Are Some Yeshivas Too Large to Function?
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- This topic has 35 replies, 12 voices, and was last updated 13 years, 6 months ago by Jothar.
November 3, 2009 9:10 pm at 9:10 pm #590731
From page 39 in the Yated parshas Noach about Rav Yisroel Kanarek ZT”L:
The Rosh Hayeshiva (Rav Kanarek ZT”L) felt that it was very important for a Rosh Hayeshiva to have a warm, personal relationship with each individual bochur. During the years when the yeshiva was located in New Rochelle, it was relativley small with nearly 40 bochurim. During the last few years there, the number of bochurim increased to 60. When the yeshiva moved to Peekskill in 1986, the yeshiva expanded to include more than 100 bochurim. One of his former talmidim remarked to the Rosh Hayeshiva, “Boruch Hashem the yeshiva has grown”. The Rosh Yeshiva retorted, “Who said that more people is considered ‘growing’? When I had a yeshiva with fewer bochurim, I had a close connection with each bochur, I knew each bochur’s individual needs and I was thus able to guide him. Today, however, there are so many bochurim and I am not able to have a relationship with all of them.”
Many years ago, there was an indicent with Lakewood with a bochur who fell into a terrible depression leading to very negative consequences. The hanhala of the yeshiva was not aware of the crisis. Rav Yisroel said at the time, “There is no purpose in having such a large yeshiva if one is unable to keep abreast of the progress of each talmid”. Rav Yisroel continued, “This was not Rav Aharon’s intention when he established the Lakewood Yeshiva. A Yeshiva is only successful if the Rosh Yeshiva knows every bochur!”November 3, 2009 9:30 pm at 9:30 pm #666224artchillParticipant
By simply reading the YWN Home Page one has a clear answer. A yeshiva’s administration must have a derech on which to follow. When a yeshiva seeks to turn a profit by involving itself in business pursuits, and has diversified its portfolio into real estate the hadracha of the yeshiva suffers. Therefore, a yeshiva with so many layers of administrators, is TOO LARGE TO FUNCTION.November 3, 2009 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm #666225
Rav Kanareks statement may not be applicable to a Yeshiva where bachurim who enter dont necessarily look for a relationship with the rosh (or roshei, depensing on the yeshiva) yeshiva or hadracha from the hanhala.November 4, 2009 1:05 am at 1:05 am #666226
jphone: then what are they looking for when they join the yeshiva?November 4, 2009 3:25 am at 3:25 am #666227
A shidduch? A good chaburah? A place to spend their waking hours that wont cause worry to their parents?November 4, 2009 4:54 am at 4:54 am #666228
Jothar, brilliant post! Thanks.
jphone, Bachurim who enter a Yeshivah and dont necessarily look for a relationship with the Rosh (or Roshei, depending on the yeshiva) OUGHT to be in a Yeshivah where they DO look for a relationship with the Rosh/ei Yeshivah!!!
It’s crucial in the impressionable high teens and low twenties to bond with a Rosh Yeshivah. Those years spent without it, are a sad lost opportunity, never compensated for.
To those who will respond that boys with strong charachter are already stable and dont need such a relationship, my reply would be Al Taamin B’Atzmecha….November 4, 2009 2:26 pm at 2:26 pm #666229
AZOI.IS: i think your missing the point. I (and I assume jphone) were referring to boys who move to BMG so they can get married quickly to someone looking for someone in BMG.November 4, 2009 3:20 pm at 3:20 pm #666230
Yes. He missed my point entirely. SMR got it, right on.
I suspect Jothar (without saying it) really meant BMG (it is pretty clear R’ Kanarek Z’l did). I didnt say it, but implied it too.November 4, 2009 4:49 pm at 4:49 pm #666231
The case in question was BMG. But it applies to every yeshiva.
This isn’t a call to close yeshivas. It’s a call to re-invigorate smaller yeshivos so that the talmidim can maximize their return by having a kesher with a rebbe and getting their hashkafas from a rebbe instead of their chevra.November 4, 2009 5:13 pm at 5:13 pm #666232
Jothar, Nevertheless the premise you are presenting is that perhaps there is something inherently wrong with going to a big Yeshiva like BMG or Mir Yerushlayim. I think you should give pause prior to making such generalizations.November 4, 2009 5:19 pm at 5:19 pm #666233Mottel1Participant
I think that this post is extremely important. BMG is a very large yeshiva…and frankly, some talmidim get lost. Rav Kanarek zt”l was right on the mark. Learning torah alone without the “mesorah” from a Rebbe is not a proper “Derech Hachaim”. There are too many cases where bnei torah when they encounter difficulties in life don’t feel that they have a need to consult with a Godol…because they never had a kesher with anyone. What ever happened to the idea that a talmud should attend the yeshiva where is is able to accomplish the most. When I learned in Mir (NY)35-40 years ago, everyone remained. No one thought of going anyone else. Fortunately, my roshe yeshiva, Rav Shmuel Berenbaum zt”l, was also my son’s Rebbe. Why is there an artificial (not sanctioned by gedolim)idea that an advanced talmid must leave the yeshiva where he has been successful (and has a kesher with his Rebbe)and attend the ONLY large yeshiva with 3000 talmidim? Isn’t the only point of learning to accomplish and gain hadracha?November 4, 2009 6:59 pm at 6:59 pm #666234gavra_at_workParticipant
It is a call for rebbaim to be more involved with their talmidim. In a big yeshiva shuch as Mir, there is the added bonus of having a large choice of rabbaim. The problems begin when the rabbaim feel their job is to say shiur, perhaps answer questions regarding shiur, and thats it. This would be a problem in any yeshiva, large or small.November 4, 2009 7:19 pm at 7:19 pm #666235Feif UnParticipant
jphone: I once heard a speech that said the point of a yeshiva is not to learn. A person can learn on their own. The point of a yeshiva is for a person to form a relationship with a rebbe.November 4, 2009 9:19 pm at 9:19 pm #666236
Mezonos maven, the title post DID NOT contain my thoughts. They contained the thoughts of one of the previous gedolim, published in the Yated Ne’eman. They were similar to the thoughts of Rav Shach ZT”L. If someone commits suicide in a yeshiva and nobody knows his emotional matzav, that means the yeshiva is too big.November 4, 2009 9:26 pm at 9:26 pm #666237cholentkugelkishkeMember
My undersanding is that this post is about BMG – Lakewood. I think that there needs to be a little bit of an explanation given. Most bochurim coming to learn in Lakewood, are coming to BMG when they are at least 22-23. They have spent numerous years learning in other Yeshivos – both in the US & in E”Y – prior to coming to BMG. So, they already have a Rebbi or R”Y to whom they feel close. Most Bochurim are blessed to have a warm, personal relationship with a Rebbi or R”Y. So, although BMG is so large and many Bochurim aren’t zoche to have a close kesher with the R”Y, at least they have a Rebbi or R”Y from their previous Yeshiva.November 4, 2009 9:27 pm at 9:27 pm #666238
Jothar, Then apparently they disagree with Rav Kotler zt’l, the other Roshei Yeshiva’s of BMG, Rav Finkel zt’l, Rav Shmuelevitz zt’l, and the other Roshei Yeshiva’s of Mir (amongst many others).November 4, 2009 9:30 pm at 9:30 pm #666239
Feif Un. I’m not arguing with you. I never learned in a yeshiva that had more than 120 talmidim. Baruch Hashem, I grew close to a Rebbe, who I know I can (and do) call about anything I need hadracha with.November 4, 2009 9:38 pm at 9:38 pm #666240
Asei Licha Rav. If you feel you can accomplish this in a Beis Midrash that has 1000 other Talmidim, all the power to you.
As was pointed out, Rav Kanarek Z’l was addressing the other side. The Rebbes relationship with his Talmidim.
I might get a lot of flak for this statement, but I dont believe most people go to Mir Yerushalayim, BMG, Brisk or other “top yeshivos” to create a kesher with a Rebbe, and the Rabbeim know this. I dont believe they disagree with Rav Kanarek Z’l at all and do in fact have a kesher with a number of talmidim. Those who are interested in creating that kesher.November 4, 2009 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm #666241
smr, what point am I missing?
If any percentage, however small, of talmidim in BMG or the Mir would benefit from a smaller Yeshiva, with more Kesher between the RY and Talmid, that’s too huge a number to ignore. No one would lose, they would all benefit. There are few if any benefits to huge Yeshivos, from age 3 to adulthood. Would R’ Aron be happy with Lakewood of today? The increase in numbers was a gradual change.
IMHO, where the Talmidim are less involved with their RYs, they become more involved with their peers, and keeping up with the Grosses brcomes more of a problem. It’s more of a buddy keeping up with buddy lifestyle, rather than focusing on the RY’s lifestle.November 4, 2009 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm #666242
Mezonos Maven: The problem isn’t the yeshivas (BMG or Mir…) it’s the bochrum who go there just so they can say they learned there, but don’t have a connection to the rebbeim. the rebbeim in these places WILL have a kesher if you want it and try to create it.
chulent: gimme a break! these boys do NOT have a kesher to a rebbi from a previous yeshiva (that would almost defeat the purpose of saying you are learning in bmg).they leave high school, go to a b.m. in the u.s. for a year or two, move on to e.y. (mir etc..) for a year or two, then go to bmg so their kallah can tell her friends her chosson is learning in bmg. then they move to lakewood and that’s that. he has never (usually) created any kesher with any rebbi.November 5, 2009 4:41 am at 4:41 am #666243
MM, the words are those of someone (ie, Rav Yisroel Kanarek ZT”L) who was a direct talmid of Rav Aharon ZT”L. He felt that Rav Aharon never would have wanted to see his yeshiva become a megayeshiva without any warmth or kesher. The Yated in Lech Lecha describes Rav Shimon Shkop ZT”L the same way. Rav Shlomo Lorintz a”h, in his book, describes Rav Shach ZT”L as feeling like he was oveir geneivah because he did klal work instead of being metapel with his talmidim. Chazal speak of a a “rebbe muvhak”, not a “yeshiva muvhak”. Chazal also speak of shimush talmidei chachamim. Mesorah means you have a direct rebbe, not you sat in a yeshiva anonymously.November 5, 2009 4:48 am at 4:48 am #666244
Furthermore, the book by Rav Shlomo Lorintz mention a story with Rav Shach ZT”L where 2 menahalim came to him to get his reshus to kick a bochur out of yeshiva for being mechalel Shabbos. Rav Shach ZT”L asked them if they knew what his matzav at home was like. they said “no”. Rav Shach ZT”L screamed at them and called them “Rotzchim!” They investigated and found that the bochur was going through a rough time at home. This is why a machgiach must know every talmid, and this is why yeshivas can’t be so large that people slip through the cracks. It used to be that people said, “I learned by Reb Aharon, I learned by Reb Reuven,”etc. Now they say I learned in this yeshiva, I learned in that yeshiva. No rebbe from whom to get guidance. This is why we live in a dor yasom.
To reiterate, I’m not chas veshalom saying close the yeshivas. I’m saying make many new smaller yeshivos where people can get a real hadracha and develop in all aspects- torah, mussar, hashkafa, etc, which cannot be imparted in a megayeshiva.November 5, 2009 4:58 am at 4:58 am #666245
Jothar, So which Roshe Yeshivos gets the blame for the current situation of too large Yeshiva’s? Rav Schneir? After all, implicitly that is where the blame is being put. The R”Y’s of these large Yeshiva’s DID allow it to grow to its great size.November 5, 2009 6:58 am at 6:58 am #666247
MM, who says it’s R’ Shneur who makes the final decision on how many people get accepted every year and what the max number of students allowed should be? I think BMG has become one big mega-operation with lots of back-room politics and decision-makers.November 5, 2009 7:04 am at 7:04 am #666248
Think about it. The last shidduch you heard mentioned, was the bachur “learning in lakewood, after learning 2 years in the mir and several years in some other yeshiva” or “he is a wonderful bachur a close talmid of “r’ zundel shlita”.
The yeshiva is basicly a status symbol for a shidduch. The fault lies with noone except a dor that places its priorities on fitting a mold instead of people as individuals.
The mold says that you finish mesivta, go to e”y for a few years, with several acceptable names on that list (mir, brisk perhaps) then on to bmg. Once married, stay and learn in bmg. Kesher with a rebbe? Which one did you develop this kesher with? The one who knows you as a mesivta bachur, the one who knows you as a 20 yr old or the one who knows you as a 24 yr old?November 5, 2009 3:10 pm at 3:10 pm #666249Mottel1Participant
Everything that has been said is nice…but it doesn’t solve a thing. We must publicize what “other options” are available to “older bochurim” returning from Eretz Yisroel that are not “beneath their learning level (dignity?).November 5, 2009 3:43 pm at 3:43 pm #666250
Meezonos Maven, it sounded like Rav Kanarek ZT”L (who, besides being a talmid of Rav aharon ZT”L, was a talmid in the mir and Kaminetz in europe, and had a kesher with HIS rabbeim and a real mesorah), is putting the blame on Lakewood post- Rav aharon ZT”L. He WAS in Lakewood, under Rav Aharon ZT”L, as well as the aforementioned yeshivas, and knew what a rebbe-talmid relationship was all about. He also said that Rav Aharon ZT”L knew what it was about. But let us avoid the word “blame”, which can lead to unnecessary finger pointing and denigration of gedolim. Let’s take the point as a “cheftza”- a yeshiva shouldn’t be too large for talmidim to have a proper kesher with their rebbe, and not as a “gavra”- this guy or that guy is wrong.November 5, 2009 5:27 pm at 5:27 pm #666251
Jothar, I don’t see the chilik. That is just blaming (Rav Schneir and the other Lakewood and Mir and other large R”Y’s), without using the word “blame”.November 5, 2009 6:14 pm at 6:14 pm #666252gavra_at_workParticipant
As long as Gavra is not to blame! 🙂
Its not a point of the “yeshiva”, but those who don’t have a kesher with their rebbe or those rabbaim who don’t want to have a kesher with talmidim.
And yes, since the example was in Lakewood, something there is to be blamed. What? I don’t know, and I can only speculate.November 5, 2009 7:07 pm at 7:07 pm #666253
I’ve heard that there are many guys in Lakewood who dont have satisfaction from their daily routine and want to leave and go to school or work, but their parents tell them to just wait a little longer until they find a Shidduch. I’ve heard that some of these guys get seriously depressed while they wait to find Ms. Right and go on meds.
If the RY-Talmid ratio was lower or if these Lakewood guys would get close to an adult role model, the RY’s or role models would probably pick up on their unhappiness and support the guy’s wanting to leave and guide them accordingly.November 5, 2009 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm #666254komaMember
jphone nailed it. Fit the mold. The Yeshiva bizmaneinu produces a product, not individuals. The blame lies with oilam that is comfortable this way. What was Mir in Europe? The famous picture showed 50-ish people. One of my former neighbors, a Shanghai Mirer Ztl, told me there were a few missing from that “picture day” including himself. Also at fault is the plain fact that economically, it makes sense to run a larger institution with division of responsibilities. I was zoche once to be one of 30 or 40. I once heard a congregational Rov speak at some fundraiser, and he marveled out loud how “Rav so-and-so’s talmidim were all so different from each other.” True, but nobody liked us. About coming back to learn in places “not beneath their dignity” (mottel1), what could be if the returnees from EY could be sent to learn in large chaburos in the empty shuls across the country? The Kallas could the qvell ” my chosson is marbitz torah in a place where they are starving for it.” My son’s EY yeshiva is one that keeps its talmidim long term. The R”Y favored a request from some nidachim in a far off galus and sent ten lively bochrim for five months. They brought a chiyyus to a less fortunate community and it was not ‘beneath their dignity’. There is a strong theme in chazal against the machnis ve’eino motzee.November 6, 2009 4:21 am at 4:21 am #666255
The Chazon Ish was known to refer to yeshivas as a “sdoym betel”, ie the famous bed of Sdom where the occupant was made to fit the bed. MM, there is a big difference between discussing a yeshiva without naming names, and naming names, where the toeles is less. Rav Kanarek ZT”L was making a point that many have been making. The idea can be discussed without turning into a smear campaign.November 6, 2009 5:33 am at 5:33 am #666256
Jothar, You yourself said above “it sounded like Rav Kanarek ZT”L is putting the blame on Lakewood”.November 6, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am #666257motherof5Member
azolis, that’s believing alot of hearsay! like someone posted before, most bochurim have a kesher with their rabeim from previous (smaller) yeshivos. there are depressed people everywhere, i doubt there is a higher percentage in BMG 🙂November 6, 2009 2:58 pm at 2:58 pm #666258
motherof5, obviously no one can do a study on the need for meds in Lakewood versus other Yeshivos, because no one will tell the truth anywhere (except for the doctors possibly), but the person who gave me this information works in a Doctors office in Lakewood and cant believe how many guys come in for a prescription for something along those lines.November 6, 2009 5:05 pm at 5:05 pm #666259
MM, Rav Karanek ZT”L’s point can be taken in a vacuum without turning it into a personal attack.
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