College – Appropriate or not?

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  • #591907
    kvod hatorah
    Member

    If your son is sitting and learning very well and on his way to become a talmid chachom how can you send them to college? dont you beleive that its ideal to become great in torah so how can you force him out??

    #689583
    Hello Kitty
    Member

    Dont force him out, the only thing that stays after 120 is torah and mitves.

    #689584
    Yanky55
    Member

    Yes, college is absolutely assur!

    A boy might get educated and go out and get a job C”V

    #689585
    rebbitzen
    Member

    YANKY, there’s no reason to be sarcastic, especially on such a controvercial yet important subject.

    #689587
    kvod hatorah
    Member

    AS the one who started this i want to be clear i dont think its assur just a second choice for people who want to learn!!

    #689588
    Josh31
    Participant

    Does he have a well thought out plan to go into Meleches Kodesh such as teaching? or is the only plan to stay in learning as long as possible?

    Will all the money that will support his learning be fully Kosher and not cause any diminution Kavod HaTorah?

    Will his lack of training to make a living ever create a Nisayon (spiritual test or challenge) for him in monetary matters?

    if his plan is to go into teaching, is he willing to take courses that will enhance his ability to teach?

    #689589
    kvod hatorah
    Member

    TO JOSH: im not talking about if he should go im talking about a serious ben torah who wants to sit and learn ANDhis parents want to force him to go.

    #689590
    Health
    Participant

    I wish I didn’t go to college and I’m still waiting for that Gvir (rich guy) to give me his daughter and support me forever!

    #689591
    Josh31
    Participant

    Why do his parents want him to go to college?

    Some of their concerns may be valid.

    They are not obligated to support him indefinitely in learning, especially if he has no long term plan.

    He may have a valid plan for Meleches Kodesh that address the valid parts of their concerns.

    #689592
    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    Why does it have to be one or the other? Why can’t someone learn AND be college educated?

    For the first two and a half years after high school, I learned by day and went to college at night. If someone were so inclined, they could continue that until they earn their Bachelor’s degree.

    The Wolf

    #689593
    Kasha
    Member

    College clearly detracts from Limud Torah and corrupts ones mind. Rav Moshe wrote in Igros Moshe EH 2:1:

    “My outlook is based only on knowledge of Torah whose ways are truth, without any influence of secular studies.”

    #689594
    bpt
    Participant

    I’m with Wolf. Why do people think its either or? The only thing I would add is, college, while very important in today’s job market, is not the only way to being a self-sustainer. If someone has a good work ethic, they can be just as successful (perhaps more so). The point I have my boys focus on is, aim for something you enjoy, AND pays well. There is nothing as dead-end as a job you hate (be that learning, computing, chinuch, whatever). I have friends that are in chinuch and LOVE what they do, and it shows. Success is hard to measure, and is more than just dollars and cents.

    #689595
    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    How in the world can the parents force him? If he is the age to go to college, he is over 18, and he can do whatever he wants!

    There is no chiyuv to listen to your parents to be Over a Lav (such as Bittul Torah), and if he learns 16 hours a day and has no time to go learn a parnassah (and his Rov agrees), why should he go?

    #689596
    akcc
    Participant

    If by learning you mean that he wakes up at 5:30 am and goes to learn then and doesent finish till 11:00 pm then the parents should let him learn. If he would be one of these fakers that just sits and says they are learning yet they are just busy on their cell phones the whole day and just sit there for shidduch purposes only then maybe he should go get an education.

    I have no problem with people who want to learn but let them do it lishmah! and not waste peoples money.

    #689597
    Kasha
    Member

    If by college you mean that he wakes up at 5:30 am and goes to college then and doesent finish college till 11:00 pm then the parents should let him go to college. If he would be one of these college fakers that just sits and says they are in college yet they are just busy on their cell phones the whole day and just go there for socializing purposes then he should go get a Torah education.

    I have no problem with people who can’t learn so they want to go to college, but let them do it seriously! And not waste peoples tuition.

    #689598
    anon for this
    Participant

    GAW, that’s a good point. He’s an adult, so clearly not obligated to listen to his parents regarding college attendance. Of course his parents are not obligated to provide financial support for his yeshiva/ living expenses either.

    #689599
    Kasha
    Member

    Its difficult to imagine a parent not wanting to support their own sons Limud Torah! We know how great it is to support any Limud Torah, al achas kama vkama ones own flesh and blood.

    #689600
    simcha613
    Participant

    College is definitely appropriate for those who need a parnassah (which is most of Benei Yisro’el according to Berachos 35b). Learning full time is only for the top of the top. People are supporting kollel and they expect to receive sechar Talmud Torah in return (it’s a Yisachar Zevulon relationship). If a person is learning full time and is being supported by a kollel and other Jews, any minute that is wasted that he should be learning, and anytime he is not learning to full capacity is geneivah (I personally believe that all kollelim should have time cards and bechinos, and those who don’t live up to their responsibilities shouldn’t get paid). Learning full time is a wonderful thing, but again, it’s only for the best of the best. Everyone of course should be learning every day (each according to what he is able to), but there is nothing wrong with learning a trade and getting a job (nowadays that usually entails college), that’s what most Jews are supposed to be doing.

    #689601
    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    Its difficult to imagine a son not wanting to support their own parent’s Limud Torah! We know how great it is to support any Limud Torah, al achas kama vkama ones own flesh and blood.

    #689602
    Kasha
    Member

    You can make a very good parnassah without college.

    Learning full time is NOT only for the top of the top. Ramabam say anyone who WANTS to join Shevet Levi (full time learning) can do so. Sechar Limud Talmud Torah is received for the EFFORT, not the results.

    If a person is working full time, also, any minute that is wasted that he should be working, and anytime he is not working to full capacity is geneivah. You should also then personally believe that all EMPLOYERS should have time cards and capacity tests, and those who don’t live up to their responsibilities or required knowledge should get fired, based on your comment.

    #689603
    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    “Sechar Limud Talmud Torah is received for the EFFORT, not the results.”

    Well said.

    #689604
    apushatayid
    Participant

    “TO JOSH: im not talking about if he should go im talking about a serious ben torah who wants to sit and learn AND his parents want to force him to go.”

    Poskim have discussed this shayla and every case is different. If this is a real live case, I’m sure the serious bachur would at the very least take it to his rebbe for advice.

    “You can make a very good parnassah without college.”

    Statisticly, those who are college educated earn a lot more than those who are not. Of course it is all from hashem, but people must do proper hishtadlus. I was told (when I discussed my personal situation with my Rebbe) that proper hishtadlus is not waiting for a money tree to grow in the yard.

    “You should also then personally believe that all EMPLOYERS should have time cards and capacity tests, and those who don’t live up to their responsibilities or required knowledge should get fired, based on your comment”

    Guess what. Many employers DO have time cards or at least time sheets that employees clock in or sign daily. In fact, some require signing in and out for lunch and other breaks too. Every job that I ever held also came with a bechina, at least once a year. In the workplace it is called “annual review”, some companies give this bechina quarterly or semi annually too. Either way, it is IRRELEVANT what employers do for their employees when discussing what someone in the beis medrash is supposed to be doing.

    #689605

    I think this question is outside the realm of a thread. There are a lot of important factors that need to be taken into account.

    For one thing I’ve heard of people who got a “kibud av diploma” just for the sake of their parents and then went back to full time learning.

    On the other hand R’ Shach said (in an English book on his ma’amrim or something like that) to a yungerman that was having trouble with parnassah and decided to go out to work. He found though that working wasn’t netting him more money as he had more bills. R’ Shach said to him that a person who sits and learns all day is not within the bounds of natural law and his parnassah comes straight from Hashem but once he stopped learning to work he put himself under derech hatevah. This is like the Mishnah in Avos 3:5.

    So I think each case needs to be spoken over with a rav who can guide a person and support him in regards to his parents.

    #689606
    Pashuteh Yid
    Member

    Kasha, you quote the Rambam for one thing, but you don’t quote his halachos in Talmud Torah that it is assur to take money for learning, and that it is a mayleh gedolah to go to work.

    #689607
    Kasha
    Member

    PY: The Rema and Shach in Hilchos Talmud Torah says you are allowed to live off tzedaka in order to learn. (Besides the fact that a Yissoschor-Zevulin relationship is NOT tzedakah anyways — its an equal partnership between the Yisoschor (i.e. Kollel learners) and Zevulin.)

    #689608
    Josh31
    Participant

    “Over a Lav (such as Bittul Torah)”

    At the most it is a Bittul Aseh, not a Lav.

    #689609
    oomis
    Participant

    It’s a good thing no one ever told RAMBAM not to pursue higher education. Also, if we want doctors, lawyers, accountants, CEOs who are ehrliche menschen and run their practices according to a Torahdig hashkafa, with sensitivity to their frum patients and clients, there ought to be frum people going to college and beyond.

    #689610
    charliehall
    Participant

    Kasha,

    Rav Moshe z’tz’l was VERY learned in secular subjects even though he never attended college. So were Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach z’tz’l and Rabbi Eliezer Waldenberg z’tz’l.

    Rav Soloveitchik earned a Ph.D. in German Philosophy at the University of Berlin. His wife, son, both daughters, and both sons-in-law all earned doctorates. Among his fellow students were Rav Hutner z’tz’l and the Lubavicher Rebbe z’tz’l. The Rebbe later earned the equivalent of a B.S. in electrical engineering from a well respected engineering school in Paris.

    Rav Herzog z’tz’l earned a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of London. His doctoral dissertation identified the source of the techelet dye.

    Rav Hildesheimer earned a doctorate at the University of Halle-Wittenberg; his dissertation was entitled, “On the right kind of interpretation of the Bible”.

    Rav Hirsch attended the University at Bonn.

    Sforno earned a medical degree at the University of Rome.

    Rambam is considered an alumnus by the Al-Karaouine University in Fez, Morocco.

    I could list many more, but you get the point. The list of gedolim who attended university is indeed quite long. A ben Torah who desires university education can rest assured that he is following in the paths of giants.

    #689611
    Kasha
    Member

    charliehall,

    No one is born a Godol. What whatever godol did in his youth, prior to his becoming a godol, is not necessarily indicative of something unless he explicitly said it should be used as an example or is a good thing. Do you have any reliably cited quotes from any Chareidi Godol recommending college?

    The point I get is what Rav Moshe explicitly wrote in Igros Moshe EH 2:1:

    “My outlook is based only on knowledge of Torah whose ways are truth, without any influence of secular studies.”

    #689612
    2qwerty
    Participant

    Mishna in Pirkey Avos 2::2 basically says that a person should learn and work together. Explanation brought by artscroll mentions that a person who only learns without working will come to do an avera. For example money from support will not be enough and then he’ll be desperate to find a job that pays enough to cover all the bills and will be forced to steal (or work dishonestly).

    Generally, I think not enough people are learning halachas of business before going into the business world and then fall into temptations.

    #689613
    Kasha
    Member

    The Mishna doesn’t say you should go to college or be a software engineer or become wealthy. You can be a tailor and make a living without college. And have more time for Limud Torah to boot.

    #689614
    charliehall
    Participant

    Kasha,

    Every single one of the gedolim I mentioned was a brilliant talmid chacham BEFORE going to university. Rav Soloveitchik was a charedi gedol before he was a mizrachi gedol: He was a member of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of Agudath Israel of America while still in his thirties — and while teaching philosophy at Yeshiva College.

    And as I pointed out, Rav Moshe was extraordinarily humble. He had enormous secular knowledge that you don’t get without effort.

    #689615

    I think there are two totally different hashkafa’s being discussed here and being used to argue against each otI her. I see that some people are bringing the hashkafa of yeshivahs like YU that follow R’ Shimshon Refael Hirsch’s teachings of Torah im derech eretz. Others are following the hashkafas of yeshivahs such as BMG who encourage long term full time kollel.

    Its silly to bring proofs from the Rabbanim that lead one group to people who follow the Rabbanim of the other.

    That’s why I think its better that each person should just ask his own Rav in order to get the answer that is appropriate for his mehalech.

    #689616
    Kasha
    Member

    charliehall, He wasn’t a godol yet in his college youth days.

    I cited a very specific Igros Moshe. Please cite a reliable statement from a godol, not conjecture.

    #689617
    ch123
    Member

    “He’s an adult, so clearly not obligated to listen to his parents regarding college attendance. Of course his parents are not obligated to provide financial support for his yeshiva/ living expenses either.”

    anon to htis- in which Torah does it say that he’s clearly not obligated to listen to his parents?!

    #689618
    Kasha
    Member

    “I see that some people are bringing the hashkafa of yeshivahs like YU that follow R’ Shimshon Refael Hirsch’s teachings of Torah im derech eretz.”

    Derech HaMelech –

    #689619

    How many men are actually becoming talmidei chachamim like you say and therefore staying out of college– and how many are in yeshiva because that’s what’s expected of them and because it’s an easier plan than studying in college.

    #689620
    Kasha
    Member

    You don’t have to be a Talmid Chochom to sit and learn all day in Kollel. The Rambam says all you need is a DESIRE to learn. That’s all it takes, and that’s all it should take.

    #689621

    If they’re there for real then kol hakavod but the guys who are there ‘just because’ can learn during the day and go to college at night… that sounds appropriate to me.

    #689622
    Josh31
    Participant

    The Gemara concluded that many did like Rabbi Yishmael and were successful and many did like Rabbi Shimom Bar Yochai and were not successful.

    #689624

    kasha:

    I thought that is where they get it from.

    Josh31:

    bichlal lav ata shomeah hen. So some did like R’ Shimon bar Yochai and were successful.

    NO one said full time learning is for everyone. I think the discussion was if you CAN hack it- whether you should or not.

    #689625
    charliehall
    Participant

    Kasha,

    You are being highly disingenuous when you cite Rambam in support of universal full time learning. Here is what he actually said about it (Hilchot Talmud Torah 3:10):

    “Anyone who decides to be engaged in Torah [study] and not to work, and will be supported by Tzedaqa – this person desecrates God’s name (*Chillel et Hashem*), degrades the Torah, extinguishes the light of our faith, brings evil upon himself and forfeits life in *Olam haBa* (The world to come); since it is forbidden to derive benefit from the words of Torah in this world. The Rabbis said (Avot 4:5): Anyone who derives benefit from the words of Torah in this world, forfeits his life in Olam haBa. They further commanded and said: (Avot 4:5) Do not make them [the words of Torah] a crown to magnify yourself or an axe with which to chop. They further commanded, saying: (Avot 1:10) Love work and despise positions of power (*Rabbanut*). And: (Avot 2:2) Any Torah which is not accompanied by work will eventually be nullified and will lead to sin. Ultimately, such a person will steal from others. “

    #689626
    Kasha
    Member

    charliehall,

    Obviously you did not read through this thread, as I’ve previously addressed your points. But since you are probably a nice guy, I’ll reiterate it for you.

    1. The Rema and Shach in Hilchos Talmud Torah says you are allowed to live off tzedaka in order to learn.

    2. In any event, a Yisoschor-Zevulin relationship is NOT tzedakah anyways — its an equal business partnership between the Yisoschor (i.e. Kollel learners) and Zevulin.

    Kollel support is support in return for learning. Tzedakah is support in return for nothing. As long as I am earning your support – regardless of whether it is through defending you in court or learning Choshen Mishpat – I am employed.

    None of this “living off tzedakah” material has anything to do with kollel people. This is a common error. Tzedakah means that I give you money for no other reason that you need it – I do not demand anything in return for my donation. If I do demand something in return for my donation, it is not a donation but payment for services rendered. So if I pay you to entertain me, to be my personal trainer, to sing and dance for me, to be my baby sitter, I am not a baby sitter living off charity, but rather a paid worker. And so the statements about people living off tzedakah refer to people who are given money because they are poor, with no expectation from the donor that they learn, or work, or sleep, or do whatever they want. However, if someone gives money to you because he wants to merit the zechus of supporting Torah, and expects you to learn Torah because that is what he is supporting you to do, then that is not tzedakah at all but rather a simple business deal, the same as if I pay you to play baseball.

    If I give you tzedakah money because you are poor, and you sit home all day watching television, then you may be an unproductive member of society but you are not a thief – I gave you tezdakah for food, and you are spending it on food. It was my choice to do that. But if I give you money to learn in Kollel and you stay home all day watching TV then you are a thief, because you took money specifically to learn and you did not keep your end of the bargain.

    Thus, taking money for learning in Kollel is NOT living of tzedakah. Since I, the recipient, must provide something in return for payment received, that is a simple business deal. If I do NOT have to provide anything in return for payment received, that is Tzedakah. Since Kollel people must learn Torah in return for the payments they receive, they are NOT living at all off Tzedakah. Not any more than any person who renders services for payment received.

    Regarding maaser – The maaser goes to the Yeshiva. The Yeshiva pays the Kollel. The Maaser is only going to them in return for and under the condition that they learn. This is not living off Tzedakah. This is a receipt of money in exchange for doing something, which is not the same as living off Tzadakah. This is providing a service that is considered valuable to those who provide the payment. it is no different than a singer getting money to sing or a baseball player getting money to play. The fact that you are allowed to use your maaser to support these fellows is no different than the fact that you are allowed to use your maaser to support Tzedakah organizations that pay fundraisers, administrators and other workers. Maaser is not the same as Tzedakah. Nobody would consider the head of Hatzolah as someone who “lives off tzedakah” even though he is paid through donations given to the organization. The same thing applies to someone who learns, and because he learns, is supported by whatever source, including maaser.

    #689628
    charliehall
    Participant

    2qwerty,

    You are absolutely right regarding our community’s disrespect of business halachah. One needs to learn far more Torah prior to starting a business than entering university.

    #689630
    charliehall
    Participant

    Rav Hirsch in his own writings clearly indicated that secular learning was a good thing in and of itself far beyond its utilitarian value. See for example, “The Relevance of Secular Studies to Jewish Education”, in *Collected Works*, Vol. VII.

    #689631
    charliehall
    Participant

    Kasha, you haven’t addressed your representation of Rambam. Yes, there are those who disagreed with him. But he can not be used as a support for universal kollel learning; he opposed it strongly as I have pointed out.

    #689632
    Josh31
    Participant

    “bichlal lav ata shomeah hen. So some did like R’ Shimon bar Yochai and were successful.”

    For someone to put themselves on the level of the few in the time of the Gemara who did like RSBY and were successful takes a lot of guts!!!

    You better know yourself well and still consult with several leaders before putting yourself in that exalted category.

    #689633
    Kasha
    Member

    Sitting and learning all day is the ideal. “Talmud Torah kneged kulam.” Chazal say, one word of Torah is higher than an entire lifetime of doing these Mitzvos. Chazal often mention that Toroso Umnoso is the ideal, that we do nothing all day but learn. Nowadays poskim say that w cannot reach that level, but clearly the closer the better. Also, Shulchan Aruch Hilchos Toalmud Torah, in the Shach ad loc, says that nowadays learning all day is the ideal, and that if someone has the ability to do it, he should. The Shach adds that regarding learning all day in general, nowadays we cannot reach our potential in learning the way the Rambam etc. did, since we are not on that level. Therefore, we should learn all day if we can.

    The Rambam writes that a “working person” is someone who learns 8 hours a day and works 3. Not works 9am to 5pm.

    The Rambam praises those who learn all day and don’t have jobs, as the elite “Shevet Levi” of our days. Clearly, even if working is endorsed, it is inferior to those who learn.

    The Rama then says it is a Midas Chasidus – praiseworthy – for someone who can become a Gadol B’Torah and make an independent living, but continues that not everyone is capable of this. It is clear that he is saying that if you have a choice between becoming a Godol B’Torah or making a living, becoming a Godol B’Torah comes first.

    The Shach on the spot points out that the Halacha always follows the Minhag and the Minhag is like those opinions that one may depend on the community to support him in order to learn. He says that this is because of the Halachah of Ais La’Asos, meaning, even if it is theoretically prohibited to rely on the community, but because nowadays we cannot do both, become great in Torah and make independent livings, the right thing to do is to learn Torah and be supported.

    He continues by saying that if someone spreads Torah and spends all his time learning and teaching, even if he has a skill with which to make a living, it would be wrong of him not to allow the community to support him, since this way he would be able to spend his time learning and teaching, rather than working.

    See, its very nice to make an independent living, but it is more important to become a Godol B’Torah. If you cant have both, then Torah is the right choice. Whatever advantages there is in making money, they do not come close to those of becoming a great Torah scholar.

    #689634
    Josh31
    Participant

    Those who have the means of support (with a trust fund or wife with a good job, for example) and learn full time are not putting themselves in the RSBY category. (See my previous post.)

    #689636
    charliehall
    Participant

    I have another question for the thread:

    There are clearly challenges facing frum students at secular universities: Philosophies contrary to Torah (I can’t believe how many supposedly frum Jews I’ve met who admire Ayn Rand), licentious lifestyles (not a new thing), etc. I have listed a number of gedolim who attended secular university and could have listed a dozen more. My question is whether there is anything that any of these gedolim have written regarding those challenges. I have seen nothing about this in the works of Rav Hirsch or Rav Soloveitchik.

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