November 20, 2015 6:06 pm at 6:06 pm #616696
Not an original question, I know…but so what?
It seems that R’ Aaron Kotler and the “yeshivishe oilam” had two objections to college:
1) Bittul Torah
2) Learning secular studies.
There are a lot of basic nafka minas between the two, the easiest being someone who for whatever reason isn’t learning, anyway, but still shouldn’t go to college to learn chochmos hachitonos, and generally, not to involve ourselves in “the other world.”
In the times of the rishonim, especially the sefardim, science and philosophy were learned by all. The rambam was a philosopher and doctor, the ramban studied animals, the ralbag was an astronomer, the abarbenel worked in politics, etc.
So what exactly is the meaning of that second reason?
Furthermore, someone once asked R’ Baruch Ber if he could go to university for parnossah reasons, for which there is a heter of bittul torah, and R’ Baruch Ber answered that learning chochmos hachitzonos isn’t permitted for parnossah.
Many college courses today, e.g. accounting, computers, therapy, etc. have nothing to do with “chochmos hachitzonos” [and if Rubio becomes president chochmos hahitzonos will be completely abolished,] so why is college still frowned upon?November 20, 2015 6:33 pm at 6:33 pm #1117536
see one of the myriad college threadsNovember 20, 2015 6:39 pm at 6:39 pm #1117537
JosephParticipantNovember 20, 2015 8:42 pm at 8:42 pm #1117538
My understanding is that it is frowned upon primarily because of bitul Torah, but the issue of learning inappropriate things – arayos and kefirah – is very relevant, even in “frum” colleges.November 21, 2015 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm #1117539
1. If one is independently wealthy, and can afford to learn full time, college is clearly an extra. For most of us, that isn’t an option. If you can manage a job working as a teacher (or similar occupation) within the frum community, that is another option (albeit not a financially rewarding one).
2. All secular work involves bitual Torah. College plays the same role as a traditional apprenticeship. In some career you start at the bottom and work your way up. In others one needs to go to college first.
3. If one feels unable to associate with non-Jews but still wants a career that requires a college degree, distance education degrees exist and some of quite reputatble (e.g. Maryland’s University College, New York’s Empire State College, etc.).November 22, 2015 5:29 am at 5:29 am #1117540
“So what exactly is the meaning of that second reason?”
One of the many innovations in Orthodox Judaism that occurred long before Open Orthodoxy.November 22, 2015 5:38 am at 5:38 am #1117541
Nah, nobody holds secular studies are inherently assur, aside from bittul Torah.December 11, 2015 5:49 am at 5:49 am #1117542
DaasYochid, then why do many yeshivish families who have a son not holding by learning, refuse to send him to college, and instead find him a job as a cashier or something?December 12, 2015 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm #1117543
There could be any number of reasons.
Tell me, if the cash register has an instruction manual, would he read it? If so, he obviously does read secular material, and his not going to college is not because he considers it assur to read secular material.December 13, 2015 12:17 am at 12:17 am #1117544
Also, I did already answer your question:December 13, 2015 5:36 am at 5:36 am #1117545
Tell me, if the cash register has an instruction manual, would he read it? If so, he obviously does read secular material, and his not going to college is not because he considers it assur to read secular material.
Well, that was basically my point in my original post.December 13, 2015 8:31 am at 8:31 am #1117546
The question in your original post has been answeredDecember 13, 2015 3:37 pm at 3:37 pm #1117547
So what’s your answer? That really there’s nothing wrong with college (aside from bitul torah) but people are still wary of it because colleges teach kfira and arayos?December 13, 2015 4:10 pm at 4:10 pm #1117548
There are other issues as well, namely the environment, but I don’t know why kefirah and arayos are things which are so insignificant that you can say there’s really nothing wrong.December 14, 2015 2:20 am at 2:20 am #1117549
You’re right and I don’t think kefirah and arayos are insignificant, however, as I said in my original post, frum colleges really don’t have those issues.December 14, 2015 2:24 am at 2:24 am #1117550
Which “frum college” doesn’t teach any kefira?
And you’re agreeable that non-frum colleges should not be considered?December 14, 2015 2:27 am at 2:27 am #1117551
They do have those issues.December 14, 2015 2:43 am at 2:43 am #1117552
Touro College, the classes in accounting, for one.December 14, 2015 3:28 am at 3:28 am #1117553
One can go to college without taking Kefira. Things like Math, Accounting , Computer Science do not contain KefiraDecember 14, 2015 3:31 am at 3:31 am #1117554
Can one take only those courses?December 14, 2015 3:32 am at 3:32 am #1117555
According to many people here, studying to be a doctor would be assur, since you have to take Biology which teaches evolution.December 14, 2015 3:37 am at 3:37 am #1117556
Are you saying it’s muttar to study evolution?December 14, 2015 3:38 am at 3:38 am #1117557
You have to take other courses which arent Kefira, but many here might think its wasteful (I do not) like English (Good reading and/or Writing is very important) or History (One can usually take Jewish History for this type of requirement. I dont know what people here think of taking Jewish History)December 14, 2015 3:39 am at 3:39 am #1117558
Evolution is only a small segment of Biology. They do not spend as much time on it as you think
There is also many times a foreign language requirement. You can use Hebrew for this (Yiddish would also be acceptable except most colleges do not teach it for lack of interest)December 14, 2015 3:45 am at 3:45 am #1117559
I don’t know that it’s theoretically impossible to get a degree without taking any courses that teach kefirah, I just think that many end up hearing kefirah whether it be unknowingly or offhandedly, or not caring. And I am not excluding “frum” colleges from this.
There are also courses which contain arayos, still not excluding “frum” colleges.December 14, 2015 3:49 am at 3:49 am #1117560
I don’t know that it’s theoretically impossible to get a degree without taking any courses that teach kefirah,
I just think that many end up hearing kefirah whether it be unknowingly or offhandedly, or not caring.
So be careful about it and it won’t happen. BTW, is it assur to “hear” k’firah?December 14, 2015 4:41 am at 4:41 am #1117562
So be careful about it and it won’t happen.
I can tell you stories of sincerely frum boys and girls who ended up sitting through inappropriate classes because they didn’t realize what they contained until the middle of the term. Maybe it’s avoidable, just don’t wonder why not having an aversion to secular studies per se doesn’t translate into college being considered perfectly acceptable.
BTW, is it assur to “hear” k’firah?
From a professor who is supposed to be an authority (and is sometimes even shomer Shabbos and wearing a yarmulke)? I would think so, and certainly not a good idea. Again, I’m not coming to say that going to college is definitely assur under all circumstances, just explaining why there’s a legitimate reason why college is considered a bad idea in some circles, even when secular studies aren’t an issue.December 14, 2015 4:53 am at 4:53 am #1117563
lol. It is possible.December 14, 2015 4:57 am at 4:57 am #1117564
Yes, I think from the rest of my post it’s obvious that I knew what you meant. 🙂December 14, 2015 6:31 am at 6:31 am #1117565
this thread is silly. I took biology in a city college and they never mentioned evolution. I took anatomy and physiology I and II and every class the teacher would exclaim, “How can someone say there is no Gd?”. And she was a secular Jew. I took the equivelent of two different degrees and didn’t have to take anything questionable. When we were given choices of projects to do in one class, I don’t even remember which, involving the history of the earth, I told the teacher straight out that I would be basing my report on the views of the Torah, not text books and he said that was great.
Maybe some people DON’T have that experience, but there are plenty who do. It is not only possible, it happens all the time.December 14, 2015 3:07 pm at 3:07 pm #1117566
I avoided college. Jews should spend their time learning a trade instead, combined with talmud studies. I’m going to be a tailor.December 14, 2015 3:43 pm at 3:43 pm #1117567
I took physics in College , 3 semesters and I dont think The big bang theory was mentioned even once and if it was mentioned , it was only for a lecture or 2. Most of Physics certainly is not Kefira, It was mostly equations about motion , gravity and stuff like that
Unfortunatly in todays industrial society, Tailors generally are not needed very much and are low paid. Most clothing today is made by machine or very low paid workers in a 3rd world country. Other than some alterations when i buy a suit, I have rarely if ever needed the use of a tailorDecember 14, 2015 4:34 pm at 4:34 pm #1117568
Robots and electricity won’t be used after moshiach. It’s too complicated to use by sons of Adam. The bnei nachash use it.
The Talmud says everyone will have to farm one day. The old trades of carpentry and tailoring will thrive.
My grandfather has a line of tailors going back centuries. It’s something HaShem has blessed me with talent, and you shouldn’t work for money, just use your talent to help others.
Jewish tailors can be used to stop shaatnez for example. a lot of apparel today has shaatnez even though it says 100% cotton, etc. you don’t know who made it (some slave labor in china?), and why would you trust them?December 14, 2015 4:52 pm at 4:52 pm #1117569
Robots and electricity won’t be used after moshiach. It’s too complicated to use by sons of Adam. The bnei nachash use it.
And you know this how?
and you shouldn’t work for money,
Tell that to the Bank, the Grocer, Con Ed and anyone else who wants to get paid, they are not donating their services to meDecember 14, 2015 5:15 pm at 5:15 pm #1117570
“a lot of apparel today has shaatnez even though it says 100% cotton, etc.”
Is that true? Why would they use wool and linen instead of cotton?December 14, 2015 5:50 pm at 5:50 pm #1117571
Zahavasdad, the Talmud doesn’t prescribe careers from college does it?
Meno, it’s easy to mistake the combination for the other, and some of them get mislabelled. Jews should buy from a Jewish tailor if possible. But if you have no money to buy from a Jewish tailor, I believe there is some leniency.December 14, 2015 6:05 pm at 6:05 pm #1117572
the Talmud doesn’t prescribe careers from college does it?
The Talmud doesnt mention Computer Programmers , Desk Jockeys, Pencil Pushers , Electricians , Auto mechanics , Social Workers either
It doesnt mean Jews cant have those jobsDecember 14, 2015 6:05 pm at 6:05 pm #1117573
I’m not buying it. Show me a psak from a mainstream posek that says every every piece of clothing needs to be checked.December 14, 2015 7:41 pm at 7:41 pm #1117574
Syag: “I took biology in a city college and they never mentioned evolution.”
When did you take biology? 1940? I’m sorry, but I don’t think you’ll easily find a university level bio class that doesn’t ever mention evolution.
That being said, I can assure you all that it is possible to pursue majors which don’t pose problems. Like our good friend, Charlie, I’m a statistician. You can tell which areas of study are worse when it comes time to ask professors for the holidays off. From my experience, the math/stat world has no problems, while the bio/chemistry world is openly hostile towards religion.
If someone is providing for you to study Torah without having to indulge in the secular world, kol hakavod. However, how can you be sure that your kids will have that opportunity? If you don’t have a way of making enough money to subsidize your kids’ Torah study, you’re essentially just putting off the bittul Torah by a generation. Proper, Jewish education isn’t cheap. I can’t see how a blue collar worker like a mechanic could possibly afford it for multiple kids.December 14, 2015 8:43 pm at 8:43 pm #1117575
“The Talmud says everyone will have to farm one day.”
Do you have a source for that?December 14, 2015 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm #1117576
“it’s muttar to study evolution?”
Yes. All science is mutar. So says Rambam.December 15, 2015 1:24 am at 1:24 am #1117577
“Yes. All science is mutar. So says Rambam.”
Because the Rambam knew about evolution? And the Rabbis saying studying evolution is assur don’t know the Rambam?
Regardless of whether you’re comfortable studying it or not, I can assure you that the conditional probability of getting an anti-religion professor is significantly higher in a field like evolutionary biology than in accounting or stats. So, it also comes down to what you want to put your kids through.December 15, 2015 5:02 pm at 5:02 pm #1117579
I have no issue whatsoever with a college biology class, even if it contains evolution. Most will not touch on evolutionary history, but will definitely discuss evolutionary principles. And regardless of how we hold the world was created, Le’ma’aseh we can see the biological world functioning based on evolutionary principles. So there should be no problem studying evolutionary principles, especially if you are only looking at the now and not the past.December 17, 2015 12:33 am at 12:33 am #1117580
I’m currently a bio major at Stern. While I already took Bio 1 and 2 in high school (AP level), where we did learn evolution (and the teacher was basically “no arguing with me, this is what you need to know if you want to pass the AP, don’t dismiss it stam, I have some books, etc,” which I thought was a reasonable response). Upper bio courses rely on their being an understanding that evolution as a biological concept is in fact a thing. (And it absolutely is. You can debate about the macro, millions-of-years part if you’d like, but on a micro level it is a foundation of biology.) Evolution=/=denial of God, just BTW.
I don’t think that you will find anyone anywhere who will completely ignore evolution in an upper level bio course. They may tell students to disregard it, but it’s pretty fundamental in understanding how stuff works, even if it’s not constantly engaged with.December 17, 2015 9:26 pm at 9:26 pm #1117581
Don’t hesitate. You must create the
Bitul Torah? Bah. The whole Jewish world used to be farmers and merchants and artisans in Eretz Yisroel, for eg in the Tanach days. Was that bitual Torah? Nonsense. They worked the livelihood and learned when they could.
Even in preWW2 days, the laymen worked as labourers by day, and at night they came to the beis midrash and learned Ein Yaacov or Chayei Adam.
The Talmud even says learn with an occupation.
More importantly, a man without a proper job feels useless. No one will marry him, he himself feels like a loser.
Don’t even hesitate. You go to college or uni. You study and make something of yourself. You earn a proper a job. Make sure your yiddishkeit doesn’t get the backbench. And with your income you support people in need. The Free Loan Fund idea of the Chofetz Chaim, limud Torah, orphans…. Go study and learn!December 17, 2015 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm #1117582
I would hope that everyone here believes that microorganisms evolve or else we would only have to get the flu shot once in our lives. Earlier posters were clearly not talking about those aspects of evolution. In theory, I don’t have a problem with the bio classes either, but in practice you can’t assume science teachers never have an agenda.
It’s assur to learn about the practices of idolaters. Past that, I think you can listen to and be tested on subjects that are contrary to the Torah. Nobody said you have to believe them.December 18, 2015 12:22 am at 12:22 am #1117583
DY – why wouldn’t it be better to go through college with a mentor on hand to help you navigate the content of the classes you need to take? I think it would be far less of a problem to have your religious leaders approving of the objective and therefore being available to guide and respond to questions than to be openly opposed to college and thus close off access to necessary guidance. There is really no threat to yiddishkeit from the hodgepodge of bottom of the barrel scraping theories that make up the secular understanding of the universe. And an educated yid can easily tell students well in advance which literature to not even read in the first place.
This is the same problem as our community struggles with when younger children have emunah questions, except this is easier.December 18, 2015 12:42 am at 12:42 am #1117584
You might be right, but I think they feel the other negatives compel them to not give it their stamp of approval.
Aren’t there a number if yeshivos nowadays which approve if their students going to Touro? Do those rebbeim give guidance?
What about Ner Yisroel?December 18, 2015 1:23 am at 1:23 am #1117586
“in practice you can’t assume science teachers never have an agenda.”
I am a scientist and science teacher and I absolutely have an agenda: To have my students understand how to understand science. It is empirical and logical, and anyone who sees it as a threat to religious faith either doesn’t understand science, doesn’t understand their religion, or both.December 18, 2015 2:55 am at 2:55 am #1117587
Charlie: “I am a scientist and science teacher and I absolutely have an agenda: To have my students understand how to understand science.”
Kol hakavod. I wish all science teachers had that as their only objective. Why so alarmist? I wasn’t attacking science teachers. I didn’t say ALL science teachers have alternative agendas. If you’re implying that there are no professors with other agendas then I’m sorry, but you’re turning the blind eye. Obviously you wouldn’t see it at YU, but at secular universities, ALL observant Jews that I know agree that professors in the sciences are most likely to give a hard time when it comes to making up work for the holidays.
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