Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Secular education and Rav Shach

Relevant to our discussion of the relevancy of secular studies are two stories about Rav Shach - who was not shy about expressing his strong views on a wide variety of issues.

The first story I heard from Rabbi Gershenfeld - Rosh Yeshiva of Machon Shlomo in Har Nof. Rav Leff - the Rav of Mattisyahu is also the head of the high scholl Maarava - which provides high level of secular studies to its elite student body. Rav Leff took the job at the insistence of Rav Shach. One day Rav Leff heard that Rav Shach had made a strong attack on Maarva and secular study. He hurried to Bnei Brak to offer his resignation to Rav Shach. He told him he did not want to be part of an institution that Rav Shach opposed. Rav Shach responded. "You are to remain as the principal of Maarava and I will continue attacking it."

I was told that originally Maarava was created for students who didn't really fit in yeshiva and thus were going off the derech because they had no place. With the development of the school these misfits were able to be saved. However with time, people who were not misfits were attracted to the school. Students who would have been very successful in a Torah only environment - wanted to have careers and become professionals. This necessitated Rav Shach's attack which was to make clear that Maarva was only for those people who would have been lost otherwise. It was not an option for a successful student.

The second is mentioned in the autobiography of Prof Aharon Kirschenbaum. The biography itself can be downloaded here.teaching Jewish law





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