Letter: Mesivta Application Pain

Dear Lakewood Scoop Readers.

I want to bring up something alarming, troubling, and painful happening here in Lakewood. I knew this occurs for girls applying to High School, but I had no idea this also happens with bochrim trying to get into Mesivtas.

I have a friend with a son trying to get his son to a Mesivta; the hardship and the run around he has been getting from every Mesivta is not normal/reasonable and undoubtedly unacceptable.

Most of the MESIFTAS in Lakewood say that they are full to get you off their back, but the truth is that even if they are not full, they are just not interested in taking your bochur into their mesivta. Or you can have some that tell you straight to your face, YOUR SON IS NOT AN ALEF BOY, AND WE ARE ONLY TAKING IN ALEF BOYS! THAT’S A DISGRACE ON ITS OWN.

The worst part is that this boy is a METZUYEN in YIRAS SHOMAYIM and a little less than an ALEF in learning.

What are we being taught all the time from our GEDOLIM, YIRAS SHOMAYIM is the most important thing, but for some reason, this doesn’t count in the Lakewood MOSDOS!!

One place doesn’t want to take in his son because a parent of a bochur they accepted already told them that if they take this bochur in, I am pulling my son out!! What a shame. I can’t think of anything worse than that! It doesn’t “פאס’ for that parent to send his son to a mesivta that accepted a bochur that’s alef-plus-metzyen in yiras shomayim but not alef-plus-metzuyen in learning!

As a result, this child was told to go to a certain MESIVTA where the YIRAS SHOMAYIM is not on the highest level, and the child begged his parents not to send him there because of the YIRAS SHOMAYIM.

Let me be clear, there is nothing wrong with the boys at that “certain mesivta” at all, just they are at a different level than this boy with yiras shomayim. One day when they go out to work and make money, all the Yeshivas will be running after them to honor them, not for who they are, but because they have money!!!

How many sleepless nights do these boys (and their parents) have to endure until they can be “zoche” to get into a MESIVTA??

Written in great pain,
A caring friend

[File Photo]

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  1. Yeshivas are treated like a business. Perhaps its because they stuggle financially. If so, they should not be accepting any Tzedaka.

  2. it is a hard place for the parent to be, but 2 points:
    1. why is it ok for him to reject some mesivtas, but not ok for some to reject his son?
    2. Not always is it a beneficial for a boy to be in a mesivta that is too much for him and he feels like a dunce.
    But your point of parents saying that if you take this boy, I will pull out is correct (if it’s true and if he’s not a bad influence).

  3. Yes, this is the new reality in Lakewood, anywhere else NY etc. The old way still exists. A healthy mix was good for everyone, the weaker gained, and the stronger ones can shine. As the father of many boys in some of the best places, the intensity and competition is not good. And the sincere boys end up in weak environment not just learning but with influences and pastimes that are not conducive to growth.
    The silver lining which is usually not mentioned, as a rule the weaker the yeshiva the better the rebeim, I don’t mean this in a negative way. It’s just that their geared more to the bachurim, and actually work more with them, and develop a closer kesher. The better boys don’t need as much (sometimes) and the rebbe’s are more geared to sharing their Torah with them, and that’s where it ends. I have seen this first hand on both sides.

  4. Rechnitz said this many years ago in his famous speech. U probably can listen to it someplace. I think it may have been on the scoop. He was ready to try to fix the broken system. However the powers to be were not interested. Hopefully someone, someplace, sometime will actually do something. This letter is a good start.

  5. The mesivta that accepted my son (after getting rejected from 3 other yeshivas) was way above his level but they saw through him and gave him a chance. I am forever grateful! He is definitely shteiging in every area bh bh! You really just never know what an influence the learning will do to an average boy!!!! Give these boys a chance!!!!!

  6. As of once heard from a Rov. All those that have yeshiva’s and give the parents the run around should remember that there will be a day that they will want to get into גן עדן…….

  7. Why do you bashmutz the girls high school ? There are 10 Mesivtas for every 1 girls high schools. The older schools have between 40 and 50 girls in a class and have no room . Every girls high school is half full of siblings that are very weak academically ,so no school only has aleph academically girls and no schools claim they have that . The reason why there are girls without schools is that the parents don’t want gto send to some newer schools that have plenty of place. Even this year there are several schools with plenty of space but most parents want something else.

    So it’s not at all like the mesivtas that you describe

  8. I know good aleph boys who ate bais in learning who got into the top mesivtas and are struggling and nit happy. So its not so simple. There are many yungeleit that would love to open mesivtas for very good bochrim who are bais in learning but the parents won’t send because they try to force their boys into the real aleph learning mesivtas . If there was a real demand by parents for the type of mesivta you want , then there would be dozens of yungeleit willing to make it .

    • I personally know people who had really good bochurim who were alef minus or beis in learning and struggled to find a yeshiva for them. Anyone who is in chinuch who is not afraid to open a mesivta that is not for alef bochurim, please go ahead with it. You will be surprised at how many applicants you’ll have. It’s not fair to put a good bochur, who isn’t a metzyan in learning, in a mesivta that is above his learning level or in a mesivta where the bochurim may not be a good influence on him.

      • Very true. A real mechanech knows that there’s no chiddush in working with aleph. When you work with bachurim at any lower level, you grow as a mechanech and as a person.

  9. I don’t feel its right just because you had a bad situation doesn’t mean this is normal. Most places have well over 150 application and they must decide who will do the best in their place they are not out to get you. Just thank Hashem that they were accepted in the first place.

  10. The letter writer is clearly young and inexperienced. Putting a non-alef boy in an Alef Mesivta is NOT a good idea.
    The shiur and his peers will be WAY beyond his comprehension.
    Let him go to a solid Baiz mesivta where the staff and his peers will cater to him and build him up.

  11. After my son who is a real metzuyen in every respect was rejected because he was “alef alef” and not “alef alef alef”, I later told the rejector (who is a dear friend), that hundreds of innocent children will be destroyed every year because of the process where the only criteria is how fast they process the chakira that the bochen gives them…..processing speed – not yiras shomayim. I ended by saying someone is going to get punished for this after 120, he can decide who…..

  12. Over 30 years ago, I had the privilege of being farhered by two Gedolei Hador, R’ Elya Svei zatzal and yblch’t R’ Shmuel Kaminetzky shlita. I did not know nearly what today’s eighth graders are expected to know, but I was accepted. Gedolim decided where bachurim belong, and knew how to discern beyond academics. Today, what are the qualifications of those opening mesivtos? Do they have shimush from gedolim on who to accept and reject? Or is it all about the glory of having the ‘top’ and not about building neshamos?

    Also, with all the yeshivos in Lakewood today for Alef-Alef, or Alef-Alef-Alef boys (not to be confused with haddasim), are we putting out better products than in the old days when the pool in any given yeshiva was much wider? I don’t see it….

  13. Can everyone stop calling boys “Aleph”? What a terrible label. Is the kid an Esrog who people aren’t willing to look at if it he isn’t perfect?

  14. As someone who is knoweledgable with some Aleph Aleph Mesivtas i will share with you the other side of the picture.
    The so many Mesivtas that open each year in Lakewood has caused such a unhealthy competition that its become a a Herculean effort just to put together a full class.(EVEN FOR ALEPH ALEPH MESIVTAS of course if you ask them they will deny it because that would hurt the brand)
    This plus our ego culture of PARENTS WHO ONLY WANT TO SEND THEIR TZADIK TO THE BEST YESHIVA results that many Rosh Yeshivas of Aleph aleph Mesivtas whom would love 1- to accept all types of Bochurim “like it used be” but the facts are that then Bochurim that do have options dont want to come to them and then most importantly even the Bochurim who dont have so many options DONT WANT TO COME to them 2- They would love to be more flexible with the Limudim in Kamus and in Eichus but with this extreme competition thats impossible which is why if one mesivta learns the whole Mesechta very soon all copy and if one mesivta learns a certain level of Iyun all will follow

    (you can verify this by (1) check the size of the classes – they are going down in size
    (2) checking how the old established Mesivtas resort to filling up their classes with Ch… boys take S.. Yeshiva they took 12 boys from T.T B.A this year when usually they barely took 1 or 2 (3) Check how most Mesivtas learn the same amounts and levels .)

    The problem is once even 1 Mesivta opens with a noise that they are only taking the “In” bochurim this sets the trend and all the Mesivtas have “NO CHOICE” but to follow this can only change if we would go back to the time where yeshivas were only opened by Mesirus Nefesh people however with the Ribiu of Benei Torah some of the Mesivtas are opened by Chosuv and well meaning Yungerliet (very often sons or sons in laws of very wealthy families after all who can afford the millions it cost to run mesivtas and support ones own family take a poll and you will find that most mesivtas fall into that category) Or if we could change our culture and PARENTS wouldnt have to send to the Yeshiva that only accepts the best Bochurim but until either of this changes i am afraid its only going to get worse
    Lets hope Moshiach will come speedly

  15. I agree about the fact that there is no serious focus on yiras shomayim or middos or even HASMADA in the “alef” mesivtas. Only kishron matters and that’s it.

    My son whose a pretty smart boy, major masmid, plus exceptional middos, but just not “alef alef” in learning, told me, that at the farher he felt like they were only trying to feel out his “kishron”

    Not such a healthy thing for that to be the hyperfocus.
    Yes you want them to be up to par, but why cant we have a healthy balance and take some similar boys like that too.

  16. I had the same struggles when I was in Bais medrash years, no one would want to learn with me because they thought I was a bais. I have tremendous resentment to the litvoks because of this. I became chassidish and felt more accepted in society and now I am much better off.

  17. There are so many out-of-town Mesivtas that are excellent. They don’t fill up as quickly as in-town places. Do your research and apply to some.


  18. When I was trying to get into to Mestiva. The Yeshivas played the same run around. The first day of the zman I still had no place to go. My father took me to one of the Yeshivas that I took a farher and told them I needed a desk and so was it. My father was is not an influential person at all. But he’s son needed to be in Yeshiva. The Yeshiva I went to was definitely not the right match and I lost in my Yires Hashem and never got a true mestiva learning experience. It bothered me very much and it effected my ability to be upto par in any yeshiva I attended (bm/kollel). There is two lessons I learned from experience one is Hashem runs the world and the Mestiva was the best and only place for me to be. Second the challenges that I went through actually prepared me for the challenges we all face everyday.
    To every bochor and parent this is very hard to accept. There is only one that is charge, Hashem! Do your hastadlus for the fahers and submitted application. But don’t over do it because Hashem knows where you need to be. Where ever it is you gotta put your best effort and know Hashem is with you. Once you do that know even if you fall Hashem is with you then too and you can see that he actually placed you there.

  19. The number of applications means absolutely nothing. If you open a yeshiva it’s to teach, not to be a rosh yeshiva. If you can’t or don’t want to teach, get a job outside of chinuch. The saying in the nyc public school system is: if you can’t, (can’t do anything with your life), become a teacher. Chinuch is about nothing more than teaching and teaching only.

  20. Its painful to see all the naiveity “the mesivta saw my sons potential” No! the Mesivta made a ceshbon for themselves that accepting your son will fill up their class and be a net gain to their Yeshiva
    “The Mesivta had 150 appilcants” probably a complete fabrication not more then 2 or 3 Mesivtas in Lakewood get that and even if it would be true the same wanted boys are applying and being courted by 5 other Yeshivas .I remember Rabbi K was touting that he had 150 applicants i asked him then why did he end up with 23 Bochurim (which causes Chavrusa problems) couldnt he at least have taken a even number of Bochurim
    When a Mesivta says they are registration is closed it means they have filled up half their quota they are all trying to create a demand that isnt really there and that is the single reason why they are so afraid to take a Bochur that might might affect their hypothetical brand
    Every new Yeshiva takes out from the available bochurim Staff members children , family and friends.
    A Godal paskened for the Lakewood Vaad that no girl school should open untill each girl in Lakewood is placed and no Mesivta should open until each Mesivta has at least 10 Bochurim

  21. And this brings me to another point thats important to spread the to all Toshovei Lakewood when a Mesivta tells you they need a answer by tomorrow because if not that they cant hold your place be aware that 99% of the time its a absolute lie – Its exactly the opposite it means they cant fill up the class and they are scaring parents to force them to choose their Mesivta
    A Vaad should be set up to fight this unethical behaviour every parent should have the choice to reply in a timely manner to take his son to farher in the yeshivas of his choice
    Because of the 1- Unhealthy amount of Yeshivas 2- Chosuve yungerliet but not gedolim running the Mosdos these tactics have become the norm

  22. @ What an ayin Tova

    The letter writer did not say that he is just applying to Alef Mesivtas; he just said that no Yeshiva wants to take his son in.

    From knowing a little about what’s going on, every Yeshiva, even if they are not an Alef Mesiftah, only wants to accept only Alef boys, or else it will hurt their name.

  23. I went to a hardware store to sell them a pallet of Mussar Seforim. They were not interested in it, claiming that they couldn’t sell them.

    How dare they?! Isn’t YIRAS SHAMAYIM the most important thing?

    That is the logic level of this letter.

  24. I’ve taught 8th grade english for 5 years, only once did I see a boy not get into Mesivtha right away and it was the parents fault. They thought he was a genius and he was nothing close to that. He applied to all the wrong Mesivthas and needless to say he did not get in.
    The pressure these 8th graders go through by farher season is torture, but let me tell you this, the Menahalim and Rabbeim are much more stressed than the boys as ultimately they take the responsibility to get every boy in to Mesivtha. I don’t think this letter is accurate and I don’t think it is appropriate to attack the system, Menahalim and Rabbeim this way.

  25. Rabbi Dovid Finkelman is opening a new Mesivta in Lakewood this coming year to address this exact problem, he is looking for boys with middos, not neccesarily Kishron, maybe reach out to him.

  26. This is precisely the problem – Rabbi F from your post and the likes are causing the problem not fixing it !! every year at a minimum 3 to 4 new mesivtas open in Lakewood assuming even if every Mesivta would only take 24 bochurim are there 80 to 100 new additional Bochurim entering the the Mesivtas of course not . This is the only and single cause of the Mesivta crisis

    As i wrote previously its the Hyper competition plus that most mesivtas are run by good well meaning yungerliet but not the Gedolim from the past (Most are either sons or sons in laws of wealthy families !!) which caused the Mesivta issue

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