Rav Kanievsky on Talmidei Torah Studying ‘Foreign Curriculum’



HaGaon HaRav Chaim Kanievsky Shlita has spoken out regarding talmidei torah and the ongoing effort to introduce a “foreign curriculum” into the schools. The Gadol Hador instructs us to distance ourselves from such schools.

The following image is the text appearing on the front page of Yated Neeman on Tuesday, 23 Menachem Av 5773.

To enlarge the image below, click on it.


(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)


  1. Doesn’t the RAMBAM say other stuff also or is that not needed here so it’s OK to toss?
    Also, while there is a chiyuv of teaching Torah, I’m not sure how teaching secular studies means that you’re not teaching Torah anymore.

  2. I dont believe Rav Chaim wrote that. That is why it is typed and only his signature is in his writing, because someone just typed that up and put Rav Chaims signature on it

  3. truthsharer, we learn from our gedolim and follow what they tell us. If you don’t understand what is being said you are welcome to ask, but your not ‘being sure’ of something carries no weight.

    I would tread very carefully when doubting R. Chaim, unless, of course you are at his level in learning.

  4. #1
    You admit that you are not sure how teaching secular studies means not teaching Torah!
    Is secular studies part of Torah Y or N?
    Besides in EY there’s a Cherem from the Brisker rav RYL DISKIN Zatzal and ALL the gedolim of his generation against learning ANY secular studies including languages, and they specify that their psak stays forever and CANNOT be changed!

  5. to #1

    During that hour that you are teaching your son Geometry, you are not teaching him Torah. So for a whole hour you were Oiver on a Psak in Rambam and a message from the Gedolim.

  6. That has all the hallmarks of a forgery. Including, primarily, that it’s on the front page of the Yated.

    Forgery or not, can anyone explain the transition from the first paragraph to the second? The logic eludes me.

  7. Note that he didn’t say to learn “foreign subjects”, he only said that they shouldn’t be part of the Talmud Torah (heder, yeshiva, whatever) curriculum. This is consistent with the attitude of the frum community for the last few centuries, in which yeshivos are preserved for learning Torah, and any other subjects (goyish languages, professions, trades, useful skills, etc.) are learned elsewhere. About 200 years ago the goyim in their schools had a very religious-oriented humanistic curriculum but they allowed “foreign subjects” into the school, and within a relatively short time they foreign subjects, like an invasive weed, took over. Our rabbanim haven’t been proved right in keeping yeshivos for Torah, and pushing the weeds elsewhere.

  8. akuperma, that only works if the call is for talmidim to go out and learn a trade or profession somewhere outside the yeshiva, if it’s so important to keep all secular subjects outside of the yeshiva (somehow the yeshivas in Chutz La’aretz have pulled off the trick). If the talmidim never leave the yeshiva and never learn anything outside it, we’re still at square one.

  9. The Gra even translated Euclid, and encouraged his talmidim to study these subjects. Therefore one can only assume that this letter is a forgery.

  10. daaust with flames has a forged letter ever appeared on the front page of yated in the name of rav chaim or rav ahron leib. so what are you tslking about

  11. BTW is this an Eretz Yisroel pasok only?

    “Besides in EY there’s a Cherem from the Brisker rav RYL DISKIN Zatzal and ALL the gedolim of his generation against learning ANY secular studies including languages, and they specify that their psak stays forever and CANNOT be changed!” — This Cherem was given to the Ashkenizic community of 80 families, does not apply to Sefardim or those outside of the original 80 families!!!

    Never heard of a Posak that CAN NOT be changed!!

  12. 90% of letters are fake or the topic was misrepresented to the gadol. Unless there is a letter with an explanation from the gadol on exactly the context of the issue that he was going on its false. You can ask a shaila 10 different ways to get the answer you want at the end you are just fooling yourself

  13. #3 and others No doubt he wrote it. Your hair would stand up if you would know what else he advised.

    #4 You’re right. Unlike these people who think that Gedolei Yisrael are like their secular teachers whom they can spit on, be mechutzaf to and question their ruling, Charedim would never question the daat Torah of Gedolei Yisrael and would follow their ruling blindly.

  14. Milo Kol HAarets Kiovodo – Hes in Geomatry , hes in earth science hes in cooking …etc, his glory is everywhere including ALL SECULAR STUDIES . you can only chose to turn away and if you chose to turn away so will his NAME turn from you . where you seek to find him their you will find him .

    this cultic mentality of seperation only causes more SINAT CHINAM including “GEDLOIM” or katanim .

    In the “eyes” of heaven actions speak louder than words not what curriculum you study.

  15. 7, That is not correct. You are not oiver on a positive mitzvah when you are not doing it.
    In addition, according to many, teaching geometry is indeed Torah so you would indeed be teaching him Torah. Have you ever tried learning Beitzah without a basic understanding of arithmetic or geometry?
    In addition, to all those claiming that once R’ Chaim said something we have to listen, I wonder, if those of you who have a daughter named Shira or wear wristwatches will change. I for one don’t think this is real.

  16. zionflag The problem with your reporting a psak against secular subjects, is that in any frum community, even Mea Shearim, you will see lots of hareidim doing things other than learning all day. There are mechanics, shopkeepers, craftsman, cooks, drivers, and people able to communicate in a variety of languages. You seem to think that hareidim are mindless blobs reciting, but never understanding, blats of gemara all day while living off of charity from the non-frum — frankly, if you believe that, have I got a bridge to sell you…

  17. #18 you completely misread what I wrote and are Motzi Shem Rah on my comments due to your annoyance with my flagship name.

    Sit back, inhale, exhale and relax…& DO NOT make assumptions on what I think or relate to.

  18. #6- Satmar —What would the Gedolim you quoted pasken about you being on the Internet most of the day?? Also, since you’re not allowed to learn languages how did you write your post in English? Unless your sister helped you.

  19. Most of our major Rabbis new several languages (Rashi-French) as well as Math & Science. If you don’t, you will have a very difficult time getting a job today. I just finished the biography of the Chida. He traveled all over the world and eventually became head Rabbi in Italy. I assume he knew several languages. If you go through Mishna, you will see how worldly our great Rabbis were and how much they knew about ALL subjects.

  20. AThought writes : ….” Charedim would never question the daat Torah of Gedolei Yisrael and would follow their ruling blindly…” –
    Which religion are you talking about? Catholicism with an infallible pope, Buddhism, cultism?
    It can’t be Judaism because we question EVERYTHING.The very first line in a gemorrah after a mishna is…”Mnu Hanie mili..? Of course , you question with respect and dignity. But you’re spreading a false message about our holy Torah. We question anybody and everything. No such thing as following blindly. That’s for chamorim and work horses.