Mar 22, 2010

Rav Shteinman on not accepting a kid to a school (video)

Kikar Shabbos is running this video, it is of a meeting that is a couple years old between Rav Sorotzkin and Rav Shteinman. Rav Sorotzkin went to Rav Shteinman to discuss an issue - a father of children in his school remarried and wants the school to accept his wife's children as well. Rav Sorotzkin was refusing to accept these kids, and the father was insisting, so Rav Sorotzkin went to Rav Shteinman for a decision and guidance.

Rav Shteinman insisted, over the protestation of Rav Sorotzkin, that he must accept the children, and there is no such thing as the school is "not right" for these kids.

For the actual dialogue, you can watch the video or read the transcript on Kikar Shabbos. The details of the discussion are less interesting.

I found one point in the conversation particularly fascinating. That was when Rav Shteinman said there is no such thing as "not the right style for the kid" because how do you know, Rav Sorotzkin responded that there is one of the parents in the school who says he can tell and can evaluate this. At that point, Rav Shteinman waved him off and said that there is always one who is concerned about his "gayva", nothing else but his pride and haughtiness. Don't think he is God-fearing, it is only gayva.... The Rav of Brisk went to a Talmud Torah - who else studied in that Talmud Torah? All the troublemakers, the nobodies...There was one person who wouldn't send his kids there, because how could he send his kids to the schoolof the Briskers? I learned there, the children of the Brisker Rav learned there, Reb Dovid learned there.. So for the Brisker Rav it was ok to send his children there, but this guy couldn't send his children there? What was inappropriate about it? It is only gayva....
It happens that kids "get ruined". Good kids also get ruined. In all the best cheiders, there are no good kids who get ruined? Kids get ruined."

I find that point of the discussion fascinating, as Rav Shteinman is saying that when a parent says he doesn't want his kid to learn with "that kid" or "those kids" it is all gayva, and there is no such thing as saying this or that child is not right for this or that school.

It is actually fairly similar to a sentiment I have heard many times - back in chutz laaretz, they were happy to take any Jewish kid into the school. It didn't matter what type of kid he was or wasn't. They would take anybody. They were happy Jewish kids wanted to go to Jewish schools. Yet here, if you want to go to a specific school they don't accept you, saying you are not exactly the perfect fit.

See the video


  1. Dude, things have changed in Chul as well - just ask anyone who lives in Lakewood.

  2. amazing how when a Rav says something that can be twisted and turned into a divisive comment it is publicized throughout the world, but when something inclusive and fair is clearly stated it is hidden and ignored by the charedi world. The only thing anyone can focus on is the negative...sick

  3. and look at how he fought with him - Rav Shteinman kept sayign to accept the kid, and Rav Sorotzkin kept fighting to try to get him to agree to say no

  4. - back in chutz laaretz, they were happy to take any Jewish kid into the school. It didn't matter what type of kid he was or wasn't. They would take anybody. They were happy Jewish kids wanted to go to Jewish schools

    Rafi, I am not so sure how true this statement is anymore. Perhaps it used to be that way...

  5. probably not, but in my day it was, and I was remembering... it seems that Rav Shteinman thinks that old way is the right way. The exclusivity sold nowadays - our school is only for the best kollel families, our school is only for the brightest kids, our school is only for the smartest this or that - that exclusivity is wrong. it is wrong to exclude everybody else, and your purpose in doing it is just gayva, and your school is not really better than any other particular school (it might be or it might not be. Just because you are exclusive does not make it so)

  6. Sorotzkin is a well-known animal. I have seen his thuggery first hand.

  7. This is actually a takana of Rav Yehoshua Ben Gamla in BB 21a, that we have to have schools that take all kids.

    Highly recommend reading this article by Rav Yaacov Haber on the subject.

  8. R' Sorotzkin is actually the good guy here. He made sure to ask the question in every way and get it on tape so that when he goes back to the 'Baal Gaava paretns' to relay Harav Shteinman's answer there's no room for interpetation or doubt. That's how I see it


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