College

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  • #616696

    square root of 2
    Participant

    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?

    #1117536

    skripka
    Participant

    see one of the myriad college threads

    #1117537

    Joseph
    Participant
    #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.

    #1117539

    akuperma
    Participant

    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.).

    #1117540

    charliehall
    Participant

    “So what exactly is the meaning of that second reason?”

    One of the many innovations in Orthodox Judaism that occurred long before Open Orthodoxy.

    #1117541

    Nah, nobody holds secular studies are inherently assur, aside from bittul Torah.

    #1117542

    square root of 2
    Participant

    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?

    #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.

    #1117544
    #1117545

    square root of 2
    Participant

    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.

    #1117546

    The question in your original post has been answered

    #1117547

    square root of 2
    Participant

    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?

    #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.

    #1117549

    square root of 2
    Participant

    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.

    #1117550

    Joseph
    Participant

    Which “frum college” doesn’t teach any kefira?

    And you’re agreeable that non-frum colleges should not be considered?

    #1117551

    They do have those issues.

    #1117552

    screwdriverdelight
    Participant

    Touro College, the classes in accounting, for one.

    #1117553

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    One can go to college without taking Kefira. Things like Math, Accounting , Computer Science do not contain Kefira

    #1117554

    Can one take only those courses?

    #1117555

    Matan1
    Participant

    According to many people here, studying to be a doctor would be assur, since you have to take Biology which teaches evolution.

    #1117556

    Are you saying it’s muttar to study evolution?

    #1117557

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    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)

    #1117558

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    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)

    #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.

    #1117560

    screwdriverdelight
    Participant

    I don’t know that it’s theoretically impossible to get a degree without taking any courses that teach kefirah,

    It is.

    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?

    #1117562

    It is.

    Impossible?

    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.

    #1117563

    screwdriverdelight
    Participant

    It is.

    Impossible?

    lol. It is possible.

    #1117564

    Yes, I think from the rest of my post it’s obvious that I knew what you meant. πŸ™‚

    #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.

    #1117566

    Mordechai26
    Member

    I avoided college. Jews should spend their time learning a trade instead, combined with talmud studies. I’m going to be a tailor.

    #1117567

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    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 tailor

    #1117568

    Mordechai26
    Member

    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?

    #1117569

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    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 me

    #1117570

    Meno
    Participant

    “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?

    #1117571

    Mordechai26
    Member

    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.

    #1117572

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    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 jobs

    #1117573

    Meno
    Participant

    Mordechai26

    I’m not buying it. Show me a psak from a mainstream posek that says every every piece of clothing needs to be checked.

    #1117574

    Neville ChaimBerlin
    Participant

    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.

    #1117575

    MDG
    Participant

    “The Talmud says everyone will have to farm one day.”

    Do you have a source for that?

    #1117576

    charliehall
    Participant

    “it’s muttar to study evolution?”

    Yes. All science is mutar. So says Rambam.

    #1117577

    Neville ChaimBerlin
    Participant

    “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.

    #1117579

    Sam2
    Participant

    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.

    #1117580

    writersoul
    Member

    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.

    #1117581

    Excellence
    Participant

    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!

    #1117582

    Neville ChaimBerlin
    Participant

    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.

    #1117583

    squeak
    Participant

    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.

    #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?

    #1117586

    charliehall
    Participant

    “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.

    #1117587

    Neville ChaimBerlin
    Participant

    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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