A Reader Writes: A Man’s View of Seminary


seminaryDear Editor,

I can hear you already: “What does it matter what a man thinks of seminary?” The answer is harsh but true. It matters a great deal, because we are the ones who have to pick up the pieces. Chas veshalom, none of us are against the lofty ideals espoused and theoretically taught in seminary. I would love to see our sisters and daughters in those theoretical seminaries. The fact is, however, that until seminaries are what some seem to think they are, I will do all I can to keep my daughters out of them.

The reasons are simple:

Men currently spend many years for each year their wives were in seminary deprogramming them, and even that never really undoes the damage. A person’s job is to live their life for Hashem. If Hashem wants a man to spend his life serving him in some other field than klei kodesh, that man certainly does not need his eizer kinegdo crying that he is not spending all his time learning. Nor do we need our wives having no appreciation for the G-dly task of raising a family.

Why am I the first one to tell my wife that the reason she is not obligated to do many of the mitzvos is because her life is intrinsically more holy and she does not need to do all that us men need to do to bring us closer to Hashem?

Do you think we appreciate hearing our wives moan that they didn’t daven well this Yom Kippur because they had to take care of the kids?

I hate to say it, but if that is how you feel, there are other religions that feel that way as well. Raising children (and that does not mean having a “goyta” take them so that you can daven more, or working full time) is as holy a calling as there is and our womenfolk are being robbed of a meaningful life by those who claim to be adding meaning to their lives.

A Husband


  1. When I was in h.s. close to thirty years ago, sem was presented as necessary. After all, if a girl is going to get post high school professional training of some sort, she has to realize htat there is that “graduate” level of limudei kodesh out there too. Furthermore, there are hashkafa inyanim brought up that high schools can’t, for various reasons.

    I sent and hope to send my girls to seminary where hashkafa, halacha, and general knowledge are stressed, and maybe it’s a combination of the home they grew up in too, but I feel they are very well grounded and I’m grateful for what sem provided.

    (I also wonder if you’ll find some intown/out of town dichotomy here. In the latter, we just don’t have the options you intowners do, for day vocational and consistent night classes.)

  2. I am not sure why Matzav let this post get posted. Keep the Daas Baalei Batim where it belongs. Inside the Baal Haboss. If Matzav wants to post opinions, let them be those of our Gedolim. They are our leaders. Not this “Husband.”

    I am also a “husband” and do not share his views at all. A mother/wife should feel bad on Yom Kippur not being able to spend her time davening and doing teshuva. She also has a Yom Hadin. At the same time she also has to realize that at this point in her life, her children come first. Without this sensitivity, she will forget what Yom Kippur is all about and she will not bring up her children properly . There will be a time again in her life where she will also have time to properly use this special day.

    Without Seminaries, the ruchnius of the house would be totaly up to the father. The ruchnius of the children and the ruchnius of his wife. If that were to happen these days, we would all be in trouble!

  3. My wife went to sem and b”h came out very well rounded in hashkafa and halacha.
    Perhaps the author of the article might be right in some cases, but the vast majority seem to do well in seminary. They learn good Jewish values there.

  4. another great benefit of seminary is that it shapes and makes a girl much more independent while giving her a year full of hashkafa

  5. I totally agree with the writer. Some girls that come out of the sems that have attended more than one year are flying high and have developed expectations of their husband’s spirituality at an unattainable level and that causes may of the marital problems that are prevelant today.
    Let them teach more about marital accord than RamBam and Tosfos!

  6. Shifra and poo-ah were zoche to batei kehuna and batei levia because of their simple caring for babies (see rashi), not for knowing tanach etc…
    Why should I know how to do laundry (because of my time in yeshiva) and my wife not- how’s a lady supposed to be a good mother without these type of skills? There’s too much acedemics.
    Harav Elya Svei zt”l was very against ladies be yiddeshe mommas being “career women”
    There also tends to be sholom bayis issues when there are unrealistic (yes- unrealistic) expectations from wife to husband.
    So no, its not only “daas bala habatim”

  7. hello daas baali batim
    My granddaughters are wonderful mothers, wives, daughters, friends and spiritual beings withOUT ever going to seminary. Can that be believed? They dont hound their husbands to learn every moment, or cry over yom kippur, they are “HAPPY IN THEIR LOT”. There are seminaries that are taliban in attitude—and thank gd for opinions from everyone (that’s all they are opinions).

  8. Dear Author,
    There are very competent therapists out there who can help you through your obvious shalom bayis crisis. While we all feel for you, we are not interested in providing free therapy.
    Get a life.

  9. to Daas Baalei Baatim

    Why don’t you ask gedolim their opinion as to the necessity of seminary?

    I think you’ll be surprised to hear the answer many of them give.

  10. I really don’t understand why Matzav posts these letters. In mein veinikeit(sic)I don’t see how this letter is representative of the voice of Torah Jewry.

    First with shiduchim, and now seminaries. All attacks at the kedusha of Benos Yisroel and thus the Jewish home.

    Just to be noted: While there is a very unfortunate situation/gezeira with shiduchim, there is a much much much worse situation going on in the more “open minded”, “properly deprogrammed” community with shiduchim. Thousands of singles coming to shul Friday night, in their thirties and forties… to meet outside afterward… You think this letter emanate out of jealousy and nisht farginen, rather than out of any care and concern for good?

  11. yiddishmeidel:
    “Some girls that come out of the sems that have attended more than one year are flying high and have developed expectations of their husband¬ís spirituality at an unattainable level and that causes may of the marital problems that are prevelant today.”

    If this were so, how comes the divorce rate is among “programmed” seminary graduates is a mere fraction of what it is among those who don’t attend?

    Maybe, just maybe, they are being programmed to make marriages work in a society with an over fifty percent divorce rate.

  12. Who asked you to marry a sem girl? There are (or were) plenty of girls who did not go to sem and are/were ‘right up your alley’. If you did not like the results of sem, make sure not to send your daughters there. But after they get married,don’t come here and complain again.

  13. Daas baal baatim, do you really mean that about Yom Kippur? Please think this through over Shabbos, and talk to some older, chashuve women if you can. Maybe it can be revisited after a few days.

  14. Dear Sir, I am not sure where you are going with this one, my wife spent a few years in a top seminary and did not need any “deprogrmming”. Perhaps there was a problem with where your wife went and you should look into what they are teaching in the schools you send your children to. I will echo the above poster and recommend you see a good therapist. If your wife wants to daven on Yom Kippur hire a baby sitter so she can go to shul. Tanach puts much emphasis on the tephilos of nashim (rachel, channah) and their power should not be underestimated. Or another suggestion, given how highly of you think of yourself perhaps you should stay home and watch the kids while your wife goes to shul and learn some humility.

  15. My friend told me that his sister went to a very right wing seminary in Israel and in one class they told the girls that is she marries a guy who is working she would be going to gehenim, so she walked right out. This is a problem of very right wing Bais Yaakov Seminaries.

  16. Cute how people are so quick to mach avek what a person says because hes ‘farbissen’ . if he is suffering that doesnt make it not true. if i smack you and you complain , should i ignore you cause your just farbissen? I would guess the author is not farbissen. but thats hardly the point.

  17. the only people that need therapy are the bochurim who have to date these post seminary girls. which is fine because they generally DO go to therapy. if they deny it its probably for shidduchim purposes. on the off chance hes saying the truth THEN you can be very scared because he probably needs it and is worse off . Im really really not lying now. i know this is hard to accept. to get a better idea why this is so . you should read the previous letter entitled a new angle on shidduchim.

  18. Before you recommend therapy and make other cute suggestions. think. think about society in general and LEARN whats really going on in yeshivas and the shidduch system and then ask yourself one question. IS THERE A SMALL POSSIBILITY THAT SEMINARIES ARE THE SINGLE BIGGEST CAUSE OF THE CRISISES WE HAVE TODAY. this requires a little depth.

  19. I feel I must clarify something. I am the autor of the above letter (it actualy has been edited somewhat and is incomplete, but I stand by it nonetheless).

    I am not at all “farbissen”, and despite my wife being a seminary graduate, she is a wonderfull wife and mother who completely agrees with my points above. In truth, it would be fair to say that my “letter” is actualy her thoughts exppressed through my pen. And no, they are not her thoughts alone. Many of her freinds and accquaintences (as well as their husbands), whether they are single, married or divorced, share these thoughts and opinions. While it may feel “frum” to shoot the messenger, why dont you instead respond to the point?

  20. Great to have you guys around. your so frum! If only you can comment on more scenarios. for example 1) A girl with a disease is neglected by her family and complains – we need you guys to assume that its her problem and recommend that she get help- maybe add on that she is not frum enough. Maybe look to see if the writer is raising a valid issue. I know this takes intellectual honesty and the ability to trade your phony frumkeit for the genuine variety. Two qualitys you dont seem to have right now . I know its easier to assume that anyone who raises an issue is wrong. But easier isnt always right. You can fill in other examples.

  21. To Az/Ag . Im extending an open invitation to you to comment how this writer is wrong, and the only thing that matters in life is encouraging closer in age shidduchim. Only use a third alias as people are getting a little fed up. Btw i much rather confront you directly, can you post your contact information ?

  22. I dated over fifty girls. I will say why some of them ended, I wasnt long term enough/ her parents didnt want to help out/ I smoke ( i wouldnt if i wasnt in yeshiva) /her parents wanted my parents to give more money than they can afford/ I wasnt long term enough – you get the point. Now before you say i shouldn be in yeshiva or i should be dating other girls . Do two things. A-tell me where to go. B- find me a girl that is both as frum as me and of similar overall quality of the girls ive dated.

  23. To older bachur: If leaving yeshiva will be the magic bullet for you to stop smoking, ask a shaila.

    Shifra an pooah: Rav Elya zt”l may well have said that. But I have read dozens of comments on blogs that are encouraging girls not just to wait for shidduchim, till they mature, but to get careers (yes, they use that word) to be able to support their husbands. Not be able to help out to relieve the pressure but to support the families.

  24. Huh? A Bais Yacov Seminary is this guys biggest ally. Bais Yacov spends all day teaching the students how little their spiritual lives matter compared to serving every one else around them. (which goes unchallenged by many folks on this site…) Kudos to his wife for resisting the seminary and community brainwashing, and much hatzlocha to her now in resisting brainwashing by him!

    See All I ever need to know I learned in SEMINARY

  25. Why am I the first one to tell my wife that the reason she is not obligated to do many of the mitzvos is because her life is intrinsically more holy and she does not need to do all that us men need to do to bring us closer to Hashem?

    Because that concept isn’t true.You sure won’t find it Gemorah or any of the many Rishonim who discuss why women aren’t obligated in MASZ’G.

  26. What this guy doesn’t realize is that the programming doesn’t start in seminary. It is just an intensified version of what has already been started in high school for many girls in places like Monsey, Boro Park and Lakewood.

    Someone mentioned that the divorce rate is lower among seminary graduates. That may very well be true. But has it occurred to anyone that these brainwashed girls may be more likely to stay in bad marriages because they have less secular education, more children and more peer pressure to stay married? If they were to get divorced they would be ostracized and broke. Whereas a woman who went to college instead of seminary would be more likely to limit her family size and have an independent source of funds.

    So these girls don’t have a lower divorce rate because their marriages are so blissful. They just have fewer choices.

  27. Whereas a woman who went to college instead of seminary would be more likely to limit her family size

    That is a very compelling argument for seminary over college.And I do not intend to send my daughters to seminary (in EY) and want them to get degrees.

  28. But so many people are pushing the girls waiting davka so that they can get degrees and good jobs and support their husbands!
    Then again, putting girls in the freezer for a few years will also decrease family sizes.