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May 22, 2015

The power of the Bais HaMedrash

by Rabbi Dovid Felt

This past Sunday we had a pre-Shevous learning program. It was designed to allow fathers, brother and other relatives the opportunity to learn together with their relative student. Boruch Hashem it was a resounding success with a Kol Ha’Torah that permeated throughout the Bais HaMedrash. This Kol Hatorah brought back memories of a time that Valley Torah had a full time Bais Hamedrash program for post high school Bochurim.

The pre-Shevous learning program was enhanced by a group of four Bochurim that joined the school for the past few weeks (since Pesach). Their presence in these few short weeks has been tremendously impactful on all aspects of the school. Every morning our students have a chance to learn with the Bochrim. We setup a rotation of classes that went to the Bais Hamedrash to learn with the Bochrim BeChavrusa. Our students also had time to schmooze with the Bochurim during breakfast, lunch and their breaks. But it didn’t end there, The Bochurim generated their own energy by participating in Shabbatones (including a beach sleepover) , Onegs and even initiating a Baseball night for students and their parents.

Even with all of the above I believe what created the most impact for our students has been, the ability to see young men ready to give of themselves in a truly altruistic fashion. This was done while they continued to be focused on their own learning. All of this demonstrated to our students that you could be a member of today’s society (with all of its distractions) without compromising on being a true Ben-Torah. We were truly fortunate to have them here for the past few weeks and we hope B’Ezras Hashem to duplicate this program in the near future.

At the breakfast for our pre-Shevous learning program I had the opportunity to address the audience. I shared with them a very power Alshich (a biblical commentary) on Megilas Rus, who remarked on the juxtaposition between the death of Elimelech and his two sons marrying non-Jewish wives. Both the two sons Machlon and Kilyon were very respected members of the community as well as being tremendous Talmidei Chachomim. How was it that they fell to such depths and in such a short period of time? The Alshich explains that parental influence isn’t confined to giving our children the direction they need but to also providing a protection for their children not to stray. As soon as Elimelech died his protection was left which consequently led to his children going down the slippery slope that ultimately ended with them marrying out of the fold.

Felt tips:

Activating the power of protection a parent has is by being relevant to one’s children. How do we achieve relevancy? It is not by becoming their bank, whenever they need money nor is it by becoming their local eatery for whenever they need food or their taxi service for whenever they a need a ride nor is it by being their local inn providing them with the shelter they need. It is by getting involved in their lives.

One sure and tested way is by learning with your son. What you learn or when you learn is not that critical however, having a consistent time that this is done is extremely important. The upcoming chag of Shevous is perfect opportunity. Make up a time to learn with your son even if it is only for 30 minutes. Find out what interests him and prepare it so that you can keep his attention for the duration. And by all means continue this, preferably every Shabbos and Yom Tov.

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