[Avodah] Torah and Secular Knowledge before Ghettoization

Zev Sero zev at sero.name
Wed Jul 7 17:32:33 PDT 2021

On 7/7/21 12:46 pm, Prof. Levine via Avodah wrote:
> At 11:06 PM 7/6/2021, avodah-request at lists.aishdas.org wrote:
>> In any case, we're talking about a historical question.  Not what ought
>> to be, but what was.  Your assertion was that your preferred model of
>> education was the standard among Jews, until it somehow changed because
>> Jews were locked up in ghettos.   I simply don't believe that is true. I
>> know of no evidence for it at all, and you have not advanced any
>> evidence for it.  An essay is not evidence.

> What evidence can you supply to back up your  assertion that Jewish 
> education has not changed considerably  from the past?

You are the one making an extraordinary assertion.  The onus of proof is 
on you.  No evidence is needed that our tradition of "chinuch al taharas 
hakodesh" is as it was; you are the one who asserts without evidence 
that it was the result of some mythical "ghetto walls", and was not the 
authentic way of "ruach yisrael saba".

> We certainly know that there have been monumental changes in Jewish 
> education.

No, we do not.  The examples you give are of changes in the tools 
available, not in the education itself.  It's like saying that using a 
school bus instead of having a belfer walk the children to school, or 
using electric lights instead of oil lamps, is a change in our chinuch!

> And your assertion that secular education was never a part of the 
> elementary education given Jews is historically incorrect. (and please 
> do not tell me that this is an essay and hence is not to be relied upon.)

I will tell you *exactly* that.  This is the opinion of some secular 
professor, not of a Torah scholar.  And even if it's true, it's about 
one period in the history of one community, which was criticised at the 
time, ended in the disaster of mass conversion and assimilation, and is 
not part of our mesorah at all.

Zev Sero            Wishing everyone a healthy summer
zev at sero.name

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