Dear Matzav Shmooze,
Everyone is talking about the new regulations in New York that want to enforce 7 hours of secular studies in our cheders. The new bill came after organizations pushed the State to investigate the yeshivos and found them inadequate when it came to secular studies.
But rabbossai I think the real issue that needs investigating is our children’s Jewish studies. You see, when people were complaining of the sykrocketting homework workloads given by rebbeim, I decided to take it upon myself to see what the results were. In the course of looking into that, I ended up trying to see where yeshiva bochurim in general were holding.
I did an unofficial survey of the many bochurim in my shul and other shuls in my neighborhood to get a general picture of where most boys in various yeshivos and age groups were holding.
The answers shocked me.
I found bais medrash bochurim in good yeshivos who struggled to make a leining on a Gemara, let alone learn up a Tosafos or other Rishonim. When I asked some of these young men the difference between Orach Chaim and Yoreh Deah I was met with too many blank faces.
There were many boys who were proficient and were able to answer my questions and then some. Some were actually really impressive. But there were enough participants in my ‘survey’ to tell me they were the exception and not the rule.
Forget math and basic grammar for a second. While those are somewhat important Yiddishkeit always comes first. But if we’re neglecting secular studies to focus on Gemara and other Jewish subjects shouldn’t our children at least be adequate in those?