What are the manners in Yeshiva between rabbi and student?

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    I know about some customs of not turning your back against the rav and standing up for him.

    Are there any other rules or customs of etiquette between the rav and the student?


    Lilmod Ulelamaid

    When you speak to a Rav, you are supposed to use third person. I’ve never been a Yeshiva Bochur though, so I don’t know what Yeshiva Bochurim do.

    Actually, I’m not even sure what most non-Yeshiva Bochurim do.

    B1g B0y

    When walking together the talmid should be on the left and the rebbi should be on the right

    When walking with two talmidim the rebbi should be in the middle and the more chashuv of the two talmidim on the right


    B1g B0y: I’m not sure where you got that from.

    Always speak in third person, always allow the Rabbi to take first anything (food, walking through a door, getting a sefer off a shelf, washing netilas yadayim etc.), when walking the Rabbi always walks in front of everyone (not always followed, but it is halacha and it should be), do anything the Rabbi makes a hint to or tries to do himself that one could do for him (if he gets up to get a sefer, get it for him), I’ll think of a few more.

    Lilmod Ulelamaid

    Don’t sit in his seat.

    The little I know

    Must the CR attempt to address what already exists clearly in Shulchan Aruch? These halachos are detailed. However, there is a painful reality – many are simply not followed, and one may reasonably ask to know the norm.

    Here’s my experience. Every yeshiva environment is different. I have observed some where speaking to a rebbe or rosh yeshiva in second person is the standard. I know it challenges the halacha to speak only in third person, but there may be redeeming value to this. Again, my personal experience. These rebbeim and roshei yeshiva are still connected to their talmidim decades later, and remain true to the derech of Torah that they were guided in long ago. There was no real distance between rebbe and talmid. Today, these talmidim do speak in 3rd person, but remain closely connected.

    One of the traits of a good mechanech is the ability to maintain the kesher even years later. Sadly, not many succeed at this.


    The Little I Know: When the norm differs from the halacha in Shulchan Aruch, one should follow the halacha in SA rather than the mistaken norm.

    The little I know


    No disagreement. I do have an issue when the rebbe demands kavod – even if it is exactly what is instructed in halacha. That behavior is problematic, as it nearly always backfires. The rebbe should be teaching about Kibud Av V’Em. The parents should be teaching about Kavod Horav. By demanding one’s own kavod, even if it is precisely what halacha requires, one produces the opposite result. I refer anyone doubting this to the Mesilas Yeshorim perek 20 wherein he describes the mitzvah of tochacha. He states that if the expected or likely result of the tochacha is the opposite, his mitzvah is to remain silent. You can launch all the discussion you wish about the present time’s increase in chutzpah and disobedience. That may deserve a separate post. But being technically right does not always become the mitzvah, as there is a needed result. Chinuch must look to produce the talmid who respects the rebbe because he wants to, not because of a negative consequence for violating the halacha.


    TLIK, you don’t think parents should teach, and insist upon, kibud av v’eim?

    A rebbe must insist upon his kavod, not because he wants it, but because it’s his duty to teach his students that they are halachicly obligated in it.


    But when it comes to our respect to Hashem, isn’t it even more special we’ve been commanded to do. Ideally we should want to honor Hashem and have the service come from the heart.

    Is is the same with the rabbi?

    catch yourself

    Joseph, as both a parent and a Rebbe, I must agree with TLIK. I have ample opportunities to teach my children about Kibbud Eim, and I never say anything about Kibbud Av. My wife does vice versa. With my Talmidim, I model Kavod Harav whenever I have the opportunity (involving the Menahel or other Rebbeim), and I take advantage of whatever opportunities I get when I observe my Talmidim interacting with other Rebbeim in a way which doesn’t fulfill the Halacha, but I do not ask for it for myself. Kavod HaAdam is the easiest; I demand it on behalf of each child or Talmid…

    No matter how correct, there is no effective way to teach, “you must respect me.”

    Don’t worry; your teachable moment will come. The same student who disrespects his Rebbe will soon disrespect the Menahel. The same child who disrespects his father will soon disrespect his mother.

    The little I know

    catch yourself:

    We agree. Thx for the support. Not everything that is technically correct is effective. And without regard for effectiveness, it becomes foolish to try and change things. No one says that Kavod Horav is unimportant. But the behavior of a rebbe demanding it is an almost guaranteed failure. As mechanchim, the goal is the result, not the process. We may debate the matter of how today’s generation is so much weaker in character, with the explosion of chutzpah becoming normalized. But that’s life; deal with it. Joseph’s comment “A rebbe must insist upon his kavod, not because he wants it, but because it’s his duty to teach his students that they are halachicly obligated in it.” is logically correct, but ineffective. In fact, the role of the mechanech is not to teach any talmid to fulfill mitzvos our of fear. Fear is NOT the midoh or mitzvah of ???? ???. The true translation of ???? ??? is AWE. Discipline has nothing whatsoever to do with teaching values. This is accomplished by modeling, which you described in your comment. Teaching Kavod for anyone is done by modeling it, not demanding it.


    TLIK, if one’s child is a mechutzef to the parent, you don’t think he ought to be disciplined? Or that the parent should teach/uphold kibud av v’eim?


    There is a fine line between respect and Worship

    catch yourself


    [Please note that while the following is written about parents and children, the concept is exactly the same for Rebbeim and Talmidim]

    In nearly all families, a parent can effectively teach Kibbud Av v’Eim in only three ways:

    1. When teaching children to respect the other parent, as described above (One of the many challenges of a single parent home is that the most common way of teaching Kavod U’Moreh Av v’Eim is eliminated),

    2. If it happens to come up in the course of a regular learning seder with the child (as an aside, I have it on good authority that Rav Pam said that most fathers should not learn with their children, and that in fact he did not learn with his own children), or

    3. If possible, by modeling the appropriate behavior. I have had no greater lesson in Kibbud Av than watching my how my mother behaved towards her father for the first 20 years of my life (until he was Niftar). Obviously, this is most effective.

    There may be a handful of parents whose character is so beyond reproach that even their young children will realize that when they say, “You must respect me because I’m your father,” it isn’t really about them. For most people, this is way out of reach.

    Zahavasdad: Please elaborate; I don’t understand the point you are making in the context of this conversation.

    The little I know


    You wrote, “if one’s child is a mechutzef to the parent, you don’t think he ought to be disciplined? Or that the parent should teach/uphold kibud av v’eim?”

    Please answer for yourself the following questions:

    * Will disciplining help?

    * Will the child change his attitude or just his behavior as a result of the discipline?

    * What will the child learn from the discipline?

    These are teaching moments, not opportunities to show who is boss. There are many ways to discipline. Sadly, most of the ones we readily employ are not the ones that the Gedolei Hadoros who spoke about chinuch show us to use. If the child is taught about who is boss, he might repress such behaviors in the future. But it is a grave error to claim that this is the job of the parent or mechanech. All that this will produce is a child who is bottling up feelings, or someone that will figure out ways to do what he wants and not get caught. Neither of these options are helpful, and both cannot be considered a chinuch success.

    I suggest that you visit a seforim store, and peruse the shelves for seforim on chinuch. There are several that are likutim (anthologies) of statements and quotes from Gedolei Yisroel of past generations, and some are collections of guiding lights from Gedolim such as Rav Shach ZT”L, Nesivos Shalom – Slonim ZT”L, Pinsk-Karlin Rebbe ZT”L, Rav Gamliel Rabinovich shlit”a, Rav Yitzchok Zilberstein shlit”a, the Chasam Sofer ZT”L, Rav Eliyahu Shalom Berkovitz shlit”a, Rav Aharon Friedman shlit”a, and many others. None of these are students of the Dr. Spock liberal thinking ideology, nor are they students of any secular schools. Their guidance in chinuch is 100% Torah based. None of them suggest the discipline that dominates the chinuch world (sadly this remains so, despite pockets of improvement). You are correct that the chutzpah calls for intervention. But the disciplinary approach has far more risks than benefits, and this changes the mission of the mechanech or parent in such situations.

    I learned Kibud Av V’Eim by watching my parents respecting their parents.


    I believe the OP was simply asking what is the normative behaviour between Rebbe and talmid.

    alexhannahhakatan, is there anything specific you are asking about?

    I think every yeshiva and Rebbe in a yeshiva has their own derech. But generally, one talks in 3rd person, unless the Rebbe prefers not too. In England, one calls the Rebbe, Reb and his firstname, e.g. “I want to thank Reb Yisroel for his shiur today, and I have a kashe…”. The exception would be a Rov, Dayan or Rosh yeshiva. “I want to thank the Rosh Yeshiva for his shiur today, and I have a kashe…”

    Don’t make the Rebbe stop walking, IOW, walk with him continuing to talk. This can be awkward, like walking down a narrow beis medrash aisle, but that’s what’s done.

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