Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Clearly there cannot be a tuition crisis

This morning there is a post on Hirhurim about Yeshiva tuition. R. Gil quotes R. Feivel Cohen, in 1994, saying (based on Gemara Beitzah 16a)

All of one's livelihood is determined from Rosh Hashanah through Yom Kippur except for what one spends on Shabbos, on holidays, and one's children's Torah education because [for these three things] if one reduces [the expense] they reduce [one's income] and if one adds [to the expense] they add to one's income.

Clearly, said R. Cohen, there cannot be a tuition crisis. The more you pay for tuition, the more one receives as income to make up for that expense. At least according to the Gemara and "We know what we call people who do not believe what the Gemara says."

I cannot begin to say how disappointed I am by this. This is leadership? What is going on? This is addressing a problem? Denying it and even implying that those who have identified a problem are "what we call people who do not believe what the Gemara says"?

There is a tuition crisis. And it isn't only a bunch of whining rich people who cannot live without an extra brand new Lexus or two (Lexii?). The crisis is real. To make a dire prediction: if things aren't ameliorated in some way within a few years, frum people will stop sending their kids to yeshiva in noticeable numbers, and a
Malthusian kind of thing will happen to American Orthodoxy. In a generation or two we may end up where we were in 1900. Or at least that is what we need to think may happen, because it really might.

Limud zechus: R. Cohen might have since changed his mind.

The 37th Tzaddik points out that "The Gemara states the VERY SAME PROMISE for hotza'ei Shabbat - money spent on shabbos meals. So does R' Cohen protest the existence of Tomchei Shabbos?"

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