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Letter to the editor: Mishpacha Magazine
by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz
Publication: Mishpacha Magazine

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This ‘Letter to the Editor’ was published in last week’s Mishpacha issue in response to the overriding theme of my entire Mishpacha series and in particular to the column in issue #151.

The editors of Mishpacha magazine offered to publish several to-the-point responses to this letter in an upcoming issue. Please take the time to respond with your opinion, should you be inclined to do so. Please include your name and the city where you live.

Here is the text of the letter:

Dear Editor:

I’m surprised and upset that Mishpacha printed a column which, reading between the lines, recommends going back to the “old school,” where subjects were taught which opened up “more careers” for the students — computers, math, science, etc.

I understand the logic: If the “best schools” would teach subjects which were interesting to children on the brink, these children might remain. Now these schools teach only Gemara, so these children are bored and fall even faster.

If we teach many secular subjects in our school, will Torah giants emerge? Or does that not make a difference? How does Rabbi Horowitz know that it’s more important to save the falling children? Maybe it’s more important to save the ones with true potential to reach the greatest heights?

Rabbi Horowitz is worried that within a few years many children will fall off the derech. I’m afraid that if his plan for the yeshivos is accepted then the children will fall off the derech — if not this generation, perhaps the next. The responsibility of changing the schools based on a doubtful theory is very scary. (Is the dropouts percentage smaller in girls’ schools which teach secular subjects? I don’t think so.)

Here in Eretz Yisrael, we often have bulletin board messages by the gedolim, warning that if the government forces more secular subjects on our schools, then we will have to abandon governmental aid, to continue the yeshivah studies al taharas hakodesh, without secular studies.

It was revealed to the Taz, who lived during the years of the Decrees of Tach v’Tat, that if he would die, the terrible massacres would be averted. His death would atone for the entire nation. But he said, “I can’t die before I finish writing my commentary on the Shulchan Aruch,” so the troubles began.

We see from this story (in Kisvei Mahari Shub) that we don’t have the correct perspective about what Torah is and what is important.

The Likutei Moharan (64) explains in depth that secular subjects cause heresy. So I don’t comprehend how this topic can be taken so lightly, in newspapers written for ordinary readers, that they should pressure yeshivos to teach more science, more language, less Gemara, and then klal Yisrael will be saved. Please address important questions to the gedolim. Let them decide, and then readers will follow.

Don’t give readers false hopes, based on imagined theories which every true Torah scholar will repulse.

Name Withheld

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Related Articles:
Issue 139 - Proactively Addressing the Chinuch Challenges of Our Generation
Issue 141 - Exit Interviews
Issue 143- It Doesn’t Start in Tenth Grade
Issue 145 - Training Wheels
Issue 147 - Pulling in the Gangplank
Issue 149- Rolling out the Welcome Mat
Issue 151 - Seven, Eight, Nine …
Issue 153 - Kiruv for Our Children

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