Jerusalem - Israeli Rabbi: Prominent Charedi Yeshivos Looking Away As Students Ditch The Beis Medrash
Jerusalem - An influential Israeli rabbi has slammed two prominent Israeli yeshivos, saying that the vast majority of students enrolled in those institutions of higher education are doing little, if any, learning.
Rabbi Yitzchak Cohen, an outreach activist and a self-proclaimed kabala expert, took both Yeshivat Chevron and the Mirrer Yeshiva in Jerusalem to task in a scathing rebuke, saying that of the thousands of talmidim enrolled, only a minute percentage are actually engaged in their studies, as reported by Israeli website Kikar Hashabat.
Rabbi Cohen said that while others have been afraid to speak publicly about the subject, he felt it necessary for people, particularly parents of these bochurim, to know the painful truth. He charged the yeshiva world with being “totally corrupt” and estimated that of more than one thousand students enrolled in Yeshivat Chevron, less than ten percent are in the beis medrash at any given time.
“There are 1,100 bochurim on the streets or in their beds,” said Rabbi Cohen. “1,200 bochurim in the Chevron yeshiva and you won’t find even 100 in the beis medrash.”
Rabbi Cohen also took to task the many yeshiva students who hitchhike and said it pained him to have to speak so harshly.
“It is better than I wouldn’t have been born than to have to air our dirty laundry like this but I have no choice,” said Rabbi Cohen. “Maybe I will be the Nachshon ben Aminadav and I will drop this bomb and maybe our eyes will finally be opened to the truth.”
Rabbi Cohen also took aim at students of the Mir, saying that while the yeshiva takes up an entire block and has thousands of talmidim, the same problems exist.
“Go during seder and see how many boys are sitting in the bais medrash and how many are sitting in local restaurants,” remarked Rabbi Cohen. “All of the restaurants and bakeries in the Bais Yisroel neighborhood know that during Nissan and Tishrei their business is terrible because the bochurim are away on vacation.”
Adding insult to injury is that parents who invest their entire being into raising their children send them to yeshiva in Israel, think that their sons will grow in their learning and fear of G-d, but many succumb to grave temptations, according to Rabbi Cohen.
“These boys go downhill,” said Rabbi Cohen. “The rabbonim cover for them and pretend not to notice and the parents have absolutely no idea. In previous generations things never deteriorated as far as they have today.”
Critics in the yeshiva world denounced Rabbi Cohen, saying his remarks had no basis in reality and defended the two yeshivas in question, as well as their students, saying that the majority of students are immersed in their studies throughout their waking hours.
“Better that he deals with what he knows how to do best, if there even are such things, instead of getting involved in things he knows nothing about,” said one.
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