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MAILBAG: Recognize The Heroes That Don’t Wear Caps

Tonight, after many weeks of preparation and anticipation, thousands of our beautiful kollel yungerleit will gather as one. It is perhaps one of the most momentous events of the year as everyone stands together to applaud this very special group. Although I won’t be able to attend for personal reasons, I stand proud that we have this very special group amongst us all.

At the same time, I’d like to ask you all a few questions. I’m asking with the utmost respect and I’m not coming from a place of envy, bitterness or any negative energy.

Being a business owner for many years, I’ve come across the most angelic of heros I’ve ever met. Heros in the form of competitors, fellow vendors and many more.

I’ve seen firsthand the absolute beauty of them practicing and living the Torah.
Of them breaking the very laws of human nature and holding onto emunah in the most purest of forms.

I as well as others had to worry about filling payroll despite rough times over the years. When the world, the media and every business analyst all scream that the economy is on a suicidal downward spiral, we’ve had to grab onto the lifeline of emunah. Merely reading the words of the Chovas Halvavos won’t do it, we need to live it and believe it in our very core.

When a direct competitor whom you’ve helped build up, undercuts your bid, knowing very well what he’s doing, the self work we need to do is so real. We’re not just learning “shnayim ochzin b’tallis”, we’re living it.
The stories I’ve witnessed first hand send chills up my spine.

In another realm, the relatives standing at the bedside of their dying loved ones, holding onto to Hashem is true heroism. When the doctors all mention their statistics; a week, a month at most, while the mothers stand there steadfast in their emunah, is that not the definition of an angel?

And what about the many suffering from mental health and addiction. They are fighting the biggest and most silent battles out here. They unfortunately are fighting alone, without any fanfare or crowd cheering them on, yet they fight and fight and continue to fight.

Some can’t go to shul, some can’t keep all the mitzvos, some can’t see any light or future. They soak their pillows at night, they cry on the way to and from work, they sit alone wondering and searching for a reason to continue. But they somehow all manage to gather the strength to go out and conquer some of the most difficult battles.
Are they not true heroes?

And what about the ones who’ve been abused and traumatized, the ones with the hoodies and piercings. The ones we tend to look away from. The ones we look down at. Having been involved in this field a bit, I see the absolute beauty in their souls. They have every reason to throw everything away but their souls are too bright with a hidden fire that doesn’t allow them to leave the fold. And so they do yiddeshkeit in their way, they serve Hashem in their way but every action, every tefilah has so much meaning and is so real and true to them.

The beautiful emails I’ve received of young teenagers crying and begging me to help them keep shabbos, makes me cry reading them. Those emails make me wonder, if perhaps they are more connected than me and so many of us. Who else amongst us cries and begs to keep shabbos, despite being traumatized by it all?
Are these not true heros.

Again, I have the absolute and utmost respect towards the many thousands of yungerleit learning all day every day. I believe that they are a very big part of why the world still exists. I’m proud to be part of a nation in which they exist.

I’m simply asking of you to see the “other side”.

To see the many other heros that are living Torah despite everything logical going against them.

To see the ones who cry out and want to keep everything despite being so tormented and traumatized by it all.

To see the business owners and vendors who live emunah on a daily basis.

To see and realize that we have true gedolim hiding behind a hammer, at an office desk, in a hospital room, or crying themselves to sleep while begging Hashem to not let them leave yiddeshkeit.

To see that not all heros wear caps or hats.


The views expressed in this letter do not necessarily reflect those of YWN. Have an opinion you would like to share? Send it in for review.

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)

13 Responses

  1. Are you looking for kavod? I hope not because all those people that are being honored isn’t because of themselves it’s because of the Torah

    In other words they’re not getting recognition, their Torah is

    Sorry to break it to you

  2. Such a nice article!!

    It’s important to realize: Celebrating the heroic Yungelyte who dedicate their entire lives to learning Torah, many of them with self-sacrifice and tremendous dedication- doesn’t IN ANY WAY mean to imply that other Ehrliche Yidden who accomplish tremendous achievements in Avodas Hashem aren’t heroic too.

    Everyone has their Avoda. Kulam Ahuvim Kulam Berurim Kulam Kedoshim Vikulam Osim Retzon Konam!

    Now everyone agrees!!

  3. Agree there many different kind of heroes. Why should it bother you or anyone when one kind of hero gets acknowledged and celebrated? No one’s saying the Kollel yungerleit are the only heroes. Just tonight is about them…

  4. You are mixing up things and throwing it all together. Yes, there are holy Jews doing amazing things and they are amazing, but unfortunately, due to secular influences many frum Jews have lost sight what life is all about. We are here to grow despite our challenges. We are responsible for our actions for our growth in overcoming challenges. You are a responsible Yid and a responsible human being if you act responsibly. You are NOT a hero if you wear piercings, do not keep halacha, do drugs, etc. etc. So just stop it the repetitive lines from the billion dollar “mental health” industry. We are here to grow so stop blaming your parents, teachers, the community, etc., etc. etc, and do what you have to do in the decades that you have in your life. Jews have lived through progroms, blood libels, exiles, rape, parents killed, children killed, and yet today when we live in relative comfort we are “heros” for having hard childhoods, emotional challenges, etc. , stop being dramatic about life’s challenges that we all go through. If people rise above the challenges they are holy, if they give in to their challenges they are do aveiros and live a life of sin they are NOT heroes!

  5. I am sorry but Mr./Ms. anonymous lost me on this. Is he/she trying to say that BMG kollel guys are good and that there are also other good people in the world?

  6. There’s a time for everything. Tonight is the time to celebrate & honor the talmidei chachomim of our time.

    In addition, the only way the rest of us are able to conquer our challenges in this dark world is through the koach of Torah. The lomdei Torah are the conduit of kedushah & hashra’as hashchina by klal yisroel.
    We all owe the lomdei Torah hakaras hatov for lighting the path of ruchnius for us!

  7. Thank you for having the courage to write this. Hold on to that emnuah my friend. “Even masu habonim hayta lerosh pina” Tehilim 118.22 It is not worth trading in what is waiting for you in the next world for a little kavod in this world.

    Tehilim is full of the idea that Hashem and His Torah are only found in those who are humble. We just finished Shavuos, when every cheder kid is singing about the humility of Har Sinai. I am really not sure where this event fits in and what the point of it is.

  8. Sure. All true. Of course. מי כעמך ישראל גוי אחד בארץ.
    But the Torah teaches us that the crown jewel of it all, and the level that enables the spiritual life of all other levels – is the בני תורה.

    אשרינו מה טוב חלקנו שלא עשנו כגויי הארצות

  9. It’s hard to understand the writer, why does he feel this is “the other side”… What’s “other side” about this? Of course כלל ישראל has many heroes in all shapes and forms. No one disputes that. But this is an even dedicated to emphasize what the Torah teaches us, and what is so easily missed – that the life-blood of all עם ישראל, where those heroes the writer mentions get their strength from, is those בני תורה who’s life mission is simply לימוד התורה.

  10. Letter writer, You are 100% correct.
    However you missed out the main point.
    Kovod is dangerous, any Ben Torah in the crowd who is being glorified shelo lishma is using up his zechusim in olom haboh, a person should run from kovod. It’s a necessary evil that the genuine talmidey chachomim take upon themselves to allow this maamad of kovod for them to enable us to express our essential kovod for Torah, and to raise money. However those talmidey chachomim who crave the kovod and are hungry for it, will be consuming their room habo in this world.

    All the quiet unsung heroes who serve hashem with mesirus nefesh are getting much more sechar than the insincere kovod hungry individuals, even if they are torosom umnusom, It’s nothing to be jealous of.

  11. There is no question that many people who were not valued in this world will be high up in the next world. But that is why that world is referred to as the Olam HaEmes and this world isn’t.

    To take a different example . There graduations all around now. Some complain that those who are getting honored by aren’t the ones who most deserving in the terms of having put in the most effort. Nor are they the ones who need the recognition for what they have accomplished because they already plenty of it in the past.

    I know of a school that asked a shaalo about the criteria for who gets honored by graduations due to the above. They were told that as long as we live in this world which is the olam hasheker we are not in the position to decide who really deserves recognition. Therefore the criteria of obvious tangible accomplishment should continue to be used. Within reason of course . Few schools would honor a straight aleph student who is a first class jerk at their graduation. Most schools would bend a little for someone coming from an obvious difficult background

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