Shalom Aleichim, I look forward to meeting all the past/present students and parents who make up this wonderful family.
What a great honor and privilege it's been to have joined this incredible Yeshiva! I can now say that it has lived up to the hype...and then some. It has been quite an uplifting experience to have met such a wonderful staff made up of brilliant talmidei chachamim, dedicated mechanchim and refined individuals. And those are not three separate groups of people but rather three standout qualities that I have found among each of Mevaseret's wonderful rabbeim. Add to that an extremely organized, efficient and supportive office staff, a kitchen crew who are friendly and incredibly accommodating and an energetic and motivating group of madrichim--I fully understand why this is the hottest yeshiva on the map right now.
The number of students that Mevaseret has this year is, bli ayin hara, every rebbe's dream...and nightmare. The opportunities are endless; to inspire and educate a huge number of students while at the same time working to ensure that each student gets his needs met on a religious, academic and personal level. The task can seem daunting at times and I wanted to share a perspective on this.
Often a person can be deceived by viewing the masses as a great potential for influence and impact. People who seek to spread ideas are easily lured into the promising potential of large crowds in order for their valuable messages to gain the most traction. It seems a no-brainer; the more people who hear, the further the message will spread. But I have always believed that with Torah and yiddishkeit this is not the case.
The Rosh Yeshiva graced my shiur this week with a private shmuz, where he shared with us a thought that the educational system is a kind of b'dieved. Ideally, the Torah urges us "V'shinantam L'vanecha"; every father should be his son's primary rebbe, and every son, his father's primary talmid. But the circumstances of our lives have forced us to develop a system with give or take 20 students per rebbe. This is simply not what was intended.
However, there is certainly a way to turn reality into ideal. There always must be. That is our ongoing job, to always seek to transform practical into perfection. And so I will share with you a thought that I have learned from a close rebbe of mine whom my friends and even my students refer to dearly as "the Rebbe from Eretz Yisroel". He taught me a lesson that has changed the way I view chinuch, yeshivas in general and my position of being a rebbe. It is extremely simple. And deeply true.
"A yeshiva will never succeed with the masses. A yeshiva will only succeed with individuals."
It is every rebbe's responsibility to find each individual. Even when they might exert great effort to remain submerged in the masses. Klal yisroel is made up of mighty individuals. And each one deserves the respect and attention as if he were your own child. This is the meaning of "V'shinantam L'vanecha". The only way that Torah will penetrate his heart is if we treat him as Vanecha, our own child. Because if it is the quantity of people we seek to influence then the masses will always be more appealing. But if it is in the quality of those individuals that we understand our impact to be most effective, we will always concentrate on the individuals.
The warm and caring atmosphere that is tangible in the halls of Mevaseret is certainly the ideal place to carry out this mission. I look forward, alongside the other wonderful rabbeim, to experience a beautiful year of growth with each and every individual talmid. And I look forward, as well, to getting to know those of you who I have not had the honor of sharing the yeshiva experience with during your year(s) in Israel. But I trust that Mevaseret is not just a physical space but it is a bond that will connect us as well.
Ksiva V'Chasima Tova, wishing you all a year filled with only simcha, bracha and hatzlacha!!