News and Essays In and Out of Orthodoxy – Parshas Matos-Masei 5776

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120 Responses

  1. Eli Blum says:

    Re: Lakewood – Rav Aharon specifically wanted his yeshiva to be in a quiet area where the Bochrim would not be distracted. Lakewood of today is anything but quiet; it is full of distractions, restaurants and people. I’ve discussed this with a long-term (15+ year) Kollel member of Lakewood, and he agrees.

    The only solution is to move the Yeshiva out of Lakewood to a more quiet area. Allentown/Easton PA comes to mind, as it has cheap housing, commutable to NYC, and would not “take over” an existing yeshiva.

    Unfortunately, there are too many “vested interests” to do what seems to be best for the bochrim and Kollel men in the Yeshiva who just want to have a Makom Torah without distractions, and to be able to afford a home there when they get married and have a few children, bezras Hashem.

    • R.B. says:

      We agree. Lakewood is a resort town. Rav Aharon zt”l never intended Lakewood for become the fast growing municipality it is today. I don’t even know if R’ Shneur zt”l also envisioned what it has become. I have to admit, though, that I enjoy visiting Lakewood (my wife has a lot of family there) and enjoying its “frum” amenities, especially Four Courners Bagel Shop (my city has really nothing like it), its seforim/judaica stores, all the batei medrash and shuls, and the focus on Torah learning, as well as seeing such a young, frum population you really cannot find in many other places in Chutz LaAretz. On the hand, I find it is too much of a “ghetto”, with everybody on top of each other. It doesn’t have an “out of town” feeling, and is a really transplant from NYC.

      • dr. bill says:

        when upscale dress stores catering to the needs of “hot channies,” zoning laws causing intolerable congestion, mcmansions replace prior structures, high-priced eateries, etc. expand throughout lakewood, it is abundantly clear that lakewood  has changed.  no longer a rural town housing an elite chareidi yeshiva that outlawed chairs in its pizza shop, it is now a town that demonstrates how avoiding positive interaction with modernity leads to modernity rearing its head in mostly negative ways.  every yossil, mendel, and buruch can steig while his wife does not have to suffer the indignities of life outside flatbush or the 5 towns.  and many more take up residence after their years of kollel are over, many with an honest desire for a secluded makom torah and others with the cover that lakewood can provide.

         

         

        • ISteve Brizel says:

          I never learned in BMG but I have been there for simchos and was given  my own tour by a very dear friend whose son learned there. I was struck by the number of buildings named in honor of donors from clearly well known MO Baalei Tzedaka  , the enormous  size of the Batei Medrashim and the nice housing that is available even as starter apartments for avreichim and their families because the same is viewed as a priority so that an Avreich doesn’t have to live in poverty and will think about learning for a while without having to think about affording a house. Yes, Lakewood has changed from the days of RAK ZL when even top talmidim in RIETS ( RHS and R Rakkafet) spent their summers learning there in the summer because it was then empty in the summer . In  the early days, RAK worked very hard to lure talmidim such as R Tendler’s brother ZL who then became the Mnahel of the high school of Ner Yisrael.

          I would suggest that there are numerous factors in the demographic explosion:

          1) If you are yeshivish and want to live in a yeshivish community with the priorities and problems inherent therein, especially in dealing with the pluses and minuses of modernity, there are three major communities in the metro NY area-Monsey, Passaic and Lakewood which offer what you are looking for in terms of a shuls, schools and rabbanim. Passaic is the most convenient, but if you have any connection to BMG , Lakewood attracts yeshivishe families who previously lived in Brooklyn whose children and grandchildren are already in the community .  It is a major hike from Lakewood to NY if you work in NYC or if you travel from NY to Lakewood for simchas , but probably no less inconvenient than travelling from NY to Monsey for a simcha.  Monsey has had its “up the hill, down the hill” demographics and has always struck me as having much more of a Chasidishe component than either Lakewood or Passaic.

          2) RSK presided over the expansion of BMG and its very important role together with Ner Yisrael in developing community kollelim in many communities whose name are apparent if you look at any Ezras Torah calendar ( South Bend, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles) and who have helped develop a Torah community in each community. The RY of BMG together with the CEO of BMG, RAK , have a strategic plan of unabashed Harbatzas Torah for their yeshiva which they believe will enrich and enhance the entire Torah community ( MO and Charedi)  with no apologetics or slogans that has the RY on the road in many communities most of the year.

          3) Lakewood , more so than Boro Park,  Flatbush or the Five Towns is the center of the non Chasidishe yeshivishe world. It has the same problems as every other Charedi and MO community which are on display in every edition of the Yated , which is the most Lakewoodcentric of all of theCharedi media, but I would not judge Lakewood by the “hot channies” or those who “seek cover” there but rather by the fact that Lakewood is a not so secluded Makom Torah. Add to that factor the large size of families in Lakewood ( which are well  above the norm in the MO world) and the number and variety of single gender yeshivos and Beis Yaakovs,  which have their own annual unfortunate scandal and  crisis in terms of who to admit , but  many of which have catering calls which are busy every night, and you have what can only be viewed as explosive demographic growth.

          (Aside from the RY of BMG, I would be remiss if I did not mention the critical role of R Shmuel Kaminetsky-RSK , at his age, is amazing-going and speaking everywhere and anywhere for various yeshivos, causes and chasunahs . We had a breakfast to support our local yeshivos on a Sunday in May and RSK left Philadelphia at 5:30 AM, davened in our shul, spoke at the breakfast and left to go back to Philly to give a shiur. What an Anav ( no fancy Talis Zekel, just a black bag with his initials and willingness to talk to anyone and everyone) and  Sever Panim Yafos with an amazing smile! Such amazing and inspiring leaders  are an important reason why Lakewood is what it is today.)

          4) It is no secret that BMG offers outplacement and related counselling for talmidim who realize that their place is to be a learner-earner. That is obviously one reason why BMG placed so well in the recently discussed CPA exam.

          • dr. bill says:

            steve brizel, it is not that important but i believe that rabbi rakeffet was there for more than a summer.  but just for the record, i too was in BMG for a summer.  my rabbeim felt it would encourage me not to go to YU.  the following fall, i heard shiurim from RAL ztl and never looked back.

        • Chochom b'mah nishtanah says:

          ” “hot channies,”

          Yet another despicable comment.  I am not going to say that there aren’t men and women who live in Lakewood who do not dress as would befit the Lakewood yeshiva life (there are 50,000+ frum people in Lakewood), but there aren’t stores that cater to what you call “Hot Chanies”.

           

          • Eli Blum says:

            Totally moving the goalposts. Much easier to buy online or Jersey Shore Outlets anyway, why bother with a clothing store in Lakewood proper.

            P.S. I can not confirm or deny the existence of Hot Channies in Lakewood (Shmiras Eynaim! ;), but it is well rumored to be Flatbush (or Five Towns, or any other “in town” area) South. V’Haryah, look at the supermarkets and restaurants.

          • Chochom b'mah nishtanah says:

            Eli,

            Moving goal posts?  It was a despicable, untrue comment by “Dr. Bill”, the knee jerk apologist for OO and its kefira, which you are too happy to further propagate.

            the point he was trying to establish was that Lakewood eve has stores that cater to “Hot Chanies”.  Buying on line is not having a store which caters to that “style”.

            How would you know about the restaurants and supermarkets in Flatbush and Five Towns if you are “sooo” makpid on shmiras einayim.

          • Eli Blum says:

            Chochom –

            1: That’s why you need to say to whom your comment is directed (I thought Steve, who was the prior comment, you meant to respond to Dr Bill). I don’t believe (and I could be wrong) that Lakewood has an UnTznius store or McMansion problem. If they knock down a home they build 4, not knock down 4 to build one.

            2: Shmiras Einayim doesn’t apply to food (as you are well aware).

          • Chochom b'mah nishtanah says:

            Eli,

            When your “V’Haraya” thet there are “Hot Chanies” (I hate that term) in Flatbush and the Five Towns is that they are in the Supermarkets and Restaurants, then you are contradicting yourself about your alleged Shmiras Einayim.

             

          • dr. bill says:

            no store catering exclusively to hot channies would make economic sense, at least as yet.  but that is not what i said.  there are stores who cater to the need, a need that the typical woman would not have – everything halakhically covered but “skin tight.”  it’s easier to find that in lakewood than the jersey mall.

            as far as mcmansions, just drive around.

            this is not meant as a criticism but just an observation about acculturation and the result of halakhic measurements replacing common sense.  btw, normal males are amused not “turned on” by such modes of attire.

  2. Weaver says:

    NJ township urges Justice Dept. to investigate haredi Orthodox ‘blockbusting’

    This post is spot-on.

    It is absolutely critical that as frum Jews spread out demographically – especially from the New York City area –  they do so with an increased self-awareness about how their behavior and mannerisms appear to other people around them. Randomly knocking on people’s doors and aggressively pressuring them to sell their homes is disgusting, and plays to non-Jews’ worst stereotypes about us.

     

     

    • R.B. says:

      While I agree with your comment, Weaver, I believe this is a “chicken and egg” kind of situation. Are neighbouring towns passing laws to prevent the influx of Jewish Lakewood residents because they are see, or claim to see, aggressive buying tactics going on, as well as looking at Lakewood and refusing to allow their town to become like that, or, is it anti-Semitism, where the residents want to keep out Jews. If you read some of quotes by politicians in Jackson and other townships, they do sound anti-Semitic and that bias is at play. Of course, if Lakewood were secular Jews, who don’t have large families, and are not obviously Jewish, you would not see the reactions of these municipal politicians and councils.

  3. R.B. says:

    Rabbi Gordimer – while I understand your sentiments about Lakewood, I believe that Lakewood provides and continues to provide what NYC and other major urban Jewish centres like Brooklyn cannot – cheap housing. NYC is prohibitive for most young couples to live in, unless you want a nice broom closet, and so Lakewood will continue to be a destination for so many because of the cheap price of housing, as well as the great prices one can pay for land and for building a brand new large home.

    • Avrohom Gordimer says:

      R.B.: I am in no way against Lakewood. My concern is the wisdom of overpopulating it and overwhelming its infrastructure, as it was not set up to serve such a massive influx. I am also concerned about moving the epicenter of Orthodoxy into rural towns.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        R Gordimer has hit the nail on the head-any perceived political power of the Jewish community and especially Orthodoxy in NYC was in the communities in Brooklyn and Queens ( where many moved to for various reasons from the once equally numerous communities in the Bronx) . The communities in Brooklyn and Queens have priced themselves out to the next generation which looks at equally expensive communities in NJ and LI such as the Five Towns and West Hempstead and Israel as their options. Monsey, Passaic and Lakewood remain the communities of choice for yeshivishe families-but the end result will be the dilution of any perceived political power and accessibility with the government of the State and City of NY in the long run which have a distinctly liberal and Democractic tinge.

    • Eli Blum says:

      Housing in Lakewood is no longer cheap.

      • R.B. says:

        Rabbi Gordimer – I agree that the infrastructure of LW was not meant for this kind of population. However, combining the factors of BMG, including the system of bachuring returning to LW after learning in EY, going into the freezer and then getting married and living in LW for kollel and then after leaving kollel, combined with the attracting of having a strong frum community and low costs of living in NJ and housing prices, this movement to Lakewood was both bound to happen and was not preventable, even if undesirable.

        Eli – I agree that housing in Lakewood is no longer cheap. However, when you compare Brooklyn median housing prices with Lakewood median housing prices, you are looking at a difference of about $400,000. That is still relatively affordable, and combine that with the amenities of LW and the massive growth of LW is inevitable and will continue into the future.

        • Avrohom Gordimer says:

          R.B. The trend you describe is desirable, as that is what a real yeshiva community is all about. I think that the problem arises when tens of thousands of people who may have nothing to do with the yeshiva flood the town and turn it into something, both in size and quality, that it was never meant to become, and that it cannot handle.

        • Eli Blum says:

          Why are you comparing Lakewood to Brooklyn, one of the hottest and most expensive markets in the US?

          Cheap would be if the Yeshiva would move somewhere off the East (or West) Coast where housing is really affordable, not 400K less than 800K = 400K. More like 150K to 200K.

          Agreed that Lakewood has become a substitute for Flatbush. The issue is that all of the Flatbush (non-Yeshiva) issues have come along for the ride, even for those ostensibly in “Kollel”, or there short term as long as the Shver supports. As dr. Bill says below ” every yossil, mendel, and buruch can steig while his wife does not have to suffer the indignities of life outside flatbush or the 5 towns.” And that’s if they do Shteig, which is questionable.

           

  4. dr. bill says:

    Rabbi Gordimer, when you write “Traditional (yeshivish/chareidi) Orthodoxy” it is good that you (re-)define the term traditional.  For the purpose of historical accuracy, the late prof. katz taught us that two reactions to modernity transformed jewish life in the second half of the 19th century and represent the majority of jews today REFORM and CHAREDI.  the former radically transformed/emasculated judaism to conform with modernity; the latter rejected symbiotic interaction with modernity.  those who wish to see how charedi judaism has evolved, look at the two books on emunah with competing haskomot from yeshivish/charedi leaders (on rabbi slifkin’s website), one perverting science and the other rejecting it in toto.

    the chareidi approach to the outside society was practiced in prior periods but to call it traditional disregards the historical record.

     

    • mycroft says:

      Sort of agree with Dr Bill-certainly as far as Ashkenazic Jewry is concerned nothing follows Judaism of 300 years ago. The enlightenment -Haskala/-changed Judaism either by acceptance or rejection of the enlightenment. One can see many examples where reaction to Reform caused changes in classical Judaism either creating Modern Orthodoxy or Chareidi Judaism. Neither is classical.

      Dr  Katz is certainly the leading person to show this-I have known this for much longer than I have heard of  Prof Katz-I suspect that the basic idea has been around for a long time.

      • dr. bill says:

        mycroft, we do sort of agree.  one point i think is critical – judaism always transforms as the environment transforms.  modern orthodoxy is in that sense new.  however, in previous generation there were interactions with the surrounding culture that brought about transformations in how jews lived.  be it the jews of mechozah, cairo, provence, venice, prague, etc. both their lives and religious practice reflected their surroundings within parameters governed by halakha.

        despite their “newness” i call them traditional, because it was traditional for jews to interact positively with the outside world.

        Neither reform nor chareidi judaism are traditional in that sense.  both harken back to groups that also existed but did not define the mainstream for the last 2000 years.  i do worry that they may going forward, but i doubt it.

        on another point.  success has many fathers; there are a number of factors that brought RAK ztl to Lakewood.

         

        • mycroft says:

          My point in RAK coming to Lakewood is that it was not a mid bar. In general Rabbis and especially gedolim did NOT go to  a desert-they went to places where they could be supported.

          • Reb Yid says:

            Exactly.

            The other thing that’s true of most American Jews and certainly Orthodox Jews is that throughout history they have lived in the more pluralistic states and regions.

             

          • dr. bill says:

            one of my close friends is the grand-daughter of one of RAK ztl’s supporters in Lakewood,   you are quite correct

        • mycroft says:

          To extend your point even further Jewish philosophy developed in locations where non Jews engaged in philosophy Jewish mysticism developed often in locations where non Jewish mysticism was strong.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        What is “classical”? I would suggest that any definition that excludes the contributions of Kabalah, the Talmidei HaAri,, Chasidus, Misnagadim, Litvishe yeshivos of the Musar and Non-Musar variety is a problematic in nature because it assumes that “classical” is a constant regardless of external social, political and economic factors.

        • mycroft says:

          Thus, if Jewish mysticism arose out of influence of mysticism of surrounding communities of non Jews that is entirely appropriate because it takes into consideration of external,social, political and economic factors-why is it not appropriate to take into such considerations when dealing with women’s issues?

          • Steve brizel says:

            Your observation appears to be rooted in pshuto she’ll mikra not in halachic definition of aniyei ircha

          • Steve brizel says:

            Hardly a responsive answer to my query

          • Steve brizel says:

            For those of us who view the Zohar as having been revealed to R Shimon Bar Yohai,regardless of the views of academics and possibly R aakov Emden as a result of his views re R Yonasan Eibeshitz  are you claiming that the Zohar and all such related views as in Ramban on Chumash and in SA are not reflective of what you consider “classical Judaism”?

          • mycroft says:

            “For those of us who view the Zohar as having been revealed to R Shimon Bar Yohai,regardless of the views of academics and possibly R aakov Emden”

            Even Chabad doesn’t claim that all of the Zohar was written by R Shimon Bar Yochai see “Those who believe, in accordance with Jewish tradition, that the Zohar is indeed an authentic document of the teachings of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Rashbi), generally agree that part, but not all, of the Zohar was written by Rashbi. The sections of the Zohar that are from Rabbi Shimon himself are described as “the First Mishna,” apparently written while hiding in a cave from the Roman authorities who sought to execute him for derogatory statements he had made against them. (Concerning the First Mishna, see Chabura Kadmaa mentioned in Zohar III, p. 219a. See also Zohar II, 123b; vol. III, 296b; Shabbat 33b).

            The remainder of the Zohar, like the Talmud, was the product of generations of masters and their disciples. Early sources state that the composition of the Zohar extended over the period of Rashbi, his disciples and their disciples2 who recorded many of the teachings passed on orally from Rabbi Shimon to his close associates and disciples. Thus its authorship spanned several generations. This view is substantiated by the Zohar itself, as stated in Idra Zuta. (Zohar III p. 287b)” http://www.chabad.org/kabbalah/article_cdo/aid/380410/jewish/The-Zohars-Mysterious-Origins.htm

            Obviously, there are many reasons why the text we have can’t be from Bar Yochai-but I am sure you are aware of them. I suspect CC is not the forum for such discussion There have been other blogs see eg http://seforim.blogspot.com/2012/08/concerning-zohar-and-other-matters.html

             

    • David Fachler says:

      Minor correction : Prof.  Katz in his book Tradition and Crisis referred to the emergence of the Haskalah and the Hassidic movements and did not indict the whole Hareidi world with changing tradition. Other scholars at Hebrew University have suggested that Orthodoxy was in fact a change to and not a continuation of tradition , but this is not necessarily articulated by Katz

  5. mycroft says:

    RAv Aharon went to Lakewood because a talmid of his father-in-law was a Rav in Lakewood. The Rabbi got his schul to support R Aharons yeshiva.

     

  6. Steve brizel says:

    All of the above observations are true but one must applaud the leadership of BMG which views appropriate housing for avrecim and their growing families and constant no apologetics fund raising as key elements of their strategic plan .

  7. “Traditional (yeshivish/chareidi) Orthodoxy”

    How exactly is yeshivish/chareidi Orthodoxy more traditional than non-yeshivish/ non-chareidi Orthodoxy?! The defining aspects of yeshivish/chareidi Orthodoxy, such as mass kollel, are not traditional in the least!

  8. ISteve Brizel says:

    The linked article of R A Birnbaum , a Yated columnist, sets forth what the demographic explosion has led to, and the need for open discussion and planning for the next generation who , as in every frum community, will be priced out of the Lakewood housing market and face  more obstacles in getting their kids in and keeping them in  yeshivos that need to be reminded of the CI’s words re the possible expulsion of any student being a Shailah that is one of Dinei Nefashos and were so reminded last spring  by R SY Rechnitz in a very powerful speech at a dinner in Lakewood.

  9. ISteve Brizel says:

    If one looks in the Charedi media, you will see ads for dinners for BMG influenced and/or satellite like yeshivos and kollelim all over the US- I have seen ads for dinners for kollelim and yeshivos in Boston, Stamford, Bayonne, Scranton, Long Beach, Engelwood, Waterbury ( an entire K-kollel community ), South Bend, Cincinatti, Chicago, St . Louis, Minneapolis, Denver, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston  and LA. I think that every strong MO community should also have a full time RIETS or BMG oriented kollel which could be a Makom Torah for kiruv and chizuk that emphasizes its being a Makom Torah for Limud HaTorah for  Baalei Batim , whose wives demonstrate a Mesiras Nefesh for Tznius in the dog days of summer and whose children exhibit a great enthusiasm for doing Mitzvos and chesed. Many years ago, we bought clothes for our kids in Williamsburg-I still remember  the site of elementary aged Chasidishe girls running a chesed fair on the sidewalk. IMO, the presence of such a Charedi-Torah Lishmah  outpost in a MO community will inspire some and cause others to mutter about a charedi invasion, but the example set by kollel families in their single minded devotion to Torah Avodah and Gmilus Chasadim is something that any MO community would and should appreciate.

  10. ISteve Brizel says:

    I would also suggest that with the enormous investment in real estate by BMG in the Lakewood area , the chances of BMG relocating  from Lakewood IMO are almost nonexistent. What we may see  is the development of  new satellite communities with K-kollel education and superstructure like mikvah, eruv ( which Lakewood doesn’t have), shopping, etc.  that are affiliated or associated with Lakewood . Waterbury is a classical case of a community that lucked onto the equivalent of a fire sale for a building for a yeshiva and then built a K-Kollel community from scratch.

    • Eli Blum says:

      How much real estate does the Cedarbridge Development Corporation (and others like it) really own?

      I’m happy that Rav Aharon’s grandchildren are becoming like Rav Yehudah HaNasi (Torah V’Ashirus B’Makom Echad), but sadly agree that it is a cause for BMG staying put.

      • dr. bill says:

        i never thought of this prior to your5 comment, but kardom lachpor bah should not be the source of “Torah V’Ashirus B’Makom Echad”.  my sense is that chazal were suspicious of the ability for torah to survive alongside ashirut.  i think talmidei chachamim deserve support from the communities they serve to live comfortable lives; ashirut, maybe not.

        in any case, when the mantle increasingly becomes a family affair, i tend to worry.

        • mycroft says:

          Two major issues raised by Dr. Bill

          “that chazal were suspicious of the ability for torah to survive alongside ashirut.  i think talmidei chachamim deserve support from the communities they serve to live comfortable lives; ashirut, maybe not.”

          It should not have reached the stage where people could enter the fields that are associated with spreading dvar hashem in order to maximize wealth.

          “in any case, when the mantle increasingly becomes a family affair, i tend to worry.”

          A big issue-IMO I think that sadly when financial scandals hit mosdos it is much more likely when the institution is family controlled.

           

          • Steve Brizel says:

            Mycroft wrote
            “that chazal were suspicious of the ability for torah to survive alongside ashirut.  i think talmidei chachamim deserve support from the communities they serve to live comfortable lives; ashirut, maybe not.”
            If that is so, please explain the critical role of R Yehudah HaNasi -who personified Torah and Ashirus together.
             

          • Steve Brizel says:

            Not necessarily. YU is still learning how to cope with the double whammy of Madoff and  strong indicia of  fiscal irresponsibility that were documented in an extensive report by Steven Weiss.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            R Moshe Besdin ZL once commented that when mchanchim ( and rabbanim) are paid peanuts, the results are monkeys. I know of no Talmid Chacham or rav whose salary and fringe benefits ( house, car, vacation, parsonage exemption) remotely  approaches that of Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet or Donald Trump, or anyone else in a position that could remotely be called that of “in order to maximize wealth.”

          • mycroft says:

            Mycroft wrote
            “that chazal were suspicious of the ability for torah to survive alongside ashirut.  i think talmidei chachamim deserve support from the communities they serve to live comfortable lives; ashirut, maybe not.”
            If that is so, please explain the critical role of R Yehudah HaNasi -who personified Torah and Ashirus together”

            I was quoting Dr. Bill-but I’ll answer anyway-most of chazal were not wealthy. If Rabbonom used their wealth in the way that Rebbe did there would be less of an issue  see eg “During a famine Judah opened his granaries and distributed corn among the needy (B. B. 8a). But he denied himself the pleasures procurable by wealth, saying: “Whoever chooses the delights of this world will be deprived of the delights of the next world; whoever renounces the former will receive the latter” (Ab. R. N. xxviii.).”

            http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/8963-judah-i

          • mycroft says:

             
            Steve Brizel
             
            August 3, 2016 at 4:19 pm
            Not necessarily. YU is still learning how to cope with the double whammy of Madoff and  strong indicia of  fiscal irresponsibility that were documented in an extensive report by Steven Weiss”

            Agreed. Your statement does not disagree with mine A big issue-IMO I think that sadly when financial scandals hit mosdos it is much more likely when the institution is family controlled. One can certainly have scandals like YU.

          • dr. bill says:

            the gemara NOWHERE suggests that ashirut came as a result of his gadlus batorah.  given his background, i suspect it was inherited. there is considerable literature about how Rav Yehudah haNasi is portrayed over the 500 years following his death.

        • Eli Blum says:

          Dr. Bill – Halacha (Rema Y. D. 245) says that as long as the children are a “Chacham K’tzas” or a Shtikle Chacham (pun intended), the children (such as Rabbis Malkiel or Aaron Kotler) have the right to inherit the father’s (Rav Shneur’s) position. There is no reason why BMG should be any different.

          This is besides for actual family ownership of the buildings, land, etc. of a “not-for-profit” yeshiva, which is not uncommon.

          • dr. bill says:

            there were NO modern day yeshivot in the Rama’s time.  in any case 1) The rama was talking about rabbis of cities NOT yeshivot 2) he excluded cities that had other mechanisms 3) he was talking about rabbis not CEO’s :).

            i believe that nepotism and related polocies is already having negative effects; certain organizations are having not insignificant leadership problems as a result.

          • mycroft says:

             

             

            “Dr. Bill – Halacha (Rema Y. D. 245) says that as long as the children are a “Chacham K’tzas” or a Shtikle Chacham (pun intended), the children (such as Rabbis Malkiel or Aaron Kotler) have the right to inherit the father’s (Rav Shneur’s) position. There is no reason why BMG should be any different.

            This is besides for actual family ownership of the buildings, land, etc. of a “not-for-profit” yeshiva, which is not uncommon”

            If a family business don’t ask for Zedakah.

          • mycroft says:

            Re RAv Besdin and the peanuts quote-you are insulting Chazal-there were of our greatest chachamim who were shovei mayim and chotvei Ezim. I never believed that Yahadus had the same hashkafa as Reverend Ike.

        • joel rich says:

          R’ YBS once said that we were much more successful as a people dealing with aniyut than ashirut.

          She-nir’eh et nehamat Yerushalayim u-binyanah bi-mherah ve-yamenu,

        • Steve Brizel says:

          Any signs of the Mir even remotely becoming a “family affair” that is defined by “ashirut”?

          • Eli Blum says:

            “Any signs of the Mir even remotely becoming a “family affair” that is defined by “ashirut”?”

            It got the Rosh Yeshiva there a job, Kavod and many ancillary benefits, which in all probability would have gone to someone else if not for the Halacha.

            Dr. Bill said:

            “there were NO modern day yeshivot in the Rama’s time.  in any case 1) The rama was talking about rabbis of cities NOT yeshivot 2) he excluded cities that had other mechanisms 3) he was talking about rabbis not CEO’s :).

            i believe that nepotism and related polocies is already having negative effects; certain organizations are having not insignificant leadership problems as a result.”

            Says you (and others), but that does not seem to be the way we Pasken. Furthermore, the personal ownership of buildings and land by the Roshei Yeshiva (who owns the Mir and BMG buildings?) clouds the issue of succession. In my neighborhood we have unfortunately seen the problems that come along with the “leader” owning the land instead of the non-for-profit (with independent board control) with the BBY scandal.

          • dr. bill says:

            as i advice others, when you want to get out of a hole, stop digging.

          • mycroft says:

            At least in America it is clear that we don’t accept yerusha of Klei kodesh positions-first of all  as a practical matter US law requires non profit institutions to not be run for private benefit-more important I once heard a shiur on YUTorah dealing with what is owed a RAv if a schul wants to get rid of him-at most what is owed to end of contract usually 3 or 5 years. The quotations do not reflect current American practice.

          • mycroft says:

            I find inherited positions to be one of the worst consequences of misnagish world following Chassidik world. It then makes avid as Hashem a business like Real Estate development or gambling. I hope lehavdil eleph Alfei havdaalot.

          • Eli Blum says:

            Mycroft – Perhaps in the MO world. In the Yeshivish world Yerusha of positions is alive and well.

            See: BMG, Philly, MTJ, Shaar HaTorah, etc. Let alone the Charaidi world in Israel where it is rampant.

            “first of all  as a practical matter US law requires non profit institutions to not be run for private benefit”

            But as a practical matter, the family of the Rosh Yeshiva gets first dibs on positions in the family business.

          • mycroft says:

            I agree that sadly there are certainly family businesses in the Chareidi world and sadly effectively some in the MO world. I believe that much of the financial scandals can be traced to wanting to ensure that the head who is a leading person wants to ensure a secure future for his family who aren’t as qualified.

        • ISteve Brizel says:

          AFAIK, none of the yeshivos whose RY the “family business” can remotely be compared with ashirim of the contemporary American Haredi or MO Baale Batim. I think that you somehow think that they are more “authentic” if they live in absolute poverty. None of the Litvishe RY in Israel could ever be accused of being ashirim in any reasonable sense of the word.

          • Eli Blum says:

            Coming full circle, the Kotler Family, Boruch Hashem, has leveraged Lakewood’s growth, and have significant real estate investments. They are Ashirim by any reasonable stretch. Sure, they’re not Bill Gates, but when the family is worth minimum 8 figures (just judging from Cedarbridge Development Corporation), that’s way more than most of us can expect to see in a lifetime.

            And going to Eretz Yisroel (also moving the goalposts), the “Roshei Yeshiva” wouldn’t have jobs if not for the family business. No one said that it makes them (in Israel) rich, but it does make them much better off than 99% of the Charaidi population.

          • mycroft says:

            In US clearly many RY are doing quite well financially-as I have written they are not doing as well in general as a neurosurgeon or even probably the officers of major Jewish organizations but compared to what the vast majority of American Jews earn they do quite well. The combination of how well they do with their perception that they are not doing well and sacrificing to do their jobs is a dangerous combination. It is not merely the self pity “working for peanuts” but positions that they take which are counter to the average person see eg financial test to be enter Kanfei hashchina, or even more nefarious telling couples it is better not to have children if you can’t afford day school for them.

             

    • Reb Yid says:

      I think you’re already seeing some smaller satellites already develop in Jersey, especially since Lakewood provides many of the Judaics teachers in central and south Jersey day schools.

  11. Alexandra Fleksher says:

    I find dr. bill’s comments to be very interesting. He writes, “…it is now a town that demonstrates how avoiding positive interaction with modernity leads to modernity rearing its head in mostly negative way. ” Interesting hypothesis.

    The majority of the members of the various kollelim where I live in the Midwest hail from Lakewood. I find that their “apparent to the eye” standard of living seems to be quite high. With exceptions of course, but women and children are outfitted head to toe in updated weekday and Shabbos clothes from the frum clothing stores which are expensive. Luxury strollers are standard. Maybe all gifts from mommy so the grandkids and their kollel daughter don’t look like nebachs. But this is the social norm and what they are used to. Daresay there are social pressures, too. For the local professionals trying to pay tution and keep up with their expenses, it can be baffling and sometimes, honestly, confusing in terms of gashmius.  But, as once was explained to me, they are the elite and with that may come with a gashmius elite as well, like the beautiful batei midrash in bmg, all lcavod shamayim. (must note there are typically differences between “community kollel” families who get salaries vs. families where the husbands are learning in a yeshiva.)

    Regarding having nice starter housing for kollel couples so they stay longer, they used to say at NIRC that the couples who lived in the cheaper (and yuckier!) apartments stayed in learning longer than those in the nicer apartment complex. Whether it is because they were more likely to be self supported and/or they displayed more mesiras nefesh, doing our best to equate comfort with kollel learning doesn’t seem to be what it’s all about, or what it’s meant to be. But maybe it’s yeridos hadoros, I don’t know.

    • Eli Blum says:

      “But maybe it’s yeridos hadoros, I don’t know.”

      Without the Gashmius, many (especially those who stay in America and don’t move to Israel) wouldn’t be in Kollel. That is why support is such a big issue in Shidduchim, to the point where major Shaddchanim in Lakewood say the number one priority for a girl should be to have support money.

      In all fairness to the boys, that is what they are taught and that is what the girls want, so who can blame them?

      It is too bad that Kinyan Torah is via במעוט סחורה, במעוט דרך ארץ, במעוט תענוג, to quote the Mishna in Avos (sixth perek).

      • Alexandra Fleksher says:

        The number one priority for a girl should be to have suport money? Huh? I thought that was the number one priority for a boy, i.e., supportive in-laws? I do know that girls with good jobs and professional training is important these days for the “resume”.

        • Eli Blum says:

          Same thing. In order for the girl to get dates, she (more accurately, her father) needs to be able to support the young couple.

          Sorry for the confusion.

        • lacosta says:

          as the Tanna who went up to shamayim said  ‘olam hafuch hoo’—- everything is the opposite of what you think.  the RMBM had it wrong — first you find a wife [ie rich father-in-law] , then a domicile, and finally ,maybe never, a means of parnassa…..

    • dr. bill says:

      Thanks for the shout-out.  I am not at all disturbed by comfortable housing and attractive clothing but prada shoes seem a bit much. let me not get started.
      Oddly enough, the origins for my comments were chareidi poskim in whose psakim modern/new concepts not fully examined or understood played a critical role.  I joked about modernity rearing its head even in bnai brak.
      Unfortunately, modernity always creates new modes of consumption, something that tends to annoy me.  The grossest versions were on full display in the NY area during the three weeks with some charity events featuring scotch, cigars and barbeque all le’Shem Shamayim.  I guess next week they will need a siyum as part of the proceeding.  Frankly, this lack of ve’hatzneah lechet im elokecha impacts across various orthodox streams but it is particularly apparent when it afflicts those whose religiosity is so prominently on display.
       

      • mycroft says:

        “this lack of ve’hatzneah lechet im elokecha impacts across various orthodox streams”

        Note the last  message in the haftarah that usually is read just before the 3 weeks “ve’hatzneah lechet im elokecha” It is worthwhile rereading if no time at least read the last 3 verses

        • dr. bill says:

          mycroft, when i turned 9, a few years ago, my first haftarah was parshat balak, a week or so after my birthday.  the old style litvishe rav in the shul, told me in yiddish that it is good to hear someone who reads the haftarah in a way that you can at least be choshaish that he understands the words.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            R Moshe Besdin ZL once commented that when mchanchim ( and rabbanim) are paid peanuts, the results are monkeys. I know of no Talmid Chacham or rav whose salary and fringe benefits ( house, car, vacation, parsonage exemption) remotely  approaches that of Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet or Donald Trump, or anyone else in a position that could remotely be called that of “in order to maximize wealth.”

          • mycroft says:

            “R Moshe Besdin ZL once commented that when mchanchim ( and rabbanim) are paid peanuts, the results are monkeys.”

            A nice joke-but are you maintaining that those of our chazal who were shoavei maim and chotvei ezim were monkeys. I do not think it is desireable for people to enter Rabbanus/chinuch in order to maximize THEIR income-but it happens.

             

            “I know of no Talmid Chacham or rav whose salary and fringe benefits ( house, car, vacation, parsonage exemption) remotely  approaches that of Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet or Donald Trump”

            Interesting that you have to pick extremely wealthy people to make your statement

            , “or anyone else in a position that could remotely be called that of “in order to maximize wealth.””

            It does not dispute for one second that it may well be the wealth maximization career for many who enter avodas hashem.

      • joel rich says:

        “this lack of ve’hatzneah lechet im elokecha impacts across various orthodox stream”

        acculturation thy name is materialism

        She-nir’eh et nehamat Yerushalayim u-binyanah bi-mherah ve-yamenu,

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Would you write a check for any of the tzedakos that are having such functions if they sent you an envelope and did not have such a function , which you view as over the top? When was the last time that you wrote a check and didn’t go to a dinner of a tzedaka that you viewed as critical in your own life, which is how “Aniyei Ircha” is defined by many Poskim?

        • dr. bill says:

          i give most tzedaka to institutions whose goals i endorse, local and personally meaningful going to the top of the list.  on occasion, i contribute to institutions for sentimental reasons, but i try harder these days not to succumb. charities that violate my sense of probity, fall off the list.  requests with endorsements from coddlers of abuse or thievery always find there way to the circular basket.  you would be surprised how many charities make it into that category.  listing many rabbis in the olam emes always raises my suspicion.  phone solicitations are told to put it in writing.

          i rarely go to dinners, unless the person honored is a close friend.  i find the cost/value of losing part of the tax deduction hardly worth it.

          BTW, would you give to an institution (very renowned) that refers to an individual who arrived in the US in the early 40’s as bringing the brisker derech to america?  i sent them an e-mail telling where they can find the kevarim of all those they insulted.

          • Steve brizel says:

            We have a litmus test of inei iircha-mosdos that have had a personal effect on us and  that honor our friends. BH we live in a community where there is a lot of tzedaka given across the board from RIETS all across the Torah community and by the same people.

          • mycroft says:

            Are  mosdos anei ircha? They may well do activities that you wish to support but the controlling parties are rarely anei ircha. That statement is at least as true for MO institutions as for chareidi ones

          • ISteve Brizel says:

            Most fundraising brochures tend to exaggerate-regardless of their hashkafic POV, in their zeal to get you to write a check.

      • Yossi says:

        Dr Bill,

        Although I usually find myself on a different side of he ideological fence then you are, on this one I’m totally with you. Cigars?!! Huh?!? When did cigars become a part of frum fundraising? And yet I saw it at more than one event. And poolside volleyball tournaments, and I remember the very respected Rosh Yeshiva who’s Yeshiva fundraiser was run by Hakadosh BarBeque (!). Being a former kollel guy whose entire extended family has the Prada shoes and the Bugaboos (it rhymes) with husbands who learned in Brisk and wouldn’t push the stroller because they didn’t use the Eruv, I’m with you.

        And it really is particularly distasteful bc it’s so associated with being frum or black hat.

        • mycroft says:

          How about 9 day siyyum bar beques to raise money for institutions?

          • ISteve Brizel says:

            If you don’t want to go because you hadn’t planned on a siyum, stay home and write a check. OTOH, I recall RHS noted that RAYHK paskended that a flieshig restaurant should stay open in Tel Aviv during the Nine Days because the alternative would be that its customers would eat tarfus. Obviously, since the heter of a seudas mitzvah for a siyum does exist, if one is invited either because of the cause or because of the speaker, perhaps one should seek halachic advice as to whether one should say home or go, as opposed to making sure that one goes to a siyum every night.

          • mycroft says:

            of course in Israel there are a lot of sear dim and they don’t have the custom of not eating meat during the 9 days

          • Steve brizel says:

            The free newspapers that one can pick up I’m my neighborhood and in any other drum community had ads for barbeques but all were for dates after Tisha bav. How about a link to such an affair this week?

    • Steve Brizel says:

      For those who are in the “parsha” of shidduchim or who have passed through the same with their sanity, if you don’t have the bucks to afford to support a SIL from BMG, there are wonderful Bnei Torah and Baalei Midos who view themselves as Bnei Aliyah  in yeshivos such as RIETS, Ner Yisrael and Chafetz Chaim as well, who aren’t interested in the above described Gashmius accentuated way of life.

      • tzippi says:

        Could be, but a lot of young men in many yeshivos these days are looking for the next few years to be scripted, in one way or another. After that’s taken care of, they’ll focus on the young women themselves.

        And looking at the young families these days, I think the ones who will have great success with their children are the ones who aren’t overly caught up in the gashmiyus and really innane details. This seems to be as big a harbinger as middos, Torah living, etc. It’s bucking the trends in a way that’s really healthy for growth.

        • ISteve Brizel says:

          You have to sit down with your kids of either gender and seriously discuss what they perceive as their “game plan” and what kind of a midos and aspirations they are looking for themselves, a spouse , etc in full consideration and honesty of your financial wherewithal.

          • tzippi says:

            I assume you’re using  “you” in the general sense. Personally, I think Johnny Lingo’s Eight Cow Wife should be required reading for everyone of a certain age, maybe 18-21.

      • mycroft says:

        Steve brizel
        August 6, 2016 at 11:06 pm
        The free newspapers that one can pick up I’m my neighborhood and in any other drum community had ads for barbeques but all were for dates after Tisha bav. How about a link to such an affair this week?

        See eg 5TJT August 8, 2016  page 12 “Rib-Stikkin Siyum …for the benefit of….Sunday August 7th 3 Av 5776…starring… The BBQ Wizard…

        • Steve brizel says:

          So don’t go. There is no chiyuv to go but if the tzedaka appeals to you either write a check or ask a rav whether you should go instead of fulminating against funraisers  of this nature. That seems like a far more constructive strategy.

          • Steve brizel says:

            R Baruch Simon has a fascinating shiur on why we davka should have siyumim during the nine days . you might be interested in the same

          • mycroft says:

            I have heard the reverse by some at least as famous of R Simon. FYI for awhile before he married he used to often come to my schul for Shabbos- he has relatives in my area. He was worthwhile IMO listening to-on occasion I have listened to some of his shiurim-including his singing when first shiur of zman.

          • Steve brizel says:

            R B Simon is always worth hearing and his sefarim on the parsha ,inyanei eruvin and minhagin are superb. R Simons sefarim illustrate how one van learn from RYBS and the SR zl on the same inyan. R SImon is not just a wonderful talmiid Chacham he is an amazing mentsch who is beloved by his talmidim and and anyone who has met him for even a relatively brief period of time.

            .

  12. Steve brizel says:

    Aniyei ircha means any mossad whether a yeshiva or a kiruv organization or any other tzedaka that any of us are familiar with that has had a personal impact on you.

    • mycroft says:

      Source that  charity priority includes giving money to a non ani who teaches Torah over a destitute person from ones community.

      • Steve brizel says:

        Ask RHS how he understand aniyei ircha

         

        • mycroft says:

          I asked for a written source that can be cited .

          • Steve brizel says:

            I stand by my answer. Go ask RHS. Learning from a book or text should never be placed on the same pedestal as discussing any inyan in halacha or hashkafa with a rebbe especially a  Gadol BaTorah

             

          • Steve brizel says:

            Insistence on written sources illustrates why the connotation of “chamor nose sefarim” is used in very pejorative manner.

          • mycroft says:

            He has thousands of shiurim on YU Torah I’ll accept a shiur discussion on YU Torah. I’ m interested in his basis . RHS is a very good explainer.

          • mycroft says:

            I have listened to RHS many times-he is not my Rebbe thus I will not ask him asheila then it was a psak that I would have to listen to. I have no objection to anyone who chooses to ask him Sheila’s-he is certainly a very knowledgeable person. I am very interested in his logic.

          • lacosta says:

            am not sure why the opinions below show such hostility to the written word.  all he has to say is he talked to his own rov who disagrees , and your opinion falls away…i hope you are not trying to say that codified halacha disagrees , but ask the rov i know who says different?

          • dr. bill says:

            i found RHS quoted.  to say the least, he did NOT redefine aniyai ircha.  he said that a yeshiva that had strong influence on you  takes precedence over a local yeshiva that did not.  as explained, locality is not just physical.  it only a 14 minute shiur, but it appears a ways in:

            http://www.yutorah.com/lectures/lecture.cfm/752204/rabbi-aryeh-lebowitz/ten-minute-halacha-priorities-in-tzedakah/

             

            there may be another comment by RHS that comports with steve’s recollection, but i would have to at least hear it from RHS or a recognized talmid muvhak.

        • dr. bill says:

          i have the utmost respect for R. Schachter.  it goes without saying that he can translate hebrew words.  what i assumed he might have said is that an institution whom you feel significantly impacted your religious development stands in some relation to aniyea ircha., perhaps above, equal or below.  aniyea ircha meaning something other its literal halakhic meaning, would require more than a report;  at least a tape.   my suspicion given R. Schachter’s numerous shiurim on YU torah, this must be recorded.

          • Steve brizel says:

            Exactly 100% on the mark and as I have seen and heard RHS explain aniyei ircha. Fwi anyone who has been to a parlor meeting with RHS where RHS is the speaker knows that RHS check which he writes and announces publicly galvanizes and inspires those present with far bigger checkbooks to give a lot more than they originally planned.

  13. Steve brizel says:

    Mycroft- R Besdim zl was seriously bemoaning the fact poorly paid mchanchim could not be expected to be role models for their talmidim let alone inspire anyone to think of chinuch as a parnassah. to think or even imply otherwise is to insist on a standard of altruism and idealism that you imply is beyond your madregah which strikes me a tad self righteous if not bordering on the line of hypocrisy. I know of no rav or ry who lives a life of luxury as has been implied here

     

    • mycroft says:

      there are plenty mechanism who live a life of certainly upper middle class-income greater than USVP-some even greater than POTUS. They are not having equity at risk-they are employed by non profits. Who saysRabbonim should be the only ones to be able to afford huge numbers of children eg 8 , 9, 10 etc. it sometimes gets even worse when Rabbonim who receive large salaries from Jewish community tell others wo income don’t have children if you can’t afford day school. When Rabbnim receive very large salaries they don’t even realize it because the marchers of mosdos by definition have large incomes. Since they don’t associate with the median person they have developed anti common man rules such as only day school is acceptable if you want to be Orthodox.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        We have always expected more in terms of adherence to Halacha by our Klei Kodesh. As far as family size is concerned, they take seriously R Belsky ZL’s response to the question as to why he had a large family-The Jewish People is an endangered species. FWIW, it is well documented that family size is smaller in the MO world in general and that yeshivishe and Chasidishe families , regardless of whether they are lay families or Klei Kodesh definitely have larger families.

        • mycroft says:

          Klei Kodesh may have larger families because many to a great extent are insulated from the major economic pressure against having them in North America-full Yeshiva/day school tuition.

          Who says Klei Kodesh have any more requirements in halacha than the rest of us.

          I don’t know Rav Belsky’s income but note RHS who had similar positions, RY and OU posek referred to himself as an ashir-why he could give more than 20% charity.

           

          • Steve brizel says:

            When and where did RHS ever describe himself  as an ashir? Please provide a direct verifiable link. Look at how Rambam describes what is expected of talmidei chachamim in hilcos Talmud Torah for a vivid depiction of how talmidei chachamim are to act and be treated by the Klal Yisrael.

             

             

             

             

             

             

          • Steve brizel says:

            When and where did RHS ever describe himself  as an ashir? Please provide a direct verifiable link. Look at how Rambam describes what is expected of talmidei chachamim in hilcos Talmud Torah for a vivid depiction of how talmidei chachamim are to act and be treated by the Klal Yisrael.RHS is an Ashir because he is msmameach bchelko.

             

             

             

             

             

          • mycroft says:

            i heard Rabbi Leibowitz-who is a close Talmid of RHS quote him in a YU Torah shiur on Zedakah. Context discussing maximum amount of Zedakah-R Leibowitz used the occasion to state that if RHS is an Asher Mao vac homer many in the area are certainly an Asher as far asZedakah. Frankly, this comment is one of the more impressive ones of Talmeidei chachamim.

  14. Steve brizel says:

    Mycroft-did you hear R Asher Weiss last night? I went to your neck of the woods to hear and was treated to an amazing drasha by one of the Gdolei HaDor. Bottom line- is the Zohar and Toras HaNistar part of what you classify as “classical Judaism” or not? Please elaborate

    • mycroft says:

       

      Certainly,  Toras hanistar is part of classical Judaism-even Saadia Gaon wrote a perush on Sefer Hayitzirah. The Zohar is certainly part of classical Judaism-even assuming written 1285-the book is very influential in affecting Klal Israel-minhagim such as Leviim washing hands of Kohanim for Bircas Cohanim. The Zohars authorship is in dispute even Chabad in its website doesn’t claim that R Shimon Bar Yochai wrote all of it.

      Even people who claim R Moshe de Leon wrote it maintain that the  vast majority of it are collections of Tanaatic and Amoric ideas.

      FYI I even attend a weekly shiur that deals with the mystical side of mitzvot. Unlike devotes of Kabbalah I maintain one has to be very careful with it. Certainly, nistar like the Rationalists are part of Jewish tradition. When they ignore halacha-well then that is a different ball game.

      • Steve brizel says:

        Ever learn Rambans commentary on the Torah? Ramban has been viewed as containing many fundamental hashkafic principles

        • mycroft says:

          I have certainly read much of Ramban on Chumash-he has some very mystical sections which I have never attempted to understand the sod. He is a master of not just mysticism see eg his discussion of Location of Kever Rachel. He is much more than a master of sod. BTW my parents who are both in the olam hames often learned the parsha together with Ramban.

          • dr. bill says:

            mycroft, one of the great stories i heard from a hesped for RAL ztl concerned someone who was having difficulty with ramban’s more esoteric commentaries. RAL ztl said to him that those explanations are not for people like us.  i guess that there is understanding and understanding.

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