You Learn A Lot In Yeshiva – Except How To Be A Man

Recently, my family and I had an interesting discussion with a Shabbat guest. She complained that Orthodox Jewish girls are given extensive amounts of shiurim about family and couples’ life (in her case from age 14 onward). On the other hand, boys are given nothing – no couples’ advice or advice on sex, no discussion on how to raise a family or run a household. It reaches a level that many don’t even know what a “girl” is outside the internet.

Worse still, Jewish boys have no real role models for manhood and fatherhood outside of learning (really, when’s the last time you heard parenting advice based on a gadol?). No encouragement to develop their masculinity – either physically or psychologically and no emphasis on development of personality from a shy boy to an assertive, confident man. No “ideal image” of a baalabos – which is after all the greatest insult one can give in yeshiva. Is it any wonder that all the religious boys on “Srugim” have about half a personality between them?

It is sad but true – “patriarchal” (Modern) Orthodox Judaism has abandoned its sons at the same time it is constantly trying to pry up its daughters.

So I’d like to ask my readers – any suggestions on how to remedy this situation?

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About AIWAC

Hi, my name is Avi Woolf. I'm an American-Israeli MO Jew living in Israel. I have a background in Israeli (as in Land of Israel) and Jewish History and an insatiable need for knowledge. I also have professional experience as an editor, translator and indexer. Enjoy the ride! If you are interested in using my services or just want to drop me a line, contact me at: opdycke1861NOSPAM@yahoo.com
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3 Responses to You Learn A Lot In Yeshiva – Except How To Be A Man

  1. You’ve mixed two different questions together –

    1. The question of how young Jewish boys are prepared for family life.
    2. The question of good male role models.

    I agree with the argument regarding the first question – religious boys normally receive very little preparation about ideal family life.

    As for the second argument I’m less sure you are right – it may just be that the ideal male role model they receive is a bit of a nebech. Like it or hate it the confident classic male is simply not the Yeshivish role model.

    There is a third point you make in passing – that the yeshivot don’t prepare people to be Ba’alei Batim – i.e not full time scholars. This is certainly true, both in Haredi and RZ yeshivot. However, I think that the Mechinot are partly an answer to this, and also the RZ yeshivot are increasingly becoming less focused on producing Rabbis and more on just creating knowledgeable public.

  2. S. B. says:

    No encouragement to develop their masculinity – either physically or psychologically and no emphasis on development of personality from a shy boy to an assertive, confident man.

    R. Shlomo Wolbe’s writings on marriage (Alei Shur and elsewhere) are relevant. The baal habayit is actually the baal habayit – and a woman wants this even if she states the opposite. Sounds “red pill” doesn’t it?

  3. tickletik says:

    Study Abir.

    Or don’t. At this point I’m beginning to become apathetic to my brethren.

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