Frum Jews and College

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  • #593836
    #1073035

    Rav Moshe Feinstein ZT’L denounced college in a Teshuva, and in a famous speech delivered to his students, published under the title “The Counsel of the Wicked” (Vaad LeHaromas Keren HaTorah, New York, 1978). There he reiterates that everyone has an obligation to become great in Torah, we should not care so much about Cadillac’s (yes, this was said in the “olden days”), and that learning Torah is what we should be pursuing, not secular stuff. He says in America you do not need college to make a Parnassa, and we should be willing to live on little, not a lot, for the sake of Torah, and that R. Nehuray’s statement of abandoning all skills in favor of Torah applies all that more today that we live in a country where you can make a parnassa without college, with no miracles needed.

    There is a tape available in many Seforim stores called “The prohibition to learn in Colleges” (Yiddish), which contains addresses by Rav Moshe Feinstein ZT’L and Rav Aharon Kotler ZT’L condemning college.

    #1073036

    duvdl
    Participant

    Absolutely. College is a must. Someone once approached me and told me he desperately needs a job. Can I help him? I asked what skills he has. He just gave me a blank look. I asked, “Accountant?” He said “no”. I said, “Computers?” A little. I said, I would love to help you find something, but you really have nothing that I can market to anyone.

    Point being, when you suddenly realize that its the right time to find a job is not the time to go out and start getting educated in something.

    Nowadays, you can get trained in all sorts of stuff without stepping foot in a college – internet (yes, many highly accredited colleges offer degrees online – I got mine from one), distance education and other means. Its great to be able to sit and learn for a few years, but use those years to prepare for after Kollel.

    #1073037

    netazar
    Participant

    What is the shiur called? I’d love to hear it.

    #1073038
    #1073039

    when I give Tzedakah, no one ever seems to turn it down even though the money I’m giving was earned because I went to such an unholy place like a University…seems to be a bit of a double standard on that one.

    #1073040

    And a non-frum person should be denied the great benefit of giving tzedaka, since he isn’t Shomer Shabbos? I would guess having gone to college is not as bad as being mechallel Shabbos.

    #1073043

    “And a non-frum person should be denied the great benefit of giving tzedaka, since he isn’t Shomer Shabbos?”

    if that was the case, CHABAD would be out of business a long time ago 🙂

    #1073044

    Homeowner
    Member

    There is a doctor in my shul who has hanging in his office a framed letter thanking him for the excellent medical care he provided to Rav Moshe Z”TL.

    I presume Rav Moshe knew that he attended college and medical school, and not online.

    #1073045

    I see no reason why Rav Moshe or anyone should refrain to going to the best medical doctor even if he is an apikorus non-Jew.

    #1073046

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    Real Gedolim didn’t accept money from Frei Yidden for their schools.

    For example, Yeshiva of Brooklyn and Rav Manis Mandel.

    #1073047

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    Rav Gifter went to Yale.

    He thought it would be L’toeles, and left when he decided it wasn’t.

    #1073048

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    Real Gedolim didn’t accept money from Frei Yidden for their schools.

    For example, Yeshiva of Brooklyn and Rav Manis Mandel.

    Then again, Real Gedolim also didn’t take money from people that didn’t pay full tuition, as they held it would be Gezailah.

    See: Rav Schwab.

    Must be NisKatnu HaDoros.

    #1073050

    Homeowner
    Member

    The Lubavitcher Rebbe Z”TL went to the Sorbonne and was an engineer.

    please do not ask for personal information

    #1073051

    See: Rav Schwab.

    Rav Schwab also asked a shaila to Rav Boruch Ber Liebowitz and Rav Elchonon Wasserman if college is permissible. Both paskened, in response to Rav Schwab, that it was not permissible. Rav Schwab accepted their psak.

    #1073052

    Pashuteh Yid
    Member

    TMB, I am a bit surprised, because on the TV thread, you seemed very shocked when I mentioned that the Chareidi leadership in the USA was not exactly pro-college, and yet here you yourself post a letter from Reb Moshe that shows Chareidi leaders were against college? What gives?

    #1073053

    Some well known Rabbis who felt it was OK to go to University….

    Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan he earned a master’s degree in physics

    Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz Steinsaltz studied mathematics,[2] physics, and chemistry at the Hebrew University

    Rabbi Motty Berger is a graduate of Loyola University and received his rabbinical ordination from Ner Israel Rabbinical College, Baltimore Md. He worked in anti-missionary activity, founding, Jews For Judaism prior to moving to Israel. A world renowned speaker, he is currently Senior Lecturer at Aish’s Discovery, Essentials, Fellowships Programs and the Executive Learning Center

    Rabbi Noah Weinberg founder of AISH HATORAH completed his undergraduate studies at Johns Hopkins University and post-graduate studies at Loyola Graduate School

    Please feel free to add more!

    #1073054

    PY: My point there was that even the authorities that allowed college, were dead-set opposed to television.

    #1073055

    mike: Just because someone went to college in the folly of their youth, does not indicate they were not opposed to it later, after maturing in Torah values and becoming a great person.

    #1073056

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    PY: My point there was that even the authorities that allowed college, were dead-set opposed to television.

    Agreed. Those signers (which BTW, were NOT the Gedolim of the time, and did not include Rav Moshe, Rav Yaakov or Rav Ruderman) were able to make a “Our camp” which excluded TV’s, and to a large extent, made it a signature issue.

    Also, regarding college. There are “Charadi” Gedolim and Yeshivos that allow it, and those that don’t. As with other things, ask your own LOR.

    #1073057

    ItcheSrulik
    Member

    After Rav Gifter decided that Yale wasn’t l’toeles, he went to YU. Rav Avigdor Miller had a bachelor’s in history from the same institution, and it shows in his seforim.

    #1073058

    mikehall:

    starting a “add the name of every Rabbi that went to college” list might be a silly idea. There are an equal number if not greater number of gedolim(and I would think greater) that did not go to college. I cannot think of a single charedi gadol today that went to college. That doesn’t necessarily mean that there isn’t but that there are only few if any.

    #1073059

    Rabbi Miller, tz’l speaks very disparagingly about college. he holds professors are lower than the mafia. he says colleges are the greatest source of the immorality that is currently infecting the western world.

    although he is careful to not paskin Halachah in his thurs night shmoozes, he said it is absolutely assur for a girl to go to college. as for boys he STRONGLY discourages it but if there is a need in certain circumstances, he wouldnt say it is mutar but he said each boy should ask his Rosh Yeshiva

    he went to college a LONG time ago. the vast knowledge of the world exemplified in his books has little to do with that time spent in college.

    he says the history taught in schools is pure sheker.

    #1073060

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    Also Eino Dom’e College during Rav Miller time (where it was much more clean & conservative) to College now.

    #1073061

    Trying my best “mike: Just because someone went to college in the folly of their youth”

    I would disagree Rabbis like Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, Rabbi Noah Weinberg would call their University education Follies.

    TMB, Just becasue it is something you don’t agree with it doesn’t make it wrong. Wrong for you, YES, but not for others with different values then yours. Im proud of the University I went to and the education it provided me. Withought I would never be able to enjoy my lifestyle, which includes sending my Kids to a Yeshiva School and costly Jewish Summer Camps.

    #1073065

    mikehall:

    you would only disagree because you are interpreting their actions through your values. But there ideals may not have differed from yours later in life and unless you can ask them personally, there is no proof that they never regretted their time in college.

    #1073066

    Derech HaMelech

    I never said going to college was necessart especially for gedolim. I just wanted to stress a point that on the flip side, their are many great Rabbis who did go…like I said before it may not be right for you, but for others it is

    #1073067

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    Mod-80, wasn’t Rav Miller not particularly pro-Kollel?

    #1073068

    im not sure what you are referring to. he was extremely pro-kollel.

    he also said it may not be for everyone.

    #1073069

    sj

    does your question have something to do with going to college?

    #1073070

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    I’m not all that familiar with Rav Miller and what he said, but I always heard he was not a big fan of Kollel because it meant the wife was out working. He felt a man should support his family and let his wife be at home.

    Whereas nowadays in Kollel communities, many women go to college to support their husbands who are learning. It is rather common in Lakewood for women to have their masters degree.

    #1073071

    oomis
    Participant

    TMB, perhaps if you HAD gone to college, you would have learned to hear another person’s viewpoint without referring to it as the folly of their youth, something from which they needed to mature. Mature people can go to College for the toeles it provides, and use that education to better themselves so that they may earn enough parnassah provide for their own families, while at the same time utilize their free time for Torah study.

    #1073072

    Homeowner
    Member

    The doctor in my shul is far from an “apikorus” but rather a frum Jew.

    Rav Moshe did not see him for a particluar illness but only for an occasional examination.

    Clearly if one is absolutely opposed to college learning, one should not patronize those who are college graduates except, of course, in case of life and death.

    Moderator-80, how would any rabbi know that what is taught in college history courses is pure lies?

    You mean John Hancock didn’t really sign the Declaration of Independence?

    #1073073

    mikehall:

    I think I am making a discrepancy between ‘great rabbis’ and ‘gedolim’. Gedolim are the leaders of our nation, in whose footsteps we yearn to follow and whose guidance has sustained us for thousands of years. You were naming rabbis though, that you were giving as proof that college is a viable option for people.My rebuttal was that you have no proof that they didn’t regret their decisions and would tell someone else not to go.

    I agree with you 100% that some people may have to go to college. For instance someone who is meant to be a doctor will have to go to college. However, I think it requires guidance and the understanding that it is a necessary evil- not because school is bad- but because the hashkafos there are tamei u’mitamei.

    We do not go to college because “Withought I would never be able to enjoy my lifestyle”.

    We go to college because we want to become doctors and do chassadim. Because we want to ensure a Torah eduction for our children and have absolutely no other means of support. Because we ourselves cannot sit and learn all day but are machshiv Torah so much that we want to support those few that can.

    #1073074

    A23
    Participant

    I’m pretty sure the Novominsker went to Brooklyn College. So did Rav Chaim Halberstam (of Bobover lineage).

    #1073075

    Derech HaMelech.

    “you have no proof that they didn’t regret their decisions and would tell someone else not to go|”

    AND you have no proof they DID regret their decision

    “Gedolim are the leaders of our nation, in whose footsteps we yearn to follow and whose guidance has sustained us for thousands of years”

    in my eyes Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, Rabbi Noah Weinberg ARE Gedolim

    “We do not go to college because “Withought I would never be able to enjoy my lifestyle”.

    You have no right to say that, if that is my own experience

    #1073076

    oomis
    Participant

    My son went to Lander College for Men, and not only was it not tamei u’metamei, it had a profound effect on him, to be mechazeik those traits in him that are already wonderful, special, and worthy of a true ben Torah.

    #1073077

    Ofcourse
    Member

    IMHO, the existence of Touro, Raizel Reit, with separated classes, etc, and in a Dor where the young has little or no interest in being shoemakers, cleaning folk, or assembly line workers, in addition to the resulting lessened Shalom Bayis/Parnasa issues and lessened “shtick” with programs, is enough reason to rethink and encourage rather than discourage college, among a long list of other valid reasons.

    #1073078

    charliehall
    Participant

    In addition to the persons mentioned, some other gedolim who attended university:

    Rambam

    Sforno

    Rav Hildesheimer

    Rav Hirsch

    Rav Herzog (PhD in Chemistry — in his dissertation research he found the source for techelit)

    Rav Soloveitchik (also his wife, both brothers, son, both daughters, and both sons-in-law, all of whom earned doctorates except for his brother who was a lawyer as well as a rosh yeshiva)

    I could go on and on but it is late.

    #1073079

    All these “gedolim” who went to college, did they go before they became gedolim, or after?

    Because I’m not sure I rely on what they did before they were gedolim.

    #1073080

    AND you have no proof they DID regret their decision

    I agree, that’s my point- you cannot bring them as proof that they condoned college later on in life, when they may have regretted it.

    in my eyes Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, Rabbi Noah Weinberg ARE Gedolim>

    We will have to agree to disagree on this point then as I am fairly certain that both Rav Kaplan and Rav Weinberg would submit themselves to Rav Elyashiv.

    You have no right to say that, if that is my own experience

    These are not my own ideas. I was just reiterating ideas brought by TMB in his summary of Rav Moshe’s speech.

    re: he Rambam, Seforno, et al.:

    First of all, even though the Rambam and Seforno went to university- it would seem they are the minority opinion on this matter.

    Second, I do not know who Rabbis Hildeshimer and Herzog are. I tried googling them and found the following:

    Rabbi Azriel Hildesheimer- “He is regarded as a pioneering modernizer of Orthodox Judaism in Germany and as a founder of Modern Orthodox Judaism.”

    Rabbi Yizchak HaLevi Herzog- “Indeed, his writings helped shaped the attitude of the Religious Zionist Movement toward the State of Israel.”

    I am going to plead the fifth on Rabbi Soloveitchik.

    This only leaves Rav Shimshon Refael Hirsch.

    #1073081

    yechezkel89
    Member

    torahls, what do you mean all these “gedolim”

    are you tring to insinuate that they were mistaken because i can assure you they weren’t. there is nothing wrong with going to college if it’s done in a proper setting such as YU, Landers, Machon Lev etc… in todays society college most of the time is very much required in order to make a parnasa which happens to be a chiyuv, (for those who are in shock check the gemara kiddushin, the rambam, …) these instiutions produce people who are serious bnei torah and who earn stable parnasa

    #1073082

    tzippi
    Member

    TMB: Did Rav Schwab ask for himself, or was he asking the shaila of, one day I will lead a renowned kehilla with a certain mesorah and I need to know how to guide them?

    GAW: I wish I could remember who said this but I’m sure I heard someone say that in a sense, college now is safer because in the 19th c. kids were really susceptible to philosophy and the isms; now (this was said 30 years ago) kids go to get the paper at the end. (Of course the shmutz is much worse and a different sort of sakana.)

    #1073083

    All these “gedolim” who went to college, did they go before they became gedolim, or after?

    Not knowing for sure I would venture to say that all Gedolim are special and are different than the average yid from the time of birth. That being said, I believe they knew exactly what they were doing and obviously saw nothing wrong with it, regardless if it was before or after.

    #1073084

    yechezkel89
    Member

    derech hamelech,

    what do you mean you are going “to plead the fifth on Harav Soloveitchik ZL” and what do you mean concerning Harav Herzog ZL?

    are you chas v’shalom implying that they weren’t gedolim?

    i certainly hope not b/c then you can potentially be considered an apikores (based upon the gemara Sanhedrin 99b).

    #1073085

    Cedarhurst
    Member

    I dont know much about YU and Touro, but Universities and Colleges (and their professors and student bodies) today are breeding grounds of atheism, secularism, militantism, anachorism, and rampant sexual immorality.

    #1073086

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    Cedarhurst, clearly you never entered Brooklyn Polytech. It was a breeding ground for geeks, nerds and scientists.

    #1073087

    yechezkel89:

    It is common knowledge that there is a strong dispute between Rabbi Soloveithchik and many of the Charedi gedolim of the time. So instead of opening up that can, I meant to imply that there were many who disagreed with his hashkafos to begin with.

    Similarly zionisim even in its religious incarnation is an ideal that is generally not accepted in the charedi camps. Hence we have Rav Kook who although he was an incredible illuy, when his views on zionism became known many gedolim distanced themselves from him. This explains my statement on Rabbi Herzog.

    I am not saying at all, that they were not huge talmidei chachamim. But what I am saying is that because their views diverged in a strong way from the gedolim that I follow, I too have to distance myself from their views.

    #1073089

    Cedarhurst, “today are breeding grounds of atheism, secularism, militantism, anachorism, and rampant sexual immorality.”

    thats a big statement from someone who probably never stepped foot on a college campus or took any classes.

    #1073090

    Ofcourse
    Member

    Some points:

    The longer we discourage college education, the more we’ll have program “shtick” and the associated Chilul Hashem, etc.

    Some of the very Chareidi Brooklyn girls’ schools (except for Chassidish), are today offering courses specifically for college credits, which tells me that there has been discussion with Gedolim. These schools dont make a step without Atzas Gedolim.

    I’ve personally had a discussion with the Novominsker Rebbe regarding college individuals. Perhaps his own grandchildren dont go, but he certainly doesnt look down at it as Treif and the death of someone’s spirituality.

    Most importantly, why hasnt anyone mentioned Rav Pam ZT”L, in my opinion a Gadol B’Gedolim, who was very ok with college?

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