Showing posts with label Problems with Yeshiva Today. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Problems with Yeshiva Today. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Why the Broken Families and Divorces? Part 3 - More on the Yeshiva

In part two of this we mentioned two gedolim, one of the past generation and one of this generation, who agreed that "A Yeshiva is Hashchoso." This stunning remark, made to me when I asked one of them what to do about a video store in Monsey, indicates that we don't fight with video stores. We fight inside, in our own world, and make sure that people are happy and successful in their lives. Then, they don't have to run to bad places. But if we have Yeshivas that leave people frustrated, we are in for the worst. This incredible remark was an explosion to me. But the basic message was not at all surprising. Let me explain.

I learned by HaGaon Reb Aharon Kotler zt"l for two years, before his petira. When he left the world, the whole system changed. It changed for reasons that were both positive and wonderful, but they changed. What was the change, and why was something that was so wonderful and positive something to worry about and complain? Because the fact is, when the world changed radically for the better, when people began to flock to learn in Kollel, when money poured out of the Poverty Programs from President Johnson, I got out. I felt that I was a talmid of Reb Aharon and I wanted to remember the Torah as it was when I learned by him. The new stuff was not for me. From then on until the present day, whenever possible, I made myself a pest at the feet of the great rabbis, but I stayed out of the conventional Yeshivas, if such a thing was possible. I spent hours talking to Hagaon Reb Moshe Feinstein zt"l when he visited Monsey often to visit his family here. I was always nervous that somebody would come and take away "my" Reb Moshe, but in the years when I pestered him, I only remember three people asking him a question.

I might add, that in Lakewood there were few people who spoke regularly to HaGaon Reb Aharon zt"l. There was first of all a great generation gap. And then there was Reb Aharon, a ferocious fire in Torah, and people stayed away in droves. I jumped in because I was pure azuce ponim. That is how I pestered Reb Moshe and all of the others. But most people were too normal to act that way. Good for me.

What was wrong with the new world, with its flow of Torah Jews, its growing Kollelim, its new and beautiful buildings for Yeshivas, whereas I had buildings that were real dumps? The answer to that is to go back to the time of the Vilna Gaon and Reb Chaim Volloznher, when modern day Yeshivas were first established. Those Yeshivas catered to people who had nothing, who often went hungry, sometimes for days. But they learned with all of their strength. The new Torah world was awash in money. This did not mean that Kollel people themselves were loaded. They were not. But the element of hunger, of fear of the future, was not there. When I learned in Yeshiva I knew that if I ever married it would be a miracle. Later on, a good boy didn't worry about that. He only had to figure out what ridiculous sum he would demand as kest, or support. It got to the point that a girl who wanted to marry a Yeshiva/Kollel boy had to pay a fortune. People became masters at taking money from the government's Poverty Program. My family, when I finally married, never touched that money.

Years later, I sat next to my mechuton, the Matasdorfer Rebbe, at the wedding of a young son. He asked me, "How do you have such good children?" I answered him, "We never touch that money." He was impressed. Yes, yes, he nodded.

As time went on I attached myself to various tsadikim and Gedolim who were fighters for holiness and goodness. I began to see that Agudas Israel with the new Rosh Yeshivas, were on the other side of the fence. I once called up the Agudah for help in battling gays. Two major Rosh Yeshivas answered me, "It is forbidden to fight gays. We are against hate." I hope  you don't believe me. But it is public record that the Agudah supported the gays in a government defense bill where somebody tacked on a measure to severely punish anyone who hit a gay. To my knowledge, the Agudah was the only major religious body to do this.

And when I called up my friends who worked in the Agudah about this, they said, "True, you have traditions from past generations to fight gays. But today, our Rosh Yeshivas are the Gedolim, and everyone must listen to them." Well, people who support gays are not my gedolim, and I don't listen to them.

Later on, it was this Yeshiva element of Rosh Yeshivas, the "Gedolim" Rachmono Litslon, that signed letters that everyone is obligated to coerce a husband to force him to give a GET, something that is absolutely wrong from the standpoint of the Shulchan Aruch. But the new "Gedolim" are not experts in the laws of Gittin. They teach about the ox that gored the cow, and they pasken all questions with their logic. And what they say, even if it is the opposite of the Shulchan Aruch and senior rabbis in all generations, is what we must do. It becomes "Daas Torah." HaShem Yerachem.

In this twisted "Torah" world, we have mamzerim from invalid Gittin, and we have broken families and divorces. Now we turn to the basic problem of divorce in the "Torah" world, in part 4.