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May 15, 2012

Rav Shteinman Coming To Town To Support Yeshivot Ketanot

Tzaddik Ba La'Ir. A tzaddik is coming to town.

Tomorrow night, if all goes well, Rav Shteinman will be coming to [Ramat] Bet Shemesh to give a talk, words of inspiration.

The signs have been up all around the neighborhood for a few days already. The signs were a bit vague, announcing his eventual arrival but with no details other than that he would be offering words of chizzuk before the Shavuos holiday. Now, however, word has spread that he will be coming tomorrow night to talk.

It is always a zechus to have a tzaddi, one of the gedolim, come to town.  For whatever the purpose is, it does not matter. Personally, I can never understand what he is saying, as he speaks very garbled and in a very low tone. Despite that, it would still be an experience and a merit to see Rav Shteinman, even without understanding him.

What is he coming for? Why shlep a 97 year old gadol who is not in the best of health out to your small city?

I am told, this was a rumor for the past couple of days, but now I have heard it from a very good source, that one of the topics he will discuss, the one that really got him to come, is the yeshiva ketana vs yeshiva tichonit (yeshiva high school) situation.

A certain school administrator, supposedly, was disturbed that in recent years the percentage of boys graduating and moving on to yeshivot tichoniyot has increased (I heard to 70%, but who knows if that is accurate) rather than the classic yeshivot ketanot. The administrator was distraught about this and considered closing the school. I guess he considers it a failure, and one that only increased as the years went on, that he was unable to push his students into the classic haredi system. This administrator went to Rav Shteinman and said he wanted to close the school, and asked permission to do so.

Supposedly, Rav Shteinman told him not to close the school, but agreed to come to town to give words of chizzuk that would possibly inspire parents to send their kids to regular yeshivot ketanot.

I don't know why this administrator wanted to close his school. That is a fairly drastic step that would no doubt throw hundreds of children out onto the street with no school to go to. What school, or combination of schools, could possibly absorb so many children? This administrator could lessen the amount of secular studies he teaches in his school. If he did that, naturally less kids would end up going to yeshivot tichoniyot as  they would not be properly prepared for it. Why the armageddon type move? Why is everything all or nothing? And why is this administrator so upset about this when his own school has also been pushing the limits of the haredi community, catering specifically to the anglo community that is more attuned to such an education?

Either way, tzaddik ba la'ir, and that alone is special enough.

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  1. Oh and I thought that he was coming because Bibi had announced (then retracted) new elections.

    From what I can recall that is the only time that Rav Shteinman graced us with his presence..before the last local election to tell us the evils of voting non Charedi.

  2. if that were the case, his visit would have been canceled when the elections were canceled

  3. I wish he'd come and speak to the Hanhalot of the girls Haredi high schools who are at this moment refusing girls for really ridicuous reasons! There are not enough places for all the 8th graders to attend high school and the refusals this year have been brutal. Maybe some brave guy can address this at the meeting (since the ladies are not only in a different building,but on another street!).

  4. Given what I heard which school it is, what does the Principle want?
    He started a school where the goal is / was for the kids to get a good education in both Limudei Kodesh and Limudei Chochma (what most Anglos would refer to as Secular Studies.)
    The bottom line is that Parents make the final decision about which High School their child goes to. Yes the child will be be allowed to give input where they might want to go with-in a certain group of schools. But it is still the parent that makes the final call. Maybe that is why 70% of the student body moves on to the Yeshiva High School rather than a Yeshiva Ketana.
    Why is it that schools start with a mission and somewhere along the road they feel a need to move away from that mission (usually one that is more to right)? Creating the void that was their goal to fill.

  5. FACT- There is no elementary school in RBS with 70% of the graduates going to yeshiva tichoni and 30% to yeshiva k'tana, so it's clear this is a made up story. The majority of Magen Avos graduates this year, as in previous years are going to yeshiva k'tana. Less than 20 out of over 50 graduates are going to a yeshiva tichoni. Three to Maarava, three to the Mesivta, less than 10 to Nehora and a few other boys to other places. Rav Simon has never discouraged parents from sending their sons to yeshiva tichoni. It is possible that some askan made up a story like this to get R' Shteinman to speak out against yeshiva tichoni, but it is not based on reality. Another nasty possibility is that one of the newer schools competing with Magen Avos is trying to make M.A. look bad by spreading rumors like this.

  6. what other schools are competing with MA? I am not familiar with the new schools and it would be interesting to know what new schools there are with such a style of education...

  7. I really hope this is not true, as it would represent a very negative experience for our children. When I was growing up and a talmid chocham came to our school or neighborhood, the speech was always uplifting, inspirational, about the beauty of torah and mitzvahs, and how lucky we were to be frum kids. If Rafi is correct, we'll hear a speech brought-to-you-by our local askanim/kannaim about how we all have to be "good Chareidim" and do the same thing as everyone else, which of course our own Rabbanim will tell us to ignore for our own kids' chinuch ("it's for Chareidi public consumption") and then we'll have to explain it away to our kids, many of whom are in Yeshivas with chol, and hope they don't become cynical. Good grief, I hope Rafi is wrong!

  8. I hope so too. Turth is, I dont expect to talk about this directly. Rather, he will probably talk about how important it is to send kid to yeshiva ketana to learn torah...

  9. The new schools that are competing with M.A. (they have taken many boys whose older brothers went to Magen Avos), are Darchei Noam and Toras Moshe (which offers chol as an option). Although the oldest grade in both places is 6th grade, many parents from both schools are planning to send to yeshiva tichoni. A lot of them are talking about the Mesivta.

  10. ok. I thought you meant newer than that. those arent so new, but they are newer than MA

  11. Was anyone there? What did he speak about in the end?
    I bet the handlers won't allow Rav Shteinman to actually go visit a place like the Mesivta, they just say, Uh-oh, one Maarava was bad enough, but another Maarava means that soon most mainstream families in RBS A will be sending to this type of place, especially since the Mesivta is a) local b) a non-dorm option, which many boys and parents feel is a major plus and c) known to be a very good school (they just got Rav Willig as the Mashgiach, and Rav Zrill from Maarava teaches there too)- and if more and more parents reject the either-or of a modern place versus a yehsiva k'tana (where 13 year olds have to learn and daven all day and get zero secular study and are told playing ball at recess is treif), then the yeshiva k'tanas will start to go out of business. Or maybe these handlers invested in the Charedi colleges, so they want lots of potential students with no basic skills so they can rake in the cash...and if the boys get a basic high school education, they can actually get jobs or go to regular schools...

  12. according to this summary on bechadrei (with pictures), Rav Shteinman encouraged parents to send their children to "yeshivot kedoshot" (along with words of chizzuk for learning torah and fighting those who hate the torah)...


    I heard the mp3 file of Rav Sheiner's speech (he spoke after Rav Shteinman) he said very similar about sending to the best yeshivas (who is to say which are the best, i dont know..), and he compared it to when he almost went to university but ended up dedicating his life to torah..

  13. I was there and it was pathetic. R' Shteinman came in and spoke about the importance of learning Torah for about 20 minutes, how Torah is the only really important thing in the world etc. He is a very uninspiring and unimpressive speaker. It just seemed such a waste to have all those people jammed in to the Ulam sport to hear uninspiring unoriginal words.

  14. I don't know what the askanim intended, but Rav Shteinman's remarks were very general and could actually be interpreted as being in favor of having more types of chinuch choices, al la' chanoch lana'ar al pi darko ("send to the Yeshiva that's best for him" was the quote). I'm sure the Chareidi-faithful will try to spin things in their direction - after all, he did speak about the chashivus of learning torah, and these people believe anything that isn't their way is anti-Torah! - but luckily, thinking people who actually heard the shiur themselves will take their own lessons.

  15. I was there and was HIGHLY impressed w/how much energy the Rav had considering the looong car ride and his age of 97!


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