Buying Chabad Shechita is not enough!
Chinuch in Chabad Schools is not enough!
By Rabbi Shimon Raichik
Last week when I was in Florida I heard that Anash there found out for the first time that certain kosher restaurants that serve Shor Habor Shechita were serving it on bread that wasn’t pas Yisroel. They complained to the owners; how is this possible? You go out of your way to get Shor Babor meat but you can’t serve it on pas Yisroel buns? Their answer was that they serve pas buns, but you need to ask for it. Just take a look, it’s printed on the sign on the wall. You don’t have a complaint to us because we never claimed that we only served pas products.
We can learn a valuable lesson from this story. We cannot operate under the false notion that everyone has the same concerns that I do and therefore has my back; ‘He should have understood’. It’s not necessarily the case. Look and see what gets by underneath those assumptions.
The very same thing holds true for chinuch, be it cheder, the girls schools, seminaries or yeshivos. We pay and then we assume, we don’t always ask to be sure that our assumptions are correct. Do we ask these basic questions? Who are the teachers? How does the curriculum fit my child’s needs? What is the curriculum? What are the influences there; what kind of friends and roommates does he or she have? Does the teacher, maggid shiur and rosh yeshiva know my child?
As parents we need to take the time to understand the teachers. The teachers need to understand the needs of the parents as well. Teachers should be appreciated for all that they do for our children. So too the teachers should point out to parents the positive accomplishments of their children. Only by working together in cooperation can we be successful in giving our children what they deserve.
When our children go out of town to learn we need to stay engaged to know what is happening with them. We need to take time off of work and go and see for ourselves where they live. We need to get a sense of how the Beis Midrash is, who their roommates and chavrusas are etc. And then, even after we leave we need to stay in touch with the menahel and the teachers. We don’t need to be a nudge, we just need to be involved, and it makes a difference. How would you feel if you found out that your child went the entire year without a chavrusa or with a difficult roommate and if you would have paid attention you could have made all the difference? It’s not that the mechanchim don’t care, chas v’Shalom! It’s just that sometimes there are large classes etc., and in the shuffle things can get overlooked. At the end of the day it’s your child. You can volley back and forth, blame this reason or that for an outcome, but in the end it’s your child, and his or her success comes from cooperation and involvement; and that’s the bottom line. And then after all is said and done, we need to say a lot of Tehillim that everything should go well.
After World War II R Avraham Cohen opened a seminary for girls in Gateshead England. The Rebbe expressed on a number of occasions admiration of his good work. Once there was a meeting held about certain student in the seminary. She had done something unacceptable and there was concern about her staying there. Everyone reached the decision that she needed to be sent home. After reaching their decision R Avraham Cohen turned to them and said: “We didn’t open a seminary to send them out, we opened it to work with them and help them.” Later they were able to correct the problem, they took responsibility for her and things got better.
Once when I was in Melbourne Australia I remember that a certain student had to sent away from the yeshiva. He was an improper influence on the other students. Rabbi Groner A’H didn’t sleep for weeks; he felt the responsibility for this child. What will be with him? We are playing with neshamos.
In 5726-1966 my father, as was his custom, was by the Rebbe for Purim. That year my father felt that the Rebbe wanted him to go back to Los Angeles right away. He went in after Purim for his birthday yechidus then planned on leaving. While in yechidus which was usually brief, the Rebbe told my father to go to Montreal. My brother Abba, who was 16 years old at the time, had gone there for yeshiva. The Rebbe said that my father should visit Abba and see how he is doing. One could have assumed the visit unnecessary. After all, all of my father’s good friends were in Montreal; Rabbis Hendel, Garlitsky, Greenglass and Kramer. They were his friends that he was together with in Otwosk and later in Shanghai, surely they would take good care of Abba. Nevertheless, even with the very best mechanchim that can be, nothing is the same as the involvement of a parent, and this is what the Rebbe wanted.
Our personal involvement helps in two fundamental ways. First, by visiting our child he or she realizes how much we love them and care about their chinuch. Secondly when the hanhala sees the effort we make, they think differently about our child. They see him or her more as an individual. Sometimes the yeshivos and seminaries can be like a factory, 40 to 60 bachurim in a class, the individual can get lost in the shuffle.
Just like it is in the restaurant, so too it is in yeshiva, we need to stay on top of what is happening and not make assumptions. By following in the ways of the Rebbe, may Hashem give everyone a lot of nachas from all of our children and grandchildren.
By helping each other may we merit to prepared to greet Moshiach now all together as one. Kasiva vChasima Tovah l’ShanaTovah u’Mesuka
A Good Shabbos