Jerusalem – Rav Steinman’s Letter to Melamdim and Parents: Warns Of Improper Treatment of Talmidim And Children


    File photoJerusalem – Rav Aaron Leib Steinman has written a letter for teachers and parents, warning them about improper treatment of students and children. He says that the letter was prompted by the many tragedies and illnesses which have hit the frum community. Many Torah scholars suddenly require yeshuos of one kind or another — children who can’t make a shidduch or aren’t blessed with children, or became seriously ill, etc. They inevitably turn to Rav Steinman and other gedolim for advice and blessings.

    “I wondered much,” said Rav Steinman, “What is going on? I tell people who need a yeshua to try and remember if they hurt the people closest to them — I’m referring to melamdim, parents and friends. A father sometimes thinks that he can slap his son, or he can insult his wife. He thinks it’s permitted because after all, they’re his… teachers also think that they have the child’s benefit in mind when they criticize him and tell him off and even humiliate him. Everything is done in the name of well-meaning mussar and rebuke which he is responsible to do. But that’s not the case.”

    The text of the letter was shown to the public although it was privately addressed it to the head of a school. The following are sections of the letter, which carry an important message for all educators:

    “It’s known in our holy Torah that there are laws bein adom lamokom as well as bein adom lachaveiro. The Ten Commandments also have laws between a person and his Creator, and laws that will prevent him from doing evil to his fellow man.”

    Rav Steinman then mentions the prohibition of ona’as devorim, saying it is more serious than harming another financially. “It applies equally between a man and his wife and a woman and her husband. Ona’as devorim is even worse when said to a woman, because she is easily hurt and cries. This includes all kinds of hurtful words, especially hurting a widow and an orphan.”

    “The opposite of this is chesed. The merit one can gains from it is immeasurable. The Rosh at the beginning of Peah explains that Hakodesh Baruch Hu especially desires mitzvos that bring good will among mankind more than mitzvos bein adom lakono.

    During the conversation which preceded the letter, Rav Steinman explained the difference between earlier and later generations:

    “In the past, teachers would teach the student how to learn Torah. They would educate him properly and correct him if they saw he wasn’t behaving as he should. Today, every teacher has to control classes of 40 children, and when they make noise or disturb, he strictly tells him off even to the point of humiliating him. He doesn’t do it to educate the child but to keep order in the class, and to vent his ire on the troublesome student.

    “Until today, we thought that the kapeidas against us came from the elderly clerk in the grocery store. The problem is that we’re hurting our children and our students, the people who are the closest to us, even if we do it in all innocence.”

    “People are moreh heter to themselves, such as when a teacher or rav say they have to humiliate someone to ensure discipline. But it’s not that way. We can only do whatever is necessary to prove his point, but not to humiliate another! It’s even more serious when the humiliation is done in public.

    “A rav or teacher must get his point across, but in a way that doesn’t embarrass the student. Generally, the one who feels he is being humiliated, will pay him back double. What the teacher said is certainly in the category of ona’as devorim. One must be very careful with this. Parents also shouldn’t embarrass their children.”

    Rav Steinman then addresses the reason for the overflowing number of tragedies that have hit the community, leaving almost no one untouched….. “When one causes suffering to others, he is punished in Olam Hazeh too. Every person must pay attention to what he does and what he says so as not to hurt his fellow man. The truth is that the punishment is much worse in Olam Habo, but most people are not aroused by what they can’t see directly, so I am speaking about something that everyone understands well.”

    Finally, he mentions the words of the Chinuch on the mitzva “no man should afflict his fellow man”: Even though one doesn’t get lashes from a whip made of cow’s hide for a mitzva that doesn’t involve action, a person will get ‘lashes’ from the One who commanded this.”

    He signs off his letter, “One who is careful not to hurt other people, all the blessings mentioned in the Torah will befall him and he will enjoy a pleasurable life in This World and the Next.”

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    1. Beautiful words. May this be the beginning of tackling the real problems of the klal which are the rampant machlokes and sinas chinam. May we join together in true achdus.

      • As a mechnceh/principal for almost 20 yrs., of course what the Rosh Yeshiva said is completly true (although, of course, he doesn’t need me to say this!!). However, I’ve seen a number of childern who were mistreated (ie. Verbally) by the parents. Mechancim need training, but perhaps more importantly, parents do as well.

        • No one could disagree that parents need training as well. However, no one besides the Ribono Shel Olam placed the child in the care of the parents. And there is no one to whom they have a responsibility, besides the RBS”O and the child. In the case of chinuch, the parents entrusted the safety of their child to an institution that assures us that it will guarantee the safety of the child. When that assurance is not kept, and the guilty party is the yeshiva itself, that is a travesty.

          Another difference is that parents generally have plenty of opportunity to demonstrate unconditional love to their child. Hanhala in yeshivos do not. In fact, the preponderance of behavior from teachers and rebbeim towards talmidim is disciplinary, not loving in nature. This requires special skill to insure that the child absorbs the positive messages and the motivation. It may be no chochma to punish. But to apply negative consequences without hurting the child, including the sensitive one, is an art.

          The Chazon Ish ZT”L was a master mechanech that provided much guidance in how to accomplish this challenging task. Unfortunately, his teachings on this are relatively unpopular. When I have confronted mechanchim with his statements, they insisted I was lying. I sympathize with the difficulties that mechanchim experience. But there needs to be a healthier way to cope with the challenges. That is why training for mechanchim must be a mandatory requirement to be allowed in a classroom.

    2. This is a true gadol every one is busy with molestation more kids in my class were affected by the humiliation that the Rebbes doled out every day than by molestation

      • Fixing the problems are not mutually exclusive.

        Why would you want to make it sound as if the reason not enough is being done to stop the humiliation of children is because too much attention is focused on sexual molestation???

        (I could argue le’hefech – In a society where molestation is tolerated humiliation will be tolerated. Treating our children as treasures to be protected from one evil will result in them being protected from all evils.

        Who will take seriouslly a yeshiva’s efforts to protect children from humiliation by adults when it does -0- to protect them from sexual molestation by adults?)

    3. I feel that all Rabeim and Mechanchim should be required to take a course and then a refresher course each year on how to talk and treat talmidim. Throwing a student out of class because he spoke or called out , yes, maybe he was told to be quiet, but what does that accomplish- standing in the hall and missing the lesson. If the Rabeim and michanchim are taught how to deal with it such as an assignment or go to another class….. things would be different, Children are very sensitive and the loose tongue of an adult could be and is very damaging. Again I will emphasize — Rabeim and Mechanchim should be required to take some sort of course on how to deal with the student!

      • And I will emphasize— Parents should be required to take some sort of course on how to deal with their children! Dont pass the buck to the Rebbi and sit back and expect everything to happen….

        • No one is passing the buck. I teach in the yeshiva and see how little knowledge some of the Rabeim have in dealing with kids. There are some very special Rabeim who do know but for those that do not it’s pretty disdructive. I can see you took this personally – I do agree that parents should take a course too- no question!!
          Why is there no prerequisite for rabeim to take any courses?????

        • While it is very true that parents should take a course— a must— it is also true that a rebbi has even a bigger responsibility. If I punish my child and I err then I have to live with it and it hurts me I may not sleep and I think about it and feel very badly. When a rebbi humiliates or punishes sadistically he goes home and forgets about it – this may not be intentionsl just a lack of sensitivity and knowledge on how to treat children- they are very fragile!!! The rebbi would never talk that way to an adult why a child ??? Children deserve respect , and sensitivity and discipline with love.

        • I’m amazed that kids grow up as “normal” as they do, considering many of the parents I’ve observed. Definitely, parents should be required to learn how to train and teach their children derech eretz while stlll loving them unconditionally. This is do-able.

    4. Especially our attitude towards, the well being, of Eino Yehudim. Including Tinokos Sh’ein B’hem Chette. Please see, Sefer Taamei Haminhagim:: Page 493, 2nd paragraph; it is really amazing and startling.

      • Rabbi Yechiel Yaakov Weinberg, cried plenty over that aspect of our misbehavior towards, Eino Yehudim, “Maasei Yodov shel Hakodosh B”H”. He felt that, that is the cause of all our tzorohs.

        • You are correct. To those who know about him, Rav Weinberg was to be the recognized godol hador. Instead, he was manipulated and emotionally controlled by his mentors, became disillusioned with the hypocritical new chareidi hashkofoh and was mercilessly attacked behind his back. But they all knew that in learning and midos, he could put most of them in his back pocket. A great but tragic figure. An adam yashar in the fullest sense of the word.

          • Your statements are outrageous and reflect your personal bias.

            “Instead, he was manipulated and emotionally controlled by his mentors, became disillusioned with the hypocritical new chareidi hashkofoh and was mercilessly attacked behind his back”

            What is your source for these statements? Do you have any published quotes of his to back this outlandish claim up?

            • Why decide his claim is outlandish before you have given him a chance to respond to your question?

              For all we know the writer might know of what he speaks.

              Unless you believe there is nothing he could know that backs his claim, in which case it would be your statements that are outrageous and reflect your personal bias.

            • He is making a disparaging statement about a person that he admits is of great stature saying that he was manipulated like a puppet.

              He also talks about some unknown new chareidi hypocritical philosophy. He also alleges attacks from many people behind his back.

              I have never heard the slightest hint or suggestion of these things.

              They are outrageous on the face of it.

            • Outrageous because you never heard of such things?

              Now that is outrageous!

              I happen to agree with you that he is probably mistaken but why pounce on a person when you can just as easily ask mentcshloch?

              If not for his kavod, speak nicely altz your own kavod.

            • I don’t understand your concept of kavod.

              He has made statements which denigrate the Kavod of Rabbi Weinberg, those associated with him, chareidi Judaism and some unknown backstabbers and you have no problem with that. You don’t find this outrageous.

              However, when I call on him to back up these inflammatory statements, you view this as attacking him?

          • In his letter to Prof. Atlas. They recount how he once got extremely upset, when there was a discussion regarding a child of einu yehudi, not well, and somebody said, It should be a Kapporoh. (because it generates Midah Keneged Midah from Hashem).
            Yesterday, some body did show me the Sefer Taamei Haminhagim, Daf 493, Omud Aleph, Sif Beth, very shocking indeed.

    5. I wish rov steinman would’ve made this letter public when I was a child…the words that came out from my malomdim to students were horrible and horific…if principals would’ve ansist that malomdim MUST go for training before taking such a big ochroyisdige job of handling a class..there would be MUCH less at risk children,,,,take a boy that’s turning to left..sit down and talk to him for 10 minutes…bottom line..he is hurt in his heart from his malomdim…come on wake up!!!! All gedolim should sign on this letter from rov shtinmen

    6. Rav Shteinman is a true godol.
      Here he has inadvertently exposed the bankruptcy of the chareidi hashkafah and school system. The thousands of hours spent studying rishonim and achronim in kollel has not even minimally equipped their products, the mechanchim of our precious tashbar, to behave towards their students with common decency. Nor has it taught husbands how to speak to their wives with any derech eretz.

    7. GEVALDIG!!!!
      Oh how happy we would be if we gave our dear children the respect they need to develop self-respect! Oh if we made our wives feel wonderful through the removal of painful criticism, and the giving of true compliments.
      Oy Klal Yisroel, please!

    8. i must’ve been born some fifteen years too early! if only my schools authorities would’ve had such a letter sent to them my life would’ve been normal! instead i wasted almost all of my teenage years teaching myself i’m worth much more than they told me i am!!!

    9. I went to Yeshiva of brooklyn where I suffered at the hands of the vicious rebbeim and menahelim. When Rav Shteinman came to the USA why didn’t he meet with the innocent victims of these yeshivas? Instead he met with and was mechabed the leaders of these evil institutions.

      • A leader meets with all people of influence with no connection to their moral status as an example the Chazon Ish Zts`l met with Ben Gurion, to make a influence they need to meet all people of influence.

    10. I cant forget the days we got beaten and slapped by our rebbes,teachers and parents. I am working in chinich today and i never ever raise my hands on a kid. I have to say that the Derech Eretz today is ZERO..Kids have NO respect for their rebbe and teacher.They are NOT afraid because they know that they cant be punished or there father will come and start shouting and turning the school over. In a class of 24-26 boys there is always 3-5 bad rotten apples which make the others disrespectful. I really dont know the answer anymore but talking nice in my eyes does NOT make those kids willing to learn better…

      • I too teach . I am very firm and have the kids eating out of my hands. I demand respect and I give respect. I am conistent and fair. True there are some rotten apples – as there are rotten teachers – if you cannot manage to deal with the few rotten apples and they are effecting the whole class then you ought to look into what you are doing wrong!! Just curious – did you ever go to school – post high school or take any teaching classes????

        • The self-congratulating teacher wrote:
          ” if you cannot manage to deal with the few rotten apples and they are effecting the whole class then you ought to look into what you are doing wrong!!”

          If you’re a teacher, you need to learn proper spelling and grammar. The word is “affecting”, not “effecting”.

    11. The facts are the Rabbeim are not trained how to handle a child that doesn’t fit in socially. I know of a child in third grade that wad being bullied by his classmates. His family went to the rebbie and the principal. The matter wasn’t properly handled by the Yeshiva. Thank God his family was a good advocate for this kid and sought outside help. All professionals in this field said this problem should not go out of control in the third grade. A well trained Rebbie would stop it right away.
      But They don’t know how to deal with it and its a fact

      • Unfortunetly, in many instances, your statement would have been completely accurate even had you stopped after “The facts are the Rabbeim are not trained”.

      • Similarly, parents do not know how to handle their children. When they see signs that the child is being molested they decide to look the other way. When things persist, they blame the child. Then they blame the Rabbonim. Only years later do they get up and blame the perpetrator and realize how their child could have had a normal life if they would not have been so incompetent.

        Bein adom lachaveiro includes your own children. I know a number of people that will perform chesed, get very involved in kiruv but never put in the same effort for their children. I was fortunate to be around people who understand their priorities. Unfortunately, most people do not. If we would look at our children as people with feelings and not just barbie dolls then we would be a lot better off.

    12. I know that it was this problem that drove me off the derech in high school and b’h it was rebbiem who followed advice like this which brought me back

    13. reply to #1: molestation falls under the catagory of bein odom lichavairo!
      It also goes under the catagory of stealing, yes your read correctly, stealing a childs innocence!! Do you want it swept under the carpet so that these molesters can be more comfortabe???
      children are entrusted by HASHEM to us,and it is our job to take care of them and protect them, These are HASHEMS precious children . Let’s not forget that.

    14. This point about chinuch habonim and chinuch hatalmidim has graced pages of this website and others, though stated by many plainsfolk, lacking the command and prestige of Rav Shteinman shlit”a. What is tragic about our generation is that this will be seen as a “chiddush”, or something that a gadol needs to say to be considered worthwhile. And it is actually something so simple and profound, a message repeated countless times throughout gemora, sifrei mussar, and the growing shelves of seforim on chinuch.

      Firstly, today’s chinuch system is quite different from that of generations ago. Classes were informal, led by a melamed, to about 6 boys. The melamed was someone who specialized in his field, and carried out his task with a mission to help each talmid progress to the next level. This was eliminated with the advent of schools with large classrooms. What should a rebbi do when there is misbehavior, especially when it disrupts the class? The choice, obviously, is to resort to discipline. And that is what requires surgical skill, because when it is not done exactly right, the results can be negative.

      Secondly, there are too few programs that train mechanchim to perform such a delicate and precious task. The desire to see the outcome of bonim talmidei chachomim may whip the average mechanech into the competitive frenzy of focusing on the top talmidim or creating yeshivos for “metzuyanim”, neither of which is the responsibility of melamdei tinokos. We then witness yungerleit who complete their tenure in kollel, perhaps adept at saying a chabura, moving into the classroom without a shred of training in chinuch. Some of the existing training programs are quite good, though it is not clear who could evaluate and compare them. However, the yeshiva/school that requires such training prior to entering the classroom is the exception, not the rule. Kollel does not prepare anyone for chinuch.

      Thirdly, as an extension of the second point above, there are many actions taken by mechanchim and menahalim that are without any cheshbon beyond “What else is there to do?” I have heard this from many who justify taking severe actions as well as other interventions that miss the point completely. They are disappointed when I suggest that they do nothing, since their ideas of how to intervene are either flawed or damaging.

      Fourthly, the apparent goal of chinuch today deserves to be re-evaluated. It appears to be a mission on downloading information from rebbi or teacher to student. That is definitely not the mission. The mission is to teach the basic skills, and to create the cheshek so that the talmid will continue in the derech of learning – Torah and mitzvos. The rebbi is to be a role model of Torah and midos. The vehicle through which this is accomplished is the teaching of text. I challenge any adult to recall textual learning from first grade. Whatever is remembered was learned at a later point in life. Most memories from first grade are of behaviors that were modeled.

      Lastly, our community gives chinuch unbalanced priority. We fund chinuch poorly, and this leaves many mosdos with limited ability to pay the faculty a living wage. Those who need to feed a family will gravitate away from chinuch, and will certainly be less disposed to engaging in training to prepare for chinuch as a career. The dependency on government funds as well as philanthropists creates dynamics that have serious disadvantages, some of which may outweigh the benefits.

      I am grateful that Rav Shteinman’s letter was publicized. Nebech for all of us that it was necessary to spell out.

    15. My melamdim killed my best years from my life they smacked me and punished me every day.

      I remember when I was a child I asked god to take me away from this world I had no good day in my life

      when I was age 15 I had a good magid shiur that took me in a side spoke to me very nice he showed me that if I want I can learn and be from the good once.

      I started to learn I finished because of him almost half shas and I’m learning every day daf hayomie because of him.

      I was always thinking that I can’t learn he showed me that I can. He saved my life

      I’m successful today because of him also in Rochnius and in Gashmius.

      Thank you Magid Shiur you saved my life

      Today I’m a father with a family of a few children only because of this great Tzadik

      A few good word can change everything
      1 bad word Kills our Children.

    16. There was a student that made a lot of problems in class; he fought with classmates, made a lot of noise
      The teacher tried a lot of things, but nothing helped.
      He decided to tell the father about his son’s behavior.
      Father: What do you want me to do?
      Teacher: Maybe take him for a check-up.
      Father: How is that going to help?
      Teacher: Maybe the child should take Ritalin (a calming drug).
      Father: How am I going to get this Ritalin?
      Teacher: No problem, I’ll get it, and the child should take the pill every morning and everything will be o.k.
      Father: Who is going to remember to give it to the child every day in a house full of children?
      Teacher: I’ll worry about it. I’ll make sure he takes it every morning.
      Father: But I don’t want the whole class to know about it.
      Teacher: No, no, I’ll make sure that no one sees. I’ll put the pill in the teacher’s room next to the coffee machine. Every morning I’ll send your son to make my coffee and at the same time he’ll take his pill. Like this no one will know.
      The father agreed to the plan. Every morning the teacher prepared the pill next to the coffee machine and went into class. After a few minutes the child would come in with the coffee, and everything went fine.
      And now the atmosphere in the class was calm. The child wasn’t sent out of class and there were no fights!
      After a few weeks, the mother asked the child: Nu, what’s doing in class?
      Child: Great!
      Mother: What happened that everything’s so good?
      Child: It’s very simple. Every morning the teacher sends me to make his coffee. I go into the teacher’s room and there there’s a special pill! I put the pill into the coffee and after he finishes to drink it, everything in the class is 100%!!!

    17. “Firstly, today’s chinuch system is quite different from that of generations ago.”

      Generations ago, the cheder system was not that rosy either. I suppose much depended on individual resources (i.e. money paid for the Rebbe) and the caracter of the Rebbe.

      There are enough descriptions of brutal rebbes who would hit the children mercilessly, of children being bored out of their wits by sitting in class from dawn to dusk, etc…
      I think there has been a lot of progress as far as pedagogic methods, etc are concerned, also thanks to the development of didactics in the non-jewish world. I think the chedarim that are most problematic today are those which oppose this kind of progress and insist that “we got klepp, so why shouldn’t our children also…”

    18. This article is a big breakthrough for our community. Thank you VIN, and Yasher Koach to Maran Harav Steinman, Shlita.

      As one person lamented above, it is a sad commentary on our generation that such simple and basic aspects of our religion and our Torah need to be pointed out to us as “news”. It reminds me that when the Rov was here, Hamodia reported that he said publicly at a meeting of “top mechanchim” that under no circumstances should a child be humiliated. A top “mechanech” actually had the gall to ask “but what about if the child does something really bad?” The Rov, of course, said, still not.

      Unfortunately, even in my field of mental health professionals, the line between what is healthy for children’s spiritual and emotional development and what we must do for the sake of “community tradition” becomes blurred all too often. On the Nefesh listserve for frum mental health professionals, there was a recent discussion of what to do with a little boy who was being hit by his rebby and was getting emotionally disturbed by it, and there was a debate about how much sensitivity needs to be placed on the cultural values of the schools that promote corporal punishment. This despite the fact that it is a form of child abuse, is illegal in the State of New York, has been shown to do great damage to children, and has been outlawed by the vast majority of Rabbanim and Gedolim.

      My chaver and colleague Dr. Jeffrey Singer, Ph.D. opined that if petch was the way to teach then the Mishna should have said “Moshe received the Torah from Sinai, smacked it into Yehoshuah, who gave a “frask in panim” to the Zkeinim who patched the Neviim, who beat up the Anshei Knesses Hagdolah.”

      As for the comparison above between physical, emotional and sexual abuse, my chaver Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz has repeatedly written very astutely, that an environment that allows children to suffer because they are smaller and more vulnerable, is one that is conducive for molesters to seek out their prey. On the other hand, in a place where children are given respect like human beings, and the rule of Hillel “What you don’t like, don’t do to others” is applied, is more likely to scare molesters away.

      For more information on this or any topic regarding child abuse, please contact me at


      • I am not disagreeing with you but I would like to understand your viewpoint on a couple of issues.

        How do you understand chosech shivto sonei beno? How would this be applied if at all?

        How do you understand zerok mara betalmidim? How would this be applied?

        • Good questions. People on the listserve discussed similar issues.

          When Shlomo Hamelech said “Spare the rod, spoil the child,” (Chosech shivto, soneh b’no) many interpreters explain this to be figuratively speaking hitting, and not literally. It means that children require discipline. Dovid Hamelech felt later in life that he has spoiled his children and this led to rebellion. Shlomo is saying not to make the mistake that discipline itself and even sometimes “tough love” will hurt the child, but rather the opposite is true.

          Then there are some ba’alei mussar who believe that there was a historical time when due to different culture actual hitting did not traumatize children the way it does in our time.

          As for Zrok Morah B’talmidim, I’m not so familiar with this statement, but I would say that first of all what is Mora? When it comes to hilchos Kibud Av V’aem it refers NOT to fear of petch. It refers to the awe that one treats one parents with by not sitting in their seat, not calling them by name and not disputing what they say. The statement most likely is telling the teacher not to allow chutzpah. But to make kids afraid????? It simply is not conducive to a healthy learning environment.

          Rabbi Dr. A.J. Twersky tells the story, that I will not do justice to, of how his father disciplined him. I’ve heard it several times but each time it moves me because of the power of loving discipline that we can all learn from. He had been playing chess on Shabbos, as a child, which is not chillul Shabbos, chas v’shalom but not the best way in their family to spend time. His father summoned him, and when he came into the room his father looked up from his sefer and asked if he had been playing chess. The son confessed as he saw the look of pain and disappointment in his father’s eyes and was ashamed and guilt ridden and resolved never to do that again. His father shook his head gently and went back to learning. As the son turned to leave, crestfallen, his father calls after him….”Nu, did you checkmate him, at least?”

          Like others have said, both parents and teachers need to learn well the sugyas of bein adam lchaveiro to instill proper yiras shamayim and mentchlikeit in our children. Never has the saying of Derech Eretz Kadma Latorah been so sorely obvious to a society then it is today.

          • Rosh HaShanah, not Shabbos.

            He also wrote, I believe, that his father never told him he was bad for doing a bad thing. He would tell him es past nisht, it is unbecoming for a person like you.

    19. It is certainly time for such commonsense approaches as that fostered by this Gadol.

      In the United States, in most jurisdictions it would be child abuse for a teacher to administer corporal punishment to a student, which must be reported by ‘mandated reporters’ such as physicians, psychologists, social workers, etc.

      In American society, hitting a student is poch nisht.

      The harm caused by emotional and other forms of abuse can be long-lasting. I know of only one person who overcame this–he decided davka not to let the humiliation get to him, and he himself entered the field of education, got a doctorate in education from Columbia University, and today is a leading educational authority. The great majority of students subjected to onaas devarim on a steady basis become estranged over time and are turned off to Torah learning and in many cases to a Torah lifestyle.

      Education is a profession. One would not hire someone with no practical skill or knowledge to be a plumber, let alone a doctor–yet, year after year, our yeshivas hire persons who have little or no training in how to educate.

      Someone who knows ‘how to learn’ but does not know how to teach will have a tough time in a class of 25. In a class of 40, things will be immeasurably worse.
      Pedagogy is not something picked up by osmosis. Learning how to teach takes time and effort. Learning how to motivate students, handle classrooms, dole out appropriate rewards and reinforcements, etc will provide the would-be mechanech (educator) with many tools.

      Like any other field, the field of education is a discipline requiring training, with studies that show what works, what doesn’t, etc.

      I hope many will heed the holy words of this Gadol.

    20. Shkoach, we’re now only fifty years behind the times. I don’t know about this though, I hope he doesn’t get slack for being too modernish.

    21. how did the topic become about molestation??????the truth is that the rebbeim of today do there jobs and get paid bopkes for it!!!!!some come to work with their money stress among other stresses and who gets it?????our children!!!!the schools have to sart looking a lot better into whom they hire and start treating them and paying them like they have the most important job in the world!!!!being mechanech our preceous children!!!!!

    22. i dont know about all the yeshivos but the ones my children go to and some that ive heard of are built on corruption and politics!!!principals and rebbis are hired not because they know wjhat the heck they’re doing!!!!they are hired for political reasons!!!some hit, insult and harass children and nothing can be done about it!!!if a child gets physically abused in yeshiva and the parents complain the child is hated and targeted even more sometimes!and if g-d forbid one reports abuse to a higher authority the family is black listed in almost every yeshiva and noones gona take theat child in cuz they dont wana get involved with parents like that that cause problems…….so what is onr to do??????

      • what is one to do? you stand as the only person to protect an innocent child – your precious child – and that’s your question? the sad fact is that you represent multitudes who have the same attitude. oy, v’avoy, shreit gevald!!

        What we have to collectively do is insist that this stop now, that every rebbe and teacher in every class be trained, certified and managed/overseen to follow the hanhaga of what is now daas torah and to treat children with respect.

        that’s what we have to do!

        in reply to #36 and to everyone like him/her, if you stand by and allow abuse to go on, you share culpability. lo samod al da’am raiecha!

        • Perhaps one of the major frum organizations can appoint one person as a go-to person to handle complaints fromparents who are being abused by the system as punishment for complaining about someone in The Establishment.

          Maybe there is a rosh yeshiva’s son in law out there who needs a job.

          • There is an organization that can and will help people who have complaints of abuse against their child in a school. It is called the Jewish Board of Advocacy for Children. We have psychologists, lawyers, rabbis and teachers who work together to help parents advocate for their rights. Our organization was started by people who “met” on We also lobby the NYS legilature for laws protecting children’s safety in yeshivas such as mandatory fingerprinting and background checks for all employees, mandatory reporting of child abuse, mandatory safety protocols that are written and given to each parent, and mandatory disciplining and firing of employees that harm children.

            Furthermore, we are encouraging schools to take on these practices voluntarily, but we are “mispalel l’shlom hamdina” because without the government unfortunately, “eesh as chaverio chaim bla’o”. People would swallow each other alive, which figuratively describes what is happening to many of the children in our society.

            Please visit our website at, and contact us there.


    23. the only problem with giving classes for rabonim and principals every year is that the ones that dont need it are the ones that show up and learn from it!!!and the bastards that are “teaching” our children “know it all already” why would they go or listen to any thing like that?????

      • That is why we not only need more of such training programs, but that yeshivos make completion of such training mandatory to be eligible for a teaching job.

      • That’s the point – the yeshivah ought to make it a requirement ! It’s a must!!! The yeshiva are responsible that their rabeim know how to be mechanaich. Doesn’t that make sense?? Pressure should be put on the schools to make sure their teachers attend!! Don’t attend don’t show up to teach!!!

    24. It should be compulsory for each and every rebbe, or teacher, male and female, to take and pass a course on how to deal respectfully and kindly with students, while still teaching them what they need to know.

    25. I was involved in trying to get a principal removed from a well known yeshiva for manhandling and verbally abusing kids for over twenty years. The first thing the principal did was get some Rosh Yeshivas from other yeshivas involved and that was the end of the story. Its almost impossible to get rid of these rishoim because of the good ole boys fraternity that runs the yeshivas. They all stick together because they know if one gets fired that will get the ball rolling and many heads will roll. I have heard over twenty hours of testimony from different parents who have had their children abused by this principal and all the Rosh Yeshiva could do was shake his head and roll his eyes. Someone will one day have to give din vecheshbon for all the kids who went off the derech because of this principal and Rosh Yeshiva

      • Do you think if you mention the name of the Yeshiva it might help and force them to do something about it??? They will feel the need to defend themselves and maybe save some souls

        • It probably wouldn’t help.

          Hashechina medaberes mitoch gronom.

          If you argue with some of them you are argueing with the RBs’o c”v and if you disagree with them in public you are mechallel shaim shomayim berabim.

          Even ask them.

    26. Yeshivas have an obligation , that is the hanhalah, to keep their ears pasted to the doors of the classroom and listen to what’s going on and not be afraid of the rabeim. The pricipals are responsible as well.

    27. When i was in third grade and living in Israel, i had a teacher who would beat her students. That was about 1966. She would abuse the weak ones among us. The lonely, unkempt and friendless ones. She would stand us up against the blackboard, and push our chins hard, so that our head would slam against the blackboard. Then she would squeeze our cheeks tightly with her hand and push our little faces from side to side quickly. The class would look on in mute silence, afraid and yet greatful that they were not getting these terrible punishments. My crime was that I was not neat and was very quiet. I was extremely bright but did not do well in her class. I will never forget the orphans who were beaten by her as well. We had girls in our school who came from an orphanage across the way. Once again, she had found some helpless victims.
      I have wondered all these years whether I should confront her, as I know where she lives, but I know that I would get no satisfaction by speaking to this monster. I often wonder in what way my personality was shaped by her for eternity.
      I am BH living a wonderful life now, as a wife,mother, and grandmother to a beautiful family. Morah M, I will never forget you.

      • My experience in a Chinuch Atzmo’ie school in the early seventies is so similar except it was a boys school and the monster was a man. Too frum to have women teachers, even in the youngest grades. Beating and humiliating the most defensless of the innocent children was mutar though.

        Thanks for bringing back such warm memories. 🙁

        Moreh Sh., I haven’t forgotten you either, but I’m not as forgiving as the previous poster. Better daven I never have time to come looking for you.

        • I am so sorry about your experiences in school. The best way we can not let these monsters control us is to move past what happened and to realise that they were sick people, not that it was our fault at all. Don’t worry, Hashem knows. I am glad Morah M. never took the time to find me and the countless others she abused. Not a good idea not to ask for mechilla before you move on to the next world.

    28. Almost every boy who went to Yeshiva in New York in the 1970’s and 1980’s was subject to beatings, verbal abuse and public humiliation. It took thousands of Jewish kids to use drugs and go off the derech before our Rabbanim started waking up. For this great “work” Yeshiva tuitions have skyrocketted out of control. It seems that Yeshivas are a constant source of misery, whether you are a child or adult.

      • “It took thousands of Jewish kids to use drugs and go off the derech before our Rabbanim started waking up.”

        Where did you get your numbers from? Maybe it was millions.

        Also, we now know what the issue is. It is not from the rebbeim. It is from the molestors doing their sick thing on our children. Followed by the inept parents who decided to look the other way. Often times it was from a rebbe, who felt that part of his job description was to sexually abuse his talmidim. More often, though, it was the creepy uncle who had free reign because the parents did not want family politics and decided to invite him and his devilish hands over and over to the house.

        Parents need to wake up and take responsibility for their children. Don’t let the school take care of it becuase we know where that leads to.

    29. Never let formal EDUCATION get in the way of your learning – Mark Twain

      I am beginning to suspect all elaborate and special systems of EDUCATION. They seem to me to be built up on the supposition that every child is a kind of idiot who must be taught to think. – Anne Sullivan

      The principal will have to hit him, my hand hurts – My Teacher


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