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25 Teves 5766 - January 25, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
Chanoch Lana'ar Al Pi Darko

by Rav Tzvi Yabrov

Part II

Adapted from the book Darchei HaChaim which includes guidance and hashkofoh in the Torah lifestyle, the basics of chinuch for our times, and tips heard and recorded from HaRav Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz.

Darchei HaChaim includes articles, instructions and guidance for parents and educators, disseminators of Torah and bnei yeshivos. For many years, HaRav Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz has served as a fortress of strength for rosh yeshivas and disseminators of Torah, parents, educators, and the general community of bnei Torah, in Israel and the Diaspora, teaching daas Torah and pure hashkofoh for all areas of life and giving guidance in the chinuch path handed down from generation to generation, all benefiting from his advice and resources. The sefer contains hundreds of instructions and briefings in all areas of life, touching on many very relevant educational problems of our times, all directly from one of the outstanding gedolim of the generation.

Each section stands on its own, so there is no need for a summary of the last part.

Be Happy—in the First Year

Concerning the question of how to make one's wife happy in the first year, one should explain to her how great is the joy when the sound of the husband's Torah reverberates in the home, since they thereby become worthy of the Presence of the Shechina and success in Torah learning. Let her enjoy the sweet sounds of Torah.

"Kinas Sofrim Tarbeh Chochmoh"

In our day we cannot judge the correct balance in this regard. The true path to follow is therefore to be: "tomim tihiyeh im Hashem Elokecho." That means learning with tranquility, patience and dedication, learning in order to grow and go higher, where nothing else interests you besides the learning. That is the way to come under the yoke of Torah and its toil, thereby meriting to reach very high levels.

We see that in a yeshiva within a large community, there are a few who generally stand out as being destined for greatness. Who are they? Those who put all their efforts and attention into Torah learning, who sit contentedly and toil to clarify a sugya, painstakingly attempting to understand every detail according to their abilities, rather than exhausting their strengths in shouts and arguments, and the like. Their learning is through negotiations with a chavrusa, clarifying things together, out of a desire to learn from the other, and then clarifying and explaining to others in a cordial way.

This is the correct conduct to follow, and a person can habituate himself to it without much difficulty and stress. He should grasp onto that mode and make it a part of his being, one seder after another, day after day, until he merits greatness.

The greatest deterrent, and the reason for lack of success in learning, is when a person starts measuring himself against others and feels jealousy. Even though our Sages said (Bovo Basra 21:1) that, "When scholars vie, wisdom mounts," we are not capable of finding the right balance in this regard, and very negative consequences ensue from it, so we have to be cautious. Everyone should rather keep his eye on his own situation, and try to make the most of his opportunities to learn Torah according to his own capabilities, without measuring himself against other people.

We have to take care to keep competition away from yeshivas. Although our Sages said, "When scholars vie, wisdom mounts," in my opinion, in our day and age there is no one capable of reaching that level of constructive competitiveness, and we have to watch carefully and make sure that the bochurim are talking to each other. Is each trying to understand the other in learning—which is the sign of good middos — or does each of them right away look to put down his partner's words, so that as soon as he hears his partner speak, his bad middos come out?

Keeping to Times

A maggid shiur in a yeshiva was offered the honor of sandek, and this would have entailed his being ten minutes late for his daily shiur at the yeshiva. The Rov said: "There is no being late for a shiur to be a sandek."

Question: A rebbe who always arrives late— should he be dismissed or have it deducted from his salary?

Answer: If it is in his power to come on time—you have to treat him as would any employer. When a worker arrives late for work, it is deducted from his salary, since he does not have to be late and could get a complete salary.

Question: A rebbe in cheder who accidentally woke up late, and got up at 8, how should he proceed in terms of the mitzva of davening shacharis?

Answer: We know this from the Chazon Ish who came across such an occurrence, and had such an incident, and he told the rebbe to go and teach his talmidim. The incident happened with a rebbe in a cheder in Yerushalayim.

Hishtadlus in Parnossoh

Question: Is a person obligated to make efforts for future parnossoh, at a time when their situation is stable, but in the future they will be faced with large expenses?

Answer: There is no obligation to do hishtadlus for the future. When I learned in the kollel Toras Eretz Yisroel in Petach Tikva, the head shochet by the name of HaRav Shimon Horovitz would give out the chaluka every Thursday, and he would give out a small amount. At the beginning of each week, he would not work on getting the support at all, but on Tuesdays he would stand on the steps of the Great Synagogue in Petach Tikva, and with great difficulty raise the money.

Once he got the idea of buying a lottery ticket. He accompanied me on my trip from the kollel to Bnei Brak, and I came in with him to the Chazon Ish, and he asked him what his opinion was on buying a lottery ticket.

The Chazon Ish answered him like this: There is no need to show HaKodosh Boruch Hu how to bring the parnossoh, from which pipeline to send his aid. At all events, making efforts for parnossoh —that is necessary. The hishtadlus should be for what one needs for the purposes of life, and not for luxuries.

Faith in Divine Providence

Question: What point in emunah is it important to grasp on to in our times, for which it is written, "a tzaddik should live on his faith" (Chabakuk 2:4).

To which the Rov responded: "Faith in Divine Providence, that every single detail is run by Hashgocho protis. The Chovos Halevovos, in the section on "Trust in G- d," says that whatever a person is involved in and whatever he is successful in, he has to know that everything comes from Hashem. And if he tries to develop and improve any more, he decreases the dimension of bitochon.

There is a curse from Hakodosh Boruch Hu, that "bezei'as apecho tochal lechem." This curse has to be fulfilled, but the bread does not come as a result of the sweat he has put in.

Publicity Harms the Purity of a Person's Soul and his Middos

As you well know, from experience and in practice, we always strive to be one of those who merit to live lives of haznei'a leches (modesty), that is, not to put ourselves at the forefront, because being public can cause harm to befall a person and, chas vecholiloh, can have an adverse effect on the purity of the soul and the middos.

The surest way for a person to grow and reach greater spiritual attainments is to keep his ways hidden as much as possible and not arouse other's jealousy [from a letter in his manuscripts].

Once I happened to hear from HaRav ——- who said that he had heard that the Vilna Gaon had said about himself that were it not that he had become well-known, he would have achieved much greater achievements than he had, and it is sufficient for us to grasp from this, even if what is narrated is not the main source, that it is an important truth.


On another occasion, I heard from a firsthand source, that HaRav Abba Berman, when he was a little boy, had gone with his father to see the Chofetz Chaim. The Chofetz Chaim spoke with the boy and was most enthusiastic about him. He blessed him, and told his father that he would not reveal the boy's greatness, and he told them the above story about the Gaon of Vilna. (Letters from talmidim)

Advice to a Talmid who was having Trouble Understanding his Learning

There was an incident with a talmid in a yeshiva ketana who was having enormous difficulty understanding his learning, so that he would have to review time and time again even the simplest concept until he grasped it. Though he did not appear to have any problems in terms of his skills, he was still having a lot of trouble comprehending the material.

So the decision was made with the father to approach the Rov, who perhaps might be able to refer the boy for educational counselling to a professional, who could evaluate his problem so that he could be treated.

But the Rov said not to refer him to a councilor but rather to take a clever avreich who was skilled at teaching to learn with the talmid—even for half an hour a day— according to the following program: Initially, the avreich was to teach the talmid, even a few times over, until he understood it. Then he was to ask the boy to repeat the matter and explain it to the avreich. They would keep on learning, following this pattern. Then, as time went on the talmid would make progress in his studies. And indeed, that's how it was.

How can a Person Realize what his Mission is?

The Rov said: "Everyone needs to carry out his mission faithfully and completely. If only I would have the ability to fulfill my role as teacher of Torah properly!"

One of the listeners asked: How can a person know what his mission is? The Rov replied: "By the way HaKodosh Boruch Hu revolves a person and places him in a certain position. That's how he can recognize the role Hashem has assigned for him."

Someone else asked: "In regard to an avreich who learns in a kollel and is offered a position of disseminating Torah, how can he know whether to take up that offer or stay on learning in kollel?"

The Rov replied: "As long as he feels that there is a benefit in his staying on and learning in kollel and he is not squeezed for parnossoh, he should stay in kollel."

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