Aug 20, 2014

The Reason for Yeridas Ha'Doros

In the Pesach 2014 issue of Binah, Rebbetzin Feige Twerski writes:

"At a Torah Umesorah convention some years ago, R' Aharon Feldman, rosh yeshiva of Ner Israel, observed that children of our generation are not of the same caliber as those of his generation.  The reason for that, he asserted, is that children today are not being raised by their mothers.  They are, for the most part, consigned to a variety of daycare situations.  He quickly added that economic reasons necessitated this phenomenon that has affected the quality of offspring who, by right, should be in the loving environment provided by parents, grandparents, and extended family."

She goes on to say that in an address to mechanchim, R' Hutner spoke about Rabbi Yehoshua ben Gamla who instituted formal education.  Up until that time, Torah was transmitted directly from father to son while daughters learned from their mothers.  It came to a point where many children were uneducated which is why R' Yehoshua instituted a yeshiva system where children were taught outside the home.

R' Hutner pointed out that although R' Yehoshua is praised in the Gemara for doing what he did and he saved the day, it was nonetheless a tragedy for Klal Yisrael.  Why? Because ideally the Torah, "the art of living should flow from the same source as physical life.  The same parents who brought the children into the world, the parents, should be the ones who provide the Torah path in life."

R' Hutner gave an analogy to a country where, because the air was polluted, all babies had to be put in incubators if they were to survive.  This is not the ideal situation, of course, but if children can't breathe the natural air, we have to be grateful for incubators.

"Relegating our children to others to educate, shape, and form them is akin to placing them in incubators.  This is not the ideal, but we have no choice.  The Gemara praises R' Yehoshua ben Gamla.  Given the change in times, his was a heroic act."

Rebbetzin Twerski pointed out that Hashem puts us in a situation for the good, and the point is not to pine for yesteryear.  It's to acknowledge the reality of our situation and figure out how best to deal with it.

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