Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Sun Comes Up...and Yaakov is Limping

In regard to my earlier post, Limping on our Thighs, there was a comment posted by one who identified him(?)self as YechezkelsFriendInTheHouseOfSun. One of the great things about blogging is that I am always making new friends. Of course, I would be tickled pink if this poster is somebody who actually knows me. In any event, I prepared a response to his list of objections and I tried to get it into the comments section just before Shabbos. For some reason, Blogger Central was on holiday and the response did not register in the comments section. So, I thought, perhaps it's an omen that I should post my response on the page.

I will first repost the comment as written. This is it:

First, you're going against the Gemorah if you blame non-learners for the system being broken. The Gemorah specifically says that learning will be supported when the learners are keeping G-d's Will correctly. If they're not being supported, it must be (according to the Gemorah) that they are "eino oseh ratzon shel maaleh."

Second, it's 100% wrong to see Yissochar/Zevulun as the model for the entire society. It was only 2 tribes. The other 10 were osek be'Torah while earning their own living. This was said explicitly by a Chareidi Rav in J-lem who (in Yechezkel's style) I'll call RYMHCR. There is no Torah support for saying that Y/Z is for all of Jewish society.

Third, if you think you're defending Yonasan Rosenblum, he himself has certainly said numerous times that something needs to be done besides assuming that everyone will be supported.

Fourth, Rav Shimon Bar Yochai doesn't "take care of" anything in Berachos. The Gemorah there doesn't pasken like him. And the Gemorah says that many tried his way and it didn't work.

Fifth, any man who is not providing his wife mezonos is violating Torah. Any man who doesn't teach his children a trade is violating a halacha de'Rabanan.

Last, I would like to see a mekor for your assertion that it is a Torah ideal for anyone who wants to learn to learn. Any mekor. Without a mekor, how can a chareidi make such a statement?


Now, I will repost it again (again in the same colored text) and intersperse my responses (in blue).


First, you're going against the Gemorah if you blame non-learners for the system being broken. The Gemorah specifically says that learning will be supported when the learners are keeping G-d's Will correctly. If they're not being supported, it must be (according to the Gemorah) that they are "eino oseh ratzon shel maaleh."

I mentioned that the "Yissachar" side is not blameless. Certainly, they must live up to their expectations as well. My point is that "Zevulun" should not be screaming at "Yissachar" to "Get to work" as Rabbi Schachter allegedly was. They should be screaming at him to "Get into the Bais midrash and shteig like your supposed to." Harry Maryles' (and RHS's) gripe is not that Yissachar is not doing his learning job. Rather, that they should close their gemaras and become their own "Zevuluns". Rashbi's reponse to this is: "תורה מה תהא עליה?"

Second, it's 100% wrong to see Yissochar/Zevulun as the model for the entire society.


It's not the only model there is. I also point to the Bnei Levi who were not required to serve in the army or do any commercial work and lived off of the Maaser of the entire society. The Rambam says that anybody who wants to (even a goy!!) can strive for this status. I wrote about this previously in my Parah Aduma post a back on Sept. 4.

It was only 2 tribes.

So what?


The other 10 were osek be'Torah while earning their own living.

That's one way of looking at it. Another way of looking at it is that Y/Z were the only case where one entire tribe took upon itself to look after the needs of another entire tribe. The other tribes were more heterogeneous whereas there were workers and learners within the tribe with wealthy people supporting the full time learners (Kollel) just as in today's society. There is no indication that every individual in all other tribes was self-sufficient.

This was said explicitly by a Chareidi Rav in J-lem who (in Yechezkel's style) I'll call RYMHCR.


Yechezkel happens to be a very loyal and ardent follower of RYMHCR (note that I quote him and even post his picture in my most recent post). Trust me, my hashkafa does not differ from his. I have been listening to his shiurim for over ten years. As for your comment, most often, things that are "said explicitly" are said with many words in front and many words in back of the words being referenced. I have no idea what you are referencing but if you provide me with a direct quotation in full context I will respond to it.

There is no Torah support for saying that Y/Z is for all of Jewish society.

You said this already. Nobody calls this an obligation. Only an optional arrangement where everybody gains - where the supporter's wealth and success come due to his commitment of support. Thus RHS is not helping anybody with his suggestion. Not the learners and not the workers.

Third, if you think you're defending Yonasan Rosenblum, he himself has certainly said numerous times that something needs to be done besides assuming that everyone will be supported.

The purpose of my post was to debate Harry Maryles, not to defend Jonathan Rosenblum. I wrote in my post that it didn't look to me that Harry Maryles was really addressing what R'JR wrote. He just used it as a springboard to digress to his own agenda. To elaborate why he is off the mark would require adding 2 or 3 paragraphs to my post which would distract us from the main issues. I didn't want to do it then and I don't want to do it now. One thing is clear. R'JR never said anything reflecting the position of Harry Maryles or (allegedly) Rabbi Hershel Schachter, and there's a reason for it. That is why Harry wrote a post complaining about it.

Fourth, Rav Shimon Bar Yochai doesn't "take care of" anything in Berachos. The Gemorah there doesn't pasken like him. And the Gemorah says that many tried his way and it didn't work.

I deal with this explicitly in Chapter 2 of my book which I believe can still be read online. Ayen sham, v'do"k.

Fifth, any man who is not providing his wife mezonos is violating Torah.

Please go to as many chareidi (Kollel) wives as you know (who have a stable marriage and whose husbands are serious shomrei Torah u'mitzvos) and ask any of them if they think they are too thin (though many may say that they don't have enough clothes).

Any man who doesn't teach his children a trade is violating a halacha de'Rabanan.


I believe you are referring to the last mishna in Kedushin (82a). If so, note the continuation of the mishna where R' Nehorai says: I will forsake every kind of craft and only teach my sons Torah for a man eats from it's reward in this world and the principal is preserved for the World to Come.
Different strokes for different folks.

Last, I would like to see a mekor for your assertion that it is a Torah ideal for anyone who wants to learn to learn.Any mekor.

Evidently, you never read my book.

My book focuses on Rashi in VaYikra 26:3 which is essentially a Toras Kohanim. If you want more I can offer Pirkei Avos 3:6 (and 1:2). We then move on to Rambam Hilchos Shmittos V'Yovelos 13:12,13 besides all of Hilchos Talmud Torah and Yoreh Deah 246.
If you require more sources (there are entire books and sefarim on this subject) I can provide them but, if you really need them, it is a very sad day in Beit Shemesh.

Without a mekor, how can a chareidi make such a statement?

You are so right.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To summarize, the main focal point is my response to your objection number 2 which was essentially a review of the points of my post. What it boils down to is that we chareidim believe that [the total] Jewish society is best off - both financially and spiritually - with as many people as possible in the Beis midrash. עץ חיים היא למחזיקים בה ותומכיה מאושר . Harry Maryles, Rav Herschel Schachter (allegedly), you, and most of the blogosphere believe that the more people in the Beis Midrash the worse off we are.

I have written profusely about it in this post and in some previous posts (G-d's Pyramid Scheme and Parah Aduma Syndrome). Ameilus B'torah brings bracha to all. That's what the Torah says in Vayikra 26:3. I have written that a chareidi is one who believes in this. We believe in it. Harry Maryles and RHS and you evidently do not.

From Harry Maryles's Emes Ve-Emunah, I question his Emes and I question his Emunah.

I once heard a vort that the reason why all of Bilaam's brochos reverted to klallos except מה טובו אהליך יעקב is because Bilaam thought like Harry Maryles that Jews spending their lives in the Beis Midrash as opposed to universities would keep them away from the materialistic world and be their ruination. So, even though HKBH forced him to say it, he said it with consensual conviction. Thus, while all the other "forced" brachos evaporated, this one stuck.

Our shitta is תלמוד תורה כנגד כולם and the blogosphere's shitta is כולם כנגד תלמוד תורה .

Thank you for writing and regards to ALL of my friends in Beit Shemesh

ו אל תראני שאני שחרחרת ששזפתני השמש בני אמי נחרו בי שמני נטרה את הכרמים כרמי שלי לא נטרתי

Yechezkel

13 comments:

The Talmid said...

3 sources for you:
1) Brisker Rav (Chidushei Maran Riz Halevi al Hatorah) Parshas Chayei Sarah says we pasken both like Rabi Shimon Bar Yochai and the Rabanan - some people have to have a profession and some people should only learn and not have a profession.

2) Rambam Talmud Torah 3:10 Whoever thinks he should learn Torah and not work and be sustained by tzedaka is desecrating G-d's name and deriding the Torah ...

3) Rambam Avos 4:5 (Perush Hamishna) is very long, but he discusses "you may not make the Torah a spade to dig with" and how the greatest Tanaim worked and only after they were done went to the beis medrash.

You also probably don't know that in Brisk, Rav Chaim Soloveichik did not have time to learn until late at night because he was performing acts of chesed all day. How much chesed do these people (about whom you write) do?

Anonymous said...

My point is that "Zevulun" should not be screaming at "Yissachar" to "Get to work" as Rabbi Schachter allegedly was.
====================
Where in the quote that you cited did you see mention of R' HS screaming at anyone? One could easily conclude that R'HS is quite agreeable to the kollel lifestyle for a number of individuals but that leadership needs to allocate the appropriate resources to various needs within the community.

As to your assertion that the the blogosphere's shitta is כולם כנגד תלמוד - perhaps the answer is the shita is articulated by the chazon ish - I learn when I have the time (e.g. consistent with my obligation to support my family...)
KT
Joel Rich

YechezkelsFriendInTheHouseOfSun said...

To "the Talmid" Rambam also says that it's "min hamuvchar" to live from the fruits of your own hand, and that this was the way of all the early tzadikim. I don't have the reference handy, I'll try to post it later.

To my friend Yechezkel, the statement I said from RYMHCR Shlit'a was in first drasha in the new shul building, where he discussed the question of whether the name Kehilas Bnei Torah was exclusionary. His response was (1) that people that work should consider themselves as much Bnei Torah as people who learn full time, if they're kovea itim with mesirus nefesh, and (2) this is in fact the Torah's model for a working Jew, that we who work should think of ourselves only in terms of Y/Z but remember that the ten other tribes were made up of people who worked but were Bnei Torah nonetheless.

YechezkelsFriendInTheHouseOfSun said...

I wrote in a previous comment:

Fifth, any man who is not providing his wife mezonos is violating Torah.

And my friend Yechezkel responded:

Please go to as many chareidi (Kollel) wives as you know (who have a stable marriage and whose husbands are serious shomrei Torah u'mitzvos) and ask any of them if they think they are too thin (though many may say that they don't have enough clothes)

Your answer makes perfect sense for anybody who believes that Hashem's mitzvos (or Chazal's) apply only when the reasons for them apply, that is, when the reasons for them that we understand seem to us to apply. Within this belief system, if a wife is maintaining a standard of living without her husband's support, it makes perfect sense of the mitzva of mezonos would not apply.

However, for those of us who believe that Hashem's mitzvos (and Chazal's) apply for more reasons that we'll ever understand, and are meant to create a blueprint for life and not simply a set of if-then rules, the answer does not answer the comment.

YechezkelsFriendInTheHouseOfSun said...

Just one more comment. My friend writes:

you, and most of the blogosphere believe that the more people in the Beis Midrash the worse off we are

Sorry, I never wrote that. I wrote that it is not a Torah ideal for EVERYONE to be in the Bais Midrash. I happen to believe that it's a Torah ideal for as many people to be in the Bais Midrash as are able to accomplish in the Bais Midrash.

To put it another way, there's nothing less chareidi (as your book defines the term) about Zevulun than Yissochar. My question at the end:

Last, I would like to see a mekor for your assertion that it is a Torah ideal for anyone who wants to learn to learn.Any mekor.

was asking for a mekor for your assertion that there should ideally not be any Zevuluns, that anyone who wants to learn should be able to learn and be supported. My own assertion is not in any way anti-Yissochar, but rather a division of society into Yissochars, Zevuluns, and "ten tribes Bnei Torah," according to a reasonable and sustainable division of responsibility.

G said...

Harry Maryles, Rav Herschel Schachter (allegedly), you, and most of the blogosphere believe that the more people in the Beis Midrash the worse off we are.

Do you honestly believe this?

If so it explains much about your book, your blog and your outlook in general.
It also explains why many think there is no hope for dialogue with members of the "charedi" community - you have created a reality that is just plain false and refuse to entertain the possibility of it being otherwise.

G said...

I mentioned that the "Yissachar" side is not blameless. Certainly, they must live up to their expectations as well. My point is that "Zevulun" should not be screaming at "Yissachar" to "Get to work" as Rabbi Schachter allegedly was. They should be screaming at him to "Get into the Bais midrash and shteig like your supposed to." Harry Maryles' (and RHS's) gripe is not that Yissachar is not doing his learning job. Rather, that they should close their gemaras and become their own "Zevuluns". Rashbi's reponse to this is: "תורה מה תהא עליה?"

--How long does one get to “shteig like they are supposed to” before it is determined that they cannot accomplish this and would be better served doing something else?, before the act becomes a ‘negative’ one?

It's not the only model there is. I also point to the Bnei Levi who were not required to serve in the army or do any commercial work and lived off of the Maaser of the entire society. The Rambam says that anybody who wants to (even a goy!!) can strive for this status. I wrote about this previously in my Parah Aduma post a back on Sept. 4.

--That’s it? Those are the only 2 legitimate options?

That's one way of looking at it. Another way of looking at it is that Y/Z were the only case where one entire tribe took upon itself to look after the needs of another entire tribe. The other tribes were more heterogeneous whereas there were workers and learners within the tribe with wealthy people supporting the full time learners (Kollel) just as in today's society. There is no indication that every individual in all other tribes was self-sufficient.

--OK, so you have one possibility and he presented another…why is yours automatically the correct one?

You said this already. Nobody calls this an obligation. Only an optional arrangement where everybody gains - where the supporter's wealth and success come due to his commitment of support. Thus RHS is not helping anybody with his suggestion. Not the learners and not the workers.

--‘Optional’, so one who chooses a different path has not erred?

Please go to as many chareidi (Kollel) wives as you know (who have a stable marriage and whose husbands are serious shomrei Torah u'mitzvos) and ask any of them if they think they are too thin (though many may say that they don't have enough clothes).

--Irrelevant and you know it. Just because they might be fine with it does not by default mean that it is correct.

Different strokes for different folks.

-- Fair enough, so one who chooses a different stroke has not erred?

Freelance Kiruv Maniac said...

To Talmid:
The Rambam about burdening society by living off TZEDAKKA is not the issue. Tzedakka is a mandatory tax that all Jews are required to pay to support the poor who are not capable of supporting themselves.

The issue is the value of society to voluntarily support people who could work but opt to learn instead. The term used for this kind of financial support is "Hachzakas HaTorah"-- not tzedaka.

To Beit Shemesh:
My own assertion is not in any way anti-Yissochar, but rather a division of society into Yissochars, Zevuluns, and "ten tribes Bnei Torah," according to a reasonable and sustainable division of responsibility.

I don't think its our job to structure society and decide for anyone else who gets to learn and who gets to work in order to maintain a "sustainable division of responsibility."

I think it becomes the Rebono Shel Olam's business to figure out a way to support ANY individual who is inspired enough to abandon financial security and luxury and to engage in full-time learning.

It's an ideal level for any particular individual.
What the masses wind up doing or whether its sustainable from a pragmatic socio-economic point-of view doesn't have to be our concern. Each individual should be aware of this ideal option which is truly available to him.

I believe this was Yechezkel's main point, and its practically verbatim of what the Rambam writes in the end of hil.Shemita Veyovel.

But I don't think it is appropriate to brow-beat people who are not willing to support Hachzakas HaTorah. It's their decision to obtain this merit (and enjoy its peiros in olam hazeh) or decline.
Their donation or lack of will not determine the deliverance of the divine guarantee of support for those who dedicate themselves to achieiving the ideal of the Rambam in Shemittah Veyovel.

Anonymous said...

FKM-It's an ideal level for any particular individual.
What the masses wind up doing or whether its sustainable from a pragmatic socio-economic point-of view doesn't have to be our concern. Each individual should be aware of this ideal option which is truly available to him.
=================
Me-Interesting - so leadership (e.g. Gedolim) should not encourage or discourage individuals/groups concerning this issue?
=========================

FKM-But I don't think it is appropriate to brow-beat people who are not willing to support Hachzakas HaTorah. It's their decision to obtain this merit (and enjoy its peiros in olam hazeh) or decline.
Their donation or lack of will not determine the deliverance of the divine guarantee of support for those who dedicate themselves to achieiving the ideal of the Rambam in Shemittah Veyovel.
=======================
Me- Interesting since the baal hablog above pointed out that the Rambam included Non-Jews in this vision.

KT
Joel Rich

Freelance Kiruv Maniac said...

Me-Interesting - so leadership (e.g. Gedolim) should not encourage or discourage individuals/groups concerning this issue?

The way I'm look at it, they are just setting up a culture and infrastructure to provide an opportunity for that "ANY individual" to remain in long-term learning if he has that inclination.

Let's Read said...

I would like to quote a piece from the sefer Shemiras Halashon, by the Chofetz Chaim, zatzal. I won't comment on it, but merely translate it. This can be found in Shemiras Halashon, Sha'ar Hatorah, Chapter 5.

"From our lengthy discussion of the great importance of Torah, which is most central think, we can automatically understand the great obligation to support Torah, that it not falter.'

"There is no need to discuss this in reference to those that are very busy with matters of This World--of course they need to arouse themselves in this exalted matter. This is how they will be saved from the bitter punishment of bittul Torah, as Rabbenu Yonah said in his Igeres Hateshuva, 'Whomever wants to save himself from the bitter punishment and this great sin should involve himself in the needs of the students and the Rabbis...in order that they flourish in his city and study Torah because of him.'

"Chazal have taught us in the Sifri 'This is the meaning of the posuk (Mishlei 3:18) "A tree of life to those that strengthen it." It does not say "to those that learn it," but "to those that strengthen it." This refers to those that strengthen the students and the Rabbis.'

"Rather, even those that themselves learn Torah and fulfill mitzvos also have a great obligation to strengthen the Torah. If they do not, then they are accursed, chas v'shalom, as Rabbenu Yonah writes in Sha'arei Teshuva Sha'ar 3 paragraph 19 in the name of the Sifri on the verse (Dvarim 27:26) "Accursed is whomever does not uphold the words of this Torah."

'(He explains that) a man that learned and reviewed, that taught others and fulfilled the Torah, but has the ability to strengthen those that labor in Torah and mitzvos and did not do so, is in the category of "accursed is whomever does not uphold."

I encourage everyone to read the rest of the words of the Chofetz Chaim there. Let me know when you're ready.

Ok, now that you're done, I'm sure you'll agree that it is an absolute obligation on every Jew to financially uphold Torah, each, of course, according to his abilities.

Does there need to be some kind of balance? Of course--we're not yet in the Messianic Age. But wouldn't it be wiser for us to err on the side of too much hachzakas Torah rather than on the side of too little? After all, if Hashem calls us to account for excessive hachzakas Torah, we can always plead poor judgement, and ask Him to help us--after all, our intentions were clearly good, we just went a little bit overboard. But what if He calls us to account for insufficient hachzakas Torah?

Let's Read said...

Ok, whoops, I commented on it--sorry. In my own defense, didn't I at least wait till the Chofetz Chaim was done?

Freelance Kiruv Maniac said...

Okay. So maybe it is appropriate to brow-beat such people...
I'll leave that to others more worthy than myself...