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Rav Shteinman: Don’t Deduct Money for Being Tardy

It was a packed house on erev shabbos, 2 Tammuz 5772 when Maran HaGaon HaRav Aaron Leib Shteinman Shlita arrived at the Yabia Omer Beis Medrash in Bnei Brak to be the sandek at the bris of a son of one of the avreichim. Hundreds of area residents arrived to catch a glimpse of the gadol hador.

Rosh Kollel HaRav Yigal Cohen spoke with the rav, asking if he should deduct a sum from an avreich’s monthly stipend for coming late to the day’s seder for the purpose of not permitting the atmosphere to become too relaxed regarding punctuality.

Kikar Shabbat quotes the Rosh Yeshiva as stating that despite the concerns surrounding those who arrive late it is not recommended to deduct a sum from one’s monthly stipend since in reality, avreichim can barely manage on what they receive and any deduction may reduce the amount of bread a family receives.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

7 Responses

  1. I have a personal wish that this issue be addressed in more detail. Perhaps we should wonder a bit. The Rosh Kollel is every bit as much of a mechanech as the rebbe who teaches aleph bais to pre-schoolers. But the process of looking to punish talmidim in order to shape their behavior is so overused that it is worth questioning the motive.

    Many have rightfully noted that the way to insure that talmidim come to shacharis on time is to make tefilo into something that is meaningful and inherently rewarding. To make them come to seder on time – make sure they enjoy learning. We look forward to things we cherish and value. Those we don’t, we take less seriously, and we are more likely to prioritize other things. That places parents and mechanchim of every level with a precious but difficult responsibility. פקודי ה’ ישרים משמחי לב. If we are taught to address our ‘לימוד התורה ועבודת ה as a chore, then it will not entice us. Better we should look to tefilo as a gift, a Divine invitation to speak to HKB”H, and to learning as a peek at the most precious present given to us, and only us. The purely disciplinary approach has never worked historically, and its failure is evident anywhere it is used.

    So, Rav Shteinman shlit”a, I agree with the observation that the punishment afflicted on the Kollel family is unfair. But I wish the Rav would address the entire notion of punishment in chinuch as something being abused to degrees that undermine the ultimate goal of spreading the continuity of Torah. I am aware of חושך שבטו שונא בנו, but I believe that the current approach is not following anything that was intended with this posuk.

  2. In my kollel its the same. If an avreich is serious, then he’ll come on time. If he’s not serious enough,and he comes late often, well, after a zman or two he’ll be suggested to leave.

  3. In America we have flex-time. Come 20 minutes late leave 20 minutes late. However, everyone must be present during the “core hours” of say, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

    Is this a solution?

    Punctuality is a problem for some people.

    Alternatively, how about 2 minutes pay back for each minute late?

  4. I agree with “The little I know”. Morning seder should be the best one of the day, and then they’ll come on time.

  5. There appears to be a of Avreich bashing just under the surface here.

    I propse a system of fines for balabatim who are late to minyan, the daf shiur and don’t do what their wife asks right away, after all, of these things were important to them, they would never be late or push them off. Then we can have all Avreichim pile on.

  6. I do not detect Avreich bashing. I hear a Rosh Kollel who is bothered by the chaos that results from tardiness in his kollel. I hear him looking for haskomoh for his disciplinary approach. And I hear Rav Shteinman rejecting this as punishing both too harshly and targeting the wrong people. Rav Shteinman shlit”a does not need my haskomoh, but his response is well targeted. My earlier comment still stands. We are generally too busy at looking to punish people into compliance. Gedolei Yisroel (examples – Chazon Ish, Rav Wolbe) have already weighed in on this attitude, noting that even what was once effective and mentioned in Shas and Shulchan Aruch cannot be implemented today because it has the opposite result. One menahel who is both a wonderful individual as well as well qualified once told me, when questioned about a disciplinary pattern that was not justifiable, “But what else is there to do?” No one should be punishing just because there is need to do “something”. That is NOT chinuch. Each and every behavior must be part of the chinuch process, and if acceptable discipline does not work, one is not obligated to provide negative consequence.

    Repeating the earlier message, modeling and teaching geshmak in learning and davening accomplishes much more than all the punishments we can think of. Just how many times a day do we beg HKB”H to help us with Ahavas Hashem?

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