Gems of Hope | Harav Y Reuven Rubin Shlita

Printable version

Gems of Hope

By Harav Y Reuven Rubin Shlita

In the maelstrom that has developed over the current danger facing our Chinuch, we should stop for a moment and catch our breath. It would be helpful now to focus on what it is we are fighting for, and who it is that is standing on the front line.

Chinuch isn’t just about imparting information to our young, as the Chovos Hatalmidim points out, it is about offering each student an educational experience that will speak to his uniqueness, and stay with him into adulthood. This is a difficult challenge, especially when often as not, teachers are being pushed to achieve goals that have little understanding of the needs of the children involved.

My loyal readership has seen me go on about this particular subject for many years, and I am certain you have all grown a bit weary of my determination to make my points. So as to make it clear that I don’t for one moment believe that everything is gloom and doom, it is my pleasure that I share with you some positive shafts of light in the firmament of Torah Chinuch in our community that deserve recognition and public praise.

This week I paid a visit to the thriving Torah center that is the city of Gateshead to visit one of my grandsons. Alongside the Torah powerhouse that is the world renowned Gateshead Yeshivah there are several smaller mosdos that are creating a quiet yet heartwarming mark on the entire Torah community. One such jewel is the Yeshiva Nesivos Hatorah which is led under the inspired leadership of the Rosh Yeshiva HaRav Immanuel and the Rosh Mesivta Rav Moshe Rosenbaum. Firstly allow me to make a disclaimer, yes, my grandson learns there, but I have not been asked to write on their behalf, nor have they had any knowledge that I am doing so. I just fell in love with the place and feel hakoras hatov for what they are doing, not only for my einikle but for all the bochurim blessed to be learning there. I met with each of the young students, gave a short shiur, and caught the contagious sweetness that permeates the entire mosad. The Rebbe’s are alive with their concern for the boys, and more than anything else, their joy for yiddishkiet bubbles up and percolates into the very air of the mosad. Rav Rosenbaum has the gift of a natural born mechanuch, I saw his interaction with the boys and could see that there was a bond that was built upon a solid foundation. I don’t want to belabour my enthusiasm for the place, I share this all with you because in a world filled with what can be seen as negativeness, it’s incumbent to talk about the many sparks of illumination in our firmament. Speaking to this Rosh Mesivta is an uplifting experience, he speaks of creating an intimate connection with each individual student, and how he sees his calling to be as a facilitator in giving his talmidim that which they need to flower in yiddishkiet given their uniqueness.

There was a time when such intimacy was the norm, the Chasidic world was built on Torah learnt in Shtieblach throughout Poland. In the Lita, young teens first learnt in small Shuls with devoted Rebbe’s (often the Rav of the Shtettle) who gave they’re students a love for our Torah that allowed them to flourish into future titans of Torah leadership. It is a shame that this chapter of our history is often submerged or glossed over, and that our young are led to believe that Gedolie Hatorah come into life fully formed with white flowing beards.

Many years ago the Satmar Rebbe, Rav Yoel Ztl shared with several mechanchim his understanding that throughout our history there was never a university for Gedolie Hatorah, rather greatness was often created in small kehilos that had the merit to have a Rav who sat and learned with students in the intimacy of a small bais medrash.

The warm connection that bonded our ancestors to a living Torah, despite the haunting poverty and anti-Semitic hate that stalked their reality was born in those small cherished moments shared with caring teachers.

When the turmoil of the wider world intruded with its wars and chaos, that bond was threatened, yet somehow we survived, and Torah and its blessings still sheds its illumination into the hearts of generations of thirsting youngsters. All that we have been blessed to witness throughout our rebuilding after the Churban has been blessed because of the vibrant understanding of those sacred leaders.

The sparks of light coming out of the many small wondrous mosdos Hatorah that glimmer in our golus deserve our support and admiration. They are the minders of tomorrow’s gedolim, they are the creators of tomorrow’s askonim and chosheva baal habatim.

I thank all those of the Yeshiva Nesivos Hatorah and all those who are braving the storms that surround our young and are reaching out to their students as individuals, worthy of respect and understanding. Their success will be seen in the future leadership of mosdos yet unborn Long may these modern “shtieblach” thrive, and long may their Rebbe’s see nachas from their students.