The Haredi success story has another paradoxical implication. The life of the yeshiva is particularly demanding. It includes mechanical repetition which demands patience and obstinacy, as well as intellectual challenges which demand concentration, the capacity for abstraction and sophistication.
Written By Prof. Gideon Aran
This is required 12-18 hours a day, within the four walls of the House of Study, without leisure time or any physical outlet, under severe discipline. It is clear that this can only be an option for a few people. Even among the well motivated, not everyone meets the stringent criteria of yeshiva study. Only those with the appropriate mental structure, cognitive ability and temperament, as well as befitting bodily characteristics, can make it.
In the traditional Jewish society there was only a small minority of people that had the “proper” body: that is, the “neglected” or repressed body, actually, the weak, even effeminate body of the student. In Ultra-Orthodox society, along with the lack of recognition of laymen, there is almost no legitimate place for other bodily-types, that is, members who have bodies resembling those found in the surrounding society. In the past, those wishing to devote themselves to a life of Torah study underwent severe selection. Continue reading