Thursday, February 18, 2010
I've heard this here often, people telling me to look at Lakewood and see 6000 people hurreven in teyreh and see what a major success story it is. They see this as the dream of its founder coming to fruition, that somehow this is what he imagined - a town of thousands, brand new housing developments, and a Honda Odyssey in every driveway. They nebach think that it's some kind of shutdown tayneh they have against me; that after that I have nothing more to say. The truth is we all know that Lakewood is the churban America. America could have had thousands of marbitzei torah, and thousands of fine baaleibatim - OK, thousands more is what I mean. Now what we have in Yerushalayim D'Ocean County, NJ is a town of thousands of bitter, downtrodden and hopeless people. People without a purpose or mission in life. People who question their existence every single day and grind through it like hamsters running the wheel.
Now, before you try and rip my lungs out listen to this: These are not my words, but the words of a pretty prominent Rosh Yeshivah himself, as well as a known mashgiach and darshan. The graph we use here, which was published by the yeshivah administration themselves, is supposed to make us very excited, but in reality all it does is show us how they've deviated from the plan, despite what they'll tell you. The graph tells us that in 1962 there were 200 talmidim in Lakewood, which includes kolel yungeleit. The number was probably closer to 150. I know, there were less Jews and less Bnei Torah at that point in time. True, but it was also not a coincidence that 150 was the number. I once heard of a meeting between Rav Kopelman of Lucerne and the holy Rebbe Reb Aron of Satmar. The SR asked RK how many bachurim he had in his yeshivah at that time, to which RK responded that he had 200, adding that 200 was the maximum amount that he could control and keep tabs on. The SR, not to be outdone said that his limit is 1000 bachurim... They say that RK had nothing more to say to the SR, he realized who he was dealing with. But that's not the real point of the story, the point is that the monstrosities of Lakewood are not what the founders had in mind, simply because they don't work. They don't work because they provide no jobs - despite the fact that yeshivos are not created for the purpose of giving shtellers to the Rosh Yeshivah and his extended family - or are they?
If my eyesight isn't failing me I see that according to the chart provided graciously by BMG there were about 800 talmidim at the time of Reb (Yosef Chaim) Schneur's passing. That probably includes kolel yungeleit as well. It seems like RSK was trying to keep to the Kopelman rule, at least somewhat. I hardly believe that it was his dream that the yeshivah turn into the monstrosity it is now. Forget about the town itself and what IT has become, that's another story for another time. So what we have now is hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of yungeleit and not so yungeleit who do nothing but wonder what has become of them. They have no purpose, they see no goal in their learning and they have nobody to share what they learn with. AGAIN, I'm not speaking about shidduchim crises or discussing the issue of men not working or women working, or the fact these poor daughters ans sons of kolel yungeleit cannot afford to get married All we're talking about is the fact that the size of the yeshivah has stunted the growth of torah in America because it does not allow for torah to grow elsewhere. Yungeleit beg to be able to say a shiur or a chaburah anywhere, in ANY shul or mesivta, just to feel somewhat accomplished, otherwise they wonder what have I done with my life just sitting here?!
Who's responsible for this travesty?!
Listen to what I'm telling you.
.איך ווייס וואס איך רעד