Sunday, June 04, 2006

Kollel Conformation

Michelle wrote a post about her disillusionment with the current kind of kollel lifestyle promoted in Bais Yakov schools and the community leaders. This is my response to her:

"But a comment from my last post reminded me of to what extremes some teachers or school programs have gone to convince us that Kollel is the only way."

Oh, please say that it was me. ;) I feel like I've done a service when I get people to think about things.

Think about this - if the kollel guy who learns all day and is supported by daddy has ten kids and they all grow up to do what their father does - where does the money come from to support the ten grandkids? The system is economically untenable.

Furthermore, how well can a guy really "learn" about things if he's so divorced from reality? How can he form intelligent opinions if he doesn't know basic history or science or any extra-Talmudic studies? The 'Gedolim' are the case in point where they've done nothing but 'learn' their whole lives and then they say absurd things and pontificate about Indian hair and microscopic bugs in the water.

People should be interested in educating themselves, in the fullest sense of the word, not mindlessly 'learning' gemara which cannot give you an understanding even close to full comprehension of all that's out there.

There isn't any greater understanding in a "learning family." Just greater rates of conformity to what the "glorious leaders" consider the ideal Jewish lifestyle. See, the moment you begin to seriously think for yourself that's the moment you'll be freed from the sociological compulsion to conform. You are an individual! Act like it.

33 comments:

Naomi said...

I think the financial problem is one aspect, but religiously, I do not believe that this is how G-d intended for us to live our lives. Etz Chayim He - it is a living Torah. One cannot perform many of the mitzvot without engaging in the real world. And if the essesnc of Judaism is Tikkun Olam, then what are we really doing to further that cause if we never leave the walls of the Beit Medrash? Learning is important - if not vital - but living is essential too.

Orthoprax said...

Naomi,

Valid points. I agree with you.

DAG said...

A few years back I taught in the secular department of a far right wing Yeshiva high school. I tired to stay away from religious issues, especially as I knew my perspective would run contrary to the Hashkafah of the Yeshiva.

I have to admit, these guys were tenacious, and one day they did bait me into discussing the future of their chose profession, The Kollel system. I just focused on the economics of the issue and how the system is not tenable long term. One boy asked if I'd debate his Rebbe on the issue. I declined. It was not my place.

As expected, the next day the boys had spoken to their Rebbe who had armed them with the appropriate response to my ignorance. I walked in and one boy said, "Our Rebbe said the kollel system CANNOT fail. It is the Ratzon Hashem (Will of G-d) that it continue."

I responded, "I told you I have no interest in debating your Rebbe. But seeing that he has a direct line to the true Ratzon Hashem, I wonder if he will answer some other questions for me? In any event, ask him this, how many people were running around Europe in the 1930's saying it was the Ratzon Hashem that Jews continue to live in the Shtetls of Europe until the coming of the Moshiach?

Conversation and debated ended there.

Dag

Anonymous said...

You are an individual! Act like it.

We are all individuals!
We are all different!

(please tell me you've seen the movie...)

Orthoprax said...

Dag,

That's a good one, I'll keep that in mind, albeit if you have no problem with me stealing it. ;-)


Anon,

But of course. Always look on the bright side of life..

smoo said...

Anon-
I believe the quote was "we are all individuals" Then one guy shouts out "I'm not"

Orthoprax said...

Smoo,

And then crowd goes "Shhh!"

lakewoodyid said...

>Think about this - if the kollel guy who learns all day and is supported by daddy has ten kids and they all grow up to do what their father does - where does the money come from to support the ten grandkids? The system is economically untenable.

Do you say Birchas Hamozon?

הזן את העולם כולו בטוב בחסד וברחמים. וטובו הגדול לא חסר לנו ואל יחסר לנו לעולם ועד, כי הוא זן ומפרנס לכול--כאמור פותח את-ידיך; ומשביע לכל-חי רצון--, ומכין מזון לכל בריותיו אשר ברא

Do you have any clue what your saying (if you say it)??

>Furthermore, how well can a guy really "learn" about things if he's so divorced from reality? How can he form intelligent opinions if he doesn't know basic history or science or any extra-Talmudic studies?

What a stupid question. What does Hilchos Tefillin have to do with Science/History? Or most of Hilchos Shabbos? Or Hilchos Kiddushin/Gittin? Or Hilchos Tefillah/Yom Tov............

>The 'Gedolim' are the case in point where they've done nothing but 'learn' their whole lives and then they say absurd things and pontificate about Indian hair and microscopic bugs in the water.

Are you allowed to eat bugs?? Are you allowed to wear clothing donated to Avodah Zorah??

It has nothing to do with "Gedolim". Its a point blank Halachik question.

>People should be interested in educating themselves, in the fullest sense of the word, not mindlessly 'learning' gemara which cannot give you an understanding even close to full comprehension of all that's out there.

We aren't just people. We are Jews. Jews should study Jewish law and History. What better way to do that, than to learn from the source of all Jewish law - the Gemara??

>There isn't any greater understanding in a "learning family." Just greater rates of conformity to what the "glorious leaders" consider the ideal Jewish lifestyle. See, the moment you begin to seriously think for yourself that's the moment you'll be freed from the sociological compulsion to conform. You are an individual! Act like it.

Sorry. I'm not an individual. I'm a happy proud member of Acheinu Bnei Yisroel. I'm a member of God's chosen nation. Try fighting a war with all the soldiers acting as individuals. Your doomed to fail before you even start. Jews are a team. Anywhere in the world I go and I spot a yarmulka and exchange Shlomo Aleichem's, I just met another brother. That isn't the result of a nation acting as individuals. Its the result of a religion whose priority is "loving thee brother as yourself". That anywhere in the world, you can find a shiur on the same Daf Gemara. Thats teamwork, my friend. Not an act of individuality.

Orthoprax said...

LY,

"Do you have any clue what your saying (if you say it)??"

Your point? The system doesn't suddenly become economically supportable just because people believe God will sort all the technical details out.

"What does Hilchos Tefillin have to do with Science/History? Or most of Hilchos Shabbos? Or Hilchos Kiddushin/Gittin? Or Hilchos Tefillah/Yom Tov............"

That's exactly my point. Nothing. And so they don't actually learn much of anything. They endlessly learn the inscrutable details of a legal code that is largely irrelevant to modern life.

"Are you allowed to eat bugs?? Are you allowed to wear clothing donated to Avodah Zorah??
It has nothing to do with "Gedolim". Its a point blank Halachik question."

Acting as if these questions are awfully important makes a mockery of Halacha. Focusing on the endless details of ritual behaviorism as the essential aspects of Jewish life raises Jewish life up for ridicule.

"We aren't just people. We are Jews. Jews should study Jewish law and History. What better way to do that, than to learn from the source of all Jewish law - the Gemara??"

I agree! But that doesn't mean you only learn those things at the expense of all else. Even at the expense of learning wider Jewish history and philosophy. And that especially doesn't mean you should learn the minutiae of one subject before becoming even a novice in so many other basic disciplines.

"Sorry. I'm not an individual. I'm a happy proud member of Acheinu Bnei Yisroel."

And those are mutually exclusive, why? One can be a perfectly good Jew and simultaneously not have every aspect of one's life run in accordance with sociological conformity.

Reasonably Nuts Frummy said...

Orthoprax, I oppologize for not having the time right now to read all the other comments. I am therefore commenting on your blog alone. I find your perception of me to be highly insulting. Yes it's me your speaking of and you've got your picture so screwed up. I grew up in the infamous Lakewood. My father is a rebbie. My grandfather is not frum and certainly never supported us. Me and my 7 other married siblings all started out our married life in kollel BY CHOICE. My parents did try to scrape together something to help us each out when we were just starting, but it was minimal. We each either chose to move out of town to a kollel that offered a monthly stipend, tutor on the side, wives work hard, cut back on almost everything....and that is that. Hand me downs were and are a fact of life. New furniture for the whole house as a part of a wedding endowment was never even considered. We are all happy and healthy B"H. We wear the cloths we had when we got married, plus whatever we picked up in maternity clothes and "after sizes" from second hand shops, more hand me downs, and the like. We eat soup, bread, rice, beans and canned veggies more often then not. HONEST. We are proud. We have something you don't have. It is called torah, menuchas hanefesh and mistapkus. We are careful to make sure our children do not feel deprived because of their parents learning. I grew up feeling happy and special in my parents home and I feel that B"H my children feel the same. They are happy and content. If they weren't and their was something I needed to provide for them which they weren't getting, I would reconsider my way of life. So far I haven't needed to. On the other hand, I fully, fully understand those that do. I do not belittle people for working to earn a living. I do not judge people by my limited perception of their life the way you have done here. I try to offer support and guidance when asked and I stay out of it when I'm not.
I am an individual. I think for myself. I don't do everything that was done in my father's home. Really, I don't. My husband is now taking classes at night to go into accounting because he doesn't think he could handle this forever. It's hard. No one ever said it wasn't. My parents are very proud of his decision and never for a second told him not to. I blog, because I feel it is good for me and have a chazaka which allows me to trust myself on the internet.
Now before you say that I am an exception I will agree that to an extent I am. Most of my friends get new outfits, had all new furnature when they got married and would never dare walk into a second hand clothing store. Their parents helped them out with all this and they plan to do the same for their kids. On the other hand, they know their place in life, they know what they can and can't handle. They know they can't do this forever. They make plans for their future and will eventually go to work. Way before they have to start helping their own children start out.
Their is a great advantage to starting a home on total ruchnius. Obviously, most can't survive that way for long. It sets a tone for life. It sets torah as the focus of their life and home. Whether you have to go to work or not torah and mitzvos should always be your focus and this puts it in place. Please see my next blog for further discussion.

Reasonably Nuts Frummy said...

Okay, Orthoprax. I had a few minutes now at work and I took the time to read the comments here. Let me try to explain from my side of the coin.
The financial Problem:
You are absolutely, positively right on this one. The financial stress is to hard on many. People have expectation in life. Children get expectations from what their friends have. We all have different things that we consider necessity.
I wish I had a chumash on me. Maybee LY could come by and point us in the direction I am goin. There is a rashi and a rambam I believe it is, I'm not sure where. I think it is in the begining of Chumas Bereishis where hashem tell Adam that he will from now on have to work for his own bread. Rashi explains where from the words of the torah we understand that Shevet Levi will always be an exception to this rule. If you want I will look it up tonight and tell you tommorow I know I am mixing up my sources in rishonim and placement in tanach but the point remains the same. Rashi explains how shevet levi will always be an exception to this rule. Ramban (I think it's ramban anyways) goes further to explain how we see that this relates to anyone who chooses to live a life fully commited to torah learning. This Klalah is removed from him and he can live his life accordingly.
Rebbitzen Kotler (Reb Malkiel's wife) taught this to me in my 9th grade chumash class. She spent four days on this pasuk, rashi and rambam. While I confused the rashi and the sources I remained with the lesson. She explained to us how you have to take what rambam is saying carefuly. Rambam tels us that if you want to live a life fully, and completely commited to torah g-d will sustain you. It doesn't say to what degree. It doesn't say with what method. It doesn't say it will be easy or you will have the luxuries we all take for granted. It just says he will sustain you. People have to know themselves and their own limitations. You have to judge your level of emunah and commitment, the lifestyle you can handle and the derech you need to take. She did not say, you should all do this. She did not say, go ask daddy for money. That is just the way many low lifes or wannabes chose to interpret her words.

Orthoprax said...

RNF,

It seems to me that you may be the exception here in many respects. That you are willing to accept the results of being unproductive economically, ie being poor, is not the general response to most in your position. Too many are willing to just go out and ask for handouts.

Though I also wonder, when you say that you chose this way of life, if you even understood that there were serious and viable alternatives or that there was so much that you were missing out on.

Did you go to college? Are you allowed to go to libraries? The very fact that you are even on the internet (even with your chazaka) surprises me.

Don't you see your very role in life as, not a learner, to be second string? Women are only a supportive role in the purpose of creation in the Lakewood conception of how things work, right?

You may think I'm missing out on the purity of an entirely enclosed Torah lifestyle, but I think you (maybe not you personally) are missing out on basic education and basic freedoms. The world does not exist for you to hide from.

"Rambam tels us that if you want to live a life fully, and completely commited to torah g-d will sustain you."

Yes, yes. I've heard it a hundred times. I just don't believe it. If you want to ensure your sustenance then get a job. Somehow God's providence works much better and predictably that way.

Reasonably Nuts Frummy said...

Whew! You seem to have lot bottled up in there. I give you some basic info about myself and your bombarding me with questions. That is precisely why I continue to blog. I find there are so many people in blog land who have questions they don't seem to want to ask anywhere else. While I don't think I am the best person to do so, I will try to respond as best as I can.
>It seems to me that you may be the exception here in many respects.
I beg your pardon. I have never took a census but I know many of my kind.
>That you are willing to accept the reults of ...position.
I agree this is a problem. Too many people need a little knock on the head to wash away their idealisem of eutopia. Still, I commend anyone for sincere effort in trying to do what they think is right, even if they got it a bit mixed up. On the other hand, I will repeat. I AM AN EXCEPTION BUT I AM WELL AQUAINTED WITH MANY, MANY OTHERS. This 'exception' is more common then you seem to think.
>...when you say that you chose this way of life, if you even understood that there were serious and viable alternatives or that there was so much that you were missing out on.
Yes, and yes. What would make you think otherwise? Contrary to popular belief, the majority of us LKWD kids were not carried around in an enclosed box by our parents throughout our childhood. While my home was a haven of spirituality, I did have a bike (from the flee market) and two feet. I am also equiped with a very competent brain and a wonderful pair of eyes, B"H. I knew this was a choice and I'm happy I made it. I knew what the other options were and I chose what I wanted most.
>Did you go to college? Are you allowed to go to libraries? The very fact that you are even on the internet (even with your chazaka) surprises me.
I went to a frum college. That as well was my own choice. I have gone to the library often on my own ever since I was old enough to cross the necessary streets alone. As far as being on the internet, well your surprise just shows how much assumption your impresions are loaded with. We can discuss that at length but I'm not so sure I have come to terms with it myself. If you want to get into that, you will have to ask me again as I don't have a few hours to debate it right now. I'll come by and explain it some other time if you remind me. I will. Promise.
>Don't you see your very role in life as, not a learner, to be second string? Woman are only a supportive role in the purpose of creation in the Lakewood conceptioini of how things work, right?
Woman are respected more in Lakewood then in any other atmosphere I have been in. That includes, frei, goyish, academic, and a bank I worked in whose president was a female and major advocate of woman's rights.
I do see my role in life to be different than that of a mans. Men have been given more torah obligations then us woman. I don't see why people are always measuring up to decide if men and woman were created equal. Who cares? Since when were all things in life equal? Why don't you go try and move into buckingham palace. Force yourself through the gate and say it is not fair that I wasn't born royal! Everyone has a perpouse and a task in life. Mine may be more of a supporting role. That doesn't make it any less important in my eyes. I actually think it is harder and more dignified then a man's in many ways. Besides, to my children, I am not the supporter but the personal trainer. I'm the teacher and molder. Isn't that pretty high in the ranks? I really don't see why people spend their lives dealing with this. It's so simple and stupid. God made men and woman different. (DUH!) They are therefore intended to do different things. Whether one is 'less' then the other in some respects is irelevant.
As far as the rambam, I know it's beyond your scope of emunah and bitachon. That's precisely what I said. That is why you have to work harder and accept less in your ruchnius life then I do, just like I accept less in my gashmius. Why with such heartache? If you want to work on your emunah, pick up a sefer, work on it, and go to kollel. If not, then be happy with what you can be and keep growing and becomming whatever you can become. What do you have against that? Is it because it makes you 'less' in someways? I'm sorry but you can't have everything. Just because you are not up to it doesn't mean you shouldn't believe it. It's not for you. That's all.
I can tell you countless personal anecdodes similar to the one michele related in the blog you were responding to. Her example of the check in the mail has played itself out in many ways, over and over again to me and many others I know. Not exactly like that but in similar ways. If it's beyond you than fine but that is not a reason not to believe.
> If you want to ensure your sustenance then get a job.
I'm doing fine thanks. As I said before, I'm happy and healthy and so is my whole family. I have a job. I also have a much richer life then you will ever know no matter what sustenance you get from your job.
>Somehow God's providence works much better and predictably that way.
For some reason, I know many people in much worse financial states than my own who have jobs. A job doesn't solve everything either. There is also something called siyata dishmaya.

lakewoodyid said...

RNF,


Chazak Ve'amatz.

Keep up the good work here, you're doing great. You might have orthoprax in Kollel soon.

Orthoprax said...

RNF,

"Too many people need a little knock on the head to wash away their idealisem of eutopia."

Wait, so you don't think the kollel life is utopian?

"I AM AN EXCEPTION BUT I AM WELL AQUAINTED WITH MANY, MANY OTHERS. This 'exception' is more common then you seem to think."

Ok, fine, then in your estimation, how common is it? Of the general population of Lakewood, how many would you estimate are like yourself?

"I went to a frum college."

Are we talking Touro? I've written a few choice posts about Touro as well on the blog.

"I have gone to the library often on my own ever since I was old enough to cross the necessary streets alone."

Ok, but can you take out whatever book you want or is there a slew of forbidden reading material?

"As far as being on the internet, well your surprise just shows how much assumption your impresions are loaded with."

Forgive me, but there was that whole internet ban fiasco that is still operating in Lakewood. That you don't feel bound by it is your own business. But could it get your kids expelled from yeshiva? How many of your fellow Lakewooders have likewise not followed the edicts of their glorious leaders? Do you publicize the fact that you use the internet or is it something you must keep secret?

See, your use of the internet doesn't show me chazaka from gashmius, but a willingness to not listen to silly rules. To disobey pseudoauthorities. THAT is what makes you an exception in Lakewood.

"I don't see why people are always measuring up to decide if men and woman were created equal. Who cares?"

Not created equal, treated equally by society. Or as equal as possible. Would you be perfectly fine if you could not vote, could not own a business, could not drive, and so on? I think you care.

"Force yourself through the gate and say it is not fair that I wasn't born royal!"

Damn straight! That's why all the Western nations are democracies now. Because a royalty and a nobility are disgusting in view of the equal rights of man.

The liberal world's main focus is to make life more fair, more just, more equal. You seem overly satisified with the unfair status quo. Would you have left Egypt? So being a slave is not fair, so Egyptians and Hebrews were not born equal. Who cares?

You don't even see the controls that Bais Yakov has put on your mind. You're playing second fiddle and don't even care that you can never make it any higher. And not just you, but any person born without a Y chromosome. Hell, do they even let you learn gemara? Is a woman's mind less able than a man's? Most in your community will likely say yes!

"As far as the rambam, I know it's beyond your scope of emunah and bitachon."

It's not beyond my scope, I just don't believe it is true. In the same mold as I don't believe in segulahs or palm reading or voodoo dolls.

"Her example of the check in the mail has played itself out in many ways, over and over again to me and many others I know. Not exactly like that but in similar ways."

Sure, you'll always hear stories like that, but how many more stories are there, that nobody talks about, where a family survives only by asking for tzedaka?

"I also have a much richer life then you will ever know no matter what sustenance you get from your job."

I have no desire to begrudge your personal position in life. All I offer here is that it's easy to say that party line, but how rich is it really? Do _you_ study any Torah on a serious level? Or are you just satisfied knowing that you serve those who do?

"I have a job."

Why? What happened to all those Rishonim? See, what amazing providence, you get a check in the mail every week!

"For some reason, I know many people in much worse financial states than my own who have jobs. A job doesn't solve everything either."

Of course that's true, but would you like to set up an experiment? Which family do you think will have fewer financial worries: one where people work or one where people don't work? I think you know the answer, because hey, you work yourself!

Reasonably Nuts Frummy said...

LY - I have absolutely no intention of getting Orthoprax into kollel. He doesn't belong there. I simply want to show him my point of view on the issue.
Orthoprax, again you give me a whole list of questions. I don't have all day but I will try to give you my best answers a bit at a time.
>Wait? So you don't think the Kollel life is Utopian?
NO Of course I don't. What would make you think that? I think it is the best choice for me right now. I don't think utopian exists on planet earth. We make the best of it. It's the closest I can get. I also don't think it's for everybody. Go and do the best you can do in whatever you think is good for you. Just don't knock others for their choices.
>Ok. Your estimation...
My estimation is that it is a lot higher then you would care to believe. I also don't think that all those people 'living the high life off their daddy's' are as evil, stupid or insincere as you seem to think.
>"I went to a frum college"
We are not talking Touro but who cares? What is the difference? I don't have time right now to read your old blogs but I'll try to when I get a chance.
>OK, but can you take out whatever book you want...Forbiden reading material.
I told you I went on my own. No. I was not allowed to bring whatever I wanted into my house. I was allowed to roam around there and pick up whatever I wanted on my own. My parents new good and well that not everything I saw was what they wanted me. More precisely, they knew exactly what I saw. I told them. We had a very open line of communication and there was never anything I felt I had to hide from them. They still never forbade me from going there. I did spend sometime looking at things I knew were 'bad'. After sometime I went and asked my father about it. He showed me some sources in gemara and elsewhere that talk about shmiras einayim and safe guarding your neshama, even for woman. He told me that I am old enough to make my own decisions of what I look at in the library but that he didn't want certain things in the house. He felt he wanted the atmosphere in the house to stay a certain way so we can learn the bueaty of that. He also says that he doesn't want the yetzer hora to be in our very mist. If I don't think I could handle going there then I should stop. I still went. I slowly got over the garbage in the library and learned to make careful choices for my own protection. I saw how the sources he showed me were correct and felt the effect that these books and stuff were having on my neshama. I didn't like it. I even got mad at him for not making me stay away from there. He responded that I wouldn't of listened anyways and I had to agree that he was right. I am still careful till today with what I see and even more careful with what enters my mikdash me'at. (small sanctuary, ie the jewish home.)
>Forgive me... internet ban fiasco...
I told you this one was complicated and I would get back there.
#1 - I am very careful with what I do on the internet. I do not look at garbage here either. I don't think it is good for me.
#2 - I don't live in LKWD anymore and my kids are too young to be worried about. I wish I didn't need to have it in my house. Work is enough. I do think that the internet is a teribly dangerous place especialy for children. Even more so for inexperienced and unsupervised Lakewood kids. This would have to be a seperate discussion. I have so much to explain on the issue. I can't tell you kol hatorah kulo al regel achas. (the whole torah while standing on one foot.) If you want my complete biography you will have to wait till I retire and write a book.
>THAT is what makes you an exception in lakewood.
Yes B"H the yeshiva and our talmidei chachamim still have some say on what we do in LKWD. That is one of the things that make it such a special place.
Where I live, there is an eruv that was put up by some bale batim. Not a single rav in my community believes it to be kosher. Neverthless, the whole town uses it and they keep their mouths shut because they are a bunch of chickens. Of course, you would think, halacha is not supposed to be followed anyways. Bugs in water don't matter. Torah isn't to be taken literaly. Then go to a reform rabbi and see if his limited knoweledge could sufice your thirst for understanding in life and religious commitment. Don't knock those who look at the sources and try to do it right. I didn't even bother making a mockery on your comments in relation to this in your last post. It was too insane for torah jewry. On the other hand, I don't know your backround. If we need to discuss that as well, I'll try to find the time. Really, I never meant to write a book.
>Not created equal...treated equal
I beg your pardon. You were askiing me if I thought that my role as a supporting partner was secondary. The very way as was created deems me to be that second partner. As far as being treated equal, I told you. Lakewood is where I found the closes thing to it from any place I have ever been.
>Would you be...could not own a buisness...drive...vote...
Woman are still payed much less way too often in the business world for doing the same job as a man. They are subjogated to abuse all day long which in part is brought about by their own lack of tznius. Of course I care about that. I never said otherwise.
>"Force yourself...royalty."
>Damm Straight...
Royalty through a barbaric leader is an awful thing. That's why in can only be done with nivi'im and the like. Again, I don't have time to debate every issue in the world all in one sitting. I was using an anology. Sorry if it din't work exactly right. I thought we were debating Kollel. Not every issue you have with orthodoxy. One thing at a time. I don't get payed to blog. (Allthough I would be happy to be...:))Ask me one question at a time and I will answer it. One at a time. Maybe in a few years we will get through all your confusions....:)

Orthoprax said...

“NO Of course I don't. What would make you think that?”

Well, I thought it was pretty standard kollel ideology that learning in kollel is the best way for Jews to live. ‘Best’ is usually what people mean when they’re thinking along utopian lines.

“Just don't knock others for their choices.”

I haven’t. I knock the system itself.

“My estimation is that it is a lot higher then you would care to believe.”

So, nu? Do you have some numerical figure for me?

“I also don't think that all those people 'living the high life off their daddy's' are as evil, stupid or insincere as you seem to think.”

I don’t think they’re evil or stupid. I think they’re generally buying into a groupthink mentality while some are using it as an opportunity to do nothing with their lives.

“We are not talking Touro but who cares? What is the difference?”

The point is not Touro itself or whatever. The point is that your college experience was an inherently limited one. You got half an education - if that, probably.

“They still never forbade me from going there. I did spend sometime looking at things I knew were 'bad'. After sometime I went and asked my father about it.”

Just to clarify, what are things you consider bad? Are these secular fiction works, romance novels, or things like non-fiction science and history books? It’s not like we’re talking pornography. What is the great evil?

“I wish I didn't need to have it in my house. Work is enough. I do think that the internet is a teribly dangerous place especialy for children. Even more so for inexperienced and unsupervised Lakewood kids. This would have to be a seperate discussion. I have so much to explain on the issue.”

I agree with you. The internet can be dangerous for unsupervised children. But the fact is that you do have it in your house, you are using it for non-work related activities, and all that is apparently against the Lakewood model which you claim is so great. Am I the only one seeing this obvious contradiction?

“I am very careful with what I do on the internet. I do not look at garbage here either.”

They didn’t tell you to stay away from blogs like mine? I might think that I’d be near the top of the list. ;-)

“kol hatorah kulo al regel achas. (the whole torah while standing on one foot.)”

Please, don’t patronize me. I’m not a goy.

“Of course, you would think, halacha is not supposed to be followed anyways. Bugs in water don't matter. Torah isn't to be taken literaly.”

I actually do think that Halacha should be generally followed, but seriously, bugs in the water? That’s what you’re going to make anxious community announcements about? That’s what we should care about over all else when there are so many real and serious ethical ills in the world? Does that even make sense to you?

“Don't knock those who look at the sources and try to do it right.”

They’re myopic. They can’t see past the gemaras in front of their noses. There are bigger things in life.

“As far as being treated equal, I told you. Lakewood is where I found the closes thing to it from any place I have ever been.”

How can that be? It’s institutionalized! People there, just like you, actually believe women to be inferior beings.

“Woman are still payed much less way too often in the business world for doing the same job as a man.”

So what’s the problem? Men are smarter than women and would do a better job, right? That’s why they’re paid more. Y’know, nashim daatan kalot.

“Royalty through a barbaric leader is an awful thing.”

No, the very idea of royalty is offensive. I believe that all men are equal under the law and hence no person has a birthright to rule over the others. That’s the foundation for democracy.

Reasonably Nuts Frummy said...

Orthoprax. Let me repeat. I do not get payed to blog nor do I have all day to do it. If you have questions, I can try to answer them. ONE AT A TIME PLEASE. I am willing to give you a few minutes a day. Not hours. I don't have them. Tell me one question and I will answer it. Tommorow you are welcome to build on it or ask another one. Oh, and please, please, please, get an attitude adjustment! You sound so bitter.

Orthoprax said...

RNF,

You may respond to my response at your convenience. There's no hurry.

Reasonably Nuts Frummy said...

Orthoprax,
I wasn't asking your permision. I was telling you that that is all I'm offering. All I asked was that you tell me what issue you want me to address first. Since you won't do that, I'll just start from the top. (By the time I finish in 2010, you may want to open another post, or maybe even a seperate blog. We can call it orthoprax vs. rnf:)
Anyhow:
>Well, I thought it was pretty standard kollel ideology that learning in kollel is the best way for Jews to live.
Your so good at making assumptions. I don't believe that kollel life is the best way for ALL Jews. Nor do most kollel people I can think of off the top of my head. What I said was it is the best thing for me right now in my current situation.
‘Best’ is usually what people mean when they’re thinking along utopian lines.
The American century Dictionary by Warner Books sitting in front of me puts it this way...
Best: of the most excellent or desirable kind
Utopia: Imagined perfect place or thing

Orthoprax said...

RNF,

"I don't believe that kollel life is the best way for ALL Jews. Nor do most kollel people I can think of off the top of my head. What I said was it is the best thing for me right now in my current situation."

We're not talking about you, we're talking about kollel ideology. Are you honestly saying that people in kollel do not believe that in a perfect world all Jews would likewise be in kollel learning with them? What do they envision when Moshiach comes?

LY, you still around? What do you have to say about this?

"Best: of the most excellent or desirable kind
Utopia: Imagined perfect place or thing"

A "most excellent or desirable" way of life sounds pretty much like utopia to me. Do you disagree?

Reasonably Nuts Frummy said...

>We're not talking about you, we're talking about kollel ideology.
That is precisely why I said that I don't know too many other kollel people who think so either.
>Are you honestly saying that people in kollel do not believe that in a perfect world all Jews would likewise be in kollel learning with them? What do they envision when Moshiach comes?
Good Morning! We don't live in a perfect world. Chava ate from the eitz hadaas and it all went down hill from there. I'm not talking about a perfect world. I'm talking about the world we live in now. Yes. I am honastly saying that most people I know in Kollel do not believe that all Jews in this present world right now, in there present state should be learning all day with them. >LY, you still around? What do you have to say about this?
It doesn't seem like anyone is or I'm sure they would have a lot to say. That is why I suggested you to put up a new post with our current dialouge.
>A "most excellent or desirable" way of life sounds pretty much like utopia to me. Do you disagree?
I sure do disagree. That's why I put the definition of Utopia in there. "Immagined perfect place or thing."
perfect and most excelent are very different. One is the best you can do and one is perfection. If you can't tell the difference than that is a problem with your command of the English language that my extremely limited and pathetic education (in your opinion anyways) has superceded.

Orthoprax said...

RNF,

"I am honastly saying that most people I know in Kollel do not believe that all Jews in this present world right now, in there present state should be learning all day with them."

You're being sneaky and you know it with your "in their present state" business. Would not kollelers prefer to see Jews in a different state? One where they would all have the proper mindset and be ready to learn in kollel?

"I sure do disagree. That's why I put the definition of Utopia in there. "Immagined perfect place or thing."
perfect and most excelent are very different."


*sigh*

I don't have the patience for your sanctimoniousness and obfuscation of the basic points. Turning a debate into a dictionary game is a typical diversionary tactic.

Would those in kollel not agree that if all Jews were in kollel that would not be the best situation possible, or at the very least very desirable?

Or if that's not clear enough, what, in kollel ideology, is the optimal Jewish life like? And why would such a life not be desired by kollelers for all Jews?

Are other forms of Jewish life as good or even better than being in kollel? What would they consist of?

Ben said...

IT'S customary in Lubavitch for a newly married male to spend ONE year in the kolel- to itself is not a goal - but a means to have the ability & knowledge to go out into the world and help other Jews. What they do in Lakewood is called "tzdadik in pelez"

Reasonably Nuts Frummy said...

Orthoprax, I don't know how knoweledgable you are about this movement you are so against.
>You're being sneaky and you know it with your "in their present state" business.

Present State business was not meant to be sneaky but just a shorter way of saying it.

> Would not kollelers prefer to see Jews in a different state?

I hope most of us would.

>One where they would all have the proper mindset and be ready to learn in kollel?

It's not just a mindset. It's a financial, emotional, familial, spiritual and what not situation.

>Would those in kollel not agree that if all Jews were in kollel that would not be the best situation possible,

NO. No. No. and no. Reb Shneiur Kotler started the "kollel for everybody movement" as a horuas Shoah because of the 'present state' of klal yisroel at that time. It was right after the holocaust when so much torah was lost for good. Something had to be done to preserve what was left. People were so busy making a living they forgot to learn. It was clear that the average Jew was no longer learning enough. We needed a way to put torah learning back on the top of the priority lists of the average Jew. Thus, the kollel movement was started. Reb Shnieur hoped that if people could survive on torah only for as long as possible they would establish a strong base of torah for their home and keep it a high priority for the rest of their lives.
> or at the very least very desirable?
Well, yeh if this world was perfect I guess it would be nice but Adam messed that up many years ago so it isn't happening and none of us thought otherwise.
>Or if that's not clear enough, what, in kollel ideology, is the optimal Jewish life like?

I hope we agree that none of us will be certain of that untill Moshiach comes.

>And why would such a life not be desired by kollelers for all Jews?

In a perfect world I will agree with you that I do believe that in today's day and age kollel is the best way to start a Jewish home. However, no one was saying that it should be done without first taking an honast look at your financial situation and needs, your spiritual, emotional... and other statuses.

Orthoprax said...

Ben,

"IT'S customary in Lubavitch for a newly married male to spend ONE year in the kolel"

I have no problem with that. I mean, I may have issue with what they are taught, but I have no problem with the basic practice.



RNF,

"In a perfect world I will agree with you that I do believe that in today's day and age kollel is the best way to start a Jewish home."

I'm not sure how well you personally identify with the kollel movement. You seem to have a much more utilitarian approach to the practice as opposed to those lifetime learners who put sitting in kollel above anything and everything else and then obtain no skills in order to make a living.

Your idea of kollel as one to "start a Jewish home" is opposed to the idea that kollel life is the "ideal Jewish home." Would you not agree that there are those who promote the latter point of view? How do you relate to them?

Reasonably Nuts Frummy said...

I'm not sure how well you personally identify with the kollel movement.

I believe we have already gone over that. I am a full fledged member. I grew up in Lakewood, have six older sibling who are or were in this too. My parents did it. Most of my friends do it. I believe that under most circumstances I have always viewed it to be a wonderful thing.
I also mentioned that the lakewood roshei yeshiva were frequent visitors to my parents home as we were to theirs and that I agree with their ideas in life and look up to the way they run their households and their community leadership.
>You seem to have a much more utilitarian approach to the practice as opposed to those lifetime learners who put sitting in kollel above anything and everything else and then obtain no skills in order to make a living.

I will agree with you that like every good thing in life, there will always be those people who are extremists and like to pick on one thing and make it the center of the universe to no logical end. What I have been trying to stress is that those are unfortunate misguided individuals and not the masses nor the leaders that I speak of.
>You seem to have a much more utilitarian approach
I got that approach from my parents and teachers having been raised within the very heart of the 'indoctrination system'.
>Your idea of kollel as one to "start a Jewish home" is opposed to the idea that kollel life is the "ideal Jewish home."
Back to the shevet levi discussion, I will say that long term kollel is a beautiful thing. I just think that that aspect of kollel remains reserved for outstanding individuals, and always should. Most of us just aren't capable of it and shouldn't knock those who are and who do it right.
>Would you not agree that there are those who promote the latter point of view?
Like I said, there will always be those who take things too far untill they are way out of context and the scope of what they were intended for.
>How do you relate to them?
How do I relate to the FEW families I know who fit this depressing picture?
With a sigh, a tefilah and the knoweledge that I don't know everything about everyone and am not in a place to judge them. I respect them for the torah knowledge they have gained but I pity them for what they have neglected.

Orthoprax said...

RNF,

If what you are telling me is true then I have no significant problem with the practice. I mean, it wouldn't be something I would necessarily recommend but it also isn't too crazy. Taking a year or two off from the real world while you try to instill certain values and so on into your family unit is not the worst idea.

Though I do question how long the average kollel guy sits learning before learning a profession. As you have said, the practice clearly hurts on the economic scale. I also question the fuller education a person doesn't get when he's cloistered learning on one subject all day.

Reasonably Nuts Frummy said...

If what you are telling me is true then I have no significant problem with the practice.
If you never knew this was true and have little knowledge about this way of life, you had no business posting your oppositions.
As for your issue with education and the other negative remarks you insist on throwing in all over; I'll be back. Once again, I don't blog for a living.

Reasonably Nuts Frummy said...

If what you are telling me is true then I have no significant problem with the practice.
If you never knew this was true and have little knowledge about this way of life, you had no business posting your oppositions.
As for your issue with education and the other negative remarks you insist on throwing in all over; I'll be back. Once again, I don't blog for a living.

Orthoprax said...

RNF,

"If you never knew this was true and have little knowledge about this way of life, you had no business posting your oppositions."

I said _if_. The people who I semi-frequently interact with who buy into the kollel ideology are more often of the 'minority' of 'extremists' you are attempting to marginalize.

If the facts are as you say, then my issues are significantly reduced. If they are, however, as I perceive them to be them my issues are that much more great.

Independent correlation would be great, but I don't know where one would find it.

Reasonably Nuts Frummy said...

Ever heard that an empty barrel makes a lot of noise? Or maybe you know that most of my kind would never find themselves in your circles? Maybe that is why you know much more of the 'Minority' and 'extremists'.

Orthoprax said...

RNF,

Your assertions are unfounded. You don't know me, my "circles" or how I come in contact with the kollel type.

Thanks for stopping by anyway.