The Matzav Shmoooze: When We Treat Our Youth Like Yesterday’s Mail


bochurimDear Editor,

We treat our young neshamos like rubbish and then we want to know why children go off the derech.

We make it impossible for certain bochurim to succeed in our system and then we want to know why they get disenfranchised and frustrated and seek satisfaction elsewhere.

We all want to be elite and prestigious, so we leave bochurim hanging out to dry to ensure that we will have a sterling reputation.

We tell boys that they have to fend for themselves because they weren’t born as the velt‘s baalei kishron.

Good boys.

Nice boys.

Baalei middos.

But ones perhaps lacking in the smarts that some feel are “a must” so that a reputation is not chas v’shalom tarnished by “weaker minds” whose potentials haven’t been tapped yet.

Sometimes it happens when a boy applies to a mesivta.

And sometimes it even happens when a boy is in a mesivta. It’s calling “cleaning house.”

Left hanging out to dry, like a cheap suit on a broken clothes line.

How backwards.

How embarrassing.

And I know.

I know firsthand.

Because one of those boys is my son.

A sweet, nice, innocent neshama who wants to excel and tries hard.

I cry each night. My wife cries each night. And we can hear my sweet bochur crying into his pillow each night.

And the Ribono Shel Olam cries with us.

And one day, those culpable for discarding my son like yesterday’s mail will be crying as they are held accountable for destroying a neshama for no reason at all.


A Broken Father


The Matzav Shmoooze is a regular feature on that allows all readers to share a thought or analysis, long or short, one sentence or several paragraphs long, on any topic, for readers to mull over and comment on. Email submissions to

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  2. unfortunately I know too well what your talking about. You sound like your describing my son.a real sweet and Ehrlicha boy

  3. I am also crying & I am crying again for the loss of HaRav Noson Tzvi ZTL who showed the world that gadlus means taking care of all of the RBS”O`s bachurim.

  4. Indeed there are those who specifically bear the burden of this travesty written by the poster. I fully agree.

    I have had the same experience as the poster not from one yeshiva, but from two yeshivos. At the third yeshiva, the dean looked down upon anyone not meeting his goals and standards. He ruined many lives including his own.

    If the student has not learned, the teacher has not taught.

    My other son went for a farher and was with the Rosh HaYeshiva for over one hour. The farher took a few minutes. The rest of the time was spent by the Rosh Hayreshiva seeking to make a kesher with a future talmid. This was not to gain money from me, as I did not have any to spare. Yes, a 23 year chavrusashaft and still going strong exists. All because of the individual interest of a Rosh HaYeshiva in his talmids growth in ruchnious and gashmius.

    Yeshivos need to take an interest in each talmid and talmidah and work with a individual development plan designed especially for them. It is not how much you have learned, but how much effort is put in.

    It is time to throw away gaivah and bring back anivus and mentchlechkeit. It is time to throw away machlokes, hiding behind the cloth, klei kodesh.

    Let us treat each child as an individual and work in helping them grow and reach attainable goals as true bnei Torah both in ruchnious and gashmius.

  5. You are 100% correct. Why don’t we have asifas to come together to try and correct the true problems that lead to disaffection and alienation, as opposed to the manifestations and symptoms of those problems.

  6. I was where you were and believe me Hashem Yisboruch listens to your cries and you will only have nachas from your yingel Im Yirtzeh Hashem. Just hold on to each other!

  7. There are seats for boys (more so than girls) who are weak. The larger yeshivas generally don’t cater to these boys and in fact several yeshivas in Brooklyn will be downsizing this year. Still, there are options for solid boys who are weak in learning. Look and you’ll find them.

    I have a friend who was in the gimel shiur of a prominent Brooklyn yeshiva. He told me that every one of his shiur-mates are succesful Rabbonim, Roshei Kolel, CEOs etc. Don’t cry, the RBSO did not forget you.

  8. Guess what! The same madness is true for our daughters. If they’re not perfect in every way, they go to the bottom of the shidduch list. So move over, we’re crying for our daughters too.

  9. The bottom of the narrow funnel is shidduchim. If one wasn’t discarded yet, he might be now. Let’s all cry and cry and cry. Oh, what have we done?? We can undo this. We must try!

  10. Dear Broken Father,
    Elitism is now mainstream. Do you have enough intellectual honesty to admit the bankruptcy of the system?

  11. I’m in. I have the ability to lead but I do not know who to turn to. we need to stop complaining and start doing. we need to become 1 strong voice and stand up. This abuse is far worse and much larger than the other abuse that seems to grab the headlines.

    So what are we going to do?

    It’s all about $. Sad but true. If there was more $ available we could open more schools.

  12. Not to belittle anyone’s situation especially without knowing specifics, but, we must remember that if the child puts all his koichos into his avodas Hashem, that is a success, and if he doesn’t become the next “gadol”, b’h, he has more time to shteig. I heard in the name of R’Moshe that the gadol hador doesn’t have to be the one we all know about, rather, it may even be the masmid in the corner who we barely even notice. The “farce” is if we don’t see the ruchnius of the situation.

  13. I have been advised that the best approach to take, if one has such a son, is to go for a “special-needs” yeshiva. (I imagine that is what you call it in english, here in eretz yisrael they call it “yeshiva tipulit”)

    In such a yeshiva they are oriented to helping the child, and the child will thus learn better, and also feel better about himself.

  14. As a rebbe for over 10 years i have to say the following
    One thing you have to understand
    Is that the yeshiva have an almost impossible job
    Being mechanech our kids .
    How do you expect a rebbe to get through to a child if last night he was playing video games or watching movies?
    How do you expect having a rebbe teach to a kid whose father never learns a word of Torah himself? The child has no respect for that, for Torah .
    How do you expect a child to learn when his own father belongs to a Shul that all they care about is the Kiddush?
    There are so many things wrong with our society that we have only ourselves to blame . When gedolim pasken that you cannot listen to A CAPPELA
    music during sefirah how could all tge stores sell it?
    How could frum stations play it?!?! Blatant disregard for rabbonim!
    This can go on and on about how we are the ones at fault.
    If your child grew up in a better home then you should know the atmosphere is poisoned , so that no one is immune.

    That being said the yeshivas must realize that every talmid
    Is an ???? ??? you have to be so careful how you reset them
    They might never be ???? you in their lives.
    Do you think it is a joke ? How dare you treat a yid tge way you treat your students? Where is it Stated that it is ???? to degrade and embarrass a fellow yid? A Bochur or girl is ????? ??? if you can’t look see it that way you don’t belong in chinuch.

  15. On the money. Everything is cookie cutter and if you don’t fit the mold your spit out. If your father wears a blue shirt. Your not accepted. This is “LO Seertzach”. A lot of boys and girls crying along with their parents. Just wait 5 years and you”ll see how many Kids at risk there will be R”L. Wake up

  16. unfortunately we are no now disinterested, silent and unconcerned about the individual.
    We disregard the eidel, fine bochur together with the mechanchim who have best served them. An example of “Olam Hafoach”.

  17. It’s also a shame that a lot of the shidduch world is also set up with the same attitude and pattern..if I fit then I don’t need to reach out to you.

  18. To the author and #2:

    I pray that my daughters marry sons like yours — fine young men who deep ahavas Hashem and ahavas Torah. I daven that my duaghters have the zechus to marry bochurim who work hard on their middos.

    what about the limud HaTorah?

    If a yid has ahavas Hashem, he will learn. If a yid has middos toivos, he will learn because he wants to be attached to his creator.

  19. Whilst your heart-rending sentiments are tragically very true – please be aware that there are Moidos nowadays who are designed for and cater (Boruch Hashem successfully) for the bochur who cannot fit into the mold society has set for them. There is probably a serious shortage of such moisdos, but they do exist (I know, because I work for one).
    Make thorough inquiries, and with Hashem’s help you should be matzliach!

  20. Yesh Din V’Yesh Dayan. When we getto shomayim after 120, we will be pleasantly surprised to see, unlike in this crooked world, who goes up and who goes down.

    Hashem will NOT forsake those who have been ruined by the powers that be here in this false system

  21. Everyone here is more correct than they know. This problem did not start now. The problem today has exploded because they didn’t deal with the problem 40 years ago when I was in yeshivah. Do you think there were no children off the derech back then? There were, but today there are so many that the issue can no longer be ignored. You can’t blame the children anymore, now that the percentage is so high. Vay vay vay, how low we have sunk.

  22. I am the writer of the letter and I would like to clarify a few points:

    I myself am a mechanech.
    We don’t own a TV or the like.
    My son is not and has never been a negative influence on anyone. He is frum, pure, and pleasant. He is not a behavior problem whatsoever. He is well liked by his rabbeim.
    Very often, when a boy is rejected, there is some sort of excuse regarding the hashkafa of the home. In this case, there is no such excuse. We are good, sincere, frum people. I work in chinuch and my wife has a low-paying secretary-type job.
    In this case it is all about my son being labeled a Bais boy in his early teens without anyone “wasting” time to bring out the best in him.
    We had a rebbi learn with him every night and he did great, but we simply did not have the money to continue doing it.
    My son has simply been spit out of the system. Thankfully he doesn’t know it, because I don’t know what it would do to his psyche. He is socially smart and will eventually figure it all out if we don’t straighten this out.
    Hashem should have rachmonus.

  23. To the letter writer,

    We should open a yeshiva together. My son was sent as a Bais student to a good place that accepted him because they needed boys and then discarded him after they realized he was a Bais even though they knew that before. There was just no interest or patience in working with him.

    We are all broken neshamos and no one besides for people like Harav Hagon Rav Yacov Bender and a few others has the courage to speak out.

    May someone like Rav Bender live ad meah vesrim and keep doing good things

  24. I write this with a heavy heart because I have beeen there.

    The most important thing for your son NOW is to get him a mentor. it could be someone just a bit older than him to take him under his wings and dedicate time for him both ruchnius and gashmius.

    I wish I could speak with you and share more.

  25. to the letter writer & anyone else in this situation.

    the Lakewood community 30 years ago only had 2 or 3 yeshivas for bochrim with issues on different levels.

    TODAY there are so many mesivtas & yeshivas on so many levels. if you look into it your destined to find the right mesivta for your child. there are even after eretz yisroel yeshivas in lakewood if Bais Medrash govoah is too high of serious learning


  26. since ultimately it is the mechanech in the classroom that is responsible for the talmid..he should feel that responsiblity as a true father and not be afraid of “”school policies”””.. when i was a rebbe in high school and amongst others we had a group of russian boys of all sorts (even well funded!!) one of the quiet ones (but computer smart)pulled a not nice prank on the network (obviously a call for attention).when he was discovered -the menhael in the middle of a hot day sent the boy home from the dormitory with all his suitcases in the middle of nowhere with no easy or direct way to get home in a far off city for good .when i learned of this i ran into the office crying and yelling to the menahel how he could treat him like a dog!! it did not help for that bochur .. but we must be able to speak out in staff meetings and stand up to not tora derech in our yeshivos and i put the ball in many good rebbeims hands!!BTW that boy became a Rov and is leading groups and kehillos of russians in eretz yisrael to yiddishkeit !!!

  27. If we honestly try to weed out the bad ones we will be ok,PROVIDED the parents also live a pure Torah life.
    All the issues we have today ,Internet,drugs, alcoholism ,etc.. Are just symptoms not problems They are symptoms. The problem is no Limud hatorah
    No kavanah btfillah, no basic reading skills in gemorrah
    Etc. why should someone avoid the Internet if he can’t do anything jewish.
    We need a real metorphosis in our way of life.
    Then maybe maybe we will be matzliach.

  28. I 2nd #25’s comment about R’ Bender. He takes in everyone and works to bring out the best in them. Unlike other yeshivos, they have shiurim for boys who will not sit and learn. In these shiurim, they also learn a lot of hashkafah, so that when the boys do leave the yeshiva, they have a firm foundation in Judaism to keep them anchored.

    When their Mesivta opened, one of the speakers (I forget if it was the Novominsker or R’ Chaim Epstein) said that while some yeshivos only want to take in the gold, R’ Bender takes the silver and bronze as well. He polishes the silver and bronze, because they are beautiful when treated properly as well!

  29. From someone who knows: be forewarned. The OTD of today, if he gets comfortable in the secular world, can be the “intermarried” in 5-10 years.
    And I have news for the mechanech who says the boy has to leave if he influences other boys. NO. The hanhala should be mekarev him even more, help him. Work harder than ever to bring back that kid.
    when we throw out a boy, we are modeling for the whole yeshiva what to do in the future if you have a son who goes off—THROW HIM OUT!!!!

  30. I couldn’t agree more that this is the subject we need an asifa for. Let it be aired what happens to the kids who are thrown out of yeshiva and let those responsible take achrayis.

  31. To the Father Who Wrote the Letter , thank you for the clarification

    “We had a rebbi learn with him every night and he did great” You hit the nail on the head. More individual attention needs to be given. More encouragement needs to be given. Work with the child.

    In farming or gardening, one tills the soil and then plants the seeds. And you work the soil around the plants. In essence you are working the plant and helping it grow to it greatest potential.

    Just as the garden needs to be worked, so to do our youth. Those of our youth who toil hard to attain their individual goals are best no matter what, they have succeeded as the tried their best.

    We have allowed, tolerated and encouraged a class system boy only wanting those that have the best for learning and putting the others down. This is not how we work a garden. In a garden we want all plants to succeed. We have to take each of our youth under their wings and treat him / her as if they are their only charge and to boost their self esteem. Only when we realize this and come down from the high horse will we be successful with all our tamidim and talmidos.

  32. Don’t try to force him into a place where he’ll have a huge uphill struggle just to get to the starting line. The feelings of yi’ush will settle in, and bad habits will become very difficult to break.

    If he’s a bais bochur, then send him to a place where Bais bochurim are mainstream. His self confidence will build by the feelings of success he’ll have. He will see himself as a success. Confidence breeds confidence. And after a couple of years, who knows? Maybe he’ll develop good habits and positive attitude, and before you know it he’ll be ready for the Alef group!

    Hatzlacha Rabba!!!

  33. I have an afternoon program – Mindset Learning Center for such boys whereby they can earn a fully accredited diploma(no regents needed) at their own pace. Many do it in less time than the traditional four years and feel great about themselves in the process. If the yeshiva’s rejection was based on not being able to service the child properly this may be something you want to consider.

  34. There are a growing number of children in younger elementary grades who are already slipping through the cracks.
    The “system” is not (always)equipt to deal with these Neshamos.They can be found in most classrooms.These children can be saved,often easily, with early intervention.

    Check out http://www.LevL‘

  35. This is all about shidduchim! Everyone wants to make sure there are no shvache bohurim as it may affect the shidduchim of HIS kids! It’s time to stop covering up whats realy going on! Of course Matzav is part of the problem!

  36. What would happen if we changed our system to the one in prewar Europe? An erliche bachur could be part of a Tifferes Bachurim and learn in the morning and at night. During the day he would have a job .

  37. I read this with a bit of amusement and disgust. As a proud ‘out of towner’ it never ceases to amaze me how you NEW YORKERS manage to mess up so many kids with your INSANE ‘classing systems’ -your made up ‘shidduch crisis’ ‘kids at risk’ etc. -ALL SELF INFLICTED!

    we dont have such crises situations (to the same degree)as NYers.

    to the father…you need to stop trying to fit into a system built on Rishus and money….you need to move out of town…

  38. Dear Broken Father,
    Don’t worry. Don’t be broken. Several years ago my husband and I went through the same thing with our daughter. I cannot begin to tell you how much nachas we have from her and her wonderful family today. When things looked bleak and hopeless, i, like you, could never have imagined this. I must admit i still struggle to find in my heart the ability to be mochel the (so-called) mechanech and mechaneches who caused our wonderful child such needless pain. It is hard to forget the pain and lack of yashrus even after years have passed. But with Tefillah and a lot of siyata d’Shmaya you will yet see much nachas from your son!

  39. to #16 YAAKOV: see my answers below in CAPS

    How do you expect a rebbe to get through to a child if last night he was playing video games or watching movies? A GOOD/QUALIFIED REBBE CAN.

    How do you expect having a rebbe teach to a kid whose father never learns a word of Torah himself? The child has no respect for that, for Torah. AVROHOM AVINU HAD A FATHER WHO WAS AN OVED AVODAH ZORA, WHATS YOUR POINT?

    How do you expect a child to learn when his own father belongs to a Shul that all they care about is the Kiddush? DO YOU HAVE A LISTING OF SUCH SHULS? WHAT ON EARTH DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH YOUR JOB AS A REBBE?

    There are so many things wrong with our society that we have only ourselves to blame . When gedolim pasken that you cannot listen to A CAPPELA


    YAAKOV – Could it be your rigidity, intolerance and impatience are not helping and may yet REALLY be the cause of the problem?

  40. The major farce in the mosdos is that low beis and gimmel boys are the problems…bad influences….techo maniacs….etc.

    WRONG, wrong.. As a parent who has an ALEF son (just mazal, i guess)..he tells me the shmutz, chats, facebook, sports addicts are sitting next to him in ALEF SHIUR, so wake up and smell the coffee..

  41. I agree that “reine” boys like yours should not be in this type of situation. If I understand correctly the problem is that “bais” yeshivos usually end up being a haven for not “reine” bachurim. If anyone has any ideas on how to resolve this difficult and painful situation you can email me at I am a mechanech for a number of years in Lakewood and understand the need for a new mehalach. Kol Tuv

  42. The truth is, the problem is caused by all of us. Because we want the BEST yeshivos and all menahalim know as soon as your yeshiva is labeled as not the best you can basically close up because non one will send their boys. The yeshivos cater to the customer and thats what the customer wants best best best! Best doctors, best lawyers, best shidduchim, and yes BEST yeshivos. its up to all of us to correct it and we can. Send our children to yeshivos that work for them. wether its the best or not. You’ll see, the yeshivos will get the message. Hatzlacha

  43. To the letter writer,
    if your son does well socially and the schools don’t want him let him get a college degree down the road and get a good paying job. Hopefully he will be very successful and make a lot of money and the same schools that rejected him will beg for his chilren to attend the yeshivah( what an oilem hafuch)

    P.s to yakov the mechanech from a fellow mechanech – I had the kind of talmidim you described in my classes 25 years ago and today many are budding talmidei chachamim . A rebbe who doesn’t think no matter what I will succeed will not succeed!

  44. The same way that it is up to the wealthier part of society to tone down their weddings, it is up to the “metzuyanim” and their parents to learn that it is ok, no good for them, to learn bechavrusa and in a shiur with those weaker than them. We need, desperately to go back to the days when the schools and yeshivos were homogeneous. And we all need to care about every neshama as if our very future depended on it, because it does! If parents cry over their one son who has been rejected, what does the Father of all of us do when He has so many who have been rejected?!

  45. This didn’t start now. I personally
    know a Yid in my neighborhood, who arrived in yeshiva (before WW II) after travelling a couple of days to be told by the menahel “???? ? ???????”.
    The heartbreak is that this attitude is being picked up by the vast majority who made the Torah a ????? ????? ?? to build their egos and ????.

  46. for those who say you can find smaller yeshivas who cater to bochurim who need more attention well we did only to find out that alot of the bochurim had serious issues and some tried drugs our son fell in with bad chevra and we are and will cry for the rest of our lives for his lost neshama. if only the rebbeim wd have been zoche to build him up and bring out his qualities after so so many rejections in his yeshiva life bec he was not a metzuyan he takeh bel he never could become one that it would be easier for him to turn to the life of no yiddishkeit seemed more attainable to him rachmona litzlon noone should ever know

  47. I would say singling out the shvacha boys from the better boys is shfichas dumim. Its not what was done in the Mir by Reb Nuson Tzvi z”l. Or for that matter any of the other Mirer Roshei Hayeshivas. and Reb Akiva would never have become Reb Akiva with the current system of today. and Reb Praida having to have the Gmuru repeated to him 400 times, well forget about him, he wouldn’t have gotten past the first day.
    this system is corrupt and it was simply not like this 20 years ago. This elitest goal, is just kneged das torah. Yes some children are better and chap quicker, well for them you give them the balei kishron to help them and as a result challenge them by reaching out to the shvachira children. These are great lessons in life too. Not being selfish, caring for someone else. what kind of mailis could one reach in their learning if they are all into themselves getting better and better?
    And there’s an additional factor which is getting ignored here. There are boys who are shvach, and have their head in the shtusim of olam hazeh, movies, and what ever they choose. But got into these elite Yeshivas THROUGH THEIR FATHERS BIG BANK ACCOUNTS.
    That michanich begging to portray the Yeshiva systems point of view is partially off track. And mostly covering up. The father in this article mentioned above that his house where the boy grew up and comes from is a good home, and did not have his head in hevlei olam hazehi, His only fault was that he wasn’t a huge bal kishron, and his father didn’t have alot of money. Denying this child a normal yeshiva is simply put Shfechas Dumim. These elitest will have their answers to give after 120. Hashem is boichein livuvois, he knows the real facts.
    The system is not good. The not such big balei kishron are being thrown out of the system. Yes labeling a child as a beis student knocks down alot of his chances in life. The Torah does not agree with the modern method of labeling. This is mamish not what Torah is about. Torah is about becoming smart through toiling. Many Gdolim alive today, were not the top of the class. And it so happens to be that Reb Chaim Kaniefsky Shlita was not the elite bal Kishron when growing up. where would he be now if this corrupt system was around back then?
    Beautifully written letter. My heart goes out to this poor boy. And his well meaning father. Hashem should guide you through.

  48. My rosh hayeshiva was asked by his highschool menahel that if he takes in a certain boy many of the potential parents will pull out.the rosh hayeshiva responded. if it wasnt for the threats u would take him in the mesifta ,then take him and ignore the threats.

  49. You are all missing the point!!! Why are children being categorized???? The fact that there are many yeshivas catering to the different types of kids is indicative of the worst possible chinuch!! Yeshivas need to learn to overlook smallish problems without making big issues out of them. Why should a good kid who’s not the best feel second rate and need to attend a Bais yeshiva?? What does that do to a child’s self esteem? Whatever happened to tolerance??? This is an absolute failure of the system as we know it, and it’s getting worse daily.

  50. If someone wants to have a truly huge zechus they should start a gemach/tzedaka fund to help pay for mentors for families who could save their childrens lives but cannot afford it it should not have become a luxury like a 5 star hotel only for those who can afford it my son had a few mentors who dropped him right away bec other parents could afford them and so the bochurim who need it most vry often have no access to it a mentor for such a bochur is an oxygen tank if he does not get it he stops breathing

  51. I can’t believe I’m reading this. I thought I was from the only selected few to go through this agmas nefesh. NOT ONLY does it BREAK PARENTS the yeshiva system BREAKS SIBLINGS and WHOLE families. Its a tragedy beyond repairable comprehension. My son was a shining star and smart boy all along in school. The system killed him. They would look down at his minor miniscule difference and not bother to give him a chance. 1st yeshiva threw him out after 1st zeman. He just needed guidance and a warm smile to get adjusted but they preferred to hang him on the laundry line. We begged them not to kill him but they couldn’t care less. He is out of there and the next and the next and so on. He’s lost to yidishkeit today. But that 1st yeshiva still sends us mailing for help in money, whether b4 Yom Tov or dinners. I wrote countless horrificly nasty letters they shud bug off from my bak but they ain’t care.

    we need teenage acceptance asifas.

  52. Rabbi Dessler explained this decades ago –

    Rav Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler ZT”L – Michtav M’Eliyahu 3, p.355-357

    The Frankfurt school supported an educational system in which the students were exposed to the study of secular subjects and later went on to universities. At the same time it paid attention to the strict observance of all the mitzvot. The advantage of the system was that the vast majority of its adherents stayed Orthodox and carefully observed the ordinances of the Shulchan Aruch, despite the fact that they were exposed to a general non-Jewish intellectual environment.It is true that they [the Frankfurt School] benefited in that the number of defectors from mitzvah observance was small. The price paid for this was that few, if any, Gedolei Torah emerged from such an educational system. On the other hand, their hashkafa was somewhat imperfect as far as the complete acceptance of the Torah point of view is concerned. Whenever there was a conflict between sciences and Torah, they resorted to a strange combination of the two, as if the two systems can be combined as a unity”. Therefore, exposure to non-Jewish ideas affected to some extent the purity of their faith in the absolute truth of Torah, resulting in strange compromises.

    The Lithuanian Roshei Yeshiva, on the other hand, set as their main objective to educate Gedolei Torah, discouraging all contact with the intellectual world outside the yeshiva. They realized that the only way to achieve this was to concentrate all the energies of their students exclusively on Torah learning [and not to allow any alternative respectful goals.] They were well aware of the price they had to pay for this because they knew that many yeshiva students were not able to deal with this extreme lifestyle and would [and in fact did] leave religious observance. They tried as best they could to help those who could not remain in the yeshiva as bnei Torah.

    Those who had to leave the yeshivah world were advised to take low status jobs, for example as small businessmen – which required little if any training and were not inherently interesting – rather than as professionals . Those yeshivah students who did insist on going to study at University to be professionals or academics were therefore disregarded. The connection between Roshei Yeshivah and these Orthodox university students was severed in order to prevent their exercising a detrimental influence on the the rest of the yeshivah students. I heard that justification of the Rashei Yeshiva to pay such a heavy price to produce Gedolei Torah was Vayikra Rabbah 2:1, “One thousand students enter to study Mikra… and only one emerges to hora’ah [halachic decision..making]. They also cited the words of the Rambam “It is better that 1000 fools die to obtain one genuine scholar.”

  53. In the mid 1970’s, I was privileged to attend Yeshiva Gedola – Merkaz HaTorah – Tiferes Mordechai in Montreal when the Rosh Yeshiva there was Rav Mordechai Weinberg, ZT’L. Rav Weinberg was well known as a tremendous Gadol B’Torah; he was one of the very top Talmidim of the Telshe yeshiva and specifically, a Talmid Muvhak of its great earlier Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Eliyahu Meyer Bloch, ZT’L. When he was 20 years old, he had already learned through the entire Shas and had vast knowledge of Gemara B’Iyun and Poskim and P’sak Halacha as well. And at this age of 20, he was instructed by his Rabayim to already begin his career in Chinuch.

    Anyway, in his talks and discussions with Talmidim, countless times — I repeat, COUNTLESS TIMES — he stressed to us that he himself had well seen that those Talmidim who had been viewed as being very “smart” and “brilliant” were not the ones who latter became Mechanchim and Rabbonim. They ended up working in (secular) businesses. Instead, it was the Talmidim who were not considered “smart” and “brilliant,” but diligently applied themselves and worked — very hard — at their Torah studies who became Gedolay Torah.

  54. (continuation of my previous comment)

    I do not remember if it was Rav Weinberg who said the following vort or a different Rav:

    There is a well known statement of Chazal:

    “Hizha’aru Bivnay Aniyim, Shemayhem Tzatzay Torah” – “Be caqreful with the children of the poor, for the Torah will come from them.”

    The simple explanation of this instruction is as folllows. Wealthy people, who can afford to buy all kinds of items, often, unfortunately, get over involved in their numerous physical possessions and neglect their spiritual duties. Poor people though, who can afford to buy very little, thus have very few physical things to be occupied with and thus occupy themselves with spiritual endeavors.

    A further explanation of the Chazal though, is that the term “poor” does not necessarily refer to people who are MONETARILY poor. Rather, it refers to people who are INTELLECTUALLY poor!

    So the meaning of the Chazal is like this. An intellectually “wealthy” person, in other words, a person who is very smart, when getting an education, will quickly learn and know the subjects. However, he may often then make the error that he will think that since he knows the “required material,” he is all finished with his education! By contrast, the not smart or even “dumb” person, when starting his education, will have great difficulty following and comprehending the subjects presented to him. However, since he realizes that he does not know the material, HE WILL WORK AND WORK AND WORK VERY, VERY VERY HARD to figure out and fully understand the facts that are being presented to him. And when he will keep (to use the actual words that Rav Weinberg once used) “plugging away” at his studies, he will eventually gain vast extensive knowledge, AND, a deep clear understanding and analysis of that knowledge THAT FAR SURPASSES THAT OF THE SMART PERSON!!

  55. Erev Shabbos Kodesh
    Parshas Tazria-Metzora
    Time: 3:54 PM Pacific Standard Time

    To the author of this superb beautiful heart-rending article, Mr. “A Broken Father” and to almost all of the numerous superb beautiful heart-rending comments posted here on it I empathetically say:


    Regarding the terrible situation, all I can say is that I am severely of severely of severely shocked and horrified that such mean cruel wicked abuse is going on — AND IT IS ALL IN THE (SUPPOSED) NAME OF “TORAH”!!!!

    Yes, this is an outright Chillul HaShem of very extreme magnitude!

    In the late 1980’s, I was privileged to attend Yeshiva Torah Vodaas in Brooklyn. In several consultations that I had with the Mashgiach there, Rav Moshe Wolfson, Sh’lita, many times, Rav Wolfson forcefully and angrily bluntly told me:

    “Just because a person has ‘a job’ [yes, that is how he sarcastically called a (supposed) Chinuch position — ‘a job’] in a yeshiva, DOES NOT MEAN THAT HE IS A TZADDIK!!!!”

    Even regarding A ROSH YESHIVA, he said the exact same thing!

    “A person who is a Rosh Yeshiva — it just means that he is a person who was Matzliach to build a yeshiva, just like a person who was Matzliach to make a business!! (But it is no indication at all that he is a Tzaddik!)”

  56. Erev Shabbos Kodesh
    Parshas Tazria-Metzora
    Time: 3:54 PM Pacific Standard Time

    (continuation of my previous comment)

    I very well know a certain Talmid Chacham who countless times told me that if a person has just the KNOWLEDGE of Torah, but, Chas V’Shalom, he does not adhere to the MIDOS of Torah, then his Torah is not the Torah of Yaakov; instead, his “Torah” is the “Torah” of Eisav!! And his G-D is not the G-D of Yaakov; instead, his “g-d” is the “g-d” of Eisav!!

    To further illustrate this, he bluntly exclaimed: “There are Catholic priests who know Gemara too!! (And would you even begin to think that such “Torah” can be even remotely called true Torah????)”

    He further related that Chazal and the Seforim state that in the era before Moshiach comes, the leadership of Klall Yisroel will be from the Eirav Rav. (Being “from the Eirav Rav” may not necessarily mean that a person is, Chas V’Shalom PHYSICALLY descended from the Eirav Rav people. Rather, it can be that his Neshama has tragically become corrupted with THE BAD CHARACTERISTICS of the Eirav Rav.)

    He remarked that this is referring not only to the wicked secular Zionists, IT IS ALSO REFERRING TO THE (SO-CALLED) ORTHODOX AND BNEI TORAH COMMUNITIES TOO!!

    He explained and exclaimed that the Torah stresses that “Moshe Rabaynu was EXTREMELY HUMBLE!!” But today, quite a lot of everything is being a “Rav” and “HaRav HaGaon” and an “Adam Gadol” — (being) BIG!! BIG!! BIG!! Quite a lot of people are being filled with Gaiava and Gaiava and more Gaiava!!

    Originally, I thought that his views were a good little bit extreme. Upon reading Mr. “A Broken Father’s” heart-wrenching article and the many heart-wrenching stories in several of the comments though, I now realize that, very tragically, this Talmid Chacham is 1000% correct!!

  57. Erev Shabbos Kodesh
    Parshas Tazria-Metzora
    Time: 4:48 PM Pacific Standard Time

    (continuation of my previous comment)

    At in Comment #14, I posted some remarks. They were VERY sharp but were what desperately needs to be said about the issue there. As they equally apply to the certainly related issue here, I will say them again here.

    The underlying problem of these phenomenon is that of Ga’ava. What do I mean by Ga’ava? Please, allow me to relate the following.

    I was once privileged to briefly teach Parshas Noach to some children in a local yeshiva ketana. To this day, I have great regrets that AFTER the school year was over and the class was gone, I discovered what would have been an exceptionally superb visual aid for the students: an excellent picture of a modern day contemporary Nimrod.

    How did I come accross this picture? Well, I was privileged to spend a Shabbos at the home of one of the rabbonim in the area. At the house was a set of the “World Book Encyclopedia” along with a number of its year book supplements, which I looked at. I am pretty sure that it was in the volume for the year 1987 that there was an article about divided countries.

    In that article was a really beautiful photograph. It was of a long, marble floored hallway; its far side wall is covered with a painted mural of an endless stretch of gray mountains against a backdrop of a pinkish colored sky. In the middle of the hall just inches off of the wall mural stands a huge — rising several feet above the peaks of the mountains in the mural — a huge white stone replica of a cube shaped fancy padded arm-chair. In the large white stone arm-chair is sitting a large white stone statue replica of the wicked leader of North Korea. (The same man who in a few years would be boasting that he was going to turn the capital city of South Korea “into a ’sea of fire’!!”)

    Yeap! It was just beautiful! There was no need for a caption on it, for it itself clearly projected its own caption:


    Yeap! Our little Mikies and our little Johnies — excuse me, our little Moshies and our little Chaiyimies are being taught to be Ba’alay Ga’ava — mean arrogant people, with the word “humility” totally not in their vocabulary. As soon as one of them can say a little “Chabura” applying a sevara of Rav Chaiyim to a peshat in a Tosafos, he is suddenly a little “Rosh Yeshiva” who can thus parade around the Beis HaMedrosh with the air of:


    Obviously then, Chas V’Shalom, their rebbe is not Rav Moshe Feinstein or Moshe Maimonidies or Moshe Rabaynu! Obviously, Chas V’Shalom, L’havdil, their “rebbe” is the dictator of North Korea or one of the dictators of Midevil Europe or one of the dictators of ancient Rome or one of the dictators of ancient Babylon or Nimrod and the like.

    Obviously then, Chas V’Shalom, we are NOT creating Bnei Torah — we are creating TERRIBLE SADISTIC MONSTERS!!

    Then, along with our spending many thousands, even millions of dollars on the various projections of Ga’ava of our children’s lives, we also need to spend fiftey thousand dollars or even one hundred thousand dollars for FACE OPERATIONS!! Yes, to make it all perfectly perfect, our daughters and our sons, whom we have all raised up to be such superb Ba’alay Ga’ava, need to HAVE SURGERY to move their arrogant noses to way up far above their heads!!

  58. i will tell you now: everyone thinks that their son is the greatest, but believe me, the yeshiva sees the greater picture, problems that you don’t see. check your son out, there may be something that your missing!

  59. Most comments here show how most people are fed up with the situation, and commenter number 63, 64 put it down beautifully but scary too. But commenter number 65 really has the load of the arrogance on his shoulder. And simply feeds the point so perfectly. There’s extreme arrogance in the system. Often my sons school would respond by simply saying there’s a cheshbin to why we for 6th time decided to treat them all like 3rd class, because their father or mother for that matter was not a important, or wealthy person to reckon with.
    This bold arrogance just goes to show how bad the system has developed. And the inability for grown men to realise that perhaps the system is not acting responsible, and how everything is excused by them claiming oh it is a long term cheshbin which they won’t reveal. And well a proper cheshbin hanefesh never materialises for this reason. And so a solution Just seems to never come to fruitation. Unfortunately there aren’t many Reb Yakov Benders out there

    I think the worst thing you could teach your child is that he/she is better then others, and just try to out do every one. And oh don’t ever help the weaker kids, because your not on their wavelength, and so aim for the better half, otherwise we won’t be proud of you. Does commenter number 65 happen to disagree? Well the current system seems to thrive on this premise. And please could somebody explain to me why girls also need the weaker half and the better half? What need is there in this approach? This is an additional proof in case we needed it, that the system does aim for each kid to outdo the other.
    I know there’s the claim that every child girl or boy needs to be stimulated in order to keep them off the streets. And so the smarter ones gotta be given harder challenges. I understand that premise, but how have you taken care of the need to help the weakerer children? Shouldn’t the right premise be to encourage the smarter ones to help the weaker ones. And in the process they will be stimulated too?
    And the worst side of this whole story is when the wealthy man comes along with his big money, almost no school would put a stumbling block infront of him. his big promises of money, make it ok for his child who happens to be dumer then most kids in the B group, but money is here, so who cares? There’s no bituchoin, there’s no “long term cheshboiness” its okay, we are financially covered so who cares? And well what happens if the fathers business goes bankrupt in years time, and the father becomes a pauper, oh says the school no problem, just kick out the child, or put him into the B group. These stories have happened I am not making it up.

  60. About three years ago, on August 4, 2009, at, Matzav published a long comment that I had wrote.

    Several months before that, Rav Yonason Rosenblum, Sh’lita, had written an article here on Matzav about shidduchim. Right after that Pesach (in 2009), I wrote some elaboration on his main point which I sent to the “Readers Write” column of the Yated Neeman where it was printed. Latter on, on August 3, I submitted that same elaboration piece as a comment to another Matzav article about shidduchim, which Matzav published. Again, these articles and their comments were about the subject of Shidduchim. However, the Yesodos – the principles discussed there are the exact same Yesodos that equally apply in this clearly related subject here of selection of students for Mosdos HaTorah.

    So, B’Ezras HaShem, I will reprint my comments here.


    Rav Yonason spoke about the tendency that many people have in looking for a Shidduch to keep looking for something better. He related that his Rosh Yeshiva remarked about this tendency that it is simply “Atzas HaYetzer Hara”!

    Rav Yonason’s Rosh Yeshiva’s words are the exact same words of my Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Avroham Yaakov HaKohein Pam, ZT’L. Every week of the yeshiva z’man on either Thursday afternoon or on Erev Shabbos morning, Rav Pam would say a shiur on the Parsha HaShavua. The shiur for Parshas Chaiye Soro was considered a special one, for then he would discuss issues of Shidduchim.

    I was privileged to attend one of those Chaiye Soro shiurim. In that shiur, he mentioned this phenomenon and related it this way. A bachur will go out with a girl. They will have a good time together. He will quickly see that she is a very nice person with very good midos. He will see that she is intelligent with constructive things to say. And the “outer aspects” of her – they are nice too! Then he will tell the shaddchan who had recommended her: “Excellent! Thank you very much! Now, let us see if you can find me someone WHO IS EVEN BETTER!”

    In just the tone of his voice in the way he related this story, you could already tell how Rav Pam viewed the actions of such a guy as totally ridiculous and really, quite wicked. In a voice full of anger, Rav Pam continued on with lamenting on how so many fine girls thus sit alone and are wrongly rejected.

    There is a basic rule of life that bad actions have bad consequences; so here, this type of behavior ultimately hurts the boys who do it even more. There were many instances where an older bachur would go to see the Raban Shel Yisroel, the Steipler Gaon, ZT’L, to ask him where was his zivug. In many of these cases, the Steipler would sharply retort to him “You already met her – five years ago!”

    Now, the Steipler spoke in Yiddish, and as a Gadol B’Torah, he was able to express major concepts in a concise manner. So for us to fully understand and realize the full impact of his words, we will re-relate the encounter with an explanatory expansion of the words of the Steipler, which will fully convey what he was saying.

    Let us start again. Here is a now older bachur; he has gone out for many years and cannot even begin to remember all of the many girls he dumped. He comes to the Steipler and demands to know where is his zivug. So the Steipler says to him: “Five years ago you met a girl. The people who recommended her to you told you that she was a good girl. The people whom you inquired with for references about her told you that she was a good girl. You yourself saw that she was a good girl. And you liked her!”

    ” AND – YOU – DROPPED – HER ???? ”

    “So now, you want to get a ‘second wife’? Ah ha! OK, we’ll have to see about that; of course, you well know that that is not so easy!”

    [Regarding this rebuke of the Steipler that a man can, Chas V’Shalom, pass by his intended zivug, I mentioned it to Rav Pam. He very strongly exclaimed: “Only the Steipler can say that!” I then proposed to Rav Pam that the Steipler’s rebuke was referring to those guys, who like Rav Pam had mentioned in his shiur, had needlessly rejected many nice girls, and Rav Pam nodded in full agreement. (So that is the way I presented my “expanded version” of the meeting with the Steipler.) But again, Rav Pam empathetically repeated “Only the Steipler can say that!”]

    Part of the explanation of this phenomenon is a point that was brought out a short while ago in the Yated’s “readers write” letters. This is that we begin to forget that Shidduchim are people. We thus embark on our quest of getting a Shidduch with the same frame of mind as when we go, L’Havdil, to buy an automobile. Now if we have the money for it, we are going to want to get the best automobile; as the best cars are made by Rolls Royce and BMW, we will go to get the best BMW or the best Rolls Royce. When we are at the car dealer, we may let the salesman show us a few of the lower models, but no matter how good they are, we will not take any of them. For, again, if we have the money for it, we will ask the salesman to show us and sell us the model that is at the top of the line.

    So for a Shidduch, we do the same thing. A boy wants to get “the best” girl, and a girl wants to get “the best” boy. “The best!” “The very best!” “The top of the line!” Anything else, just simply does not exist!

    Another way in which the Shidduch process can get dehumanized is by our use of the term “passing inspection.” The phrase is used to convey whether or not everything is all right with a person who is looking for a Shidduch. “Does he ‘pass inspection’?” “Does she ‘pass inspection’?”

    These words though, are generally thought of with regards to inanimate objects. A telephone, a radio, a camera, a bicycle, or an automobile, as it nears the end of its production line, it is carefully examined by inspectors to make sure it was made correctly. If everything about it is all right, a little sticker with the word “PASSED” is put on it. The process of inspection is also done on entire operations. For example, on the whole factory that makes the automobiles, there will be inspections. These will often be done by government officials to make sure that everything in the plant conforms to governmental standards of quality and safety. Of course, in the military services, there are inspections on the soldiers’ dress and barracks, to make sure that everything is neat and clean and in its proper place.

    Yes, there are inspections on the items that people make, there are inspections on the operations that they operate, and there are inspections on the upkeep of their surroundings and attire.

    But inspections on the people themselves???

    Of course, all these attitudes are totally wrong. People are not automobiles; they are not bicycles; they are not cameras; they are not machines; they are not factories either. They are living human beings whom are created by HaShem B’Tzelem Elokim! As such, each person has Divinely implanted worth and talent and potential that is not only infinite, but is totally beyond our ability to even begin to comprehend. Therefore, it is not possible, in fact, it is totally ridiculous, to try to classify people as being “the best” or “second best” or “top of the line” or whatever artificial labels people make up.

    What does have to be considered though, is the fact that the Divinely implanted talents and characteristics are different in each person. Furthermore, each person uses his or her Divinely given talents and abilities in different ways and accomplishes different degrees of achievement. So in looking for a Shidduch, there will be a need to determine if the characters and abilities and interests and goals and achievements of the two parties are compatible.

  61. (continuation of my previous comment)

    I will close with two stories that show that what is often called the best is sometimes in reality, quite the opposite. The first story was printed in the Yated about a year before in Reb Shaya Gottlieb’s “Zaidy’s Mayselech” column. He related there about a prominent g’vir who went to the yeshiva in his area and explained that he wanted to have the very best student in the school for his daughter. He was referred to a bachur who was reported to be a big masmid, lamdan, and upcoming Talmid Chacham. The young man was introduced and the Shidduch was made.

    After the Chasuna though, the man refused to spend any time with his wife. He would come home, quickly eat a meal she had made, and then exclaim “Enough Bittul Torah!” and immediately return to the Beis HaMedrosh. Understandably, the girl wanted to talk with him about various things, but he had no interest in that. When she tried a few times to complain to him about his callous attitude, he got up but did not go to his yeshiva; instead, he left the town and completely disappeared.

    The police and other investigators could not find him, and the woman was thus an Aguna for several years!

    Near the end of these several years, a man, whom we will call “Mr. Y,” passes through the place where the husband is staying. The two men meet and realize that they look like each other. As they are quite astounded at this bizarre fact, that they look like they are twin brothers but are not related at all, they spend some time talking. With wicked trickery, Mr. Y gets the husband to reveal to him the details of his home, his family, his wife, his wife’s family, the wedding, the food that was served at the wedding, etc. Of course, this is Mabul Al HaRaiyon! Before, this guy had claimed that it was Bittul Torah to talk to his wife, but now, he has no qualms about yakking away with this total stranger Mr. Y and telling him everything about his life!

    Armed with this information, this M’nuval Um’shukatz – this dispicable filthy slime bag Mr. Y goes to the wife’s town and presents himself to the wife’s family as the long disappeared husband! By how he looks and by what he says, the family feels compelled to accept that he is indeed the missing husband. At the same time though, they have some serious suspicions, so they consult with the Rav of their town, Maran Rav Chaim Meisels, ZT’L.

    Boruch HaShem, with the Rav’s advice, they readily expose the wicked imposter. With this done, they were further able to find out about how this Mr. Y had met the husband, track down the husband himself, and get the husband to finally give his wife a Get. The woman remarried, to a man who treated her a thousand percent better.


    The second incident is related by Rav Yissachar Frand, Shlita, in one of his books. It shows that what is at the top of the line is at times not what is even remotely appropriate for the situation. There were two law firms that did business together; one was formed of Bnei Torah Jews, and the other was formed of non-Jews. At one point, the non-Jewish firm needed to make a business lunch with the Jewish firm. As the non-Jewish firm was hosting the lunch, its people told the people of the Jewish firm that they would get the Kosher food. They explained that they knew that the big Kosher restaurant that the religious Jewish community uses is called “Lou Siegals,” so they would call them. They added that as their meeting would be on Pesach, they knew that they would have to specify “Kosher for Pesach.” The Jewish lawyers were certainly pleased at the great awareness of their needs and the efforts to accommodate them.

    When they came to the meeting, they saw the non-Jewish lawyers standing over something in the room with puzzled looks on their faces. The non-Jewish lawyers told the Jewish ones: “We called ‘Lou Siegals’ and asked them to give us their very best top of the line Pesach product. They sent us this large box, but we have absolutely no idea what it is that is inside it!”

    With a quick glance in the box, the Jewish lawyers immediately understood what had gone wrong. “The very best,” the “top of the line” Pesach product – what is that? What is the high part of the Yom Tov of Pesach? The Lail Sedorim! So the very best top of the line Pesach product is a Seder Plate! Yes, they sent them a Seder Plate!

    Rabbi Frand stops the narrative here, for how they resolved the problem is their private business. Furthermore, Rabbi Frand uses this story to illustrate a completely different issue. What is relevant though for our subject is, that like most people, these lawyers wanted what was at the top of the line. The problem though was, that what was at the top of the line here at Pesach, a Seder Plate, had absolutely nothing to do with what they wanted!


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