HaRav Meir Kessler Of Modi’in Illit Speaks Out Against Learning “Secular Subjects”


The Mora D’asra of Modi’in Illit, HaRav Meir Kessler, spoke out against teaching children secular subjects, warning, “They are preparing the children for the workplace”.

In a letter penned by Rav Kessler regarding the matter of introducing math, English and science to the curriculum of chareidi children in talmidei torah, Rav Kessler warns, “The goal is to prepare them to get out into the workplace and to become a member of the general society. We must strengthen the children’s desire to learn Torah.”

Rav Kessler publicized his letter in the chareidi city, warning against classes in secular subjects for the city’s children, for he fears this agenda is being pushed by the government to prepare the children to join the workforce instead of continuing to study Torah.

According to a BeChadrei Chareidim report, the rav points out that Maran Gedolei Yisrael Shlita over recent years have warned against this, speaking out against introducing secular subjects into the chareidi curriculum in the strongest terms, insisting the state cannot and will not have a hand in deciding what chareidi children will learn.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)


  1. Can someone please explain the rav’s position! I don’t get it! Can every child become a Rosh Kollel or a Rosh Yeshiva? Can’t children be taught to be ehrlicha Yidin in the work place. Whatever happened to the pasuk יגיע כפיך כי תאכל אשריך וטוב לך
    What’s wrong with learning a trade? Does not the גמרא state that one parental requirement is to teach a child a livelihood? Please explain the Rav’s position!

  2. Lol “warning, “They are preparing the children for the workplace”.”

    He was misunderstood. He was encourgaing secular subjects because , “They are preparing the children for the workplace”. In keeping with Kidushin 29

    chas veshalom to say otherwise about this tzadik

  3. B’zayas Apecha Tochal Lechem. We just read it in parshas noach.
    Learning math,spelling etc has Nothing to do with the israeli government and everything to do with being a normal person in society who needs to get out and support thier families. Maybe thr rav should look in the mirror of his town and see the hubdreds of OTD boy’s and girls.

  4. Ok…then. I guess all those people looking for a frum doctor or lawyer or accountant or engineer will have to settle for a goyishe doctor, lawyer accountant, or engineer.

  5. Baruch Hashem someone is finally standing up for people’s right to be uneducated, functionally illiterate, and unable to support their families. With R’ Kessler Shlita’s help, many people will be able to fulfill the mishna כל המקיים את התורה מעני, סופו לקיימה מעושר.

  6. “… the state cannot … have a hand in deciding what chareidi children learn.”

    Where in Torah does it say that the state will have a hand in feeding chareidi children and adults? Perhaps the rabbi is confident that some Jews who have parnassa will support the chareidim who cannot have a parnassa.

  7. HOW could you “dream” with your head in the clouds? You know well that a VERY LARGE portion of the yeshiva students will NOT become full-time b’nei Tora, and if you don’t teach them secular subjects, they will become “leidg gehers”, and be on the dredges of society.
    Rav Michoe’ Ber Weissmadel Z”L had the vision of “Toah im Derech Eretz”, & founded Yeshiva Farm Settlement, but unfortunately it dis not become what he wanted. We have hundreds of bright and smart yungeleit, who without secular education are wasting away doing menial jobs, and no chance of advancement.
    This should weigh heavily on the conscience of the mechanchim!

  8. Is every Zevulun a boor am ha’aretz? Inevitably that is what this viewpoint boils down to. It’s treif to learn a parnossa to provide for a family, says this opinion. Bitochon without hishtadlus is a dead-end road.

  9. במחילת כבודו, I fear he is simply screaming the narrative that has been pushed for so long, and to no avail. One can live without abandoning the Torah at all, and enter the workforce. The countless references from psukim as well as divrei Chazal about the value of earning one’s livelihood are far more reputable than the words of the narrative. No, I shudder at the control over this resting with a secular government, whether NYS of Israel. It should be the yeshivos doing their due diligence to imbue talmidim with a passion for learning, yet able to function independently. It should be considered a matter of bizayon to travel to America to panhandle for הכנסת כלה every time a child gets engaged. Americans with all their tzedokoh requirements and resources should not be tasked with marrying off the children of every frum Yid in E”Y.

    It is disappointing that there is “equivalence” between learning basic subjects that are mislabeled as “secular” with abandoning Torah. Claiming that strengthens the argument, but bases it on sheker. The Gedolei Yisroel who disapproved of government being in charge of this were correct. It should be the Gedolei Yisroel in charge on insuring that we stop producing generations of dependents. In reality, they can do this. But the narrative, that is imposed on them from outside states that engaging in parnosoh is somehow against Torah, and the weakness is the acceptance of that by our leaders.

  10. Lets just assume this was a sick joke or somone hacked into to R’ Kessler’s computer and issued this bizarre letter in his name without his knowledge. Even the most fringe elements of the Chareidi tzibur acknowledge that kids need to have basic math and language skills for both limudei kodesh as well as basic life functions in EY. I can understand prohibitions against studying Greek philosophy or “health education” but to promote intentional ignorance and dysfunction is mamash child abuse and any advocate for such outcomes should be properly labeled as a child abuser.