Travels In Israel and the Tochachoh For Moderns

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13 Responses

  1. lacosta says:

    many beautiful thoughts , from one who can dance at someone else’s chasunah [without passeling the mesader kiddushin].

    every chumra comes with a kula. the idea that you and many of us were taught —that those being graded on the Test were only those who were taught the Derech [and are therefore the only ones liable for being OTD} . while this may have led to yohara and bittul [of the other 90 to 95% , if one considers certain streams of even O to be tinnok shenishbah ] , it had the great benefit of dan lekaf zchut lemata , maybe forcing the beit din shel maala to give a free pass to the vast majority: they are only graded pass/fail , not even on the curve. i worry that your looking more closely
    at ‘hilonim’ could potentially cause a great hefsed in Heavenly accounts …. of course, we don’t know the Accountant’s grading scale…..

  2. DF says:

    Not to distract from the theme of your article, which was very nice, but your aside about dormitory v. home-at-night yeshivahs struck me. I am one of many parents in my city with boys approaching 9th grade, who must soon make a decision whether to send my sons (the first one, at least) to an in town yeshivah or to an out-of-town dormitory. (Perhaps the best of both worlds, the in town dormitory, is not yet a possibility here.) For many years I thought one system was better. But lately my views have begun to shift. I’d like to see a more fully developed article comparing and contrasting the two approaches. Maybe I’ll do it myself.

  3. Steve Brizel says:

    Great article! We all need to realize that whether we are observant or not, the key issue is whether our views of Jewish identity are an important and positive priority in our lives.

  4. moshe revson says:

    A truly beautiful and emesdik analysis of life in Eretz Yisrael, with special mention of the 3 tzadikim z’l of the 3 boys. The article has shouted a shofar in my heart to respect DL as equal Jews to my black hats. Kol Hakavod to the author

  5. Raymond says:

    There is an old saying that according to the effort, is the reward. Who, then, is to say which Jew is greater than another Jew? For a Jew who has spent his entire life in chareidi communities, learning Torah may not take nearly as much effort as it would for somebody coming from a secular, perhaps agnostic, background. Same with any other demand that G-d makes of us. Furthermore, the fact that a Jew is even born, must mean that he or she has a purpose in life, something unique to contribute to the Jewish people, or that person would have never come to this world in the first place. What all this adds up to, is that each Jew is to be valued for whatever unique, positive qualities that they do have. Perhaps an apt analogy is a musical orchestra. Depending on the particular piece of music, the first violinist or the flutist may take on a more noticeable role, yet each member of that orchestra contributes to the beauty of the musical piece created, and is thus to be valued for their accomplishments.

  6. dr. bill says:

    Excellent article; it’s nice to see the spirit of achdus survive and even flourish.

    First, having recently finished Yehudah Mirsky’s biography of Rav Kook ztl, I could not help but wonder if Mekor Chaim captures the approach of Rav Kook even better than Mercaz HaRav.

    Second, I am wondering how many others had similar experiences to yours flying to Israel. I was sitting next to a distinguished looking gentleman, to whom other passengers came over to kiss his hand before takeoff. When we started talking, I quickly realized I was sitting next to a son of Rav Ovadiah ztl. Across the aisle from him was a gentleman who ate from Continental’s general menu. A few hours before landing, he put on a large yarmulkah, tallis and tefillin and davened for a rather long time. My seatmate told me that his father taught him how to relate to this type of Sephardi.

    Third, whether or not you believe in hagiography, with few exceptions, genius / gadlus is recognized early. Perhaps, we need a system that allows secular education, but only beginning in 7th or 9th grade except for yichedai segulah whose exposure to general studies can come later.

  7. Y. Ben-David says:

    Thank you for this nice piece. I am glad you pointed out the facts that contradict the false image that was trumpeted loudly during the recent heated debate about Haredi conscription….secular Israelis are far, FAR more tolerant and respectful of religious Israelis than they were in the past. We made aliyah 28 years ago and I work for a government company in which the majority of workers are secular and there has been a sea change in attitudes towards the religious workers. When I came, we davened mincha in a shed out of sight of the main part of the plant and occassionaly we would hear complaints like “how come they get to daven on company time?”. Today we have a full-service synagogue with all three tefillot including a sefer Torah, sifrei kodesh, a short shiur before mincha. When the new synagogue was opened there was a hachnasat sefer Torah ceremony in which the secular managers of the plant put on kippot and danced with the rest of us. Frankly, some of the older religious workers thought we shouldn’t put on a public show like that but actually secular workers joined in and would say things to us like “please daven for the success of our latest project!”.
    It is time that the stale old propaganda of the past which harps on a supposed “kulturkampf” between secular and religious communties for “the soul of the nationa” put finally put to rest and the reality of the new, more spiritually attuned Israel be entered into everyone’s conciousness.

  8. Y. Ben-David says:

    This comment Rav Adlerstein wrote is the critical point:-
    Moreover, all the people I met there, student and administration, struck me as warm, nice people, without the edge I often sense from baalei shitah, myself included. Something there is working.

    This is one of the crucial differences between the DL and Haredi worlds. Faranak Margolese in her book which surveyed Haredim who went “off the derech” found that many couln’t take the constant negativity and judgementalism they encountered in the Haredi world. In my encounters in the Haredi world (I am DL who came to Torah observance while in University in Southern California in the 1970’s) I was constantly bombarded by critical comments regarding anyone or anything or any group who was outside the Haredi consensus and even frequently even against those who were supposed to be part of it. This pushed me towards Rav Kook’s optimistic outlook on life and the Jewish people. Clearly Yeshivat Mekor Chaim’s approach and you see it in their graduates and the fact their talmidim are able to integrate into all aspects of Israeli life. I think there is a lesson there.

  9. Rivka Leah says:

    This article brought up the tears because you captured a truth which must be shared – there is no “them” and “us” really. Israel – “Eretz Yisroel”, however one puts it, reveals a nation that is oved H’, is boteach b’H, more than we imagine.

    The Torah observant community, both there and here, has much to offer – but it would gain as well if it would open it’s heart to appreciate the other.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences – and the authenticity and sincerity of the people you encountered. May we take to heart how much goodness exists in people, when we look past their outer trappings.

  10. joel rich says:

    DF when you do the home vs. dorm article, please include any studies done outside the orthodox community. It would also be interesting to think about why the US and Israeli branches developed different systems and what the overall goals are that the approaches should be measured against. For example, why wouldn’t the kibbutz system make sense for the chareidi community (give education over to daat torah from birth)?

    Joel Rich

  11. Brooklyn Refugee Sheygitz says:

    Most DL parents – even within Gush Etzion – prefer commuter schools to dorm schools. The numbers bear this out.
    I”m not sure why a HS has to have as its mission statement the need to produce gedolim. That should be left to exclusive kolels which start accepting at age 25. I think that Mekor Chayim just “gets it”
    Also I think they really are about the student and not about the institution. If you read Rav Zinger’s comments about what a R’M in HIS yeshiva high school said about the students being “rotating product on the shelf” versus the teachers and administration always being there – and how his school is the opposite – you will understand it
    Regarding the atmosphere in Israel – as a well educated close friend of mine from america who has been here for two weddings during the last year and said to me at the second – “I don’t know what’s in the water here but I have never seen people so happy at weddings”
    The Jews are home – and the Jews are happy
    That’s really what explains the tehillim saying hot shorts wearing passenger or the zionist Jewish taxi driver. Why do you think anything did was incongruous? It’s only because you were “trained” in a certain environment that certain people who dress a certain way are somehow less worthy, bums, oysvurfs, or whatever. But the truth is – they are Jews. Just that. And as Jews they understand the importance of living in a Jewish country. Which in many ways makes them gedolim.

  12. cvmay says:

    Bklyn Refugee Sheygitz

    You captured the essence when you wrote “And as Jews they understand the importance of living in a Jewish country, Which in many ways makes them Gedolim (and HAPPY!!)”

  13. lawrence kaplan says:

    Finally Steve Brizel and I agree! Great article. I particularly liked its complete lack of edge.

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