Hagaon HaRav Shaul Alter Cries After Being Asked How A Yeshiva Should Act If A Student Needs To Be Expelled


The organization Yancheini held a conference for Mechanchim, Mashgichim, and Melamdim from across the Chassidic spectrum in Israel, ahead of the new Zman in Yeshivos across Israel. The special symposium was held featuring Hagaon HaRav Sahul Altar, the Rosh Yeshiva of Sefas Emes and the son of the previous Gerrer Rebbe.

Rav Altar was presented with a sheet of questions that were submitted ahead of time, and he wasted no time in jumping in and getting to the answers. During the talk, many handwritten messages were sent by the participants to Rav Alter with follow up questions from the gathered crowd.

During the discussion, Rabbi Altar was asked how best to deal with a student who is seen as being potentially harmful to other students, however, if he were to get kicked out of Yeshiva he would backslide tremendously in his own observance?

The  Rosh Yeshiva replied that to throw a student out is considered Dinei Nefashos. However, the teachers and spiritual leadership of the yeshivas are really only Shomrei Sachar, and have another 200 students or so to think about as well.

This is where Rabbi Altar burst into tears and had a hard time recovering to finish his thoughts. “Perhaps the correct answer is to pray to Hashem, the same way the Anshei Knesses Hagedolah did and tell Hashem, לא הן ולא שכרן, ריבונו של עולם חז”ל אומרים שלושה הקב”ה מתחרט עליהם ואחד מהם זה ע”ז, זה הולך על הדור הזה, אין לנו הבנה אבל ככה דברי חז”ל”.

HaRav Altar said that one shouldn’t be hasty or an extremist with regards to these cases and simply throw the student out because it will be difficult to deal with the others. In these cases one must ask a big Gadol, but not just a big Gadol – but someone that understands this well.”

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)


  1. I believe this actually took place at a workshop of the Litvishe Lev Shomei’ah conference of Lev L’Achim. The main addresses were given by Rav Gershon Eidelstein and Rav Dov Landau, with Rav Chaim Kanievski in attendance.

  2. This is a universal challenge for both yeshivot and secular schools. The tensions between providing special accomodations for disruptive students, especially those with developmental disabilities, and the associated loss of learning time for other students is not readily solved. As we try harder to “mainstream” difficult students versus simply expelling them or segregating them into “special schools”, it will take more money for teacher’s aides and supplemental instruction time, money that is not available. For a yeshiva, its even more difficult because of the importance we attach for every student having access to limudei kodesh.

  3. The term “Problem Student” needs to be more clearly defined. Yeshivas kick out students who cant handle a long day of sitting and learning (and then act out a bit) vs a public school who has the resoruces to handle such students , but they cannot handle students who are members of a gang.

    If a Yeshiva wants to kick out a student who is a gang member, I think most would agree its ok to kick them out, however if a yeshiva kicks out a student who has some form of autism or learning disablity and “Is disruptive” because of it then that yeshiva needs to be called out