Shabbos I walked with my father and brother to R’ Landaus shul to hear R’ Fishel Shechter give a shiur on Pirkei Avos. I’ve always associated him with the “funny”/annoying voices he used when telling stories to children. But here I heard him speak to adults and thank goodness he used his normal speaking voice. Sunday, I got to see my first hachasos sefer Torah. Monday, I went to a shiur by R’ Veiner on the topic of Shvous.
Shabbos, R’ Fishel Shechter spoke about Pirkei Avos. I agreed with most of what he said. There was one topic though that I did not agree with him about. He made some good points about parents needing to spend more time with their children. He said families should have supper together during the week more often. He said parents should take some time to shmooze with their children. That on Shabbos parents shouldn’t lock themselves in their room for 7 hours and expect their children to keep themselves busy without getting into trouble. He said you have to give them some sort of structure, that children will get bored after a while. He also made a good point about how parents that are divorced will pay millions of dollars to gain visitation rights with their children, and here you have married couples who have their children right there and yet don’t spend any time with them.
There was one thing he spoke about though that I did not agree with, and that was about Internet. He said its very dangerous and all. But yet, I think that hiding things from children isn’t the answer. We live in a society where children can’t be sheltered from the parents. If a child doesn’t have something at home they will go elsewhere to find it. The key is to raise your child with the right values and morals. To instill in them what is right and wrong. To educate them on what is out there, and how we are different and special. If a parent gives their children the right tools, then having internet or not will not make a difference. There’s so many ways to get things done, that internet is not the only route, it is just a means, not an end.
Sunday, I went with my sister to see the hachnasos sefer torah. I always get such a good feeling when I hear Jewish music in the streets. It’s like this is mine, I belong to this. It was cool to see a pretty truck looking thing with a Torah on it and lights and all kinds of flashy things driving through the street with lots of men and children following it.
Monday, R’ Veiner first spoke about Tefillin, how there’s some problem going on. Me not being a man, didn’t pay much attention to it. Although I found it interesting to see all these women peeking down to see what he was talking about. Makes me think they are such tzadeikeses, and reminds me of my HS teachers. Every time I see a women at a shiur that has such a look and is all into learning Torah and all, it reminds me of my HS teachers. It’s interesting, cause no one in my neighborhood is like that, so its like entering two different worlds.
Anyways, he spoke about Shvous how it’s a yom din, that we have to evaluate where we have fallen short in Talmud Torah. He acknowledged that there were women there, and he said this is an obligation on women too. That Talmud Torah is the women’s key into getting into Olam Habbah. He said that through marriage a women has to motivate her husband to learn, but yet she shouldn’t be his mashgiach. But rather it’s important for the guy to have his own Rav, so that she can go to the Rav to push him to learn, so that there are no Shalom Bayis problems.
In theory this might sound good, but I don’t like the way it sounds. To me I think Husband and wife should have good communication to discuss everything with each other. If the wife feels like she has to get a 3rd party involved, then to me it sounds like the marriage doesn’t have a good foundation. But yet I understand the merit of having someone else being “the bad guy”, but yet if the husband knows that the wife tattled on him, then wouldn’t the husband get more upset at the wife? Plus I don’t think the wife should constantly have to push her husband to learn, it makes it into a business relationship. Rather I think if the husband understood the importance of learning then he should want to do it on his own, if he really wants to but yet is getting distracted, then maybe the wife can motivate him and talk nicely to him and get him to learn that way. But overall, I think the husband should want to learn on his own and the wife should just encourage him a bit, but not boss him around and decide how much he has to learn.
He said you should make a project to learn with others, and to start off with just 10 minutes, and that it will grow from there. He said a Rav can’t be on top of every one to learn, so this way if each person found another person to learn with then it would work out better.
Now, after reading all this it might make you think “what’s so important about Torah after all?” Well, here’s the answer, if someone is anchored in Torah then all their other Yetzer Horas fall away. Now it finally makes sense why so much emphasis is put on Limud Torah, because it allows us to be better Jews.
He said that the point isn’t to be learning 24/7, but rather to have that as your priority, of what you wish to be doing. So you see, people don’t have to learn in Kollel to keep the mitzvah of learning Torah. But rather you can work and make a parnassah. The main point is that you want to learn. So that if you have free time, you grab the opportunity to learn, that shows that everything you are doing is really for Torah.
Also, when I think of learning, I always think of men with their gemorahs. But really, that’s not what its all about. Any form of learning counts, whether that’s an artscroll gemorah, or listening to shiurim on an iPod.
Now learning Torah has side benefits too, so that if you are stuck in traffic, or delayed, instead of getting frantic that you are late. You sit there and listen to a shiur or learn something. You save yourself from anxiety, since now you just got an opportunity to learn, so the inconvenience became a convenience.
An important thing to remember is that bad learning experiences in Yeshiva or anywhere else should not turn a person off from learning, but rather they should move on and continue learning.
Here’s one topic I disagreed with. He said that a mall is pritzus so men shouldn’t go there. At first I thought that was radical, and there’s nothing wrong with going to a mall. My naaive way of thinking of it, is that Hashem created men and women who will have a zivug that is right for them, and that is the one they will be attracted to. So that if men see other women, that is not their wife then they should not be attracted by the other lady. That only their wife can attract them which is why they are married. I mean the husband picked that wife out of everybody, so that should mean that she’s the one for him, so that other ladies shouldn’t matter. So it shouldn’t matter if he sees other ladies who “in their haste in the morning forgot to get dressed”, it shouldn’t cause him any bad thoughts, he should be able to ignore it.
Perhaps I’m crazy, and my way of thinking doesn’t make sense. Maybe, it doesn’t work like that, and men do have temptations for other women that they aren’t married to. Well if that’s the way it works, then okay, I agree that men should avoid seening pritzusdik women and avoid going to the mall.