Enslaving Children By Denying them an Education
We are posting this letter to the editor as an accompaniment to our articles on the subject of enslaving children by denying them an education. We would like to thank the contributor who has chosen to remain anonymous.
September 3, 2016
A Few days ago I was conducting research for a treatise and I came across an alarming online article that I encountered during my search. It had me unsure whether to laugh in derision or cry in despair. It could be headlined:
Don’t educate your children; it is the equivalent of teaching them idolatry
Some of its points are:
– To teach children science is to teach them that there are pedagogic authorities to be respected other than rabbis – which is undesirable.
– The Baal HaTanya says that secular education is worse than the sins of lashon hara and sinat chinam (slander and baseless hatred), inasmuch as the former sullies the soul, while the latter only sullies the emotions.
(From my long-ago days of studying Tanya, I remember that there were many things in it that I later came to realise did not commend themselves to humanity. This one must have escaped my attention; it astonished me to see it mentioned in that article.)
A possible solution discussed by the article’s author is to censor school text books on science. He rejects the idea – not on principle, but just as being impractical because it could backfire and defeat the purpose.
Please read the article in full – it is a real eye-opener on what drives Chabad (and other ultra-Orthodox) attitudes to secular education.
(Even more bizarre is that the author, Arnie Gotfryd, described on Chabad.org as a Chassidic Jew, is also a PhD scientist (he has a doctorate in applied Ecology) and is educational director of Maxi Mind – his own company. It’s a bit frightening – this is the second example I’ve seen in the last few days of how you can be highly educated and still have a closed mind in thrall to cult indoctrination. It makes me wonder if this guy is also a ‘born again’ Jew with Chabad as obstetrician.)
The above-linked article of his has me torn between thinking:
– let them keep their kids uneducated and unequipped for 21st century life; it will hasten the movement’s collapse or descent into irrelevancy,
– what a waste of a generation and how sad to deny innocent children what people in other countries with much fewer opportunities sacrifice so much to afford their children.
Chabad boasts about its worldwide network of ‘educational’ institutions, and in 1978 it successfully lobbied President Carter and Congress (they are experts at that) to name the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s birthday “Education Day, U.S.A.” But they are charlatans who have hoodwinked America. It is all a sham. To them, schools are not for education, they are nothing more than religious and cult indoctrination centres. If this sounds harsh, read the article and see if my conclusion still seems unjustified.
Scientism in a Chabad School?
Here are some implications of the scientific ‘principles’ listed above.
a) The Big Bang implies that creation was a one time event followed by predictable natural outcomes that do not make room for any divine intervention whatsoever. (=azav es ha’aretz)
b) Cosmology and astronomy teach that only material forces exist. Nature’s laws are viewed as fixed and unchanging since then, so everything can run by itself and there is no need for a god of any sort. (ayn Eloka) The implication is that even if there is a god, who needs him? He doesn’t do anything.
c) Accepting a 14 billion year old world casts doubt on a 6000 year old world. One of the most common outcomes of accepting this view is the belief that the Torah is not literal but only literary at the beginning of Bereishis when it says the world was made in six days. The Rebbe declares that this completely undermines the basis of Shabbos observance (ki b’sheises yamim…).
d) The Shabbos of Creation, the six millennia, are important for the idea of a seventh millennium (yom shekulo Shabbos…). In this way, those scientific views challenge faith in Moshiach.
e) These evolutionary views as well as the sun-centered outlooks picture man as insignificant in the big picture. We are only an insignificant speck in an insignificant galaxy. That’s great for the true humility we must feel but it flies against the idea of the individual changing the world. This science would have us believe, contrary to Torah, that we are insignificant and our divine service is insignificant.
f) We have a Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah that all this science contradicts in many places. Learning, reviewing, being tested on, and taking in pride in mastery of all these science views shows that there is something of higher priority in our Jewish and Chassidic minds than rabbinic authority.
That leaves us with ‘pick and choose’ Judaism, just like Reform and Conservative.
g) To say, yes but the Big Bang matches up with Genesis is simply not true. For example, the trees were created on Tuesday and the Sun on Wednesday. That is absolutely laughable to any Big Bang evolutionist.
h) These apologetic views backfire. Students don’t need equivocators teaching them nor do they need hypocrites – they need educators. The Rebbe was vehement against apologetics, and even faulted the Rambam on this. The Frierdiker Rebbe too was absolutely strident and passionate on this point in his famous 1923 letter to the Rabbis of Germany, saying it was causing spiritual holocaust (long before the physical one took place, lo aleinu).
i) The Lubavitcher Rebbe is reputed to have said, “You can explain to an American everything, but you can’t tell him anything.”
This is very relevant. There once was a time when it was enough for a parent or teacher to say about some idea, “We don’t believe in that.” Those days are gone. Everything is questioned nowadays.
Young people, especially high school students, pick up their facts and opinions from their peers and very largely from mass media. They are very impressionable and the opinions they form in high school will largely stick with them for the rest of their lives (until Moshiach comes at which time we and they will say… Oops!).
The secular world view is very clear about its rejection of basic Torah facts and perspectives and nowhere is this more apparent than in science. It’s hard enough to promote kosher and pure faith when the enemy is ‘out there’ somewhere but to invite doubts (safek = Amalek) into our schools and into the minds and hearts of our daughters and to tell them “Do well,” “Study hard,” “Do your science homework” so they can master and internalize heretical concepts which they in turn will pass on to their children raises the question of why send kids to a Jewish school in the first place?