Sunday, June 1, 2008


Rav Aryeh Adler, shlit”a, a student of Rav Shach, zt”l, once went to see his Rebbi. Immediately after they exchanged pleasantries, the Rosh Yeshivah asked him a question, “You work in chinuch, tell me how you explain the vast spiritual descent of our generation?”

Rav Adler was noticeably confused, “Does the Rosh Yeshivah really believe that I need to know the answer to that question in my capacity as a mechanech?”

“Absolutely,” responded the Rosh Yeshivah decisively. “Everyone in chinuch must understand this essential point.”

“I assume the reason is the natural yeridas hadoros from Har Sinai downwards,” responded Rav Adler.

Rav Shach disagreed. “It is true that there is a yeridah from generation to generation, but that surely doesn’t explain the extent of the present generation’s descent.”

Rav Adler did not respond.

After a short pause Rav Shach answered his own question. “The solution is simply a deficiency of shame and a natural sense of propriety in the present generation. When I was young, it is true that the haskalah was making inroads everywhere, pushing people to all sorts of follies and sin. They instigated all kinds of big changes in much of the populace and caused many to change priorities in a shocking and damaging way. But with all this, people had a natural sense of shame and this protected them from doing the terrible indecencies of the present generation. The curse of Ikvesah D’mishicha, a lack of common decency, has come upon us and there is no stopping the resultant yeridah.”

The Rosh Yeshivah concluded, “You are mistaken if you think we have reached the worst of it, Hashem should protect us. Where there is a marked lack of common decency, anything is possible. Who knows to what depths we can fall, Rachmana litzlan?”

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