[Avodah] Ben Torah for Life
JRich at sibson.com
Wed Aug 7 01:51:57 PDT 2019
My thoughts on Ben Torah for Life" by Rabbi Aaron Lopiansky
This book is addressed to the "Yaakov's" who have spent their lifetime in full time torah studies and now, going out into "the real world" to make a living, feel they have sold out their learning for a "bowl of lentils". (R'Lopiansky's allusion to Esav selling his birthright). [me-This is the problem statement]
R'Lopiansky's response is multifaceted. On the philosophical side he states that Yaakov must realize that while extended full time learning was the right thing to do and forms his core, "the vocation that hashgacha has allotted you" now is not less valuable if viewed correctly. He is an agent of HKB"H and must maintain an appropriate (for self and family) standard of living which reflects his ultimate goals.
He must realize that the outside world is not black (it's all foolishness) or white (they're great). Our ethical/moral standards are key as Yaakov maintains his separation and sanctifies HKB "H's name. He needs to look for/ form a strong. Shul, Community, Rabbi, Chevra and family while he sets aside time for more practical, focused, inspirational and engaged learning. He must set aside time to set/correct course and experience the sweetness of every mitzvah.
Yaakov must make tfila, Shabbat and Yom Tov different and meaningful. He must avoid spiritual pitfalls and use down time appropriately.
1) While Yaakov's problem statement (and problem) is very different from Jack's (my creation - his modern orthodox cousin whose problems stem from being reared to believe professional success is key), the advice is still generally on target for both of them
2) R'A Feldman's (Rosh Yeshiva-Ner Yisrael) approbation includes the following statements worth discussing: " It is a fact of our Yeshiva educational system that a good proportion of our students do not end up in Torah-related careers and therefore find themselves thrust, often unprepared, into an environment whose values and behaviors are radically different from their accustomed ones. Surprisingly, this problem has never been addressed by our Roshey Yeshiva."
3) Also worth discussing - does the response to Yaakov fully address his problem statement's root cause? If not, why? What other short and long term responses might be more effective for Yaakov or his children? How would they effect the rest of the community?
4) David Epstein in "Range" argues that "specializing" too early can be counterproductive and that generalists who find their path later in life tend to excel and be more creative, agile and able to make connections that specialists miss. (me-The connections part especially resonates with me). What are the implications for our educational systems (Limudei Kodesh and Chol across the orthodox spectrum?))
She-nir'eh et nehamat Yerushalayim u-binyanah bi-mherah ve-yamenu (may we see the consolation of Jerusalem and its rebuilding speedily in our days ),
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