his duties, and on the same schedule as well. Anything less is disingenuous. The principle, however, is still valid, only it is misapplied today.)

What we have been discussing are true and valid Torah principles, but if I have been unsuccessful at conveying them as such, it is completely due to a flaw in my own integrity and commitment to these principles and should not diminish the integrity of the concepts themselves. I would encourage you to investigate them further with someone who will do them justice.

Warmly, cb


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154. on little things     11/16/08 - 12:23 AM
tb

I could easily rattle off a "smart" response to your points, but instead I will choose to ponder them as I am aware that I am somewhat jaded. It's best to make every attempt to look at things with a clear, unbiased eye so I will try to do that and then see if I have something worthwhile to add. I will say that it is my loss that it has been hard to come by examples of people who were vigilant about the "little things" that you mention while also keeping in check the big things that I have come to hold so dear and that--to my understanding--are the pillars of a true Ovaid Hashem and Mekadesh Shaim Shamayim. I will think on this, though.


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155.     11/16/08 - 10:48 AM
Anonymous

I was the poster who mentioned the concept of integrity "offhandedly" in an earlier post and discussed it again recently in the thread "Egy, Kettö, Három," comment #46.

I'm disappointed that my remark came across "offhanded" as I believe it is such a fundamental goal, deserving the most intensely direct attention! It is about being a peron and living a life in which there exist no disparate contradictory parts; rather everything is integrated (same etymology as "integrity") and unified leshem shomayim.

The prerquisite for integrity is a conscious, honest awareness of the personal biases, insecurities, and motivations which inform our actions and behaviors, especially on a less conscious level. I believe he ideal of integrity is particularly germane to our disussion here, ad i'd be interested to ear more about what ou had to say on the subject. Please read my other post and share your thoughts! Thank you!


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156. A plan     12/10/08 - 2:15 PM
shaya goldmeier - chicago - gldmeier@rcn.com

RH, I have always enjoyed your articles and many of them would have been helpful while I was in yeshiva.

I just want to bring up and old saying - " amentch tracht, un Gott lacht". ( a man plans, and god laughs). Some of us hada plan, followed thru with the plan and still can't get ahead. not everyone who plans becomes successful. while a plan helps and guides, it isn't a garauntee. Many ba'al Habatim work tirelessly, planned, and still can't get ahead. Many who are lucky to even have a job, are simply working for health insurance and mortgage payments, forget savings.

So, while a plan when young is reasonable, it doesn't ensure anything, not success, not happiness, not even, health.


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157. Right On the Money!     12/10/08 - 4:03 PM
Reva Homnick - Florida - revayih@bellsouth.net

Thank you to Rabbi Horowitz! I've been a fan of yours for years! This is so perfect. Our son is graduating High School this year. My husband is a Ben Torah, we just want to see that our precious children HAVE A PLAN! Thank you for putting it so eloquently in writing.


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158. schedule for college/yeshiva     1/8/09 - 1:01 PM
dr anonymous - far rockaway - drmlazar@yahoo.com

Thank you for your insightful letter. It is beyond my comprehension , that yeshivas that are against college , end up making these young men do MORE college !! How , you ask ? simple . They do not encourage getting college credits in 12th grade or that first yr of Bais Medresh , when , as everybody knows , they're really not into the learning 12-14 hrs /day yet. Why not have the bachurim nowadays take college level courses in 12th grade IN Yeshiva, like English,Marketing,Economics,Holocaust Studies , Speech , Jewish History etc. They would be able to finish over 75% of required course study for ant BA degree.Then they can learn 12 hrs/day worry free for yrs 2,3,&4 when they are 20,21,22 when they are more mature & able to handle it better?


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159. best article i've ever read- rating- 5 stars     1/12/09 - 6:45 PM
Anonymous - Brooklyn ny

geat article.great advice.might be long, but not a word extra is written.clearly written,easy to read. I wish all of today's youth would have access to read it.should be sent to all mechanchim & rabbonim in U.S AND ABROAD.I like the way you presented it. may hakodosh boruch hu help you in all your endeavors.I am a child of holocaust survivors.our parents taught us to prepare for life, not to waste it.

re:Mondrowitz, it's a disgrace that he's not brought to justice,here,where the crimes were committed. i fear for my grandchildren.if he's not punished, not only will his victims suffer more, but other abusers will know they can get away with it too. PLEASE continue with your campaign to bring him and others like him to justice.Dov Hikind IS working hard on this problem in our community, i hope that you can help him,. YASHER KOACH TO YOU.


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160. Plan Must be Realistic     1/13/09 - 2:14 PM
Daniel - Baltimore, MD

Very well-written. However, I must add that a plan must be realistic. Going into Chinuch, for example, is only realistic for someone who is

1.) cut out for it, and

2.) has a reasonable plan for supporting his family (Chinuch salaries alone are rarely enough).


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161.     2/3/09 - 10:31 AM
chanie

There are way too many people going into Chinuch today. Waaay too many. So many that our communities can't cope with the numbers.

Let's encourage our kids to be doctors, lawyers, pharmacists...Why not? No, you don't have to have three degrees before marriage. (Girls, though, should be nearly finished their first, if they aren't planning on birth control- after a kid, life gets much harder.)

You do need to have a plan- and saying that you have time till you need to have it (ie, grade 12, after a year in Israel, etc.) is just self-destructive. Everyone should have a plan by grades 10 or 11. Your parents may wish you had picked a different career, and that's fine. But have a plan, and stick with it.


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162. I don't get it     4/1/09 - 8:42 PM
Anonymous

How could anyone possibly argue with the things written in this column?

So why don't we see this type of thinking in our yeshivos?

I don't get it


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163. Parents who don't educate are hurting their kids     4/1/09 - 8:52 PM
Anonymous

Rabbi Horowitz very politely, in his refined manner, says in "Et Keto Harom" that any parent who doesn't educate his children is flat-out insane.

http://www.rabbihorowitz.com/PYes/ArticleDetails.cfm?Book_ID=1089&ThisGroup_ID=235&Type=Article

What is most unsettling, is that having a command of the native language is more crucial in today’s job market than it has ever been in history. Our grandparents in Europe, who did speak the local language, ironically did not need to draw upon those skills for their daily bread, as they mostly toiled in manual-labor positions or traded with other Jews, where Yiddish was the common vernacular.

Even in America a few decades ago, a solid general studies education was not as critical as it is nowadays. When my parents got married, jobs that did not require schooling or enhanced language skills, such as working in the diamond line, were readily available and provided sufficient income for a growing family. Due to outsourcing and the volatile job market created by the economic downturn, that is just not the case today.

It is certainly reasonable for one to make the case that due to the rapidly eroding moral culture in the world around us, it is necessary and prudent to safeguard our children from its negative effects. But it is one thing to shield your children from the Internet or television, and entirely another to raise them lacking the rudimentary skills to earn a living. Many point to individuals who became fabulously wealthy without a command of their native language. But they are just that. Individuals. The brutal reality is that most people who are poorly educated struggle mightily to earn a living and support their families – and this applies even or especially to those who plan on entering chinuch or rabbonus. Expecting to strike it rich with limited education is analogous to a 15-year-old dribbling a basketball and dreaming of playing in the National Basketball Association. A few make it while the others. . .well, . . . they don’t.

A close friend of mine owns a business in an area with a large charedi population and is always looking to provide avrechim with jobs. His ‘entrance exam’ is rather simple. He gives prospective applicants a pad and paper and asks them to write two paragraphs in English expressing the reasons they would like to land a job in his company, and then to turn on a computer and type those lines. His thinking is that if an applicant cannot perform those two tasks, they are useless to him in his business. Suffice it to say that this would probably be my last column in Mishpacha if I shared with you the percentage of applicants he turns away because they cannot do that.

In more than twenty-five years of dealing with at-risk teens I have not noticed a lower drop-out rate among kids who are raised in more sheltered environments. In fact, my experience leads me to support the observation made by my colleague Reb Yonasan Rosenblum, in a number of columns in these pages over the past few years, that out-of-town children have a lower drop-out rate than those who are raised in very sheltered communities.

What is indisputably a colossal risk factor, for marital discord and kids abandoning Yiddishkeit, is poverty. With that in mind, it is my strong and growing feeling, that not educating your children nowadays, and overly sheltering them from acquiring basic general studies skills, dramatically raises the risk factor that your grandchildren will be raised in stressful, unhappy homes – and more vulnerable to all the negative influences we wish to shield them from.


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164. Couldn't this wait untill after the Shloshim?     4/3/09 - 4:31 AM
Rocco Lampone

Chinuch these days is all about connections and personality. Besides, you have a better shot, arguably, if you were a full time learner. (in some cases)

If you are referring to schooling, those interested in acounting, business, law, etc. start a couple of years into kollel. No need to distract the youth.

You mention colledge and Shana Gimel etc. That is misleading. Generally, those that use that terminology are pressured to consider the future.

You want colledge to be more acceptable these days as it was in your days? Are you adressing the oylam hayeshivos? Your charachterisation of learning full time is lacking vitality and is not convincing.

Why don't you say another yiddish expression: 'farmachen dey gemarah'? That would be clearer and more effective.


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165. A few thoughts     4/3/09 - 8:00 AM
Anonymous

1. A "plan" need not include college. It just needs to incoporate a realistic vision of how a young man plans to put adequate portions of bread and milk on the table without burdening others who struggle to put bread on their own tables. College is not for everyone, just as full-time learning is not for everyone.

2. Today, there exist numerous college programs (some of them online) through which a bochur may attain a degree with a laughably minimal level of effort that can be invested, for the most part, bein hazmanin, and barely infringes on his learning. That this option is seldom considered has more to do with the stigma attached to any sort of plan than with the actual infringement on one's learning.

3.The centering of Toah and learning as the focus of one's day is among the hallmarks of a ben-Torah at any age. A realistic plan that can generate a reasonable income allows a ben-Toah to set aside blocks of time for learning benachas ruach throughout life. So a plan becomes not just about income, but about the very goals stated by many posters on this site:learning 'freely' with a minimal distraction of worry and heartache about making ends meet. Please explain to me how the father of a large mishpacha who simply cannot cope with his expenses and requires medication to sleep at night can learn benachas ruach.

4.If a young man feels he has not yet achieved the goals in learning that he would like to accomplish before his energies are diverted by the responsibilities of marriage and family, why not postpone marriage a bit? In the Yeshivas Chofetz Chaim of yeateryear, boys did not begin dating until the age of 26 or so for this very reason.

5.Who decides the point at which a boy has covered sufficient ground in learning and when he has achieved sufficient shleimus to distract hiself with ol parnasah? Is this quantifiable in numbers of years? In number of children? In degree of debt?

6. In short: our entire mahalach appears rather confusing, and i also wonder what is going on in our system that a 23/24 year old boy who has followed the curriculum and learned diligently through the years is so deficient in learning accomplishments that he cannot afford to be distracted by the responsibiities of adult life.


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166. re 165     4/3/09 - 8:17 AM
anonymousfornow

The problem with "learning a few years" first is that after those first few years we're setting our boys up to have to go to school (for a few more years) all the while juggling the responsibilities of family, say 3 kids in 4 years.

And I am so bothered by how cavalierly people talk about "learning a few years". Half a year in kollel can take great mesirus nefesh! Unless of course one is guaranteed generous support through the transition to earn a real salary. Then I guess that learning a few years is to them what yiras shamayim was to Moshe Rabeinu.


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167. A few thoughts     4/3/09 - 12:51 PM
Rocco Lampone

Yankie, luhmichup; it was clear what you meant

Why couldn't you chutch wait untill after the sheloshim? Show some respect and sensitivity.


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168. #165 Start a couple of years into Kollel...     4/3/09 - 1:53 PM
Eliezer - Toronto

Poster #165 made the suggestion that someone who is going to go into a profession start a couple of years into Kollel so as not to "distract the youth".

While this sounds admirable, we need to bear in mind the amount of outside financial support this really requires.

Clearly, they will require support for the Kollel stage, let's say two years. Then, they have to be supported while they are completing their studies. Let's make the optimistic assumption that they can complete it in two years - that's four years of support so far.

Finally, it can take quite a bit of time to find a job, perhaps as much as a year for someone with no job experience. And even when you get a job, the salary is likely very low, until you gain more experience and it can gradually rise. My first year working after Kollel , my salary was the princely sum of $26,000.

Even assuming the salary rises significantly after the first year (not likely), we're still talking about a minimum of two years from when you start working until you have the ability to realistically support a family (obviously it will depend how many kids you have).

Putting it all together, the idea to "start a couple of years into Kollel" requires a minimum of six years of support. Needless to say, I don't think this is very practical. The upshot of this analysis is that the decision to go into a profession (if it's appropriate for that individual) needs to be made well before "a couple of years into Kollel".


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169.     4/14/09 - 7:43 AM
anom

There seems to be a plan out there; for the girls. Girls receive a much finer education which allows them to pursue careers in nursing, education, psychology, etc. This stems from the fact that they know they will have the burden of supporting the family. As they say, "necessity is the mother of invention." Boys are being enabled by; the government (welfare programs, roshei yeshivos, societal pressure, their wives, and rich in-laws. As long as this continues, they will not change. Why should they?


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170. Question for Mental-health Professionals     4/14/09 - 8:15 AM
Anonymous

It occurred to me in reading the Hagadah, that we actually have today the reversal of gender roles that Rashi quoting the Medrash explains as the essence of avodas parech: males assuming the roles of females and females fulfilling what should be the achrayus of men. (I would be so bold as to say that many of our idealstic women actually carry the burdens of both...)

With the exception of the yechidei segulah whose kishronos and skills require of us, the tzibbur,to support their learning, much of the current system seems to reflect this confusion of gender roles. Though the arragement may 'appear' to work out fine for thousands of couples,I am curious to hear the input of our frum therapists and social workers who may actually have greater access to the truth of how the arrangement impacts the foundations of our families.

I am aware that the answers are not black and white for all members of our kollel kehillah, but i am wondering if there may be common trends, pitfalls, and issues that emerge with repetition in your work with this population--and their children...


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171. Let the Bochurim just learn     3/19/10 - 2:51 PM
Chaim Sherman - Chicago - sgentlewind@sbcglobal.net

Thank You for such a nice letter of chizuk to our Yeshiva Bochurim. I would like to humbily argue on your point, that a bochur, while in yeshivah, should start thinking about what he wants to do or become in his future. Firstly, it's really not at all in his hands, do we really know what will be in a couple of years? Certainly we cannot predict the direction our lives will take. More importantly, A bochur in Yeshiva should do nothing other than focusing and being "arain getun" in the Torah, without distractions about his future , his Parnosa, etc. There are enough distractions from our generation already. What was the Hashkofah of our great previous generation, is exactly what our generation needs to strive toward, without any slight change in our Hashkofah, certainly when it concerns Hashems involvement in our future and the future of our Hailiga Lomdei Torah!! Sincerely


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172. 22 Yr old *yeshiva guy*?!     3/19/10 - 3:54 PM
Mordechai - NY - pissedevil@gmail.com

Dear Rabbi, You make it sound so simple...

Unless you remove every other (or almost all) of the Rabbeim/Rosh yeshivas/magid shiur/mashgiach etc. or knock some sense into their heads, bachurim and girls will NOT change.

I would have liked to start college this semester but guess what? My yeshiva does not want to release my transcripts because college is one of the "cardinal sins". I can write alot more but we all know it anyway...

Parents: If you really want the best for your kids don't think "what would everyone else think" or "let him wait until after he is married, then he could do whatever he wants", as long as he has his white shirt, black pants and black hat!!

G-d help us all


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173. Best Possible Case     7/5/10 - 11:43 AM
Bubby - Baltimore

Some of the commenters here who criticize kollel, bolster their case by citing "at risk" children and the problems of disability and addiction. These are not valid points because the at risk teens may not, indeed generally not, the children of kollel parents. (Children in therapy of one kind or another are not in therapy because their parents are in kollel. They are in therapy because the frum culture has identified situations that would in the 60's and 70's been considered normal and medicalized them, with the incentive that those in the therapy professions need the parnosa and frequently the government pays for it.)

By citing worst case imaginings, we are not making the best argument in favor of traditional roles for men and women. From observation of select, highly functioning kollel families, I have seen kollel on the long term to be a great strain on the family. The mother may be working nights so as to be with her family by day. But she is going around without sleep, nominally present but not having the energy to do more than go through the motions. This is the most capable mother. The father's goals are indistinct for many, many years, not just one or two. After five years of kollel he may have the glimmer of a realization that he might not have a chinuch job lined up. Now - and belatedly - he is compelled into a plan - to do something practical. The practical training takes another five years of intense study, unpaid clinical work and financial support by the capable but sleep-deprived mother of the family.

And the children? They seem to be doing quite well, but they see little of their mother, and then not at her best. With luck, their grandmother is young and energetic enough to take care of them. Pre-schoolers spend their day in frum playgroup and the baby with a frum babysitter, in the best case. Their father does a lot of childcare. Again, this is a reversal of roles - the father is taking on the mother's job and the mother the father's previous role of breadwinner.

So even in the most highly functional families, extended kollel is a postponement of the evil day when a father is forced to assume responsibility for his family. But in many families I know, where the fathers are learning in major Torah centers, kollel men in their 30's with growing families are supported by government programs. Their only complaint about being on "programs" is that the government pays them too little, and the waiting list for Section 8 is too many years long.

How to unwind this cycle of dependency? It's a very troubling situation.


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174. what kind of hadracha     7/6/10 - 10:34 AM
anonymous

Well, Bubby, since you got this going again, here's the gist of a letter I almost wrote to one of the frum weeklies that just started a shidduch column: The first column was from a parent who wonders if his/her young son is old enough to get married. Just about everyone danced around whether or not the boy was resourceful and ready to work as soon as needed.

Elsewhere in the paper was a brief article about a chaburah a major yeshiva had for boys in the parsha and it outlined the general topics. One was "financial support". Not finances, financial support. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall for that one.


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175. #9 get a clue     4/1/12 - 2:32 AM
Anonymous

I don't think Rabbi Horowitz is trying to make a plan for you. He wants you to make a plan for yourself.

As far as whether you should get a BA or a Masters of a PhD, that is also up to you. However, you should keep in mind that when you are old enough to marry and have children, you should also be able to support yourself, your wife, and your children. It says, "She'mono Esrei L'Chupa" but it doe NOT say anywhere that someone else should pay for it.

I think it would also help if our leaders would also understand this. If a couple has 4 children, and all have to be supported for years, that means that the couple has to make enough of a living to support 5 families. That is not a very practical plan, unless you have that OTHER PhD. "Pappa Has Dough."

Bottom line, our children should grow up first, and then get married, and not the other way around.


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176. 22 Yr old *yeshiva guy*     4/1/12 - 2:40 AM
Anonymous

I had a similar situation many many years ago. I am a grandfather now. As far as I know, NO school has a right to withhold your transcript in New York State, and when I threatened the Yeshiva with reporting them, my transcript was released very quickly. You can call the state to find out if that is still the case, and just demand your transcript. It is outrageous that our Yeshivas usurped the parent's and the students' right to make their own decisions for their lives.

At 22, you are an adult, and have the right to make your own decisions. I have yet to see a Rosh Yeshiva who is supporting any of his students after they get married.

Like you said: G-d help us all. Of course it is said that G-d helps those who help themselves.

Good Luck.


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177. You read my mind     4/11/14 - 12:46 PM
Anonymous

Wow, just had this conversation with my 17 year old son... How can you get the roshei yeshiva to promote this point of view? Disheartened at the prospect of him floundering with no means to support his family down the road.

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