Here is an article that appeared in “Light Magazine”, a popular publication with very Yeshivish leanings in the 70s and 80s. The article is about Rav Breuer zl and was published shortly after his passing. The irony is that it tells a story of a Yeshiva bochur who asked advice about going to college and Rav Breuer tells him “yehoreg v’al ya’avor!” (Better to die a martyr than transgress!) Click here for the article.

In a subsequent issue a reader, Mr. Cohnen, calls them out on this story as “Rav Breuer had two grandsons attending college that lived in the same apartment as he did!” Here and below.

The editor responds that the bochur quoted was attending a Chasidish Yeshiva at the time and the advice might have been tailored for him specifically.  The letter is also attached.

Here is what is not funny. In the 1990s bochurim in Yeshivah used to trade tapes of gedolim addressing issues of college and the like. One popular tape was of a maggid shiur in Long Beach. During his talk he says, “…and if you think that the German Jews believe in college, let me read you an excerpt of an article about Rav Breuer…”- and he proceeds to read it!

Enjoy the read!


Rav Breuer on College?


  • Michoel Bergman

    The overreliance of anecdote to define a well-known figure’s hashkafa is generally a sign that the person relating the anecdote has an agenda. Perhaps the person feels uncomfortable that a viewpoint that he believes to be integral to his way of life is not shared by someone who he respects. To determine what R. Breuer may have felt about a certain issue, we best take a look at his writings and recorded sermons. Stories, as Yehuda Nathan’s shows, can be a result of a specific context. A person;s writings, on the other hand, are a projection of the author’s views as he intended them for the public. This fallacy manifests itself in the form of people who are unfamiliar with R. Hirsch’s writings asserting that TIDE was a hora’as sha’a. This notion, as is the case with the assertion that R. Breuer was “against” college, can be dispelled by even the most nonchalant reading of the writings of R. Breuer and R. Hirsch. No matter what your hashkafa may be, pritzus and zenus are forbidden. It is, therefore, natural that the hashkafa of R. Hirsch would not permit one to put himself in a situation that would permit these things. To conclude from this that the hashkafa of R. Hirsch would frown upon college education as a whole is both absurd and a projection of insecurity on behalf of the individual making this assertion.

    • Admin

      Jewish periodicals and publications have evolved in the past 40 years. This Shabbos I was reading “The Midrash Says”, where you can pick up a lot of information quickly. It is a great publication. It is known to have annotations on the bottom where a very strong hashkafah is given over. This too is a good thing, though I think it might have been a bit strong for some of the reradership over the years.
      Here is my point. Throughout the work no words are minced with respect to bashing American Modern-Orthodoxy.
      Now, while I am not Modern-Orthodox, it is strange in 2017 to read this in print. Charedi publications have been on a 20 year hiatus from fighting MO. In fact, the newer wave of glossy magazines that follow the model of the Israeli “Mishpacha Magazine”, are often featuring leaders from within MO in their pages.
      Sooooo, either:
      1) MO has moved to the right and is seen as innocuous.
      2) Charedi Hashkafah has mellowed, and even sees room to flirt with the perks of MO lifestyle.
      3) Publications realize that the public arena is not the place to bash a segment of Shomer Shabbos Jews. (Midrash Says is self-published.)In any case, I think some of the above authorship is a raw form of Torah hashkafah in the early years of English Torah publications.

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