Coddled and Challenged

By Rabbi Y.Y. Jacobson




Practically from the moment a child is born, we parents invest so much in their future. With sweat, blood and tears, we try to build a home where our beloved children feel safe, secure, loved and nurtured; where they can grow to become great humans and passionate Jews.

But there is the moment of surrender: when we send them away from home to the yeshivah

we hope will further their growth as ehrliche Yidden and bnei Torah.

Yet we all know that this does not always work out as we hope.

As my son’s eighth-grade year came to a close, we deliberated deeply where to send him. Do we send him to a program where he would be pushed to succeed, or did he need an environment where he would be accepted as-is? Should we find a place where he would be physically cared for, or was he up to attending a yeshivah where spiritual richness outshone the material comforts? Was he ready for a program where he would be treated like an adult, or did he still need a little extra child-like attention?

Turns out that, Baruch Hashem, we got all of that–and a whole lot more. At the Mesivta, he is supported and encouraged, coddled and challenged, befriended and empowered.

Even when he called home and shared his progress and satisfaction, we couldn’t appreciate the full magnitude of what was taking place 800 miles away from our home. Then came the biennial father-and-son Shabbos.

Spending a Shabbos at the Mesivta together with 150 fellow fathers from across the globe, I was moved to tears. Davening on Shabbos morning with hundreds of yeshivah boys and their parents, I felt so much love, holiness, and purity in the atmosphere. The ambiance was electrifying.

As I continued to observe, I realized that the key to this spectacular institution’s success lay hidden in plain sight. The staff possesses the most powerful tool: ahavah. A genuine love for their talmidim and a remarkable regard for each other. The staff are wise and caring, the program is carefully crafted, and the boys are obviously thriving! As I write these words on my way home, moved and elated, I pray to Hashem that my son, and all of our children, continue to grow and thrive; that the Mesivta continue to grow and thrive; and that yeshivos around the globe learn from their example. And to the generous and visionary donors around the globe, on behalf of thousands of grateful parents, I say – thank you.