Thursday, June 21, 2007

Are we losing our minds?

This article is extremely disheartening.

It is bad enough that a large segment of the male Yeshivish community in EY is voluntarily unemployed, they now want to restrict them further and create a real crisis.

A few years back I met up with one of my old Roshei Yeshiva who when I was a student had a whole philosophy about full time learning. He was a Chazon Ishnick and one of the more right wing theologians in Yeshiva. He told me that he has belatedly realized that it was a great mistake. Yungeleit who start out full of ambitions, reach their middle age, burdened with children and now potential children in law, without any hope of taking care of them or himself. He told me you have no idea the despair and depression many of these families go through. The happy face they show to the public, is just that, a front. He then said to me that we chose to ignore a Mishna in Avot - Kol Torah she'ein imah melacha sofa beteila vegoreret avon. He repeated heatedly "Vegoreret Avon". [ Paraphrase/ Translation :Torah without work eventually is abolished and causes one to sin].

In a conversation with R. Simcha Wasserman A'H on another subject he explained that sometimes leaders put in place things to address a specific problem they see and want to address. It is comparable to one who has a cancer and has to take strong drugs to stop it. Those drugs have major side effects but there is no choice. Once the cancer is arrested and goes into remission, the side effects have to be taken care of otherwise the patient will die from them.

Here too, the surviving leaders after the holocaust, R. Aron Kotler here and the Chazon Ish in EY developed the "learning religion". They saw a need of mass learning to rapidly develop a generation that could know and teach the Torah. The side effect was the large number of mediocre talmidei chachamim who remained in Kolel without any hope of excelling. One can imagine what that does to self esteem and coupled with economic hardship you have a very painful mix. Once the problem was solved, and it was, because we now have a generation who know Torah, the side effect should have been addressed and antidotes administered. Our leaders forgot to do that. instead they increase the Chemotherapy dosage! Hashem Yerachem!

I believe that is the source of the Chumrot craze, and worse the witch hunts and machlokot that we witness in EY. It also has created a generation that has no ethics in business. Desperation opens the door to breaking small rules which blossom into a total breakdown of ethics and morals.

Let us hope that sometime soon they will see the light.


  1. Hi David,
    Sorry to ask something off topic.
    In regard to Hashgachah Pratis, is it possible that ever minor detail is decreed by Hashem, however, - here is my inspiration - we don't have the problem of Hashem decreeing every second what should happen, because since Hashem knows the future, he already from the first moment set nature in motion in a way that on tuesday morning on july 1, 2009 so and so should get a cut on his finger for being disrespectful to his mother the day before? Isn't this a work around to the Rambam's issue of saying individual hashgochah protis on every little thing?
    I would appreciate your thoughts.


  2. Akiva,

    I am not sure excatly what you mean. The problem if God knows what you will do on Monday you have no choice. You have to act the way it was predicted so why should you be rewarded or punished?

    A detail. Rambam does not differentiate between Hashgacha Kelalit and Peratit.

  3. sorry for the confusion.
    What is the reason the Rambam doesn't believe that there is Hashgochah Pratis for every single indididual?


  4. Akiva , That is a long story. I am putting finishing touches to an article on the subject that will appear in next hakirah.

  5. okay, I'll read it when it comes out!


  6. There is no doubt that this whole thing represents a sad debasement of the vast, rich and diverse history of Judaism in favor of a narrow minded and superstitious thread. It is a self deluding thread that implies that Judaism was best when it was put into a cloistered and claustrophobic ghetto existance untainted by the outside world. Sadly, that way is the way of the sect, the way of the cult, not the way of a global religion that could bring hope to humanity. In turning our backs on the world we cease to have a reason to be a people.