What advice would you give to a twenty-year-old yeshiva man regarding his parents’ wish that he embark on secular education?
It depends. He could say, “Look, suppose I was just an American boy like all American boys, and I wanted to go out and smoke pot. Would you be able to stop me? Don’t all the American boys do what they want and they become bums and their parents give them money even to buy narcotics? And here you have a nice decent son who wants to sit in the yeshiva and learn; shouldn’t he have his way too? Just like the bums in America are favored by the parents – girls and boys bum around and their parents give them cars to do all kinds of wicked things; they give them plenty of money too. And I don’t want anything. All I want is to sit in the yeshiva and learn for some more years.” So some parents will listen to that. “That’s my way of being a spoiled child. I want to sit and learn.”
In case the parents are adamant, so the yeshiva man should tell them, “Look, I’m only twenty years old. There is plenty of time in life yet so let me learn a couple of more years, and then we’ll discuss it again.” Two years later the parents will, say “Nu?” so he’ll say, “Look, I’m only twenty-two. We’ll discuss it in a couple of years.” By that time, they’ll already get disgusted and they’ll give up. It happens again and again by the way. It works again and again. I saw it. The parents finally gave up. They saw that the boy meant business in learning so they gave up, and he became a gadol baTorah. I know stories like that — I can tell you stories.
TAPE # 692 (June 1988)