Chosid then Lamdan – Compromise or Calculated?

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    Chosid, Yerei Shomayim, and a Lamdan. Ever notice how the Rebbe places the Lamdan last?…
    In the classic Brocha of the Rebbe to every Bar Mitzvah Bochur, the Rebbe blesses the boy to be a Chosid, to be G-d fearing, and to be a Learner.  The acronym of these three words חסיד, ירא שמים, למדן spells חי’’ל  a soldier, seemingly implying that a soldier in the Rebbe’s army has these three qualities.

    It is intersting to note that although תלמוד תורה כנגד כולם, that Torah learning is above all, and seemingly the role of Yeshivos is to teach Torah and the skills of learning Torah, the Rebbe places the Lamdan as last in his Brocha.

    ׳׳די תלמידים זאלן זיין פרומע ערליכע אידן, ווארימע אידן, חסידישע אידן׳׳

    Some parents feel that their son must be in a Yeshiva that focuses on learning above all, and any other activities only detract from their goal of raising him to be a Lamdan.  This line of reasoning continues that if, unfortunately, my son is not successful in his learning, then I must send him to an “alternative” Yeshiva where they will accommodate him with alternate programs and activities.

    in light of this line of reasoning, it is interesting to consider the Rebbe’s order of words in his Brocha.  By placing Lamdan last, is the Rebbe implying that this is the least importnant of the three middos?

    I would like to suggest that the Rebbe may be guiding us on how to achieve the greatest success in being a Lamdan, by ensuring that the first two midos are addressed.

    [Whereas] in previous generations the main role of the Yeshivos was the learning of Torah and thriving in it, and the practical fulfillment of Mitzvos and observing of Minhagei Yisroel was a given for every Jewish boy and girl through the Chinuch provided in the home and the environment … Today the times have changed and among –  the main – roles of the Yeshivos is to make the Talmid, first and foremost into a Yerei Shomayim, to an observant Jew, and then into a Lamdan, and – in the Yeshivos of Chabad – into a Chosid, as well…

    …the Yeshivos must arrange their matters so as to achieve first of all the main goal – די תלמידים זאלן זיין פרומע ערליכע אידן, ווארימע אידן, חסידישע אידן – the students should be Frum, sincere, warm Jews, Chassidishe Jews…

    (Igros Kodesh Vol. 4, pg. 214)

    With this video we’d like to open the discussion to the community to discuss this question.  Does offering today’s Bochurim the opportunity to engage in programing and activities that build up their character, self confidence and self esteem, detract from their growth as a Chay”il, or enhance their experience and enable them to reach their true potential as a Lamdan and soldier of the Rebbe?

    (See follow up post, True Lamdan – The Steps)

    12 COMMENTS

    1. This approach has provided for us the best of both worlds, individual attention AND academic development. This has resulted in our son growing in ways that make us prouder each day.

    2. Very important concept, especially in an age when we are not living excluded, and bochrim are exposed to literally everything around, weather we are aware or not

    3. There is something very special about this approach. A bochur needs to feel connected to Torah before he can grow in his learning. Yasher koach for your efforts thus far in achieving this goal. Our bochurim are counting on you!

    4. A very well rounded education is essential in today’s dynamic, yet threatening, world. The mesivta’ approach, with its emphasis on wide aspects of life, but all in halachic way, is the ultimate method for educating our youth today. Ishar koach to Rabbi Hami and the crew. May Hashem bless your work. .

    5. Yasher koach! Finally a mesivta having the guts to think out of the box about how to truly reach the best of our boys and impact them focusing on the whole person and not just on learning. We don’t yet have a bochur in your yeshiva but are very happy you’re doing this. May you have revealed hatzlacha! We salute you!

    6. Wonderful!

      To add to that: We have to grow strong with an increase in self-identity. Our identity is Torah. If someone doesn’t understand how it is relevant to their lives, they need help to see the relevance, as the Tanya says in the hakdama that teachers should enlighten the seeker’s eyes.

      Our generation can’t be forced. To grow, you can’t lose yourself but rather you methodically choose different spaces to be in. You choose to ‘not do that anymore’, and to ‘do this’. Peaceful achievement at this age is based on secheldik choices.

      Having role models is essential to the process that the bachurim need to go through. Your choice of hanhala seem to be directed at the right things. Yasher Koach for your holy work!

    7. I’m impressed and encouraged.

      But still, ha’ikur chasser. Chassidus is about ahava. Ahava atzmis.

    8. ועוד, מה עם בחור שאינו שייך להיות למדן? האם לא יוכל להיות חסיד?

      שבת טוב ומבורך, והצלחה בעבודתכם הקדושה עם צאן מרעיתכם

    9. Thank you for taking the time to respond.

      Wonder if the Ikar Is Chasser, or just that this is one nekuda and much more needs to be brought up.
      Regarding the Lamdan question, I don’t agree. I think that every Bochur is shayach to be a Lamdan. We need to define the term Lamdan as a relative term to each person. As the Alter Rebbe says regarding the Briach Hatichon. At his level he is a Lamdan. Aderaba, if we don’t do that, then who is really a Lamdan? For the great Geolei HaDor in Lamdanus are certainly Be’n aroch (regarding their learning at least) to the Lamdanus of even a strong Bochur, so would we say that the strong bochur is not a Lamdan?

      Rather we need to define Lamdan, IMO, as a Talmid who utilizes the skills that he CAN achieve to learn at the Hasmada that he is capable. And this can be achieved by building hiim up as a Chosid.

      Good Shabbos!
      Rabbi Hami

    10. What I meant by the “ikur”:

      The Baal Shem Tov made a revolution for Jews because he did not speak in terms of reward and punishment, or haskala or mussar.

      The Baal Shem Tov spoke to the etzem of the Yid. He spoke about how Hashem loves you as parents loves an only child born to them in their late years. He spoke about how every Jew has an innate love hidden in his heart, and it just needs to be revealed. And from there came simcha, zrizus, ahavas haTorah, ahavas Yisroel and ahavas Hashem.

      The Alter Rebbe came to show us how we can each do our own work to awaken and activate that ahava mesuteres. But the first thing is to know the goal. To raise a chassidishe child, the child must feel that ahava in his parents. The bochur must see that in his mashpi’im—that they have real love for him, real chassidishe love. Taka, intelligent love. But tangible love. The mashpia knows what’s happening with him, can relate to all of it, and takes pride in everything the bochur takes pride in—even if it’s how he scores in basketball.

      We have to return to that mayan over and over, so that we don’t end up with stale water. Tanya, and all of chassidus, begins with that and ends with that. In chassidus, even kabalas ol, reishis ha-avoda, comes after the hakdama of ahavas Hashem.

      Concerning every bochur being a lamdan, yes, you have dvarim shel taam. Nevertheless, there are bochurim who are not going to be metzuyanim in lamdus. But each comes with his unique talent. For some it’s mivtzoim. For others it make be sipurim. Or music. Or organizing skills.

      Chassidus is meyakar the ish poshut. Many of our bochurim fall in that category. They have to know that they are valued just as much. And they need to be provided a future so that they can support a family with dignity and pride.

    11. I did not see in the video or in the comments anything related to the thoughts that I have.
      So maybe I am different and maybe you may not be interested in the comments. But I try nevertheless.

      Actually, my comments are very much along the line of the Baal Shem Tov. He strove in his own life
      and strove to teach his students always to recognize, perceive, see and interact with Hashem in our life.
      It is in that interaction that in the world of Malchut that the Ahavas Hashem can manifest. To do this one has to develop, in terms of midot, a pure heart. For if we have any thoughts or actions that
      are vices and/or negative emotions, this moves us away from Hashem and we will not be able to recognize, perceive, see and interact with Hashem in the ordinary everyday situations we encounter.
      There is some sense in which the most deep place to practice and live Torah is in the street, the market place, what can be called the secular world. It is a fact that we all have to have contact in that world.
      But I do not think that the solution is to minimize that contact or put up fences after fences. The solution is to teach midot because it is the positive midot that opens the possibility for us to be able to recognize, perceive, see and interact with Hashem in the ordinary everyday situations we encounter.
      In particular the yeshiva must facilitate the integration that the negative emotions such as anger, impatience, hate, lust, arrogance, pride, jealousy must be not even occur. I did not say suppress. I said does not even arise. The talmud teaches that negative emotions such as anger constitutes idol worship: the most very opposite of serving Hashem. I need not tell stories about how some yeshivah boys interact with some others. If in the yeshiva world, the boys are not taught to act with kindness, forbearance and humility, then the boys will not have the living spiritual experience of Hashem in their lives.

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