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Unread 06-24-2009, 12:05 AM   #1
Meshulam
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The Rebbe and Secular Knowledge

Quote:
Originally Posted by MahTovChelkeinu View Post
See I disagree with this reasoning. I agree that to fulfill da mah le'hashiv it helps to look at the original work (assuming you're at that level of sophistication in developing your arguments), but isn't there a simpler reason why its okay?

It seems to me that Darwin's original observations give a very nice description of scientific phenomonima that, after several 100 years of research, have been proven relatively accurate. Fine, Darwin's theories have been associated with atheism and other narishkeit, but so have a lot of useful academic subjects. Isn't there a general benefit to amassing a general understanding of how the world works? Won't that help your learning, your shlichus, your parnosa, and just your general quality of life?

I find, for example, when learning smicha its always nice to have someone in the room with an understanding of biology. When learning about the beis hamikdash its helpful to be able to do some simple geometry. When reading about the Dor HaMidbar, its kind of cool to have an idea about Middle Eastern geography to follow the journeys better. And I can give other examples where knowledge about history, cooking, physics, psychology and english grammar also help. All of these subject can lead someone astray but carry real intrinsic value in learning them... how is this subject any different?
This is way off the subject, and the subject has already been posted about at length, but to clarify:
The Rebbe certainly does not lack for awareness of all of the "cool" ideas you just mentioned, and yet the Rebbe is very against learning secular "chochmas." Your approach subsumes and nullifies the Rebbe's rule. It therefore cannot be correct.
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Unread 06-24-2009, 07:32 AM   #2
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This is way off the subject
What are you referring to that is off topic? I thought I was bringing the discussion back to the original post.

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the Rebbe is very against learning secular "chochmas."
I still don't see any proof of this point. The Rebbe cautioned against the hashpaos that are present in secular schools and universities; the Rebbe stressed that Torah education is first and foremost in a child's education; the Rebbe stressed the importance of a pure environment for children to learn in. The Rebbe never said that it is assur to learn secular "chochmas" like those I mentioned above. You want to have a conversation about reading philosophy or studying other theologies, there we'll find more common ground.

Granted, the sources one goes to in the subjects I mentioned are suspect and can cross some of the cautions I listed, but in the right circumstances, such study is not against what the Rebbe said.

Your argument, sets up a very slippery slope. For example geometry was really set up by Pythagorus. Do you want to hear stories about what an apikorus/kofer Pythagorus was? Does that assur geometry? How about basic genetics - a lot of that early research was done in the famous experiments with "Mendel's Peas;" but this Mendel was a monk. Assur? Is it appropriate for children to play piano? The modern piano was invented by Bach (who helped set up the well tempered tuning system) and others who were primarily paid by the Catholic church to write religious music. Assur to learn piano?

There are Rebbeim that believe in keeping their chassidim ignorant of the world around them... our Rebbe was not one them.
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Unread 06-24-2009, 09:40 AM   #3
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There are plenty of threads about this subject, but suffice it to say, your approach cannot be true. The Rebbe speaks frequently about the issue of secular education, and how against it he is. He forbade Lubavitch schools from teaching any secular subject until age 9, and said that any secular learning for the sake of parnasso should only be to the extent that it is absolutely necessay.

Your view brings every secular idea within the general gambit of "Torah knowledge" because it could potentially assist in learning Torah. And I appreciate that you think that our Rebbe is anti-Ignorance. But your view and the Rebbe's are opposite one another.
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Unread 06-24-2009, 09:44 AM   #4
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There is no slippery slope here. I don't want my kids learning about genetics, Darwin, Shakespeare, or anything else. Why? Becausethe Rebbe is against learning such things. I don't need to find an excuse, because the Rebbe made his position clear.
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Unread 06-24-2009, 10:07 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meshulam View Post
The Rebbe speaks frequently about the issue of secular education, and how against it he is. He forbade Lubavitch schools from teaching any secular subject until age 9, and said that any secular learning for the sake of parnasso should only be to the extent that it is absolutely necessay.
.
Please bring some source information to support your position of what you say is the Rebbe's position.

There are Lubavitch Schools that teach secular subjects to students who are younger than 9. The Rebbe has instructed that lemuday Kodesh be taught in the morning before the secular subjects are taught, not that secular subjects shouldn't be taught.

I would like to see the exact language of the
Quote:
secular learning for the sake of parnosso should only be to the extent that it is absolutely necessary.
.
How is a secular program supposed to gauge that? The schools are not teaching trades rather they are providing a basic elementry/highschool education that ends with a diploma. That has the same basic requirements as any other secular school.

I agree that the Rebbes position ends the argument.[its what come after the but that's important] But, it has to be the Rebbes position and not what someone claims is the Rebbes postion.
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Unread 06-24-2009, 02:20 PM   #6
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Fesoy - The specific letter you reference is brought elsewhere on the Education and Chinuch forum. Take a look at the Limudei chol for girls thread, where this subject is discussed, and posters wiser than myself brought plenty of sources.

There really can't be any debate about the Rebbe's position on this.
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Unread 06-24-2009, 06:25 PM   #7
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There really can't be any debate about the Rebbe's position on this.
Well there was so much consensus on that thread...
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Unread 06-24-2009, 08:52 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meshulam View Post
This is way off the subject, and the subject has already been posted about at length, but to clarify:
The Rebbe certainly does not lack for awareness of all of the "cool" ideas you just mentioned, and yet the Rebbe is very against learning secular "chochmas." Your approach subsumes and nullifies the Rebbe's rule. It therefore cannot be correct.
What about what Hashem told us? And the Gemara that says that anyone who can learn astronomy and doesn't, it's like ki d'var Hashem baza? (what's that pasuk again and where is the Chazal?)
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Originally Posted by MahTovChelkeinu View Post
I still don't see any proof of this point. The Rebbe cautioned against the hashpaos that are present in secular schools and universities; the Rebbe stressed that Torah education is first and foremost in a child's education; the Rebbe stressed the importance of a pure environment for children to learn in. The Rebbe never said that it is assur to learn secular "chochmas" like those I mentioned above. You want to have a conversation about reading philosophy or studying other theologies, there we'll find more common ground.
I am glad to hear this
Quote:
Granted, the sources one goes to in the subjects I mentioned are suspect and can cross some of the cautions I listed, but in the right circumstances, such study is not against what the Rebbe said.

Your argument, sets up a very slippery slope. For example geometry was really set up by Pythagorus. Do you want to hear stories about what an apikorus/kofer Pythagorus was? Does that assur geometry? How about basic genetics - a lot of that early research was done in the famous experiments with "Mendel's Peas;" but this Mendel was a monk. Assur? Is it appropriate for children to play piano? The modern piano was invented by Bach (who helped set up the well tempered tuning system) and others who were primarily paid by the Catholic church to write religious music. Assur to learn piano?
Along those lines, then it should be assur for a Chabad person to learn Rambam's more secular sections (like parts of Hilchos Deios that are not halacha) because he learned it from Aristo and Galen.
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There are Rebbeim that believe in keeping their chassidim ignorant of the world around them... our Rebbe was not one them.
Absolutely.
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Originally Posted by Meshulam View Post
There are plenty of threads about this subject, but suffice it to say, your approach cannot be true. The Rebbe speaks frequently about the issue of secular education, and how against it he is. He forbade Lubavitch schools from teaching any secular subject until age 9, and said that any secular learning for the sake of parnasso should only be to the extent that it is absolutely necessay.
Define secular.
Quote:
Your view brings every secular idea within the general gambit of "Torah knowledge" because it could potentially assist in learning Torah. And I appreciate that you think that our Rebbe is anti-Ignorance. But your view and the Rebbe's are opposite one another.
You are both Chassidim. You are both based on the sources of the Rebbe. It's going to be Gimmel Tammuz tomorrow. Relax. You don't teach your kids English, MTC will and you will both serve Hashem in your own way.

Last edited by Yitzy; 06-25-2009 at 12:42 AM. Reason: See Rule #14.
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Unread 06-25-2009, 12:39 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by existwhere? View Post
You are both Chassidim. Relax. You don't teach your kids English, MTC will and you will both serve Hashem in your own way.
I don't know why anyone thinks MTC and I don't get along. Two people can disagree (vehemently even) and still get along. MTC and I haven't gotten personal with each other. We've kept things above the belt.

But he's 100% wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong.
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Unread 06-25-2009, 12:52 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Rebbe, Simchas Torah 5715
[Parents are afraid that if their child walks outside and asks someone where some street is, he'll speak with a Yiddish accent, making it obvious he's Jewish. So they teach him "English," and other secular studies that pollute his young mind.

The first three years after a child begins to study are the time when the foundation is laid for his later success. [Yet the parents] take the child and pollute his mind with "English," grammar etc. It would be best if even older people wouldn't know about these; how much more so a child until the age of 9, until the age of 12 - I would say even older but "if one tries to get [too] much, one gets nothing."
...
The argument that teaching the child English etc. will be an advantage for him materially, making it easier for him later on to earn a living, is not valid. No one knows what the future holds and what will happen later. So whatever we do has to be in accordance with Torah.
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Rebbe, Igros Kodesh 14
... In reply to your letter of 26 Tishrei, where you write the arguments of those opposed to the point of view that one should not pollute children's minds with secular matters, and as our Sages and Rabbis, of blessed memory, expressed it (Kesubos 50A, Bava Basra 21A) that, on the contrary, one should "fill up [the child] like an ox [is filled with food and drink]" - with limudei kodesh:
It is astonishing how their arguments make no sense intellectually (but apparently are based only on their desire, which "bribes" and deludes their intellect, especially the human intellect of their animal soul).
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Rebbe, Igros Kodesh 13
.. you come to the [apparently] straightforward conclusion that the only solution for you to make a living is none other than to learn ... English, then ... chemistry etc. and [only] then you will be able to have complete trust in G-d that you'll be able to make a living ...

I don't know who put this astonishing and upsetting idea into your mind, and why you don't see what's involved in this. If you will listen to my opinion and advice, you should leave behind all thoughts about your future career and settle down to study continuously and diligently, and exclusively limudei kodesh - nigleh and Chassidus for at least three or four more years. I am sure that if you will do this, you will be able to earn a living, with livelihood both material and spiritual [I.e. spreading Yiddishkeit]
The fact that there are (so-called) Lubavitch Schools that teach secular studies proves absolutely nothing. It isn't the only example of Lubavitch institutions that part ways with the Rebbe's teachings.
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Unread 06-25-2009, 01:34 PM   #11
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The fact that there are (so-called) Lubavitch Schools that teach secular studies proves absolutely nothing. It isn't the only example of Lubavitch institutions that part ways with the Rebbe's teachings.

but ,if it would be Asur as eating treif, I am sure that name of Lub would have been removed from these isntitutions
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Unread 06-25-2009, 03:04 PM   #12
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I know its fun to make diyukim, but the Rebbe's words are clear.
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Unread 06-25-2009, 07:22 PM   #13
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Actually he was making a diyuk in your words. Also, I know of more than one school (Chicago and Los Angeles both come to mind) that specifically was instructed to have an English program. Ohelei Torah, on the other, I believe was specifically instructed not to. The Rebbe never, however, allowed a school to serve treif.

Just for fun:

Simchas Torah - This is discussing education of a pre-bar mitzvah child - the question on this thread is about adults.

IK 14 - Also talking about education of children.

IK 13 - Here the Rebbe is saying that the person should spend some time in yeshiva before studying secular subjects. I also question the brackets at the end that gainful employment implies a job in shlichus.

One other point, all of these letters are discussing the primary pursuit of a person. Meaning, the Rebbe isn't suggesting that a person can relax and read for recreation, only that he should focus on Torah at various stages.

R' Miller made the same point tongue in cheek when he suggested finishing Chitas and a daf before worrying about dah ma l'hashev. But the point is the same - nothing in your quotes makes the subjects assur for recreation.
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Unread 06-25-2009, 07:48 PM   #14
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Sure not assur. Just totally against the Rebbe. But not assur or anything like that...
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Unread 06-25-2009, 08:20 PM   #15
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The Rebbe once said at a farbrengen (IIRC, Purim 5724) that those Yeshivas which host a secular studies program, their Roshei Yeshivah should go into their offices and cry. Need I say more?

(In that farbrengen, the Rebbe went through all the rational that the R"Y might have, including that when they offer a secular studies program, they'll have more talmidim. The Rebbe was not satisfied with any of these approaches, to say the least.)
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Unread 06-25-2009, 08:56 PM   #16
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maybe a paralkel with this ,would be Pas Yisroel (except betWEEN RH and YP), you cannot say that pas akum is Assur ,but is not a chassidishe thing

someone told me that he went to a Chabad House event, and there was not Pas Ysroel
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Unread 06-25-2009, 09:01 PM   #17
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someone told me that he went to a Chabad House event, and there was not Pas Ysroel
I've seen KDA at Chabad House events. Did you have a point?
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Unread 06-25-2009, 09:08 PM   #18
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I've seen KDA at Chabad House events. Did you have a point?
what is bothering you?
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Unread 06-25-2009, 09:32 PM   #19
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Just didn't quite understand where you were going with that.
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Unread 06-25-2009, 10:24 PM   #20
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this chabad house did not have handy pas ysroel, since for ppl going to the event(most modern orth or non yet frum) pas akum was ok, they made the seuda with pas akum
the Rebbe was not satisfied with limudei chol, but would not remove Lub name in the institution for this
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Unread 06-26-2009, 02:22 PM   #21
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The fact that there are (so-called) Lubavitch Schools that teach secular studies proves absolutely nothing. It isn't the only example of Lubavitch institutions that part ways with the Rebbe's teachings.
"So called" Lubavitch Schools???!!, Part ways with the Rebbe's teachings???!!! Do you have any idea of what or whom you are talking about?

Do you think that someone who read the kitzur shulchan aruch is qualified to be a Rav or a dayan? Obviously not. The Rav has a lot more knowledge and scope of knowledge than what is presented at the level of Kitzur.

You have a few snippets from a sicho or a letter and you pass judgement on the Lubavitch Schools who offer secular studies, that have been operating under the Rebbe's name and guidance for decades and call them "so called Lubavitch" and say they have "parted ways".

Be careful.
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Unread 06-26-2009, 02:30 PM   #22
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You have a few snippets from a sicho or a letter and you pass judgement on the Lubavitch Schools who offer secular studies, that have been operating under the Rebbe's name and guidance for decades and call them "so called Lubavitch" and say they have "parted ways".
Most of those types of school have been open for less than 25 years, but that still allows for 5-10 years under the Rebbe's pre-1992 guidance.
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Unread 06-26-2009, 04:02 PM   #23
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Most of those types of school have been open for less than 25 years, but that still allows for 5-10 years under the Rebbe's pre-1992 guidance.
The Yeshiva Achei Tmimim in Pittsburgh was founded by the Freidiker Rebbe with Rabbi Shalom Posner z"l, over 61 years ago. It has always had a secular department and has been a source of nachas to the Rebbe and a model for Lubavitch schools to follow. There's not even a sfek sfaka about the Rebbe's guidance of this yeshiva.
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Unread 06-26-2009, 05:49 PM   #24
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I do not think that there can be a question that as an ideal - the Rebbe felt that there should not be any secular studies at all, for boys and girls. I think somone should check with Rabbi Altein in Pittzburgh, who had a yechidus with the Rebbe on this very point, in addition to various other sichos etc. that are collected in various places.

Nonetheless, when schools were opened in different places many decades ago - including in NY - AKA as "day schools", where the purpose was to get children out of public schools or schools that were very far from a kosher chinuch, and to get these children into a yeshiva system, the practicalities were such that those schools had to have secular studies in order to have any hope of acheiving its goals. Therefore, I do not see the contradiction at all from the founding of the Pittsburgh yeshiva.

Someone correct me if I am wrong, but the Rebbe used 2 distinct phrases:

1) Chinuch Hakosher ( ) - which referred to a chinuch al pi Torah with secular subjects part of the day, and

2) Chinuch al pi Taharas hakodesh ( ), which referred to a chinuch without secular subjects at all.
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Unread 06-26-2009, 06:46 PM   #25
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"So called" Lubavitch Schools???!!, Part ways with the Rebbe's teachings???!!! Do you have any idea of what or whom you are talking about?

Do you think that someone who read the kitzur shulchan aruch is qualified to be a Rav or a dayan? Obviously not. The Rav has a lot more knowledge and scope of knowledge than what is presented at the level of Kitzur.

You have a few snippets from a sicho or a letter and you pass judgement on the Lubavitch Schools who offer secular studies, that have been operating under the Rebbe's name and guidance for decades and call them "so called Lubavitch" and say they have "parted ways".

Be careful.
If you think that the Rebbe's words are anything less than clear, then you aren't reading them. Lubavitch, by definition, follows the Rebbe. Anyone who does not follow the Rebbe may well be a frum Jew, and deserve a nice pat on the back... but he's not Lubavitch.

And an institution that does not follow the Rebbe's instructions is not a Lubavitch institution.

Torah613 painted a very nice picture that even accounts for some of the philosophical subtleties of the Rebbe's position. But a school purporting to be a school for anash should follow the Rebbe's model. Otherwise, its only "so-called Lubavitch."
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