Tanach in Yeshivos

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  • #2033265
    DBS
    Participant

    It seems to me that Tanach in yeshivos is an afterthought at best. Can anyone share insight onto why this is? The mishnah in Pirkei Avos does, after all, say that one should know all of Mikrah before going on to even Mishnayos.

    #2033299
    mesivta bachur
    Participant

    It’s to keep toxic masculinity in check. If boys were taught Tanach they would feel superior to girls in all ways this way woman will be able to have some edge of knowledge over their husbands.

    #2033298
    no nonsense
    Participant

    That’s because they are Non-Profit organizations.

    #2033288
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    We did learn Shmuel.

    #2033313
    Yabia Omer
    Participant

    This is wrong. Just because Yeshivas do not teach it does not make it right. Tanach is the basis for everything. There is no excuse for a Yeshiva bochur not to know Tanach.

    #2033323
    Novelty
    Participant

    I agree that it’s a massive issue (though Mesivta Bachur’s answer was quite amusing!).
    There’s a tremendous amount of learning going on, but some focus should be put on Tanach.

    #2033340
    smerel
    Participant

    I won’t go into an halachic analysis because this is not the right venue but to paraphrase what the Brisker Rav said about this question, the amount of effort and depth it would take to understand Nach properly would make it into a primary area of study.

    They type of places which focus on Nach rarely produce serious Talmedy Chachomim. Even their seforim on Nach are rarely learned. Conversely the type of Talmedy Chachomim who are major experts in Nach (like Rav Yisroel Reisman) did not spend their Yeshiva or kollel years focusing on Nach.

    #2033405
    akuperma
    Participant

    Because they learned Tanach as children.

    The parts they haven’t learned have little practical value, as one doesn’t decide halacha based on Tanach.

    It’s fun, so studying Tanach in yeshiva would be like having ice cream for dinner (by analogy Talmud is similar to meat and vegetables).

    #2033409
    lakewhut
    Participant

    Because there’s lemudei chol as well. The main learning is Tirah Shel Ba’al Peh which is in the Gemara. And some Nach is taught in most yeshivas.

    #2033415
    Harotzehbilumshmo
    Participant

    TY Smerel for some words of reason and mesorah of daas torah. Rather that every self proclaimed expert authoritatively stating their soap box opinion as to what yeshivos should be doing. We leave that to gedolim. Just wondering, do those that quote that mishna also follow thru to the rest of the program and learn all that is brought there? What about the other mishneh, actually braisoh, or pas bmelech tocahal? Or how about על תרבה שיחה עם האשה, באשתך נאמר, etc. we go with mesorah, particularly with something as fundamental to our existence as yeshivos and mesoras hatorah. and to novelty, I personally prefer the response of no nonsense

    #2033442
    mesivta bachur
    Participant

    Thanks Novelty!

    #2033443

    > something as fundamental to our existence as yeshivos and mesoras hatorah

    without taking sides in the argument: mesorah of current yeshivos is less than 200 years. Nach has a longer yichus. If Hashem did not think we need it, maybe he would not have bothered with it. On the other hand, many claim that you learn Nach from quotes in the Gemorah.

    #2033467
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    AAQ, the gemara itself says not to learn nach “overly”. I will add that people who learn nach in yeshivos often learn it without the nesorah of gedolei yisroel; they use it to question daas torah and dismiss many teachings of gedolei yisroel. They “read” about Devorah and think that women being rabbis isn’t such a bad idea, for one example. They also emphasize the historical side of nach, often against the accepted interpretation of the pesukim. They use it to support zionism and believe it engenders love of the land (it could if you distort it that way…)

    All of our ideological enemies have stressed tanach, from the tzedukim, karaites, maskilim, secular zionists, and christians…what smerel said about how to build talmidei chachamim is 100% true. The poskim hundreds of years ago said that being meshalesh learning doesn’t apply nowadays, and that gemara takes priority, both because it is “balul mekulan” and because it contains the necessary tools to pasken halacha

    #2033477
    1a2b3c
    Participant

    Mesorah of people who think that they know better than Gedolei Yisrael is much older than 200 years! I learned that from Tanach.

    #2033490
    mdd1
    Participant

    AviraDeArah, there is an obligation to learn all of the Torah. Also, Rashi in parshas KiSisa brings down a ma’amar ChaZ”L saying that a Talmid Chocham must be adorned with knowledge of the TaNaCh. And nobody learns it overly in Yeshivos.

    #2033499
    Yabia Omer
    Participant

    I don’t know what “Gedolim” you’re talking about or what “Daas Torah”. My mesorah is that Tanach was learned throughout life and my ancestors all had it at their fingertips. And who says that Ruach Chachamim is nocha with what Smerel says? And since when is Brisk a Raya for anything?

    #2033503
    ujm
    Participant

    Everyone should be learning the entire Torah over the course of every year even they’re Mavir Sedra — Shnayim Mikra V’Echad Targum.

    #2033509
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    There is an obligation to be maavir sedra too, but most people don’t spend more than an hour a week doing it. We don’t find talmidei chachamim who don’t know tanach; they do! But the stressing of it in day schools and MO yeshivos leads to neither understanding of tanach al pi chazal, nor success in learning altogether. This can be seen by the amount of MO graduates (the half who are even frum) who learn on their own or at all after their year of fun and games in eretz yisroel. They might listen to inspiring speeches encouraging them to be good older brothers who take their younger brothers to movie theaters (i heard a motivational MO rabbi speaker person say this once) but very few learn in a semi-serious (i.e. daf yomi) context.

    #2033510
    TS Baum
    Participant

    AviraDeArah, why are we not emphasising the shulchan aruch? The mishna berurah? The Mishna & Gemara is not the final psak, you can have the same tayna by there too. Yes, the gemara does contains the necessary tools to pasken halacha, but is not the final psak.
    Shouldn’t we learn shulchan aruch more (if at all!)???

    #2033522
    n0mesorah
    Participant

    Again it is not a Mishna and it does not say to learn all of Tanach before starting gemara.

    #2033523
    n0mesorah
    Participant

    At fifteen, a bachur does not need his yeshiva’s encouragement to learn Torah. There is enough time to learn whatever he wants besides the yeshiva curriculum.

    #2033526

    Avira > All of our ideological enemies have stressed tanach,

    Not sure of this argument, they also stress Humash! Should we stop reading it in shul? True, we de-emphasize 10comm for a similar reason. Yes to 1/3 approach that leads to spending most time on Gemorah (where Gemorah means not just Dafim, but ability to reason, etc, while halakha l’maase belongin to 2nd 3rd of Mishna). Still, this means that by 120 you need to finish not just Shas but Tanach also.

    You are also right that Tzionim were using Tanach to build up a view of Yiddishkeit different from the accepted Galut mesorah. Are you saying it is a reason to de-emphasize Tanach? How was Nach treated in early yeshivos? I think Netziv in Volozhin had Tanach on the agenda, I don’t know to what degree.

    #2033558
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    Ts, learning halacha pesukah, halacha lemaysoh is a separate issue – it’s more of a hecsher mitzvah; the beis halevi explains that this is why yidden didn’t make a bracha before learning, because they looked at the whole learning as a hecsher mitzvah to know what to do and how to be mekayam the mitzvos, and we don’t make brochos on hecsher mitzvos. Not to be confused with shmaatsa aliba dehilchasa and al manas laasos, where you learn the sugya itself.

    #2033568
    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    The poskim hundreds of years ago said that being meshalesh learning doesn’t apply nowadays, and that gemara takes priority, both because it is “balul mekulan”

    That’s Tosafos.

    #2033575
    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    The mistake is to think that Yeshiva is where you learn anything you’d ever need to learn. No. Yeshiva is where you are taught the skills to be able to learn on your own.

    Most Yeshivos do teach some Nach, so that we get to know and recognize what it is all about. And then the focus is on Gemara, Gemara in depth, Halacha (maybe not enough), and a sprinkling of Hashkafa. These are things that require being taught and require spending time, especially youthful time.

    Whenever you have the time to do so, please do learn Nach. A friend of mine had this idea that whenever a Gemara quoted a Pasuk from Nach he would look up the entire Perek. When I was in Kollel I began my day with first learning some Nach. No new skills required for that.

    #2033587
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    Halevi, your friend’s idea is exactly the way my first beis medrash gemara rebbe taught me to approach gemara; we would learn the pesukim quoted, usually with the malbim if it was nach, then see how the gemara is using it, and then go back to the meforshim and see the pasuk in light of both. Especially in agadeta gemaros that many people gloss over, we would spend as much time explaining the pshat as we did on shmaatsa. We’d use maharal, maharsha, ben yehoyada, and others

    #2033603
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    Oh, you said perek…i thought you said pasuk, my mistake

    #2033645
    n0mesorah
    Participant

    Dear Halevi,

    I agree. What is not emphasized in the yeshiva does not mean that there is less value in knowing or learning it. The Fallsberg Rosh Yeshiva says that yeshiva boys should be learning Zohar too. Yet, the common belief is that yeshiva boys are not supposed too be learning it.

    #2033634
    n0mesorah
    Participant

    Dear Avira,

    The best products of the MO schools go on to be top boys in the Mir, Brisk, and Lakewood. When looking at the cream of the yeshiva, it is much, much more diverse than the bulk of the yeshiva crop. So please take back your point. The strength of the yeshivos is not effected from not learning navi.

    #2033655
    Shimon Nodel
    Participant

    What’s stopping a bachur from picking up a mikraos gedolos and start to learn nach in his spare time? This is what I did in mesivta instead of reading novels. Learning mishna berura isn’t a bad idea either. Are yeshiva bachurim so helpless now that they can only learn what is spoon fed? I think they are capable of their own extra limudim.

    My grandfather was from the Mir Yeshiva. I’m told he would love to learn tanach when he came home from work. I’m pretty sure it was a lot more prevalent in the yeshivish crowd to be proficient in nach even though it wasn’t kavua.

    #2033652
    ujm
    Participant

    n0m: affected, not effected. (That’s the least wrong part of your post.)

    #2033672
    n0mesorah
    Participant

    Nope. Effected. As in caused by something. I could have just written, the strength of the yeshiva is not caused by not learning navi.

    I’m aware that you post that yeshivos are about gathering pixie dust. We disagree.

    #2033679
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    Nomesorah; “the top” boys in all of the yeshivos you mentioned were the products of MO yeshivos? Have you taken a poll? on what are you basing this statement? Having gone to a few of the places you mentioned, it is true that there are some boys there went to MO schools(myself included), but the overwhelming majority, 95-98%, did not. It’s not as if the MO school built them up to being bnei torah through modern orthodoxy, and then they went on to the next natural step to Lakewood. It was despite their background that they ended up there, often resulting in being ostracized from friends and even family.

    As someone who went through the MO system, the schools are not interested in producing bnei torah, or even very committed jews; they’re interested in producing proud, educated, PHd -holding tax paying zionists who hopefully keep shabbos and wear fabric on their heads, (unless said tax paying position makes that uncomfortable)and make enough money to send their kids to the same enriched institutions(my own school is not enriched). There are some rebbeim in modern schools (again, myself included) who are trying their best to teach authentic torah in a maelstrom of heresy and bizayon hatorah, but that’s not the undercurrent students experience, not among faculty, home life, and definitely not among their social peers. We grew up making fun of “black hatters” and “those fanatics who won’t hug their aunts” or who won’t watch television.

    Learning nach and feeling better about themselves, that they know something that the bnei yeshivos do not know, is just part of the lie that they’re sold. I learned nach in yeshiva; I later learned that I had been fed lies and been given a narrative around tanach that had no mesorah and was better suited for a bible class given by david Ben gurion. So yea, I think MO schools learning navi is a chisaron, not chas veshalom because of nach itself, but because of both how they learn it and the superiority it engenders over those who don’t.

    #2033962
    n0mesorah
    Participant

    Dear Avira,

    You misunderstood. The top of these Yeshivos have some boys from modern backgrounds. Meaning, some of the best boys go on to these yeshivos and learn the same as the boys from the yeshiva background. Which points to the fact that the curriculum is not what makes the product. The regular yeshivos can switch to learning navi all day, and it would not alter the product in any personal way. Your being personal on the wrong topic.

    The same way the yeshiva product is not based on Nov learning nach, the modern product is not based on emphasizing it.But now that you have given your full rant, I think your looking at the modern community as incompetent at it’s core. And the yeshiva community as successful to it’s mission. So then you lined up what they are practically doing with what you assumed to be their outcomes. I strongly disagree. Most observant Jewish communities are remarkably parallel. Because our terminology is different for the same nouns, we think ourselves to be much more different.

    Again, any learning boy or girl that has the opportunity to study nach, most definitely should.

    #2034013
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    I did misunderstand your post and thought that you were saying that most of the top boys in serious yeshivos are from modern backgrounds. My mistake. However your contention that we see from the fact that there are any boys who are good at leaning that are the product of MO is untenable. Many, many rosh yeshivos went to public school, including rav avigdor miller, rav yitzchok sheiner, and rav nosson tzvi finkel. Does that mean that the product of pubic school is rosh yeshivos? No! You’re trying to prove the authenticity of a system based on a tiny minority of its products. They are not given tools to sit and learn. They are given guidance and discipline in secular studies and western thought. They are taught that just sitting and learning is backward. Have you ever seen what goes on in an MO school? Or are you making this assumption based solely on the fact that there are a handful of essentially baalei teshuva in regular schools?

    According to you, the differences between an MO day school and a yeshivish school are mainly semantic, and superficial. Let’s chart out the differences:

    Yeshivish school:
    – Most of the day learning gemara from lively, motivated rebbeim who themselves learn torah the whole day.
    – No involvement with secular culture, movies, music, television
    – strict adherence to halacha, with repercussions for breaking thereof
    – absolutely no intergender interaction
    – expectation that one will remain learning seriously no matter what they do for a living
    – guided path for the majority to continue full time learning
    – college discouraged for the majority
    – prudence and discouragement of pursuing worldly passions and interests
    – mishmar
    – Sunday is the same as any other day for learning
    – discouraging or at least not acknowledging zionism
    – mussar taught from seforim and a mesorah

    Typical MO school:
    – mussar based around social justice and prejudice, “anti racism”, with a sprinkling of teaching against lashon hora (regarding everyone, not just jews)
    – assumption of or facilitated interaction with the opposite gender
    – classes on and celebration of zionism and its secular, murderous founders
    – tolerance of all matter of deviancy (except yeshivishe people or the dreaded “satmar”)
    – celebration of and encouragement to pursue higher education for its own sake
    – roughly half of the time spent learning torah as compared to yeshivishe schools
    – Sunday is a day of abandon without any learning
    – paltry amount of gemara skills learned, many children have no idea which mesechta they are learning or even what “mesechta” means. Most do not learn tosfos until mid high school, if at all
    – integration of secular culture as a given part of jewish life, including consumption of music, movies, television, with a quiet suggestion that one follow the non Jewish rating system and avoid R rated content

    Where exactly are the parallels?

    #2034094
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    Also, i said above that it’s not nach or its absence that makes the big difference. It’s the list of differences above that does. I know an old temani yid who told me that they spent a tremendous amount of time on tanach when he was in cheder, for most of his schooling years; he knows tanach backwards and forwards – that’s his mesorah, and if MO schools were half as frum as the temani yeshivos were, i would only say that the litvishe don’t hold rhat way, and nothing more. However, MO learning nach has to be seen both in light of the ignorant and irreligious character of the MO educational and societal framework, and the results thereof. A temani yid taught tanach will not use it to defend feminism, because he has never heard of such things. Nor will he use knowledge of tanach as a “shtuch” to show that he is better than his peers, because he is just as (actually, more) frum as they are.

    #2034164
    Harotzehbilumshmo
    Participant

    Aha! Sagacious. We trust the geonim of yesteryear to understand and perpetuate the mesorah of before. Rather than anyone with a computer today.

    #2034168
    n0mesorah
    Participant

    Dear Avira,

    My point is that success is in the hands of the student, not the system. Do we agree that yeshiva boys learning nach is not a threat to the product?

    #2034201

    Avira > There are some rebbeim in modern schools (again, myself included) who are trying their best to teach authentic torah

    Avira, while I agree with a lot of your criticism of MO schools, you also need to acknowledge that you personal position is rather at (one of the) extremes of the Jewish thought, as you can see in this forum. You judge everything else from the position of total disparagement of zionism, professions, etc, etc – that is of secondary boycott – everyone who would tolerate anything of the above should be in herem. Again, you can stand on your position personally an it seems to reflect your personal middos, maybe you are gilgul of Pinchas – but, intellectually, you should give room for other opinions when you judge something as “legitimate”. There is a lot of precedent for such approach – giving hashgaha for something you would not eat personally, for example.

    #2034202

    Arguing about schools as one is absolutely better than others is silly. We have a variety of people and we need a variety of people – Yissachar, Zevulun, Levi, etc. Each of the legitimate derachim has some people who benefit from that: there are yeshivos that do not teach math graduate many Talmidei Chachamim, and there are day schools that graduates lawyers and doctors who keep shabbos. These Talmidei Chachamim will teach these doctors throughout their life, and these doctors will be curing T’Chmim … Also, there are people who would go to one type of schools and would never go to another. Both might have problems with inappropriate people not doing there what is intended and we can argue about the extent of those problems, but there is legitimacy for multiple approaches.

    #2034246
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    Yes, i agree that there’s no danger or risk for people to learn navi, as long as they are either learning it with mikraos gedolos meforshim, artscroll, or have someone reputable explain it to them

    #2034304
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    AAQ, I’m not against individuals entering professions; im not sure what gave you that impression. I’ve known many ehrlich doctors, lawyers and accountants. But they didn’t grow up with that being the focus of there lives or their parents’ highest hope. They learned behasmada and for whatever reason decided that they belong in that capacity. Most gedolim’s opposition for it to be the communal norm that most people should be guided in that direction has been discussed here at length; rav moshe guided the chinuch of the yeshivos and this was his shitah. I also have no taanos on people who are raised in a torah im derech eretz community, in which the norm is to learn intensively for a few years before going to college, and spending a year or two in kolel after marriage before entering the workforce. I have several friends in that community and they’re very ehrlich, learn a lot when they’re not working, and were not influenced by their college days.

    MO schools don’t teach torah im derech eretz, they prioritize secular studies, secular philosophies, and teach a trifle amount of ‘hebrew’ as it’s called, to be forgotten when one exits the institution.

    While I’m very opposed to zionism, I do respect the “chardal” types who learn a lot and are taught to be separate from secular philosophy and culture, and who would recoil in horror at the thought of mixing genders. My rebbe rav belsky told me once that they’re bnei torah, who have one meshigas(i don’t recall if this was his exact word, but i do remember it being a forceful term). The boys who were niftar al kidush Hashem in mercaz horav are examples of this.

    #2034311
    EJMRBro
    Participant

    What started out as a good thread has turned to foaming at the mouth about zionism. Just chill out guys. If you read haftorah each week with the baal korei and follow the megillos you end up covering all the material

    #2034335

    Avira > Most gedolim’s opposition for it to be the communal norm

    Look, communal norm is an important issue, I agree, especially with communal disarray in the last two centuries. Yes, there is nonsense taught in schools and yes there are parents who send kids to colleges and lose them. Still, there are different individuals and you don’t need to disparage them to defend your communal norm. Take, say, CTLawyer’s family – his great-grandather, I think, came from a business in Germany to start a business in US. It is nonsense to say that his family should shun science and technology and just go sell shmatas on amazon like everyone else.

    #2034336

    Avira,
    ps appeal to an authority you would accept about different paths for different people: mY friend and I briefly re-connected with our long-before Teacher from Lakewood at a Simcha. I was in a PhD program, my friend was a somewhat successful musician, both in the community and in Jazz. We compared notes afterwards: Rav told my friend to drop everything and go to a yeshiva out of town, and told me to add a specific shiur in town.

    #2034378
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    AAQ, i think i was very clear in my post that i don’t look negatively individuals who enter professions or higher education. I don’t like the ideology that holds that this should be, bedavka, the mahalach for the tzibur. I also respect those communities where that is the norm, where they are otherwise very frum and committed to learning

    #2034863

    Avira, I pologize. maybe you need to clarify what you call “MO” schools that you cry about. Maybe there is some better term to clarify.

    Also, in defense those “MO” schools that do what you say – these schools might have many children from not-very-observant families to begin with. Parents seek a private prep school with Jewish flavor. They may not go to more “Jewish” schools. The “only” problem that kids from observant “MO” families go to same schools and who wins is not known lehathila …

    #2034954
    AviraDeArah
    Participant

    When i say MO schools, I am referring to schools that have a
    Greater emphasis/more time on secular studies than kodesh, a mixture of boys and girls, a cultivation of a non/anti torah approach to ethics, civics, politics, and ideology, and other hallmarks of modern orthodoxy. Zionism is a separate issue, but fits into the last qualifier for the most part.

    There is a place for kiruv yeshivos, or as you described, private schools with a sprinkling of judaism for parents who otherwise would put their kids in fancy prep schools. That doesn’t mean that their education is valid or a serious attempt at transmitting Torah to the next generation. Good kiruv yeshivos know how to make the most out of what little time and attention for kodesh that the kids will put in.

    There are many yeshivos which cater to baalabatishe jews who want their kids to be ready for college, but this isn’t their main focus. Their high school years are filled with torah as the first priority.

    #2034971
    UniqueUsername
    Participant

    Here’s my 6 agurot (2 cents).
    One should be given a good and broad pshat knowledge of ALL of Nach at a young age, elementary school. This would be consistent with the Mishna in Avot and the Shulchan Aruch YD 246:4 and would stay with the person for life.
    Of course, with Nach there are many levels of depth – but one should know the basic pshat, in entirety. Besides knowing Nach, when one sees a pasuk in a Gemara or anywhere else, one should already have some idea of the pasuk and context. What Chaza”l learn from the pasuk can thereby be much better understood and appreciated.
    Hearing Haftorah falls well short of the mark (someone suggested that).
    My suggestion is for people of age that is appropriate to be reading the CR – to read a Perek a day, trying to understand the pshat of the words (Metzudot).
    And yes, Tanach is very much centralized around Eretz Yisrael. Does anyone have a problem with that?

    #2035017
    n0mesorah
    Participant

    Dear Avira,

    I think navi is Torah enough that it does not need qualifiers. We have come close enough to an agreement. As maybe you put similar qualifiers on all parts of Torah study.

    I did not take this discussion as one about the MO communities doing something right. Why did you harp on that so much? Maybe you do not realize, but all your posts can be switched around too argue for the modern and against the yeshiva community. For someone who claims to have gone through both, it is weird and creepy that you cannot be objective.

    PS I do not care for either side of this debate. They are both similarly limited to what their own academic approach. Life and the world at large, are barely noticed by either of them.

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