Teaching Emunah and Connection

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    A friend of mine from NY was telling me that what would really help a lot of people is if people try to instill more Emunah and Ahavas Hashem in their students. I understand what they are saying. When we just go about doing things by rote, and without kavanah and feeling, it’s like a body without heart. Hashem wants our heart. There are many out there who are spiritually hungry, but are given one option, instead of different paths. For example, someone who is not so academic but more creative might not do well with learning Gemarah all day, but do better with learning about prayer or emunah or chassidus etc. If the person,(G-d forbid) doesn’t find what they need here, they feel the only other option is outside. In order to keep our children and other fellow Jews spiritually healthy and connected to Hashem, we need to find out what they need, and give that to them. Whether the need is intellectual, emotional or spiritual, we need to come together and do this.

    PS. Rabbi Lazer Brody has a great youtube channel with inspiring videos




    I’m a hundred percent with you. When I start my own yeshiva elementary school b”eh one day, that will definitely be a part of the curriculum because it is the ikar which is made tafel by negligence.

    (I also have other areas of the curriculum which I think need a lot of improvement.)

    getting it right

    You might find the Ani Maamnin Foundation helpful.



    🐵 ⌨ Gamanit

    It’s hard to teach emunah. Emunah is best taught by example. If you want your students to have emunah, hire teachers that allow students to ask questions. Have the teachers teach navi, chumash or halacha, and the emunah will be given over to the students as well.


    Totally agree, but the problem is it’s hard to teach, and there are many different viewpoints, and teachers don’t want to attract controversy.

    Or teachers may not know what to say, since this is very personal. For example, someone wrote an article about how R’ Yosef Ber Soloveitchik was a very spiritual person and felt the presence of Hashem, but he rarely talked about that kind of thing publicly.

    Ideally, people should be taught about how to cultivate spirituality, from talking to Hashem in your own words (especially associated with Breslov, traditional Jewish women’s prayer) to meditation (Chabad, kabbalah, Meam Loez) to always reminding yourself of Hashem’s presence and trying to feel it in your life (Bilvavi — a sefer you can read for free in English online, by the way). There’s an encyclopedic book on this subject, Jewish Spiritual Practices. But I personally have gained a lot from the R’ Arush books.

    Yes, we need a balanced education — Gemara, but also halacha, hashkafa, mussar, chassidus, history, etc. People need to understand that many people will not be happy and fulfilled in their Avodas Hashem until they find something that really works for them or inspires them. It doesn’t have to mean changing one’s community affiliation or anything — there are certainly Litvishers who learn chassidus and sephardim who learn Litvish kabbalistic seforim and so on.

    The little I know

    As long as we define the yeshiva standards by quantity of material learned, the Emunoh and Ahavas Hashem will not be transmitted. As stated above by several comments, only example. And to hijack a piece from my comments on another thread, NOT WITH DISCIPLINE. Not because it is wrong, but because it does not yield the desired result.

    For instance, “Moishe” has been coming late to Shacharis a few times a week. Prevailing intervention is to levy a monetary fine. We can waste several lines here explaining why this is ridiculous, and ultimately ineffective. One might force the talmid into compliance, but this will not result in appreciation of Tefiloh or Ahavas Hashem. We know what doesn’t work. Now, what does?

    How many yeshivos have classes that help talmidim understand Tefiloh? What do we say, why, where did it originate, what role does it play, etc.? Do differences in nusach help us understand the intended messages in Tefiloh? The talmidim who develop some connection to davening will come on time and get their “money’s” worth from this precious opportunity to speak to Hashem personally and privately. One author of a book on Tefiloh shared that he teaches young yeshiva boys, and guides them to insert a personal request into every single tefiloh of the day. Their personalization of davening makes the experience something they cherish and value. That is far more effective than fines, suspensions, or withholding of privileges. Such talmidim will arrive on time for all tefilos.

    How much connection and Emunoh can be transmitted by teaching methods that center around the building of the bochur, not the beating into shape?


    A wonderful article relevant to this topic just came out today: “Rekindling the Flame: Neo-Chassidus Brings the Inner Light of Torah to Modern Orthodoxy.”


    sm29: 100% on target. Too many schools try to drum as much info into the head, but forget that the learning must be internalized and not just for a test. Working on the head without the heart just creates a human version of a Golem.

    Appreciation for what we have and who we are needs to be demonstrated and taught. I also feel that Yeshiva’s and Bais Yaakov’s should teach counter-missionary information. The information is critical, but the psychological benefit is there too. Knowing that someone wants to take away your yiddishkeit will make you want it and appreciate it more. Also, you may find yourself in a position to save someone else. The emotional bond needs to be there, not just the information.


    Barry: I disagree that yeshivas and beis yaakovs should teach counter-missionary information. If they are closed minded about other religions, why open yourself a can of worms by teaching it?


    Missionaries are not the greatest threat, Non-religious is. OTD doesnt mean become a christian, it means becoming secular non-religious


    Besides that, we also need to work on middos. In order to be a good example, make a good impression and be a kiddush Hashem, we should work on whatever middah needs improvement.


    totally agree to the theme of this tread. but one of the best ways to teach hashkofos and emuna is to have a rebbi who really belives and wants to share his emunah

    Letakein Girl



    Patur Aval Assur

    So I was reading this thread and I was thinking to myself that R’ Yoshe Ber Soloveitchik gave a speech in which he discussed this issue and I should really post it here. I knew that the speech was quoted by R’ Rakeffet in The Rav The World of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik. The problem was that R’ Rakeffet’s work is two volumes totaling nearly 600 pages and I had no idea where in those pages this particular speech was quoted. Anyway, I randomly picked up one of the volumes and opened it to a random page and lo and behold the page I opened to was the second page of the speech I was looking for. With that introduction, here is the quote from R’ Soloveitchik:

    (I apologize in advance for the length.)

    The av zaken teaches the yeled zekunim how to act and discipline his thoughts. We must devote a lot of time to teaching Gemara. We are not just teaching a text but how to think halakhically, how to conceptualize and to define. I want to tell you that as far as lomdut is concerned, American Jewish Children are very bright and brilliant. Sometimes I do not believe my own eyes when I consider their fantastic accomplishments. I am speaking from experience, because I have been a melamed of Gemara my entire adult life.

    However, besides teaching the yeled zekunim discipline, the av zaken teaches him something else – the romance of Yahadut. He teaches the child how to experience and feel Yahadut. Yahdut is not only discipline. Yes, we start with that, to discipline the child on all levels, on the physical level, on the emotional level, on the social level, snd on the intellectual level. Above all, he teaches the child how to experience Yahadut, how to feel Yahadut. That is what my melamed taught me.

    A Jew is not only supposed to know what Yahadut stands for and to have knowledge of Yahadut; he is also called upon to experience Yahadut, to live it, and to somehow engage in a romance with the Almighty. Knowing about Yahadut is not enough; it is a norm to be implemented and experienced. It is to be lived and enjoyed. It is a great drama which the yeled zekunim must act out after observing the av zaken. Studying the Torah she-ba’al peh, the Oral Trasdition, and complying with its precepts are the greatest pleasures a person can have. It is an exciting and romantic adventure. It is the most cleansing and purging experience a human being can experience. The av zaken teaches the yeled zekunim how to live and to feel Yahadut.

    Let me make an admission here; I will confide in you. This is the toughest of all jobs, the most difficult of all tasks. I know from my own experience how difficult it is. I am not modest; I am far from being modest. I know that I am a good teacher. I can teach halakha. I can explain the most abstract concepts. I can popularize the most complex talmudic debate and break it down into its component parts. I can explain and elucidate abstract ideas.

    For instance, before Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur I used to study with my students (your rabbi can confirm this) the halakhot pertaining to the Yamim Noraim. From time to time I would reach out for the aggadah or for philosophical ideas with which to elucidate the philosophy of those solemn festivals. If necessary I would also introduce a modern idiom in order to explain certain aspects of the sanctity of these holy days. All these tricks I know.

    But one trick I have not mastered. One thing I cannot do to perfection is to tell my students how I felt on Rosh Hashanah and Yom ha-Kippurim when I was their age. The emotions I experienced, and not what I knew about it. I knew a lot, and they know a lot. But what I felt on these days! How I lived it! I am unable to share with them what I experienced, for instance, when the shaliakh tzibbur used to chant and sing: Veha-kohanim veha-am haomdim ba-azarah. If you know the melody, you will agree that there is so much nostalgia, so much longing and melancholy in this tune, in the melody of Veha-kohanim veha-am haomdim ba-azarah. I felt as if I had been transferred in time and space into a different world. I felt that I was in the Bet Hamikdash. How can I explain this to my students? I can tell them about it but I cannot pass on my experiences to them!

    Or how can I pass on he emotion I felt on Kol Nidrei night when the congregation responded amen to the chanting of the Shehehiyanu blessing? It is difficult to transfer experiences and not just concepts; to give over themes and not just numbers. To pass on feelings, to tell the story of both inner restlessness and serenity, to relate the narrative of joy and awe, of trepidation and at the same time equanimity in one’s heart, one must not use words. Words cannot explain it. Instead an unusual medium must be utilized: silence. That melamed of old in my heder knew how to pass on his emotional acquisitions, his ecstatic experiences, and his mystical outlook on life. He knew how to pass this on to his pupils without saying a single word.

    Of course these experiences can only be passed on in the fashion that one passes on a contagious illness. How do you communicate a disease? Through contact! And contact is the secret of passing on the experiences of Yahadut. The skill of somehow communicating with the soul of the person is not through he spoken word but through the art of silence.

    However, it is very difficult. I have not entirely succeeded in passing on this part of Yahadut. But your teachers in your high school will. They will be more successful. They will arrange the rendezvous between the av zaken and the yeled zekunim. [emphasis added]


    thanks for sharing


    dunno what name: You don’t need to teach other religions. It just involves teaching ours from a standpoint of how missionaries take things out of context. It means teaching NACH better. Most Yeshiva guys learn Novi in bits and pieces through Gemmorah. That’s not enough.

    I have found that people who learn these things get stronger in their Yiddishkeit. Also, when they are accosted in the street, they’ll know how to handle it. Missionaries go through Jewish neighborhoods all the time. They don’t bring up their own nonsense. They misuse TANACH to make their points. Knowing these things will also help in protecting others from this evil.

    A 15 or 16 year old is certainly old enough to understand and experiences the bombardment of xtion holidays. You can’t shelter everyone 100%.

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