MAILBAG: Why Is “Yeshiva” Canceled for Lag BaOmer?

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Dear YWN,

When I told my husband that my son’s Yeshiva is giving off for Lag Baomer he thought it was a Purim shtick (if it’s snowing in May why can’t we have Purim now).

Let me preface this article by saying that I have the most respect for Rebbeim. My father is a Rebbe and now mentors Rebbeim and I have many siblings who are Rebbeim. If any of my kids want to be a Rebbe I would be thrilled.

We received an email that the Rebbeim deserve a break and therefore there will be no Yeshiva on Lag Baomer. If there is a Rebbe that has something going on of course they should get a break. But to give everyone off? Our kids finally have some structure in their lives.

When I asked my father what it’s like for Rebbeim now he said it’s not that it’s necessarily harder work but it’s different work. Everyone has what they are comfortable with and this is asking them to do something differently. It’s work they are not used to doing. He then added that Baruch Hashem the Rebbeim have jobs as many people are going through extremely difficult times.

As my husband and I are both working from home we know what it’s like. We know how hard it is but we are also doing it. What we can accomplish in 10 hours in an office will now take 15. Never once did I consider not paying tuition. All the faculty in schools are working hard and they deserve to get paid!

I don’t understand why giving off on a Tuesday in the middle of the workweek can be validated?

Name withheld upon request.

NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of YWN.

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25 COMMENTS

  1. Which school didn’t give time off for Lag Ba’omer before? Isn’t it traditional for all schools to do so? Or to take the kids to the park?

  2. Not sure which place is giving off for Lag BaOmer. My son’s Rebbe (out of town) hasn’t taken a single day of “vacation” since this whole new reality set in. He gave class on the phone up to and including Erev Pesach. Every day of Chol HaMoed, Isru Chag and is still k’nocking away! Hashem should bentch him and all Rabbeim who find themselves in positions they never signed up for, with new concepts, new prizes, making a class exciting, teaching to an empty classroom, keeping the talmidim engaged and motivated. calling each and every talmid, when they too, like the rest of us, are feeling unstable in their lives. They too want to get to minyanim. They too are trying to keep their dear ones safe. And themselves. And they are still dedicated as they are, they all deserve all the respect and appreciation in the world!

  3. Come on. A bit more chaos. No big deal.

    A different perspective. The structure of a yeshiva, i.e., building, classes, schedule, etc. creates its own inertia. The situation at present lacks that. There is a rational fear that talmidim may also find their own activities to occupy their time and concentration. While there would be good reason to be apprehensive about the amount of effort needed to contain that, it is also probably highly improbable that any rebbe could succeed with such a task. Calling off the digital classes might be a good idea, with the advantage that the rebbes get a break as well.

  4. “Then I asked my father what it’s like for Rebbeim now he said it’s not that it’s necessarily harder work but it’s different work. Everyone has what they are comfortable with and this is asking them to do something differently. It’s work they are not used to doing.“

    And that makes it harder

    I don’t think you understand how much the teachers are putting into this

  5. the whole world has so many problems and some yehsivas gave off one day for lag baomer and for this you need to write a letter of complaint come one give it a rest.

  6. I, for one, am DEFINITELY looking forward to a day off- when I don’t have to worry about contacting parents, trying to set up a time with students, making sure that I put in enough “remote” hours…. A much needed vacation.

  7. This is not a problem that needs website discussion. It’s ONE day, right or wrong, just deal with it. Stop Making everything into a crisis.

  8. My brother is a rebbi. He’s teaching Tuesday. He tells me he usually has a misiba and / or goes to the park on Lag Baomer. This year, the way his zoom lessons are structured he’s teaching anyways an hour less. (Recess is only 15 minutes instead of 20, and no lunch break) In addition, since the class is on mute there are no interruptions. He plans on singing all the lag baomer songs with his class and making a zoom mesiba.
    When I was learning in yeshiva Lag Baomer was always 1/2 a day. I would also like to know why a yeshiva should close.
    My brother tells me that he is working harder now to prepare for class. He is teaching over 20 years b”h. He has his worksheets on computer. However there were a few parents who couldn’t pick up the booklet he prepared, so he had to make everything pdf files and email them. There are also many sheets such as parsha that he only has a hard copy. These papers have to be scanned. In addition, there are many parents even siblings that are watching you teach. The rebbi has to be aware that he is constantly being observed.

  9. whats the big question here.? every year tens of thousands of yidden travel to meron for lag bomer costing klal yisroel millions of dollars, away from home, away from work, away from their daily minyen and shier, so now while they are stuck at home tutoring their kids the kids can handle a day off.

  10. As a Rebbi myself, let me give you the Rebbi’s point of view:
    Our jobs are so much harder now that we’re not in a school setting. In a classroom, getting boys attentions sometimes can be challenging, but we have our own mehalchim of dealing with it. But over zoom, and even more so over a phone, it’s nearly impossible to get the boys attention. They’re in the comfort of their own homes with chaos going on around the house (other children’s classes, etc.) The only way to attempt to get their attention and keep their focus is by putting in more effort than in a classroom. Many Rabbeim have even gone out of their way for extracurricular activities at nights and other off times to keep the children occupied. So for 1 day in the 1/3 of the year we need to teach like this for the yeshivos to show appreciation to their devoted rabbeim and give an off day, it is totally called for and very well deserved.

  11. I have always wondered why, on the day that we celebrate Rashbi teaching his chdushei torah, the Yeshivos would not be learning torah!

  12. My brother is a rebbi. He says zoom teaching is murderous task. Your father “was” a rebbi; he never did zoom class. My brother says it’s absolutely brutal. But he will be teaching tomorrow. He’ll sing with them and tell a story but he is not off. If a yeshiva decided to give the rebbis a break, why not bear and grin it. It should not make you bent out of shape! I do hear your frustration. I lost my job to this virus pandemic and our financial situation is near dire! But hey, we’re healthy b”h. Don’t make a fuss over it.

  13. While I’m not saying everyone should have Lag B’Omer off, I can understand it to a degree. As a Rebbe, my husband has not missed a teaching day (full days! something not many can honestly claim to be doing). Add that to additional phone call time making sure the students don’t feel lost in the process. Lag B’Omer is a tricky day. While yeshiva always had sessions on Lag B’Omer, there was always the shorter day and the celebration – a bonfire, music & dancing, etc., which obviously can’t be done yet this week. So to just say “teach the regular schedule so I can get my work done” may or may not be beneficial to the rebbeim or the students. Each case is different, and each yeshiva needs to make it’s own decision based on all the facts pertaining to their rebbeim and students. Yes, they’re keeping the parents in mind as well, but face it, that’s not the primary focus here.
    I believe some will have their regular shortened sessions (start a little late and/or end a little early), along with some sort of abbreviated singing/music session on the phone. Realize that this is not optimal, and may not work for all boys. So they’re trying, by giving their all, but they also don’t want the boys to feel resentful that they lost their whole day. Let your children have a little time to themselves to dance along with some music, listen to a story, etc., and let them know it’s for them too, and that you are happy for them to be able to celebrate Lag B’Omer in the best way possible under the circumstances.

  14. Have you given thought to ask the hanhalah of your child’s yeshiva and instead of a mailbag letter to a website where we have absolutely no knowledge as to the yeshiva,why the hanhalah made this decision? My answer is how in the world do I know?

  15. Many rebbeim/rabbonim/moros were NOT trained in electronic chinuch, either using a cellphone for audio teleconferences with their talmidim OR video applications such as Zoom. Most schools did not have sufficient time to train their staff in these techniques before the shutdown. I’m certain, for those lacking the experience, the past month or two have been stressful, at least for those making a serious efforts to keep their students engaged.

  16. Put in perspective:

    Erev Pessach and Chol Hamoed have an issur melacha. But Rebbe’s gave classes.

    Lag B’Omer does not have an issur melacha. So why have no classes?

    They “need” a vacation? Give them off Shavuos.

    They “need” more vacation? Just give them off a day as needed. But why pick Lag B’Omer?!

    In “real” school, when a Rebbe was given off a day (for personal needs or illness), a replacement substitute was hired, not to waste a day of learning. Same should apply by remote learning.

  17. I’m not really the type of person to write these comments but I was also blown away how a yeshiva can close down totally especially on a day that’s made to be mechazek in torah.

  18. It’s hard for the rebbeim, it’s hard for the teachers (i speak from personal experience) and it’s hard for the kids,too! Whether it’s teleconference or Zoom, the best part of school-the social interaction- is gone and all that’s left is the work. It’s been really intense. I’m an experienced teacher and I feel like it’s my first year all over again. Everything needs to be redone.
    I think everyone deserves a day off on Lag B’Omer, which under normal conditions, would have been spent at a park or doing something fun in school. To begrudge the kids, and their hardworking rebbeim and teachers a chance to catch their breaths is not being very generous, to say the least.

  19. RebG: Erev Pessach and Chol Hamoed have an issur melacha. But Rebbe’s gave classes. What issur melachah is there on Erev Pesach? Who taught during chol hamoed? As i stated above all we write here is worthless. Only the hanhalah of this particular yeshiva can give a response, whether in our opinion its reasonable or not is a different issue.