A Different Kind of Attack on Our Yeshivos

From the Anash.org Inbox: We’re all familiar with the assault on our yeshivos coming from people on the outside looking to make “improvements.” But recently, we’ve been facing a similar attack from people within our community.

By a Crown Heights resident

We’re all familiar with the assault on our yeshivos coming from people on the outside. Coming with the claim that they are here to help our mosdos, they’ve launched an all-out offensive to alter the spirit of our pure Torah enclaves.

For most members of our community, they are easily recognized for who they are. Undermining the essence of our Torah chinuch, they ought to be stopped in their tracks. Mass petitions are signed, meetings are held, and legal battles are taken up to uphold the sanctity of our yeshivos.

However, recently we’ve been facing another kind of attack from people who seem less threatening. With innocent-looking articles about how the “yeshiva system is broken” or that “our mashpiim / mechanchos don’t care,” they bash and defame the most prized enterprise of our community. Like the Maskilim of old, they dress their poison in sweet suggestions and advice.

Lubavitch is not bankrupt. BH we have thousands of bochurim in our mosdos who are fine chassidim, devoted to the Rebbe’s values, and will go on to build happy and healthy frum families. Like shouting fire in a crowded theatre, raising panic and despair is deplorable. Claiming to be only offering suggestions for improvement doesn’t make it any better.

There is a story told of two Yidden who came to Paris to request a donation from the frum Rothchild. Waiting for their appointment, one sat in the Beis Medrash and learned, while the other toured the city. When they entered the meeting the Baron asked them what they thought of the city. The first praised its Torah study, while the second bemoaned its immodesty. “You each speak of where you were at,” the Baron told them, and he supported them accordingly.

The same can be said of the critics: Your version of Lubavitch reflects where you are at.

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  1. A healthy society is one that can see its faults.
    ידיעת המחלה חצי רפואה.
    No one (I hope!) is claiming that our system is messed up through and through and has to be replaced with another. No one is claiming that we have no hope.
    Quite the contrary, people believe so deeply in our system that when they see an issue chas vesholom they bring it up, because they believe that there is hope, that our system is an essentially good one, but it still might sometimes need improvement.
    Burying your head in the sand never helped anyone.

    1. Nice limud zechus, but in actuality these articles do more harm than good.

      Many of our enemies also came to us with suggestions on how to improve. Of course our system has chesronos – since they are run by humans who have chesronos – but by and large they are outstanding. And that’s the message we need to hear.

      You can often read between the lines whether the writer wants more Torah and Yiddishkeit or the opposite.

  2. Short and to the point!
    Totally agree! I’m glad you didn’t belabor the point. Each one can consider for themselves. Yasher koach and may Hashem bensh all those in the field of chinuch and those they are mechanech to give the Rebbe emese chassidishe Nachas!

  3. The system is good, but it seems that there are some faults that happen not due to the system and not those running the mosdos.

    We need to look at both sides of the picture.

    The people writing those articles mentioned mean well (and may even know a little better than the one that wrote this article…) As a matter of fact, look around a little and you will see the other side of the picture. There are (quite a few) Bochurim going off the derech (definitely more than there has been in the past…)

    The articles mentioned were a thought-provoking awareness. I don’t think there was any harm done, quite the contrary.

    Thank you for not having any lashon hara in your artical.

  4. When none of my brothers so far has made it through the system successfully (we weren’t brought up with movies etc), and the most recent who was told not to come back not because he was doing bad things but because he didn’t keep all of seder (instead of helping him address the boredom etc), this kind of article is alarming. Yes bH, we have bochurim who make it all the way through, but how many don’t? And what can we do to improve?

    When I first joined chidon, only the top three marks in the grade/ school got to go to the international convention, and everyone else received nothing. So the average girl wasn’t motivated. Now bH there are tracks for everyone, and that’s great!

    Yes, The system is bH not completely broken but it does seem the boys are having it harder than the girls… and something needs to be done about that. We can’t ignore if 50% of a grade doesn’t make it through

  5. Yes the system needs desperate fixing
    (doesn’t mean that overall its not functional but any bochure falling between the cracks is too much and sadly the numbers are growing, aside from that even the ones that “make it through” could come out a lot better and proud and happy)
    There is nothing wrong with saying it needs fixing, it depends though what the point of the person making the complaint is, if its to “change” the system or vent and let out anger than its coming from the wrong place
    If its leading to and emanding a strengthening of the mosdos, getting better teachers better salary etc. Than its %100 warranted and NEEDED

  6. I politely disagree

    There are 2 types of people who “attack” the system:

    1. Ones who are either angry at the system and want a radical and revolutionary change or to just vent and let out there anger or those that are more modern and want to cha”v “modernize” it etc. This is definitely not a positive thing.

    2. Those that have a genuine complaint that, yes generally the system is not “broke”, but sadly there a lot falling between the cracks and as the years go on it gets worse and worse (i personally know (non relatives) this year alone 4/5 (pretty avg) bochurim out of yeshiva due to minor “technical” issues (not including bochurim from broken homes or with “major issurs) plus like 40 who can’t keep up and are on the edge).

    Even the ones that “make it through” a big percentage can come out a lot more successful in there learning and avodas hashem (especially when it comes to simcha And geon yaakov).

    These people are not asking for radical change rather to strengthen the existing system, get better mashpiim, mechanichim etc. Pay higher salarys so they can do there jobs and that it should attract talent etc.

    The second type of people are %100 right and are commendable, we just have to be carefull not to mix the 2

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