The Chinuch Conundrum – Is Our System Inspiring Or Confining?

By LMSW S.L. A clarified response and continuation to yesterday’s article titled ‘In Defense Of The System’. Many of your responses show a misunderstanding of my intentions. I was specifically addressing the vast majority of responses regarding the Tolner Rebbe’s comments on chinuch which blamed the systems extreme focus on learning torah and becoming a Godol as the source of a child’s frustrations, failures and ultimate rejection.

I was not addressing our current system and its potential flaws. The reason I avoid that topic is because it is an extremely complex one that requires so much knowledge drawn from so many areas. It is so easy to criticize yet distinctly difficult to please.

All systems are imperfect and can never satisfy every need and aspect of the system. A system must attempt to encompass as many aspects of need as possible in the most efficient manner. While there are many exceptions, the majority of our Mosdos use a chinuch system that is based on tremendous wisdom and knowledge of the human personality, started by men who cared only about the wellbeing of the klal.

Chinuch works written by men such as Rav Shloime Wolbe and others have become indispensable in the chinuch world and principles and educators attempt to instill the values and atmosphere that reflect the Torah way as described by theses Torah greats.

Gedoilay Yisroel have been looked to for guidance by our school systems for generations and The Chazzan Ish, Chofetz Chaim and others have played a tremendous role in shaping and influencing our present chinuch perspective.

While clearly times change as do the needs and abilities of our children, Gedoilom have been consulted to ascribe the necessary changes that will accommodate these changes without detracting from the ways and wants of the Torah.

This is a dangerous and delicate balance and only one steeped in Torah knowledge and accepted as Daas Torah truly claim to reflect the authentic desires of the torah and the ribbonoi shel oilom.

For anyone other than a Godol to criticize and suggest areas of fundamental change, claiming that what they suggest is what the Torah wants is arrogant and inaccurate.

A plumber cannot correct the flaws in a space shuttle while a brilliant physicist cannot properly fix the worn sole of a damaged shoe. Our Gedoilom are the only trustworthy voice of what the Torah wants from us in today’s generation, with all its circumstances and difficulties.

This is why I am not disturbed when one points at a system that has flaws because the system was created by Daas Torah with tremendous insight, wisdom and direction from their predecessors and the systems leaders continue to uphold the system largely based on their love and desire to help our children achieve.

While there are horror stories and men in wrong places the majority of mechanchim are overstressed, underpaid and underappreciated for they are not in it for the glory or the money.

All systems have flaws and many flaws have been identified and addressed by mechanchim and educators in recent years. However for a layman unfamiliar with the history and intricate nuances of the chinuch system to profess having identified flaws with our system based largely on their own negative experiences is biased and unfair.

A company who wants to address their flaws hires an outside firm to assess and identify potential problems. These professionals must understand every nuance and aspect of the system and its interrelation with each other.

Many people cannot see the roe that they have played in a problem, whether it is their inflexibility, stubbornness etc… that may have contributed largely to the problem.

As an LMSW I am extremely familiar with the ongoing crisis of “Teens At Risk”. It is interesting to note that David Pelcovits and Shimon Russel both leaders in the field, created a pamphlet after addressing the topic at the Nefesh Conference a few years back. They identified a few specific problems and situations that would create a potential at risk behavior and none of those reasons had anything to do with a general pervasive failing of the school system but more correctly with the children.

This does not mean that the system is free of flaws or that the children are to blame. This also does not mean that the system must not attempt to address and rectify the problems that individuals within the system face on account of their own infallibility’s, shortcomings or failures. It merely means that the system is a long lasting proven one that comes from a great and loving place and that problems and solutions must be observed and initiated from the eyes of those who are most capable such as the mechanchim, principles and leaders of Klaal Yisroel.

With that out of the way I would like to go back to my initial response. An overwhelming majority of responses agreed that the real reason why children are struggling today in a learning environment is because our schools teach our children that learning all day is preferred and that going to work is not desirable. Our schools try and make all children in to Gedoilom when this is not realistic. Other responses agreed that the general method of rising up torah learning and lowering everyone else is the reason why all of our struggling kids are failing.

This is a one sided and extremely, biased, simple minded and shallow response. Anyone familiar with behavioral theory understands that human behavior is far too complex to attribute to one source. Behavioral theories are merely frameworks within which to understand behavior. To truly understand any particular behavior or trend one must take in to account all of the relevant theories and factors which is an extremely difficult task.

Many claimed that my defense was one sided not realizing that I was purposefully presenting the other side to a previous one sided opinion.

I was merely presenting the other side to the argument blaming our generation’s failures on the school systems inflated sense of priority.

I will now attempt to clarify and to re-address the issue based in part on some of the responses I have read.

First of all, the issue here is not one that can be measured by happy or sad boys as much as right or wrong chinuch in the eyes of the Torah. Certainly it is possible that children who are raised in the spirit of our Holy Torah but who are however surrounded by the pervasive and perverted society and its influences may indeed experience some disappointment and despair.

Certainly it is possible that our children who we have trained to get instantaneous gratification and happiness in a world of technology that is super-fast and gratifying can impede our children’s ability to study for long hours achieving satisfaction and success only after much effort.

Clearly children with learning disabilities will struggle and fall in a system designed for children without learning disabilities.

In all of the above cases , new methods of Judaism can be created to conform to the child’s ability’s and interests however clearly that would not be the correct approach. In the above cases we must address the problems in its infancy where it has begun and attempt to alleviate it in its adulthood to the best of our abilities. This does not mean by bashing or changing the system but by creating alternate systems to deal with these children who are struggling so.

As an illustration, the boy who is so infused with physicality, who loves his cell phone, dresses to kill, looks in the mirror more than his sister and who try’s his hardest to be cool and suave, clearly he cannot and will not sit and learn for hours on end nor will he enjoy it. This boy will best benefit himself and be productive if he finds a job and stability learning responsibility and maturity. This does not mean that we should start training all our children from the age of 5 to look for a job when their older or to start adding trade courses in grade school. Merely, in this example at precisely the time that the child has shown unequivocally that he cannot and will not be successful in learning is when we change course and allow him to succeed in other areas.

What happens now if he feels like a failure? What if he feels that others are more respected or he is looked down upon? Do we once again uproot the system and change our values to conform to his emotional future or do we help him deal with these realities providing alternate perspectives. A child who goes to work because he cannot learn anymore need not be persuaded that learning all day and studying god’s word at every possible moment is not the ideal!!! He simply must realize that the time has come where because that is not an option he can still be great and perfect in the eyes of the torah.

On the contrary one who has been brought up in a yeshiva system can use his strong belief in the goodness of torah and in the power of learning to keep him from going astray, for finding areas of learning that he does enjoy and to adhere to Halacha and modesty and honesty as much as possible. If he achieves as much he is successful. Is he the best that he was born to be? Who knows? Could it be had his life been a little different he may have embraced and enjoyed learning? Could be? Would he have gotten more schar? of course.

Do you get richer if you make more money? What if you’re making as much as u possibly can?

Ultimately the point is that ideals are not determined by individual preferences or sympathies but by the Torah. Our Torah is very clear that one should spend as much of his day possible learning the Torah, doing Mitsvos, abstaining from physicality, embracing spirituality and leading a life that is in every moment productively and directly bringing you closer to God. These ideals are nonnegotiable and for those who argue than the system and you share different philosophies and views. Unfortunately their view is in line with the Gedoilom and Baalei Mussers line of reasoning and yours with modern societies.

Which child from years ago would not give anything to snap and be a Gadol Byisroel???

How many of our working population would snap for that same desire???

Is this truly a question of ability or is there a fundamental and ideological aspect?

A good teacher teaches a value and ideal that is the dream. A child is made to understand that not everyone reaches the top but that everyone tries and his level of accomplishment should reflect his effort and not his laziness or lack of desire. Ultimately everyone is a winner if they do their best.

Teaching our children that learning Torah all day is best for their Neshamos and that Torah has the unique ability to transform their character and personality in to a refined and holy nature is not demanding and unreasonable but true and attainable.

Teaching our children to aspire to Rav Shach and not Mickey Mantle is not old school foolishness but priceless Chinuch.

Any boy who cannot achieve that much can only come as close as possible and achieve maximum success in ruchniyus if he sees absolute attainment of spirituality as ideal.

A boy who feels like a failure because his present status contradicts his inherent value systems and ideals needs therapy to uncover his mistake and to repair his shattered ego.

The working world is not looked down upon merely because it lacks the consistent learning. There is a simple truth that the more one learns the more his character is refined. Such a person usually acts in a way that exemplifies a godly individual and a Jew and serves as a positive role model to all human beings.

A person removed from this source of character perfection often goes the other way. The longer a person stayed in yeshiva successfully the more his life represents that of his yeshiva years. The earlier one opted out usually the more his life reflects physical desire and not spirituality. A child who works at a young age does not merely lack learning as much as he should but walks, talks, watches and speaks like the non-Jews. When the Halacha like tsniyus which are crystal clear is compromised, we are obviously being corrupted by the outside.

The working world threatens to corrupt more than the leaning world. Many times those that fail go in to the working world and decline naturally. Others leave in a timely fashion but slowly change their strong stringencies and beliefs and become more lenient to fit the times.

Is this preferred or even the same good as learning?

Why must we be afraid to admit that we and the ideals are different? I am a teacher and a social worker and have not much time any more to learn. I wish I did though and I am not at all ashamed of my positions. I do not feel like a failure because I appreciate and understand who I am and what I really consist of. Are there behaviors of mine that don’t reflect the purest purity of the Torah? Certainly! However I acknowledge the incongruity and hope for the day when I feel ready for the positive change. I am proud to live in a community that affords our children the opportunities and the values of our heilege Torah and these values and yearnings should never be extinguished!!!

A technology course will raise Steve Jobs on a pedestal of honor and may even delinieate his road to success and develop business strategies that draw largely from his brilliance although it is most likely that nobody in the course will be the next Steve Jobs. Will that failure discourage them? Will they give up and despair merely because they cannot think and act as he did? No! but they will be driven and guided by his image and ideas for the rest of their career.

The problem here is not the ideals but the incorrect sense of failure our boys experience on account of their inabilities or shortcomings. This can be addressed through therapy and through creative and innovative projects and programs and much has already been going on over the last decade to combat these terrible sufferings from our treasured children and their caring parents.

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  1. I couldn’t agree more . i am no professional by any means but i do have a few kids in schools in Lakewood and i would love to see them hire someone as yourself to run / make changes in town.

    Thanks and keep up the gr8 work

  2. I agree that our education institutions are but one influence (of many) in our childrens’ development/lives. As a whole, our educational system has made huge strides in attending to the needs of all its students. This rings true in regard to the community attending to the needs of those with mental illness as well.
    I do not agree with the following quote:
    “However for a layman unfamiliar with the history and intricate nuances of the chinuch system to profess having identified flaws with our system based largely on their own negative experiences is biased and unfair.”
    Our children are our quality assurance. They act as an internal monitor. As professionals we MUST acknowledge the feelings of the individuals we work with (and for). I digress, for the most part the system functions exceptionally well. But like the famous theorist Benjamin Bloom, each of our children learns differently. As educators we must try our utmost to acknowledge this fact.
    There are those who continue to have difficulty in acknowledging the significance of the issue. It is for this reason that I believe are greatest problem is not the problem itself but rather our acknowledgment that there is a problem. Our children are sending us a very clear message… Are we listening?

  3. I was debating whether I should respond to this post as I really said all I was going to say on the last post. I decided that I couldn’t let this go unchallenged. It is clear that the writer of this post has the best intentions and clearly wants to serve HaKodosh Baruch Hu in the best possible way. The only problem is that he would be unable to find a single Maamorai Chazal to support his position, to the contrary they say just the opposite. To paraphrase a few…

    Harbei Assa K’rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, but Chazal tell us this is not the approach. One is obligated to teach his son an Umnos. Yaffa Talmud Torah Im Derech Eretz. Derech Eretz Kodmah L’Torah. Derech Eretz preceded the Torah by 20 Doros. The Rambam says it is Assur to take money for Limud Hatorah. etc etc etc.
    I believe you are making a fundamental mistake, there is nowhere in the Torah that demands that we be Gedolai HaTorah or even to “exclusively” learn Torah. It is demanded of us to do one thing and one thing alone… to be Ovdai HaShem. Now it is true that Talmud Torah K’neged Kulam, but it does not say Tamud Torah Zeh Kulam. There are many ways to be an Ovaid HaShem and dedicated ones life to Limud HaTorah is one of them but that does not make a person who chooses a different path and yet dedicates the rest of his time to Limud HaTorah any less in the eyes of the Rebono Shel Olam.

    I take strong exception to your hypothesis that learning all day is “shooting for the stars” as if a professional that is Koveah Ittim LaTorah is less than shooting for the stars… That would make Rabbi Yochanan HaSandler somehow less of a Tana in your mind. It would be like saying that a Cardiologist is somehow less than a Neurologist, no, they simply do different things.

    If this is true you may ask, why is the system more closely to your view than to mine? Great question, I wish I would have asked that myself. The answer is that after the devastation of the last generation, we lost so much Torah and Gedolei Torah, coupled with a new country and new challenges, the only way to guaranty the survival of Torah was to make a Horaas Shah, that all men should exclusively learn Torah and nothing else. Were it not for the foresight of our Gedolim we would have little to no Torah today. There is no question that this single act saved Torah in America and beyond. Today the challenges are different and this Horaas Shah approach is having just the opposite effect. We need to open our eyes and hearts to what our children’s generation needs and offer an opportunity to serve the Rebono Shel Olam in every opportunity that we have and become a true Mamleches Kohanim V’goy Kaddosh (See Rav Hirsch’s commentary on that Passuk).

  4. I didn’t have time to read the entire article, but I did notice that you used the term “Daas Torah”.

    I would like you to know that EVERY Da’as Torah that I have spoken to over the years has told me that the system is MESSED up. They don’t know what to do about it, but they all realize that the system as is is not working for too large a percentage of our children.

    I remember about ten years ago when all the Roshei Yeshiva in America signed a letter telling everyone that the Derech Halimud today in America is plain wrong, and that it is imperative to learn quicker and finish mesechtos. Did anyone listen????? Not at all.

    And that is just one small detail,

    The Roshei Yeshiva today know (for the most part) that the system is messed up, and that they don’t know what to do.

    I know one big Rosh Yeshiva who told me personally that he has no idea how to deal with “problem children” – go to the specialists.

    The answer?????? There is no one answer.

    But don’t say that Da’as Torah thinks this sytem is great.

  5. TT Why did you stop at the Rambam ? Could it possibly be that you could not find acharonim and poskim to continue your extreme and unrealistic position? Aren’t you ignoring the mephorshei HaRaM and S.A..that yes matir taking money for Limud Hatorah? and those that would no way call an average Kollel learning schedule “doing like Rebbi Shimon.” I agree with the writer the system needs tikunim al pi Morei Horaah not radical surgery.

  6. I agree with Torah Truth, and would like to add the following.
    Why does the kesuva indicate that the husband should support his wife financially? Is this kesuva only meant for those “working” men? If so, why is there not another version available for the learners? Also it is foolish to think that all young men who are not cut out for full time learning are cool and sauve, and attachd to their cell phones and mirrors. I would like to reiterate from a previous posting that, as a shadchan, if you have a son who is going to be working after marriage and is kovei itim and sincerely frum, there are plenty of frum young ladies today who will be happy to marry your son and be supported by him. She may even have the extra bonus of being able to be at home – at least part time – and raise her own children 🙂 (And that certainly was the way of life in previous generations.)

  7. agree totally to #3
    #4 so the jewish nation was extreme for the past few thousand years up until the last few decades.
    The fact is that it was very different than today, while there was a shevet Yissachar and/or shevet Levi that exclusively learned and taught Torah, the rest of Klal Yisrael, were Lomdei Torah and they went to work!
    It can be that today it is not right the way, that is up to the Gedolim to decide, but it’s definitely not an ‘extreme’ position.

  8. to quote you sir

    “The working world threatens to corrupt more than the leaning world. Many times those that fail go in to the working world and decline naturally. Others leave in a timely fashion but slowly change their strong stringencies and beliefs and become more lenient to fit the times.”

    Sorry charlie you are quoting stamdard (moderated) here and the problem is, it is not entirely accurate. For some working is the best thing, it makes them value their learning time much more. Better a shtark kevea ittim than a battlan in beis medrash all day long. The notion that we can assembly line fashon “produce” gedolim has long been proven a mistaken notion. You mean well sir, but take it from someone who has been there, it’s the freinds one keeps, and the mussar that one learns that keep one from falling in the working world, not the fact that he is no longer in kollel.

  9. There is much to say on this topic but I would like to add some thoughts to what I have already said.

    The writer of this article is factually wrong, inconsistent, and misleading, First to the facts. The writer states “Gedoilay Yisroel have been looked to for guidance by our school systems for generations and The Chazzan Ish, Chofetz Chaim and others have played a tremendous role in shaping and influencing our present chinuch perspective”

    Really? Our Chinuch system was set up by the Chazon Ish and Chafetz Chaim? The Chafetz Chain wasn’t alive when the American Chinuch system was established and as best as I know the Chazon Ish had no part in ti at all. Actually, our system that includes Limudai Chol was established here in America by Rav Moshe, Rav Henkin together with Rav Breuer (who was the Zaken of the Gedolim in America)., so if anyone changed “the system” it is the people that take your point of view.

    He then goes on to say: :”For anyone other than a Godol to criticize and suggest areas of fundamental change, claiming that what they suggest is what the Torah wants is arrogant and inaccurate.”

    Really? Where in the Torah do you find this concept? Please don;t quote me Mussar Schoozen, our Mesorah is based on Torah and Chazal not some story you read in an Artscroll book on a Gadol’s life!

    As to our Gedolim being the voice as to what the Torah wants of us… let us assume this is a correct statement, I certainly have no reason to doubt it. however, I can personally tell you of a Gadol B’Yisrael, who shall remain nameless but is recognized as such the world over who told this following to me personally. and I quote… ” The system needs to change, and if I could I would change it, but as soon as I would try I would be Ois Gadol” end quote. He was not concerned about his Kavod, he was concerned with being unable to achieve other things if he would lose the “respect” of the masses. So i ask you… do you really know what the “Gedolim” think or what “Daas Torah” really is??? Take a look at Rav Shteiman whose life was threatened (and still is) because the fanatics didn’t like what he said. He had the courage to stand up for what he believes is “Daas Torah” and I personally saw the signs all over Mea Sharim saying the most vulgar things about this Gadol. You know what Daas Torah is?

    There is a world between Rav Shach and Mickey Mantel and it is a silly comment that frankly frightens me that you work with kids at risk. Are these the only two choices? This comment that you made IS the problem and what needs correction. Your utopian world-view is not only unrealistic but dangerous to our children (spoken as a father and grandfather).

    I am in no way frowning on the Kollel lifestyle, it should be supported and admired… but it is not for everyone and not what Chazal teach us as I stated before. Your idealism is admirable, but to try an impose it on everyone is dangerous.

  10. To NY res: I won’t stop at the Rambam… Ran, Meiri, to later days… Aruch Laner (Rav Yaakov Ettlinger), Rav SR Hirsch, Torah Temimah all Gedolai Hungary, all Gedolai Ashkenaz, Gedolai Teman, Gedolai Aida HaMizrach… need I go on?

  11. You are surprised that I have worked with kids at risk, yet I am surprised that knowing who I am and assuming that we know each other you seem unable to control or mask your biased emotions and outright anger and hostility that need not enter this discussion?
    Do you get angry every time somebody disagrees with your opinion? Hmmm that’s funny because you seem so set against our school systems for being stubborn yet you seem no different.

    You have also muddled all of my comments in to one combining my Mickey mantle comment and my stance on the system in to one convoluted jumble although I clearly separated the two for obvious reasons.

    When I spoke of the Chazon ish and Chofetz Chaim contributing to our systems structure, I merely said that their ideologies and philosophy’s have played A ROLE in our chinuch PERSPECTIVE not that they actually created the system. Here is the direct quote “Gedoilay Yisroel have been looked to for guidance by our school systems for generations and The Chazzan Ish, Chofetz Chaim and others have played a tremendous role in shaping and influencing our present chinuch perspective” .
    .Additionally I thought I was super clear that there may be flaws in the system and I was not attempting to deny that. I was however attempting to avoid it because it is too complex for me to take a stance that may be a result of too little information and knowledge regarding behind the scene discussion and workings. I too believe that the yeshiva system prepares each student to succeed in learning providing no life skills nor corrections with which to transition after marriage in to the working field yet I also believe it very difficult to pinpoint a reason for struggling children when the behavioral theories and relevant hypothesis are too numerous and scattered. Which theories do we follow? Which changes do we make? If we start training our children in trade or other occupational skills are we maybe corrupting some who may have become tomorrow’s Gedoilom? Are we perhaps going to dampen the yeshiva system and produce all workers? I simply find it complicated and able to admit that these are complex decisions that must be guided by real Daas Torah whomever you consider them to be. My main argument and reason for my post was regarding one specific idea.

    My comparison to Mickey mantle was merely to provide a cute illustration to my argument that although many won’t become Gedoilom there is no reason not to raise them on pedestals as the ideal and provide our children with the understanding that these holy individuals are what keep us alive and protect us in Galus. Perhaps your anger has blinded you from my arguments forcing incoherent, semantic, hair splitting diatribe!!

    I was simply claiming that to raise learning and Gedoilom on a pedestal an to portray it as an ideal need not contradict working and being ehrlich or working and being the best one can be.

    The system may need to be changed and I am all for that however I am against personal hatred and agenda pushing which u happen displaying so nicely ….
    It is the emotion and the personal element that corrupts honest dialogue and evaluation regarding our children. Clearly there is a problem because our children are not happy or satisfied and clearly we have a responsibility to do all we can to help our children however lack of respect for others and angry outbursts will only sow the seeds of discord rather than initiate the roots of correction…

  12. By the way…. The reason why I worked with kids at risk was because I was able to relate to them , connect with them, show them unconditionall love and was overall extremely successful in helping them achieve satisfying change. Indeed i have done the very things you seem upset at the system for being unable to accomplish yet ironically you have criticized me too !!
    Can it be that you seem able to find arguments whenever necessary regardless of the positions stated?
    Can it be that perhaps you are bitter or argumentative by nature unable to sift through and differentiate between truth and emotion?

    Be it as it may I will conclude by being Dan lekav zchus that you did not intend to sound as harsh as u did, or that your passion got the best of you or that even if you meant to insult and criticize it is because I may have inadvertently criticized you previously in a different post. Be it as it may if I did insult you or belittle your position I meant no such thing. You have made some very valid and interesting points although I still disagree . May our continued dialogues be free of malice in a respectfully quest for the truth!

  13. My friend, I have no idea who you are and I dont believe I have expressed any anger. In fact if there is anyone who is presenting a diatribe… Let’s just say its not me. Am I passionate about my position? Yes. That is because I believe it to be Toras Hashem Temima and I am greatly concerned with the environment that is dictated by the extreemism, that my children and grandchildren are subjected to. I wish you Hatzlacha and the fervent hope that you think about the content of my argument and not any emotion that you find in them real or imagined.

  14. Well if you are not angry then I gues that leaves only one option-mean!
    That is much worse in my opinion.

    As to my imagined insults lets begin to quote from your response.

    1.The writer of this is article is……inconsistent and misleading.
    Inconsistent? How? Missleading???? That is quite an accusation.
    I presented my side and if you disagree present yours but misleading???

    2. A few times you quote me and then say “Really”? I dont believe that asking really in a sarcastic fashion before attempting to rip apart an argument is respecful on the copntrary such language makes the writing personal and takes away from its logic and authenticity.

    3. Your argument that says “And please dont quote me musser shmuzen ……our mesorah is not some story you read in a artscroll book on a gadols life!! again why the heavy sarcasm in attempting to disgree. I am not an idiot dont write to me as if i am. If one said to his wife “and please dont quote one your idealistic seminary teachers too prove your point life is not seminary” I promise you the argument will only have become intensified.

    4. You ask after arguing regarding Daas Torah “You know what Daas Torah is”? Why not? why wouldnt I? Oh only you know?
    once again your comments reek of dissrespect and open confrontation. Why not describe your view of Daas Torah and show why that conflicts with mine? need we outright just challenge a person?

    5. And finally your worst comment ” there is a world of a difference between rav shach and mickey mantle and IT IS A SILLY COMMENT and frankly it FRIGHTENS ME THAT YOU WORK WITH KIDS AT RISK.

    Anger? Hostility? dissrespect? mean comment? personal attack?

    I DONT EVEN HAVE TO EXPLAIN THAT ONE……. mention my “utopian world view” another mean title to detract from my position without you needing to substantiate with any facts or logic. Forget labeling my innocent ipinion as naive or utopian or inconsistent etc just argue your point!!!!!!

    7. And finally you end by saying that I should stop imposing my view on people????

    was I imposing?

    Have I forced anyone in to believing anything?

    If anything your comments have the taste of the bully with degrading and insulting undertones…..I merely presented one side of an argument and even explained that that was all I was doing!!!

    I used my professionall knowledge of behavioral theory to make what I believed to be valid points…..

    Either you are mean or simply unaware of your projected image. Either way I think it is obvious that imagination has nothing to do with this. Lets leave imagination for the Artscroll stories shall we ???

  15. For the record how should I take this comment?

    “This is a one sided and extremely, biased, simple minded and shallow response. Anyone familiar with behavioral theory understands that human behavior is far too complex to attribute to one source. Behavioral theories are merely frameworks within which to understand behavior.”.

    Who was complaining of disrespect and mean spiritedness?

  16. You are right and I only realized afterwards and it was too late. When I wrote it I was passionately disagreeing with the idea that many people are quick to claim to have found THE REASON for our current crisis and this causes endless machloikes. Everyone seems to have a monopoly on the one cause so who do we listen to ? Do we change everything ? If we ignore most than most are till stubborn and upset.

    When I read through my comment I regretted writing it like that. I usually write articles where I Adress a general idea or concept and when I disagree it cannot be personal for I am not adreasin any one individual . I have never responded in such a website forum where my comment is a direct response to another’s . I simply didn’t realize at the time I would be insulting you as your position.

    Have a good shaabos and I am truly sorry if my comment offended you or belittled your position .

    On the contrary apart from what I felt to be a personal element to our disagreement I enjoyed the dialogue immensely.

    I am impressed with your writing and it is obvious that you are intelligent and well. Erased in history and Halacha/ gemorroh.

    May we continue to disagree respectfully and a agreement once in a while would be nice too.

  17. I am a bochur no longer in yeshiva and I feel I may be able to provide a perspective from my “side”. I used to be a serious bochur. In the younger grades in mesivta where the focus was on bekius and learning gemara with rishonim, I excelled. I learned masechtas and put a lot of effort into learning. Then I hit 11th grade and the focus switches to lomdus. We learned 5 different explanations on every small piece of gemara that all sounded the same to me. My mind couldn’t deal with this kind of thinking. No longer was it enough to learn the material. You had to sit in the bais medrash for 12 hours a day or else you weren’t respected. I couldn’t do that; I couldn’t sit still like that for so long. So I was made to feel second class in yeshiva. At that point my religious observance began sliding as I didn’t feel success where I was. I ended up moving to an easier paced yeshiva but they had the same nessage- that success was learning all day. I finally ended up leaving yeshiva and my religious observance is starting to improve. But I still have a long way to go.

  18. I am sorry to hear about your struggles and pain. The fact that you are even attempting change after such rejection attests to your strength of character and inner beauty. May you continue to be successful in your growth…

    I myself experienced many who couldn’t even understand the Shiur delivered in Yiddish myself included.
    I do agree at least in theory that one specific approach often skips over the individuals leaving many to fall by the wayside.

    The yeshiva system would probably benefit by a more specific individual oriented , range of programs with flexibility.

    Perhaps three speperate shiurim for each Shiur learning with varying styles and speed.
    Again even this suggestion presents enormous difficulties . Yeshivas are alteady struggling how could they afford to pay two additional rebbein per grade?

  19. listen to # 18 and realize that he is not the exception to the rule. The false vaneer soo many bachurim feel they have to put on proves that the yeshiva system is failing them.

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