JERUSALEM (VINnews) — In an unusual statement for a chareidi leader, Rabbi Dovid Leibel, the president of the Achvas Torah communities, spoke at a meeting for hundreds of members of the communities in Beit Shemesh and stressed that chareidi married men should be encouraged to join the workforce and that this is Lechatchila (preferable behavior). The meeting was also attended by Rabbi Elimelech Kornfeld, who heads the Kehillas Hagra in Ramat Beit Shemesh.Join our WhatsApp group
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Rabbi Leibel said that people should have the choice of sending their children to cheider, chareidi education with full secular core curriculum or a yeshiva which includes studies for a degree. He added that “We don’t keep Mitzvos only to maintain our identity, but also because we believe that those who fulfill them and understand their content, become more upstanding and balanced people, respect others and are honest.”
Rabbi Leibel stressed that he does not mean to prevent people from being avreichim. “I and Achvas Torah respect Talmidei chachamim. Those who can immerse themselves in Torah and study for 10 hours daily, those who are involved in their studies while walking in the street, while sleeping, they are blessed in this world and the next world.
“I myself study all day in the Beis Midrash with people who wish to understand the depths of Torah, to teach it and to influence the public. Nobody is trying to take avreichim immersed in their studies out of the Beis Midrash. I myself maintain a network of kollelim for people who are sitting and learning. However whoever feels that this is not his goal, he can’t see himself learning 10 hours daily or hasn’t got the means to do so, or wishes to realize his potential in the workforce- he may choose himself a different way of life and it is not just permitted but he is fulfilling the halacha which states that Torah without work will be nullified and lead to sin. Nobody can say that this is not Lechatchila.”
Rabbi Leibel criticized the chareidi attempts to maintain seclusion: “One who is in a bubble will obviously be more corrected but that is not the goal. To live on a desert island and not steal when there isn’t anyone to steal from is not laudable. Its much harder to live in the real world and keep halacha. The Torah wants us to cope, to be strong, to imbue ourself and this only happens when there is a challlenge. The working Torah community has to cope in the real world, maintain halacha and keep its values.
Rabbi Leibel said that if done correctly, education can be in many different ways, including studying the core curriculum while maintaining a high level of yiddishkeit. He added that those who work can send their children to cheider and those who learn can send children to yeshiva high school if it fits the child’s needs and then “Achvas Torah wouldn’t be needed,” as its goal is to allow proper integration of Torah-true Jews in the workforce while maintaining their connection to Torah.