Reply To: Going off the Derech

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We have moved off the original topic and gone the regular root. But I will offer my opinion here anyway.

On the topic of the Israel draft…if you choose to live in Israel and know and understand that the citizens of Israel must protect themselves from their own neighbors and therefore every child that turns eighteen must enter the army and be trained to do so, then you must be prepared as all other citizens to do because you are protecting your own! And you are expecting your brothers whether they are chareidim or not to protect you! It is not like in America where kids were drafted to fight wars for other countries and nationalities. Each and every citizen of the Land of Israel shares the same risk and therefore must share the same training and service. A special leniency has been afforded to religious girls which I truly appreciate and admire; and for many years to religious yeshiva students. This has been a huge area of contention.

Yes learning Torah is also a measure of protecting Eretz Yisroel but there is no Age limit or constraints on learning. So while the Yeshiva boys who are serving their country during the few years that they are required to do so, other men outside that age barrier can and should be learning in their stead. In this way there are always trained chareidim in the midst of the community ready and prepared to keep there own communities safe! Once a soldier always a soldier. Armed, ready and prepared. With a sense of discipline, purpose and respect in all areas of their lives.

If you do not accept that responsibility as a citizen of the country you should move out and allow others who do to settle the land.

As far as the Yeshiva system is concerned….it needs to be completely overhauled. Kids are NOT being taught the basic Torah values which should be the foundation of their lives and their Torah learning. That should come first before all else. That is the A, B, C’s of Yiddishkeit and without it their learning is pointless. With it their learning is like Angel’s singing! Yes there should be parallel classes and strong students should be encouraged to help the weaker students. Weaker students who wish to achieve their potential will be able to work to move up into the other track. When you have separate schools you are stuck and labeled for life!

Hashem gives each of us different skills and talents. One kid might be an ilui in Gemarah while another shines in Mishnayos, Chumash or Nach. That means that the possibilities are here. A kid might not chap the Gemarah but he could be a Math savant. Why does he belong in a different school? He just needs the encouragement to train his brain to tune in to this other exciting and intricate concept. He needs to be motivated differently. Sometimes it is the lack of motivation and encouragement from the yeshivas themselves that turn off the kids and not the abilities of the kids at all!

Children need positive energy to meet their goals and to push themselves past the stop signs. If a child needs a pat on the head I don’t want to hear that the yeshiva doesn’t have the time to supply it. For the tens of thousands of dollars parents spend on a child’s tuition make the time to give he kids what they need and don’t put them on the bottom of the totem pole. Schools are supposed to be designed to help kids meet their individual potentials. Schools are supposed to be designed to help kids succeed. Schools are supposed to be about the kids! Our yeshiva system is NOT about the kids at all. It is a place for the Rosh Yeshiva and the Rabbanim to make a living. And please notice that I use the word make and not earn. It is about what the administration needs, what the staff needs, what the school needs, what the wealthy parents want, what the donors want, how to outdo and out frum the other yeshivas. How can WE stand out and be more exclusive? It has nothing to do with the kids and heir welfare. Any regular normal parent with a regular normal kid who has a problem or issue will be shown the door and told to look elsewhere. They don’t care if they lose normal students. They are all just looking for wealth and Yichus. Is this what Yiddishkeit is about? This is what our yeshivas are teaching our children Yiddishkeit is about. This is the hypocrisy our children see. They do nothing to make their students safe, happy or successful.

I have tried in vain many times to get kids into yeshivas who were so willing to change just to get back not school. They were brushed off like flies only to go down the very dark journey of OTD. Those principals have no clue what achrius they are carrying and they won’t know till after 120 when Hashem points everything out to them. What a difference they could have made in these kids lives. They were so open and ready, so ripe for the picking. Why did they choose to be so very blind? Because their egos have grown too large for their positions. They need to take lessons of the previous gedolei hador, z”tl. They should try to remember who the true Roshei Yeshivas were and how they handled their Talmudic!