Lucky Shlomo

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14 Responses

  1. joel rich says:

    2 thoughts, not judging anyone’s actions:
    1.Fallacy of composition
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    A fallacy of composition arises when one infers that something is true of the whole from the fact that it is true of some part of the whole (or even of every proper part). In Keynesian macroeconomics, the “paradox of thrift” illustrates this fallacy: increasing saving (or “thrift”) is obviously good for an individual, since it provides for retirement or a “rainy day,” but if everyone saves more, it may cause a recession by reducing consumer demand. So here is one explicit argument (selected from a number of possibilities arising from these facts) that commits the fallacy of composition:

    2.opportunity cost – example, if a city decides to build a hospital on vacant land it owns, the opportunity cost is the value of the benefits forgone of some other thing which might have been done with the land and construction funds instead.

    Certainly the need in this generation for “baalei eitzah” is pronounced due to supply and demand considerations which is a topic unto itself.

    KT

  2. Dr. E says:

    One fundamental issue here is the transition of yeshiva bochurim to becoming functional and productive members of the broader community after their days in the institution have passed. Even if one has been privileged to have made a kesher with one or more Rabbeim, there have been multiple cohorts of other talmidim who have passed through those same yeshivos since who have made similar connections and are competing for those same limited opportunities.

    I have observed that some guys out there are fixated in their Yeshiva days. You see this in their mannerisms, routines, and the schedules that they like to keep. Consequently, even if they are married and no longer living in the Yeshiva, they have not outgrown this mindset. In too many instances, they do not appropriately try hard enough to develop mature relationships with a local Rav (who may or may not have studied in that same Yeshiva). Some delude themselves into believing that the old kesher that they had with their Rabbeim is more real than perceived, even when they find themselves geographically separated from them of the Rabbeim are otherwise no longer accessible. (And in some cases, the Rabbeim themselves objectively relate better to 19 and 20 year olds than they do with 30 year old graduates.) There is an entire subculture of “adult Yeshiva guys”, 25 years through middle age, who geographically live in communities, yet live on “the float”, davening in multiple shtiblach, basements, and shuls out of convenience, while not establishing roots in any one place. They delude themselves into believing that this is a functional existence that will carry them, their wives, and children through life and its hurdles. This mindset deprives them of developing a connection with any one Rav who can counsel them through mature life issues and challenges. While these individuals may be in touch with Yeshiva Rabbeim for occasional advice, this is no substitute for a relationship with someone who is not only accessible on a daily basis but also sensitive to the context of the community in which they reside.

    In the “Vaadim”, Rabbeim in Yeshivos should be stressing the importance of settling in a community, becoming productive members of it, and developing a relationship with an appropriate Rav. This requires some level of “letting go” by both parties. It also requires community Rabbanim who understand Yeshiva expatriots and can help them integrate with other members of the broader community who may not have attended the same yeshiva. There are certainly some opportunities to reunite with Rabbeim and the yeshivos in terms of being active in those organizations as alumni as well as attending Yarchai Kallah which maintain the intellectual and spiritual kesher. And in limited situations, there are individuals who are fortunate to have an ongoing personal connection with a Rebbe.

    To the extent that this successful transition can be encouraged and managed, the individuals (not to mention their families) and the communities will be better off.

  3. Ori says:

    Note: I am writing this as an outsider who never studied in Yeshiva. I might be missing something blindly obvious – if so, please tell me.

    It seems to me that this is a resource problem. Too many Yeshiva students, competing with the attention of too few mature men who are in Yeshiva. Mature men with large families are expensive, and Yeshivas can’t keep too many of them around.

    Maybe the solution is for Ba’aley Batim, men who left the Yeshiva world and are raising their families, to learn in Chavruta with Yeshiva students. These are the role models for what most Yeshiva students will end up doing, and the Jewish community has no shortage of them. In return, the Ba’aley Batim get to learn with somebody who is excited about learning Torah and has different insights, being of a different generation and a full time learner.

  4. cvmay says:

    This is a problem that is increasing on a monthly basis, solutions are needed. Rav M. Solomon has offered an eitzah to hire mashgichim mentors for every shiur and grade level, yeshiva personel that are on-board to schmooze, do active listening, offer advice, and truly be a friend. Is the underlying issue, only financial or is there a VOID within the ranks of Yeshivas to produce 21st Century mentoring individuals? I dare to suggest that the latter is the answer, can it be solved? OF COURSE…we must stand up to the challenge, ignore sterotypes and put kavod shem shamayim foremost.

  5. Dan Weiss says:

    Thank you R’ Rosenblum for a keen precis of an essential issue. The observations you make about the mainstream yeshiva world are equally relevant for ba’alei teshuvah. Added to the upheaval of abandoning a purely secular life for a Torah one, the ba’al teshuva is thrown into a foreign universe of shidduchim and life-after-yeshiva.

    He needs the guidance of a rav to help him keep his head on his shoulders in shidduchim – to help him understand that our mission is to build relationships based on Torah principles, not to embody an image of what some of those relationships appear to be.

    If he is going back to work he needs encouragement in learning, perhaps more so than the guy who grew up in yeshiva, since his independence in learning is less. He needs concrete goals as far as what to learn, and motivation to be kovei’a itim l’Torah in what will be shockingly restricted learning time compared to what he had in yeshiva.

    This is a short-list of the support a ba’al teshuva needs coming out of yeshiva, and I’ve only mentioned men in this comment, not women and their needs coming out of ba’al teshuva seminaries.

    My first halacha shiur in yeshiva (I was twenty-nine years old and illiterate) was given by a brilliant rav who somewhat humorously admonished us not to transgress the two commandments in the Torah most commonly abused by ba’alei teshuvah (according to him): be normal and don’t be stupid. Without careful and consistent guidance, ba’alei teshuva are in danger of either straying from the Torah path or, as Rabbi Tatz puts it, of becoming mindless groupies. God-willing we will all find the courage to be reasonably chutzpadik in our pursuit of close relationships with rabbonim.

  6. Michoel says:

    R’ Rosenblum is addressing an extremely important topic. But it is not only bnei yeshivos and those on their way into the work world that need a rebbi. Regular Baalei batim might need one more. The bnei yeshiva’s world is much less complex than the baal habayis with kids in a few different schools, paranasa challenges, ones own growth challenges. I think a big part of the the solution is b’makom sh’ain anashim, hishtadel l’hiyos ish. Meaning, not only big maggidei shiur or Roshei Yeshivos and mashgichim should be providing guidance. Accomplished baalei batim that are talmidei chachamim to a degree, should step up to the plate and make themselves available.

  7. joel rich says:

    Accomplished baalei batim that are talmidei chachamim to a degree, should step up to the plate and make themselves available.

    Comment by Michoel
    ================================

    Bingo, but in a culture that correlates knowledge, advice and sagacity with full-time employment in the rabbinical role, is this likely to be accepted? BTW, interesting that no one has mentioned parents in that role:-(

    KT

  8. Chaim Wolfson says:

    “BTW, interesting that no one has mentioned parents in that role” (Comment by joel rich — December 13, 2007 @ 3:55 pm).

    Joel, maybe these are kids that “flipped out” 🙂

  9. Toby Katz says:

    Aseh lecha rav. People just have to do it. I don’t know who should tell guys, but somebody should tell them, that everyone needs a rav. BTW girls and women also need mentors (the mentor could be a rav OR a rebetzin, someone with wisdom and life experience).

    Joel Rich mentioned “parents.” My father z’l was my daas Torah and I haven’t found anyone who can remotely replace him, but I try to ask shailos and not just muddle through on my own.

  10. Yossi (Joe) Izrael says:

    Bingo!

    Finally someone talking about this super important topic. There is a huge lack of guidance in our day. Regardless of all other problems, what is sorely missing is guidance and personal relationship. Yeshivas need to speak, speak, speak, speak and speak to kids. Lots of shmuessen from different people – each person is drawn to different styles and different ideas/expressions thereof chatch his attention/interest.

    And yea, parents also should be involved. Unfortunately it’s not always so.

    All the best.

  11. JosephW says:

    It seems to me that the average yeshiva guy in his post yeshiva days does not relate to his neighborhood Rav because he sees the Rav to be serving the baale batim – people who can be a generation older than him, and are generally not as learned as he is (or so he thinks). He therefore doesn’t get close to any Rav and tries (hopefully) to maintain his kesher with his yeshiva rebbe – usually unsuccesfully.

    The approach to deal with this is to create a shul for younger people where the Rav is specifically chosen based on the respect he can garner from yeshivaleit and the kesher he can create with them. (For example, such a shul was recently started in Baltimore around five years ago, which by now has a membership of over 300. The average age in the shul is thirty or lower thirties. The Rav who was hired is the sgan rosh kollel of the yeshiva.)

    (This would have to be done in such a way that the shul would not be seen as looking down on the rest of the community for not being as frum as they are.)

  12. Bob Miller says:

    Last summer, we visited our daughter and her family in Baltimore, whose shul seems to match JosephW’s description above. Their Rav, the Shabbos morning attendees packing the house, and the services themselves really impressed me favorably.

  13. Noam says:

    As noted above, the PARENTS have been totally left out of this article. Where is their role? Shouldn’t parents prepare their kids for marriage, shidduchim, and life in general?

    Also left out is the shul or community rov. not just of the community that the student moves into, but the one that he CAME from.

    The combined effect of ignoring parents and community is to maximize the influence of the yeshiva, and minimize the effect of family and community. Why is this neccessary or desireable? Why and how are the parents being ignored? That should be the first problem addressed. The issues addressed in this article are only the result of neglect of the parent/child and community/child relationship.

    And, by the way, it was a bit gratuitous to mention that Shlomo was on track to go to YU, but went to Ner instead.

  14. BY girl says:

    To reiterate what Mrs. Katz said, girls / women need mentors as well!

    I would posit that once they graduate at 17-18, it is even more demanding for them to find one, as they don’t have any community framework of daily shul / bais medrash / shiur.

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