M

Forum Replies Created

Viewing 50 posts - 51 through 100 (of 103 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • in reply to: Making fun of college degrees that won't get you a job #1209479
    M
    Participant

    1. There are program out there that offer degrees but little or no education. Such programs should be avoided. At some point, when employers realize that students with degrees from program X don’t know anything, and they will soon enough understand that this program provides little or no education, and they should hire students from elsewhere. Spending $10,000 and 2 years, for example, is not actually a bargain, but a waste of thousands of dollars and years of one’s life.

    2. There are many college programs that offer excellent education to its students. Aside from the Columbias, Harvards, Princetons, etc (and there are dozens of universities in this league), there are also many excellent smaller programs such as Queens and Brooklyn college. When a student has a degree from a school like this in chemistry, for example, it means that this student has spent hundreds and hundreds of hours studying many very technical aspects of a particular subject, and has, ideally, a solid understanding of this subject. If you are an employer than needs a chemist, a degree such as this is highly valuable.

    3. There are many jobs for which no particular education is necessary. A charismatic, motivated individual can sell TV’s or fix A/C units without understanding calculus or microeconomics, and without having ever read Shakespeare or Robert Frost.

    4. Of course there is more knowledge out there than any one person can ever learn, and certainly not in four years. Good programs try to teach students basics of some of the most important topics, like philosophy and history, mathematics, science, social sciences, etc. It is a great luxury today that so many people in this country can afford to spend four years of their lives, right around when they have reached adulthood, and study many of these very deep and beautiful topics. But not all of us are as wealthy and fortunate. Many of us need to just get training to do a job, and get started working…

    in reply to: Seminary advice for hs senior #1207929
    M
    Participant

    lilmod ulelamaid — what a pleasure it is to be in a YWN coffee room forum and discuss something with someone so polite and thought out.

    edited

    in reply to: Seminary advice for hs senior #1207926
    M
    Participant

    lilmod ulelamaid — completely agree. A 17-year old doesn’t always know what will be best for them. But I’m not convinced that a teacher or guidance counselor would either always know what’s best. Maybe the twelfth grade rebbi, or the Israel guidance counselor, regularly gives bad advice? Of course these people are very well-intentioned, work hard, have tons of experience, and maybe their advice sounds very good. But who knows, maybe their advice is generally bad? Maybe those who follow it would have been much better off had they taken advice from someone else?

    In short, I agree that a 17-year old, and a 37-year old, doesn’t always known what’s best for themselves, but it’s also not clear that there is someone out there that does. baisyaakovliberal sounds like a thought-out student, and might be best served by listening to a voice deep inside her. Or maybe not. Who knows….

    in reply to: Seminary advice for hs senior #1207924
    M
    Participant

    A final thought on this topic — when evaluating a seminary/yeshiva, ask yourself this question: what fraction of the administration’s and teachers’ efforts are focused on teaching/educating, and what fraction of their efforts are focused on connecting with students? Of course every place has some of each of these, and of course there can be overlap between teaching/educating and connecting, but the answer to this question will say much, I believe, about the institution, and about its suitability for different types of students.

    in reply to: Seminary advice for hs senior #1207914
    M
    Participant

    lilmod ulelamaid: “I am not sure that I agree that the teachers should focus less on connecting. I do think it’s very important, but there has to be more of a sense of boundaries. This is true for women teachers as well as men teachers.”

    From what I see, “connection” usually means “manipulation”. For example, a young boy or girl in yeshiva/seminary comes to a teacher regarding a personal problem. Sometimes this happens because the teacher is the smartest (?) person this students knows, and they hope that maybe they’ll know how to solve their problem. Other times, it is because the student wants to form a connection with the popular, charismatic teacher, since being close with them will essentially make the student cool, “in”, etc. In either case, although the teacher might have many years of experience in these situations, they aren’t necessarily any good. Maybe they’ve been giving students nonsense advice, or perhaps even harmful advice, for many years, and basically no one can evaluate that such advice is harmful? What reason is there to think that if Rebbi X spent 10 years learning in Brisk that he has the emotional maturity to counsel talmidim about relationships? Or because Morah Y is happily married with 7 children, what reason is there to think that her advice is worth anything?

    Teachers, when they are talmidei chachamim, when they are drawing on their years of serious learning, be in chumash, halacha, gemara, etc, when they are teaching inyanim which are really their expertise, then they can do a phenomenal job in educating students. When, instead, lomdei torah begin to spend their time sharing advice in areas in which they have no particular expertise, that is just unfair. It would be like me giving you advice about writing website because I sometimes read the YWN website.

    Students, like other human beings, often want meaningful connections. To some degree, rebbeim and morose can provide this, but I don’t believe that they can generally provide it to the degree which they pretend they can. Things end up badly — teachers pretend that they are these super duper tzadikim, students adoring them, etc, when really they are, by and large, regular people like you and me — they wake up, they brush their teeth, they eat breakfast (some like strong coffee, some weak, some no coffee at all), they have friends and there are people they don’t like, they have better days and worse days, sometimes their feel energized, sometimes depressed, etc. A 45-year mechaneses or rebbi, or a 65 year old rebbi, will never find genuine friendship with a group of 18-year olds.

    in reply to: Seminary advice for hs senior #1207910
    M
    Participant

    Seminaries (similarly yeshivas) are often in a bind — they want to hire the “charismatic”, “enthusiastic” kind of mechanchim that will “inspire” their talmidim, form close bonds with them, invest tremendous time in talking with them about their problems, etc, but it is particularly those types of people that we more often find crossing boundaries. Dry teachers, who might even be seen a bit as aloof or out of touch, and who focus primarily on teaching (and less on “connecting”) might not draw in new students, even if they do end up being the teachers that are the most substantive and offer the most to students. Ask any person running a seminary, and they think about this issue all the time. Halvai all yeshivas/seminaries would focus on hiring teachers who focus on *teaching*, and less on connecting (and possibly hire as very separate roles someone like a mashgiach or mashpiah), and I think students would be much better off — they would learn more and be manipulated/abused less.

    Anyone familiar with the world of chinuch will of course realize similar dilemmas. And the focus of many kirruv organizations is primarily, if not exclusively, to connect, with teaching being a mere excuse through which to connect.

    in reply to: Seminary advice for hs senior #1207900
    M
    Participant

    I think the main difference between seminaries, as well as yeshivas, is this. In strong places, the teachers are people who have themselves spent several years sitting and learning Torah seriously. They have spent time interacting with other serious talmidei chachamim, learning from and interacting with them. Some of these serious people decide that they want to spend their lives teaching others, and thankfully they have tremendous experience on which to draw and teach, since they have spent many years learning first. They know chumash and midrashim, mishna (and gemarah), halacha and hashkafah, because they have spent years seriously studying these things.

    At weaker places, most of the teachers are people that may have spent a year in seminary, but then spent very little time seriously learning Torah before starting to teach. From what I’ve heard DB is a really wonderful sem, but I am looking through their list of teachers online, and with very few exceptions, most of these teachers did not spend any serious amount of time learning themselves. Maybe they went to law school, or got a masters in teaching or social work, or even in Jewish education, but these are not people that have spent a significant number of years actually learning. Of course they must know something to teach, and they probably speak very nicely, are smart, organized, and “inspiring”, but you won’t get the same depth, generally speaking, that you’ll find in places who exclusively, or mostly, hire people who have been learning first for many years.

    Consider this difference. You’re learning hlichose shabbos. A teacher in one sem is a person who learned the basics of hilchose shabbos in yeshiva or seminar. He/she knows the basics of borer, or mlaben, etc and teaches you the information in an organized manner. They can answer basic questions and their class leaves you educated and informed. When you have a question they look it up in the lamed tes melachose book and get back to you first thing tomorrow.

    Now, consider another teacher, who doesn’t just know hilchose shabbos, but really knows hilchose shabbos. They were fortunate that when in yeshiva they learned it b’iyun, and still remember the important sugyas in shabbos, eiruvin, and throughout shas. They learned the mechaber and Tur, the magen avraham, and the other poskim. They feel comfortable picking up not just a shmiras shabbas khilchasa, but also tshuvose of r’ moshe feinstein and r’ shlomo zalman. They understand the nuances that can only be appreciated through broad experience, and have the ability to look back at the Rambam and the Milchamose, the gemaras, yerushalmis, the yam shel shlomo’s, etc.

    Learning from these two teachers are two different types of experiences. I imagine that some places will provide mostly teachers in the former model, while a few very solid places will provide teachers of the second model. Migdal Oz is one extremely strong “MO” place that certainly provides teachers of the second type, and which I can’t recommend highly enough. I have heard good things about Midreshet Lindenbaum, but don’t know much about it. Michlalah probably has a mix, but certainly many teachers of the second kind.

    Having teachers of the first or second kind does not mean that a place is better or worse. Many families are perfectly happy with teachers of the first kind, if they are warm and “inspiring”, and can help infuse a sense of meaning and worth in their daughters, and that’s very important. Many young women attending sems are looking to form connections with teachers and other students, and of course that has little to do with what kind of teachers they have.

    Good luck with your applications!! May HKB”H help direct you to a place that is perfect for you.

    in reply to: A gadol on his own #1197931
    M
    Participant

    “Why do you think it is any different from any other person who loses a spouse?” I think in many “regular” families, even the husband has some experience shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc, and could pick it up when necessary. But I have been in the homes of several gedolim who, because of their unusual focus on learning and avodas haklal, would have absolutely zero idea of what to do in a kitchen. Any they certainly haven’t gone to the supermarket to shop, or maybe it’s been 50 years since they have. For these people, starting from basically zero at age 70+ would be substantially more difficult than for you or me.

    On further thought, I would think that even my own father, from a different generation, would also have no idea of what to do in a kitchen. I’m not sure what he would do without my mother shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc… But I guess you’re right, I guess this does come up all the time for regular people too. Perhaps the additional complications of kavod harov make this sound like a trickier problem for a gadol than for regular people.

    I like the story of Rav Pam, and it certainly says alot about him. But I’m sure that there are many gedolim that feel much less comfortable in their kitchens than Rav Pam felt in his…. I’m trying to picture R’ Chaim making a chicken soup or cholent…

    in reply to: A gadol on his own #1197926
    M
    Participant

    I’m guessing that zahavasdad was referring to the story told on 62a, in which R’ Kahana hid under the bed of Rav… and justified his behavior by stating that this too is Torah — ???? ??? ?????? ??? ????. I think this story is well known enough that citing just the mesechta makes the point…

    in reply to: A gadol on his own #1197921
    M
    Participant

    DaasYochid — of course each is different. I am curious about some of the common arrangements, such as that which Mashiach Agent mentioned. I am curious whether some gedolim in these situations end up shopping and cooking, etc for themselves. Some CR readers might have some nice stories they could share.

    in reply to: A gadol on his own #1197916
    M
    Participant

    I like the change in title — thank you!!

    in reply to: Age = Wisdom #1197444
    M
    Participant

    Even if a particular person becomes wiser as they get older, different people start at different places, and so even if Joe at 50 is wiser than Joe 40, he still might be less wise than Yosef at 30. For this reason, I think it’s unreasonable to assume that an older person is wiser than a younger person, since the variation in wisdom among people is so broad.

    in reply to: Watching the country fall #1191133
    M
    Participant

    lightbrite: “Canada is monitoring its borders”

    Yes, yes. They will build a wall and make America pay for it….

    in reply to: Now that Trump has been revealed…hope your NOT voting for him #1187308
    M
    Participant

    Lots of friends and relatives survive through government welfare programs. Maybe you’re right that it’s better for the country to keep cutting down these programs, and push people away from government dependence, maybe. But while that happens, shaving money from Medicaid will mean that people you and I know will get worse medical care, cutting unemployment benefits, food stamps, rent subsidies, etc will mean that many of our friends will have even more trouble — if they could even imagine that — just staying afloat. Maybe good for the country, certainly not good for them. Trump can’t just cut these programs, but if he’s even half the business brain he suggests he is, then he’ll certainly fight hard to cut cut cut. And, for real, would you be surprised to hear him calling our friends pathetic failures and losers? I won’t.

    in reply to: Now that Trump has been revealed…hope your NOT voting for him #1187304
    M
    Participant
    in reply to: Within the next 10 years, Israel Will be mostly religious #1160923
    M
    Participant

    If the population will be mostly religious, will non-religious people still constitute the majority of the army? and political positions? or will more frum people accept responsibility for the country and its institutions? Many people often complain that the government does this or that, but without acknowledging that the country is a democracy, and that frum people have just as much opportunity to run for these positions of power as anyone else. Why don’t more frum people run for these positions instead of spending so much time kvetching about policies? If more people from bnei brak and me’ah sh’arim joined local and national governments, they would have a much better chance of making the country the kind of place they want instead of needing to kvetch about the chilonim.

    in reply to: Controversy In Israel – Woman says Sheva Brachos #1180888
    M
    Participant

    “DY: I’ve heard some suggest that it is better for non-religious couples to not have a valid kiddushin”

    I think it was already clarified that is what they do by OO weddings

    I’m sure that this sort of question at least occasionally arises in chareidi communities as well — children who we know will not be shomer shabbos, kashrus, probably taharas hamishpacha, and yet are willing to take part in a frum wedding for their parents’ and families’ wishes. When this happens, and I’m sure it does, do chareidi rabbonim avoid making a proper nissuin? I would be surprised if the choices they make are any different. I am interested if those with some experience can share that.

    in reply to: Conspiracy theories #1153934
    M
    Participant

    There is a theory out there that Obama was actually raised by outer-space aliens and then sent to Earth to completely ruin it. On his very last day of being president, he will command the military to drop nuclear bombs on every large city on this planet.

    So far, no one has been able to disprove this theory, and there seems to be lots of *very* strong evidence to support it. It’s not that I completely believe this, but also don’t want to take chances and will avoid large cities on his last day in office. Just in case.

    in reply to: Honest Tzedakah #1141411
    M
    Participant

    “DaasYochid – They need parnassah whether or not the tzedakah’s expenses are necessary.”

    This by itself is not a justification for giving tzedakah somewhere. If a meshulach comes from a yeshiva, and you knew he got a 90% cut, you’d say, sure I’ll give, he needs a parnassah too?

    in reply to: Honest Tzedakah #1141408
    M
    Participant

    To zahavasdad — I hear what you are saying that people are making a parnasah from this. But I’m still not happy about this situation. Suppose you knew that 50% of your donation to yeshivas X was going to the meshulach at your door. Would you still be perfectly ok giving him a donation? It’s going to this good person’s parnassah? I think it would still rub us the wrong way. Supporting the printer and caterer and the hall, etc, are all nice things but not if those expenses are unnecessary in the first place.

    In the organization discussed earlier, I doubt that even half of the $14 million dollars spent in advertising goes to employ people in our community. Of course there’s nothing wrong with giving business to people outside our community, but I will still consider that waste as far as tzedakah is concerned.

    in reply to: Honest Tzedakah #1141404
    M
    Participant

    I’m ok with the idea that wasting/spending large sums of money is necessary to raise even bigger sums of money. But that doesn’t mean I want to be part of it. And I wonder whether people think about this issue before deciding on where to give. Personally I would much rather give to people and places so that as much of my donation goes to people that need it most. Wouldn’t $35 million spent directly on poor people, for example, go much further than $35 million minus tens of millions of overhead expenses, with then only half left to help people?

    in reply to: Honest Tzedakah #1141399
    M
    Participant

    zahavasdad — I don’t love dinners, etc, either for the same reason — so much waste — food that’s often not great, journals no one will look at (there are costs in layout, editing, printing), parking at a hotel no one wants to drive to. If a yeshiva, tzedakah, etc, said we will not cave in to this mishiga’as, and instead will spend donations on legitimate necessary (staff, seforim, etc), then I would hope that more than enough people would say, wow, this is a quality tzedakah to which I would love to give. Perhaps some “advertisement” could still be done. When the R”Y is American for a wedding, for example, perhaps an alum will host a parlor meeting or shiur. This would be a tovah of the alum, the R”Y of course isn’t taking money for it, and gvirim and others can meet the R”Y in a respectful manner, and give to a good cause that makes excellent use of all contributions.

    in reply to: Honest Tzedakah #1141397
    M
    Participant

    Joseph — I guess you’re right, I didn’t think so much about that. Well, I still prefer to give to the yeshiva directly than to a meshulach, so that more of the donation goes to the yeshiva (no meshulach would get a cut). Same reason I prefer to use check than credit card when I can to tzedakose, so the tzedakah receives more.

    Actually, Joseph’s question makes me wonder — what fraction of a place like the Mir’s expenses go to fundraising costs. Is it 5%? 25% 50%? I imagine it’s on the relatively low side, and would be disappointed if I heard it was even 20% or 30% of the overall budget.

    I think in the ideal world, the Mir and other tzedakose would not need to spend any money on travel, phone calls, etc, and people would send in the same amount, and the yeshiva would end up in a much better state. I imagine if there something of a “ceasefire” and all yeshivas/kiruv organizations/etc agreed to limit their spending to X, then we’d end up with much less waste. Or maybe that’s wishful thinking?

    in reply to: Honest Tzedakah #1141394
    M
    Participant

    To nishtdayngesheft — I am not a tax professional and may have misunderstood what I read in the 990 I found online.

    Of course it is reasonable for a tzedakah to not spend every nickel they receive, so they can maintain their long-term viability. That does not bother me at all. The number I understood for salaries ($2,455,991) was what I saw on Part I line 15, under “Salaries, other compensation, employee benefits”.

    You wrote that $19,482,000 was spent on programs, which I see detailed clearly on page 10 of the 990 as you mentioned. But I also see that 25% of that ($4,887,671) was itself spent on “Advertising and promotion”, all in addition to $9,048,707 spent as “Advertising and promotion” under the “Fundraising expenses” column. I’m not a baki in BBB recommended practices, in tax law, etc, but I can understand from this form that nearly $14 million was spent on “Advertising and promotion”.

    Look, I have no doubts about the sincerity of the people involved in this organization and their commitment to helping others. And chalilah vchalilah I am not suggesting that anything untoward is going on inside the organization, in what it does, or its accounting practices. Thank you for the important work you do and the many people you help. I can also understand that large budgets for advertising etc are necessary to raise large amounts of money for the avodas hakdosh you do.

    I am only asking whether when they give tzedakah, people think about what fraction of their contributions go directly towards helping other people, and what fraction goes for other *legitimate* expenses. To suggest a point of contrast, when I give my rov tzedakah for aniyim, then I know that every nickel I give goes into the pocket of a poor family having trouble putting food on the table or paying for their electricity. Not 48 cents, not 75 cents, not even 95 cents, but every single penny. Not a dime goes to pay for advertising, for a prize, or even for a meshulach’s airfare. 100% of it is going to poor people. When I send the Mir Yeshiva a check, I know that every nickel will go directly towards supporting lomdei torah, be it talmidim, the rebbeim, the cleaning staff, pay for utilities, etc. Is this a question that people consider? Do people think about this when considering what fraction of what they donate counts towards ma’aser? Perhaps the answer should be 100%, but I don’t think that’s obvious.

    in reply to: Honest Tzedakah #1141391
    M
    Participant

    For those seeing this post for the first time, do you contribute tzedakah to organizations that spend over 50% of contributions on overhead? Also, do you ever think about relative “quality” or “honesty” of some tzedakose over other ones in determining how much to give to one place over another?

    in reply to: Honest Tzedakah #1141390
    M
    Participant

    zahavasdad — of course you’re right. These people know that if they spend $15,000,000 on advertising, prizes, and other shtick, they can raise $30,000,000, netting way more than if they spent only $1,000 or $1,000,000. I don’t blame these people at all, clearly it works for them which is why they’re doing it.

    But now think about all of the waste — $15,000,000 is not going to help people. If they spent $75 million to make $100 million, thus netting even more, would that be an even better idea?

    Of every dollar that you give them, less than 40 cents actually directly helps people. Do you count money that you give to this towards your maaser? or do you count only $40 of every $100 contribution? Do you think that this is a yashar way of raising money, when so much is being wasted, even if the idea is that it brings in more?

    in reply to: Honest Tzedakah #1141386
    M
    Participant

    If it is of interest, I just checked their 990 from 2014. According to what they told the IRS, they received $34,756,266 in contributions and grants. Salaries etc made up $2,455,991, and other expenses accounted for $14,604,409. Of the almost $35 million raised, $13,780,339 was disbursed. In short, 7 pennies of every dollar went to pay salaries, and another 42 cents was used to pay for office space, advertising, prizes, and other shtick. In the end, under 40 cents per dollar went to actually help people. The numbers were only slightly happier the year before. Is this really honest tzedakah?

    in reply to: Honest Tzedakah #1141385
    M
    Participant

    I understand that tzedakose often need to cover overhead, and I’m perfectly comfortable donating to such places, even if not 100% of every dollar goes to help the poor. But I think we should distinguish between organizations where overhead is 5 or 10%, maybe even a bit higher, and organizations in which it’s over 50%. I hope that even zahavasdad will agree that such a distinction is reasonable. There is at least one organization — and it regularly advertises on this site — that spends over 50 cents of every dollar on overhead (employees, advertising, prizes, etc) according to their published 990’s, available on sites such as charitynavigator. Of course people working there need to make a parnassah, and of course these mega-raffles end up bringing them more money to help people. But in my mind that’s difficult to justify as wholesome honest tzedakah.

    in reply to: Honest Tzedakah #1141380
    M
    Participant

    To readers — does this issue impact how much you give to a certain tzedakah? Before giving, do you want to know how much of every dollar goes to actually help needy people?

    in reply to: Basic Bikur dos and donts #1140029
    M
    Participant

    Thank you for posting this. Years ago I came across R’ Glatt’s book about Bikur Cholim. At first I thought, there is no way someone could fill up a whole book just on bikur cholim. But then I read it, and read things of the sort posted by lesschumras, and said, wow, that book is awesome. Hal’vai that everyone read it, if for no other reason than to be sensitized to what should be obvious. And I say that as someone for whom these things weren’t/aren’t always obvious. Shkoyach!

    in reply to: bitachon #1139170
    M
    Participant

    To catch yourself — yes, you read my initial post correctly. Although you read it as written from a place of severe bitterness, cynicism, negativity and derisiveness, I had hoped that the examples would forcefully illustrate some of the mishiga’as that pervades our community. The irresponsibility of not appropriately planning for the future leads way too many young men to end up turning 30, with little education, no training, and only desperate means of supporting themselves and their families. If they are not cut out to be a magid shiur, a school rebbe, a kiruv professional, etc — and that describes at least half of our young men — then they are stuck in a terribly stressful position, and “the system” has failed them.

    It is absolutely wonderful that we live in a time and place where so many of us can sit and learn — it is mamash a brachah that we have never in our history seen on this scale. Of course we need roshei yeshiva, magidei shiur, and even school rebbes that know the difference between Brachose and Bchorose, and between a Nesivose (Hamishpat) and a Nesivose Shalom. And I 100% support the high-quality yeshivose that will provide am yisroel with the learners and leaders that we desperately need.

    At the same time, I see tremendous irresponsibility in the system that leaves so many young men in positions of destitution and dependence on their parents, their in-laws, and social welfare. These people believe they are ma’aminim bnei ma’aminim, betuchim bnei btuchim. It leads to very sad stories, even among those who can honestly say about themselves im tivakshena kakesef uchmatmunim tichapsenah. If my post pushes even one person to think a bit more deeply about their own emunah, bitachon, and the decisions they make, and pushes them to take even one step towards ensuring a responsible path for themselves or their friends, I will be consider the post as having served an important to’eles.

    In all honesty, thank you for your inspiringly thoughtful and respectful response. I hope that all of us can continue to communicate respectfully about weighty matters, ha’omdim b’rumo shel olam.

    Avram in MD — “If you truly want to convince people to move in a different direction, provide some suggestions or ideas.”

    Here is one small step. Yeshiva high schools can take more seriously basic mathematics and writing. The ability to perform addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, and basic algebraic manipulation is crucial to everything from home economics to business to taxes. Jobs that would take someone that lacks these skills (or who has very poor versions of these skills) are very few and poorly paid. Attempting to make up ground in this area when one is trying to take some college courses or professional training is a nightmare. Likewise, basic reading, comprehension, and writing are also skills necessary for almost any decent job. These are necessary skills for almost any job, yet many yeshiva high-schools do not take either seriously, and neither do the bochrim. Too many times have I heard parents, of good bochrim in excellent yeshivas, speak about these subjects as a liability of a good yeshiva.

    I have too many friends who have gone back to school or have tried finding work after many years learning, and lack these skills. It is a miserable place to be in. Even 40 minutes a day, four days a week, but taken seriously, of learning basic mathematics and basic reading/comprehension/writing would go a very along way to ensuring that our boys are well-equipped should they one day choose to do something other than learning.

    As an aside, the ability to coherently write is a skill that will serve them very well in the world of learning, rabbanus, kiruv, etc also.

    gavra_at_work – “If you teach secular studies to all 1000, none of them will become a Gadol. (In practice there are quite a few counterexamples, but that is the theory.)”

    As gavra_at_work himself points out, this is not even true — every person here can name a dozen undisputed gedolim who had extensive secular educations. This includes gedolei harishonim and gedolei ha’achronim ad hayome hazeh.

    Moreover, your choice of citing R’ Dessler is particularly puzzling given that R’ Dessler learned in, and eventually spoke highly of, the yeshiva in Kelm. As wikipedia will tell you, this yeshiva “was unusual in the sense that it provided its pupils with a secular education parallel to their religious studies, enabling them to earn a livelihood rather than having to take up rabbinic positions.” So unless you are suggesting that R’ Dessler himself was somewhat lacking in Torah because of his secular studies education, I suggest you rethink your point.

    Also, “The idea of a Yeshiva (Al Pi Rav Dessler, and what many of the “Frum” Yeshivos hold L’maase) is that the 999 should fail out so that the one who is pushed can become a Gadol.” Do you really think that if you asked R’ Dessler, or a single gadol byisroel anywhere, that they would tell you better that 999 *fail* to produce 1 gadol?!?! Since when do we not care about 999/1000 of acheinu? I’m not sure what you meant but this sounds absolutely awful — I would never speak like this with my child in mind, and I’m sure neither would you, nor any gadol byisroel.

    Finally, of course it’s true that engaging in an extensive secular education will come at the expense of developing into a true talmid chachom. Learning Torah requires dedication and focus and long hours of ameilus. There is no way that a person can spend hours and hours a day doing something other than learning Torah, especially in their formative years, and expect to become a talmid chacham. However, we are not discussing an extensive secular education with hours a day of literature and history and science and social studies, but merely some basic skills that will serve boys well both in talmud torah and beyond daled koslei beis hamedrash.

    Also, here is something that I don’t think you understand. Yeshivas that insist that its bochrim devote themselves 100% of their time to Torah, and do not allow college classes, don’t necessarily view those attending college as “failures who need to be kicked out”. Their point is that in order to maintain a high level of seriousness, its talmdimim must be focused, to the exclusion of other focuses.

    There are plenty of very successful bochrim who have chosen at some point to leave full-time learning so they can earn a parnassah to support themselves and their families. That is very important, but that doesn’t mean it should happen while the bochur is in the yeshiva.

    Many years ago Harvard (or another one of the ivy league colleges) had a rule that you were not allowed to be married while a graduate student there. The idea was that if the institution is supporting you, then you need to be 100% focused on what you are studying there. Of course everyone has things on which they spend some of their time, but the schools did not allow its students to have serious responsibilities outside of their “learning” lhavdil. The importance of focus is important, of course, in yeshiva just as well.

    gavra_at_work –“People know better than to shout unpopular shittos from the rooftops which will cause backlash.”

    Go speak with any rosh yeshiva of any respectable institution. Not only will they not yell this from rooftops, they wouldn’t even tell this to you bchedrei chadarim. Because it’s not true. Unless they are secretly sadistic horrible people, no rosh yeshiva runs an institutions that aims to produce one gem at the cost of leaving hundreds in the dust. It’s not true at BMG, it’s not true in the Mir, it’s not true in Rabeinnu Chaim Berlin, Philly, Torah V’Daas, Riverdale, South Fallsburg or anywhere else.

    “The quote from Vaykira Rabbah of course does not mean anything the likes of what you took it to mean.

    Not me, Rav Dessler. Argue with him.”

    This is another unfair misattribution. Read again what R’ Dessler zt”l wrote in the link you sent. He is describing what occurs in many yeshivas, and how they are run. To justify what is going on there he writes “I heard that justification of the Rashei Yeshiva to pay such a heavy price to produce Gedolei Torah was Vayikra Rabbah 2:1….” He’s not claiming to believe in this shita, he’s not promoting this shita, and it’s not clear (from the link at least) that he thinks it’s a smart idea. He’s just trying to understand why some places function the way they do, and to do that he’s citing how some people try to justify it. So I don’t think it’s fair to attribute this perverse “shita” to him.

    in reply to: bitachon #1139166
    M
    Participant

    The quote from Vaykira Rabbah of course does not mean anything the likes of what you took it to mean. The medrash there states only that out of a thousand students, only one ends up being really something special. That’s true about everything — of a thousand kids who play basketball, only one will go to the NBA, of a thousand scientists only one will help cure cancer, of a thousand writers, only one will author a best-seller, v’chulei v’chulei. But chalilah that does not say anything the sorts of that which you are suggesting — that somehow it is worth our sacrificing a thousand of our children so we can get out one gadol. Chalilah v’challah.

    Also, despite what’s written on that site, the Rambam never says anything about a thousand fools dying “to obtain one genuine scholar”. The Rambam does not say that in Mishne Torah, not in Peirush hasmishnayose, not his tshuvose, or any other of his ksavim. What the Rambam does say, in the psicha to Moreh Nevuchim, is that he prefers to address the one wise person, even if 10,000 ignorant people will fail to understand him. Of course the meaning there is unrelated to what you are suggesting.

    Finally, of course there are yeshivas that will not push out general slackers, but will push out those studying in college. Some have something against college per se. But of course any serious yeshiva will not allow a bochur to stay if he spends half his time selling things on ebay, etc, any more than if he were in college. I’m sure there is no serious place like this that would be ok with a bochur spending serious time on outside pursuits. Small jobs here and there people are usually ok with since it might provide a small parnassah, it’s a good outlet, etc, but not a distraction from one’s growth. College, just like any other pursuit that requires substantial investment of time and effort, would certainly be a problem. And yes, there are yeshivas that do not accept married bochrim, in large part because that detracts them from their learning and hasmadah.

    in reply to: bitachon #1139163
    M
    Participant

    Also, here is something that I don’t think you understand. Yeshivas that insist that its bochrim devote themselves 100% of their time to Torah, and do not allow college classes, don’t necessarily view those attending college as “failures who need to be kicked out”. Their point is that in order to maintain a high level of seriousness, its talmdimim must be focused, to the exclusion of other focuses.

    There are plenty of very successful bochrim who have chosen at some point to leave full-time learning so they can earn a parnassah to support themselves and their families. That is very important, but that doesn’t mean it should happen while the bochur is in the yeshiva.

    Many years ago Harvard (or another one of the ivy league colleges) had a rule that you were not allowed to be married while a graduate student there. The idea was that if the institution is supporting you, then you need to be 100% focused on what you are studying there. Of course everyone has things on which they spend some of their time, but the schools did not allow its students to have serious responsibilities outside of their “learning” lhavdil. The importance of focus is important, of course, in yeshiva just as well.

    in reply to: bitachon #1139160
    M
    Participant

    gavra_at_work – “If you teach secular studies to all 1000, none of them will become a Gadol. (In practice there are quite a few counterexamples, but that is the theory.)”

    As gavra_at_work himself points out, this is not even true — every person here can name a dozen undisputed gedolim who had extensive secular educations. This includes gedolei harishonim and gedolei ha’achronim ad hayome hazeh.

    Moreover, your choice of citing R’ Dessler is particularly puzzling given that R’ Dessler learned in, and eventually spoke highly of, the yeshiva in Kelm. As wikipedia will tell you, this yeshiva “was unusual in the sense that it provided its pupils with a secular education parallel to their religious studies, enabling them to earn a livelihood rather than having to take up rabbinic positions.” So unless you are suggesting that R’ Dessler himself was somewhat lacking in Torah because of his secular studies education, I suggest you rethink your point.

    Also, “The idea of a Yeshiva (Al Pi Rav Dessler, and what many of the “Frum” Yeshivos hold L’maase) is that the 999 should fail out so that the one who is pushed can become a Gadol.” Do you really think that if you asked R’ Dessler, or a single gadol byisroel anywhere, that they would tell you better that 999 *fail* to produce 1 gadol?!?! Since when do we not care about 999/1000 of acheinu? I’m not sure what you meant but this sounds absolutely awful — I would never speak like this with my child in mind, and I’m sure neither would you, nor any gadol byisroel.

    Finally, of course it’s true that engaging in an extensive secular education will come at the expense of developing into a true talmid chachom. Learning Torah requires dedication and focus and long hours of ameilus. There is no way that a person can spend hours and hours a day doing something other than learning Torah, especially in their formative years, and expect to become a talmid chacham. However, we are not discussing an extensive secular education with hours a day of literature and history and science and social studies, but merely some basic skills that will serve boys well both in talmud torah and beyond daled koslei beis hamedrash.

    in reply to: bitachon #1139158
    M
    Participant

    Avram in MD — “If you truly want to convince people to move in a different direction, provide some suggestions or ideas.”

    Here is one small step. Yeshiva high schools can take more seriously basic mathematics and writing. The ability to perform addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, and basic algebraic manipulation is crucial to everything from home economics to business to taxes. Jobs that would take someone that lacks these skills (or who has very poor versions of these skills) are very few and poorly paid. Attempting to make up ground in this area when one is trying to take some college courses or professional training is a nightmare. Likewise, basic reading, comprehension, and writing are also skills necessary for almost any decent job. These are necessary skills for almost any job, yet many yeshiva high-schools do not take either seriously, and neither do the bochrim. Too many times have I heard parents, of good bochrim in excellent yeshivas, speak about these subjects as a liability of a good yeshiva.

    I have too many friends who have gone back to school or have tried finding work after many years learning, and lack these skills. It is a miserable place to be in. Even 40 minutes a day, four days a week, but taken seriously, of learning basic mathematics and basic reading/comprehension/writing would go a very along way to ensuring that our boys are well-equipped should they one day choose to do something other than learning.

    As an aside, the ability to coherently write is a skill that will serve them very well in the world of learning, rabbanus, kiruv, etc also.

    in reply to: bitachon #1139154
    M
    Participant

    To catch yourself — yes, you read my initial post correctly. Although you read it as written from a place of severe bitterness, cynicism, negativity and derisiveness, I had hoped that the examples would forcefully illustrate some of the mishiga’as that pervades our community. The irresponsibility of not appropriately planning for the future leads way too many young men to end up turning 30, with little education, no training, and only desperate means of supporting themselves and their families. If they are not cut out to be a magid shiur, a school rebbe, a kiruv professional, etc — and that describes at least half of our young men — then they are stuck in a terribly stressful position, and “the system” has failed them.

    It is absolutely wonderful that we live in a time and place where so many of us can sit and learn — it is mamash a brachah that we have never in our history seen on this scale. Of course we need roshei yeshiva, magidei shiur, and even school rebbes that know the difference between Brachose and Bchorose, and between a Nesivose (Hamishpat) and a Nesivose Shalom. And I 100% support the high-quality yeshivose that will provide am yisroel with the learners and leaders that we desperately need.

    At the same time, I see tremendous irresponsibility in the system that leaves so many young men in positions of destitution and dependence on their parents, their in-laws, and social welfare. These people believe they are ma’aminim bnei ma’aminim, betuchim bnei btuchim. It leads to very sad stories, even among those who can honestly say about themselves im tivakshena kakesef uchmatmunim tichapsenah. If my post pushes even one person to think a bit more deeply about their own emunah, bitachon, and the decisions they make, and pushes them to take even one step towards ensuring a responsible path for themselves or their friends, I will be consider the post as having served an important to’eles.

    In all honesty, thank you for your inspiringly thoughtful and respectful response. I hope that all of us can continue to communicate respectfully about weighty matters, ha’omdim b’rumo shel olam.

    in reply to: bitachon #1139146
    M
    Participant

    Bitachon means not working (but learning Torah) and trusting that Hashem will provide your parnassah. Likewise, not going on dates (but learning Torah) and trusting that Hashem will provide you a wife. Likewise, not being involved in your children’s lives (but learning Torah) and trusting that Hashem will raise them for you. Likewise, not being involved in helping your community (but learning Torah) and trusting that Hashem will take care of them instead.

    In short, the more Torah you learn, the more responsibilities you shirk, the better your bitachone is. Like several people said before, becoming a baal bitachon is not easy, but every step counts.

    in reply to: The NASI Project – an updated assesement of this shidduch initiative #1116055
    M
    Participant

    There was a great article about this in Time magazine several months ago (just google time magazine mormons shadchan marriage). In short it pointed out that the frum community grows by several percent per year. For 100 babies born in 2000, there are roughly 110 babies born in 2003, for example. If men tend to marry women several years younger, then for every 50 men that will turn 21 in 2021, there will be roughly 55 women turning 18. So of course there won’t be “enough” men for all of the women.

    The article points out that in the chassidic community, in which men and women are the same age at marriage, there is no shidduch crisis.

    This, to me, sounds like the best explanation of what’s going on.

    in reply to: Disciplining a child #1113994
    M
    Participant

    Joseph: “M, so you beat your own path and disregard others advice?”

    Excellent point — no, but I am wary of advice from people that cannot produce any track record of success. Would you listen to a stock analyst that is not a successful trader? I would hope not. Would you listen to marriage advice from a person that is not happily married? I would hope not. Why would you listen to parenting advice from a person that has no evidence to show that they are a good parent?

    And I don’t think for a second that I’m the best parent in the world. I’m probably not the best in the world, and probably not the worst either. I’m ok being somewhere in the middle. I have never seen any claim, let alone evidence, to show that people that are “good parents” end up raising “good kids”. I’m sure you have many friends that came from “amazing parents” that didn’t turn out too well, and kids that grew up in very rough family situations that came out great.

    in reply to: Disciplining a child #1113992
    M
    Participant

    Go to a frum parenting class, since if those people are giving talks about parenting, it must be that they know the answers to these questions. I’m sure that the children of all people giving parenting classes have come out super.

    More seriously, if I hear about a person giving a parenting class I wonder, oh, and how did that work out for you? If their own children do not testify to the effectiveness of their parent’s child-rearing methods, then it would be silly to waste our time listening to them.

    in reply to: DATI LEUMI AND CHAREDI- why is there such friction? #1112104
    M
    Participant

    DaasYochid — please stop asking others for respect without first acknowledging their frustrations, it is not fair. If you can’t understand why chareidi behavior is infuriating (to many), then I don’t believe you have thought enough about this. Have you thought about the thought-experiment at the end of page 2? I am interested in hearing your take.

    in reply to: DATI LEUMI AND CHAREDI- why is there such friction? #1112102
    M
    Participant

    DaasYochid — I can certainly drop the sarcasm, but the anger is harder to put down. Controlling feelings is much harder than controlling actions, and I don’t think I can just drop it any more than you can decide to arbitrarily like or not like someone. I believe that the resentment which the chareidi tzibbur creates is genuine and very understandable. In a subsequent post I attempted to portray my point of view and why I resent particular sentiments in the chareidi world.

    Comments such as those of american_yerushalmi are also very upsetting, and create more resentment. Of course learning Torah is important and of course every person in battle plays a different role. However, who decided that this means that every bochur should be learning for ten years? Did every bochur tell Dovid Hamelech, no thank you, we’re learning Torah. Was all fighting left to non-chareidim? When the Torah tells us that a man ??? ??? ??? ??? ???? or ??? ??? ??? ???? or ??? ??? ???? ???? are pturim from fighting — why didn’t the Torah tell us someone who is sitting and learning? ????? ??? ????? ???? ??????.

    american_yerushalmi, please do not say silly things like “only about 25% or so of the soldiers are actually “exposed to danger.”” Does that mean 25% of people that were shot at? 25% that fight in Gaza? Every single person that wears bidgei milchama is risking his or her life to fulfill their responsibility towards HKB”H and his nation, to protect them and be ready for the unfortunate realities and possibilities of violence. Nowhere do we find in the chumash or nach or midrashim or gemarose or poskim an idea that every young man learning Torah is patur from going to the army. Please do not make things up in the name of Torah.

    in reply to: DATI LEUMI AND CHAREDI- why is there such friction? #1112096
    M
    Participant

    Here is a small “thought-experiment”. DaasYochid, imagine that I told you that I was moving down the block from you. I had never before learned meseches temura or uktzin, or yevamose b’iyun, and decided to spend the next several years of my life trying to learn those mesechtose. Of course I need a way to put food on the table so I ask you if you’d be willing to support me — I don’t need much, just a bed and minimal food. You’re a nice guy, and of course care very much about talmud torah, so you say yes, you’re willing to put me up a few dollars per week for so I can learn Torah.

    After a few months you realize that supporting me is a bit of strain on your finances so you say, hey M, I’m really sorry but I can’t keep up this arrangement, money is tight. I say to you, DaasYochid, what do you mean? I see that you guys go out to dinner every other week. Why not just stop doing that, and you’ll have plenty of money left to support me? You mull it over and, realizing that talmud torah is more important that dining out, agree.

    Another few months later, things are difficult again, and you come to me saying, look, things aren’t working out. And I say, what do you mean DaasYochid, I saw that last yuntif you bought your wife a beautiful new dress and gold earrings. I saw you bought your children new clothing. Surely you can find the cash to support a budding talmid chacham who just wants to learn? Again you acquiesce and continue sending me checks. You even trade in your new Camry for an older vehicle so that you can support me with the difference.

    A few months later you realize that this is all a bit much and you really, really can’t continue doing this. As kindly as you can you explain the situation to me. And you ask me to find someone else that can support you. It’s ok, I understand, you just don’t appreciate the value of talmud torah like I do. To you, material possessions are more important than ruchniyus. Your once-a-year vacation with your family is more important than talmud torah. Whatever…

    Can you imagine how aggravated you would be in this situation? Of course you care about talmud torah, since you just supported me for several years. You’d probably feel pushed around a bit even when you cut me checks willingly. And this is how I sometimes feel about many chareidi institutions. They move into town, with a cadre of young men eager to learn and teach Torah. Of course I want to support them — halvai that I could sit and learn all day, eating food from shamayim. But it is a strain, of course. And then there is the guilt — what, you don’t care about talmud torah? They do this to all of the balebatim, and of course people give willingly — how can they say no to the rosh kollel? Don’t they care about Talmud Torah?!

    And this is what happens when one year the Israeli government decides to give less to yeshivas — “It’s because they hate Torah!!!” “They’re doing this because they hate chareidim!!” “What, they have money to give to open a museum, but not for a yeshiva?!?!”

    But I think you, a person who certainly appreciates talmud torah, even you would probably resent a group of people moving into your area insisting that you and your friends support them, and then guilting them about how learning must not be important to you. It’s very aggravating.

    in reply to: DATI LEUMI AND CHAREDI- why is there such friction? #1112095
    M
    Participant

    DaasYochid — sarcasm aside, I think that these two points are tremendously vexing. You and I can respect one another’s sincerity. I have no doubt that the majority of chareidi people are sincere and thoughtful and passionate and genuinely good people at heart.

    But at the same time, it is very hurtful that almost none of them participate in protecting our country. Think about how offensive it is to someone who has risked their life — their life! — to patrol borders, to fight terrorism, to make sure that you and I and our children will all have a place to call home, a place where we can all sit and learn as much Torah as we’d like for as long as we’d like. Imagine the frustration at seeing an enormous segment of the population say, no thank you. We can understand where you’re coming from and still be extremely angry. Nu, it would be one thing for a portion of the the population to “opt-out”. Not every person is matim. But for the entire community? Of course it doesn’t bother Israelis if a bachur in Brooklyn does not fight, or if a kollel man in BMG does not fight. They don’t benefit and don’t contribute. Nicha. But for a tremendous segment of the population to take and benefit, and to not acknowledge the ultimate contributions of the rest of the population, that is very hurtful. The Chazon Ish asked for a ptur for a small group of bochrim, not for the entire population.

    Likewise, when it comes to working. Of course many chareidim work. But many don’t, and the poverty which they create becomes a burden shouldered by the rest of the nation. When someone in bnei brak chooses to not work and is ok living poorly, it’s not just that he’ll get by with less, he’ll get by on the backs of the many who work hard yomam vlayla to put bread on the table, who work tireless in all professions to provide for the needs of their families and others. When a large segment of the population says no thank you, I’m happy to live off the kindness of others, that too is tremendously upsetting.

    I can understand where you are coming from, and I can respect you to some extent, but it is very difficult to be ok with it.

    DaasYochid — what do you think about all of this?

    in reply to: DATI LEUMI AND CHAREDI- why is there such friction? #1112092
    M
    Participant

    Touche.

    in reply to: DATI LEUMI AND CHAREDI- why is there such friction? #1112090
    M
    Participant

    I think some chareidim don’t like the dati leumi because of their terrible hashkafose including that people should work to support themselves, and that people have an achrayus to the larger tzibbur to serve in the army and protect the country. Chareidim know that all people would just sit and learn Torah properly then we wouldn’t have an army at all. Like consider bnei yisroel in the times of Dovid and Shlomo hamelech — did they fight in the army and work?! or did they just sit and learn Torah. Of course they all sat and learned Torah. Once the dati leumi tzibbur gets this, there can be much more achdus.

    in reply to: twins before mashiach #1100399
    M
    Participant

    I heard someone quote a rav saying that before mashiach comes we will need to be able to spread news of mashiach’s arrival very quickly, and this is why email and the internet were made.

    I heard someone quote a rav saying that we should not cheat on our taxes…

    I heard someone quote a rav saying baba maaseh’s based on nothing. Is it possible that that was true? Who knows….

    in reply to: Is ISIS the war of Gog U'Magog? #1101448
    M
    Participant

    I had a nevua last night — the answer is yes.

    in reply to: what are the job options for a bais yaakov type girl? #1055371
    M
    Participant

    One might also consider that many jobs like sheitel-macher, waitress, cleaning lady, and gan morah often do not have job security or benefits. Forget the halachic/ethical issues entailed by many of these jobs which do not exactly go “by the books”, but because of this, employees might never accrue social security credits, or health-care, disability, unemployment, maternity leave, and retirement benefits. Things are great when you’re young and in good health, but what will happen if you get sick? or when you can’t work any longer?

    A very yeshivish friend of mine went to law school and has a job at a law firm. When she had a baby, her company continued paying her up to 6 weeks full salary while she stayed at home. She also had an additional four months which she could choose to stay at home without pay, but during which she could choose to go back.

    In many of the jobs people here suggested, if anything happens (including having a baby), you are generally not paid, and generally have no benefits to help. What might be useful in the short-term can have dire consequences long-term.

    in reply to: what are the job options for a bais yaakov type girl? #1055337
    M
    Participant

    A “bais yaakov type girl”, like any other girl on the planet, can obtain proper training and become an accountant, a nurse, a lawyer, an architect, a doctor, engineer, pharmacist, dentist, physical therapist, programmer or one of a million other professions out there. Sure these jobs involve hard work, but so does being a babysitter, a secretary, a house-cleaner, a cashier, or just being poor because so many of these positions offer small compensation, benefits, and relative job-security.

    The training for some of these professions is intense but doable (tens of thousands people do it every year), and can be done in an appropriate quality setting.

Viewing 50 posts - 51 through 100 (of 103 total)