May 23, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
May 23, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

The yeshiva tuition dilemma remains an open debate, with many opinions on how to solve the cost conundrum. Some say that you “cannot put a price on” a yeshiva education and, if that were taken literally, it actually would solve the problem. But, we have to put a price on yeshiva education because someone has to pay for it. Other things in life, however, are free-of-charge like prayer, dreams and self-hatred.

Making yeshiva education completely free is not really a viable solution. Teachers, administrators and other yeshiva employees need and deserve to make a living and that funding has to come from somewhere. Furthermore, if, as the old adage goes, “you get what you pay for,” then we may not want a yeshiva education that is entirely gratis or even just super cheap. Such a no-cost or low-cost yeshiva education might not be desirable if corners are cut and standards are lowered. The teachers at such a yeshiva might mistakenly teach students that Noah built the Ark… of the Covenant and the Ten Commandments were given at Mount Sinai… Hospital. The teachers at a ridiculously inexpensive and flawed yeshiva education also might teach students that the Shulchan Aruch is a type of furniture and the Maccabees were spelling contests that lasted for eight straight nights.

An insanely low-priced yeshiva education that lacks quality control might be deficient in other respects. It might teach students that you should not covet your neighbor’s wife but it is perfectly fine to covet the wife of someone living one town over. It might teach students that not only was Haman a barber (see, Megillah 16a) but the whole Purim saga arose from a bad haircut.

A ludicrously low-cost yeshiva education with a misguided approach might teach students that (i) the most important part of a bris is the bagel eating, (ii) dipping apples in honey on days other than on Rosh Hashanah is grounds for excommunication, (iii) the best way to celebrate Tu B’shvat is by creating a family tree, (iv) during non-alcoholic celebrations in the courtyard of the Beit Hamikdash, they served a drink called the “Surely Temple,” (iv) during Aseret Yemei Teshuvah, it is sufficient for you to ask someone for forgiveness based only on your failure to sincerely ask for their forgiveness and (v) on Rosh Hashanah, it is sufficient to hear someone describe what it sounded like when their friend heard the blowing of the Shofar.

For the record, there are some potential solutions to the yeshiva tuition crisis that are completely unacceptable and moronic to even consider. For example, if Jews stopped having kids, that would end the tuition debate but obviously that is a non-starter for several reasons. First, it would violate the “pru urvu” commandment. Second, it would lead to Jewish extinction. Third, if there were no children, what would Jewish would-be-parents worry about?

Another awful and highly objectionable way to address the tuition crisis would be to limit the number of children each family may have. Placing a cap on procreation is anathema to Jewish (and democratic) values. It would be far worse than placing a cap on the number of (i) “mazel tovs” you can receive at your simcha, (ii) dates you can go on to find your bashert or (iii) trips you can make to a smorgasbord.

Another horrible way to end the yeshiva tuition situation is to send only the smartest kids to yeshiva. This would be incredibly controversial and unfair because every Jewish child deserves a yeshiva education, even those children living in the town of Chelm. On a related note, the people of Chelm probably tried to solve the yeshiva tuition issue with classic Chelm logic. They likely put their kids on the bus to the yeshiva but the kids never got off the bus. The bus just sat in the yeshiva parking lot until it was time for the kids to come home. That way, the parents in Chelm could say that, technically, they “sent” their kids to yeshiva.

Another bad idea would be for parents to send only their first-born children to yeshiva. Under such a silly scenario, when the first-born child comes home from school, he or she would teach the second-born who, in turn, would teach the third-born, and so on and so forth. If you have ever played the game of telephone, then you can appreciate the hysterical confusion that likely would ensue. A yeshiva education is not a game of telephone just like Greco-Roman wrestling is not a game of Twister.

Final thought: Each child deserves a yeshiva education, which is why “teach” ends with “each.”


By Jon Kranz

 Send comments or criticism to [email protected].

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles