Firstly, I want to thank the Rav that it is now possible to send questions in. I have the option to take a certain course that teaches how to use humor as a therapy for children [who have been through trauma]. I am very excited about this, because I would enjoy the great responsibility involved, and also because there are two different places where this is being taught – one place is in the university, and the other is in the place where the founder of this therapy teaches it. She is an expert in this field and she has helped many people who have been through various anxieties and trauma. Where does the Rav think I should take the course in? Should I totally negate the option of university? Furthermore, is this just like any other psychology course, which doesn’t bring a person to true growth in the soul…?
Answer:The topic of learning secular studies today, learning for a profession in general, and women specifically, in our generation, is a fundamental issue. So I will elaborate upon it here, with the help of Heaven.
In previous generations, the mainstay of a Jewish girl was in the home. A girl was the “akeres habayis”, the root of the home, and she would only go out occasionally, or during times that required it, as the Rambam states. This situation has changed in the later generations, and in our generation especially. This is due to several factors. There is an increased need for livelihood, and there is also an emotional need, as well as a need to feel socially acceptable amongst her friends. (On an esoteric level, this is because the light of the redemption, which reveals hidden secrets, has begun to shine, but this light is currently in a corrupted state, and that is what we are mainly seeing today). This is regarding the first point: the fact that a woman today needs to leave the house on a more consistent basis. The second point concerns what her goal is in leaving the house, to where she is going, and how she is getting there. In our generation, part of the depth of our exile is that in order for anyone to keep their job, in most places, they need some kind of degree. In order to get the degree, a person needs to study for a certain number of years. In order to go about this correctly, there are several factors involved. Here are some of them:
1) What kind of environment will one be studying in? One needs to find the most appropriate kind of environment possible to find.
2) By whom is one studying under? In no circumstances should a person study from a person who doesn’t place a high priority on fear of Heaven, love for Hashem, and observance of mitzvos.
3) What is the material being studied? One should not learn the views of anyone who doesn’t serve G-d, because there is no one today who knows who to “sift out the desirable parts from the undesirable parts”. Especially when it comes to studying psychology – we should not be learning this study at all, because it is all a terrifying mixture of so much good and bad together.
4) How many hours does the study require? It must not compromise on taking care of the needs of the home.
5) One needs to carefully consider the gains versus the losses, of the time spent away from the home and children.
6) There can be enormous expenses involved, so one needs to clarify how much effort heshe needs to make with regards to earning livelihood.
7) The study needs to be limited to whatever you need to learn about, and one should not pursue any courses other than what heshe needs to learn about.
8) If one is taking a certain course because heshe will feel more socially accepted amongst hisher friends, one should try to be above that concern.
9) There are certain honors and titles given for completing the course, and one should understand that this is false honor.
10) If men are teaching women, or vice versa, this is completely unacceptable.
11) Throughout studying in the university, one will inevitably become part of the external world. One should avoid it as much as possible, and, correspondingly, one needs to develop a rich, internal world of hisher own.
12) If there is any study which requires one to be connected to the immoral media, one should keep a distance of 1000 amos from it - and even more than that.
13) The fact is that joining any of these places opens a person to all kinds of strange ideas. To counter it, one needs to be deeply immersed in Jewish thought, and to be constantly connected with the Creator.
14) This entire subject affects all of the Jewish people on a very inner level, and the changes that it has brought are an actual destruction to a generation of Jewry. The rule is that “Whatever is in your power, do”, and therefore, we should entirely nullify the very option of studying in university. There are so many negative results from it, on different levels, and we shouldn’t even consider it as an option – at all.
To conclude, l’chatchilah (to begin with) one should not enroll in a university at all. However, one who has already entered into this spiritually harmful situation and isn’t capable of leaving it should at least observe the guidelines mentioned here. One will also need to pray each day, from the depth of the heart, that heshe be saved from spiritual danger. However, these words are not to be misunderstood as a ruling that permits anyone to go join any of these places.