College, Secular Studies & Judaism
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- This topic has 294 replies, 56 voices, and was last updated 3 years, 6 months ago by Joseph.
October 8, 2009 6:01 pm at 6:01 pm #590545
The Rama 246:4 rules explicitly that it is absolutely prohibited according to Halachah to engage in a curriculum of secular studies. To read secular studies now and then, is permitted, he says. The source of the Rama is the Yerushalmi Sanhedrin.
It has been suggested the difference between a curriculum and just a glance, is that this prohibition is not due to Bitul Torah but rather a Bizayon HaTorah, by establishing studies in areas other than Torah, it shows that you believe they have some value that would justify learning them when you could have been learning Torah.
Rav Shimon Schwab ZT’L sought the Torah opinions of two great authorities, Rav Boruch Ber Liebowitz ZT’L and Rav Elchonon Wasserman ZT’L, regarding college education. Their responses were as follows:
Conclusion of Birkas Shmuel (Kiddushin #27 p.42):
“What emerges is (a) that according to the Torah the obligation of Banim Ubeni Banim means you must make your children into Geonei and Chachmei Torah – and not merely to prepare them for life as a Jew. But rather, you must teach them and get them to learn the entire Torah, and if chas v’sholom you do not, you violate the entire Mitzvah of learning Torah as per Banim Ubnei Banim.
(b) Universities and gymnasiums (i.e. secondary schools) are prohibited because of Apikursus [that they teach]. My Rebbi (i.e. Rav Chaim Soloveichik ZT’L) prohibited them even in war time, and even to save a life, for to avoid violating this, even a Jewish life is to be spent.
(c) To learn secular studies on a regular basis is prohibited, as per the Rama 246:4 …
Brothers, please do Teshuva while there is still time, for the enlightenment (Haskalah) has blinded our eyes and weakened us. For we have no benefit in this world at all – both spiritually and physically – except from Torah. All the strength of Klall Yisroel is from the Torah … we should do Tehsuva and repair the Batei Medrashos that have been broken by the Enlightenment.”
Kovetz Shiurim II:47:
Question: Under what circumstances is it permitted to learn secular studies?
(a) If you must learn books that contain apikursus, it is prohibited … needless to say even to make money or to prevent a loss thereof.
(b) If you must sit in school with Goyim, and it causes someone to befriend the Goyim and their ways, it is prohibited as per the Lo Saseh of Hishomer Lecha etc. for the Torah commanded us to distance ourselves from the Goyim in every way…
(c) If the studies do not cause you to learn Apikursus or to befriend Goyim, and you learn secular studies in order to know a skill to make a living, it is permitted, and it is a Mitzvah. However, this is only in general. But if a person sees that his son wants to learn Torah and he is prepared to be a Gadol B’Torah, in such a case R. Nehuray said: “I will forgo all skills in the world and teach my son only Torah.”…
(d) If you don’t need the studies for Parnasa, and you just want to be involved in them, there is reason to prohibit because of Bitul Torah, as per the Rama in YD 246, who writes that it is forbidden to learn secular studies on a regular basis….perhaps it is not due to Bitul Torah but rather it ia an affront to the honor of the Torah … someone who set out to learn secular subjects indicates that he believes that they have a purpose in and of themselves [besides for parnasa], and that is against the Torah’s opinion. [see above]…”
Reb Elchonon continues, saying that the confusion in Germany happened when people thought, mistakenly, that by Jews possessing secular knowledge the Goyim will hate them less. This caused a “negiyos” – a vested interest – that caused the German Jews to desire that their rabbis have a secular education as well.
Rav Moshe Feinstein ZT’L also 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.
(As an aside, the standard of livelihood required is bare minimum. “Kach hi darkah shel torah – pas b’melach tochal etc.” – Bread, salt and water – if you have that, you have parnasah. The Rambam writes that a typical Baal Habayis works 3 hours a day and learns 8.)
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.
Regarding High School, the only reasons it is allowed is either because education is mandated by State Law (in New York it is until age 17), or simply because if they did not have High School education in the Yeshivas, parents would simply send their kids to worse places to get it.
But it is definitely looked upon not as a l’chatchilah, but rather as something that is annoyingly necessary in the current environment.
Today, there are a small number of High Schools in America – particularly in Lakewood – that do not teach English. Also, many Yeshivos do try to reduce the amount of secular studies as much as possible, through knocking out the last semester of English, and a number of kids are leaving HS early to enter Bais Medrash.
Rav Chaim Segal ZT’L, the Menahel of the High School at Yeshiva Chaim Berlin was once told by Rav Shach ZT’L that if possible, he should not be teaching English studies. In Eretz Yisroel, almost all Chareidi Yeshivos do not have English at that age. Rav Aharon Kotler ZT’L made some kind of commitment not to allow English studies on the HS level in Lakewood. The exact details, and if this was actually a Takanah or merely a preference, is not clear and depends who you ask. In any case, Rabbi Elya Svei, Rosh Yeshiva of Philadelphia and a student of Rav Aharon’s, was asked why he allows English in Philly if Rav Aharon was against it. What difference can there be between the town of Lakewood NJ and Philadelphia PA? Reb Elya answered that he has no choice, and that currently, the Baalei Batim would not send their kids to the Yeshiva except under these circumstances.
Is any of this the ideal? No. It is not. Is it justified? The schools say it is, as they have no choice. But the point is not what the Jews do, its what Judaism wants. Everyone agrees that it would be a higher level, a preferable situation if we would indeed not learn English even at the HS level, at least not beyond what is necessary to survive. Nobody claims it is an ideal.
(reposted from elsewhere)October 8, 2009 7:59 pm at 7:59 pm #1169450Just-a-guyMember
I’ll preface this by saying that all of the above-named Rabbonim know better than I, but the question that all of this prompts is how can Yidden serve as a light unto nations if they do not have things like basic english studies?October 8, 2009 8:04 pm at 8:04 pm #1169451
The Chasam Sofer in Parsha Beshalach states clearly that certain secular knowledge is useful for learning certain Torah topics, such as cow anatomy being useful for shechitah, and arithmetic for Eruvin and Sukkah. But that before we embark on obtaining secular knowledge – and of course that means only to the extent that it is useful for our Torah studies – we must first fill ourselves with Torah-only knowledge. After we are strong in Torah, only then can we move to acquire the useful secular knowledge that we need for our Torah studies.
He quotes the Rambam, who he describes as “the father of philosophy” in our religion, in Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah, stating that a person may not learn philosophy until after he has “filled his stomach” with Shas and Poskim, which are the things, and only the things, that bring us Olam Habah. Then he quotes the Rashba, saying that there is a cherem against learning any secular studies if you are under age 25! The he quotes the Gemora in Brachos “Keep your children away from science” (higayon, as some meforshim translate it), noting that the Gemora is directing its prohibition at “your children”, but not at the adults, for adults, who are already advanced in Torah knowledge, need some secular knowledge, such as cow biology (I keep emphasizing that so that we do not make the error of thinking that the secular knowledge that we need is a college education). But it is dangerous for us to pursue it until we are armed and ready with a Torah foundation. This is because someone with a Torah perspective looks at the value and culture of of secular studies differently than does someone ignorant of Torah. And we do want to get the proper perspective.
It’s kind of like firemen putting out a fire. They have to (a) dress in their heat-resistant protective outfits, and (b) run into the fire and put it out. But of course, they have to do it in the right order.
And that is indeed what it boils down to – do we value the Torah’s standards of education more than that of the secular world or vice versa? The choice is simple: All the secular “education” that you get will be useless to you in the next world. There, they will not ask you if you know how many US presidents were re-elected in history, or whether you are familiar with the policies of Chairman Mao, or if you know how to program a computer. They will bring a Sefer Torah scroll to you and ask “do you know what it says in here?” The more you know of that, the more you will be considered “educated”. The less you know, the more you will be considered ignorant. So the question is – do I want to be educated on this world or on the next?
And here we thought that a secular education is expensive! Its much more expensive than you think – you can acquire it only at the expense of your time and effort that you could have been putting toward becoming educated in Olam Habah.
Two things, though. First, the prohibition is only to learn secular studies as a regular curriculum. To read about them occasionally in your spare time is permitted.October 8, 2009 8:12 pm at 8:12 pm #1169452Feif UnParticipant
Joseph, I have to comment about your line with R’ Segal zt”l. I learned in Chaim Berlin for a bit, and my older brother was very close with R’ Segal until he passed away. My brother considered leaving high school early to go to Beis Medrash, and when he spoke to R’ Segal about it, R’ Segal told him absolutely not. He told him that he must get a high school diploma, and only then can he go to Beis Medrash. He said that in these times, it is essential that every person get at least a high school diploma before sitting and learning full time.October 8, 2009 8:13 pm at 8:13 pm #1169453ronrsrMember
<<<<< us to distance ourselves from the Goyim in every way…<<<<
further, how can we serve as light unto the nations if we separate ourselves from those nations?October 8, 2009 8:14 pm at 8:14 pm #1169454
I will not argue with copying machines.
The WolfOctober 8, 2009 8:18 pm at 8:18 pm #1169455Feif UnParticipant
Jospeh: you’re partially right here. Some subjects which are taught are not really needed, but if the schools want government money, they have to teach them.
That said, if a person isn’t cut out to sit and learn, there’s nothing wrong with pursuing an education to make a living.
Your point of what they will ask you when you die is something I’ve often thought about. I learned in a yeshiva which is mainly supported by one extremely wealthy man. He is obviously very smart, and had he gone into learning, could probably be a big gadol.
There’s a famous story with the Netziv. He said that when someone dies, he’s not asked “Why weren’t you a R’ Akiva Eiger?” – he said, had I not sat and learned, when I go up there, I would have been asked, “Why weren’t you the Netziv? Where are the seforim you were supposed to write?”
Now, the person who supports the yeshiva I learned in didn’t write any seforim. Could he have? Possibly. But, people from that yeshiva have already written many seforim. So, when he eventually gets up to Shamayim, they may ask him, “Where are the sefotim you were supposed to write?” He can respond, “I didn’t write them. But look, because of me, there are dozens of other seforim which were written instead.”
Is that so bad?October 8, 2009 8:21 pm at 8:21 pm #1169456sammygolMember
Forget about the time wasted on secular studies.
What about the time wasted wasting time on time-wasting secular studies?October 8, 2009 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm #1169457
Well, let me guess. Joseph will not be attending the Albert Einstein College of Medicine fundraiser this year. And I suppose that the willingness of prominent Rabbanim to associate themselves with Yeshiva University is also meaningless to Joseph and others of his ilk–perhaps he would classify them as “Modern Orthodox”–of which we know his opinion, posted in a different thread.
So given Joseph’s ideal world, there would be no Jewish doctors, scientists, engineers, etc. Except, of course, for those who invested only a minimal amount of time learning their subject matter, and only do it for parnasa. Just the guys that I would want to perform my surgery, diagnose my illness or build a bridge in my city.October 8, 2009 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm #1169458oomisParticipant
Think what you will, but I much prefer having a frum doctor who understood what I was saying when I was told I might not be allowed to fast this past Yom Kippur and I replied that I could not possibly eat. Because he is a learned man as well as a doctor, he was able to come to a p’shoroh with me and told me exactly how to ask a shailah about this, and what signs to look out for after which I would have no choice but to break my fast. He saw it was very choshuv to me to go through Y”K properly, and B”H I was able to. Another doctor’s attitude was, “What’s the big deal? So you’ll fast NEXT year!”
Any Jew who thinks a secular education is unnecessary, is fooling himself, Even the frummest of the frum have to know how to add and subtract, how to communicate and write a sentence that makes sense, and how to follow written directions. I have seen uneducated women begin to mix bleach and ammonia for cleaning purposes, because they had never heard that this is toxic. And if anyone wants their kollel wives to be able to support them, they had BETTER hope those wives are educated.
I’m with Starwolf on this one.October 9, 2009 12:01 am at 12:01 am #1169459
No, those professionals may have invested the minimum time learning nonsense that was considered an entrance requirement as opposed to their real medical, law, engineering etc courses, but that growing cadre of Torah-true professionals tend to be the best of their profession (especially MD’s) because they know that they are being looked up to and relied upon to make a kiddush Hashem berabim.
And the attorneys have years of learning halacha and Gemara behind them which is far better training for the practice of law than shtus such as Voltaire, Kant, and chas vesholom “The Bible as Literature” that were part of my undergraduate wasted years.
And I have seen my very well educated mother mix household chemicals improperly because she’s not technically inclined or because perhaps her immigrant grandmother did it. My father has advanced degrees and confuses crawling and flying insect killer because when he was young there was DDT for everything and then later chlordane and other banned goodies so for him all of the new stuff is “schlock”. I assure you not one haimishe housewife I know (let alone any of the many Chabad shluchos whose houses I have been in all over the world) misuses stuff or lets her illiterate cleaning lady mess with anything she doesn’t buy and check for safety. That is because she has a mentality that comes from knowing kashrus and Shabbos laws that are far more complex than reading two labels on two bottles.October 9, 2009 4:02 am at 4:02 am #1169460pookieMember
so why do frum yeshivos have secular studies?October 9, 2009 4:33 am at 4:33 am #1169461
Chashuve Roshei Yeshiva who allowed their talmidim to go to college include:
1. Rav Yaakov Kaminetzky ZT”L
2. Rav Ruderman ZT”L
3. Rav Yitzchok Hutner ZT”L
4. Rav Henoch Leibowitz Zt”L
4. Rav Belsky Shlita”
5. Rav aharon Schechter Shlit”a
None of them elevated college into an ideal. But it was muttar. These were, and are, gedolim of the highest caliber.October 9, 2009 4:36 am at 4:36 am #1169462
That the religious professionals are making a Kiddush Hashem b’rabim is undeniable. However, they could not do so without their secular education. And a great many of these folks–(especially MDs and scientists) continue their secular education long after their graduation, reading about new advances etc. One does not do this incidentally; the best doctors and professionals do it for the love of the work. Just as the best Torah scholars do it for love, and not because it is required of them.October 9, 2009 6:46 am at 6:46 am #1169463
Jothar, You are glossing over at least two critical points: 1) The difference between a b’dieved and a l’chatchilah. And 2) Whether it is needed for Parnasa purposes or not.October 9, 2009 6:48 am at 6:48 am #1169464
… And of course no one you listed issued a free across the board license for it.October 9, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm #1169465
That the religious professionals are making a Kiddush Hashem b’rabim is undeniable. However, they could not do so without their secular education. And a great many of these folks–(especially MDs and scientists) continue their secular education long after their graduation, reading about new advances etc. One does not do this incidentally; the best doctors and professionals do it for the love of the work. Just as the best Torah scholars do it for love, and not because it is required of them.
Yawn. That is secular education in technical fields for the sake of parnosso through excellence in the field. Not for its own sake. Your attempt to be disingenuous does not fool me.October 9, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm #1169466
A660KiloBear posted: “BS”D
Yawn. That is secular education in technical fields for the sake of parnosso through excellence in the field. Not for its own sake. Your attempt to be disingenuous does not fool me.”
Be that as it may, science and medicine are not simply technical fields. Nor do those Orthodox scientists and doctors feel that they are in it for the sake of parnassa only. You might be surprised to know that this is a pretty common topic of discussion among Orthodox scientists, and we know ourselves better than you seem to.
I’m sorry that I’m boring you. I am not trying to fool you or anyone else–I am expressing an honest opinion about myself and my colleagues.October 9, 2009 1:07 pm at 1:07 pm #1169467
I seriously hope you are far more accurate when dealing with measurements in your scientific work, unless you are working on something as earth shattering as how to make thirty-two more scents of Clorox bleach. In that case an addition of 10% to the weight of whatever odoriferous compound you are throwing in the bleach might actually give you better results.October 9, 2009 1:10 pm at 1:10 pm #1169468
EVERY SINGLE frum doctor I know is in it for the parnosso and the “my son in law the doctor” prestige.
They admit it, though some regret it now because of de facto income caps through insurance reimbursement systems that do not make medicine all that attractive to parents of large families.October 9, 2009 1:39 pm at 1:39 pm #1169469Just-a-guyMember
I think this just for parnosso vs. knowledge for its own sake distinction is a false one.
In a learned profession, the best students (who end up with the best parnosso) are curious and passionate about the subject matter. They do not simply do only what they need to get by, and nothing more, as that doesn’t get you anywhere in a challenging professional program. Succesful students go the extra mile. Law students work on the law review and write articles. Medical students do research beyond that which is merely required to pass. People read articles that are of interest to them within their field and expand their knowledge and expertise. Now, you might say, people only do those things to enhance their ability to earn a good parnosso. That is not correct. There is a passion and an aptitude that allows one to succeed in graduate or professional studies, and that passion has to be nurtured.
Moreover, I don’t think anyone here would want to be treated by a doctor, represented by a lawyer, etc., who throughout school, deliberately tried to make sure they learned no more than what was necessary, who never went that extra mile to develop greater expertise.
Succesful professionals love their work, and that interest in their work is something they had to nurture, not suppress.
I’ve had many jobs, some of which were mindless and boring and I did only to put food on the table. Now I am a professional, and the work is both more enjoyable, and more fulfilling than when I had unskilled jobs, but it is also more demanding, and I could not do it if I had no interest in it. Whether you call that for parnosso, or for its own sake, I don’t think there’s much of a difference.October 9, 2009 2:06 pm at 2:06 pm #1169470
Joseph, there is nothing “bedieved” about earning a parnassah. But yes, none of them encouraged college as a place of higher learning for any purpose other than parnassah, although Rav Yaakov ZT”L was known to have mentioned a few Russian novels in shiur. You have also glossed over the distinctions between parnassah and “college lishmah”.
Agudath Israel of America has something called Project COPE, where people come and take classes for Parnassah. This project has the imprimatur of all of the Gedolim on the Moetzes. The only difference between this and Touro College is that Touro is a 4-year program. Neither pretends to have any shitos of “college lishmah”, and both are for parnassah. This leads us to 2 possibilities:
1. Neither Rav Aharon ZT”L nor Rav Moshe ZT”L were talking about places like Touro, Lander, or Project COPE.
2. The halacha is not in accordance with Rav Aharon ZT”L and Rav Moshe ZT”L.
Brooklyn College and the CUNY’s have a bigger shailah in that the classes are mixed. This is a bigger shailah, although many of the gedolim I listed allowed them as well.October 9, 2009 2:08 pm at 2:08 pm #1169471
I am sincerely sorry that you have met such “frum doctors”. Perhaps it is the company that you keep. They are certainly not the ones that I know, teaching and working in Universities in the US and Israel. Maybe on your next visit to your Alma Mater, you should stop in at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, and have a look at the folks with the kipot, and ask them a few questions.
Ask them about the all-nighters, and the time away form their families. Ask them about the student loans that they take to pay for Medical school, and the salaries that they receive for 60+ hour work-weeks, following 7+ years of studies. Studies that were primarily things like organic chemistry, anatomy, biochemistry, physiology, etc. Those do not leave much time for partying. Those were the kids cracking the books when everyone else went out. What did you major in, by the way?
You could also have a look around Israel, where doctors’ salaries are not exactly on par with their US colleagues, and ask them why they are in the field. Have a look at how much parting goes on in Israeli Universities–where the student all have jobs as well as their studies to contend with.October 9, 2009 2:26 pm at 2:26 pm #1169472
I’m not a doctor (never intended to be one), but I do have some medical background.
When I was a freshman in college lo many years ago, I passed by an office on campus every day on my way to my freshman English class. That office was the office of the college Emergency Medical Squad. While I had studied First Aid back when I was in the Boy Scouts, I had never seriously considered doing anything with it. And yet, when I passed by the office, I felt something… tugging at me, so to speak. Eventually I walked in and began pulling shifts as a dispatcher.
Eventually, I ended up taking the Advanced First Aid and EMT courses at the college as well and became a riding member of the Squad. And I did with no intention of ever becoming a doctor, so I can’t say that parnasah was my primary goal*. And yes, I saved lives on the squad.
Many people who are quite knowledgeable knew of my situation — that I was studying emergency medicine solely for its own sake and not for any professional reason — and NOT ONE PERSON told me that what I was engaged in was bittul Torah or a waste of time. On the contrary, I was told that was I was doing was an honorable and admirable thing.
There are those on these boards who will tell you differently. They will say that if it isn’t for paranasah, it shouldn’t be done (and even then it’s clearly not preferred). But all I can say is that I’m glad I “wasted” my time on emergency medicine… and there are other people out there who are better off for it as well.
*Years later, I did end up working professionally on an ambulance on a part time basis for a while – but I can honestly say that I had no real intention of doing so when I first began to study emergency medicine. It was simply because I found myself in need of a small paycheck that I took the job.October 9, 2009 2:41 pm at 2:41 pm #1169473Josh31Participant
The reality in the world today is that secular studies are key to most ways of earning Kosher Money. In the past this was not true.
Without Kosher Money there can be no Gadlus in Torah nor any Kavod HaTorah.
What works is for the vast majority to work and support a small Shevet Levi properly so they be free to fulfil their mission with Kavod.October 9, 2009 4:28 pm at 4:28 pm #1169474
The mishneh says “whoever doesn’t teach his son a trade is as if he taught him banditry”. How many more chillul Hashem geneivah scandals do we need to realize the import of these words?
I know someone will immediately counter with “eini melameid bni ela torah”. Which is nice, except the gemara says Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai’s derech didn’t work for most. Every chillul Hashem is another proof that for our dor we need to teach our kids parnassah bederech heter. It’s also a proof we need more mussar and hashkafah introduced to the curriculum, but that’s for the OTD threads.October 9, 2009 4:59 pm at 4:59 pm #1169475
except the gemara says Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai’s derech didn’t work for most.
Not only that… HKBH had to send RSBY back to his cave for another year so that he could learn that working for a living wasn’t a sin deserving of death.
The WolfOctober 9, 2009 5:07 pm at 5:07 pm #1169476
Wolfish, that’s not pshat in the midrash. He overreacted to bittul torah. When he came out he was able to see the good in people.
When Moshiach comes, the world will return to the state of Adam Kadma’ah, where we all can sit and learn without the need to work.October 9, 2009 5:26 pm at 5:26 pm #1169477
Wolfish, that’s not pshat in the midrash. He overreacted to bittul torah.
That’s right… he had to (re)learn that working is not bittul Torah.
The WolfOctober 9, 2009 6:56 pm at 6:56 pm #1169478goody613Member
i remember reading in a biogrophy of reb yaakov that when he was a bochur he would have to sleep on the floor by his host and there was someone his age and he would get secular books from him to readOctober 9, 2009 7:58 pm at 7:58 pm #1169479HIEParticipant
goody, are you a rav, you seem to know so much?October 9, 2009 8:22 pm at 8:22 pm #1169480
Wolfish, I read through the relevant gemara (Shabbos 33b) and meforshim and your reading is the more correct one. I stand corrected.
Rav shimon Bar Yochai was on the madreiga that nochrim would do the work for him. When he saw people engaging in work, he saw what to him looked like bittul torah. After his 1-year punishment in the cave, he came out with the understanding that not everyone was on his level to a learn all day and avoid work.But he heard a balabos explain why he got myrtle branches to honor shabbos, and he understood that as long as everyone tries to keep the Torah on their own level, it is what Hashem wants.Therefore, he can accept others as they are.
this didn’t mean that he started working in the fields. On his level, it would have been the aveirah he viewed everyone as committing earlier. This is why one needs a rav and a rebbe- to know where one is holding and what is the correct mehalech.October 9, 2009 8:24 pm at 8:24 pm #1169481
Making of A godol mentions how Rav Yaakov ZT”L once quoted a Tolstoy book in his shiur and was surprised that nobody was familiar with it.October 9, 2009 8:28 pm at 8:28 pm #1169482goody613Member
what????October 9, 2009 8:49 pm at 8:49 pm #1169483anon for thisParticipant
Jothar, is that why the book was banned?October 9, 2009 9:21 pm at 9:21 pm #1169484mybatMember
I think that peoples main goal when studying is parnassah, even with the goyim. If they enjoy what they are doing there’s nothing wrong. No doctor is not going to charge most of his patients or work for free, and no one is asking them to.October 9, 2009 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm #1169485havesomeseichelMember
For those against college (or any secular) education, please answer me the following points:
* Why are you wasting time on this site? bitul torah!
* Women dont have an issue of bitul torah…
***. Are you so against marrying your sons to families with wealthy father-in-laws? If you are so against secular education, it would fit that you would be ashamed to take “tainted money”. No more father in laws who are lawyers, doctors, engineers or ones that have any college education! Dont take money from those who earn a living. Dont collect money from those who have college degrees!October 11, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm #1169486ZachKessinMember
I work as a computer programmer, and I can tell you that someone who is only in this for the paycheck is not going to last, and in things like Law or Medicine that is even more so. This job requires hard work and some late nights, and many other jobs even more so. Someone who wants to be a lawyer (for example) but does not love it is going to burn out very fast.October 11, 2009 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm #1169487
“Women dont have an issue of bitul torah…”
hss – Good question. Reb Elchonon discusses this in his responsum. He says that girls would also be prohibited if the prohibition is due to the affront to Kovod HaTorah involved with college, but if the prohibition is only due to Bitul Torah, it seems he is not certain. His words are:
“If the prohibition is due to Bitul Torah, maybe it applies only to men but not to women, but the truth is, women are also obligated to learn the Halachos that pertain to them in order to fulfill the Mitzvos.
“Or perhaps, even without this reason [of Bitul Torah] it is prohibited to learn secular studies regularly, so as not to give them value like the value of the Torah….”
He does not come to a conclusion regarding this.
(I’ll also note, that no one has brought any Rishon who disagrees with the aforementioned Rama – as there is none. And that is not even considering the Piskei Din issued in accordance with the Rama by Rav Elchonon Wasserman ZT’L and Rav Boruch Ber Liebowitz ZT’L; and what the Chasam Sofer and Rashba said regarding secular studies; and the statements by Rav Moshe Feinstein ZT’L and Rav Aharon Kotler ZT’L condemning college.)October 12, 2009 2:58 am at 2:58 am #1169488
One more point regarding my previous post on how the halacha of learning secular subjects affects women. Women still get reward for learning (those parts of Torah that they are allowed to learn, of course), even though it is not as great as the reward for a man. They are “aino metzuveh v’oseh”. Women need Torah too. Without Torah, you can’t get Olam Habah. And so the Gemora asks your quesiton: Nashim b’,ai zachyan – How do women merit Olam Habah if they do not learn Torah? The Gemora answers; Bakroei banaihu l’bei kenishta, ib’asniyei gavraihu bai rabanon – by supporting and helping their husband and children learn.
Back to the original topic… the bottom line remains, as Rav Boruch Ber explains clearly, that studying secular studies as a curriculum is assur per Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah, regardless of whether there is apikorsus.October 12, 2009 3:04 am at 3:04 am #1169489
Joseph, the Rema in YD 246:4 would also ban the Internet and HAM Radio as Bittul Torah.October 12, 2009 3:45 am at 3:45 am #1169490
I seriously hope you are far more accurate when dealing with measurements in your scientific work, unless you are working on something as earth shattering as how to make thirty-two more scents of Clorox bleach. In that case an addition of 10% to the weight of whatever odoriferous compound you are throwing in the bleach might actually give you better results. “
As a scientist, I was taking into account all of your projected weight gain over the chagim.
Actually, a typo, of course…..October 12, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm #1169491anon for thisParticipant
A600KiloBear, you wrote:
EVERY SINGLE frum doctor I know is in it for the parnosso and the “my son in law the doctor” prestige.
They admit it, though some regret it now because of de facto income caps through insurance reimbursement systems that do not make medicine all that attractive to parents of large families.”
I have several relatives who are physicians, and personally know about a dozen other frum physicians. None of them entered the medical field for the prestige; there is very little prestige in being bossed by nurses and bullied by attendings. All of the frum doctors I know chose the profession both to earn a living and to help others. Many of them do have large families; I know one frum physician with 15 children.
As other posters have noted, the best doctors (and many of the frum doctors I know are in this category) don’t just put in the minimum amount of work, but will put in the extra research/ consulting/ testing work required to diagnose the problem. Since doctors are not reimbursed for most of this work, they do this work to help their patients, not for the money.
And mybat, I’ve seen many physicians work for free. Whenever someone approaches a doctor on shabbos/ erev shabbos/ yom tov to have his kid’s ear examined for a possible infection, shift a child’s elbow/ shoulder back into place, or see if an ER visit is required, that doctor is working for free. When someone tells a doctor about his situation and the doctor advises whether a visit to a spcialist is required (and if so, which specialist), that doctor is working for free. Frum doctors do this frequently.
starwolf and Just-a-Guy said it more eloquently than I did, really, but I just wanted to add my personal experience observing practicing physicians.October 12, 2009 1:54 pm at 1:54 pm #1169492squeakParticipant
anon – your experience is by far the norm. It is only a few raving cynics who actually believe that there are no altruitstic doctors. Now, lawyers on the other hand……October 12, 2009 4:34 pm at 4:34 pm #1169493
Joseph, the question is, is the Rema referring to people who are Torah umnaso only, or also to people who wouldn’t be learning anyway?October 12, 2009 4:42 pm at 4:42 pm #1169494
“the Rema in YD 246:4 would also ban the Internet and HAM Radio as Bittul Torah.”
Jothar, The only context I could make out of your posting that here, is you mean to say that if you eat chazer you might as well as be mechallel Shabbos as well.October 12, 2009 4:43 pm at 4:43 pm #1169495haifagirlParticipant
My uncle used to be a volunteer in a hospital. He worked in the library. When his doctor retired and he had to choose a new one, he chose the doctor who was always doing research. The one who requested the most articles. The one who was keeping up with the latest developments. BTW, this doctor happened to be frum.October 12, 2009 4:56 pm at 4:56 pm #1169496squeakParticipant
Joseph, let me me help you put it in context. If someone eats Chazzer, then he should not be the most outspoken voice decrying chillul shabbos.October 12, 2009 5:11 pm at 5:11 pm #1169497Pashuteh YidMember
Joseph, the Rama in Hilchos Shabbos 308 says one use a telescope and even adjust it. The MB says that one is allowed to learn other chochmos on Shabbos and the minhag is to be meikil. Since one does not do things for parnasa on Shabbos, it must mean one can use the telescope and study secular books for their own sake, to satisfy one’s intellectual curiosity.
In addition, when the Rama says one can study B’Akrai, that is a term which is undefinable. There is no shiur. So it is a matter of judgment. As long as it does not surpass his Torah studies, would probably be OK. Second, if it is for parnasa, then even if it does surpass the time for his Torah studies it is OK.October 12, 2009 5:14 pm at 5:14 pm #1169498
So you are suggesting that a chazer eater (who doesn’t attempt to defend his port eating habits and admits his wrongdoing) who sees rampant chillul Shabbos by people who yell Shabbos is no different than Sunday, should not be outspoken against that? You are incorrect.
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