Torah hashkafah on having midwinter vacation

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  • This topic has 24 replies, 18 voices, and was last updated 5 months ago by Phil.
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  • #1827708
    toast
    Participant

    I know the drill…it’s for the teachers…
    But where doe we find the concept that children take off from learning for no reason at all?
    A week or a day of no learning smack in middle of the school year? For what?

    P.S. The trade off is that while it’s great for teachers, it’s a pain for many parents who don’t have anyone to supervise the kids. Taking off from work to be home or go on trips for a few days isn’t always feasible or affordable.

    #1827712
    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    Toast: You could ask the same question for the summer vacation. Yes, it the teachers but ALSO the entire school staff from janitors to cafeteria employees to the endless number of others necessary to provide a safe and healthy school environment. Parents need to plan around these breaks, just as they do for yom tovim.

    #1827716
    5ish
    Participant

    The Lubavitcher Rebbe actually addressed the idea that vacation is a modern western ideal and that it is not ideal. The idea that there is a break from responsibility is not a Jewish idea. When I grew up OOT when school had a break the Chabad houses had a winter camp so that children at least had a constructive environment rather than being left to their own devices.

    #1827727

    I am sure GH will say I am not responding to the OP but again a totally misleading title to this thread. I dont see where the OP is asking that? “But where doe we find the concept that children take off from learning for no reason at all” I wont call them children but in Yeshiva gedolos its called Bein Hazmanim, comes twice a year in Tishrei and Nisan.

    #1827738
    Meno
    Participant

    The idea that there is a break from responsibility is not a Jewish idea.

    By that logic we should never let people graduate from yeshiva.

    Or retire from work.

    Or sleep.

    #1827741
    5ish
    Participant

    You graduate from Yeshiva to move on to other responsibilities! Vacation in the western world is a time when people imagine that they are free/frei. Going to sleep is also avodas Hashem but there is no idea that you take tinokos shel beis rabban and decide that stam they shouldn’t learn today.

    #1827742
    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    Meno: As we learned in another thread, you can sleep through the davening and still be counted towards a minyan (especially important for the vasikim crowd). However, I can find nowhere that is is brought down that you can sleep through an entire zman and still remain in good standing with your kollel. Some time off is necessary so the body can “sleep” and rejuvenate

    #1827745
    Meno
    Participant

    Vacation in the western world is a time when people imagine that they are free/frei. Going to sleep is also avodas Hashem

    Ok, so don’t call it vacation, call it sleeping for a week.

    #1827746
    5ish
    Participant

    “Some time off is necessary so the body can “sleep” and rejuvenate”

    One hundred percent. This time is so important it takes place on a nightly basis!

    #1827750
    klugeryid
    Participant

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    #1827751
    IvduEsHashemBsimcha
    Participant

    Vacation is certainly not just a Western idea. All yeshivos have been hazmanim; the difference is only that full time yeshivos usually give longer breaks around YT and virtually no winter (and a short summer) break. Having experienced both systems, I actually the thing the secular/college schedule is better for avoiding burnout (and, I think, is about equal in terms of net vacation length)

    #1827767
    Pesach g
    Participant

    A yeshiva bochur is supposed to be learning yomam valaila

    Vacation by definition is the exact opposite of that therefore the concept of vacation cant be al pi torah

    By saying that yeshivas give vacation is not a proof to the argument rather ha gufa kasha.

    #1827768
    5ish
    Participant

    “Vacation is certainly not just a Western idea. All yeshivos have been hazmanim”

    Bein Hazmanim is not vacation. Bochurim are allowed time to visit their family for YT since they are away. There is no idea that lechovid mid winter children who live by their parents should suddenly not be in cheder for a week.

    #1827774
    Joseph
    Participant

    Real Yeshiva ketanas and Mesivtas don’t have any midwinter vacation; under that name or any other name. It’s the ones that modernized a bit that started doing this vacation I’m the last few decades or so.

    #1827859
    Dr. E
    Participant

    What about the bloated periods of time called Bein Hazmanim? Those are also vacations. Some Yeshivos let out the day after Purim and don’t reconvene for another month and a half (Rosh Chodesh Iyyar). Others let out on Rosh Chodesh Nissan. In Europe it would takeh take 2 weeks to get from Pinsk to Minsk. That’s why they allowed bochurim that amount of time so that they get home in time for the Sedarim. But today?! Are you kidding me?

    Somehow, it’s become “poreish min hatzibbur” if any yeshiva had the Chuzpah to start back before Rosh Chodesh! Same with Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan.

    #1827866
    1
    Participant

    It’s obviously not a Jewish idea to be mevatel Torah. These are the years the kids need to focus on learning. They already have being hazmanim.

    #1827869
    press87
    Participant

    Think about it from the bochurims standpoint most yeshivas in my area give off for a friday and a sunday and call it an off shabbos this is not a week vacation where there is no learning this a friday sunday where the bochurim can recharge so that they can learn shtark the rest of the zman

    #1827912
    IvduEsHashemBsimcha
    Participant

    “Bein Hazmanim is not vacation”
    Call it what you will. It’s effectively the same thing. (I don’t think it’s less torah-dik to call it “vacation” because of course a Jewish vacation includes torah, tefillah, adherence to halacha etc. It’s really more of a semantic thing).

    “Real Yeshiva ketanas and Mesivtas don’t have any midwinter vacation”
    I take offence at that. It’s simply not true. (And I don’t mean only for modern schools)

    “A yeshiva bochur is supposed to be learning yomam valaila
    Vacation by definition is the exact opposite of that therefore the concept of vacation cant be al pi torah
    By saying that yeshivas give vacation is not a proof to the argument rather ha gufa kasha.”
    1) No he isn’t, at least not if you mean without breaks (which is what you seem to be saying). Even Moshe Rabbeinu had breaks. Even in Volozhin where they had learning 24/7 – they had *one person* learning 24/7, not the whole yeshiva. The chafetz chaim used to tell bachurim that “the desire for (excessive) hasmada is the yetzer hara.”

    2) Meiheicha teisi? First of all the concept of breaks is a torah concept. Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky ran a learning-focused summer camp which had a few hours break. A visiting RY wanted to give a shiur then and Rav Yaakov didn’t let him – he said it’s very important not to push people too hard. Obviously it’s slightly different for each person which is why people’s learning schedules during bein hazmanim/vacation will differ and that’s totally fine.
    3) When institutions with talmidei chachamim at their head do things, we can say ma’aseh rav, your personal kasha notwithstanding.

    #1827951
    Benephraim
    Participant

    ok. First ביטולה זו היא קיומה. This is recognized להבדיל in management science as well . There is a whole area of leisure studies etc. enjoy. ודע כי יביאך למשפט.

    #1827949
    Yadleyad
    Participant

    I’m not sure if someone said precisely this, but generally, In town yeshivas, there is a large bein hazmanim sukkos and Pesach time (usually closer to a month), and they don’t have winter break, maybe just an off shabbos. But the elementary schools and some high schools have a winter break from let’s say Wednesday-Monday, but guess what, Pesach break starts two days before bedikas chometz and ends the day after isru Chag. I have been in numerous schools as a kid and this is the case. Also, there is nothing like a good rejuvenation to get the kid more excited about coming back to a fresh start. Some quality time to spend with family, carefree and stress free. Obviously there should be a structure and not too long of a break. But what’s wrong with some refreshment?

    #1828046
    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    @5ish
    When I grew up OOT there were no Chabad Houses (although they ran the day school).
    The JCC ran vacation camps as well as programming on secular school holidays. It was a chance for us to meet the other Jewish children in town, not just those from our particular school or shul.

    #1828103
    Pesach g
    Participant

    @ivdu
    I agree I sounded very strong in what I wrote. but I wanted to focus more on the fact that the term vacation is not a Torah concept.

    When you tell someone ur going on vacation he thinks you mean a regular vacation. Bein hazmanim for some ppl means vacation

    If during a vacation the bochur is learning and not being mevatel Torah that is a total diff story.

    Every person should figure out his derech and use out his time based on that… Obviously if a someone cant learn than he doesnt have as big a problem as someone that can

    Btw you could have just brought a proof from sleep that the reason why we sleep is so that we can be serve hashem better….
    The OP had a question on this so we’re discussing this – dont answer maaseh rav

    #1828107
    The little I know
    Participant

    I am surprised by what is missing from the discussion.

    1) If we look on our Gedolei Yisroel, both present and the history of the past several generations, whether Litvish or Chassidish, there was a concept of vacation. There were several locations around Europe where Chassidishe rebbes congregated during the summer. Our biographies are full of encounters when this one met that one. The idea of taking time off for rest and leisure is not about bitul Torah, but about taking leave from the rigors of the daily routine. Lehavdil, sports also have seasons that occupy part of the year, where the rest of the year can be used for other aspects of life. We have our own role models, and they disprove the bitul Torah argument.

    2) The issue that there is vacation is not worthy of debate. Try managing without any interruption of grueling daily routine. What presents a problem is that this is placed on the academic calendar. Not all talmidim, talmidos, hanhala, etc. are ready for such vacation at the same time. An ill scheduled vacation is apt to lose much of the potential benefit. Similar to the belief that the curriculum is appropriate for each talmid, and that the talmid must adapt to that curriculum, so to is the schedule for vacation. Neither of these is true, and pushing a square peg into a round hole is something that even babies discover cannot be done (at least according to Fisher-Price). This not an issue of Torah hashkafah. It is about common sense.

    #1828382
    CTRebbe
    Participant

    I think most (although apparently not all) will agree that some form of break is necessary. Obviously the amount of break that is necessary is different for each person but we should be able to agree on what is a reasonable average. I think what has not yet been addressed is whether or not we should be following the schedule established 150 years ago in Europe when the modes of transportation were much different than today. Perhaps the main reason why yeshivos in those days gave off for the whole month of Nisan is that it could take a bachur a full week to travel by horse/ train etc. until he reached his shtetel. It was not practical to give off an extended weekend in the middle of the winter and instead they just gave off for 3-4 weeks in Nisan, Av and Tishrei.
    Perhaps we should recognize the change in realities today and give off for an extended weekened in the winter and less dead time in Nisan and Tishrei.

    #1828383
    Phil
    Participant

    One can quibble whether there should be a mid-winter break but our Gedolim are very much in favor of vacation for yeshivos during the summer, as demonstrated by:

    http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/israel-news/37917/maran-rav-shteinman-shlita-regarding-vacation.html

    At the time, Maran, zt”l said he could see that those who took vacation were recharged and ready for Elul, while those who didn’t were not.

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