Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Lakewood Elephant


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

53 comments:

Mottel said...

Well written.

ce said...

Does anyone know what the rate of population growth is in the Frum community and how that does or does not parallel the Lakewood enrollment numbers?

Anonymous said...

If you only knew the Half of it, we all know whats a few exits away and how many go there on a regular basis plain addicts.The gaonim who sleep till 1 or 2 pm and then only sometimes put on teffilin but as they say Lakewood is like Geheniom no wants to go but everyone ends up there.

SDR said...

Hirshel you are dead on with this post. I wonder how the revisionists will deal with the fact that until recently every book that mentioned the founding of BMG related that R' Ahron Z"L chose Lakewood because it was secluded and not... well, what it's become. You probably won't be seeing that Artscroll anymore. There was no CEO by R' Ahron and they didn't have $700.00 strollers ans sushi restaurants. BTW you didn't even have to wear white shirts back then. (Anybody know where the current yeshivishe dress code comes from)?

You are right though that Lakewood is killing all of the other cities in America. I've heard that R' Elya Z"L supported a 5 year and out rule but it was unenforceable. I think you'd have to agree that the mass move to "the woods" is indicative of kibbutz hagoliyus and that Moshiach will surely be here b'karov b'yomeinu!

feh said...

This is complete shtoos vihevel and ploiderai of the worst order. The kol toirah and koiach hatoirah of lakewood is noira vuyoim. Go learn there with a chavrusa during seder and see for yourself. Go to one of the chaburas where yungelei mulaih vigudish with toirah and yiras shemoyim are knoking away. This is pure sinas yisroel of the worst order.

Uber Kol Hoimer Loi Luveese keiloo oimer loi puraitee. Dhaiinoo if your wrong about your assessment of what goes on inlakewood, and your dead wrong my friend, then you and anash are in gantzen ubgefrekt. You must believe that otherwise why else would you conjure up such drivel.

Tell me you did this just to raise traffic at your blog and i'll be moichel you. Alts i duch muttar far parnasah.

fakewood inc. said...

i think you are wrong in the sense that its becoming more and more like a big city and there are several small yeshivahs alll around. i doubt the majority stay in the bmg unless they are really dedicated.

Friendly Anonymous said...

the answer is to open new community kollelim in large cities all across america, and send the chevra out on shlichus

Yerachmiel Lopin said...

HZ,

Yes you are right. At RAK's petirah there were the same number of students as Slutzk at its peak.

But AK, Jr. has mastered the economies of scale in 4k students. The family gesheft which owns the real estate has figured out how to make money per student and more money by having more students. Any normal yeshivah is in big mortgage debt. BMH is a sprawling real estate and family employment agency. Too bad most of the kollel leit can not get to join the business. Also too bad the hanhallah focuses on its business interests at the expense of community needs.

Lakewood has also been in the leading edge in the growth of "at risk", sorry, I meant "challenged" kids.

itchiemayer said...

They (BMG) have, as of about two years ago, hired someone whose job is to identify cities where they could start Kollelim.
He is a true yiras shamayim, and has spent many years as an integral part of the St. Louis Kollel. He has an office in BMG, but has tried to make it work using St. Louis as his home base, but he is now in the process of moving his family to Lakewood.
I tend to agree with HT's post, but hopefully Rabbi Levitansky can help rectify this situation, at least to some degree.

snagville said...

I will try to be somewhat succinct in analyzing your post. But I have a few very important points. #1. The growth rate itself is not excessive. Learn a little calculus the first derivative is not accelerating. Look at a 100 year chart of the Dow Jones and you will see the same thing. It just means that something has a good growth rate therefore after a long period of time it pops up (I'm sure a shluchim chart looks the same.
2. Just like N words are allowed to call each other the N word, I and this Rosh Hayesiva are allowed to express this sentiment. But you my dear HT are not. You have not earned the right to do so and I am afraid as one of the other commenter has mentioned it comes from anti-torah. And his other comment is right you are definitely overstating the issue as there is a tremendous amount of learning going on on a very high level.
3. So what is the real issue? the way i see it is twofold. A) this idea of something that was for the elite is for everyone has manifested itself in all walks of American life and not only with Kollel but it is a real issue as the result is perhaps 10-15% people who really don't belong there. (they are the real issue. the newlyweds who play the Kollel game for 1-3 years while not learning don't really affect anything other than making working stiffs like you and me jealous so I am removing them for the equation). And B)How is this affecting the rest of America. The vacuum that is Lakewood is so strong it sucks everyone and everything in (including myself). this is killing the out of town communities and Brooklyn to some extent.
Discuss amongst yourselves the solutions (after we solve global warming, belly button lint and other crises).
No answers but I think I clarified some of the issues.

gershon said...

Tzig,
You have stated that you have never ever been to BMG.I"m not sure if you have ever been to the shtot itself.Even if you have,you have hardly ever been to Lakewood.
After these basic facts you must think that ALL your readers are,nebach,Lubavithers, who think what you think,not because it's true,just because of a bias against Bnei Torah.
To even start analyzing what "Lakewwod" is about an objective and reasonable person who take the time to visit,snoop around a bit,that give out an opinion.In your case it's probably useless because you've never allowed "facts" to get in your way.Many Lubavitchers for example, have never allowed a fact that happened 15 years ago to get in their way either.

The bottom line is that Lakewood is one of nicest places to live in.There is an unbelievable ammount of Torah and Yiras Shomayim, and the best and the brightest from far and near, chasidim and misnagdim, live and study together beshulem.Are there problems?Sure, but by and large it's a wonderful place to live and learn and evetually earn a parnusseh.

Dovid said...

.איך ווייס וואס איך רעד
"Listen to what I'm telling you"

The above quote was the "clincher" for me!! A guy who obviously does not know what he is talking about "wins" me over by claiming he does!
Circular logic???
You could not think of a better argument, like "I saw this in the Igress"? "A shliach told me"
"The dog ate up my other post"
C'mon, raise up the level, please.

James Dean said...

What I love about this graph is the demontration of the fallacy that the Yeshivishe Velt is simply recreating what we had in that mini Olam Haboh that was called Europe.

We now have orders of magnitude more Kollel Avreichim as a percentage of frum population than at any point in our recorded history.

I cannot figure out how this is sustainable but I am sure that there are folks out there that would say I simply lack Emunah. I think this is a denial of Hashem's creation that we call nature.

Anonymous said...

Hirch,

Notwithstanding your convenient representation that you "know what you are talking about," it appears that your hatred toward non lubavitchers is getting way out of hand. And I write this as a former gevorener myself.

You appear to be concerned about the fact that BMG is too big. Ok. Look at your ilk. The rebbe clearly failed miserably at managing hundreds of thousands of people, leaving a legacy of thousands--if not tens of thousands-- of am horaatzim and sonei torah (except kabalah which they think they understand!) and sonei mitzvos who care only about glorifying their dead leader who could be outlearned by any rosh chabura in BMH, and probably Aron Kotler, Jr, as well). When you fix that problem, i.e., your own problem, and then become and ehrlich yid who learns torah, and then move to Lakewood, learn the actual metzios, and then decide if there are any problems to fix. Until then, you do nothing but continue to demonstrate your lack of worth and significance as a human being.

StamAYid said...

Tzig, your view on the meaning of "accomplished" or "productive" is very different from others. For instance, the Ba'al Ha'Tanyeh very clearly states that Limmud Hatorah is the greatest "accomplishment" a human being can attain. Others are of the opinion that being "Mekarev" non-religous yidden in some far-out hick-town and organizing large lag B'omer parades as being "productive"

However, why pick on Lakewood when the average yid in BP Willi Monsey etc. lives a montonus life of constant rushing thru kavonoh-less davening, non-stop eating of unhealthy food, nightly chasunah/vort hopping, trying to make sense of why he is not making ends meet when working so hard at a thankless job, still cant make heads or tails of a shtikel gemooreh rashi even with Artscroll/Mesivtah/Chavrusah gemores, wives that have given of hope on ever getting a restful night. and the list goes on. Please tell me, DO YOU CONSIDER THIS LIFESTYLE ACCOMPLISHED OR PRODUCTIVE? Do THEY HAVE A "MISSION" OR "PURPOSE" IN LIFE?

I think we don't need to post a "graph" depicting the rate of people in "OUR" circles going on prozac (or should be doing so), it would just rise above the top of your 24" screen.

If you are trying to use Lakewood as an example of our failed society, so-be-it, but don't justify your and our misery by magnifying the failure of others, we are all in the same boat. It is sinking fast.

Friendly Anonymous said...

I know many people who were born in Crown Heights, moved to Boro Park/Flatbush, and later moved to Lakewood. Do you have any reason to believe that this pattern of migration will stop, and that Lakewood is the promissed land?

You really think that CEO A.K. can do a better job of keeping Lakewood together than was tried in Crown Heights in the '60s/70s? and if not, why the angst?

The Bray of Fundie said...

A. I think you paint way too bleak a picture and that and that Snagville and Gershon brought some balance and moderation to the discussion

B. As far as draining the vitality out of other communities and Yeshivas.. I don't think that this is the product of some venal conspiracy by the Kotler family but the effects of self-induced mass hysteria and self-inflicted group brainwashing by the yungeleit themselves. They've all convinced themselves that if they move away even as close as Toms River that they are imperiling the olam haba of their kinder l'dorei doros. If , kholila, they send their kids to the "wrong" cheder or Bais Yaakov, WITHIN Lakewood, that they are doomed for life.

Their must be some happy medium between the extremes of Shlukhim willing to live alone in some varvorfeneh lokh without another frum Jew in a 250 mile radius convinced that this will not be a detriment to their kids in any way, shape or form and the equally extreme folks of Lakewood or Monroe who think that just beyond the five mile radius of their home lie the gates of Hell.

C. As for the "Rav Koppelman rule" it's not a tsushtel. He's dealing with young bokhurim in their formative years who still need close hadrakha and hashgakha. BMG OTOH is designed for more mature bochrim and yungeleit who are self-starters and "finished products". At least in theory.

But that itself may be a faulty premise that has engendered some of the very real problems you describe/exaggerate.

Anonymous said...

you are part right and part wrong. i am not sure if i uderstood your point, but it has become the in thing by richies (as well as by imagined richies) to have at least one, if not all, of their offspring shteiging away in lakewood. somewhat akin to the idea of maaser sheni. so in other words, it is nothing more than a status symbol, and another item to be able to brag about, veda"l. on the other hand, however, there are quite a few serious ovdei haShem, particularly among the old-timers, and this is something that deserves a lot of respect, a lot more than you are willing to concede.

SDR said...

itchiemayer

There are already plenty of Lakewood kollelim throughout the U.S. I don't think that anybody would argue that BMG is not the largest and one the most choshuve yeshivos in the world, but the point is whether R' Ahron had the current situation in mind when he founded the yeshiva. Lakewood is no longer an oasis of Torah in Ocean County but it's a mixture of B'klyn, Monsey, 5 Towns etc..., exactly what R' Ahron was running away from. Just think of how the world would look if each Rosh Yeshiva took 1000 talmidim and went to Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland etc.... The Yeshiva didn't exactly create the situation but the fact is that these cities are dying because every chosson & kallah seems to end up in Lakewood with no game plan for the future. The result, hundreds of 40 somethings with no source of parnosso or even sippuk from learning because they're small fish in a large Ocean (county). Couple that with these same guys who were mammash moiser nefesh for years with little to show for it and neighbors driving $50,000 dollar cars, pushing $700.00 strollers and living in $800,000 houses. If you're a bochur, Lakewood is the place. After that .....? BTW I'm not a Lubavitcher and I spent many years in BMG. At one point I wanted to settle there but now I might as well move to Cearhurst. The point is that in my day the roshei yeshiva ran the town now the CEO does and that is not meant in any way as a slight to R' Aaron Kotler. Without him there might not even be a yeshiva.

LkwdGuy said...

This post is an excellent analysis of stereotypical Lakewood. Unfortunately (for you) or fortunately (for me and many of my co-inhabitants) real Lakewood looks almost nothing like the stereotype.

shelo asani chareidi said...

Noch a "yerushalayim" R"L. That's just about all there is to say besides referring everyone to the Meshech Chochma in Bechukosai (the lubavitchers too, it won't hurt to learn someone else's torah)

The Bray of Fundie said...

Lakewood guy

Is my point B and C stereotyping or close to reality?

LkwdGuy said...

Bray,

Re B, the average yungerman stays in Lakewood not because of any self brainwashing etc but because he doesn't have any reason to move. Property values are low, tuitions are low, chinuch is percieved to be top notch, there are no shortage of botei midrashim, shtiblach, mikvaos, supermarkets, resturants, judaica stores or anyhthing else.

C is a davar pashut.

The Bray of Fundie said...

which way? that they are NOT in need of hadrakha or that they ARE?

Yosef Greenberg said...

Tzig,

Have you measured this in relation to the overall population growth in Lakewood?

Maybe its all from the asarah batlonim!

menashe said...

"That probably includes kolel yungeleit as well. " In reference to the 800 enrolled in the time of R'Schneour.
-----------------
You are showing very basic ignorance.Of course it included yingehleit, even today there may not be 800 bochurim.The vast majority of BMG for a very long time have been yingehleit.
-------------------
"It seems like RSK was trying to keep to the Kopelman rule, at least somewhat."

How do you "see" that?? Again, at the time ,30 year ago, the oilem was much smaller,fertility rates in the heimishe oilom B"H have lifted the numbers.
Maybe R'Schneour did not want such a big oilem,but there is no proof from the number of talmidim at the time.
Btw, do yourself a favor and try thinking before you write such an unintelligent piece.You basis for the "Koppelman rule" is a story that you "heard".Do you realize that you don't base "gantzeh toirehs lukshen" on unverified "gebbebteh maysehs"?
As others have pointed out, even if such a "rule" exists the analogy to a yeshiva with teenagers as opposed to 20+ bucherim who are going to be in shiduchim and thousands of married yingehleit is quite a poor one.

Years ago I was looking at a Sicha From the Lubavitcher.The Sicha was built around "ah mahseh" with the Malech Gavriel,The Tzemach Tzedek, candies thrown to an eynikel as if coming from the Malech and the forced burning of the cherished candy before Peisach, alz chumetz, and a whole lomdus about it.Really.
So I see where your penchant for building flying castles on mayses come from.In other circles people don't relate to maysehs with the same credibility.So if you are writing for your fellow chasidem, demolts git, if you are writing for thinking people, put more effort and change the style.If you can

shmuly said...

As someone who lives in Crown Heights,I can agree with one point you make, that bigger ain't always better.In the last couple of years since 770 has been lost to some demented idiots there has been a real flowering and growth of nice neighborhood shuls.I daven in one and really enjoy that for once I have a seat,I have a say in what is taking place in shul,have a relationship with the rov and don't have to see crazies any longer.In the beginning I stopped davening in 770 using the Meshichists as the excuse, but now I realize that I needed to have my own daled amos, with a little peace and shul decorum.These 5 or 6 shuls that have really built up membership in the last couple of years may be the anchor that"l save Crown Heights, 770 was sucking all the energy out of the local shuls.
I was planning on moving out but now I"m going to give it a try

Lamdan said...

Years ago I was looking at a Sicha From the Lubavitcher.The Sicha was built around "ah mahseh" with the Malech Gavriel,The Tzemach Tzedek, candies thrown to an eynikel as if coming from the Malech and the forced burning of the cherished candy before Peisach, alz chumetz, and a whole lomdus about it.Really.

Yeah, what's your problem with that? If you'd bothered to actually learn the sicha (instead of just repeating the imbecility you received b'msorah), you'd see that the בעהמ"ח שו"ת ערוגת הבשם dealt with the same question.

Why isn't the hanhaga of the Tzemach Tzedek a great way to launch into a chakira on the geder of issur u'mchiras chametz? What's wrong with you?

You're probably the best condemnation of Lakewood I could ever produce.

anon3 said...

"The rebbe clearly failed miserably at managing hundreds of thousands of people, leaving a legacy of thousands--if not tens of thousands-- of am horaatzim and sonei torah (except kabalah which they think they understand!) and sonei mitzvos who care only about glorifying their dead leader who could be outlearned by any rosh chabura in BMH, and probably Aron Kotler, Jr, as well)."
And by extension I would say that the Dalai Lama "outlearned" any Rosh Chaburah in BMH and probably Aron Kotler Jr. as well.Sounds idiotic yeah?No more idiotic then your above statement.

Friendly Anonymous said...

The larger point is that we are affected by the society we live in. L'havdil in the goyishe velt, more and more people are going to college long-term rather than working. The economy is lousy, but school registration is higher than ever.

Maybe this illness of long-term education for no to'eles is seeping into the frum community too?

josh said...

בלעיקוואוד מספרים [אולי כבר נדפס] שר' אהרן ענה פעם למי שהוא אצל מסיבה, שהוא יסד את הישיבה לא למען שהמאברכים יגדלו מרביצי תורה וכדומה, אלא כדי שישבו וילמדו לשם מצות לימוד התורה, ולא שעיניהם יהיו צופיות להשיג שטעלע

Anonymous said...

Josh
Its a other lie that is being shoved down the Misnagdish throats.You can see letter's of all the old Roshei Yeshivahs doing hishdatlus for jobs and careers,

Anonymous said...

Stam A Yid
Since you consider your self a Baal Hatanye Maven I will tell you what he writes in his Hilchas Talmud Torah that had Misnagdic Haskomas and was written as strictly halacha with no chasidic undertones,that if you learn 5 years and not growing to become a Posek then you got to go work and make a living and be machzik torah, Plus their are many Mamorim in Likutie Torah that are glorifying the work of the Blue Collar, how is fulfilling the Kavona Elyona of the creation.But since Reb Aron wasn"t a Ish Halacha as you see from his Teshuvahas that he is great in Charifas and Pilpul ( the old fashioned pilpul not the brisk clarity)but no mesorah what so ever, (less then a small Ungarisher Rov )we are ending up with a big Monster.I was in the last few years many times in BMG after hours and Chol Hamoad I was shocked the way all the huge Botie Medroshas were empty, in all the Baal Batisher shuls in BP you can see full shuls with yiden learning.

Anonymous said...

Menashe,
Yofe Sichosan shel Avdie Ovas is a chazal, and wasn't invented in the 770 basement, a sipur of the Tzemach Tzedek is just as important as the Masseh Rav of the Gra that is brought down by the Mishnah Berura Lehalocha,is the Mishna Berura also "FLYING CASTLES" you are a ferd and a Idiot, I remember as a Kid being around Talmidie chachomim, how they had hispeilous of that sicha.
Btw, in that Sicha the Rebbe Quotes some big poskim discussing similar episodes with Stories as the Yud Bais Challa of the Belzer rov, we have a new generation with no mesorah a bunch of Geirim out of the Yankee bleacher in the Bronx.

The Bray of Fundie said...

chinuch is percieved to be top notch, there are no shortage of botei midrashim, shtiblach, mikvaos, supermarkets, resturants, judaica stores or anyhthing else.

lakewood guy...

Housing is as affordable in Passaic, more affordable in Baltimore and Detroit which also have the other amenities you described. The only hevdel is the feature I bolded. And so I stick to my original assertion. this is an ainredinish that IMO derives form Williamsburg stylr khasidisha culture.

One other feature you ommitted was proximity to parents and in-laws in Brooklyn, Queens, Fiv-Towns and Monsey

Anonymous said...

I have a furnishing store and been selling to Lakewood whenit was shtetel of 25 yingeleit,very poor and real bnei torah. One day when lakewood was growing a young couple came in with a decorator to buy and the decorator walks into my office asking for a discount for this young couple kolel yingeleit..I was so upset and asked the decorator.Is this what Reb Aron zt"l had in mind when he opened his yeshive in lakewood.? Arent you ashamed to ask for a discount when you are choosing the most expensive items in the store and have a chutzpeh to ask for a discount..She walked out and i was very proud loosing that sale.

The Bray of Fundie said...

The original spirit of RAK zt"l's Lakewood LIVES!!!


in South Fallsburg!

Anonymous said...

"But since Reb Aron wasn"t a Ish Halacha as you see from his Teshuvahas that he is great in Charifas and Pilpul ( the old fashioned pilpul not the brisk clarity)but no mesorah what so ever, (less then a small Ungarisher Rov )we are ending up with a big Monster."

RMMS's shikul hadaat wasn't his strong point; take away all the trappings and the actual vort is creative, but not sharph and pristine. He wasn't a posek and differed, esepcially in the early years, to Rabbonim. He was michadesh many things; and if you don't believe that he was a tzadik yesod olom, all those chidushim are kashyes. Besides, he has no mesorah for that, unless you coun't the FR's chidushim - a pretty tentative link. (The FR was many things, but posek wasn't one of them).
Besides, even in the cat, their kollelim don't only have future poskim; T"C yes, but not poskim.

Anonymous said...

Anon.
where does RMMS come in to this discussion?

gevezener ponovizher said...

the anonymous that discussed the LubavitchedrRebbe's learning really made me laugh. a boychik who spends his life on internet disagres with all the major rabonim welche hobn zich gerechnt mitn rebbe's psak. let him see what rav zevin wroe about it. i personally herd the rebbe's glaycher shilul hadaas combined wit lomdes praised by reb pinches meanchem, reb shloime zalman and reb zalmen nechemye. if you look in ntey avriel ( for the sake of the anonymous who probably never heard of him - that r gavriel tzinner a poper chosid who wrote on many subjects )he quotes the rebbe on every subject and used every opportunity to ask the rebb's sak. on the rebbe's shite on kav hataarich viz a vis shvues and sfiras hooimer he quotes other's also but devotes a whole chapter on the rebbe's shita which he clearly holds as ikker. r avrohom blumenkrantz o"h in his peisach digests would quote the rebbe's shita all the years on sfire and shvues as the only logical. only in his last years he was pressured to include other shites also. the anonymous shows a lot ameratzes

Anonymous said...

HT hit on a point and wrote it the wrong way. The Rebbe many times quoted the gemara about the Rashbi and R' Yishmoel. The Rashbi was "Toirosoi Emunosoi" and the gemara says "milachtoi nasis al yidei acheirim", similiar to the argument for sitting in kollel for 20 yrs on everyone else's cheshbon. R' Yishmoel earned a living (goldsmith?) and learned. And the gemora ends that many tried to copy the Rashbi and failed and many copied R' Yishmoel and succeeded. The point is that full-time learning is for yichidei seguloh and most people are not "shayich" to it. I find it hard to believe that out of the entire frum population of the US, there are 4,000 people in lakewood who can be "Toirosoi Emunosoi" condidering that if you throw in the other kollels/yeshivas you are looking at over 10k people.

Like/hate lakewood, the fact is, it (and generally the entire kollel system) has become a frankenstein that's been spinning out of control the last 10-15 yrs, and nobody has figured out how to contain it.

The Bray of Fundie said...

Huh?

If you "like it" then it's no frankenstein monster and there is no need to contain it.

Anonymous said...

Lakewood certainly has the Kol Torah of which everyone should be proud. The “but” is that this comes at a steep price. Every society must have methods of sustaining itself. And here is the bite. The many hundreds of yungerleit in Kollel are producing more expense constantly, by having children KA”H, and by many living lifestyles that are far beyond that which is appropriate for a kollel yungerman. The norms of today cannot even be discussed in the same breath as those for yungerleit 30 years ago. These huge increases in the expenses for “just making it” are not offset by increases in input, but, to the contrary, are further challenged by fewer dollars being available. Sure, there are lower expenses in Lakewood than in larger cities. But there is less money available to pay bnei kollel, there is an almost absolute intolerance from anyone doing anything reasonable to enter a career. The wives, whose usefulness in the employment area is limited by their maternity status, Boruch Hashem, are similarly limited in their ability to be adequate breadwinners. Many of the parents of these yungerleit are themselves former bnei kollel whose earning capacity is hampered by the lack of formal training in a career. While this pattern is self-destructive, it is supported by the notions that the Kol Torah will cure it.

I am not less of a baal bitachon than the next guy, but the prevalence of such a belief pattern for the Klal is frightening.

One of the most painful aspects of this, in my humble opinion, is that Roshei Yeshiva, whom I would wish to respect, should be the ones who know their talmidim well enough to tell them openly that they should get out and work. יגיע כפך כי תאכל is not a modern orthodox concept. Last time I looked, it is a posuk in תהילים קכח ב'. We definitely need lomdei Torah, and many of them. But to force them through the fostering of the prevailing attitudes to sponge off the kehilla and their families is also not the ratzon Hashem. I have a really hard time believing that Reb Aharon Kotler ZT”L wanted this. We are raising a generation that is dependent on charity. I see this as bad chinuch. צדקה is great, but we are supposed to be giving it, not taking it. HKBH needed to guarantee that we will have to whom to give it (for reasons we may not understand), and told us כי לא יחדל אביון מקרב הארץ. But to make taking and schnorring a staple of living is not consistent with my perception and learning about ratzon Hashem.

I would normally be proud to see the growth of a makom Torah. I just struggle with the dependency on others that has become as central to this community as their Torah is supposed to be.

David said...

But Tzig, isn't this a symptom found in call chareidi communities with a low employment rate, including Lubavitch? I can think of a number of Lubavitch communities where people go around without a sense of purpose simply due to the fact that they are bored. Where is Lakewood different in this regard?

Anonymous said...

The Bray of Fundie said...
Huh?

If you "like it" then it's no frankenstein monster and there is no need to contain it.

B"H u seem never to have seen it. IIRC, he was created by a scientist for a purpose and then grew too strong and turned on his creator. It's actually a very good metaphor for what's going on today in lakewood and too many other frum communities, including my own (Chabad).

The Bray of Fundie said...

A. Which "Creator" is it "turning on"? RAK zt"l? Rav Schneur? The feeder Yeshivos (Philly, Long Beach, Scranton etc.)?

B. Again, it is a lousy metaphor for those who look at it, beam with pride and can only say "kein yirbu"!

Anonymous said...

Bray,
This discussion is getting rediculious. The idea of thousands of married men with families learning full time with zero marketable skills is crazy. 30 yrs ago when it was 100 guys, the rest of us could sustain them. Today if a bochur says I'm going to work after 1-2 yrs in kollel, he'll have shidduchim problems and don't deny it. It's become a self-serving desctructive force in the USA and even more in EY. How many guys knock on your door every night bec they gotta marry off a kid? Or they claim to be raising money for some kollel and we both know it's bubbe maises, they have no income and a full house. And of course if they can't support their future SIL to sit for 10 yrs, forget about the shidduch.
B'kitzur call it frankenstein, RAK's grand vision, and you can wish kein yirbu, but it's falling apart on its own weight.

CR said...

"Or they claim to be raising money for some kollel and we both know it's bubbe maises, they have no income and a full house."

Lately they seem to be mostly "tomchei shabbos" organizations or similar. And, pray tell, what are the usual pack of "Gedeilim" doing writing haskamos for such allegedly bogus organizations if what you suggest is true?

The Bray of Fundie said...

Today if a bochur says I'm going to work after 1-2 yrs in kollel, he'll have shidduchim problems and don't deny it.

Not sure what you mean. He'll definitely get redt different types of girls and/or coming from different types of families than those who declare "I want to learn 10-15 years" or "I want to learn forever" but I doubt that either of us have the stats, rather than anecdotes, to support the argument that there are more old bachelors among the earners than there are farsetzta bokhrim among the learners.

OTC (again merely anecdotal) I observe the earner / short term learning, types getting married far younger than there full-time long term learning brethren.

Apart from that your argument seems self-contradictory. If , as you claim it's falling apart on its own weight shouldn't this make boys wanting to earn a living after a 1-2 year Kollel stint less "weighty" and hence MORE desirable matches to girls and their parents? If indeed declared long-term learners are "hotter commodities" on the shidduch market then , apparently, the mega-bucks ability and value-driven willingness to support them must still be out there in abundance.

Anonymous said...

All of the Rebbe's Torah is on the periphery of the sugya; not the kishkis; the sugya itself. There is no evidence that he could have written a sefer on bohr like Reb Yisroel Kalmonovitz that gets every detail of the sugya down pat; all the nitty gritties worked out; every kneitch. Bilshonainu, in unzerer shprach: "in the vort" the Rebbe wasn't a chad bidurah, or close to it.

In the sugya itself - in the pnim - Reb Ahron was head and shoulders above most of the dohr.

That is not to say that the Rebbe wasn't very knowledgable - he was an oitzer maleh - that is obvious. He was also very creative and intellectually was able to wiggle out of every tight spot. He also made eloberate binyanim. However, there is no evidence that he would have "blown the oilam away" if he had to give a blatt shiur; where he would be forced to show from the sugya where he was comming from, would have to address every shverkeit, and would be speaking to a crowd of individuals who were well prepared (looked up and tried to work out on their own) all of the sources for many hours.

Reb Ahron excelled in this regard. He gave a shiur to (many) of the cream of the crop that were completely shukauh in the inyanim. Most of them couldn't keep up with him.

There is no evidence that the Rebbe could have written a sefer like Badey Hashulchon on Yorah Deah, Basar V'Chuluv and Taruvas.

avremy said...

Anon 11:59
While what you saying may be true, there is no way you"ll convince Lubavitchers of your point, because they will never admit that any point brought up in a Sicha or a hadran is not the main point.
Someone on the blog managed once to fluster the Lubavitcher chevreh on the blog by quoting the Rebbe and asking a specific question.Iirc it was some minor sicha the Rebbe said around the time of the court case with the library and who owned it, the Raya'tz or the community.The Rebbe apparently said that the library even had apikorsishe seforim so that even goyim could use the library, proving thereby that it was a communal library.On that some nudnik did not let up by asking what kind of heter is there for allowing goyim to get apikorsishe seforim?Maybe you can fing it in the archives somewhere

Anonymous said...

CR said...
Lately they seem to be mostly "tomchei shabbos" organizations or similar. And, pray tell, what are the usual pack of "Gedeilim" doing writing haskamos for such allegedly bogus organizations if what you suggest is true?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010 11:29:00 AM

Good question. I'm a gabbai tzedaka for a well-known gvir and see this daily. I suspect that many of these "gedoilim" look at this poor Jew and say to themselves what the hell the guy needs a few bucks let him earn it bachovodik claiming to represent some tomchei shabbos org

30 yrs ago every TD&H collector had a letter from Reb Moshe ZT"L. It became the laughing stock of the frum world and someone asked R' Moshe about it. I don't recall his answer but IIRC it was something along the lines of what I wrote above. If someone knows the full story, plz post it.

anon3 said...

"The Rebbe apparently said that the library even had apikorsishe seforim so that even goyim could use the library, proving thereby that it was a communal library.On that some nudnik did not let up by asking what kind of heter is there for allowing goyim to get apikorsishe seforim?Maybe you can fing it in the archives somewhere"
The same question could could also be asked of the RAMBAM who was into Aristotles philosophy as well as the Islamic philosopher and mystic Averroes which got him in trouble with other Gedolim of the time.I'm sure that there were many Rishonim and Achronim that took a interest into apikurseshe books as well, so why is this a problem at all?