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Burning Of The Talmud In Our Times

True Story: A large number of yarmulka wearing boys and skirt wearing girls who had completed yeshiva high-school here in Israel attended a graduation party on the Dugit Beach. The highlight of the evening was when they casted their textbooks into a fire. They made a large bonfire and together with their math books they threw their ..... Gemaras into the fire.

When they related this to an adult with whom they are close he went beserk. "What are you Nazi's? Is it krisstalnacht? This is antisemitism, cruelty to your traditions and roots. Are you not embarrassed??!!!"

They could not understand his extreme reaction. One of the boys explained innocently "Listen, I finished learning math so I burned my math book, I finished learning Gemara so I burned my gemara."

If you are rightfully shocked and horrified by this story then consider this. In the high-school that you attended were your Torah classes considered more important than all of your other classes?? Was it stressed that Torah is the purpose of life, the raison d'etre not only of our personal existence but of the entire universe?

Has anybody ever willingly died for chemistry?? Calculus?? English grammer???? Yet how many of our ancestors willingly suffered deprivation and even death in order to learn torah!! Someone once related to me that their grandfather was exiled to Siberia for something like 10 years for the cardinal Communist sin of studying Gemara. When he returned home he picked right up where he left off. They caught him again and sent him back.

This man understood the importance of Talmud Torah. So many Jews throughout history died for the sake of Torah, because they realized that life without Torah is a worse type of death. And in our schools it is well known that Torah subjects don't matter because they don't have anything to do with real life anyway.

Take a poll [and please inform me of the results] of so-called Modern Orthodox Jews and ask how many of them would willingly allow their children to skip their year in Israel and attend college, especially if their child was accepted to an Ivy-League school. Then ask how many of them would allow their child to skip college so that he could learn more Torah. [Note:I am not against college. I am just in favor of Torah receiving its due. And I am certainly in favor of earning a living - as were Chazal -but that is not the topic.] Vast experience has taught me what the answers would be.

Something to think about on shiva assar b'tammuz when according to the Mishna in Taanis we mourn [among other things] the burning of the Sefer Torah. V'dai Lechakima B'rmiza.

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About me

  • I'm Rabbi Ally Ehrman
  • From Old City Jerusalem, Israel
  • I am a Rebbe in Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh.
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