To the administration of the Yavneh School in Manchester:
I received news that the British Office of Standards in Education (Ofsted) visited your institution, and they expressed their opposition to your school’s sacred standards of holiness, keeping boys and girls separate. They also pushed you to teach heretical studies, as well as pressuring you to support sinful behaviors. I heard that you have retained the services of attorneys who will support you in your righteous argument that the government’s involvement in such issues is in violation of the laws of religious freedom.
Therefore, I come to encourage you in your battle, because Truth is on your side. Separation of the genders is part and parcel of our sacred religion and cannot be split, giving us the right to freely exercise our religious mandate, built upon the foundations of our faith in the Creator of the Universe.
The World has a Creator and there is a purpose to Creation; and therefore one must accept the directives of the Blessed Creator not to engage in sinful behaviors that run in opposition to the purpose of Creation. This comes along with the knowledge that man was given the power of the intellect, recognizing that the mind is inherently more powerful than the emotional desires of the heart, as the Baal Shem Tov zy”a taught in the name of Rav Saadiah Gaon zy”a that the main purpose of a human being in this world is to overcome and conquer the natural desires of the heart.
On the other hand, if someone denies this and believes that all of the wonders of Creation came about on their own by chance without any purpose, and that human beings are merely another species of animal which evolved from common ancestors from the apes, or some similar idea, then it is possible to convince oneself that it is justified to conduct oneself in a wanton fashion like an animal or a beast.
We see that in every generation, people who deny the Creator, such as the people of the generation of the Flood or the people of Sodom, and similarly the Egyptians and the Canaanites, violated all of the moral standards of society, and publicly engaged in every type of wicked and immoral behavior, until God removed these societies from the world. On the other hand, any culture that had a bit of faith in God were protected, because they kept basic standards of ethics and morality.
In the earlier years, the British Nobility were well known for their observance of standards of modesty in dress, and even the public schools separated the boys and girls. I remember around 50 years ago when I lived in London, when the fashion styles began to become immodest, many of the British subjects objected to this and protested against it. They also campaigned to prevent the publication and distribution of immodest photographs, which they considered a threat to their will and outlook. Our Sages teach in Tractate Hullin (92b) that the Noahide gentile world receives a reward because they did not make official documents recognizing abominable relationships.
Today however, in our era, we see the fulfillment of the words of our Sages in the end of Tractate Sotah (49b) that “at the footsteps of Moshiach, the kingdom will turn to heresy, and nobody will rebuke, and the meeting places will be used for immorality”. Heresy has increased, and is being supported by the government, who forbid us from protesting, and every standard of morality has been breached in an official capacity. This was prophesized in the Holy Zohar (Tikkunei Zohar Hadash 86b) that “the generation of the Final Exile will be like the people of Sodom”.
The main cause of this societal breakdown is the spread of modern day technology, which provides a level of temptation throughout the world to engage in wicked lustful behavior, and this causes people to want to deny the Truth and be tempted into heresy and atheism, to ignore and try to undermine the guilty conscience, and engage in such behavior without any shame. We find this as well in the teachings of our Sages (Sanhedrin 63b), that at a certain time in history the Israelites engaged in idol worship merely for the purpose of justifying public immorality.
This is why Hashem commanded us (Bamidbar 15:39) “Do not stray after your heart and after your eyes”, which our Sages (Berachoth 12b) explain that “after your heart” indicates heresy, which is used to justify abandonment of the yoke of the Torah and the Mitzvoth. Thus, we must be careful to distance ourselves from anything, including ‘educational’ studies, which arouse desires for immoral activity and heresy. When one is careful to avoid such influence, one is worthy to continue on a proper path leading to observance of all of the mitzvoth, as is written subsequently “you will remember all the commandments of the Lord to perform them, in order that you should remember and do all of My commandments”. Because of the incredible importance of this, our Sages instituted that we should include these verses in the liturgy of the Keriat Shema which we recite several times each day.
It is worth mentioning what my holy ancestor Rebbe Yitzhak Isaac of Komarna zy”a writes that the apocalyptic War of Gog and Magog, which is to take place before the coming of Moshiach, will be a spiritual war, and every Jew will need to battle to be saved from the waves of heresy and atheism that will intensify in the world – may the Merciful Lord save us.
Thus, be strong and courageous! Do not fear and do not be dismayed! For Hashem is the One Who walks among you! May it be His Will that you should be worthy to stand courageously in this holy battle, and to continue to totally separate the girls and boys, and to maintain all of the standards of modesty and holiness the Torah requires. Thus, you will be able to continue to raise good students who will succeed in their spiritual growth, as I witnessed in my visit to your school, and others should learn from you as well! In this merit, may all of the parents be worthy to have much nachas and success, with the help of Hashem Yisborach!
Rabbi Moshe Taub,
son of Grand Rabbi Menachem Shlomo ztvk”l of Kalov