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Proof that orthodox Jews in the shtetl were smarter than today

I have proof that the frum Jews of yore were smarter than they are today, of course my proof is faulty, because things were different back then. Back then, there was no internet or secular society to pollute the minds of young people, to beckon them to go off the derech, to tell them to do what they wanted. All they had was talmud, walks in the Russian forests where they met the ghosts of Chassidic rebbes and the prospect of taking over their fathers shoe cobbler business.

So what happened then that allowed me to believe that as a whole the frum Jews were smarter than they are today? Was it the little known fact that every single kid religious or not knew the entire Talmud with all its commentaries by heart by the age of 14 and in order to be considered the Illui of some town you had to know all of shas and the commentaries and kaballah by the age of 8, but in order to really qualify your father had to be dirt poor and your mother had to be an eishes chayil (definition: never left the kitchen, even though all they had were potato peels because they trust the local butcher and time spent in the kitchen with just potato peels remember they didn’t have mishpacha magazine, binah or Z’manback then – was quite boring)

Was it that the yeshivas were filled with tons of these illui’s that they had to constantly open new one’s and that everyone was so poor but still sent their kids to yeshivas and every shoe cobbler, tailor and carpenter knew all of shas and regularly communicated with the Kotzker Rebbe while they traveled through the pale to inns to tell the rebbe that the cosacks were coming to arrest him – but don’t worry – we won’t say tachnun on that day.

Nope, none of these reasons are why I think orthodox Jewry has taken a plunge out of heaven to the fiery pits of rampant porn downloads, illegal daf yomi shurim on their heretical smart phones, the smuggling in of internet to the home for “business” purposes, women wanting to leave the kitchen and lain at the kotel, men wanting to earn a living and eat more than potato peels, children wanting to fasten their kipot to their heads because of the global warming induced wind storms that wreak havoc on frum communities of which has been blamed on the acceptance of gays by a society which isn’t far from accepting the marriage of humans and their domestic pets.

The elders believe that like “global warming” Judaism is a natural cycle, a downward trend that started right after the grass and flowers died on Mt. Sinai. After all, we are farther from the mesorah, so we don’t know as much and we cannot rely on the firsthand experience of our grandparents who remember exactly what Moses was wearing when he came down from the Mountain and saw everyone tripping on the wild mushrooms that God had planted there, there is a theory that Moshe Rabeinu himself was tripping when he dreamed up the golden calf orgy thing and the only reason the women didn’t take part in it was because the mechitzah was too high. They were that frum!

My proof is in the tayvas, the desires were for knowledge which the shtetl didn’t supply. Every book about the shtetl I read is about how the evil Maskilim tried to steal away the learned buchrim by providing knowledge of the outside world, but it wasn’t frivolous knowledge, it was art and literature and philosophy and psychology. It just so happens to be that I know a lot of folks who are lured off the derech for those very things, but it’s not the majority. Is it possible that we are just dumber than they used to be, or that the lure of Television is much higher than that of a book.

Sure society has degenerated to the point where people don’t understand the beauty of getting a hand written letter in the mail, finding a tattered first edition book with an inscription dated 1868 inside the back cover or watching a concert without writing tweets about it, but people are still searching for knowledge aren’t they?

It just seems that the folks going off the derech are getting dumber, it’s my opinion of course and it’s faulty I admit it. It just seems that back in the day, they went off the derech after actually learning everything and figuring out that it didn’t make sense intellectually and it doesn’t – but I enjoy being religious so I carry on with rolling out of bed at ungodly hours to don leather straps on my head that may look like some sort of early BDSM thing to outsiders, especially if they show up during a chabad erev yom kippur malkus session.

So were frum Jews of the shtetl smarter than today’s?

Or am I just comparing pears to quinces?

{ 32 comments… add one }
  • yudes October 30, 2010, 8:58 PM


    • Bubba Metzia October 30, 2010, 9:13 PM

      What’s the point of having the first comment if you aren’t going to say anything constructive? I’ve been seeing a lot of comments like this lately and it’s starting to get annoying.

      • ari October 31, 2010, 10:10 AM

        dont be a dick

      • ari October 31, 2010, 10:10 AM

        dont be a jerk

    • Dave October 31, 2010, 10:47 AM

      case in point

  • Julie October 30, 2010, 9:19 PM

    I’m pretty sure there’s little difference, except these days you have higher literacy rates and the internet so you can quickly figure out how much fideism is a crock and to fact-check the things people in positions of authority say.

    • Friar Yid October 31, 2010, 11:55 AM

      it wasn’t frivolous knowledge, it was art and literature and philosophy and psychology. It just so happens to be that I know a lot of folks who are lured off the derech for those very things, but it’s not the majority. Is it possible that we are just dumber than they used to be, or that the lure of Television is much higher than that of a book.

      First point: You have to remember that the most famous OTDers tended to be the intellectuals, and specifically the males. The Singer brothers, Sholem Aleichem, Ab. Cahan, Ahad Ha’am, all these yeshiva bochurs were raised in very intellectual environments,were attracted by other ideas and values, and made the transition into being “enlightened” writers and thinkers. BUT the reason we know so much about them is that they became well-known and wrote things down and/or got written about. We don’t know that much about the motivations of really poor OTDers, or women, for instance, because they weren’t writing books or newspapers. They don’t have biographies for us to look through. We have one slice of the story, and while the popular narrative certainly plays up the fact that those smarty-pants intellectuals tended to leave the shtetl, that doesn’t mean that they were the only ones having doubts. (Just look at the popularity of the Jewish Bund in the Pale O’Settlement, or the big dip in observance levels among American immigrants.)

      Second point: I think to a large degree, despite the best efforts of the blackest of black-hatters, the ripples of the Enlightenment have penetrated into everything, including large swaths of OJs. While they may need to hide the fact that they use treyf technology or read treyf books, one need not necessarily make a total break in order to have some contact with the outside world. This wasn’t always possible 100-150 years ago. Education and the needs of modern economies have also meant that large sectors of the frum world have had to include some practical elements to their curriculum.

      So no, I don’t think it’s that OTD folks are getting dumber; I think it’s that everyone (frummies included) have become more educated (relative to 150 years ago), but that’s s because the Enlightenment ideas have saturated into everything. That’s not to say there isn’t plenty about contemporary culture that’s dumb, of course. But it’s all informed by the openness of the Enlightenment.

  • Bubba Metzia October 30, 2010, 9:29 PM

    There’s a very romanticized view of shtetl life that’s far from reality. There were smart people and not so smart people just as there are now. Although a big difference is that back then when there were people that excelled academically there weren’t these inefficient bureaucracies that deter those high achievers like that 14 year old prodigy in Israel who the rabbinate wont grade his entrance exams because of age requirements. Also, back in the shtetl most of the people who stayed on to study in the kollels were the top learners instead of nowadays where in addition to the top learners there are a lot of people in kollels who just aren’t cut out for it.

  • kiddush bouncer October 31, 2010, 1:07 AM

    why do you wake up early and don leather straps if you just complain about it. sleep in and be who you really want to be, you don’t get schar if you show you don’t really want to do it.

    • Heshy Fried October 31, 2010, 1:15 AM

      I can complain all I want, I’m Jewish – I don’t do it for the schar, I do it because God told me to – the rewards and demerits thing is so screwed up I can’t even tell you.

      Like when people do something because it’s a kiddush Hashem and not because it’s the right thing and my complaining is more like trying to be funny by exaggerating everyday frustrations I and almost everyone I know has.

      • Orthoebonyjewess November 1, 2010, 11:03 AM

        Tell him, Heshy!

  • FrumNudist October 31, 2010, 1:55 AM

    I’d guess frum Jews of yore had more geniuses because they had a bigger pool to choose from. 200 years ago, all those Jews who today are among the world’s leading mathematicians, scientists, and engineers would have entered Vlozhin at 14 instead of starting MIT then. Then, at 22, one Friday night 90% of them could have gone outside and smoked a cigarette. Instead of today where 10% get AISHed.
    Possibly the percentage of frum geniuses from the total frum population should be about the same now, unless those who went off the D in previous generations were disproportionately from the right side of the bell curve.

    • Avrumy October 31, 2010, 2:00 PM

      A frum nudist. I like that idea!

  • Anonymous October 31, 2010, 4:19 AM

    maybe non-jewish society used to be smarter. they used to have literature and philosophy now they don’t, they have internet and the jersey shore. frummies still have torah and god. but if they had the internet and the jersey shore 1000s of years ago there would been no shtetl, they would all been at the beach! I <3 the beach 😛

  • Anonymous October 31, 2010, 4:49 AM

    The “fact” that prior generations were populated with geniuses is, in fact, an unsubstantiated myth. The ridiculous notion that some fundamental change in our brain wiring has occurred in under a century is laughable. The proliferation of this hoax in Jewish society comes as a result of the romanticization of pre-War Jewish society.

    Look at the elite of the Yeshiva world today. I suspect that those of them who abandon Judaism do so in the quest of knowledge and intellectual fulfillment. Conversely, do you really believe that the majority of pre-War Jews were religious, or held academics in high esteem? I’m almost certain that most of those who abandoned religion in the Haskalah movement did not do so for any lofty philosophical reasons.

    If you are looking for illui’s, go to Israel. There are institutions there with students whose mastery of Gemara and Shas would astound you. If you are looking for academics, go to large universities, and you will see them populated by disproportionately many Jewish students and professors.

    People and society don’t change.

    • Anonymous October 31, 2010, 5:40 AM

      “an unsubstantiated myth”

      ACTUALLY our brains are wired differently caused by the invention of the printing press. Previous generations were forced to memorise everything, then with printing they were able to store knowledge in books not in their brain. now we can easily look on google copy &paste. In the shtetl they had scrolls but not many and not photocopies for everybody.

      Oral or pre-literate societies are not absolutely smarter than us but they are smart in a different way. Their way of smartness is irrelevant to our society as our way is to their society.

      • Anonymous November 1, 2010, 1:37 AM

        I’m not sure which definition of “smart” you are using. “Smartness” is the ability to comprehend, not how well you have trained your mind to memorize. Having knowledge at our fingertips does not make us less intelligent. Technology allows us to devote our intelligence to other concerns.

        One can say that two people are “smart, but in different ways” if one is stronger in deductive thinking, and the other in inductive reasoning, for example. But society as a whole has not developed or lost any natural capabilities. You’ll find the full spectrum of reasoning talent today as you would centuries ago. A difference of subject is not one of genetics.

  • Realistically Speaking October 31, 2010, 9:30 AM

    The same could be said about every society and cultural group. It seems like we all have dumbed down across the board. People had to rely on themselves to survive. They had to independently develop the skills and knowledge to advance whereas we have groups that allow opportunities for the more disenfranchised.Nowadays, a lot of people have the incentive to earn things on their merits.They can get ahead in society based on their racial classifications and titles. Students are given less homework and tests than they used to. The academic standards are lower.The literacy rate has significantly plummeted.Education doesn’t seemed to be valued as much. People spend more time watching TV and being online than they do reading books. We tend to focus on doing as little as we can instead of thinking of strategic ways we can accomplish our goals. Selfishness does attribute to the rampant stupidity and ineptitude in people.Our overly sensitivities has gotten the better of us. So yes I do sadly agree that people of yesteryears were smarter than their descendants of today.

    • G*3 October 31, 2010, 1:17 PM

      People aren’t dumber than they used to be. The world has gotten more intellectual. We’ve moved from an agrarian and industrial economy to a service economy. The amount of information available has exploded, and the amount of education needed to practice in a given field keeps increasing. In the 1800s one could become a teacher with a highschool diploma, and most people never finished elementary school. Now you need a masters to be a teacher and nearly everyone finishes high school.

      The average person today probably knows much more than the average person a hundred years ago, but the gap between the specialist and the layman has widened.

    • OfftheDwannaB November 1, 2010, 5:09 AM

      I’m sorry but your theories for the “dumbing down” are just ridiculous.
      “They can get ahead in society based on their racial classifications and titles.”
      You’ve given a possible reason for 10% of the population. Excellent.

      “Students are given less homework and tests than they used to. ”

      “The academic standards are lower.”

      “The literacy rate has significantly plummeted.”

      “Education doesn’t seemed to be valued as much.”
      Pure conjecture. As much as when?

      “People spend more time watching TV and being online than they do reading books.”
      Finally, a fact. People almost definitely spend more time watching TV and being online than before those things were invented.

      “We tend to focus on doing as little as we can instead of thinking of strategic ways we can accomplish our goals. Selfishness does attribute to the rampant stupidity and ineptitude in people. Our overly sensitivities has gotten the better of us. ”
      WTF is this? Do you run a self-help group or something?

      The people of “yesteryears” may be smarter than today, especially if we’re comparing them with you.

  • Azraa October 31, 2010, 12:38 PM

    Well as an off-the-derech Jew myself, I can tell you that my transition away from Judaism WAS because of intellectual thought, philosophy, and thinking 😉
    I’m also a woman so go figure. Maybe I’m in the minority here but then again I’m used to that.

    • Dovybear October 31, 2010, 2:56 PM

      And as an on-the-derech Jew, I can tell you that my staying on it WAS because of intellectual thought, philosophy and thinking.
      I’m also a man, so go figure. Maybe I’m in the minority here, but then again, I’m used to that.

      • OfftheDwannaB October 31, 2010, 9:28 PM

        Dovybear, I just read an article that was very disturbing to me. I’d like your opinion on it, if you get the chance.
        It makes the Torah seem dated (a period piece, if you will), and not very helpful in establishing a good, let alone perfect society by doing nothing to curtail child abuse.
        The most damning part of the article is that it actually makes sense of ancient civilizations.

    • Chris_B November 4, 2010, 8:45 AM

      Thats odd, I became a Jew because of intellectual thought, philosophy and thinking…

  • OfftheDwannaB October 31, 2010, 9:35 PM

    When I was a kid, there was an old, nonreligious guy who used to daven in our shul on shabbos. He asked me one time what I was learning. I said Baba Basra. He asked where. I said the amud (or thereabout, I wasn’t so on top of the learning). Then he goes, “Oh, this-and-this sugya. Did you learn the machlokes of such-and-such achronim?” (The answer was no, btw.)

    Turns out, he’d learned in Brisk as a kid by the Brisker Rav till he was 14, when the Holocaust put a damper on things. I don’t know if he was a genuine illuy, but I’ll tell you one thing, you don’t see sh*t like that in America.

  • Yankel November 1, 2010, 1:56 AM

    I just opened a sefer yesterday, the author wrote it when he was 12.
    It is one of the most difficult areas of study, Mikvaos.
    He was 12 and he wrote a sefer which poskim use today to better understand what the later commentaries on Mikvaos understood, and he was a hardly know chassidish Rebbe.
    Even a genius cannot do that.
    He wasn’t the only one, I just happened to see that sefer and it reminded me of the thread.

    If the world wasn’t a completely different
    place back then, we are stuck with no explanation.

    • OfftheDwannaB November 1, 2010, 4:53 AM

      1st What was his name?

      2nd A genius can do that. I don’t know if you’ve ever met a real illuy, but they make you feel like you have the intelligence of a monkey. (Unfortunately, a couple of my relatives are bona fide geniuses. It’s not fun for my ego.) So when you say the world was different back then because of our lower intelligence, that’s just untrue. I think that when there was only one thing to learn, and it was highly respected, people were naturally solely devoted to it, and even averagely smart guys seem like geniuses to us.

      If a genius kid today had no other interests or distractions, he’d be just as smart. I’m certain my cousin could write that sefer if he was only involved in that. As it is, he memorized biology textbooks, the dictionary, etc.. by the time he was 5. He just wasn’t so interested in learning Judaic things.

      • Schwartzie November 1, 2010, 1:53 PM

        See- that’s the thing. The evils of distractions like video games, internet, TV and movies are multifaceted. They discourage people from reading, shorten attention span, and perpetuate an exponentially hedonistic value system. Oh, and text messaging.

        Not that society wasn’t hedonistic back in the day, but it was good, old fashioned hedonism, where besides for eating and drinking and screwing, artistic and intellectual cravings were next on the list to be filled. I don’t think that people’s brains got weaker, but we certainly don’t give them as much exercise as people used to. Instead of having an orgy and then going to check out the new Chagall, today’s ba’alei teiva only pick their asses up from the couch to nuke a hot pocket. Cuz they’re watching their shows.

    • Yankel November 1, 2010, 3:55 PM

      It was “Chibur L’Tahara” by R’ Mordechai Twersky, who later became the Rebbe of Cherkassy.
      Really, beyond real.
      He started when he was 12 and finished at 15. The dates of print are all there.
      And he lived not too long ago. Niftar in 1903.

  • WoeToUs November 1, 2010, 10:35 PM

    We know of a concept of “niskatnu hadoros”, meaning that the general populous has gotten dumber and mentally weaker than before. This is why you can’t compare moshe and aaron to rabban gamliel, or rabban gamliel to rashi, or rashi to r’ akiva eiger, or r’ akiva eiger to the chofetz chaim. simply put-one dumbass in a generation taught his kids his dumbassedness,, and the amounts or idiots grew over time. all the tzaddikim either died or had kids go off the derech. it’s not brain surgery.

  • Moishe'la has spoken again! September 22, 2013, 10:10 AM

    Discussion with Moishe’la (with his family)
    A Handicapped child
    Tishrei 13 ’5774 (Sept 16 ’13)

    “Time to Go back to the Shtetel”

    I want to tell you that I feel very strongly that we are going to soon experience some very amazing and frightening happenings in the world. We may see little happenings in Eretz Yisroel, but mainly now I feel it’s going to be in the outer world beyond the borders of Eretz Yisroel.

    I want to tell you Mommy and Tatti that we must – that is Klal Yisroel – must remember “Kedoshim Tehiu”. This is the entire secret for doing complete Teshuva. I feel that this particular thing has been forgotten, for the most part, in Klall Yisroel. It’s terrible to walk down Rechov Rabbi Akiva in Bnei Brak, or Malchei Yisroel in Yerushalayim, or even the famous center of the Frumest of the Frum, Meah Shearim in Yerushalayim, and to see how the Kedusha and the Tznius has deteriorated. For certain in New York; Boro Park, Seagate, even Williamsburg etc. Monsey, Lakewood wherever you choose, all over the world the Tznius has gone so far down, and no one realizes what’s happening. They forgot that it’s not considered Tzniusdik to see a woman’s body moving along, fighting with its covering to stay in place.

    No one seems to realize that most of the Rabbonim, in Eretz Yisroel at least, have said that you can’t wear stretchy clothes like lycra or tee shirt material. But we ignore all of this, and we decide that the sleeve could be just under the elbow. Of course when you lift your arm, it goes way higher than that, and the tight skirt could be just below the knee, and when you sit down, well I won’t go into that.

    And how can such women who go to work in all kinds of offices with their long Sheitels and their made up faces? How can they support a Talmid Chachom? They are Baalos Aveiros. Just by walking down the street they catch the attention of many Yingerleit, and this is a big Aveira.

    The money that they earn to support their husbands who are Talmidei Chachomim is worth nothing, and if anything it brings their husbands down.

    So you might say there are other women that do dress Tzniusdik, but we forgot what Tznius is. And even if their clothes are a bit looser, their Sheitels look and are real hair. And as they walk along the streets the fact that they feel like their heads are uncovered with beautiful stylish hairdos which even if they are simple, are still chic, this gives a feeling of freedom; of not being married. And there are some women that have Sheitels that are very old-fashioned so-to-speak, and these old-fashioned Sheitels give a hechsher to all the fancy Sheitels, because a Sheitel is a Sheitel – you are wearing a Sheitel. You feel you are allowed to wear any kind of Sheitel, and it’s very interesting how many Sheitels have hechsheirim. I can’t understand what hechsher could be on a Sheitel. There’s not even a way to know if it’s Indian hair or not, but I think most of us have forgotten about the problem with Avodah Zarah in the Indian hair, and it makes no difference to anyone anymore even though it’s still a very big problem. And there are many Yingerleit that enjoy the fact that their wives are being looked at by other men. It makes them feel proud that they have such a “Barbie doll wife”.

    Well all I can do is sit and cry. This is why we have so many problems in our marriages today, and why we have so little Kedusha in our community, and why Yiddishkeit is basically falling apart. You can’t make your own rules and regulations. You can’t make a Jewish home look like a Goyisha one except, that you keep Shabbos and Yom Tov etc, or your husband goes to learn in Kollel. It’s just not enough. And the children even if they have long Payos, and seem like good Chassidisha little kids, the Gashmius has gone into their minds and into their hearts and they don’t go so deeply anymore into the truth. And this is all over the world now, because once you had Polish Jews and had German Jews and American Jews and so on, and there were places that were less Frum and more Frum, but now everything has gone down and everything is on the same low spiritual level. It’s not like it used to be.

    There was a time when Yidden, maybe not all Yidden, but many Yidden knew what Kedusha meant. They were careful in every way, because only someone with Kedusha can get close to Hashem. The Gashmius which produces the lack of Tznius, and the fact that many of us act like Goyim, brings us way down instead of being able to go up, because Kedusha makes us spiritually light, and we can rise higher and come closer to the truth. But Gashmius makes us heavy, with the pleasures of the Olam Hazeh.

    But people will argue with me, “But we are Tzniusdik and it’s not true,” but the people who argue are not Tzniusdik, and the people who try to be Tzniusdik will never argue. They’ll only try harder, try harder to come close to Hashem. It cannot be that a person who doesn’t even know what Kedusha means, can come close to Hashem. You can’t sit around, couples men and women talking and schmoozing in your bungalow colonies, and come close to Hashem. You can’t go to movies or see videos and come close to Hashem. You can’t have parties with frivolous speech and singers imitating the jazzy and rock n’ roll movements and get close to Hashem. You can’t run from pizza store to falafel store sitting, guzzling, laughing, and come close to Hashem. You can’t sit in restaurants where everybody can look in and see just exactly how you’re eating and think that if you wash your hands and make a Brocha first and Bentch at the end you’re OK. It’s like eating in the marketplace. It’s like vomiting on the table. It’s not OK. You can’t come close to Hashem, and it goes on and on.

    I can’t even begin to tell you what’s wrong because there is so much to say. The Yeshivas, Hashem Yishmor, have many Bochurim that have a total lack of understanding of what Kedusha is all about and quite a few of the Bochurim are involved with many not Torahdik things that if they would be revealed would make many Yidden just sit down and cry at the failure of this generation to educate the Yeshiva Bochurim. You do have good Bochurim but it’s very hard to be a good Bochur when so many open attitudes prevail. And as far as Bais Yaakov goes, most of the girls come out shallow and superficial, without being able to comprehend anything deeper than the material shallowness they have been engulfed with.

    They are always a few that manage to break through, and find the truth, and are willing to go against society to hold on to that truth. Those are the ones that will have it the easiest now. Those are the ones that will just slide into the Geula with an easy movement. All the rest that are real Jews, real Jewish Neshomas, will have to suffer very much because they just don’t understand. Because it will be so difficult for them to be able break away from all the Gashmius and stupidity in their lives.

    I really have not covered the subject, but there is not too much more that I feel like saying. Any Emesdik person knows that what I’ve said is correct, and I can relate many more examples than I have given. So please Klal Yisroel –do Teshuva!

    Come back to the truth.
    Come back to the Emes.
    Go back to the way it was once.

    I am not talking about going back to the time of the Haskolah movement. I’m talking about going back to the Shtetel, I’m talking about the real true Talmidei Chachomim like the Talmidim of the Baal Shem Tov, of the Gra, or the Talmidim of the Arizal etc.

    Am Yisroel. Build a Yiddisha Shtub a true Bais Mikdosh Mi’at, and I beg you do it fast because time is running out.

  • Moishe'la has spoken again! October 3, 2013, 11:11 AM

    Discussion with Moishe’la (with his family)
    A Handicapped child
    Tishrei 28 ‘5774(Oct 1 ’13)

    “We Cried and We Cried”

    I want to tell you that Zaidy came to me again from Olam Ha’emes. (My Zaidy, a great Tzaddik, was very famous when he was alive.) I want to tell you that he sat down next to me when I was sleeping, and said to me, “Yingel Yingel my Zeesa Yingel (my beloved boy) I am so proud of you. I am so happy that you are in the house that you are, in the home that you are, and I Bentch you that you should continue bringing truth to our family and truth to the Yidden wherever they might be.”

    And then he said, “I have more to tell you. I am very worried about my adopted homeland the United States of America. I am not worried about the place itself, as we all know its pure Edom. I have always realized how this Golus of Edom has almost destroyed all Yiddishkeit in America.

    “But no I am not worried about the Edomite country called the United States. I am worried about the Yidden in United States. First of all they are in very big physical danger and of course we know very well that the Yidden in America, including the Frum, are in great spiritual and physical danger. Of course there are always exceptions to the rule, but the very big majority of the Yidden in America are in very big spiritual danger.

    “Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that the Yidden all over the world are in a better condition, but I am worried especially about the Yidden in the United States of America.

    “I really want them to do Teshuva, real Teshuva. And I know that I have said this many times, and people don’t understand what I am talking about. Even when you explain it so clearly, most people just brush it off because it’s much more interesting to be busy with the Gashmius than to be busy with the Ruchnius. It take less spiritual and emotional effort to rise high in the attainment of the Gashmius, than it takes to rise high in the attainment of the Ruchnius.

    “Since I was very young I realized that the American Jewish community would eventually disappear. Now however I see clearly that the United States of America is disappearing right in front of our eyes. Soon there will be no United States of America, and the Yidden will have to find themselves a new home. I hope they decide on Eretz Yisroel, and hope they do it quickly, because if not well……. ”

    Then he asked me to sit down with him and say Tikkun Chatzos. Together we Davened and we cried, and we cried, and we cried. I closed my eyes so I could feel the Tza’ar HaShechina, (the pain of Hashem) and when I opened them my Zaidy was gone.

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