Why is My Son Not in Yeshiva?


bochurimDear Editor,

This week the zeman began but my son is home.

It’s not  because he doesn’t want to go, but because they don’t want to have him.

You see, he’s not a lamdan. He’s just an ordinary boy who’s worked very hard to get where he’s got. Many years ago they told me it wasn’t possible.

“Don’t even try to make him suffer the ‘system.’ Send him to high-school where they have the infrastructure for a child who needs some support, where they have the funding and the expertise.”

But he wouldn’t hear of it. “I want to be in yeshiva where regular boys are, that’s all I want. Is that too hard for them to understand?”

It seems so.

How do I tell him that he isn’t as attractive as so many others, that he is more difficult to teach, that he needs time and patience? How do I tell him that my heart is broken for him, that I have cried more tears for his struggle than I believed were possible in a lifetime? How do I tell him that to the rebbi his learning is more precious than anything else that exists, because it comes with true effort and yearning?

This is not a complaint, nor is this is not a call to blame. This is a simple cry from a mother who feels that surely as parents we need to be more aware.

Is there some way we could help our children be part of a regular yeshiva system even if they need a little support? Is there some way we could provide yeshiva chinuch and learning that is accessible to all?

Are there others having difficulty with this? Is there some way we can make it easier? Maybe we could compile a database of yeshivos with a description of their criteria and what they are looking for or offering.

Maybe we need to be more vocal about the chinuch of our children being the communal necessity that it is, with more information available to parents. Most of all, we need to collectively care for all levels of our children with the necessary proficiency within our mosdos.

A Crying Mother


  1. We’ve been through this with a local mesivta that was originally reluctant to admit our son. With HaShem’s help, along with the help of local Rabbonim to plead our case and the help of a Kollel member who agreed to tutor during off-periods, we worked out an appropriate educational plan for him at the mesivta and he graduated after four rewarding years. Not every mesivta will want to leave its comfort zone to help Yidden in this way, but some do.

  2. i feel your pain and i want to recommend that you encourage him to keep going even if it means going to a shul and looking at the words and doing what he can and iyh he will find the help he needs from those who are truly lshem shomayim

  3. I am sorry but there are plenty of yesivas that specifically cater to your sons needs. Do him a favor and send him to one of them. I went to such a yeshiva when there were a few of such yeshivas. Some of them talmidim later on went onto Lakewood and most went to become fine Bali Batim. Learning is not cut out for everybody.

    Trust me you will ruin your child if indeed he needs the help and you don’t get it for him since you/your son wants to go to a “name” yeshiva.

  4. This is a beautiful letter from a mother of what sounds like a wonderful son, and my heart goes out to you and to him.

    But don’t you realize that by definition, a regular yeshiva is not one that offers the support you mention? Those that offer more support are the ones your son doesn’t want to attend.

  5. It’s very hard; But, we can’t force a group of people who invested all their money and took on loans and mortgages to build a nice yeshiva, to accept anyone whom they don’t want. It’s their Koichus and money.
    They maintain, Let our competitor take those boys.

  6. Are we talking about a boy who is motivated? There are many Yeshivos that deal with weaker boys. If you are talking about a boy that doesn’t show up to sidrei haYeshiva, doesn’t show up to davening etc. that is something else. There are Yeshivos for boys like that too. Maybe you/your son is looking in to a Yeshiva that is not right for him?

  7. in the NY metro area there are great yeshivos for boys of different calibers. if s/o is not yet on par, he could and should go to one of those yeshivos for a few years until he can be matriculated mainstream. I’ve seen it many times. and than there are parents who are only concerned what the neighbors will say and refuse to send their child to the yeshivah most suited for him.many crying mothers should look in the mirror.
    fyi, i have nothing to do with the chincuh industry….

  8. THERE ARE SEVERAL YESHIVOT WHO TAKE IN SPECIAL NEEDS IN AMERICA.Not knowing where you live I couldnt direct you to exactly where.
    But I heard of Rabbi London yeshiva in Brooklyn New York , Netevos Hachaim, also and an organization that gives good advice ‘eitza’
    tel number 718-348-9242.

    also in Monsey NY

    This information was given by a special education rabbi in boro park for you.

    We hope this is helpful.
    And please give feedback if this helped.
    You can email me @ jewswithviews@gmail.com
    If you need more assistance.

  9. It is a truly sad state of affairs when children who want to learn are not allowed to — because yeshivos don’t want to have to put extra efforts into educating children.

    Perhaps you should go to a gadol, explain your circumstances and seek his assistance, as, unfortunately, without “protexia” you will likely not get very far.

    Good luck and please provide an update to your circumstances.

  10. “I want to be in yeshiva where regular boys are”
    FIRSTLY, we have stigmatized these boys that they are not considered REGULAR, ehrlich, yirei shamayim and chasuv. Need to change the stigma and sterotype first.
    SECOND: There is a fallacy about the brains out there. The aleph shiur consists of maybe 10% of high school boys…so where are the others. People get TOO excited about this 10% & the efforts, skills, strageries to teach the others is falling by the wayside. Its a “make-believe” kavod
    THIRD: Children with learning, emotional and physically needs are on the rise. Time to get moving to service them all, or the size of Klal Yisroel will be reduced.

  11. There is nothing wrong with your son he is 100% normal, The system and the people behind it are broken. There is a special place in Gahennim for people like that. Be strong the world is turning upside down. Wrong is now Right

  12. how old is your son?
    What is the nature of his issue? Is it just a learning disability or are their behaviour issues too? Are there socialization issues – i.e. like aspergers?
    if he is post-high school age, can he sit 3 sedarim a day? does he need to be doing other things for some of the day?

  13. We too were having a similar situation since our son was in grade school. He wasn’t able to be a lamdan or focus on learning or long classes.

    B”H we found a Yeshiva which is a wonderful place for kids that have a difficult time fitting the mold of the “mainstream” Yeshivas, and they work with the kids to bring them up to speed. The classes are small, the periods never exceed 45 mins for any class, and the kids have personal attention.

    We have B”H seen a great improvement in our son and you probably would benefit from Yeshiva Neimus HaTorah in Baltimore, led by R’ Laib Schulman.

    Check it out. Neimus HaTorah. We are very pleased with the place and the earlier you get your kid there the better the chances are of having hatzlacha.

    Wish you well…..

  14. Reb Tuvia
    Yeshivas that are built with people taking loans and mortgages and therefore feel they have a right to exclude need chinuch in the fundamental that “li haksef vli hazahav” all $ comes from Hashem. It is not their $$ or mortgage nor their mossad. We are sheluchim of Hashem
    Secondly, if it is a completely privately funded operation, I hope they do not so solicitations and dinners to raise money from the tzibbur….. and from those people whom they would have rejected as teens! Hatzlacha to each and to all.
    Finally, some of the most successful Bnai Torah and Talmidei Chachamim are those who were less than desired but had strong desire and when put into a challenging growing learning environment have risen to the challenge……… and because of the challenge…… to become great successes!

  15. Yeshiva Neimus HaTorah Baltimore Md

    Rabbi Lev Shulman

    Its simple, either put him in a yeshiva that will address his needs, let his covod and gaiva destroy him.

    Would you wear shoes that dont fit you at all, and suffer from foot problems your whole life.

  16. My heart breaks for you. I know what you are going through.

    Until recently, most of the Yeshivos had a “Gimmel” shiur for those boys that needed a little extra and did not (could not) keep up to the (unjustified) level the Yeshivos had set. Although this was a “Gimmel” shiur, these are Aleph boys. There is absolutely nothing wrong with them. We are not all born geniuses and masmidim with a desire to be the next gadol hador, nor are we required to be like that.

    Unfortunately, the Yeshivos, like the rest of our society, were striken with an elitist attitude and were not interested in anything but the “best”. This is survival of the fittest at its worst. I wish I had a suggestion for you.

    However, there are many children that are “learning different”, and need even more that the Gimmel Shiur was able to give them. If that is the case with your son, then you do need to send him to a Yeshiva that has these special programs like P’tach for him to reach his potential which more than likely is much greater than you or he could imagine.

    I wish you much Hatzlocha.

  17. Dear Crying Mother,
    Sorry to break it to you. Yeshiva has always been this system. You are essentially being motzi shem ra on the heilige yeshivas which always kept klal yisrael breathing.

  18. why would you want to be part of regular system? a boy like ypours can become next gadol if you set him up with real talmidai chachamim to learn with and teach him a trade also that he could do on the side – you will be doing him a big favor!

  19. I have been a parent of children that didn’t fit into what the Yeshivas offerred.Trying to make them fit was a disservice (to say the least) to them.
    B”H today there are many Yeshivos made with great love by their founders to help such Talmidim.
    Allow and respect each Yeshiva to fulfill its purpose.
    Do not break the weaker studants because of personal hopes of being the “proud” parents of a Lamden.
    Be the proud parents of the specific Bracha HK”BH gave you!

  20. Years ago I was in bais medrash and the rosh yeshiva pulled aside one of my friends. He told him, “I think you should go to work.” My friend couldn’t believe it, but it wasn’t happening for him. He was too antsy, and he did not belong.

    In retrospect, the rosh yeshiva was right. The bochur got a job and started learning on the side. Now he does daf yomi and has multiple sedorim throughout the week. He is an ehrliche baal habos.

    Bottom line – it was the right move. Some people have to go about things in an unconventional way to succeed.

  21. Everyone is talking against “elitist” Yeshivos. Yeshiva Chachmei Lublin under the leadership of Reb Meir Shapiro was an elitist Yeshiva. One had to know 700 Blatt Gemara Rashi & Tosfos to be accepted into the Yeshiva. The real problem lays with the parents that for their Kovod, what there son in a brand name Yehsiva.

  22. Based on your post, you want your son in a name yeshiva, regardless of the circumstances. When I was in yeshiva, we had nice boys who would have done well in a yeshiva geared to them instead of falling through the cracks in a name yeshiva. You could do the same for your son, where you could watch him thrive and gain valuable learning skills, instead of watching him sit at home and not gain anything.

  23. It is so hard to comment on your situation because I don’t know you, your son, or the yeshivah you’ve applied to.
    What I do know is that it is very ironic that for years everyone screamed about the lack of alternative yeshivos designed to work with students who need more attention and learn more slowly. We were told by all the “shreiyers” that those who insist that all children belong in regular yeshivos were killing the kids with their one-size-fits-all approach.
    Well, here we have a mother who now insists that her son learns slowly and has been advised to have him attend an alternative yeshivah but refuses to do so. Again, we hear that the one’s who insist that her son attend a yeshivah that is tailored to his needs are terrible people.
    If it weren’t so ridiculous, it would only be funny and ironic. Tragically, it’s much more than that.

  24. To Rabbaim

    How can anyone get involved in a business that somebody else built up. Obama says “you did not build anything yourself”.

  25. Let’s have a program for the boys who can’t sit through three sedorim:
    1. Get up early to daven
    2. Learn an hour
    3. Go to work (preferably physical labor so they don’t get busy with social networking)
    4. Give Maaser (we have to instill 1. Emuna “give Maaser you will become RICH” 2. Love to be machzek torah,)
    5. Mincha Maariv with Minyan
    6. Night shiur (1 hour)
    7. Go to sleep on time

    Boys who follow this will be learning and growing in Avodas hashem much more than if stayed in the “system”

    I’m waiting for the Nachshon Ben Aminodove to start a program (and for Parents to go along)

  26. This is one of the things that our “melting pot” culture helped spread
    I know of a Rosh Yeshiva that found 2 talmidim engaged in a game that was not in tune with the culture of their country of origin. He told the Satmarer Rebbe z”l that he is thinking of expelling them because he is afraid this will spread in the yeshiva.
    The Rebbe asked him whether he is sure they will remain true tho their upbringing if they are expelled, and he answered no. So he asked him if he expelled the rest of yeshiva what would happen to them. He answered they would probably go to a different yeshiva and grow up as upright Yidden.
    So the Rebbe said expell them and keep these 2 bochurim in the yeshiva.

  27. My son went to a mainstream yeshiva. When he graduated he could barely read hebrew. He went to EY after high school (Reishit Yerusholayim) . Upon his return he wanted to go back buthis mother did not allow him to go. He took upon himself to learn as much as he could. It is now 3 years later He wakes up daily at 530 am and goes to Shor Yoshuv and is glued to his seat in the Bais.He has since been misayim 6 mesechtos. He learns Mishna Berurah diligently, he has several chaburahs. He spends most of Shabbsim in our shuld Beis Hamedrash learning.
    Just goes to show you that there is always hope. Just keep encouraging him. Give him the time and the patience. HBH watches over these special kids .

  28. Information is missing here to give a correct advice. There ARE “name brand” Yeshivo’s that have “bais” Shiurim. I know, my son was in one & everything is fine B”H. The shadchanim are the ones distroying everything! They get the parents (& their children) all nervous, will this affect my Shidduch? In 30 years from now, will they research which class my child was in, in 3rd grade?! I wore a black hat & jacket, white shirt, even Bein Hazmanim, even in the rain, but I was in the bais shiur so, I’m finished! It means I’m 2nd rate trash! That is exactly what these filthy evil Shaddchanim are doing! Wake up and smell the coffee!

  29. Reb Tuvia (comment #7):
    The problem here is your implied definition of “nice yeshiva”. As if somehow a so-called “weaker” boy ruins the “niceness” of a yeshiva. Not too long ago people realized that the chinich of *any* jewish child is worth being moser nefesh for, any only enhances the “niceness” of a yeshiva.

  30. I am of above-average intellegence but learned very little when I attended Yeshiva. In those days (1940s and 1950s) all Yeshivos accepted all boys who were not disruptive. As a result, I was allowed to have classmates who are the Gedolim of today. I Davened then with the same seriousness as they and continue to do so today. Over the course of time I invested increasing amounts of time and energy in learning precicely because of my Kesher with my classmates who are today’s Gedolim. All my sons and sons-in-law are Talmidei Chachomim. None of this would have come to pass if I had been shunted to a Yeshiva for losers.

  31. 3. Go to work (preferably physical labor so they don’t get busy with social networking)

    You are clueless…They can work in many fields and in the arts. Why physical labor, which can be back breaking for some cognitivly weaker students….and why would they get busy with soical networking. You have sterotypied to the nth degree and are so off base.

  32. To Ish HaPar

    Financially speaking, a “nice Yeshiva” is one, that the Wealthy Grandmothers, will be proud that their Einikel goes to a Yeshiva alongside only very smart kids. The wealthy grandparents pay alot of money to be able to pronounce that there Einiklech go to a Yeshiva that is ‘extremely Choosey’.

    Yeshivos have alot of expenses.

  33. This is exactly what this kid doesn’t want,to be put in a Yeshivah he doesn’t feel comfortable in, so swithing to a different kind of Yeshivah could result in ruining the childs self confidence and will wreck this kids life. All thanks to some Rosh Yeshivahs who have to have the perfect Yeshivah and look good down here on earth. Hashem will turn the tables on them when they get up to Shamayim.

  34. there is a great Mesifta in Lakewood called Lakewood Chodosha- it is Rabbi Berstein from Lakewood Mesifta who started this for boys like these. The boys there are doing phenominally and they are catering to these boys specifically. Your son would be very happy there- cuz they make each boy feel the best they can!!! Hatzlocha- we will keep you in mind in our tefilos…

  35. I know of a bochur who is home too, without a yeshiva to attend any more. The reality is, that sometimes the mainstream yeshivos do not have the infrastructure, e.g. a social worker, a shadow, and the like, to deal with special needs students.
    There are yeshivos out there that cater to these students, and sometimes one has to make the difficult decision of not going mainstream.

  36. When I read the article my heart ached As a child in the 5720’s/ 1960’s my non-frun parents sent me to Yeshiva Katana. I was a dificult child having both behavior and disability issues. My rebbim and teachers were careful to encourage each of us continue our Jewish education and take it to next level because of their tolerance I became a Baal Teshuvah , received Semicha, Taught Torah and comitt to living my life and conduct my houshold in manner to increase Kiddush Hashem. Had I beenborn in this generation I would be Public School and not the Yeshivoth’s problem.
    Shame on those institutions and educators that seek to exclude and not include.

  37. I am very pained by your letter but unfortunately and sadly not surprised. This is all too common. We have become elitist and this elitism has nothing to do with true Judaism and the values of the Torah hakdoshah. I cry for your son and your family’s pain and can empathize because I too was hurt. I was expelled without any justification and because I wanted to learn different derech halimud. I like the earlier comment said by the Satmar Rav.

    Do not lose hope. Your son is a great Jewish neshomo that Hashem loves. They are wrong and will have to answer to Hashem not your son. He should continue learning and know that what he experienced is not in sync with the teachings of the Torah but false, “chukos hagoim” incfluenced supposed people.

    One must question if they are even Jewish being that they lack basic rachmanus (compassion) that are one of the traits of being Jewish. The Gemorah in Brachos states that Rav Gamliel had regret over his elitism and policy of exclusion which comprised of whichever student is not “tocho k’baro” that he not be allowed into the yeshivah. Rav Yehoshua changed this policy and created an open door policy so all Jewish neshomos can be allowed an opportunity to be davek in Hashem. The gemarah tells that Rav Gamliel came to deeply regret this decision and said “chas v’shalom manati Torah m’yisroel…” ( I withheld Torah from the Jewish people).

  38. Englewood, Denver, Atlanta, Neimus Hatorah, Ohel Torah of Lakewood. Even Darchei has a shiur gimmel for non dorming boys. You have to be willing to educate the son you have and find the mossad he will flourish in.

  39. today every mainstream place only wants top boys. this past June my son finished the 11th grade and was accepted to the 12th grade which is today called first year bais medrash. his friend who was with him since kindergarden was supposed to be his chavrusa but unfortunately he was not accepted to the 12th grade. what nonsense! he was good enough for the yeshiva for 13 years and all of a sudden the last year he’s not good enough. Of course he is not the only one with such a problem and hopefully he won’t end up on the street. To make matters worse he still needs the 12th grade in order to get his high school diploma.

  40. If you ask any of the godolei hador what a yeshivah is supposed to be [and the godolei hador speak about this and have spoke about this in the previous generations including the Staipler,hagoen and they said and will tell you now that a yeshiva is supposed to be open to any1 who is interested in growing/learning[and thats what main stream is] .So maybe not all yeshivos have followed this, However their are yeshivos that follow this very well, including shor yoshuv and i think even the mir in yerushalayim which is known as a main stream yeshiva caters to alot of different levels since they have alot of shiurs and chaburas .and Rov Shtainman speaks strongly about this recently in this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eX0X5CeURlQ&sns=fb and we know that every body has their own SPECIAL koach and porpose and hashem gave us all different brains and capabilities. therefore every Yiddish noshomah is SPECIAL. [try to get hold of a recent shiur for parents ”Parents at risk” ”children in pain” by rabbi lopian

  41. #35 “I am of above-average intellegence but learned very little when I attended Yeshiva. In those days (1940s and 1950s) all Yeshivos accepted all boys who were not disruptive. As a result, I was allowed to have classmates who are the Gedolim of today. I Davened then with the same seriousness as they and continue to do so today. Over the course of time I invested increasing amounts of time and energy in learning precicely because of my Kesher with my classmates who are today’s Gedolim. All my sons and sons-in-law are Talmidei Chachomim. None of this would have come to pass if I had been shunted to a Yeshiva for losers.”
    Our parents were Holocaust survivors and they were happy as long as we were happy they did not care if we were top and I remember alot of kids in my class were considered dummies because they were not serious about learning
    once they matured we found out that they were brilliant and did great you just have to give them a chance

  42. #31: I am a shadchan, and would never ask (or care) if the boy was in a “bais” class. I don’t know with whom you usually deal, but you owe the rest of us non-“filthy evil” Shaddchanim an apology.

    #35: “a yeshiva for losers”?? What is a yeshiva for losers? Which ones of our precious children do you consider losers? It’s attitudes like this that make boys whose gifts are not academic reluctant to attend precisely those yeshivos that will cater to them.

  43. Anon: You know as well as I that ‘Yeshiva for losers’ is not my appraisal of the wonderful Yeshivos that have the infrastructure for a child who needs support. It is the appraisal of A Crying Mother’s son who says, ‘I want to be in a yeshiva where regular boys are.’

  44. We know that things are tough these days for many boys and I empathize with your situation, it is very rough and challenging to say the least.

    Rabbi Laib Schulman of Neimus Hatorah, as mentioned above located in Baltimre MD, helped our son tremendously in behavioral as well as learning issues. He has been a life saver for the talmidim of his Yeshiva, devoting heart and soul to the bachrim along with his staff who understand these boys best and who relate to their specific issues.

    The number there is 410 764-2574. Give him a call and start your son going in the right direction that he needs. B’hatzlacha!!

  45. Been there with now my second son. Preserverence on us. We moved and b”h found a great yeshiva, now back in same boat looking for high school. That’s why it is said tsar godoleller banim.

  46. Our son spent three years in a mainstream yeshiva before he realized on his own that he wasn’t succeeding. We searched for the perfect place for our son for months and finally found the answer in Yeshiva Neimus Hatorah, under the care, guidance and supervision of Rav Leib Shulman, in Baltimore. It is a small school where the boys are given a more than fair chance to succeed and to eventually matriculate into well known post high school institutions. Our son . who couldn’t make a leining and couldn’t write an essay graduated and went to a wonderful Yeshiva in Yerushalayim the following Zman. This is the best # 610 613 6934
    The tears we shed at the beginning of our son’s tzurres turned B”H,to tears of joy on his graduation day.


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