Rabbonim and educations have been speaking out on the need to
stand firm against renewed attempts by figures at "yeshiva
high schools" to persuade parents of talmidim studying
at talmudei Torah and other chareidi institutions to
send their children to institutions that offer a mixture of
limudei kodesh and limudei chol.
The battle against initiatives to set up chareidi yeshiva
high schools, and various institutions disguised as Torah
institutions that combine secular studies, has been waged on
the pages of Yated Ne'eman in recent months under the
direction of maranan verabonon headed by Maran HaRav
Several months ago Yated Ne'eman warned against plans
to add other institutions of this type that are not conducive
to the transmission of the Torah in purity and that tempt
boys from chareidi homes to pursue this path rather than
dedicating themselves entirely to toil in Torah.
At the end of Tammuz 5763 HaRav Eliashiv instructed Yated
Ne'eman to publish letters of opposition against such
initiatives written by gedolei Yisroel from the past
and present generation ylct"a. Meanwhile rabbonim,
chareidi public figures, educators and principals across the
country alerted parents and their sons to the threat of being
lured by these institutions. Staunch calls were also issued
to the promoters of these new institutions telling them to
abandon their plans.
Gedolei Yisroel are deeply concern over attempts by
various institutions to attract talmidim from chareidi
talmudei Torah as well. Beginning with Hayishuv
Hachadash in Tel Aviv, the breach was followed by Maarava,
Nehora, Lev Daniel and a new institution at Yad Binyamin
Some openly call themselves "chareidi yeshiva high schools,"
while others present themselves as "Torani" and
"chareidi" and claim they are built on a yeshiva framework.
Warning against such institutions posing as chareidi yeshivas
Maran HaRav Shach zt"l wrote, "All of the
talmid's time should be used exclusively for studying
the holy Torah and the talmid should not be given any
opportunity to study secular studies. And furthermore it is
forbidden to found a yeshiva or Torah-based institution by
another name and make changes in the study arrangements we
have received from our rabbonim, zt"l."
As early as 5721 (1961) the Tchebiner Rov, HaRav Yechezkel
Abramsky, HaRav Eliezer Yehuda Finkel, HaRav Yechezkel Sarna
and HaRav Yaakov Yisroel Kanievsky issued a statement of
protest against "people who have gone forth to breach the
walls [established by] geonim, tzaddikim and
yesodei olom from previous generations by bringing
secular studies into the holy yeshivas." The letter explains
that this stands in contradiction to the goal of the yeshivas
to raise gedolei Torah imbued with yiras
Shomayim adorned with good middos and upright
conduct "and without any mixing of secular studies, chas
They also wrote, "It would be superfluous to relate the
gravity of [this development] when the opinion of gedolei
hador in Eretz Yisroel and abroad has always been well
known through their fiery warnings not to bring foreign
elements into the vineyards of the holy yeshivas and not to
be snared in the net of the Haskoloh, which eats body and
soul . . . This harbors a danger of ruin and destruction for
the remnants of our Torah in Eretz Hakodesh!"
The letter ends with an impassioned call to parents: "Send
your sons to the yeshivas that continue, with bands of love,
the tradition of yeshivas in Am Yisroel without extraneous
adornments. Do not choose the luster of temporal life over
the everlasting light of eternal life."
In the last twenty years when new attempts were made to set
up institutions posing as "chareidi" or "Torani,"
HaRav Shach came out against them full force in several
letters, arousing readers to take whatever measures possible
against these initiatives. In a letter dated 5748 (1988) he
wrote, "I was very shocked to hear the walls have been
breached by opening an institution for young men called
Maarava, which has altered many practices that lend the
yeshiva its form, as they were established by [our rabbonim]
and they have exacerbated the situation by allowing the
talmidim to engage in secular studies and occupy
themselves with emptiness. Therefore I hereby state my
opinion that chas vesholom should one be among the
talmidim there for it is forbidden to make any slight
changes in the form of the holy yeshivas as they were founded
by our rabbonim from previous generations. A yeshiva is holy
throughout, without any mixing of other studies. `One
thousand go into Mikro and one comes out for
horo'oh.' Anyone who makes changes will not gain and
will have to give an account."
Another letter written in 5755 (1995) read, "I was very
shocked upon hearing the bad news we heard that a wall is
about to be breached by opening an institute for young men
called Nehora that has altered the form of the holy yeshivas
by adding and mixing holy and secular [studies], studying and
engaging in secular studies and emptiness, Rachmono
litzlan, and misguiding the parents of the
talmidim by telling them this will make their lives
(parnossoh) more solid by studying these subjects, and
of course this will continue and later they will [pursue]
more and more secular studies. It must be clear that being
solid and successful in life comes only from HaKodosh
Boruch Hu, for He is the source of blessing and success--
not through secular studies, chas vesholom . . . I
hereby declare that one must not, choliloh vecholiloh,
be among the talmidim at this place, which alters what
we received from rabboseinu metzukei oretz, zechusom
yogein oleinu, the conveyors of knowledge from generation
to generation, according to the formulation practiced in the
holy yeshivas, which is our legacy, and chas vesholom
should other studies be mixed into the holy yeshivas . . .
And all who change and ruin and all who help them will not
gain and will be judged, and their judgment is stated
explicitly in Parshas Re'eih."
During those years a holy call was issued by the leading
roshei yeshivos along with gedolei Yisroel including
HaRav Eliashiv, shlita. The call read, in part, "This
is the Torah passed down to us from generation to generation
and stringent measures were always taken to [ensure] the
Torah was studied in yeshivas without mixing in other
studies. And our rabbonim were completely dedicated
throughout the generations to preventing any foreign elements
from [mixing] in with the Torah. In our generation too,
be'ezras Hashem, this has been carried on in the holy
yeshivas, whose only yearning is for Torah and who perpetuate
the transmission of the Torah in the hands of our rabbonim
from generation to generation. Therefore parents and teachers
are charged with the holy task of directing their sons and
talmidim to the holy yeshivas, for the study of Torah
must be their only occupation, and not to send them to places
that have added outside studies beyond the holy Torah.
"And we are turning to you, our dear boys: do all you can to
earn the crown of Torah of Torah and stir yourselves to toil
in it. Know that the holy yeshivas are beis chayeinu
and in them alone will the embers of the holy Torah [remain
burning], providing you strength and light."
Several months ago one of the initiators of these new
institutions was sent a letter containing Maran HaRav
Eliashiv's opinion that he must stop his plans immediately.
The recipient honored the demand, abandoning his plan to open
an institution in the Tel Aviv area.
Later plans to open a similar institution in the Yad Binyomin
Institutions building were reported. Last summer Rav Refoel
Frank, who was slated to head the institution, worked to
recruit students from chareidi schools around the country. At
the beginning of Av he received a letter from HaRav Boruch
Shmuel Hacohen Deutsch, HaRav Nosson Zochovsky, HaRav Tzvi
Friedman and HaRav Y. Efrati, who had been asked by HaRav
Eliashiv to direct HaRav Frank to cease his initiative
"We have been told by Maran Ateres Rosheinu HaGaon Rav Yosef
Sholom Eliashiv, shlita, to write you as follows:
"Among the most famous campaigns [waged by] gedolei
Yisroel zechusom yogein oleinu and lehavdil bein
hachaim lechaim, was to prevent integrating secular and
sacred [studies] and to preserve the purity of the holy
yeshivas, raising generation after generation for Torah and
yiras Shomayim. And in each and every case in which a
breach formed, gedolei Yisroel set out with sword and
spear in hand against the breach. On the other hand, in the
case of an institution that was clearly not intended to be a
yeshiva but was engaging in kiruv rechokim while being
certain not to use the appellation `yeshiva' and never
contemplating enrolling even a single alumnus from Chinuch
Atzmai or similar [institutions]--in certain specific cases
rabboseinu chose to remain silent.
"And it is known how Maran HaRav Shach zt'l wrote that
those who alter and ruin the order of the holy yeshivas have
a difficult lot and are destined to give a reckoning, etc.
"In the present case we are referring to the institution you
will be heading, which is planned [to include] secular
studies with sacred studies. [The situation] has reached a
point where graduates of Chinuch Atzmai institutions who
should be studying at yeshivos ketanos have enrolled
with you because of their inability to distinguish between [a
genuine yeshiva and an imitation].
"Therefore Maran HaRav Eliashiv, shlita, has
instructed [us] to notify you that you must cease this
initiative to set up this institution immediately.
"And just as you will receive reward for desisting, may you
merit increasing the strength of Torah study in purity."
The chareidi public expressed was unhappy the founders of the
institution who persisted in their rebelliousness,
particularly after the institution, known as the Neharde'a
Institute, sent out letters last month to Chinuch Atzmai
schools and directed to the parents of talmidim in
eighth grade to inform them that enrollment has opened for
5765. The letter states that the institute is for outstanding
students "whose parents want to educate them in Torah and
yiras Shomayim." In addition to studying gemora,
both iyun and bekius, and growing in
yiras Shomayim, "emphasis will also be placed on
bringing the talmid to achievements in secular
studies," so that in the future "he will be able to integrate
into academic learning frameworks." Toward this end a
schedule of secular studies and an enrichment program were
arranged in coordination with the administration of the
preparatory program at Machon Lev.
Another sheet explains that as a supplement to the required
courses in civics, math, English, computers, chemistry,
biology and history are enrichment studies intended "to
provide students with general knowledge on subjects in
various fields of science" such as natural sciences, life
sciences, social sciences and humanities.
The repeated attempt to contact talmidim from the
chareidi education system shocked rabbonim and educators.
Chareidi principals and educators everywhere were called on
to stand guard to keep their students from being tempted to
pursue such avenues.
Concerns were also raised at a national conference of Chinuch
Atzmai principals held recently at Nir Etzion. During the
closing session Rabbi Avrohom Yosef Lazerson, one of the
heads of Chinuch Atzmai, warned against attempts at outside
intervention as well as temptations from within threatening
the spiritual independence of Chinuch Atzmai. He also alerted
conference participants to the trend of enrolling students at
"compromising institutions" she'ein ruach chachomim nochoh
meihem and said, "We have been placed in charge of
guarding the holy deposit of the greats of the previous
generations, the founders of Chinuch Atzmai. We must stand
watch to ensure their vision is realized--to educate youth
and guide them only to the holy yeshivas of holy purity,
without any mixture and modern innovation, in the oil vessel
sealed with the seal of the kohanim gedolim."
He issued a call to directors to reject all outside attempts
to persuade parents and talmidim to veer from the path
paved for us by rabboseinu.