We send out son to one of the finest out of town yeshivas, but recently I’ve learned that he’s being exposed to something which we cannot really understand. Once a month, the local community hosts boys for different shabbos meals and last month my son went to a home where it was revealed that the father works for a living. Normally, I would brush it off and teach my son that some people don’t have the yiras shamayim to become a rebbe or a kollel guy and are pushed to find a job. However, this working man is well respected in the community for both his wealth and breadth of Torah knowledge. He’s a bucky in shas, has several brilliant children who work as well, and this is one of those things that we just don’t know how to deal with. I fear that the hypocrisy that he has just witnessed will push him off the derech, because we have groomed him to be a learner and not a learner earner chas v’shalom. What’s a parent supposed to do?
I feel your pain, hypocrisy in the yeshiva world caused me to go off the derech and become a full time kachlefel and practitioner of letzonus. I only published your letter to high light hypocrisy and its effect on frum society today, how we can we trust our Roshei Yeshiva who tell us that learning Torah lishmah is the highest of honors, when they themselves are supported by learner-earners? Is it possible that Daas Torah has misled us and in the truth of the matter is that going to work, while maintaining some sort of seder to be koveah ittim is on a higher madreiga than simply learning all day? I think not, I think that one of the issues is that Daas Torah and Roshei Yeshiva don’t speak out harshly enough against those who abandon yeshiva to work, I think that by sending your son to a shabbos meal, at which the host was respected, yet not a full time kollel yungerman was a big mistake. The amount of sfekus caused by such an ill advised decision is impossible to comprehend for their are so many influences trying to steer our children away from the yeshiva. Money, college, marriage before the proper time (the freezer is not done everywhere) and respect given to those who don’t follow in the ways of daas torah.
My first piece of advice would be for you to speak to the hanhalla of your sons yeshiva. I think this is a unique case in which the hanhalla may have been blinded by money, it’s possible that the man gives money to the yeshiva and by doing so, students may eat at his house. It’s interesting how there are those pushing for back ground checks of our Rebbeim, yet the families who host yeshiva students are seldom looked into. In my yeshiva days, we sometimes ate by people with televisions in their homes, why do you think so many of us went off the derech?
If the hanhalla won’t hear it, then I would approach the posek for the community. It is usually the poskim and community Rabbonom who most immune to money and influential community members. They are the closest to Daas Torah and the most immersed in kisvei kodesh, if anyone could look at something without being influenced by wealth, it is them. In my experience, it is the community leaders who really know how to deal with hypocrisy, they are unswayed by the askanim who only seek power and respect, they are unswayed by the popular mehalech of the times. They are pure and through their pure thoughts and ways I think they will be able to come up with a solution to your most difficult kasha.
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