A Response to MK Lipman

MK Rabbi Dov Lipman, in a guest post on the Emes VeEmunah blog, presents his perspective on Yesh Atid’s efforts toward integrating Charedim into the IDF and the Israeli work force. The post, coming as it does from a position of government authority, deserves some scrutiny. I intersperse some quotes from the post along with my comments.

(1) “Just to clarify, the law says that if the goals are not met, then a full draft will apply to haredim just like the rest of Israeli society with the elite masmidim not having to serve. It doesn’t mention jail. It doesn’t mention arresting yeshiva boys. It says the regular draft will apply. Since for the rest of Israeli society, failure to show up when drafted is a criminal offense, the same would apply to haredim in that situation.”

Well, yes. In other words, the law says that Yeshiva boys beyond those elite masmidim are subject to arrest and prison. I don’t understand what this clarifies. Perhaps it does clarify one issue: There is no mechanism in place for determining who those “elite masmidim” are.

It is also the case that MK Lipman has little to no appreciation of the Yeshiva world in toto. He is apparently unhappy with 1,800 exemptions for elite masmidim, since he clearly stated in an interview with the Times of Israel that he would be happy with fewer than 400 annual exemptions. He further denigrated the entire Yeshiva curriculum, with its emphasis on study of Nashim and Nezikim Be’iyyun, as, essentially, a waste of time. Quote: “They’ll open up a Talmud and they’ll read a line in the Talmud. And then they’ll read the Rashi and then they will read the Tosfot and then they will read the Rishonim on it and then the Aharonim on it and they’ll spend a day analyzing that line of the Talmud and all the commentaries, and that’s it.”

(2) “The Yesh Atid platform did not have this component as part of the law. We knew it would be an issue for the haredi world even if it was just theoretical but there will never be police entering yeshiva dormitories and arresting the boys. So why was it included? …. Some suggested that the law outline economic sanctions towards haredim who don’t serve as opposed to the implied criminal sanctions. The problem with this suggestion is that, once again, the Supreme Court would turn to the Knesset and say the consequences of not serving must be equal for all – either criminal or economic.”

This passes neither the test of common sense nor that of reality. The fight over economic or criminal sanctions was fought very loudly over the media outlets between Bayit Yehudi and Yesh Atid, with Minister Peri making it clear that his party would quit the coalition if the criminal sanctions were not passed. If it were an open and shut case of inequality, there would be nothing to fight over. The truth is that the Shaked committee’s own legal advisors were involved in formulating the economic sanctions.

(3) “Torah learning is now categorized as serving the state and the people of Israel by law and Yair Lapid has said that this is one of the accomplishments he is most proud of s in our short first term in office.”

I combed the Yesh Atid website, especially its presentation of the new law, and could find no mention of this factoid. It does not seem that Yair Lapid is all that proud of it.

(4) In addressing the practical results of Yesh Atid’s legislation, MK Lipman states: “I will turn to a source other than me, so as not to be accused of being subjective in my answer.” “Despite continuing protests by groups of haredi community members against IDF service, more members of the community are joining the army than ever before, Yonatan Bransky said. Branksy is the Chairman of the Netzah Yehuda organization, which consists of veterans of the IDF and rabbis in the haredi community.”

Let us be clear. The number of Haredi draftees has risen slightly (I do not know if the year-over-year rate is improved), and some concern remains that the goals set for the current year will not be met. However, the number of those joining Civil Service has dropped dramatically.

(5) “And we put hundreds of millions of shekel into the state budget to provide job training and to help find jobs for any young haredi who wants to enter the job market and sustain their families with dignity… The result has been a 300% increase in haredim seeking employment. I head the Knesset taskforce to help haredim enter the job market and the projects we have set up throughout the country receive an average of 500 resumes per month from haredim seeking to find work and support their families with dignity.”

And here we see the true failure of Yesh Atid’s policies. Never mind that the credit for these numbers is due primarily to the Economics Ministry, which was under Bayit Yehudi. They underscore what Rabbi Adlerstein aptly called Lapid’s diabolical pincer movement. For while the enormous financial cuts forced many Charedim to seek employment, there is simply no correlation to the actual market. The implied admission here is that there is nothing to show in terms of actual employment, rather than job-seeking.

(6) “We have met with CEO’s of major companies and convinced them that it is worth their while to hire haredim. Reports are coming back to us about what wonderful employees the haredim are and, especially in the hi-tech realm, how creative they are in their thinking, no doubt the result of years of Talmudic study.”

Clearly, then, it isn’t just the 400-odd supermen, who marry either the Roshei Yeshiva’s daughters or those of the wealthy philanthropists, that are toiling away in Torah.

(7) “Thank G-d, this past Elul, over 50 mainstream haredi schools opened with basic general studies and it is going so well that many more have asked to join this program for next year. I visited some of these schools and remarkable things are happening.”

It would be of interest of this could be narrowed down a bit. How many of these are from the Ashkenazi non-Chassidic sector? I am going to venture an uneducated guess – none.

(8) “At least one haredi party has talked about getting back into power and “turning the clock back” on all the progress we have made in these past two years. That would be catastrophic for the haredi community..”

The Haredi community does not seek or desire Yesh Atid’s patronage. Speaking for the Yeshiva world segment of the Haredi populace, we have, thank G-d. the equivalent of the Chofetz Chaim in our generation; his name is Rav Ahron Leib Steinman Shlit”a. His agenda is far more Leshem Shamayim than that of Yair Lapid, Ofer Shelach, and, yes, even of Dov Lipman. He is not beholden to anyone who may or may not put him on his Knesset list in the upcoming elections. If he is convinced to support Yesh Atid’s programs, wonderful; if not, then Yesh Atid is to be deemed a detrimental force to the Yeshiva world, and will thus be opposed by that world.

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64 Responses

  1. joel rich says:

    R’ Doron,
    Last week C-C had a post titled “Klal Perspectives: New Issue on the Ben-Torah Baal-HaBayis” which includes chareidi voices which seem out of step with Rav Steinman’s vision. In any event, perhaps it would be helpful to articulate what the resolution might be if the rest of Israeli society is not willing to accept upon itself the costs (both economic and other) upon itself.

  2. lacosta says:

    it is fascinating if rav beckerman , and the many 100s of thousands who clearly hold to the same shitah can state with pride that [in re general studies] –

    How many of these are from the Ashkenazi non-Chassidic sector? I am going to venture an uneducated guess – none.

  3. dr. bill says:

    Rabbi Beckerman, I suggest you speak to some hi-tech companies who go out of the way to provide employment opportunities. I worked with one who received only scorn from the official organs of the chareidi world. Are the ones succeeding just the 400 or 1800 elite? Of course not. But sadly, I suspect those successful don’t come from the lower quartiles either, whose future is being sacrificed, willingly I suppose, to produce the few gedolim.

    I appreciate that one can nitpick with Rabbi Lipman, although he provides a great deal fewer “quotables” than the chareidi politicians/rabbis. But directionally, the non-chassidic adoption of a core curriculum that you assume (zero), tells me you are (knowingly) throwing out the baby with the (largely imagined) bathwater.

  4. Moshe Dick says:

    Davoid the ear Rav Beckerman!
    Although I read various Jewish websites- including this one,of course-and leave the comments to others. Your column ,however, has literally provoked me to comment. Whether the many facts quoted by Rabbi Lipman are totally correct,I don’t know. As is said, there are lies, lies and statistics. Everyone can find a kernel of truth in the various statistics. What is, however,incontrovertible, is the fact that chareidi jewry-as practiced in Israel- is deeply in crisis. A crisis that every chareidi rov is afraid of mentioning ,as they are in fear of their lives and fear for their families. Yes, even Rav Shteineman shelita has been attacked (not to mention Rav Moshe Sternbuch).You, and others who are equally blind to the crisis, have become enablers of a way of life that is practiced against a slew of halochos, continue to impoverish their adherents and have no way out of this mess except to go begging with a tin cup. Bt attacking Rabbi Lipman, you are putting up a straw man to avoid the real ,deep crisis that faces hundreds of thousands of jews in Israel. This is a train wreck that is unfolding before our eyes and no amount of pious belief in Gedolim will prevent this.

  5. Toby Bulman Katz says:

    The charedi communities in Eretz Yisrael are facing serious challenges, many of them the side effect of miraculous growth, but Lipman is not the man to solve them. He’s like Obama, a smart-alecky know-it-all who knows better than anybody else how to run other people’s lives, a self-appointed messiah who’s going to solve all the problems of millions of people by waving a magic wand and giving some good speeches (oh yeah and siccing the feds on anyone who just won’t listen to reason….)

  6. Doron Beckerman says:

    My sketch of a solution is this:

    (1) The government no longer funds Yeshivos or Kollelim as it does now, on a per capita basis as an ex-budget expense, but as a percentage of its annual expenditures that is built into the budget, to be distributed equally among Yeshivos and Kollelim. This should be written into law. This way, the Torah learners do not continue to tax the country’s resources ever more heavily. (Yes, many taxpayers will complain about having to fund Yeshivos, just as other taxpayers complain about having to fund all sorts of things.) At the same time, a serious study of the income to State generated by the Torah citadels, such as donations and students from abroad, tourism, etc., should be undertaken, so as to give perspective to the true cost/benefit to the Israeli economy of a thriving Torah world.

    (2) The IDF campaigning and advertising for recruits among Charedim should express sincere encouragement and respect for those cut out for full-time learning. Hand-in-hand with that should be a call for those who are not cut out for it to join one the Charedi units, backed by a solid track record of accommodation of their needs.

    (3) A deep, detailed, and honest analysis of the effect that lack of secular education has on one’s future employment prospects. The success or lack thereof of catch-up programs for those with no secular education at High School age, for each subgroup of the Charedi world, i.e., socio-economic background, Shas/Degel/Agudah type voters, etc. Following that, a focused campaign in the Charedi world, raising awareness of the consequences of a lack of secular education at High School age. Thus, no war is declared on ideological lynchpins. Let people make their own decisions.

  7. Jewish Observer says:

    “He’s … a smart-alecky know-it-all who knows better than anybody else how to run other people’s lives, a self-appointed messiah …”

    – this is sophisticated name calling, perhaps cathartic for the frustrated venter, but unsatisfying for a reader seeking reasoned thoughts

  8. Y. Ben-David says:

    Rav Beckerman-
    It is important for everyone to face facts. The Israeli public WILL NOT agree to going back to the previous situation, i.e. before the reforms of the current government regarding the Haredi sector, even assuming that the Haredim will be part of the next governing coalition.
    Firstly, regarding IDF conscription, the Israeli public DOES NOT understand why someone who is not cut out for studying Torah full time should not do some sort of national service, either military or civilian. Simply saying that “if we let our young people come into any contact with people who are not Haredi will cause them to give up being religious” is an embarrassing admission of the general failure of Haredi education, seeing as how the supposedly inferior (in Haredi eyes) National Religious education system DOES turn out people who do serve in the IDF and remain religious and with even going on to becoming real Talmidei Hachamim.

    Secondly, the virulent extreme statements made by certain Haredi spokesmen and leaders regarding those, both religious and non-religious, who disagree with them has done untold damage to the image of the Haredi community. I personally know numerous RELIGIOUS Jews who have become totally alienated from the Haredi establishment and who have ceased to financially contribute to Haredi institutions after many years of doing so, thinking in the past that ultimately all religious Jews were “on the same side” and now questioning whether that is really true.

    My view is that the ONLY solution is to make a package deal…an agreement to politically and even possibly geographically separate the Haredi communities from the rest of Israel. The first thing I would do is give ALL Haredi men permanent exemption from IDF service, even for those who are not studying Torah. (Of course, those who do want to serve would be allowed to do so and would receive financial benefits for doing so just as all others who serve receive). Haredi men would be allowed to join the work force without having done any form of service.
    In return, the Haredi political parties represented in the Knesset would agree to give up control of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and the control of municipal Rabbinates in towns in which the majority of the population is not Haredi. The Haredi parties would no longer request special budget allotments or subsidies above and beyond what the rest of the population gets. Schools would be financed on the basis of population, not ideological or ethnic lines. The Haredi parties would agree not to serve as the swing vote on questions of national importance such as the destruction of Jewish communities in Judea/Samaria and they would be neutral on questions such as the relationship between state and religion…i.e. should the secular public decide to push for such a separation (e.g. abolishing the Chief Rabbinate’s control of marriage, divorce, etc) the Haredi parties would remain neutral (the Religous Zionists would, of course, continue to oppose such as separation).
    Finally, in order to avoid problems like friction between Haredi and non-Haredi populations in places like Beit Shemesh, gender segregation on buses, etc, the creation of separate Haredi towns like Kiryat Sefer and Beitar Illit away from the rest of the population would be encouraged and in which the state would allow considerable local autonomy in matters like separating women and men on the streets, separate shopping hours , etc. They would be able to set up separate schools for children of workers, another for children from Kollel families, Sefardim, Ashkenazim, Hassidim, Mitnagdim, a veritable whole Indian-style caste system, if this is what the Haredi community wants AS LONG AS THEY PAY FOR IT.

  9. Baruch says:

    Mrs. Katz – your comments about Rabbi Lipman were wrong and utterly disgraceful. I cannot agree with the legislation passed by Yesh Atid, but there is nothing to suggest that Rabbi Lipman is anything but a sincere, caring, hard-working Torah Jew who sees a huge problem that he very much wishes to fix. Dismissing him as a ‘self-proclaimed Messiah’ and “smart aleck’ is an easy, convenient way to ignore his claims and just put a bad label on him. Do you think is he just “waving a magic wand and giving some good speeches”? Do you doubt that he has spent many, many hours in meetings and committees trying to come up with ideas? Are you aware of the fact that he walked into Beit Shemesh town hall many years ago to ask to volunteer to help the city?

    You don’t have to agree with him (as I said, I don’t), but shame on you for launching a personal attack rather than take a serious look at the issues and what’s he’s trying to do.

  10. joel rich says:

    would the various constituencies accept your sketch if Yeshivos/chareidi were replaced by educational institutions/Israeli (to make the scope the entire nation) so as to ensure societal buy in and a one year time period so as to ensure action (versus a generation of study)

  11. Doron Beckerman says:

    R’ Joel,

    Your comment is a bit too terse for me to be certain that I deciphered it accurately. But IIUC, you mean to say that other educational institutions should be treated the same as those of Torah study. Several Supreme Court justices have disagreed with that perspective. Unfortunately, their words of wisdom have been washed away:

    An attitude of equal treatment toward these spiritual workshops – of which so many were annihilated in the Holocaust – as if they are as any ordinary institution of learning or education, and an ostensibly objective ignoring of their unique place among the Jewish people, is tantamount to apathy and estrangement toward one’s own past and heritage, toward values that one has defended with all of one’s soul. From here stems their singularity, and these are the circumstances that make the difference that justifies support of Yeshiva students, so that they can study Torah… this is no improper discrimination, but a just value scale (Israeli Supreme Court Justice Tirkel, 1984).

    In Israel, those young men dedicate themselves to Torah study in that same ancient tradition, and it is thus no wonder that they have merited consideration from the government, which is expressed by that financial support that constitutes the issue lying before us. It is only natural that in the State of Israel, the support has taken on a new form, and instead of going from house to house to feed themselves and break their hunger, the Yeshiva students now receive financial support from the state coffers, as though they had been drafted by the IDF. They have been found worthy, in the eyes of the relevant bodies, of such support (Israeli Supreme Court Justice Ben-Porat, 1984).

    The time frame for implementation is a detail. Negotiable.

  12. Doron Beckerman says:


    Certain parts of the previous situation are indeed irreversible, others are. I would be surprised, but not shocked, if a future left-leaning coalition constellation includes the Charedim, with evacuation of settlements outside of the major blocs the quid pro quo for anchoring some issues of importance to the Charedim.

    Your comparison to the Religious Zionist situation is imbalanced. In allowing for Army service without insistence on religious frameworks, the RZ knowingly gave up on some 20% of their youth. The Charedim don’t want to throw their weakest elements to a spiritually unsafe environment.

    On cardinal issues that divide the Charedi/RZ community, there is no same side. This was shown clearly in the previous government.

    Your idea needs more flesh, but it is something Brisk and the Eidah Charedis might want to explore.

  13. Eli Julian says:

    Rabbi Beckerman, I would venture to say that you have a very rosey view at best, if not extremely naive, if you think that the “solution” you present above is workable. Organizations that attempt to rectify the situation by offering some kind of integrated approach open up, such as Ma’arava, Nehora or the new Charedi Hesder yeshiva whose name escapes me, are attacked and roundly condemned by the leadership, including Rav Shteinman himself. When that happens, it demonstrates very very clearly that the Charedi community is not willing to budge on any of the sticky issues. Conversely, when I was a soldier in Shachar and me and my friends were getting spat at and chased in the streets, not a word of condemnation was uttered by any Charedi leader, also sending a very clear message that while not behavior to be encouraged, it serves the purpose of ensuring that preventing others from following and integrating into general society in a meaningful way.

    [DB: There is strong ideological opposition to secular studies at High School age. Unless and until clear-cut proof is given that it is necessary for all (and the Charedi Leumi world is actually headed in the opposite direction, establishing Yeshivot Ketanot Leumiyot under an umbrella organization headed by Rav Neriah), it will not be viewed as acceptable. Maarava itself is officially bound not to accept applicants considering Yeshiva Ketanah.

    On the matter of soldiers, you are simply incorrect:


  14. DF says:

    I’m not a fan of Dov Lipman, but he’s just one man, who won’t even be in the government in a few weeks; his personal character should not obscure the justness of the cause. Charedi society is a failed society. The attempts to defend it, coming from Americans who didn’t have to grow up with it, ring completely hollow. Your response to Eli Julian’s comment above is a perfect example. Or do you really believe, as you wrote in response to Eli Julian’s comment, that there is no need for an education beyond eighth grade?

    [DB – That’s the wrong question. The right question is whether there is a need for a formal secular education specifically at High School age, or whether enough of it can be acquired informally/in one’s late twenties so as to avoid the need to abolish Yeshiva Ketanah, and what are the costs to one’s Torah study versus Torah-only during the High School years. My experience with my older boys in Yeshiva Ketanah has been very positive.]

  15. Moshe Dick says:

    Dear Rabbi Beckerman!

    your last comment-responding to Eli Julian- cannot be left unchallenged. Secular studies are needed to make a living,as simply as that. What do you think the mishneh meant when it declared that a father is obligated to teach his son a profession? How did that happen without input from so-called secular sources? we are not talking here about studying kant or decartes, for goodness sake! we are talking about teaching how to read and write in a secular (probably english) languaage ,mathematics, some physics and some elementary understanding of the world around us. Without this knowledge, it will be impossible to enter the workplace-if they ever get a job!-and the chareidi world will continue to wallow in poverty and continue to spiral into irrelevance.The trens of thousands of youngsters who will never become a Rov- let alone a Godol- continue to be sacrificed on the altar of political correctness and personal biases.

    [DB – See my response to DF.]

  16. Y. Ben-David says:

    Rav Beckerman-
    No doubt that you are aware that there are numerous frameworks for religious soldiers in the army including Hesder and the religious pre-army academies which have a very high success rate for its graduates maintaining religious observance. I have seen that many Haredi spokesmen enjoy publicizing the supposed 20% drop-out rate of RZ youth. The RZ movement itself has publicized it itself and analyzed it extensively. This is unlike the Haredi world which prefers to ignore, at least publicly, its own drop-out rate which, based on a guess, is probably at least as high among Haredi youth, even without their exposure to the IDF and great efforts to isolate them from the non-Haredi population. Of course it is important to include those who outwardly conform but whose level of mitzvah observance is minimal. As I stated above, Haredi spokesmen themselves admit that their education system is not capable of equipping its young men with the tools to be able to be in contact with non-Haredim without being negatively influenced.

    Regarding “whose side we are on”….. it is interesting that you assume that all Religious Zionists openly identify with and vote for the Bayit Yehudi party. In my own case, I may or may not have voted for them or agree with their policies. As you would have seen above, I oppose conscription of Haredi men. This identification of a religious Jew by his political affliliation is an very unfortunately consequence of the disastrous “austritt” policy parts of German Orthodox Jewry adopted in the 19th century. In that, political affiliation replaces religious observance as the essence of being an “authentic Torah Jew”. Thus, even a non-observant Jew can be “authentic” or “Haredi” Jew as long as he conforms to the politcally correct line of their movement or party, whereas a major Religious Zionist talmid hacham may possibly not be identified by the title Rav by Haredi media outlets.

    Finally regarding my “package deal” with the Haredim, I was referring to the mainline Haredi bloc, which sits in the Knesset. Edah Haredit opposes voting or having any contact with the state, viewing it as illegitimate, if not outright evil and they do not take government funds for their institutions (although they do use government services). Thus I am hoping that the mainline Haredim might be willing to accept the package deal, not just the out-and-out anti-Zionists among them.

  17. DF says:

    “The right question is whether there is a need for a formal secular education specifically at High School age…”

    If that’s anyone’s question, this is the answer: Yes.

    [DB: Convincingly prove it. According to you, the pre-academic tracks on the Charedi campuses are invariably a failure and a complete waste of time. Fact is, they’re not.]

  18. Natan Slifkin says:

    The pre-academic tracks for charedim who did not receive a high school education have a dropout rate of 50%, due to the applicants being simply too old to learn math and English for the first time. Furthermore, many people do not have the luxury of taking vocational training (let alone pre-academic tracks) by the time they hit financial disaster in their 30s and 40s.

    [DB – That is why I said originally that I would like a study that breaks down these statistics by things such as general aptitude, socio-economic background, Charedi subgroup, etc. If the State wants to wage war against Yeshiva Ketanah, it has to prove it absolutely vital at that age for everyone (or at least an overwhelming majority) of the specific populace that is ideologically opposed to it. Otherwise, it is an ideological battle, not a pragmatic one.

    Regarding financial disaster – again, you have to conduct real, unbiased studies, educate people as to their financial prognosis as they advance in age, and let them make decisions. Ultimately, people have a right to decide to be poor for the sake of some higher ideal.]

  19. DF says:

    That an eighth-grade education is inadequate for anything is self-evident, and does not need to be proved. You admit that its not sufficient for Torah; why would it be different for anything else?

    [DB – Let me try again – does one need a formal HS education specifically at HS age? Please relate to the pre-academic track on Charedi campuses.]

  20. Natan Slifkin says:

    Where do you get the notion that “people have a right to decide to be poor for the sake of some higher ideal”? If you’re talking about requiring communal support (which is the case here) then Chazal certainly did not feel that people have that right. They said that people should get a lowly trade rather than force others to support them. Furthermore, Chazal specifically said that there is an obligation for parents to teach their children a trade i.e. to be able to support themselves.

    [DB – I don’t want to get into the halachic back and forth here. See Igros Moshe Yoreh Deah Vol. 4, Simman 36, subsections 3, 5, 8, 10, and 11.]

  21. Natan Slifkin says:

    Rabbi Beckerman, not a single one of those subsections is remotely relevant. The only one which at all pertains to this subject is subsection 11, where Rav Moshe says that a father can fulfill his obligation to teach his son a trade if he teaches him to earn a living as a Rav, which is not at all what we are discussing here.

    [DB – That should have been 4, not 3. I gave you the sections that lead in to the end of 10, which is quite relevant:

    שו”ת אגרות משה יורה דעה חלק ד סימן לו

    שלכן כתבתי (באגרות יו”ד ח”ג סימן פ”ב) אשר לבני תורה וגם לבני ישיבות הקדושות אשר ראויין להתגדל בתורה וביראת ה’ טהורה, הרי עצם לימוד חול – אף כשליכא לימודי כפירה ותערובות נשים – הוא איסור. וגם הסברתי שכל הזמן וכל הכוחות צריך כדי שיהא גדול בתורה. ומצד עניין הפרנסה, הא אף בדרך הטבע איכא, מאחר שהתירו להתפרנס מרבנות ומלהיות מגידי שיעור בישיבות גדולות וקטנות וגם היא פרנסה כבודה.

    How do you think one studies to become a Torah teacher, Rav, Rebbe, Rosh Yeshiva, etc.? Once the knowledge necessary is in hand, the father has fulfilled his obligation of Umnus.

    I won’t be allowing any more back and forth on this issue; it isn’t the proper forum.]

  22. Ari Heitner says:

    Anecdotal observations:
    a) I went to a secular science-technology magnet high school (TJHSST), arguably the best in the country. I graduated half a lifetime ago. I do not remember much of Calculus, or the polyatomic negative ions, or the 12 most important battles of the Civil War (Manassas, Gettysburg, Fredericksburg, Antietam, um…). I’m not sure I could calculate the trajectory of an artillery shell. I do remember the reactivity series for metals, I’m not sure why. I definitely learned a lot about writing a good essay. I read all of Dante, I’m not sure why.
    b) I studied computer science at arguably the best university in the country (CMU). They claimed not to bias admissions towards prior programming experience. They claimed prior experience was not a predictor of success. They claimed they knew how to teach you how to program. From what I saw of my class of 140, they were right.
    c) I never worked as hard as I did when I got to yeshiva after university.
    d) I have a friend who blew off secular studies in a well-regarded Chareidi yeshiva high school (in his words, “at the magic shop”), then did a Master’s in Clinical Psychology on the back of his BTL. It was hard, but he did it – his biggest gap was a serious lack of essay-writing experience. He was offered a full-time psychology position at a hospital; he turned it down to stay in kiruv.
    e) Many of the Israeli-Chareidi children of my rebbeim are today in business, in accounting, in computers – out of the beis medresh.

    My conclusions:
    i) Learn foreign languages early; it gets harder with age. Learn to organize your thoughts and to present them in writing. Learn to think.
    ii) Specific skills can be learned later.
    iii) Israeli-Chareidi society is changing and offers far more economic opportunity to its products than it did 15 years ago.
    iv) I worry more about the ability of the weaker students – drifting their way through the yeshiva system without necessarily acquiring any strong skills – to succeed in post-yeshiva life than I worry about ability of the strong students to find or create opportunities when they need them. But I’m not sure I worry about them more than the American kid drifting through his BA in Psychology.
    v) Threats perceived as existential, or certain red lines (eg. the ability of the individual to choose to pursue full-time learning) will provoke widespread reactionary backlash.
    vi) Dov Lipman does not understand the Israeli-Chareidi mindset. If Yair Lapid does, he does not care.

  23. Natan Slifkin says:

    By the way, with regard to what R. Lipman was trying to clarify in the first point, it was as follows: There is a slander being spread in the charedi press that the government plan was to imprison people for learning Torah. That is like reporting that Rav Steinman described learning Torah as cruelty. Whereas in fact Rav Steinman said that is cruel to leave one’s wife on erev Shabbos, even to learn Torah. Likewise, the government said that avoiding army service carries a prison sentence, even if one is learning Torah.

    [DB – Come now. The Charedim wouldn’t recognize a rhetorical flourish if it hit them between the eyes. They really, truly thought that there were criminal sanctions for opening a Ketzos and economic sanctions for opening a Chumash. Thanks to Rabbi Lipman, that’s all cleared up.]

  24. Natan Slifkin says:

    I fail to understand how you see any relevance from Rav Moshe’s words. Yes, if you raise your son to be Rav, Rosh Yeshivah, etc., which is “parnasah kevoda” as Rav Moshe says, then you have fulfilled your obligations. That was referring to a situation where the son is prepared for such a role and there is a demand for such things. What is the relevance to people in kollel today, where there are vastly more people in kollel than jobs available, and as a consequence instead of “parnasah kevoda” we have abject poverty?

    [DB: There is and will continue to be demand for more Rabbeim (certainly at the elementary and HS age), especially as the Charedi population grows over time. Will Ploni’s son land a job? You have guarantees for law students to land jobs? Do you know how many people with professional education are out of jobs?]

  25. DF says:

    If someone wanted to be a great talmid chacham, you would never advocate that he go to yeshivah ketanah through eighth grade, abandon learning for the next twenty-five years, and then come back again in his late 30s (if that were even possible) to pick it up again, thinking that the gap wont matter. That, obviously, is beyond absurd. And the same is true for any other field, for any other profession, for any other discipline. All you have to do is replace “secular studies”, in your formula, with the word “Torah”, and you will see the flawed thinking.

    [DB: If the goal is to be a great secular scholar, the analogy holds. If the goal is to get a job, no. Do you know how many people in Israel with HS degrees spend 5, 6, even 10 years away from secular studies (i.e., Hesder, plus Rabbanut in some cases) and only then go on to get a degree?]

  26. Natan Slifkin says:

    There are never any absolute guarantees of employment. However, Chazal said that one should teach one’s son a trade, thereby making it likely to happen. Rav Moshe extended this to teaching your son to be a teacher, which in 1960s America, was also a reasonable profession. You are wildly extrapolating to bringing up EVERYONE to be in kollel today, where the chances of subsequently finding a paying job are minimal, as we see with our own eyes. That is not at all what Rav Moshe is discussing.

    [DB: No, that isn’t what Rav Moshe said. He said that if the father has taught him enough Torah so that he can get a paying job as a Rav someplace, he is yotzei. I know many, many people with professional training (or who had a business, which everyone says is acceptable in this regard) who are struggling or have struggled through life. A person has to have his eyes open and consciously make these decisions, but they are not a dereliction of halachic duty. And now that’s really it.]

  27. Natan Slifkin says:

    “Do you know how many people in Israel with HS degrees spend 5, 6, even 10 years away from secular studies (i.e., Hesder, plus Rabbanut in some cases) and only then go on to get a degree?”
    But we are not talking about people with HS degrees!

    [DB: It’s the same issue of staying away from the subject matter for years on end.]

  28. Shlomo r. says:

    As someone who spent 6 years in the Mir and 1 year in Brisk ,it is laughable the assumption that no hs secular studies is beneficial if ones goal is to develop purely long time learners.The Israeli system products are not superior to their American counterparts and in fact in many cases lacking.Hence even if one were to concede Rabbi Beckermans point regarding the benefit of hs secular studies the Israeli system still needs modification.I do agree that the change has to come from within and not dictated by arrogant politicians.

  29. SA says:

    Rabbi Beckerman:

    Whom would you suggest conduct these detailed, in-depth studies that you describe, such that the results would be as unbiased as possible?

    [DB: A joint Knesset sub-committee.]

    What makes you think that even if such studies — which would take years — were conducted, the ideologues of the Haredi world would care about the results?

    [DB: Let them deal with established facts.]

    Which Haredi media outlets do you have in mind for the conducting of the focused campaigns that you describe?

    [DB: Online. Radio talk. Direct mail.]

    I, for one, would be interested in hearing more about your personal experience with your boys that you alluded to. I assume when you suggest that secular studies could be pursued post-high school age, you do not mean at age 18.

    [DB: I prefer not to get into details about my family.]

    Yet surely you will concede that in our community in particular, there is a vast difference between pursuing formal studies of any kind at 18-21 (unmarried/newly married) and in “one’s late twenties,” when one is likely to have three or more children. I’m not sure we need any research to establish that.

    [DB: I’m not ready to concede that before the breakdown of pre-academic tracks, and the specific professions toward which Yeshiva training is of help.]

    Indeed, there are many people in Israel with HS degrees who spend 5, 6, even 10 years in learning or in the army + learning and only then go on to get a degree. But they have those HS diplomas and bagrut certificates that qualify them to move on to the next stage. And yes, they may have forgotten a lot of their math and English, but it’s far easier to have your memory jogged at age 25 than to have to learn it all from scratch.

    [DB: Ditto.]

  30. DF says:

    Clearly our disagreement stems in part from the inherent value one attaches to secular studies. You seem to see it as having no value beyond being a prerequisite for employment. I greatly disagree, and see in it great inherent value. Now that is obviously an age-old debate which is not susceptible of resolution, but apart from that, I would ask you to consider this: If one were to adopt the path you advocate, [or at least, you countenance as a theoretical possibility] the job one would get is not one to be particularly well-paying or satisfying. Though there are always exceptions, the reality is such people are not becoming doctors, engineers, or even – every yungerman’s dream – lawyers. You can claim that they don’t need sippuk ha-nefesh from their jobs because they can get that by learning at night, but that’s really not quite true. A man’s job is important, irrespective of what he does or does not do in his spare time.

    [DB: R’ Moshe talks about that too in his Teshuvah.]

  31. L. Oberstein says:

    I found Doron Beckerman’s analysis of Dov Lipman disheartening. The facts are what they are. I think that the explanation about the “imprisonment” penalty is clarified for any fair person to see. It was the red herring that gave those opposed to chareidi integration a rallying cry and it was unwise on Lapid’s part. If you compare what Lapid said in his famous Ono College speech and some of the stuff coming out of his mouth later on, one wonders about his behavior. He obviously does not really understand the mind set of those he is trying to change and he went about it in ways that are counter productive. I believe he was sincere in the beginnig when he had a shouting match with the Yahadut Hatorah Knesset Members. They insisted he hates them and he screamed that he doesn’t hate them. It is in their provocial interest to make him hate them and they did everything they could to provoke his backlash. I blame Gafni and Litzman also, they are not clean handed. It is unfair to put this entire burden on the shoulders of Rav Shteinmann. Even when he wants to be moderate ,he is boxed into a corner. i agree he doesn’t trust Lapid and I bow to that wisdom. He has seen a lot more than I in his 100 years and time may prove him right.
    Your involvement of Rav Shteinmann in this is wrong. How much of his information is gotten from his handlers ,also, there are so many contradictory reports about what he actually holds,e.g.Netzach Yehuda, career training,etc.
    Let’s be frank for a moment. I do not believe that most writers or readers of Cross-Currents really want to preserve the status quo, I do not believe for a moment that deep down you think tht the circle the wagons, no change, secular eduction,even English and Math are forbidden. Why cna’t you have some rachmonus on our brothers and sisters in israel and want them to have jobs and earn a living and not have to perpetuate a cycle of poverty. Is it right that you require poverty stricken parents to sell their dira so that they can buy a dira for their children and is the solution to continue the status quo but with Adopt A Kollel picking up the bill instead of the Israeli government. have a heart and don’t be so nasty to those who honestly want to help our fellow Jews who are in this predicament and have no one who can openly say they have to find a new path. You all know the truth and stop tarring Dov lipoman for pointing out things you really deep down agree with.

  32. Pusilanimity says:

    Rashi, Avos 2:5:

    האדם הרוצה להתחכם צריך שיעסוק בכל ענינים של ישוב העולם בין בסחורה בין בשאר חכמות דרכי העולם להיות מבין בכל

  33. Toby Bulman Katz says:

    Baruch wrote:
    “Mrs. Katz – your comments about Rabbi Lipman were wrong and utterly disgraceful….Do you doubt that he has spent many, many hours in meetings and committees trying to come up with ideas?”

    He attended meetings!? Oh well then, that changes everything!

  34. Doron Beckerman says:

    Rabbi Oberstein,

    I don’t want any sincere Torah-oriented parents to be forced to educate their children in a way that contradicts their ideology. I wouldn’t want to relinquish the right to send my sons to Yeshivah Ketanah. I do want parents to be educated as to the likely consequences of their decisions (which is why the studies I mentioned above are important.

  35. Baruch says:

    Mrs. Katz,

    As you perceptively understood from my comment, Rabbi Lipman attended meetings with drinking coffee and enjoying refreshments, his feet propped up on the coffee table, cracking some jokes, and talking about the weather, and then he left the room and decided that he has all the solutions, and for this I admire him very much.

    Come’on, really. How do you think serious parliamentarians address the pressing issues of the day? Yes, in meetings and committees. I’m sure you know that, but when it comes to Dov Lipman, attending meetings is silly and meaningless, because he is, after all, Dov Lipman.

    If you read Rabbi Lipman’s article, he makes it very clear (though you probably assume he’s lying, because he is, after all, Dov Lipman) that he sat with many different important figures from the charedi community to learn more about the situation. Well before Yesh Atid even existed, and well before religious Jews without a tv (like myself) had ever heard of Yair Lapid, Rabbi Lipman was very involved at various levels trying to improve charedi-secular relations in Beit Shemesh and generally. And yes, this is done through meetings, during which one learns, listens and tries to understand in order to come up with informed solutions.

    Your snide comment proves further that you are set on maligning a fellow Jew (a Torah-committed musmach of Ner Yisrael) rather than expressing respectful disagreement. Shameful.

  36. Baruch says:

    This is all very disturbing. The vast majority of the Cross Currents world (writers, staff, readers and commenters) agree that the charedi community is facing a dire situation that affects the entire country. When charedi leaders scream from the rooftops about the dangers of secular education, army and so on, insisting on maintaining an unsustainable status quo, we are supposed to respectfully listen and obey. But when somebody from the charedi community has the courage to actually go into the trenches and try (successfully or otherwise) to come up with a reasonable solution, he is maligned and called names. And when he takes the time to write an essay to clarify several points and explain his policies, his words are nitpicked and scrutinized like an ambiguous Rambam.

    I don’t agree with what Yesh Atid is doing, but can’t we at least acknowledge and respect the fact that he’s trying to help the charedi community flourish, and save it from the hole it continues to dig for itself? Can’t we at least acknowledge that a small conscription quota is not going to destroy the Torah world, and might actually help it? And can’t we acknowledge that thinking along these lines, even if we strongly disagree with the conclusion, is far more useful in the long run than the alarming rhetoric spewed by charedi leaders?

  37. Ben Bradley says:

    This all goes to show, looking at the big picture, that 60-70 years or so of relative stability isn’t enough time to get back on track after a complete turnaround of the metzius of the entire Jewish people over a few short decades prior to 1950. Not a single community or circumstance of Jewish life anywhere has remained the same since, say 1900. Except maybe for the few families left in rural Yemen. Yet we keep referring to current models of education as if it’s the way it always was.

    It’s all very well, R. Beckerman, to say that “In Israel, those young men dedicate themselves to Torah study in that same ancient tradition, and it is thus no wonder that they have merited consideration from the government, which is expressed by that financial support that constitutes the issue lying before us.” , but there is no ancient tradition of governmental support for Torah study whatsoever. It’s a marvel of the modern state. Further, while young men dedicating themselves to Torah study is an ancient tradition, the current model of yeshiva ketana is essentially post-war in terms of set-up and even curriculum. After all, in Volozhin they learnt a whole masechta in a zman.

    Point is it’s just too early for klal yisroel to have settled on one system which gives the best development in Torah and ruchnius for our current matzav, especially given the leadership crisis (but that’s another story). Thus the furore.
    What seems clear is that past models can’t be assumed to be best just by virtue of being in the past. So for now we’ll just argue points in a marginally relevant teshuva from a few decades ago, and then everyone’s just going to have to daven hard, take advice from mechanchim they trust and try to further the agenda of shamayim and make a judgment call as to the way forward.

  38. L. Oberstein says:

    Doron, I am sure you know more than I about the inner workings of Israeli chareidi life Instead of going over the history and sociology, which we all know, let me get to the point. There are good reasons for today’s chareidi culture, which is so opposite from normative Jewish life since the Torah was given on Mt.Sinai. It is a reaction, but it is time for frum Jews in Israel to be productive economically like their kindred in the exile. Israel cannot survive if such a large and rapidly growing percentage of people are told that the army is forbidden by halacha, that learning English and Math is forbidden ,that we are so afraid of encounter with non frum that we build numerous walls. I honestly think that the reason for so many kashrush hashgochos in Israel ,unlike the US ,is not just to give more jobs to people ,but to keep your group from eating by the other group. It is child abuse to force a kid who doesn’t have a cheshek to learn yomom volayla his whole life into a rigid straitjacket that denies him any opportunty to be a frum Jew and have a career. It is one thing to encourage learnng,but another to force it down the throats of many of our grandchildren. I think it is wrong and immoral for parents who both have college degrees to move to Israel and force their helpless children into a cheder that prepares them for going off the derech, out of total frustration with their lack of opportunty. Normal people want to get trained ,so they can make a living, it is abnormal to have a culture that frowns on basic,minimal education. I don’t need to repeat what is in the article from Dov Lipman, I do not think he is lying, I think that he may be overstating his case,but I thnk the other side is very dishonest and says one thing to in private and another thing in public. It is a bad situation and both side are guilty as charged. Most Agudah oriented American Bnai Torah are proof that you can have it both. Instead of coming to my shul every day to get dollars, give them the abiliy to earn a living. The collectorrs are getting younger all the time and it is a sign of the dysfunction of their society.I think it is morally wrong to pepetuate a system that drives many people away from observance, far more than the chareidi leadership will admit.

  39. Torlev says:

    “If you compare what Lapid said in his famous Ono College speech and some of the stuff coming out of his mouth later on”.

    I have issued this challenge before, and will issue it again. Please cite a single hostile-to-chareidim quotation that “came out of the mouth” of Mr. Lapid. So far no one has come up with anything.

  40. Doron Beckerman says:

    Rabbi Oberstein,

    Yesh Atid has hurt trends that predated it. The system is not good for everyone, but very good for many. I am nobody’s fool, I know exactly what I’m doing, and I am pleased with it. Let me state this as clearly as I can, because it is the most important lesson to be gleaned for progress down the road: ATTEMPTS AT COERCION BY IDEOLOGICAL OPPONENTS WILL NOT WORK. They will backfire, and badly. Should the criminal sanctions remain, for example, I am certain that the recruitment numbers will plummet to vanishingly minuscule numbers. ואידך פירושא זיל גמור.

  41. Bob Miller says:

    Why do some insist that only one education + career path, or only one highly restricted category, is suitable for Orthodox Jewish men? Can’t we acknowledge the genuine needs of the individual in that individual’s own situation?

  42. Joel Rich says:

    Extrinsic pressure is certainly less effective but when there seems to be no organic movement in that direction then there’s little choice for those who feel change is needed.
    Kol tuv

  43. Torlev says:

    “The right question is whether there is a need for a formal secular education specifically at High School age, or whether enough of it can be acquired informally/in one’s late twenties…”

    “A deep, detailed, and honest analysis of the effect that lack of secular education has on one’s future employment prospects. The success or lack thereof of catch-up programs for those with no secular education at High School age…”

    Bear in mind that, this late surge of education will often come on the heels of an cheder education in which learning of the English language is absolutely forbidden, and only the most basic arithmetic operations are taught (simple addition, subtraction, multiplication and division). Must we really conduct a “a deep, detailed, and honest analysis” to find out whether the ability to earn a basic living is dangerously diminished for a populace that has received training in only basic arithmetic by the time they are in their late 20’s, with a wife and 3 children to support?

    IMHO, we should all strive to argue with intellectual honesty. This isn’t about cagey arguments and winning a school debate- it’s about the economic survival of the country and helping so many of the children that will be facing the very same lives of poverty and misery that their unfortunate, innocent parents are currently encountering.

  44. Moshe Dick says:

    Dear Rabbi Beckerman
    you write “the system is not good for everyone,but very good for many”: HUH? Is that why the planes are full with meshulochim flying to the US and elswhere to beg for a few quarters? Which “many” find this system “good”? If not for the money from the (hated) medinah, this way of life would be a catastrophe in full fledge. As L.Obersteon wrote, this system is about 60 years old. Never before in our history has there been such a failure of policy and an abdication of responsibility. You rave enthusiastically about your educational choices for your kids. Fine, but it is not you who will bear the responsibility for them. it is the average israeli taxman or the American “gvir”. is that what the Torah requires of us?

  45. Shua Cohen says:

    > “Attempts at coercion by ideological opponents will not work. They will backfire, and badly. I am certain that the recruitment numbers will plummet to vanishingly minuscule numbers.”

    >> I do not believe that there is the degree of “coercion” here that is being alleged. But even if true, if a certain degree of “coercion” is the only force that will move the intransigent giant out from its static, destructive-to-Klal Yisrael daled amos, then so be it.

    With regard to the pessimistic prognosis offered by R. Beckerman with such avowed “certainty,” we all know the old proverb: necessity is the mother of invention. I love the Oxford Dictionary’s definition of this adage: “when the need for something becomes IMPERATIVE, you are FORCED to find ways of getting or achieving it” (emphases my own).

    A hungry family and children dressed in shopworn clothing should (b’ezras Hashem) be enough of an imperative to prove R. Beckerman’s prognosis wrong. Since the way out of the conundrum of poverty is not coming from the leadership at the top (nor from the ideologues within the ranks), this will, of needs be, an up-from-the-bottom movement forward. Kudos to MK Lipman and his cohort for standing up to the xenophobic bullies and diligently attempting to assist the average chareidim get to where they need to go.

  46. SA says:

    Rabbi Beckerman, predicting the future often backfires, and badly.

    Attempts at coercion by ideological opponents may not be wise but it is too soon to know what will and will not work, and you cannot be certain about anything. There may well be people who see no way out of the social trap the community forces them into but to be lifted out of it through coercion by outsiders, who can then be blamed.

  47. Eli Blum says:

    Rabbi Beckerman: Isn’t it scary that you can’t even agree to L. Oberstein regarding his points about the Charaidi system, but instead have to be meramez in a way that is deniable?

    I feel really bad for you, and all those stuck in your situation that they can’t speak their mind.

  48. Doron Beckerman says:

    There was organic movement in that direction. Everyone thinks they know better than the Minister of Defense, than Shahar Ilan, than people who have literally spent their lives studying Charedi society, that coercion is counterproductive. Do you not think that, just maybe, R’ Auerbach’s faction will be multiplied manifold if the criminal sanctions are not lifted? Coercion will only retard if not stall necessity dictating terms. Anyone who thinks Yesh Atid created the right atmosphere for dealing with the financial issues plaguing the Charedi community is either completely ignorant of the dynamics, or is seeking an ideological vanquishing of the Charedi world, not a pragmatic solution.

    “and only the most basic arithmetic operations are taught (simple addition, subtraction, multiplication and division).”

    Sheer nonsense.

    I’m not being merameiz anything. I’m stating it. The system is not good for everyone, and very good for many. You really think the Charedi Leumi who are starting Yeshivot Ketanot Leumiyyot are a bunch of moronic imbeciles? Maybe, just maybe, they realize it is good for those striving to become great in Torah? Maybe Rabbi Zev Leff, who does not support secular studies at HS age, is not a bumbling fool? Enough with the condescending patronizing attitude.

  49. Eli Blum says:

    “The system is not good for everyone, and very good for many.”

    Who is it “very good” for? Certainly not those who fund the system, and like it or not, fair or unfair, they have the Golden Rule on their side (He who has the gold makes the rules.) If you are saying that it has been very good, from a Torah learning aspect, for most Charaidim who have managed to live off of others’ largesse for the past 30 years (whether they learn or not), I certainly agree. For the Klal’s (and even their own) Judaism? That is very iffy.

    [DB: It is good for Ploni, who was given up in seventh grade on as an entirely hopeless case in Gemara, who would have simply ignored Gemara throughout High School, and who, by the end of Yeshiva Ketana, was learning bechavrusa with one of the rabbanim in town who was mightily impressed with his abilities. It is good for Almoni, about whom one his Rabbeim said that he should not have skipped a class, but a generation.]

  50. Moshe Dick says:

    Rabbi Beckerman!
    You are putting up straw men all the time, without answering the central question. You point to the “chareidim leumiim” that started a new stream of schools as a sign that present educational systems are deficient. But you totally ignore the fact that these same ‘chareidim leumiim’ will serve in the army- with great distinction-, they will be the ones to populate Jehuda Veshomrom at great danger to themselves and their families, that most of them will have productive lives with -yes!- university degrees and they will never be be a financial burden on society. And some of them will grow to be the Great Rabbis of that camp. How does that square with the chareidi lifestyle? They avoid the army on some flimsy excuse of “torosoi umenusoi”, they flee the periphery of Eretz Yisroel at the slightest sign of danger (see Shderot and who actually stayed there), they become a finanical burden on Klal Yisroel and lastly, they have the gall to continue asking for special favors. Yup -exactly like the “chareidim leumiim”, isn’t it?

    [DB: These are ideological questions, not pragmatic ones.]

  51. Toby Bulman Katz says:

    Moshe Dick wrote:

    >>Is that why the planes are full with meshulochim flying to the US and elswhere to beg for a few quarters? Which “many” find this system “good”?<<

    They're pikers. When Republican and Democratic political candidates fly around the country begging for money, they fly first class and they don't beg for quarters — they expect checks in the millions. And don't forget Bill Clinton's library — Bill and Hillary do not blush to ask their supporters for millions of dollars. Harvard has an endowment of billions but they don't blush to ask for millions more, either.

    I believe in secular education and paid employment for the majority of Jews but our yeshivos in Eretz Yisrael should be the pride of our people, our Ivy League, our Smithsonian, our Oxford and Cambridge. And even if a growing number of Israeli charedim are voluntarily going to the army, going to college, going to work — anyone who comes along and says "You are poor so I am going to impoverish you further, withhold money, and also threaten arrest, unless you do exactly as I say" — does not have the interests of the charedi Torah community at heart. Some people cannot recognize overweening arrogance when they see it. And some people can.

  52. Chana Siegel says:

    “I personally know numerous RELIGIOUS Jews who have become totally alienated from the Haredi establishment and who have ceased to financially contribute to Haredi institutions after many years of doing so, thinking in the past that ultimately all religious Jews were “on the same side” and now questioning whether that is really true.”

    Yes. That, and the fact that a mob of Haredim in Geula stoned our car and smashed our windshield because we were present during one of their garbage-burning festivals. My so-called “achdus” is pretty much gone now.

  53. L. Oberstein says:

    I agree with Doron that much of what has been legislated has backfired,thus far. The Supreme Court will not accept that a draft dodger from Tel Aviv can theoretically (not too often, I think) go to jail but a chareidi draft dodger is above that law. The implication seems to be that the state of Israel is illegitimate and has no right to make such demands on G-d’s chosen few. I know that this is how many feel. Some wrote that Israel is a non state attacked by a non people. What is the deeper meaning of that? That Israel exists de facto but we has no legitimacy. Thus Menachem Begin was disinvited from the last and final ever Knessiah Gedolah even though he wanted very much to come. The flag of Lithuania can fly on its independence day but the flag of medinat Yisrael is posul and cannot be flown. I heard that this was a major reason that a certain rabbi left Or Somayach, but I don’t know for sure.
    I never heard such exrtremism from our great Rosh hayeshiva Rav Ruderman. I asked him why he invited Chief Rabbi Herzog to speak at the groundbreaking for the yeshiva and he put me in my place. He told me that Rav Herzog was a gaon and an odom godol. The fact that he was a Mizrachi didn’t matter to a real Godol Hador.
    Why should my son risk his life,which he did in Tzuk Eitan, and someone else’s son hang out at a restaurant or bar in Geulah? All those who fought i n the recent war will be receiving medals-ribbons and I plan to be there when my son’s unit is given that recognition.

  54. Toby Bulman Katz says:

    “That, and the fact that a mob of Haredim in Geula stoned our car and smashed our windshield”

    Yeah, I stopped supporting the Boy Scouts when a teenager stole my pocketbook.

  55. Eli Blum says:

    It is good for Ploni, who was given up in seventh grade on as an entirely hopeless case in Gemara, who would have simply ignored Gemara throughout High School, and who, by the end of Yeshiva Ketana, was learning bechavrusa with one of the rabbanim in town who was mightily impressed with his abilities. It is good for Almoni, about whom one his Rabbeim said that he should not have skipped a class, but a generation.

    DB: And that would happen as well in any American Yeshiva that teaches math and english. I’m not understanding your point.

    P.S. As per R’ Lipman, I completely agree with you that creating possible jail time was wrong and predict that it will be overturned in exchange for loss of all benefits (and possibly voting rights).

  56. DF says:

    Even if the justifications of Rabbi Beckerman (and fellow travelers) theoretically held water, they would still fail because they contravene facts. The FACT is, the Charedi world is not filled with great scholars. The FACT is, the average Charedi man is no more educated than any American who spent a few years in yeshivah. This is the elephant in the room that undercuts all the terutzim and defenses. Most people spending their entire day in a beis medrash dont learn as much as a no-nonsense businessman who sits down determinedly for the short time he has, and maximizes it. The atmosphere of the yeshiva – with no accountability, with all the time in the world, with no testing to measure success – produces failure. The Gemara itself said this a long time ago: most people who try the RASHBI method of “toroso umnoso” are not successful.

    So its not a question of whether its acceptable to take charity and forego education in order to become a great scholar – because even that, sadly, is illusory.

  57. Doron Beckerman says:


    You’re simply wrong. Spend some time in Tifrach, in Nachalas Haleviyim, in Kol Torah. Talk to some yungerleit there. The Sefer Bircas Avraham, from a contemporary RY in Kol Torah, is, on several Massechtos. The Sefarim of Rav Dovid Cohen of Chevron on the Moadim and Chumash are amazing masterpieces of Machshavah. There is no equivalent to Orchos Shabbos or Ishei Yisrael in halachah. There are terrific Sefarim, such as Bechol Nefshechah on Yehareg V’al Yaavor, Agur BeOhalecha on Mezuzah, Shaarei Daas on Taharos, Mili Detachshit on Shabbos and Mili Deyadayim on Yadayim, Shaar Hayichud on Yichud, Betoraso Yehgeh on Talmud Torah, and countless others, from young, great Talmidei Chachamim. There are Roshei Kollel you’ve never heard of with dazzling knowledge of Shas and Poskim. There’s a young-ish Rosh Yeshiva in Itri who probably knows more than anyone in America.

  58. Torlev says:

    My earlier comment: “Bear in mind that, this late surge of education will often come on the heels of an cheder education in which learning of the English language is absolutely forbidden, and only the most basic arithmetic operations are taught (simple addition, subtraction, multiplication and division).”

    DB excerpted “and only the most basic arithmetic operations are taught (simple addition, subtraction, multiplication and division).”and responded “Sheer nonsense”.

    My first observation is that DB obviously admits to the lack of English-language teaching, which he has not taken issue with.

    Secondly, after viewing his “sheer nonsense” response, I double-checked with my Yerushalmi contacts. They report that for the tens of thousands of children now in the mainstream Yershalayim/Bnai Brak Chadorim/Talmud Torahs/elementary schools that do not cater to American children, only simple arithmetic is taught. Any school teaching more than that would be considered “modern”. They report that the underlying principle is that the kinderlach only learn things that pertain to coping with daily life, i.e. knowing how to count and write. Nothing is taught with an eye towards preparation for enabling gainful employment later in life.

    I repeat my earlier question: “Must we really conduct a “a deep, detailed, and honest analysis” to find out whether the ability to earn a basic living is dangerously diminished for a populace that has received training in only basic arithmetic by the time they are in their late 20’s, with a wife and 3 children to support?” I must add that I believe that the ridiculous calling for such an analysis reasonably calls into question the intellectual honesty of the one advocating it!

    [DB: On English, it’s true. On math, I don’t know what they teach in some places. I know where I send my children and where my brother sends his children in Bnei Brak (not American in the least, mainstream as they come), they do far more than that. And yes, those children who study only the four basic arithmetic things are not going to university. Ever.]

  59. Doron Beckerman says:

    Eli Blum,

    I doubt it. Not with all the I-phones that virtually every teen in America has.

  60. Steve Brizel says:

    A review of the comments to this thread show that despite all of the rhetoric about Achdus during and after the death of the three young Kedoshim, Z”L HaShem Yimkam Damam, the war in Gaza , and the death of the four kedoshim ZL HaShem Yimkam Damam in Har Nof and subsequent events in France and elsewhere, the rhetoric on this issue remains the same-and that any further commenting in a nuanced manner on a complicated issue requires a recognition that while not everyone should be serving in gthe IDF or learning on a long term basis-two issues that require an individual Cheshbon HaNefesh, as opposed to merely reiterating ideologically based urban myths and stereotypes about the “other.”

  61. Eli Blum says:

    Doron Beckerman – Any proof that this is a problem in mainstream Yeshivos?

    [DB: A boy in Yeshiva Ketanah here would not be caught dead with an I-phone. The culture is just not there except for the fringe of the fringe. Here, the Yeshivish crowd would be ashamed to say they have one; there, it is fairly a given that one does.]

  62. Steve Brizel says:

    Doron Beckerman-I have Orchos Shabbos-it is a great sefer- it is kind of a SSK-squared type sefer.I also have Ishei Yisrael , which is akin to SSK on Hilcos tefilah and was authored by a talmid of RSZA. I would also add the Dirshu MB which is a fantastic sefer just in clarifying many portions of the MB based on the Piskei Halacha of the CI, CI’s talmidim, RSZA and RYSA.

    I have mentioned here previously that Charedim and RZ/MO/Chardal and consider themselves to be Nose bol Chavero to learn sefarim in Halacha and Machshavah that are written by great Talmidei Chachamim who are either Charedi or RZ in hashkafa. Take Shimitah for example-try the sefarim of R Asher Weiss and R Y Rimon-then you will have a foundation for understanding the Lomdus and the halacha lmaaseh of an area in halacha that is a Shas Katan in its own right and simultaneously appreciate the issues involved in its observance by someone who doesn’t share your hashkafic POV.

  63. Avraham says:

    While there is so much disinformation being put out by Doron Beckerman to respond to, I merely want to make two observations to the comments made
    regarding the level of learning in yeshivos in Israel. The first is that you owe Rav Solovieychik zt’l an apology. Who are you to determine which shiurim are a superior product? Additionally, it is the classic yeshivish condescentaion that you deliberately chose to put down Rav Solovietchik and not say that it was a superior product than the seforim of, for example, Rav Gustman. Secondly, even if I were to assume that you were correct about these seforim (which I do not think is the case as the fellow rabbanim that I am in constant conctact with do not feel these seforim are as groundbreaking or essential as you do) they in no way prove your point. No one argues that yichidim should not be supported and given the opportunty to develop. The question is what are the tens of thousands of people who are sitting in kollel doing and my personal experience is that the answer is sadly not more than a committed buisnessman who is koveyah itim for learning.

    [DB: That’s my opinion. Take it or leave it. They aren’t superior to those of Rav Gustman, and, on the contrary, I was choosing Rav Soloveitchik as an example of someone whose Shiurim are excellent!

    The people in Kollel who are wasting their time are indeed wasting their time. But to say there are no great scholars here is just wrong.]

  64. Doron Beckerman says:

    I’m shutting comments down at this time. I do try to respond to everything I can, and can’t keep it up anymore. There will be future opportunities to lambast each other, IYH.]

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