(photo credit: Yaacov Gross)
Spiritual leader of the haredi world Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman said Monday
night that only those who fear God are fitting to be teachers, while education
provided by anyone else is worthless.
Shteinman was speaking to hundreds
of haredi educators and rabbis at a conference in Bnei Brak called “In Defense
of the Purity of Education.”
The haredi leadership is extremely concerned
with proposed reforms to the education system, including the revocation of
funding for schools that do not teach core curriculum subjects, which most
haredi schools do not.
“Until today, we have known that the secret of
education is that it be carried out by those who fear God,” said
“They know how to educate children in the path of God, as they
have received from their ancestors, while others don’t know what education is,”
“They are full of anger; so what will they teach, anger?
They are arrogant; so what will they teach, arrogance? What will they teach
them, to be a person who lives a life of emptiness?” asked
Also present at the conference was the Grand Rabbi of the Sanz
hassidic dynasty, Zvi Elimelech Halberstam, who spoke at length of the high
level of spiritual purity a teacher must maintain in order to be an effective
He added that when there are people “who want to fight against
the path of the Torah, it’s a clear sign that this is the correct
“When the Satan fights against us, we know we’re on the good and
right path,” the rabbi said.
Last Friday, the Council of Torah Sages of
the Agudat Yisrael movement, which represents the hassidic strain of Israel’s
haredi population, issued a declaration calling on the government not to
interfere in the haredi education system by enforcing the teaching of core
The declaration forbade any changes in the content
of studies at haredi elementary and high schools, prohibited the teaching of
core curriculum subjects, and forbade students from working toward the state
high-school diploma or toward academic degrees not approved by Agudat Yisrael’s
Committee of Rabbis for Education.