What Kanoim and Extremists Have Wrought: Normal Children and Dangerous Kanoim


rabbi-yaakov-horowitzBy Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz

Read this report on Arutz Sheva titled Dangerous Youth in Bnei Brak and weep.

Weep for these kids who have been mislead to believe that anything less than full day learning is shameful.

Weep for their parents who did not have the courage to buck community pressure and do what was right for their “average” sons years ago.

And weep for our charedi tzibur that gave the green light for many years now to kanoim and extremists who have quashed all efforts in Bnei Brak and many other communities to create alternate programs and recreational activities for healthy, normal, mainstream children who so desperately are in need of them.

Several years ago, I had the zechus to be in the presence of Maran HaRav Aharon Leib Shteinman shlit”a when he spoke at the Torah Umesorah Convention. Outside were dozens of kanoim, fiercely protesting his support of Nachal Charedi, (here are two columns that I wrote a while back about Nachal CharediNachal Charedi #1 and Nachal Charedi #2), a wonderful program created for charedi boys who are not full-time learners.

Make no mistake about it. The ruined lives of these children, the tears of their parents, and the havoc these kids wreak on our kehilos are all on their hands.

My friends, Arutz Sheva got everything right but the title. The kids aren’t dangerous, they were just normal children driven to the streets by the dangerous kanoim who are destroying every facet of our kehillos.

 {Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. While I applaud Rabbi Horowitz’s efforts to help those children in need, I don’t aprove of his apoligizing for these hoodlums.
    I come from a town where many of my friends are not chareidi. They do all sorts of things, both blue collar and white.
    Some hung out with girls, others didn’t some had substance problems, some didn’t etc…
    What happened in Bnei Brak is a heinious crime by thugs who unfortunately come from frum homes.

  2. To Rabbi Horowitz:
    Do you think this problem is prevalent here in Flatbush/(Litvisha Yeshiva’s) or is it more an Israel thing?

  3. I love hearning “Rabbi’s” from the USA comment on whats going on in ISrael. Beleive it or not, there is such a culture diffrence between the two places, such diffrent attiiude and diffrent lifestyles, that sadly a gym in BB would not have helped these kids. they as a rule come from low SE homes, never had love at home. the issue of the army makes work out of question. there are many issues to take into account befre u put pen to paper or finger to keyboard, so go rabbi and reach, but preach to those u know!

  4. To yossieg,
    Please explain what your talking about regarding your “supposed” meeting with Rav Schach! Maran Rav Schach was never afraid to say it like it is, regardless of what people thought of him! (Example – Lubavitch!)

  5. Your story is laughable- anyone who knew Rav Shach knows that he did not shy away from saying anything at all that he felt needed saying- of all people!

    Your comment is so out of character for Rav Shach, you sound like a kid with a need to “contribute to the conversation”. 🙂

  6. To Anon.

    Although Rav Horowitz does live in the US he is involved with helping children all over the world specifically in Eretz Yisroel. Before dismssing one of Klal Yisroel’s leading authorities on troubled youth you should take time to consider what he has to say.

  7. I suspect that the only reason Rabbi Yankel Horowitz takes this position is because it is what gives him ligitimacy, as a supposed maven on helping kids at risk. Yes there are children who rebel, however, it is so in every society, een in the most permissive. It thas to do with personalities of children. Unfortunately, some children are pushed to these extremes because of unfortunate (to put it mildly) situatioins they are in, but that is not what RYH is refering to in this article.

    Yes there were thise who protested Horav Aharon Leib’s position, are they not entitled to their shitos? I am sure many of them had rabbonim who they folowed. RYH gets way to worked and eager to place blame on those who do not believe he is the one and only.

  8. read the whole article!!!!
    this is what happens when there is no fear from the police, it would never have gotten like this if there was a normal response from the police, its their fault it got so out of hand not the kids or the system

  9. we now found someone else to blame for the childrenÂ’s problems maybe the Rebbi maybe the teachers maybe the parents maybe the brothers and sisters but never never never the childrenÂ’s own fault.

  10. Rabbi horowitz is blaming the system, the parents, and scoring points with the modern orthodox rabbis.
    In my opinion, he does not represent the yeshiva world view.

  11. In response to those who criticized Rabbi Horotwitz for attributing these youngster’s acting out to external factors rather than assuming that these are just “bad kids”: The gedolim of our generation have often attributed these types of behaviors to external causes – most often to family and parenting problems. For example, Rav Gamliel Rabinovitz, the well-known Yerushalmi mekubal writes in his recently published sefer “Tiv HaTorah” (Parshas Vayeirah) “I do a great deal work with youngsters who have ‘gone off the derech’ r”l who then [search for happiness] in the larger decadent society. One sees clearly that the main cause of youngsters abandoning their parentÂ’s way of life is because their parents didnÂ’t respect them sufficiently, because the most critical need of the souls of todayÂ’s youngsters is to be understood and respected!”
    Likewise, Rav Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg, in “Heart to Heart Talks” – Artscroll, 2000, pg 139: “I agree with the educator who said that a child constructs his picture of the world through the experience he has with his mother. According to whether the mother is loving or unloving, the child will feel that the world is loving or unloving. When he is not loved, he fails to learn to love. Such children grow up finding it extremely difficult to understand the meaning of loveÂ… Show meÂ… the juvenile delinquentÂ… and in almost every case I will show you a person resorting to desperate means to attract the emotional warmth and attention he failed to get, but so much wants and needs. Aggressive behavior, when fully understood, is in fact nothing but love frustrated.”
    See also how Rav Shach attrubuted a bochur’s stealing to his father’s “cheapness” in Sefer Orchos Hayeshiva” p. 56 and how he attributed a bochur’s chillul Shabbos to the lack of shalom Bayis in his house {while calling the hanhalas hayeshiva “rodfim” for wanting to expel the bochur without checking first for such factors) in Sefer Binas Hamiddos (Rav Yizchok Lorenz) pg. 10.

  12. profesor horrowitz the torah says that there four children and the rosho Chazal say you knock out his teeth I think that is Kanoim so take it out of the hagadah and change it you shall go work hard in the army BOOT camp for Parroh

  13. Re Shlomi, I always thought it was “blunt” his teeth, take the wind out of his sails. Some kind of tough love or shock therapy. But leave the door open.

  14. Re the comment of the “Ba’al Hagadah” to “blunt the teeth” of the Rosho son {see Malbim Hagadah)- there is an interesting comment from the Chasam Sofer:

    ? ?? ???? – ?? ??? ???? ?? ?????: ??? “??? ???????: (????? ????? ????? ?????? ?? ??? ???? ????”, ??’ ??): ???? (????’ ??:??) “???? ???? ???? ????? ???? ?????”, ?????? ????? ?? ????? ???”? ??? ??? ???? ?’ ?????? ?? ??????? ???? ????? ??????, ??? ??? ?????? ??? ?????? ??? ???? ?? ???? ??? ??? ???? ?? ???? ????? ???? ??? ??? ???? ????. ?????? ????? ????? ??????? ???????? ?? ???? ???? ????? ??? ??? ???? ????, ??? ???? ???? ??????? ????? ????? ??????? ??? ???????? ?????? ????? ?????? ?????, ?”? ?????? ???? ?????, ???? ??????? ?? ??????? ???? ????????? ???? ??? ???? ??? ?????? ???? ?????, ??????? ???? ??????, ?????? ????? ??? ???? ???? ???? ???? ???? ?? ?????? ????? ?????.