EDUCATING OUR CHILDREN
The first letter was written by Rabbenu Ya'akov Yisrael Kanevski z"l
(The Staipler), dated: The first day of the week Parshat Shelach, 5723
Shalom and all good,
Your letter reached me, but because of my weakness and many cares I do
not have the strength to answer correspondence. However, your letter
troubled me, and I saw it as an obligation to answer your question about
literature which is studied in that school from books which contain
heresy and apostasy, may G-d have mercy.
You should know that concerning this material there is a severe and
terrible prohibition. It is tantamount to being an accessory to
idolatry for which the law prescribes that a person must suffer death
rather than transgress. There is no situation and no condition in the
world where this can be permitted in any way. Certainly, a person must
strengthen himself with dedication and mesirat nefesh not to study these
cursed books and not to read them, even if has to go begging from door
to door all his life.
The truth is well known that in order to achieve a diploma it is enough
to know 60% of the material, and a person will not lose a diploma if he
refrains from reading this unclean material.
Furthermore, a person can fulfill his knowledge of literature by reading
holy books: Hilchot Deot of the Rambam, Sha'arei Teshuvah of Rabbenu
Yonah, Orchot Tzadikim, Mesilat Yesharim, Artzot Hashalom of the Malbim,
and similar literature.
Also, it is a great mitzvah to influence your friends and acquaintances
to refrain from these abominable books at any price. Let them study holy
literature in its place.
May G-d protect our remnant from descending into the pit of impurity
through these poisonous books which destroy body and soul....
The second selection is a public letter signed by both Rav Kanevski and
Maran Eliezer Menachem Mann Shach.
...Concerning the teaching of children abominable and immoral things, it
has already been clarified in the Code of Law, Orach Chaim 307, that it
is prohibited from the proscript of the verse, "Do not turn to idols."
The evil inclination grates upon the soul, and especially with children.
It defiles their minds and obstructs it with evil imaginations, ruining
their lives. May G-d have mercy.
The Talmud in Shabbat (p.33) was very scrupulous about the sin of using
bad language. It causes many troubles, brings down evil decrees; the
youth of Israel die, may G-d have mercy. Beneficial decrees seventy
years old turn to evil and hell increases.... Certainly, it is
prohibited for any Jew to send his children to a school where heresy and
lewedness are studied.
We are not speaking here about any particular place since we do not know
exactly what is going on and what is the character of any particular
place. However, in general, it is prohibited to send any children to a
school where part of the curriculum includes heresy and lewedness. In
the case of any doubt, parents must clarify the matter absolutely....