Showing posts with label Yeshivas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Yeshivas. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Why the Broken Families and Divorces? Part Two

In Part Two of Why the Broken Families and Divorces, we want to know two things: One, why the intensive efforts in schooling in Yeshiva schools did not save men and women from a hideous divorce. Two, and this is sensitive, we want to know if there is something in the Yeshiva world itself that caused these things. Is that possible?

Years ago, Monsey was a paradise. It was just apple orchards and simple lifestyles plus some Yeshivas and shull; nothing remarkable other than a bear or snake that was used to the woods in Monsey as a habitat. One day somebody put up a video store on Main Street in the center of town, not far from Yeshivas and shulls. This was a scandal. I went with a friend to the Gaon Rav Shalom Mordechai Schwadron zt"l who visited Monsey then, raising money for his causes. I told him about the video store and anticipated that he would give a fiery lecture about it and tell us how to stop it. But although he had always treated me very warmly, this time he put on a special "frozen face" that only a professional actor such as he could do. I repeated myself, "Rebbe! A video store" but he completely ignored me. His face war turned away from me and I got the message that I didn't exist. Well, I thought, I am used to talking to Gedolim only because I am Mr. Azuce Ponim. If he wants to make a face, I will call up the azuce ponim. I raised my voice and said, "Rebbe! Hashchoso!" That was what he was waiting for. The great mashgichim - Reb Shalom was a Talmid Muvhok of the greatest, Reb Eliyohu Lopian -  knew how to put you in "in the sack", which was where I was going now.

Reb Shalom suddenly came alive. His eyes sparkled fire, as he slowly turned towards me, his hands moving in  cadence with his mood, until he pointed right into my face and said, slowly and professionally, "A Yeshiva is hashchoso!" My azuce ponim went sailing into outer space as I felt myself sinking and falling, falling, and a still voice said to me, "Just be quiet. He said this in public. He has to answer. Be patient."

I just waited. Reb Shalom saw that he had struck a home run with his attack, and he chuckled and said something in Yiddish about my new silence. I just waited. It was his turn. Then he turned serious and began to explain his complaints about the Yeshiva. I was so stunned that I don't recall his exact words, but he had made his point. Video stores are not the problem. Yeshivas are. Now, why that is so still eluded me despite the phrases or so I heard from Reb Shalom. So not much after this, when I was at my son's Chasunah, a major Rosh Yeshiva entered. I jumped him as I always did to an Odom Gadol, and sat with him for half an hour with my complaints about a certain Yeshiva organization. He listened and said nothing, but he did not dispute anything I said. Then I told him about the statement of Reb Shalom, that "A Yeshiva is Haschoso." He suddenly perked up and nodded a firm assent. I was amazed. But "two are better than one" and these two were for me the "a thing shall be clarified by two witnesses" and I resolved to see what they were trying to tell me. Now, I don't know what they thought. I can only say what I think, in my limited ability, to be the reason for their remarks.

In this, part two, we have already said a mouthful, and any statements of mine will have to await Part Three. But I will say this here: In the past few years, I have had mighty battles with the major American Rosh Yeshivas about Gittin. I attacked them publicly for encouraging the humiliation of a husband and destroying his father's job and his uncle's job. These Rosh Yeshivas meant business. They were going to force a GET. And as we have seen on this blog, a forced GET just because the wife wants a GET is invalid. I publicized heavily the sources to show that these Rosh Yeshivas were wrong. I spoke to the leading posek of that group, who is a major posek in America. He told me his reasoning. I wrote thirteen pages to show that he was completely wrong. The Gedolim in Israel agreed with me and put out letters attacking humiliating a husband and coercing a GET.  I called up several of the Rosh Yeshivas who signed letters commanding everyone to coerce the husband to give a GET. They had no source for what they were doing. I was told that many if not all of them had not even spoken to the husband before they issued terrible letters about coercing him. These Rosh Yeshivas are part of the problem of "A Yeshiva is Haschoso." But how this happened, will have to wait until Part Three.