Rav Avigdor Miller on the College-Boy and the Plumber

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Q:
The Rav mentioned last week that many college courses as well the college environment will poison the mind against proper Torah attitudes. But how is our community going to have Jewish doctors, lawyers and accountants?

A:
This gentleman asks, how are we going to have Jewish professionals if nobody goes to college?

Now, I actually did not say that no one should go to college. If anyone gets permission from his local Torah authority – a Torah authority who knows him well – if his Rebbe tells him that for him college is good, then it’s a different story. I’m not saying anything at all on that subject.

However, imagine – you’ll have to excuse me for giving the following example – but suppose someone is a plumber. That’s his livelihood – a plumber. He gets a call and he comes to a certain house and he discovers that it’s not a place where a decent man should walk in. But he has come to fix the toilet so he fixes the plumbing. But he hears the goings-on. He hears and he sees. And when he walks out of that place he smells bad – and not because of the toilet.

There’s no question that he had to pay something – he had to give up something – for his livelihood. “Bi’nafsho yavi lachmo” – With his soul he brings his bread. He has to bring bread back to his family but he had to give away part of his soul for it. Once he walks into a place like that, even though he is entirely innocent, the smell from there is already a part of him. And I don’t know if he’ll ever be able to get it out of himself.

Now, if a man has to go to college – there’s no other way for him and he gets a heter – even though it may be permissible, he must realize that he will be paying for it. Yes, he has paid for it. There is no question that when you associate with low people it’s going to make a mark – an impression – on your mind that will never be erased. No matter how much you try you will never get rid of it. And it’s a very expensive price to pay –
[at this point the tape is cut off – v’chaval al d’avdan]

TAPE #119