Ben Yeshiva: You Need Not Leave – A Yotzei Min Ha-Klal Perspective

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10 Responses

  1. joe cohen says:

    “Such a person cannot now start college, he is not eligible for admission to graduate school (absent a BTL (Bachelor of Talmudic Law) and law school”

    A brief comment on this: I myself (a former Kollel Yungerman for almost 10 years) as well as numerous others I know, were able to get a Masters degree in Accounting, Social Work, or several other fields using a Yeshiva degree, and subsequently obtaining quality employment. A degree in my case took under 18 months, with classes at nights and Sundays, which allowed time to get entry level job experience before completing my degree.

  2. dr. bill says:

    I agree that learning b’iyun would make the transition easier. However, the obligation to know kol haTorah kulah, appears to me to be a more fundamental (halakhic) need. Perhaps, during the kollel period, some significant time would already be so dedicated. This is not as daunting as it might appear. The combination of sedarim in Kehati Mishnayot and the Aruch Hashulchan, gets you a long way to the goal. A weekly iyun shiur, as oneg Shabbat perhaps.

  3. joel rich says:

    It’s only an elephant to those who choose to be ostriches.

    If one subscribes to the philosophy attributed to R’ Dessler (1 gadol hador is worth 1000 who try to be one and don’t make the cut), there is no problem. When C-C asks for topics for KP, a number want women’s issues, indicating the paradigm of your avodah is taking care of kids and husband is also being viewed as problematic.


  4. Dr. E says:

    Rabbi Gordimer:

    Your elephant in the room remains very much at the core of the challenge to transition into “Baalabus-hood”. While you call for a change in “policy” towards secular studies, it’s that simple. The current posture is that of marginalizing Secular Studies and even thinking of “Limudei Chol” as a necessary evil. Others overrate the abilities of talmidim to catch up and even surpass the rest of the world for a good job when it’s time to leave the Yeshiva. The reasons why this is quite prevalent are based on desired image, identity, and the need for validation as a Yeshiva. In fact, recently some have taken this to an extreme, as an actual competitive advantage to attract whom they perceive as the best and the brightest. So, the inertia based on that business model will be impossible to counter.

    The solution will ultimately lie in not waiting for existing mosdos to change, but the founding of a new (type of) school that will be a model of balance of Limudei Kodesh and Secular Studies. As to the Secular Studies, it will take someone with courage to establish a significant up-to-date curriculum in a non-defensive and unapologetic way. This has to be l’maaseh, and not merely lip-service to pander to parents who feel that is important. On the Limudei Kodesh side, the curriculum would need to be a top-notch one, with talented and committed Rabbeim. But it cannot fall into the popular style-over-substance trap. Furthermore, the leadership of such an institution would have to be intellectually honest and know for the average HS age kid that the prevalent number of hours dedicated to core and extended Limudei Kodesh has counterproductive returns (even beyond detracting from available time dedicated to Secular Studies). And even for the above-average “illui”, that he might be better off long-term with a balanced chinuch with the tools to be able to make conscious employment decisions several years later.

    The question is who will be the Nachshon ben Aminadav here.

  5. tzippi says:

    About the elephant in the room: Perhaps the chaval is you are only asking the yeshiva establishment. What about the parents? When did parents stop being partners with their children’s rebbeiim? Why does it stop?
    Perhaps, if you have to ask the yeshiva establishment something it should be how do we start a revolution (though this is much more reactionary than revolutionary, to be precise) of chanoch l’naar al pi darko?

  6. Eli Blum says:

    Rabbi Gordimer:

    The real problem is that the question should not be a question at all. For 90% to 95% of all bochrim, their ultimate tachlis will be to build a bayis neeman and continue the mesorah to their children. The few years they may spend in Kollel or in Bais Medrash after high school are only a hechsher to prepare them for those future years. It is usually well known which bochrim have a possible future in learning (and will be Oved Hashem in that direction), and for whom (Ruba D’Ruba) their Avodas Hashem lies elsewhere.

    If only the “Roshei Yeshiva” were willing to admit that. Instead, they take the R’ Dessler tact (as others pointed out) and are perfectly willing to throw bochrim to the wolves (or the bear) of the outside world with no preparation simply because the the bochur/kollel man wishes to be a responsible Oved Hashem? We can talk about it ad nauseam, but until there are consequences to those who are unwilling to face the reality that they are ruining people’s lives, nothing will change.

  7. DF says:

    Your suggestion [which could have been written in the space of one paragraph] is based on your belief that a balleboss wants to feel as though he were still in yeshivah. I’m sure that’s true for some people. But other people have grown beyond that stage. Their desire is to advance in actual learning and knowledge. My recommendation for such people is that they cultivate the ability to study on their own. No one ever became a scholar without spending the majority of time learning on his own. The most learned rabbis of every stripe spend most of their time studying on their own. Unfortunately, the concept of “chavrusa” is so stressed in yeshivah, that few people are able to spend time on their own studying. That is the biggest obstacle to covering ground, and lingering on the subjects that interest you.

    And I’m not sure what you mean by suggesting they learn “b’iyun”. I presume you mean that in the way its understood in the yeshivas you presume ballebattim yearn to be part of. So let’s say a man has only fifteen minutes to learn. What exactly are you recommending – he open a Ktzos? Or he offer speculative svaros based on the page in front of him, without bothering to check the parallels?

    Learning “b’iyun” in yeshivah means covering about 20 pages over a span of four months, learning nearly four hours a day in first seder. [Obviously that can vary, but it will do for an average.] You call that learning? And that’s what you want a balleboss to aspire to, in his limited time? If he had as much as an hour a day, he would be learning – as it were – one medium sized masechta every five years.

    The problem here is getting to the heart of what it means “to learn.” That’s a bugaboo a lot of people have tried to grapple with over the centuries. But until our time, its only been relevant for a very narrow slice of Jewry. But under the “learning is for everyone” paradigm we have moved into, it has taken on greater importance.

  8. Joe Socher says:

    I’m not quite sure what the chiddush is here: If a Baal HaBayis-Ben Torah wants to learn “be-iyun” then of course he should do so. There is no reason why he should abandon his intellect on leaving yeshiva.

    But I would dispute the premise of the article which seems to imply that the “real learning” that one does in life is during the years in yeshiva. On the contrary, leaving yeshiva should be viewed as a new phase in a person’s growth in learning.

    In many cases on leaving yeshiva and entering the working world a ben torah will find that he has a new perspective that he may not have had previously. Furthermore (and relatedly) it may bring a liberation from learning in exactly the same derech/mindset of his peers.

    This may manifest itself in different ways – e.g.: greater focus on connecting the learning to practical psak, ability to focus on topics of direct interest to learner, freedom to explore different genres or more obscure texts.

    I’m reminded of something that R. Rakeffet says often about smicha: smicha is a license to start learning. Whether one gets smicha prior to leaving yeshiva or not, the idea applies, in my opinion.

  9. SA says:

    So maybe that has to be yeshiva world’s next attitudinal transition: Inculcating into young people that life upon leaving the yeshiva isn’t a separate, inferior phase of a person’s development, totally divorced from the kollel experience, but simply the next stage, where one gets to put into practice much of what one has learned. Taken that way, general/vocational studies can be considered far less threatening or “bitul zman”; such studies are simply one of the tools needed to optimize the results of that next stage.

    Moreover, as I’ve noted elsewhere, we should also recall that our generation, one that has been blessed with longer lives, may indeed have time later in life, when our children are grown, to return to a more learning-based focus. It can be something for the true Ben Torah Ba’al Habayis to look forward to.

  10. Big Maybe says:

    In my experience, the trouble with the small B’Iyun seder is that it cannot compare to the Kolel Iyun seder. You cannot find clarity in a sugya while learning “piski piski” or to use another colloquialism, you need to be “ligging in learning”. You need sustained, four-hour daily blocks of focus and concentration, you need a wide breadth of source material review, and occasional “pilpul chaverim”, none of which are doable in a daily 30-minute shiur. By the time you get to Tosfos, you’ve forgotten the Rashi. You’ll need to accept a watery understanding of the subject and that won’t put any Kolel departee worth his salt at ease.

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