Thursday, 11 November 2010

Excuses Not Questions

Someone emailed me this article from the free weekly Israeli newspaper HaShavua. Dunno if it's true but reflects my personal experiences with Chareidi responses to "questions of emuna."

If someone feels like translating the whole thing by all means, but the gist of it is something like this:

Three Yeshiva drop outs/OTDs (not sure which) were brought to Rav Chaim Kanievsky in an attempt to bring them back to the "straight path". Rav Chaim asked the kids what had caused them to veer from "the derech". They answered that they had certain questions of faith which were bothering them greatly and they proceeded to explain their specific problems. Rav Chaim listened and then simply gave them a beracha.

One of the kids peeped up and asked Rav Chaim why he had not answered their questions. Rav Chaim quoted the Brisker Rav and said "I answer questions not excuses" He turned to the three kids and explained:

"You have decided to be porek ol, since you did not control your yetzer haras, and you found an excuse that you had 'questions', and I don't answer excuses!"  

He gave them another beracha that they would merit teshuva shelema

How fortunate are we to have such amazing Gedolim!!!

Here's the original article in Hebrew, click to enlarge:


Chaynobody said...

No doubt he wanted to ensure these kids completely lose respect for Rabbonim and never listen to a Rav ever again. I feel bad for the Kiruv guy who tried to bring them in, he must have left feeling like a fool...

Jmgkf said...

Don't you people know that honest person would ever reject the Torah unless he or she (am I allowed to mention women?) had been infected by secular culture and the yetzer hara. If a person has questions about HaShem, it's a sure sign you are a hedonist who is just looking for an excuse to indulge your desire for pleasure in this world (which is evil even though it was made by HaShem and HaShem said it was "tov m'od").

Jmgkf said...

Correction: I meant to write that "an honest person would NEVER reject the Torah..."

Must be the yetzer hara at work

JD4 said...

I suspect that many rabbis do not want to engage in a rational q-and-a about Judaism because most of them are quite intelligent and probably know that there is no satisfactory answer to the questions. I know when I asked my rabbi in yeshiva about basic problems I had, he gave me the rote answers (which I already knew -- 600,000 at Har Sinai etc), with a knowing smile. When I pressed him he just shrugged his shoulders. Fortunately, he did not attack me for "looking for excuses" and I respect him for that (after all I couldn't expect him to say -- you're right, there's no rational reason to believe in this stuff).

JD4 said...

@ thinkingbochur

A majority of people who "fry out" may be doing poorly in yeshiva. To me, that's an accusation against the yeshiva system. One would expect someone who is not adept at highly technical questions of textual interpretation (which generally are not essential to the modern world) in a foreign language for 10-14 hours a day, would do poorly in yeshiva. They then have few choices in the community which respects conformity.

But, more important to this conversation, those people who "fry out" because they have philosophical, theological etc problems with religion, do not do poorly in yeshiva. They generally excel in yeshiva because they are smart, dedicated to education and using their minds. These kids, who try to think for themselves, are the greatest threat to the yeshiva system. It appears that the rabbis' only defense is to try to tar all "fry outs" as lazy, dumb or evil.

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