Welcome, Guest! - or
Easy to remember!  »  VinNews.com

Woodcliff Lake, NJ - Rabbi Wallerstein Delivers Scathing Rebuke At Agudah Convention, Slamming Educational System For Apathy Of Today's Youth (audio)

Published on: November 18, 2013 11:02 AM
Change text size Text Size  
FILE - Rabbi Zecharia WallersteinFILE - Rabbi Zecharia Wallerstein

Woodcliff Lake, NJ - In a fiery speech delivered on Sunday at the 91st Agudah convention at the Hilton in Woodcliffe Lake, NJ, Rabbi Zecharia Wallerstein took today’s education system to task for not meeting the many challenges facing today’s generation and for their failure to imbue children with a love of Torah and yiddishkeit.

Pointing the finger of blame squarely at our current leadership, Askumim, and community leaders, Rabbi Wallerstein spoke candidly, passionately and at times forcefully on difficult issues that most have been afraid to vocalize publicly.

Describing how the yetzer hora has elected to fight today’s unprecedented level of Torah study by dimming the beauty and allure of yiddishkeit, Rabbi Wallerstein told of his own interactions with teens.

“I’m not talking about kids at risk,” exhorted Rabbi Wallerstein. 

Advertisement:

“I deal with regular kids and I ask them.  ‘So, translate, tell me, what is yiddishkeit?’ 

I have never, in thousands of kids, been answered ‘yiddishkeit is beautiful,’ not once.  It’s rules, it’s a way to connect to Hashem a lot of different answers.  Not one kid has ever answered me ‘yiddishkeit is beautiful.’”

Listen below to the full speech of Rabbi Wallerstein.

Mobile users click here 

Recounting a medrash of how Hakadosh Baruch Hu took Yirmiyahu Hanuvi, to task for the churban, Rabbi Wallerstein told over in the name of R’ Shimshon Pincus how the navi was held accountable because the destruction took place under his leadership and drew a parallel to the challenges facing today’s generation.

” Askonim, gedolim, rabbonim, klal yisroel, it is happening on our watch,” thundered Rabbi Wallerstein.  “And at the end of the day we are going to have to answer for all the children that are suffering and the shalom bayis that is suffering and the girls that aren’t getting shidduchim.  Yes we have a lot of good things that we are doing.  But it is on our watch and Hakadosh Baruch Hu says that if it happens on your watch, you’re not doing enough.”

Rabbi Wallerstein spoke about the war between Yaakov and the malach of Eisav, noting that instead of saying that the two battled, the Torah uses the word “vayeavek”, and quoted Rashi who notes that the word’s root also means “dust”, alluding to an especially insidious tactic employed by the malach of Eisav.

“He knew he couldn’t destroy Torah,” explained Rabbi Wallerstein.  “His objective is to do what dust does. All the women here know if you have nice furniture you have to dust it because dust makes it very dull.  If you have mirrors they become very dull.  If you have silver it becomes very dull.  The koach of dust is to take beautiful shiny things and make them boring and dull.  The Satan said I cannot destroy Torah but I will take the beauty, the excitement, the newness, the freshness, I will take that away from the Torah.”

That battle continues today, according to Rabbi Wallerstein, who warned that despite the diligent learning that takes place today, the Satan continues to chip away at the foundations of Torah by diminishing its appeal.

“Where is the beauty of a yom tov?  We are all flying all over the place, every hotel is full.  Where is the beauty of a Shabbos?  I can’t beat you, I can’t stop you, but I can take away the beauty.”

Rabbi Wallerstein further criticized today’s educational system with its emphasis on competition and testing, saying that by turning Torah, Chumash and Halacha into subjects, they are diminished in the eyes of students.

“Torah is life; life is beautiful!” exclaimed Rabbi Wallerstein.  “A subject is ugly; it’s competition.  What are we doing?  This is yavan!”

Rabbi Wallerstein emphasized the importance of connecting positively with students and children and stressed the importance of repeatedly telling children how much they are loved.

Telling over the words of the Chida, Rabbi Wallerstein spoke of how when Hashem appeared to Yaakov in a dream, revealing himself as the G-d of Avraham, his father, and the G-d of Yitzchak, puzzling words as Yitzchak is not also identified as Yaakov’s father.

“If you look in the parsha before you will see that never does Yitzchak call Yaakov ‘b’ni’ but he calls Eisav many times ‘b’ni,’” observed Rabbi Wallerstein.  “Says the Chida: just because you have a child doesn’t make him your son and that doesn’t make you his father. You have to call him ‘b’ni’.  You have to call her ‘biti’.  You have to tell them how much you love them.”

Quoting the mishna in Avos, Rabbi Wallerstein explained while Hakadosh Baruch Hu demonstrates his love for us by reminding us that we are his children, we must rise to the occasion by instilling in our own children a genuine love of Torah and yiddishkeit, something that can be difficult in today’s fast paced world of technology.

“Apple comes out with a new iPhone every single six months: fresh, new, shiny, exciting. They are throwing at our children fresh, new, shiny, exciting.  The yetzer hara doesn’t put avak on that, so our kids are getting hit with all this new stuff, new technology.  We have to fight it with a Torah that is shining…a Torah that is exciting, not something that is just a subject.”

Rabbi Zecharia Wallerstein is the founder of Ateres Naava Seminary for Girls, and Ohr Naava Women’s Institute in Brooklyn, NY.



More of today's headlines

Detroit, MI - Officials have confirmed two storm-related deaths in Michigan, raising to eight the toll from the heavy rain, powerful winds and tornadoes that formed... Poland - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday visited the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz to pay tribute to Holocaust victims. Ban walked through the...

 

Total77

Read Comments (77)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Nov 18, 2013 at 11:12 AM mossad Says:

He is indeed a noble man, and his vision is real and pure for the sake of God. And yes, yidishkeit is beautiful!

2

 Nov 18, 2013 at 11:35 AM Brooklynhocker Says:

I like Rabbi Wallerstein very much, but I'm not sure that 90% of those attending the convention heard a word that he said. I don't mean "heard" physically - I mean are willing to take his words to heart. All you have to do is stand in the back of shul on a typical Shabbos and you'll be shocked to hear what "typical yeshiva boys" are talking about to realize this is very true. We live in a generation of status- who's the best, who's the smartest, who's going to which high school/seminary. It's ridiculous- and it's what really causes the shidduch crisis. When two kids seem the same but are on very different yidishkit pages- it's a problem. Yasher Koach Zecharia for making us all aware and accountable.

3

 Nov 18, 2013 at 11:40 AM Reb Yid Says:

What was the point of yitzchok not calling yaakov "b'ni?" How does that teach us that we have to? Did yitzchok do something wrong?

4

 Nov 18, 2013 at 11:44 AM Anonymous Says:

Amazing. Very well done!

5

 Nov 18, 2013 at 11:50 AM nostalgic Says:

I see the problem as youth are more interested in status and form rather than substance. You gotta be in the "in Yeshiva," "in neighborhood," "in summer development," "in fashion." The good old fashion values of being a baal middos,refined, humble, hard working and learned - are meaningless.

6

 Nov 18, 2013 at 11:52 AM SandmanNY Says:

I've spoken in dozens of yeshivas over the last few years. I've also never heard one student talk about how great Yiddishkeit is. Because Yiddishkeit is so strong handed, demanding, grim and serious, many kids suffer it silently. We don't teach students how to have a relationship with Hakadosh Baruch Hu. We teach them religious facts but not relationship skills. Nebach.

7

 Nov 18, 2013 at 11:54 AM Mark Levin Says:

Let's all remember that Rabbi Wallerstein has more kovod hatorah in one minute of his speeches and mussar shmuezin than 99% of the self centered, self hating, bash tamiday chachomim at the drop of a hat commenters we have here on VINnews!!!

8

 Nov 18, 2013 at 11:55 AM mit-seichel Says:

I agree that there are many serious challenges today and our system can always be improved, but I take strong issue with a lot of R' Wallerstein said, with all due respect to him.

For all the negative sentiments he may hear from youth, a solid majority of boys and girls in our yeshivos and Bais Yaakovs are doing very well overall in the context of the massive nisayonos they face - learning and doing mitzvos with some degree of passion.

That, of course, doesn't mean that we shouldn't constantly try to improve. But it does mean that we shouldn't assume that simply doing things different will make things better.

For all the talk about the rigidness of rules, tests, competition, etc., any objective person in charedi world knows that the rigidity has been DRASTICALLY reduced over the past decade or two.

Stuff like corporal punishment, or even the word "punishment" altogether have been virtually obliterated, weaker students (both scholastically and frumkeit wise) now have MANY more resources and accommodating mosdos/organizations/families than there were previously. Rabbeim and teachers are far more tolerant of misbehavior than they were, and have a MUCH more "pedagogic"

9

 Nov 18, 2013 at 12:05 PM mit-seichel Says:

(continued) attitude overall, with a much greater emphasis on being friendly with students, delivering intriguing lessons, offering rewards, etc. Inflated test grades, or no conventional test grades, etc., are now prevalent where it was previously almost unimaginable. There is a much greater emphasis on the part of mechanchim(os) about the beauty and geshmak of Torah and yiddishkeit than there ever was. Etc., etc.

Yet, after all that, we keep on hearing the same things: Too rigid, too intense, too dry, etc.

Really?

There are schools who do all types of things that are mentioned, with virtually no competition, very lax rules, etc. Are their students immune from all this apathy? Not by a long shot.

Every joy and talent on planet earth comes with competition, scores, subjects, etc. Sports, art, acting, music, beauty pageants, business school, etc. We cannot properly motivate and educate our youth in Torah and Yiddishkeit, or anything else, especially anything academic, without these basic ingredients.

As long as the yetzer hora exists, it will always be tougher for the average Yid to learn Torah and keep mitzvos than it will be for a child to use an I-pod. (cont.

10

 Nov 18, 2013 at 12:15 PM mit-seichel Says:

(cont.) That's been the struggle of man since Creation. Of course, we should try infusing passion, excitement and a sense of mission as much as we can, but we cannot declare our system a failure based on unrealistic expectations and unpoven promises that we'll do better if we do A, B ,C differently.

Successfully fighting the yetzer hora includes many ingredients. Making parents and mechanchim afraid of confidently transmitting the Torah's commandments, and inculcating self control, is not one of them. During the major nisayon of Reform, chassidim were most successful in combating the challenge.

They did it with infusing joy, but also with going "lifnim meshuras hadin" in many areas, such as levush, tzniyus, kashrus, avoda, etc. These extra "rigid" demands did not turn off the youth. On the contrary, they were more eager to do all this than their peers in more lax communities were, because they felt accomplished to do the maximum on behalf of Hashem, as opposed to trying to take things as "easily" as possible.

11

 Nov 18, 2013 at 12:21 PM YonahLevi Says:

Always blown away by how great of a speaker and yid Rabbi Wallerstein is. I listen to all his weekly shiurim, and highly recommend it to everyone.

12

 Nov 18, 2013 at 12:25 PM Yipyap Says:

R' Wallerstein is to liberal for me. But I do think what he saying is true but I feel it's in the more modern yeshivas. I have a relative who goes to a more modern mesivta and they only have three hours of shiur a day. I think they need to increas that a little

13

 Nov 18, 2013 at 12:25 PM OYVY2 Says:

wow very powerful, I hope that Aguda themselves will take lessons from this in their dealings, Rabbi Wallerstein should be on the speaking tour for all Yeshiva Mechanchim and most of all for the Torah Umesorah, dinners, getaways, etc. Take this to heart, Thank you for this.

14

 Nov 18, 2013 at 12:25 PM brooklyn mom Says:

finally--someone tells it like it is--Kol Hakavod, Rabbi Wallerstein--Hashem should give you an immense amount of Chizk

15

 Nov 18, 2013 at 12:26 PM jew Says:

If not rabbi jungreis love I would never be wear I am now a normal tora working Jew.

16

 Nov 18, 2013 at 12:28 PM RebKlemson Says:

theres alot of faking going on and everyone knows it. the generation is lacking in real leaders and people feel it. actually saw reb zecharia last night speaking at a seudas hoda

17

 Nov 18, 2013 at 12:35 PM Please Dont Bash Me, Cause Thats How People Act on This Site Says:

Intelectually I cannot agree with his assesment for one reason. He is asking "What is Yiddishkeit?" he's asking for a factual answer. If he would have asked a more emotional question, IE "how do you feel about yiddishkeit?" he might have a better chance of getting the right response.

18

 Nov 18, 2013 at 12:49 PM Moose Says:

Thank you editor for posting this.

19

 Nov 18, 2013 at 12:50 PM grandpajoe Says:

This is how today's children are brought up:
Age 5 - 17 Yeshiva Ketana, High School
Age 17-20 Israel and yeshiva learning
Age 20 anr up - SHidduch, marriage work and children for girls - learnign for boys
Appreciation of the life around them - ZERO
Dealing with the real world ZERO
Rabbi Wallerstein left out one very important thing How can these "children" appreciate those around them, and their yiddishkeit.
Today the children all take it for granted - never realizing the Sacrifices their parents and grand parents did.
Also the take these test, but where do they go - how many are not frowned upon for enetering the real world.
Kudos to Rabbi Wallerstein - but I belive that his words are going on Deaf ears.

20

 Nov 18, 2013 at 01:09 PM Anonymous Says:

These things are happening in one yeshiva
Shaarei Arazim in Monsey

21

 Nov 18, 2013 at 01:22 PM The_Truth Says:

Like my Rebbe says - the Olam Hazeh in this generation is "shiny", "sparkling" & looks geshmak! We need to make sure that we show our talmidim & kids that our Yiddishkeit is just as geshmak & that we are at least just as enthusiastic about shabbos & learning torah as we are about getting the latest cellphone, or app. We need to keep looking for areas in our yiddishkiet to improve & infuse a new inspiration.

23

 Nov 18, 2013 at 01:29 PM flatbushmom Says:

This is a pervasive problem which stems from our gaavah to show our neighbors and not Hashem how "top" we are (OUR, meaning schools and parents collectively)
Why is it the when seeking a shidduch we identify them as "long term learners..etc. instead of a person who has good middos, ehrlichkeit etc and internalizes the message of Torah?
Why is it schools/yeshivas think that a child of 13 is a finished product and feel that they have no obligation to lead them to the path of Torah and Yiras Shamaim.
Why is it yeshivas look for "top" students instead of seeking out students who have good middos and internalize the message of Torah? Bullying is a problem which is not being addressed. (No, making plays about being nice to others doesn't cut it)
Why is we look for "top" schools/yeshivas instead of looking for schools that teach middos and treat our children with respect and humility?
Children learn by waching and what their watching ain't too pretty.
I could go on and on but until we demand our principals/rosh yeshivas/deans stop running after money like lap dogs at a steak dinner and THEY internalize the message of Torah then there is unfortunatley room for little change.

24

 Nov 18, 2013 at 01:34 PM chayamom Says:

Reply to #5  
nostalgic Says:

I see the problem as youth are more interested in status and form rather than substance. You gotta be in the "in Yeshiva," "in neighborhood," "in summer development," "in fashion." The good old fashion values of being a baal middos,refined, humble, hard working and learned - are meaningless.

It doesn't start with the youth, it starts with parents, schools, etc. The youth are just a symptom of what they see (words are meaningless if they aren't followed by action). In school there are lots of word but the actions following those words are not consistent with the teachings.
Anecdotally, when my daughter graduated high school (where they preached midos and not marks) there was a graduation party. At that party they announced girls who graduated with an A average throughout the high school years, from there they worked to a B average, etc. So you tell me what is really important? This is just one stupid story in all that goes on around us. Some children are left with the message that all that is important is status, prestige, money, looks, etc. Not everyone is able to fight the yetzer hara within our midst.
Thank you Rabbi Wallerstein for bringing the message home!

25

 Nov 18, 2013 at 01:40 PM bubii Says:

Reply to #16  
RebKlemson Says:

theres alot of faking going on and everyone knows it. the generation is lacking in real leaders and people feel it. actually saw reb zecharia last night speaking at a seudas hoda

And the biggest fakers are our beloved leaders.

26

 Nov 18, 2013 at 01:42 PM bubii Says:

Reply to #12  
Yipyap Says:

R' Wallerstein is to liberal for me. But I do think what he saying is true but I feel it's in the more modern yeshivas. I have a relative who goes to a more modern mesivta and they only have three hours of shiur a day. I think they need to increas that a little

What about the real and concrete shiurs like math and science,whom are you trying to fool with youre toireh uber ales shtick.

27

 Nov 18, 2013 at 01:57 PM somethings gotta give Says:

Reply to #8  
mit-seichel Says:

I agree that there are many serious challenges today and our system can always be improved, but I take strong issue with a lot of R' Wallerstein said, with all due respect to him.

For all the negative sentiments he may hear from youth, a solid majority of boys and girls in our yeshivos and Bais Yaakovs are doing very well overall in the context of the massive nisayonos they face - learning and doing mitzvos with some degree of passion.

That, of course, doesn't mean that we shouldn't constantly try to improve. But it does mean that we shouldn't assume that simply doing things different will make things better.

For all the talk about the rigidness of rules, tests, competition, etc., any objective person in charedi world knows that the rigidity has been DRASTICALLY reduced over the past decade or two.

Stuff like corporal punishment, or even the word "punishment" altogether have been virtually obliterated, weaker students (both scholastically and frumkeit wise) now have MANY more resources and accommodating mosdos/organizations/families than there were previously. Rabbeim and teachers are far more tolerant of misbehavior than they were, and have a MUCH more "pedagogic"

Oh really??? I just went to an open house for noted Brooklyn BY high school. In her speech to prospective parents applying to this high school principal talked about "throwing girls out" she used this exact quote three times that I turned to another parent sitting at my left and said. Is it me, or did you also hear this three times "throw out". How can a yiddishe neshama, a bas Yisroel be "thrown out" for not toeing the line. I am still waiting for a change in attitude as you assert with such conviction.

28

 Nov 18, 2013 at 01:58 PM An experienced zeide Says:

I'm much older than today's dor, but allow me to come down to this generation's longo for a moment: R' Zecharia, YOU ROCKED THE HOUSE!!!!!

Kol Hakovod to you for standing up and saying it like it is.

May you be gebenched with the oh-so-necessary koach to ALWAYS help the disenfranchised in Klal Yisroel, Amein!

29

 Nov 18, 2013 at 02:03 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #8  
mit-seichel Says:

I agree that there are many serious challenges today and our system can always be improved, but I take strong issue with a lot of R' Wallerstein said, with all due respect to him.

For all the negative sentiments he may hear from youth, a solid majority of boys and girls in our yeshivos and Bais Yaakovs are doing very well overall in the context of the massive nisayonos they face - learning and doing mitzvos with some degree of passion.

That, of course, doesn't mean that we shouldn't constantly try to improve. But it does mean that we shouldn't assume that simply doing things different will make things better.

For all the talk about the rigidness of rules, tests, competition, etc., any objective person in charedi world knows that the rigidity has been DRASTICALLY reduced over the past decade or two.

Stuff like corporal punishment, or even the word "punishment" altogether have been virtually obliterated, weaker students (both scholastically and frumkeit wise) now have MANY more resources and accommodating mosdos/organizations/families than there were previously. Rabbeim and teachers are far more tolerant of misbehavior than they were, and have a MUCH more "pedagogic"

Dude, pull your head out of the sand, the ostrich doesn't want your company either. Do you even know what your saying? Who died and left you boss? Are you in chinuch? Do you have ANY clue what's going on out there? Among the "good kids"?

30

 Nov 18, 2013 at 02:05 PM BarryLS1 Says:

Reply to #17  
Please Dont Bash Me, Cause Thats How People Act on This Site Says:

Intelectually I cannot agree with his assesment for one reason. He is asking "What is Yiddishkeit?" he's asking for a factual answer. If he would have asked a more emotional question, IE "how do you feel about yiddishkeit?" he might have a better chance of getting the right response.

You have a valid point, but I also think most of us wouldn't like the answers to that question either.

For far longer than Apple has been in existence, there has been a hugh disconnect between the Learning (the intellectual pursuit) and the emotional connection, i.e. the heart and the head. We see far too many adult behaviors that don't fit their learning, so what can you expect from kids. The average kid sees the hypocricy of his/her parents and Rabbeim/teachers with what they are told vs. what that they see.

31

 Nov 18, 2013 at 02:20 PM Facts1 Says:

Solutions?

32

 Nov 18, 2013 at 02:50 PM Faker Says:

Doesn't Rabbi wallerstein partake in the Hotel programs every Yom Tov How can he bash them ?

33

 Nov 18, 2013 at 02:53 PM Anonymous Says:

Mit-Seichel tried hard to point out that the shortcomings of the "system" are either not true, or that so many seem to do well in yeshivos despite them. That is extremely flawed logic.

1. The Chazon Ish ZT"L stated that the transplanting of Torah after the Holocaust mandated attention to the masses at the expense of the individual. However, he noted that this mission had already succeeded, and that the focus now needed to be on the individual, to insure that everyone is given their opportunity to reach their potential.
2. Rabbi Wallerstein addressed the comments and reactions of bochurim in the mainstream yeshiva system as being unable to describe Yiddishkeit as beautiful. Where is this passion as described in Mit-Seichel's comments?
3. Our communities have become obsessed with image. A yeshiva is horrified if the parent of their talmid does not follow the standards set by the yeshiva. How many boys have been expelled because they wore the wrong color shirts, or girls the wrong color stockings - not during school time?
4. The extras were tolerated in history because of Ahavas Hashem. That is nearly extinct in today's yeshivos.

Rabbi W. is 100% correct.

34

 Nov 18, 2013 at 03:22 PM shmuelg613 Says:

As a mechanach for 20+ years, I've asked my students what they remember from 1st or 2nd grade...most of all their answers are, "not much...but you cared and loved us very much." THIS IS WHAT IS MISSING! Yiddishkeit becomes beautiful by experiencing those role models who are our teachers and community leaders. Most of our leaders don't care.

35

 Nov 18, 2013 at 03:31 PM Anonymous Says:

Your last line is totally out of line !

36

 Nov 18, 2013 at 03:59 PM mit-seichel Says:

Reply to #29  
Anonymous Says:

Dude, pull your head out of the sand, the ostrich doesn't want your company either. Do you even know what your saying? Who died and left you boss? Are you in chinuch? Do you have ANY clue what's going on out there? Among the "good kids"?

It's amazing how desperate some people are to justify their predispositions.

I do regularly interact with kids and bachurim in various yeshivos and have a good handle on their sentiments, and I have discussed this at length with friends who are very capable mechanchim in the field. All these screaming headlines ignore the thousands of children and teens - a solid majority - who are doing a lot better than the image we often get.

If you want to believe the worst, you're free to do so, but that doesn't make it reality.

37

 Nov 18, 2013 at 04:07 PM Cyndigr Says:

Rabbi Wallerstein is a genius and deserves every ounce of respect ans attention. He sees what's going on day to day. Our children are suffering due to all the discontent and competition. It's not a race so why do we treat it as such. Its a life, a journey.. if we come down to hard on children, their innate curiosity and natural accepting nature gets squashed.

38

 Nov 18, 2013 at 04:10 PM Cyndigr Says:

Yasher koach Rabbi Wallerstein!

39

 Nov 18, 2013 at 04:09 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #33  
Anonymous Says:

Mit-Seichel tried hard to point out that the shortcomings of the "system" are either not true, or that so many seem to do well in yeshivos despite them. That is extremely flawed logic.

1. The Chazon Ish ZT"L stated that the transplanting of Torah after the Holocaust mandated attention to the masses at the expense of the individual. However, he noted that this mission had already succeeded, and that the focus now needed to be on the individual, to insure that everyone is given their opportunity to reach their potential.
2. Rabbi Wallerstein addressed the comments and reactions of bochurim in the mainstream yeshiva system as being unable to describe Yiddishkeit as beautiful. Where is this passion as described in Mit-Seichel's comments?
3. Our communities have become obsessed with image. A yeshiva is horrified if the parent of their talmid does not follow the standards set by the yeshiva. How many boys have been expelled because they wore the wrong color shirts, or girls the wrong color stockings - not during school time?
4. The extras were tolerated in history because of Ahavas Hashem. That is nearly extinct in today's yeshivos.

Rabbi W. is 100% correct.

1- Correct, and that is why there are many more individualized mosdos and programs than there ever were. Just last night, I spoke to a person whose son has learning challenges and is thriving in a special track for boys like him in a well known prestigious mosad.

2- I don't know who he spoke to or didn't speak to. "Mainstream yeshiva system" is a very broad category. The passion can be seen watching talmidim/os of mainstream schools davening with fervor in shul, learning well during seder, and learning/doing chessed outside school curriculum. You can see that every day, even amongst "average" ones, even though it doesn't get nearly the amount of press as the struggling kids.

3- I've spoken to various people in the field, particularly one person heavily involved in placement, and they say that as a rule yeshivos/schools are more reluctant to expel than they were previously, and they only do so after consulting a reliable gadol. I'm not saying every decision is correct, but they are mostly being responsible.

4- Precisely my point. Ahavas Hashem is most pronounced when we dedicate ourselves beyond the call of duty, not when we bend over backwards to make e/t easy.

40

 Nov 18, 2013 at 05:00 PM Debby Says:

amazing ! Rabbi Wallerstein is a real tzadik... He really helps people! he truly cares for people is doesn't even know! I'm a real proof

41

 Nov 18, 2013 at 05:10 PM a-simple-jew Says:

Reply to #17  
Please Dont Bash Me, Cause Thats How People Act on This Site Says:

Intelectually I cannot agree with his assesment for one reason. He is asking "What is Yiddishkeit?" he's asking for a factual answer. If he would have asked a more emotional question, IE "how do you feel about yiddishkeit?" he might have a better chance of getting the right response.

The factual answer is that Yiddishkeit is a loving RELATIONSHIP with HaKodesh Baruch Hu, and not a religion. Everything is built on this central point. This is the Yesod - the foundation - for a happy, healthily Yiddish life. This is a lengthily schmooze and we can only scratch the surface in these few lines. A religion is bunch of do's and don'ts (e.i. - Christianity and Islam). if you don't fall in line and follow the rules, you'll suffer the consequences and be punished accordingly. Yiddishket of course also has its rules and regulations; it's do's and don'ts. But if that's ALL we have, (or even if that's the main thrust of what we are all about), we are missing the central core, and true inner meaning of Yiddishkeit. And this is what we need to emphasize and focus on in our chinuch habanim - both at home and in our mosdos. There is a famous Chassidic story about a Yid who comes to his Rebbe with a long list of complaints about Yiddishkeit. After reviewing the list, the Rebbe answered him, the Yiddishkeit you don't believe in, I also don't believe in. One more point. There are thousands of Baalei Teshuvah who have found their way back to Yiddishkeit in recent years primarily t

42

 Nov 18, 2013 at 05:23 PM ChachoMoe Says:

Reply to #15  
jew Says:

If not rabbi jungreis love I would never be wear I am now a normal tora working Jew.

Kol HaKavod to you!
Thanks for speaking up, we need more people who went through the motions to speak up!

43

 Nov 18, 2013 at 05:27 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #8  
mit-seichel Says:

I agree that there are many serious challenges today and our system can always be improved, but I take strong issue with a lot of R' Wallerstein said, with all due respect to him.

For all the negative sentiments he may hear from youth, a solid majority of boys and girls in our yeshivos and Bais Yaakovs are doing very well overall in the context of the massive nisayonos they face - learning and doing mitzvos with some degree of passion.

That, of course, doesn't mean that we shouldn't constantly try to improve. But it does mean that we shouldn't assume that simply doing things different will make things better.

For all the talk about the rigidness of rules, tests, competition, etc., any objective person in charedi world knows that the rigidity has been DRASTICALLY reduced over the past decade or two.

Stuff like corporal punishment, or even the word "punishment" altogether have been virtually obliterated, weaker students (both scholastically and frumkeit wise) now have MANY more resources and accommodating mosdos/organizations/families than there were previously. Rabbeim and teachers are far more tolerant of misbehavior than they were, and have a MUCH more "pedagogic"

Mit-seichel should have a bissel mer seichel and listen to what he was saying. Of course there are many many children who are doing just fine, learning, midos etc. BUT do they do it because they enjoy it or because they are good kids and just do what they are told?

44

 Nov 18, 2013 at 05:52 PM a-simple-jew Says:

Continued...
There are thousands of Baalei Teshuvah who have found their way back to Yiddishkeit in recent years primarily through the beauty of Yiddishkeit. Perhaps we FFB's have a thing or two to learn. Food for thought.
PS - There a many many pasukem and maamar chazel to support my position that Yiddishket is first and foremost a RELATIONSHIP and not a religion in the classic sense of the word. If this fact was given more attention, learned and appreciated, we would have far less children (and adults) on the fringe, walking the walk and talking the talk, while feeling empty, unfulfilled and unhappy on the inside.

45

 Nov 18, 2013 at 06:07 PM Binumin Says:

I listened to the whole speech and i really learned alot from Rabbi Wallerstein...
I had my son come home one day and had 3 test which he had a 30 on one a 40 on the other and the last one a 30...i hugged him and told him Yoni i am so proud of you that you scored a 100 on your tests..he thought i went meshugah and i told him Yoni...Loook good you have a 30+40+30= 100 and i couldnt be more proud of you..it says no where you have to score a 100 ...your effort my dear Yoni to score a 30 means to me more then any child who scored a 100...Guess what...next test he had a 74 and by end of the year he got 93 and 96......

46

 Nov 18, 2013 at 06:23 PM Vayanibu Behashem Ubemoishe Avdoy Says:

Reply to #13  
OYVY2 Says:

wow very powerful, I hope that Aguda themselves will take lessons from this in their dealings, Rabbi Wallerstein should be on the speaking tour for all Yeshiva Mechanchim and most of all for the Torah Umesorah, dinners, getaways, etc. Take this to heart, Thank you for this.

Our sages say that if someone is lacking in Emuna in the Nasi Hador, (i.e. the Moshe Rabbeinu of the Generation), then it leads to "sfekas" in Emuna in Hashem too.

Learning Chassidus and having a Real Rebbe, is no longer an option nor a Hiddur, but a necessity to remain a Maamin in Hashem as illustrated and proven by the speaker.

Don't expect all those present at the Aguda Convention, to be capable of understanding this, never mind admiditing that without a Chssidic Rebbe and without learning Chassidus, they will continue to live in a vacum, devoid of the warmth and love of Yiddishkeit.

47

 Nov 18, 2013 at 06:27 PM Geulah Says:

It hasn't been covered but the problem of off the derech isn't a problem and never was a problem. Getting on the derech, these days, is the problem. Can't reject what you've never been given the opportunity to accept. Looking at the dispassionate faces during the speech and you've got an large than life insight into why a Wallerstein or a Horowitz is tolerated but marginalized. Too bad Wolmark or Epstein couldn't speak. Maybe Bernie Madoff, a live hookup from his cell and then we'd see some life.

48

 Nov 18, 2013 at 06:53 PM guy777 Says:

Rabbi Wallerstein makes great points. But, could someone please tell him to stop yelling. Oy vey my head. At some point I wanted to stop the lecture because his yelling was making me angry already. Passion for Torah and Yiddishkeit is a great thing. But yelling about it? It makes it hard to hear or makes you not want to hear.
Please tell Rabbi Wallerstein, bubbe, don't yell at people, they'll listen to you better.

49

 Nov 18, 2013 at 07:06 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #39  
Anonymous Says:

1- Correct, and that is why there are many more individualized mosdos and programs than there ever were. Just last night, I spoke to a person whose son has learning challenges and is thriving in a special track for boys like him in a well known prestigious mosad.

2- I don't know who he spoke to or didn't speak to. "Mainstream yeshiva system" is a very broad category. The passion can be seen watching talmidim/os of mainstream schools davening with fervor in shul, learning well during seder, and learning/doing chessed outside school curriculum. You can see that every day, even amongst "average" ones, even though it doesn't get nearly the amount of press as the struggling kids.

3- I've spoken to various people in the field, particularly one person heavily involved in placement, and they say that as a rule yeshivos/schools are more reluctant to expel than they were previously, and they only do so after consulting a reliable gadol. I'm not saying every decision is correct, but they are mostly being responsible.

4- Precisely my point. Ahavas Hashem is most pronounced when we dedicate ourselves beyond the call of duty, not when we bend over backwards to make e/t easy.

On point #3, I challenge you. There is an entire new profession of "placement people" that were never needed in past years. The excuses for refusing to accept an applicant are getting more bizarre and ridiculous every year. The expulsions have continued at a feverish pace, with thousands of kids without yeshivos or schools. In the several hundred cases I deal with every year, I have never heard of a single one in which any reliable godol or Rav (not affiliated with the expelling school) was ever consulted. In this regard, yeshivos are more guilty than not.

I will add one point that has become more prominent lately. Expulsions or rejections based on finances. Many parents have suffered downturns in their incomes, and there are also many single parents who struggle to play dual roles plus breadwinners. These innocent children are too often being cast to the street like garbage because of money matters. Gedolei Yisroel ave spoken up, but there is no one listening.

Visit the public high schools in New York's 5 boros. Too many children from frum families, thriving (in the public school sense). Stop blaming parents.

50

 Nov 18, 2013 at 07:17 PM Flatbushmom Says:

Reply to #27  
somethings gotta give Says:

Oh really??? I just went to an open house for noted Brooklyn BY high school. In her speech to prospective parents applying to this high school principal talked about "throwing girls out" she used this exact quote three times that I turned to another parent sitting at my left and said. Is it me, or did you also hear this three times "throw out". How can a yiddishe neshama, a bas Yisroel be "thrown out" for not toeing the line. I am still waiting for a change in attitude as you assert with such conviction.

I know the school you're referring to, and this is a perfect example of people inheriting their position who have no idea how to run a school so they hire stupid minions who are no threat to them! I was not there but heard about it from another parent and I'm surprised that nobody got up and walked out. We too are responsible for the sorry state of our chinuch system.

51

 Nov 18, 2013 at 08:44 PM lakewooder Says:

Reply to #46  
Vayanibu Behashem Ubemoishe Avdoy Says:

Our sages say that if someone is lacking in Emuna in the Nasi Hador, (i.e. the Moshe Rabbeinu of the Generation), then it leads to "sfekas" in Emuna in Hashem too.

Learning Chassidus and having a Real Rebbe, is no longer an option nor a Hiddur, but a necessity to remain a Maamin in Hashem as illustrated and proven by the speaker.

Don't expect all those present at the Aguda Convention, to be capable of understanding this, never mind admiditing that without a Chssidic Rebbe and without learning Chassidus, they will continue to live in a vacum, devoid of the warmth and love of Yiddishkeit.

Where do our sages say that? Can you provide a source please?

52

 Nov 18, 2013 at 08:47 PM anonmous Says:

Reply to #5  
nostalgic Says:

I see the problem as youth are more interested in status and form rather than substance. You gotta be in the "in Yeshiva," "in neighborhood," "in summer development," "in fashion." The good old fashion values of being a baal middos,refined, humble, hard working and learned - are meaningless.

You are a refreshing voice of sanity to this survivor who despite of 7 years of Hitler of which 3 1/2 in concentration camps worked , raised children and has grandchildren of whom I am proud. The fact is no one seems to know or wish to know that the Rambam was a linguist and physician, Shammai a mason and Rashi a vintner. Derech eretz is not necessary once you wear a big silver atorah and a gartel you have fulfilled taryag mitzvos and derech eretz is irrelevant. We despise the goyishe government but are willing to grab as much as we can. Hard working is for Belgian horses or pferd. I hope your family adheres to your derech. How about Reb Yochanan h'sandler

53

 Nov 18, 2013 at 09:11 PM migraine Says:

Was waiting to hear from Rabbi Wallerstein HOW one is supposed to make yiddishkeit beautiful and not just monotonous. HOW one is supposed to help themselves and their children form a real relationship with Hashem.. Help us find solutions, don't just yell!

54

 Nov 18, 2013 at 11:02 PM Bukharian Says:

it's because of Rabbi Wallerstein, today i fully observe shabbat. he is a brilliant man that can relate to every young individuals and shares actually facts and life experiences

55

 Nov 18, 2013 at 11:18 PM mit-seichel Says:

Reply to #43  
Anonymous Says:

Mit-seichel should have a bissel mer seichel and listen to what he was saying. Of course there are many many children who are doing just fine, learning, midos etc. BUT do they do it because they enjoy it or because they are good kids and just do what they are told?

It's an open world today where youth face very heavy nisayonos. If despite that, they choose to learn, daven, remain ehrlich, etc., with some fervor and they feel fulfilled from it, I count that as a great accomplishment.

Whether their reasoning is because they want to please Hashem/do the right thing, or they happen to use the word "beautiful," they're essentially on very firm grounding. Again, we should certainly try to inculcate the beauty of Yiddishkeit, but must at the same time recognize that the yetzer hora blocks most of us from always, or even usually, seeing it just from that angle.

If kids stand up to the struggle and work hard to do the right thing with a passion, that's beautiful in and of itself, and be"H leads to them appreciating the beauty more as they mature.

Bottom line is that it's easy to criticize others and preach the virtues of doing things differently. There are a cross section of mosdos within the frum world, many of whom are a lot more in line with the vision espoused here. But fact remains is that their students aren't nearly immune from the challenges we tend to ascribe to those from communities/mosdos that are most frequently criticized.

56

 Nov 18, 2013 at 11:22 PM Theway2go Says:

Reply to #1  
mossad Says:

He is indeed a noble man, and his vision is real and pure for the sake of God. And yes, yidishkeit is beautiful!

This is why OurPlace, The Living Room, Minyan Shelanu and organizations with InRisk kids are unfortunately thriving today.
Thousands are being lost EVERY single year.

You have 8 children, imagine one got lost......no big deal I say, you have 7 others. That is the attitude the so called gedolim have towards the OurPlaces of the world.

57

 Nov 18, 2013 at 11:27 PM lakewooder Says:

Reply to #46  
Vayanibu Behashem Ubemoishe Avdoy Says:

Our sages say that if someone is lacking in Emuna in the Nasi Hador, (i.e. the Moshe Rabbeinu of the Generation), then it leads to "sfekas" in Emuna in Hashem too.

Learning Chassidus and having a Real Rebbe, is no longer an option nor a Hiddur, but a necessity to remain a Maamin in Hashem as illustrated and proven by the speaker.

Don't expect all those present at the Aguda Convention, to be capable of understanding this, never mind admiditing that without a Chssidic Rebbe and without learning Chassidus, they will continue to live in a vacum, devoid of the warmth and love of Yiddishkeit.

Where do our sages say that? Can you provide a source please?

58

 Nov 19, 2013 at 01:48 AM someone7777 Says:

I agree that learning should be enjoyable. If they don't feel the beauty and joy, then it's easy to just walk away. Torah and mitzvos need to to internalized into our heart. There are plenty of temptations out there. We need to help them be strong and feel that it's better to go with Torah. Help them understand it's value and the beauty and importance of our mission

59

 Nov 19, 2013 at 02:40 AM Anonymous Says:

I have not heard such piercing words of truth from a Rav since the petira of Rav Shimshon Dovid Pinkus.

60

 Nov 19, 2013 at 04:08 AM SeenSoMuch Says:

My 16 year old son is in a top tier yeshiva. He hates the morning seder and was spending the bulk shmoozing a corner with friends. When he told me, I hate Gemara" I wanted to change yeshivos. Because of the status of this yeshiva he didn't want to mess himself up to move to a different place. If he moves, it will affect which Bais Medrash will accept him- according to him. My solution was to band together with other parents and hire a private dynamic morning seder rebbe, and BH now he is learning very well. Tuition and this private tutor expense is financially a huge hit-I took on two extra jobs to afford it. (we are paying several expensive tuitions). But really is there any other choice? How can a parent not take action if a child feels this way. The problem is that now there is no time to learn with him at night, because I have to work the extra jobs. Now I want to hire a night rebbe for him during night seder. I have no more time or energy left to work more. I wish I could say I am the only one like this, but there are so many parents in my place. I will do anything I can to encourage his love of Torah to the point of exhausting myself....

61

 Nov 19, 2013 at 04:32 AM Anonymous Says:

The obvious solution was to address the rebbe of the morning seder but he yeshiva would not think of hiring anyone else to give over the morning shiur as this rebbe is one of their best-just not appealing in personality to my son and his friends. The point of this is that many parents do not understand how hard it is to fit the right mechanech to a child, and that different children need different approaches, and most stable yeshivos do not cater to an individual. It is akin to a factory churning out a product-this is our standard, meet it or leave. It is not the internet, the ipod or whatever that ruins the child-it is the boredom within the school that the has the child looking elsewhere. I think the solution is to invest more time and effort into mechanchim and give them the best tools to become interesting enough so that our kids want to be in class.

62

 Nov 19, 2013 at 09:49 AM shimonyehuda Says:

Reply to #12  
Yipyap Says:

R' Wallerstein is to liberal for me. But I do think what he saying is true but I feel it's in the more modern yeshivas. I have a relative who goes to a more modern mesivta and they only have three hours of shiur a day. I think they need to increas that a little

how does increasing shiur time make a p;erson love yiddishkeit?

64

 Nov 19, 2013 at 06:48 PM SeenSoMuch Says:

Not increasing shiur time-substituting the rebbe who is not reaching them, for one that is -during the same time the students have to be learning in the Beis Medrash. If my son will connect with this rebbe, and so far he has, then maybe I will be zoche to have a child who will love Torah and learning. And see the beauty in following the Torah. Exactly what the Rav is speaking about. But if there is no connection whatsoever, and I decided to ignore the issue, it would not be long before real problems would start to develop. Look, I'm not saying what I did is for everyone, nor is it a viable solution for everyone. All I'm saying is that we need to speak to our children and ask about their teachers and find out if they are feeling like they have or would like to have a relationship with their mechanech. If the answer is a resounding NO, then that is when the issues will begin. The mechanech of your child spends more waking hours with your child than you do per week. The influence is not to be underestimated!

65

 Nov 19, 2013 at 11:47 PM Crazykanoiy Says:

Reply to #9  
mit-seichel Says:

(continued) attitude overall, with a much greater emphasis on being friendly with students, delivering intriguing lessons, offering rewards, etc. Inflated test grades, or no conventional test grades, etc., are now prevalent where it was previously almost unimaginable. There is a much greater emphasis on the part of mechanchim(os) about the beauty and geshmak of Torah and yiddishkeit than there ever was. Etc., etc.

Yet, after all that, we keep on hearing the same things: Too rigid, too intense, too dry, etc.

Really?

There are schools who do all types of things that are mentioned, with virtually no competition, very lax rules, etc. Are their students immune from all this apathy? Not by a long shot.

Every joy and talent on planet earth comes with competition, scores, subjects, etc. Sports, art, acting, music, beauty pageants, business school, etc. We cannot properly motivate and educate our youth in Torah and Yiddishkeit, or anything else, especially anything academic, without these basic ingredients.

As long as the yetzer hora exists, it will always be tougher for the average Yid to learn Torah and keep mitzvos than it will be for a child to use an I-pod. (cont.

You are 100% right. Well said.

66

 Nov 20, 2013 at 12:15 AM Crazy Kanoiy Says:

Reply to #9  
mit-seichel Says:

(continued) attitude overall, with a much greater emphasis on being friendly with students, delivering intriguing lessons, offering rewards, etc. Inflated test grades, or no conventional test grades, etc., are now prevalent where it was previously almost unimaginable. There is a much greater emphasis on the part of mechanchim(os) about the beauty and geshmak of Torah and yiddishkeit than there ever was. Etc., etc.

Yet, after all that, we keep on hearing the same things: Too rigid, too intense, too dry, etc.

Really?

There are schools who do all types of things that are mentioned, with virtually no competition, very lax rules, etc. Are their students immune from all this apathy? Not by a long shot.

Every joy and talent on planet earth comes with competition, scores, subjects, etc. Sports, art, acting, music, beauty pageants, business school, etc. We cannot properly motivate and educate our youth in Torah and Yiddishkeit, or anything else, especially anything academic, without these basic ingredients.

As long as the yetzer hora exists, it will always be tougher for the average Yid to learn Torah and keep mitzvos than it will be for a child to use an I-pod. (cont.

Rabbi Wallerstein speech is filled with oversimplifications, overheated rhetoric and bombast. It is all too easy to blame the Rabbonim and Askonim for the many ills that plague our society.

RW is wrong when he claims that our educators do not stress the beauty of Yideshkeit. He wrong when he claims that Yiddeshkeit is all about effort and not results. The sages of the Mishna, Gemara, the Gedolei Rishonim and Achronim were all held in high esteem because of the information they mastered and not because of the effort they exerted. One who cannot master information taught, remains an Am Ha'aretz even if he exerts effort. (V'lo am ha'aretz chasid)

Furthermore he is not saying any chidushim. Rabbeim today are trained to connect with their talmidim and know not to overburden those that are overwhelmed by the work. Many programs exist for talmidim who are not academically inclined.

The Yetzer Horah is real and strong. It presents challenges to all of us. Mechanchim work hard every day to help their talmidim overcome these challenges. It is not easy.We need a mix of ideas to overcome these challenges not one man screaming all the answers.

67

 Nov 20, 2013 at 01:47 AM oldtimers Says:

Reply to #66  
Crazy Kanoiy Says:

Rabbi Wallerstein speech is filled with oversimplifications, overheated rhetoric and bombast. It is all too easy to blame the Rabbonim and Askonim for the many ills that plague our society.

RW is wrong when he claims that our educators do not stress the beauty of Yideshkeit. He wrong when he claims that Yiddeshkeit is all about effort and not results. The sages of the Mishna, Gemara, the Gedolei Rishonim and Achronim were all held in high esteem because of the information they mastered and not because of the effort they exerted. One who cannot master information taught, remains an Am Ha'aretz even if he exerts effort. (V'lo am ha'aretz chasid)

Furthermore he is not saying any chidushim. Rabbeim today are trained to connect with their talmidim and know not to overburden those that are overwhelmed by the work. Many programs exist for talmidim who are not academically inclined.

The Yetzer Horah is real and strong. It presents challenges to all of us. Mechanchim work hard every day to help their talmidim overcome these challenges. It is not easy.We need a mix of ideas to overcome these challenges not one man screaming all the answers.

Simply meshiga! Your comment is full of apikorsas. Repent and reset your mind. In Judaism it's the effort that counts.

68

 Nov 20, 2013 at 05:05 AM Sabapete Says:

Why blame the yeshivot? The responsibility of raising children with a love for "yahadut" lies with the family. Not in lessons, but in living. Children will learn if they grow up in an environment that exemplifies the very positive aspects of yahadut. The purpose of the yeshivot is to teach the coursework that yahadut requires. As for shiduchim, we live in a society that judges people based on whether they use plastic tablecloths on Shabbat, or whether they espouse higher, professional education, or not. Who's to blame here? Parents that have allowed the yeshivot to be responsible for teaching values. I want my grandchildren to learn how to interpret chumash and Rashi, how to learn Gemorrah, and so on. As for values? They'll learn that in their homes. If the yeshivot attempt to teach anything contrary to the values of the home, it's time to change yeshivot.

69

 Nov 20, 2013 at 07:56 AM MoshiachPleaseComeNOW Says:

The worst part what we say is that

"our kids are doing just fine in yeshiva"

Wake up smell the cholent!!!

What about those not doing fine??? Don't justify your facts over some percentage over another!! Every jewish boy is a whole WORLD!!!

70

 Nov 20, 2013 at 11:21 AM baytzimgedolim Says:

Obviously Reb W. HAS to go the Hotels that he's crying out against, so that he can set everyone straight!
He cant JUST make a big drosho about these issues, like he does on this issue.
He also likes to tell audiences not to have internet, look, HE doesn't have internet, he leaves THAT stuff to his 3 (yes, three) secretaries. Shouldn't we all do that?
Hmmm, just thinking!!

71

 Nov 20, 2013 at 02:03 PM Debby Says:

I would not allow you to say a bad word on that guy. He's special. gives away of his time and koach to help people in deed. gives shuirm for free 3 times a week. today just now he spoke to over 120 women to help them grow. he does so much... i guess your negativity really shows your missing the true love of yiddeshkite! ck out ohr navah

72

 Nov 20, 2013 at 07:20 PM stereotyping is so cool Says:

I love this comment! Its by #12 named Yipyap:

R' Wallerstein is to liberal for me. But I do think what he saying is true but I feel it's in the more modern yeshivas. I have a relative who goes to a more modern mesivta and they only have three hours of shiur a day. I think they need to increas that a little

What is so cool about this is that it shows how strong the concept of "stereotype" is

Ok...he says R' Wallerstein is to (sic) liberal for me.

Now, if you listen to what R' Wallerstein says, IT IS VERY RIGHT WING. (I know, I live in a right wing place). He mentions (in passing) how psychologists are really not saying anything new or what its hyped up to be, its all in the Torah.VERY frum.

He asks, where is the fire in Torah? Why is Daf Yomi not more animated? PRETTY frum. Totally right wing.

All his sources are based on medrash. Yeshivish. (I could bring more proofs but I dont have many characters remaining)

So why does Yipyap say he is too liberal? Is yipyap taliban? No, 1.he sees a clean shaven man 2.speaking decent english and thinks he must be left wing. Amazing. Even after hearing him! (no space left to show how dumb rest of yipyap coment is)

73

 Nov 27, 2013 at 11:01 PM daves1 Says:

zal d I think that the key problem is as follows: Many are not taught the following as a critical foundational principle to Torah: What is G-d's tachlis (purpose) in giving us commandments? To make us "feel good?" To make us "feel happy?" To "be nice?" To "get a reward or avoid a punishment?" How does not turning on a light on shabbos "feel good or happy?" Some say "to be connected to G-d." And how does one define such a thing?
No, the answer is this: G-d's purpose in giving us commands is for our sake in that our egotism becomes harnessed-sanctified in all different aspects of life, which in turn ipso factso seperates us from the ways of the animal kingdom and the nations by making us spiritually stronger human beings because a more self-controlled person is a spiritually stronger and better person. The laws of shabbos for example when observed throughout one's life harness our egotism is the area of creativity as chazal define. Eating only kosher food harnesses-sanctifies our desire to eat whatever we feel like. Putting up a mezuzah harnesses one's intellectual desire to think that all of one's possessions in one's home are the work of one's own machinations

74

 Nov 28, 2013 at 12:11 AM daves1 Says:

To continue along this theme, through studying the mitzvot, one continually learns more insights into how the mechanics of each mitzvah makes us special, spiritually stronger, and spiritually better human beings via the harnessing-sanctifying of our egotism in all different aspects of life, one then grows to appreciate the eternal greatness that G-d has given us via the mitzvot. In turn, this automatically causes one to love G-d; one can only love G-d when one appreciates the eternal greatness of strength of character-control that He has given to us. If one is not taught this foundational principle clearly, then one cannot really appreciate what these ritual-commandments do for the Jew as a human being. Instead one is performing mere rituals for who knows what reason; then he can come to the false conclusion that the purpose for G-d telling us to do these commands is to make Himself feel that He is in charge (as if He didn't already know that). Or perhaps it is to make us "feel good" as if waving a lulav or not turning a light on on Shabbos "feels good." Or to "feel smarter than someone who knows less Torah" i.e. another form of egotism.

75

 Dec 04, 2013 at 09:37 AM Mosheshmuel Says:

Rabbi W Thanks for your great words each time I listen to your Droshos. I cry I know I do so many averos I know A hot burning Gehenom is waiting for me. Please help me Please help all of Klal yisroel do a real Tshuva With love and joy Please daven for us Please continue reminding all of us men ladies Boys and Girls its time to make a cheshbon hanefesh ist time to start a new life its time to teach our children the real meaning of life the real meaning of torah the real meaning of love and chesed and not the bad way that the nochrim use toda rabba moshe shmuel

76

 Dec 07, 2013 at 10:47 PM TheVoiceOfTheIndividual Says:

Reply to #55  
mit-seichel Says:

It's an open world today where youth face very heavy nisayonos. If despite that, they choose to learn, daven, remain ehrlich, etc., with some fervor and they feel fulfilled from it, I count that as a great accomplishment.

Whether their reasoning is because they want to please Hashem/do the right thing, or they happen to use the word "beautiful," they're essentially on very firm grounding. Again, we should certainly try to inculcate the beauty of Yiddishkeit, but must at the same time recognize that the yetzer hora blocks most of us from always, or even usually, seeing it just from that angle.

If kids stand up to the struggle and work hard to do the right thing with a passion, that's beautiful in and of itself, and be"H leads to them appreciating the beauty more as they mature.

Bottom line is that it's easy to criticize others and preach the virtues of doing things differently. There are a cross section of mosdos within the frum world, many of whom are a lot more in line with the vision espoused here. But fact remains is that their students aren't nearly immune from the challenges we tend to ascribe to those from communities/mosdos that are most frequently criticized.

You are correct,but many children don't receive this message. They can't relate to the concept of taking action for the sake of pleasing Hashem. They can't relate to how amazing an accomplishment it is to take action,despite the Nisayanos.

Many of them currently relate the concept of action with perfection. They have been shown that the details of a Mitzvah are only there for the sake of accomplishment.

There is no Hashem in the picture.

And even if there was room for Hashem in the picture,there may be no room for themselves in the picture.

The Mitzvos are not only for the sake of Hashem alone. The Mitzvos give us a way to relate to Hashem,but that relationship is supposed to be a two way street.

Anybody can be obedient. If Hashem just wanted obedience,he wouldn't have even created us to begin with. The angels could do a much better job of that than we can.

77

 Dec 07, 2013 at 11:15 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #55  
mit-seichel Says:

It's an open world today where youth face very heavy nisayonos. If despite that, they choose to learn, daven, remain ehrlich, etc., with some fervor and they feel fulfilled from it, I count that as a great accomplishment.

Whether their reasoning is because they want to please Hashem/do the right thing, or they happen to use the word "beautiful," they're essentially on very firm grounding. Again, we should certainly try to inculcate the beauty of Yiddishkeit, but must at the same time recognize that the yetzer hora blocks most of us from always, or even usually, seeing it just from that angle.

If kids stand up to the struggle and work hard to do the right thing with a passion, that's beautiful in and of itself, and be"H leads to them appreciating the beauty more as they mature.

Bottom line is that it's easy to criticize others and preach the virtues of doing things differently. There are a cross section of mosdos within the frum world, many of whom are a lot more in line with the vision espoused here. But fact remains is that their students aren't nearly immune from the challenges we tend to ascribe to those from communities/mosdos that are most frequently criticized.

Continued:

The true novelty,and true purpose of Torah and Mitzvos,is that we are able to them become our own.

Freedom of choice allows us to have a say in the matter.

Intellectual knowledge allows us to understand what we are choosing on faith.
It allows us to identify ourselves as a whole.
It allows us to identify with the in's and outs of how we work.
It allows us to identify with the body of knowledge that makes us one and whole.

Emotional Knowledge allows us to experience that knowledge as individuals.

It allows us to relate to it.
It allows us to become affected by it on a personal level.
It allows us to find our level.
It shows us how it applies to us personally.
It allows us to identify ourselves as individual parts of the whole.

It allows us to internalize.
It allows that information to penetrate into every fiber of our being.

Unfortunately,there are too many children in todays generation who have an identity crises. They obey rules,but their connection is purely external. It is not coming from within themselves. It is a not a true choice.

78

 Dec 07, 2013 at 11:49 PM Avrohom Becker Says:

Reply to #55  
mit-seichel Says:

It's an open world today where youth face very heavy nisayonos. If despite that, they choose to learn, daven, remain ehrlich, etc., with some fervor and they feel fulfilled from it, I count that as a great accomplishment.

Whether their reasoning is because they want to please Hashem/do the right thing, or they happen to use the word "beautiful," they're essentially on very firm grounding. Again, we should certainly try to inculcate the beauty of Yiddishkeit, but must at the same time recognize that the yetzer hora blocks most of us from always, or even usually, seeing it just from that angle.

If kids stand up to the struggle and work hard to do the right thing with a passion, that's beautiful in and of itself, and be"H leads to them appreciating the beauty more as they mature.

Bottom line is that it's easy to criticize others and preach the virtues of doing things differently. There are a cross section of mosdos within the frum world, many of whom are a lot more in line with the vision espoused here. But fact remains is that their students aren't nearly immune from the challenges we tend to ascribe to those from communities/mosdos that are most frequently criticized.

Continued:

A true choice doesn't come through JUST doing things out of obedience. (not that obedience isn't important,of course.)

A true choice can only come when you know what you are choosing.

A true choice can only come through knowing what to choose,through understanding the implications,circumstances,and details upon which that choice revolves around,and finally,through knowing that your choice is true because of personal experience.

e.g.,A person can know intellectually that he should love a fellow Jew like himself. He can even know how he is supposed to do it. However,they may be only doing the Mitzvah for the sake of completing the Mitzvah.

They may not actually FEEL that love of his fellow Jew in his own heart.

When asked why he does the Mitzvah,may reply with,because I have to,because its a Mitzvah,etc.

They may not realize how it actually affects that other person.
They may not realize how it affects them personally.

They may not even know what love is to begin with.
They may not understand what love is from a philosophical and Chassidic point of view. They may not understand its deeper significance.

79

 Dec 08, 2013 at 12:02 AM Avrohom Becker Says:

Reply to #55  
mit-seichel Says:

It's an open world today where youth face very heavy nisayonos. If despite that, they choose to learn, daven, remain ehrlich, etc., with some fervor and they feel fulfilled from it, I count that as a great accomplishment.

Whether their reasoning is because they want to please Hashem/do the right thing, or they happen to use the word "beautiful," they're essentially on very firm grounding. Again, we should certainly try to inculcate the beauty of Yiddishkeit, but must at the same time recognize that the yetzer hora blocks most of us from always, or even usually, seeing it just from that angle.

If kids stand up to the struggle and work hard to do the right thing with a passion, that's beautiful in and of itself, and be"H leads to them appreciating the beauty more as they mature.

Bottom line is that it's easy to criticize others and preach the virtues of doing things differently. There are a cross section of mosdos within the frum world, many of whom are a lot more in line with the vision espoused here. But fact remains is that their students aren't nearly immune from the challenges we tend to ascribe to those from communities/mosdos that are most frequently criticized.

Continued:

A true choice comes when a person is faced with 2 different choices,understands both sides,has felt and experienced both sides,and yet,is still tempted to choose the wrong one.

Don't get me wrong.

Children need to be taught to stay away from something for the sheer fact that it is wrong. However,as they become older,they should be allowed to understand the choices that they are making,not just intellectually,but emotionally as well.

They should eventually be able to make choices on their own. Their choices should eventually be able to come through their own choosing.

80

Sign-in to post a comment

Click here to sign-in.

Scroll Up
Advertisements:

Sell your scrap gold and broken jewelry and earn hard cash sell gold today!