The Kiddush Hashem of Lakewood

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  • This topic contains 44 replies, has 19 voices, and was last updated by  Avi K 2 years ago.
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  • #1309393

    Joseph
    Participant

    Where else can you find tens of thousands of Yidden learning Torah יוֹמָם וָלַיְלָה? Where else, other than Eretz Yisroel itself, do thousands and thousands of Yidden congregate, move to, dorm and stam come to for the simple singular reason of being attracted to the תורה הקדושה? Wow!

    What other town is attracting Yidden from all over the country, including many other towns with a shrinking Jewish population as a result of so many moving to Lakewood, and indeed coming from all over the world?

    Wow!! What a massive massive קידוש השם!!

    Before the heilige HaGaon HaRav Aharon Kotler zt’l zy’a established the Torah community of Lakewood in the wake of the destruction of European Jewry, who would even have dreamt how great and large Lakewood would become as the epicenter of Jewish life in chutz l’aaretz.

    Lakewood is truly one of Rav Aharon’s greatest legacies.

    There is no greater קידוש השם than so much לימוד תורה.

    #1309744

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    There are not tens of thousands of people learning in Kollel in Lakewood

    The Population of Lakewood is 100,000 people. Frum jews make up about 50-60% . So if we say 60% are frum jews. Half of them are women meaning 30,000 men and 30,000 women. Many of these are children and some people in Lakewood do work. so the real number of people in Kollel in Lakewood is closer to 10,000

    #1309749

    Joseph
    Participant

    Where did I mention only Kollel? The Torah of our tinokos shel beis rabban may be the greatest Torah of all.

    #1309753

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    many of the children are too young to learn torah and alot of the boys who are learning go somewhere else

    #1309752

    Joseph
    Participant

    Additionally, 100,000 was several years ago. In 2017, with Lakewood being the fastest growing town in the entire state and one of the fastest in the entire United States, it’s more like 115,000, of which 2/3 are now frum — meaning about 75-80,000. Furthermore, the massive amounts of Yeshiva students from New York, around the country and from around the world are not counted by the census, as they’re counted where their families live, not where they’re students. So that is well over 10,000 more uncounted adult students in Lakewood.

    Beis Medrash Govah alone has close to 8,000 Kollel yungerleit. And there are many more kollelim in Lakewood besides BMG. And there are 30,000 yiddishe kinder officially bused by Lakewood to yeshivos every day, in addition to another number of Lakewood Yeshiva children who don’t use district transportation.

    Moreover, the frum community has spread to outside of Lakewood, to neighboring towns such as Brick, Jackson, Toms River, Howell, etc. And those aren’t counted by the census or by the board of ed as part of the Lakewood population, so those are many more to the above numbers.

    #1309772

    Kotlorism
    Participant

    ANother Joseph outright lie. There are a little more than 5 thousand yungerleit and 1,500 bochrim. Thats a huge number, but no need to inflate it and wrote b”tens of thousands”. But hey…. Thats Joseph. Just one big pack of sheker.

    Dont ever expect him to apologize.

    #1309775

    Joseph
    Participant

    See my second post on this thread. I included our Tinokos Shel Beis Rabban. Furthermore, as I said in my third post above, there are many more kollelim in Lakewood besides BMG.

    #1309784

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    You said clise to 8,000 in BMG kollel.

    #1309791

    Joseph
    Participant

    I meant BMG yungerleit and bochorim combined, though I inadvertently omitted the latter. And he may be correct that it’s closer to 7,000 than almost 8,000, but there was no need to fly off the handle for that error.

    #1309815

    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    To Joseph:

    Are you really serious about Lakewood being such a “Kiddush hashem”?? You are either trolling as usual or are totally oblivious to the fact that welfare is so widespread in the township that according to census data, more than half of all the children live in homes that receive some form of government assistance for the poor. There are 10,000 more children in households with married couples in Lakewood receiving food, income or state aid than Newark. Clearly, the BMG network did much to help rebuild the frum tzibur and support limud torah in the post-War period here in the U.S. However, do you really believe that Aron Kotler imagined that the frum community he helped establish and nurture would deteriorate to the point It has become the welfare capital of the state??

    #1309829

    Joseph
    Participant

    That’s because in Newark the type of families that are born there are out of wedlock. If that’s your cup of tea, housing is quite cheap there. You could even squat in abandoned buildings.

    Baruch Hashem in Lakewood the Torah community has virtually a zero out of wedlock issue. So of course there’s more households with married couples in Lakewood receiving food aid than in Newark. And every Yid who is legally eligible for state aid should take full 100% advantage and apply and accept all such aid. Yidden pay above average in taxes; and every Yid who qualifies for state aid should accept it.

    The entire America, men, women and children, Jew and gentile alike, live on the zchusim emanating from Lakewood.

    #1309857

    reb mutche
    Participant

    Gadolhadorah
    “do you really believe that Aron Kotler imagined that the frum community he helped establish and nurture would deteriorate to the point It has become the welfare capital of the state??”
    You should have written Hagaon Harav Aron Kotler Ztz”l. You are just proving that your whole post is demagoguery.
    And yes! Lakewood is one big KIDDUSH HASHEM! your post is the gratest proof to that. Thank you.

    #1309856

    takahmamash
    Participant

    That’s all nice, but the tinest piece of dirt in the sketchiest part of Tel Aviv still has more kedusha than all of Lakewood, no matter how many are learning there.

    #1309902

    reb mutche
    Participant

    Kedusha – maybe, however Lakewood is surely a great Kiddush Hashem.

    #1309956

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    You should have written Hagaon Harav Aron Kotler Ztz”l. You are just proving that your whole post is demagoguery.

    Perhaps he was in a hurry. Perhaps he was typing on a difficult phone. Perhaps he just plain didn’t think about it.

    How about a little “Dan L’kaf Z’chus” and actually answer his question rather than deflect it based on a few words you feel are missing?

    The Wolf

    #1310039

    Avi K
    Participant

    1. The air and ground of Lakewood are tamei (Rambam Hilchot Tumat Met 11:1). I will go even further than Tak. The house of the worst anti-religious politician in Israel has more kedusha than all of Lakewood.

    2. By living off welfare they are doing a tremendous chillul Hashem besides the problematic nature of accepting tzedaka from gentiles (see SA YD 354:1).

    #1310070

    chugibugi
    Participant

    Joseph my friend,you are terribly mistaken,having tens of thousands of able bodied young men NOT WORKING to bring PARNASSAH into their homes ,and forcing their wives who already have 8-10 children to additionally go to work and on top of that living a life of poverty and being forced to live from government welfare and handouts “THAT IS NOT A KIDUSH HASHEM BUT A BIG CHILLUL HASHEM” .this is not what HASHEM wants from us,he wants us to work 7- 8 hours a day and make a living and then try to learn as much as we possibly can
    This insanity is against common sense and against HALACHA,it literally forces thousands of Jews to become crooks and thieves just like CHAZAL teach us “KOL SHEAIN MELAMAD IMNUS LEBNOI K’ILLU MELAMDO LISTIM”
    A father must teach his son a profession whereby he would be able to go out and earn a PARNASSAH and if he doesn’t do it he actually is teaching him and forcing him to become a thief and a crook. as a result of this insanity our jails are unfortunately full of frum jews.
    CHAIM

    #1310084

    Health
    Participant

    Wolf -“How about a little “Dan L’kaf Z’chus” and actually answer his question rather than deflect it based on a few words you feel are missing?”

    I’ll answer it.
    ” would deteriorate to the point It has become the welfare capital of the state??”

    All the rich people in Ameirca, that give $ to Lakewood, only give to the Yeshivos.
    The Yeshivos can’t support the Kollel guys, & for sure Not the poor people not in Kollel!
    This is why there are a lot of people that need to take the gov. programs.

    #1311993

    Avi K
    Participant

    Chugibugi, unfortunately there is a general disconnect between what people learn and what the do. See : Aharon Hersh Fried’s article Is There a Disconnect between Torah Learning and Torah Living?
    And If So, How Can We Connect Them? A Focus on Middos
    in Hakirah (on-line).

    #1312018

    Avram in MD
    Participant

    Avi K,

    1. The air and ground of Lakewood are tamei (Rambam Hilchot Tumat Met 11:1). I will go even further than Tak. The house of the worst anti-religious politician in Israel has more kedusha than all of Lakewood.

    If you want all Jews to move to Israel, how about working on making Israeli society something where all Jews would feel welcomed and accepted? Rather than bashing whole communities and their traditions, and demanding that they change to fit your mold?

    #1312049

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    There were more arrests today 🙁

    #1312174

    oyyoyyoy
    Participant

    I learnt something from this thread. Don’t praise someone if there are people around thatll bash him after. Cud be a gemorah somewhere

    #1312101

    Health
    Participant

    ZD -“There were more arrests today”

    From the Asbury Park Press:
    “Twelve more residents were charged this morning on allegations of welfare fraud, bringing the total number of people charged in the ongoing investigation to 26.”

    #1312078

    M
    Participant

    The Avos were wealthy, through Hashem’s bracha in their work, and so if maaseh avos siman labanim means anything, then perhaps the horrible widespread poverty in Lakewood (and Bnei Brak) should be considered a huge chillul Hashem? Does the Torah ask the tzibbur to be poor nebechs? Is your impression of the tannaim, of the geonim, the rishonim, and achronim one of horrible poverty? one of כל שאינו מלמד את בנו אומנות מלמדו ליסטות? Did the chaveirim of the great Ramban only sit and learn? Did R’ Akiva Eiger tell bnei iro that they should do nothing but learn in poverty? I don’t understand Joseph’s comments at all. The current situation appears to be a tremendous chillul Hashem on a grand scale, in a sense worse than anything we’ve ever seen.

    If instead you showed me a responsible, thoughtful community in which hardworking, dedicated people worked to earn a livelihood yet were kove’ah itim latorah, who are as careful about every siman in choshen mishpat as in yoreh deah and orach chayim, who are mokir talmidei chachamim, a community that genuinely cared about Torah and didn’t just shove every bachur into the beis medrash and hope for the best. Then I’d say, wow, that is a community that makes us proud.

    #1312601

    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    Apparently, there are still ongoing investigations that could result in even more arrests in the coming weeks. The government task force investigating this fraud is now able to access confidential tax return information and use newly available software that makes it much easier to verify information and flag inconsistencies between welfare applications and other previously inaccessible information. It would ultimately be good if the prosecutors could recruit honest frum yidden from the BMG tzibur to work on these investigations since they would be able to focus on the real fraud artists and ganovim who give the 95% of the honest citizens a bad name. Maybe also provide cash awards for a “tip line” to report those who commit welfare fraud if they can figure out a way to avoid cries of “gevalt” and “moser”

    #1312611

    Phil
    Participant

    $2.4 million defrauded by 26 people.
    “We have a failure in our community that we have to address,” Rabbi Aaron Kotler, leader of the world’s largest yeshiva outside of Israel told NJ.com. “Theft is wrong. We need to do better to educate people.”

    Notice, he’s not saying it’s sheker v’chazav and it’s certainly not a Kiddush Hashem but hopefully it will drive the change which one day leads to Kiddush Hashem.

    #1312623

    M
    Participant

    It seems to me an unfair diversion for the hanhalah of the yeshiva to get up there and tell people, “gneiva is assur”. Of course it is, but what about the pressures created in the yeshiva that push people to the brink of poverty, and beyond, and which then force them as it were to make extensive use of the welfare system, sometimes pushing the envelope of what’s legal? What about the system that leaves people without any training or education to bring in a respectable salary? It’s not as if someone can learn in a mesivta, then a yeshiva, and kollel until they’re 29 or 32 and then expect to leave learning and make a decent parnossah. Sure some can do it, but most can’t. What, start an e-bay business? for real? And you can’t just say then, ok, I’m going to be a doctor or a lawyer or accountant or public school teacher, etc.

    #1312624

    M
    Participant

    Of course huge theft occurs in every community, frum or not. But few communities effectively push people to the brink of starvation, where they feel a real need to toe the line of what’s legal, and then act surprised when this happens. “Don’t steal!” shkoyach!! But what, then, should an average family with “only” 7 kids making $53,000 a year do?! How should they pay their bills?! How can they afford school, and food, and yuntif, …. Did they really expect that they could encourage tens of thousands of bochrim to sit and learn forever (or for ten years), and then that miraculously people would be able to support themselves afterwards?! Even if the US government sent out checks of $10,000 to each family, and gvirim and ba’alei tzedakah send them another $10,000 a year, still they wouldn’t have a way to stay afloat….

    #1312629

    huju
    Participant

    I think everyone is talking around an issue involving Lakewood. I will speak directly:

    There are reports that about 10 people in Lakewood are suspected – but not convicted – of lying to get government benefits, and some of these people are learning in Kollel. If it’s only these 10, or even 20 or 30, and they are guilty of the alleged offenses, that says nothing about Lakewood, but it does say something about the 10 or 20 or 30 wrongdoers.

    The negative and defensive responses to these reports are premature. They also imply that the people responding believe that some of the accused are in fact guilty, and that the problem is widespread in Lakewood. No news media have reported anything like that. The respondents should hold their tongues and sit on their hands, and step away from their keyboards, until there are facts reported beyond the current, not-yet-proven accusations.

    #1312711

    M
    Participant

    Huju, you are right that we don’t know whether these 10 (or 26) people are guilty or innocent. We just don’t know. But we do know — and NO ONE living in Lakewood questions this — that (a) there is tremendous poverty in this community; (b) a very large part of the population depends on social welfare programs; (c) it’s very easy to cross the line in an attempt to merely survive. This is not a recipe for success, it’s a recipe for regular fraud.

    Imagine everyone was forced to cook in kitchens in which milchig and fleishig pots, pans, and cutlery all looked identical. If a news article came out claiming that many people were eating basar b’cholov, would you be surprised? No, of course not, because that system is a recipe for disaster.

    #1312724

    The little I know
    Participant

    Huju:

    You have missed the point. I got the “innocent until proven guilty” message. And every media report that discusses any of the arrestees must include the word alleged. Got it. You are obsessed with the technicalities. You have missed the elephant in the room.

    The culture of Lakewood and other kollel communities is based on avoiding parnosoh, assigning oneself to full time learning, at yenem’s expense. Whether this should be permitted altogether is not a clear issue. The Gemora specifies not to do that at all. There are reasons to make exceptions and permit עשרה בטלנים. And these can continue their learning at the expense of the public. But these are the exceptions, and is NOT the rule.

    We need our kollelim, to have where the growth from bochur to klai kodesh takes place. These are our future roshei yeshivos, magidei shiur, poskim, dayanim, rabbonim, etc. They are important assets to the community. But not everyone should go that way. Those equipped with the resources to become business owners, mechanics, doctors, etc. should utilize their potential and become assets to the Klal in their own way. Of course, they should continue to live as Torah true Yidden, with regular learning. One can be quite holy as an owner of a hardware store, a car service driver, or insurance agent. Perhaps the kollel yungerman has more data of Torah knowledge. Hopefully that yungerman is working towards his own potential.

    Another angle – the poverty (at least the spirit of the law) that renders one eligible for entitlements is not the kind that is self imposed. The latter might be someone’s privilege, but that cannot be at the expense of others. That is not exactly what I would call a Kiddush Hashem. If I throw my wallet into the ocean, do you have an obligation to compensate me for my loss?

    So I am ignoring the issue of the couples arrested here. I am only addressing the kollel lifestyle and the kollel community. I question whether it is permitted altogether to make oneself a “case” for public assistance because one followed the trend to sit in kollel. And upon whose direction has this yungerman rejected going to work or training for work?

    #1312732

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    I question whether it is permitted altogether to make oneself a “case” for public assistance because one followed the trend to sit in kollel

    Are you familiar with R’ Moshe’s teshuvah on it?

    Additionally, you must be aware that the gemora is not talking about the same type of public assistance you are.

    Also, I’m curious; how long do you think the average stay in BMG kollel is?

    #1312738

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    DY

    I have quite a bit of family in Lakewood and they have been in Kollel for years , More than 10 years

    #1312746

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    I didn’t ask for anecdotes, I asked for average. I believe your relatives are way above it.

    #1312748

    M
    Participant

    DaasYochid: “Also, I’m curious; how long do you think the average stay in BMG kollel is?”

    My guess is that the average stay in BMG is 5 years, which is after 4 or 5 years learning in beis medrash and/or in Eretz Yisroel, and before another 2 or 3 years learning in a smaller yeshiva in town.

    What’s important is not exactly how long they spend in BMG, but that they start thinking about supporting a family when they are 28 or 29, making it extremely difficult to eventually enter a job market in something that requires more than minimal training. And so they are 35 with 7 children earning less than a starting salary for a college graduate at 23.

    When I think of numerous friends that spent 3, 4, 5 years learning seriously in yeshiva, and then pursued an education (not at the same time of course), and are now serious talmidei chachamim that support their families with respectable incomes, are koveya itim latorah, give shiurim, give generously, are involved in chesed and in leadership roles in the local schools and shuls, I think, wow, these are the people that I find inspiring and that I believe will inspire my children.

    #1312755

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    When I think of numerous friends that spent 3, 4, 5 years learning seriously in yeshiva, and then pursued an education (not at the same time of course), and are now serious talmidei chachamim that support their families with respectable incomes, are koveya itim latorah, give shiurim, give generously, are involved in chesed and in leadership roles in the local schools and shuls, I think, wow, these are the people that I find inspiring and that I believe will inspire my children.

    It sounds really nice, and it’s true in many cases, but the reality is that someone has a much better chance of being a serious Ben Torah if he dedicated more than just 3 or 4 years to full time learning.

    #1312793

    Avi K
    Participant

    There was a certain wealthy businessman in Brisk who gave the seudat mafseket for the poor every erev Yom Kippur. One year they could not find him and turned to Rav Chaim. He looked around and saw the man in the bet midrash learning. “What are you doing here?” “Money is hevel havelim. I am going to just learn from now on.” “Get out and go back to your business. The poor people are depending on you.”

    #1312794

    Avi K
    Participant

    The Netziv says that Hashem asks different things from different people. It is almost prohibited for someone in one group (talmidei chachamim, baalei battim, communal leaders) to do the job of another group. The Chafetz Chaim likened it to a soldier going to another unit without permission. He is considered to be a deserter.

    #1312829

    yitz17
    Participant

    If the point is that there is such immense talmud torah in Lakewood then what is impressive is the magnitude of the mitzvah of talmud torah, and as talmud torah is one of the greatest mitzvohs that should be the point being stressed. Why then the emphasis on “kidush hashem’. That is not even a mention of the term “mitzvha” (of kidush hashem) but simply straight up “kidush hashem”. When you are referring to with the general term kidush hashem it does not seem that you mean that many people are fullfilling the mitzvah of kidush hashem, and rightly so, since thousands of people learning torah is not a kiyum of the mitzvah of kidush hashem, See the Rambam in Yesodie Hatorah as to what the mitzvah of kidush hashem is.
    Rather “kidush hashem” has become a term that has come to mean that Klal Yisroel is impressive, meaning that it reflects well on yidden as a whole. This is similar to when people say that if a yid did something publically that refelcts well on the yidden he made a “kidush hashem” and if it reflects poorly on the yidden, such as he committed a crime (not a chilul hashem) and he was arrested then its a chilul hashem, basically because outsiders will look down at yidden.
    As such the terms kidush hashem and chilul hashem as they are used have absolutely nothing to do with either the mitzvah, nor with hashem. A kidush hashem is beneficial to yidden since goyim will look at individual yidden with respect, and so is of obvious benefit to them because people like to be viewed in a positive light, and the opposite is true of what is called a chilul hashem. That is the last thing they are thinking of is hashem and what they care about is the public image of yidden for the personal benefit of yidden.
    This is a made up concept of what the mitzvah of kidush hashem is about, and its not at all the mitzva they care about. So its time that we cut out the make believe and call these things what they are. When people say a guy who got arrested made a chilul hashem that is the last thing on their minds. So its high time that people be honest about it and say what they mean, that they are mad at him because his getting caught caused that goyim should look down at them personally.
    The Brisker Rov said that “I grew up among chochomim my whole life and 2 terms I never heard mentioned were kidush hashem and chilul hashem”. And this is because those terms as used have nothing to do with Torah and everything to do with how people want themselves to be viewed by others because they are wearing a yarmulka. It is something completely selfish that they want others to be impressed by them and not look down at them.

    #1312994

    DaMoshe
    Participant

    The Mishna in Avos say that learning without working leads to sin. Just in case the words of the Mishna aren’t enough for you, it’s now been shown to be true.
    But go ahead, bury your head in the sand and claim it’s a huge kiddush Hashem.

    #1313077

    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    There is a misguided notion that learning and earning a parnassah are mutually exclusive. Throughout our history, with few exceptions, there have been generations of those who lived a balanced life including limudei torah, working for a parnassah and spending time relaxing with family and friends. Its only in the last generations that the notion of learning 24×7 while throwing your family on to the public welfare rolls and private charities has become the norm in some communities. Its time to go back to basics with respect to living a balanced life. Sure, maybe a small subset of brilliant talmidim might learn full-time, but 90 percent of the shteigers in BMG, et. al. are NOT brilliant learners.

    #1313130

    Health
    Participant

    Moilech -“Guys, calm down.. only morons believe that everyone should be sitting in kollel for their entire lives, expecting others ( and the government) to pay their lives forward”

    In EY, that is very common. I don’t think that you can call them all crazy!
    A lot of people in Lakwood have taken on that mentality.

    #1313221

    yitz17
    Participant

    “The Mishna in Avos say that learning without working leads to sin”. The mishna clearly does not mean that anyone who learns must also work, as in a job that pays a salary. The lashon of the mishna is that all torah that does not have melacha alongside it. The term melchocho does not mean work, rather it means producing something in reality, similar to its definition by shabbos.
    So what the mishna is saying is that torah must be accompanied by melocho, meaning that in addition to learning he must also create and produce something from his learning. And this has always been with all gedolie torah in one of 2 ways. Either by producing the torah he learned by writing it or by saying shuirim.
    This is what every gadol batorah had always done, However there practically has never been a gadol batorah who had job on the side, so the mishna certainly does not mean to say that all are required to work.

    #1313226

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    There have been some, but it gets increasingly rare.

    #1313397

    Avi K
    Participant

    Yitz, I agree. Averecihim should be held to the same standards as (l’havdil) graduate fellows. Teach and help the rabbanim with research. Later on, publish or perish (and I mean in peer-reviewed publications, not pop books that just cull halachot (preferably the most machmir so that no one attacks them as apikorsim).

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