The Tolner Rebbe On Chinuch: If A Child Dislikes His Learning, Somebody Failed

VIDEO: (Also on Vimeo) (REPOSTED UPON REQUEST OF MECHANCHIM) During the recent Yarchei Kallah in Eretz Yisroel, the group – led by Reb Lazer Apter Shlita – was privileged to hear a lecture from the Tolner Rebbe. The Rebbe, Reb Yitzchok Menachem Weinberg Shlita, originally from Toronto, Canada, is a much sought-after Mechanech in Eretz Yisroel.

The Rebbe spoke about various scenarios and ‘methods’ parents and teachers use in Chinuch in today’s generation, which he says are no longer applicable.

“My father hit me, so I hit my kids”, the Rebbe repeated from one parent, who now has three children off the Derech R’L. “Times have changed”, the Rebbe said.

“If a child dislikes his learning, someone has failed”.


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  1. A very interesting video and thank you for posting. While the Rebbe makes some interesting and valid points I believe he is missing the bigger issue and problem that we are facing today. It is true that there are a lot of issues that are directly the cause of mistakes in Chinuch by parents and Rabbaim, but there is a larger more fundamental issue to this problem. In the last 20 or 30 years there has been an effort to direct all of our children in one way and one way only. Any child that does not excel in Limud HaTorah is look upon as a failure. Our children are very aware of this attitude no matter how hard we try to hide it. They feel that we (the greater we … the community at large) views them as Nebech Yankel is a businessman or a plumber, or electrician. Our Mosdos and in particular in Eretz Yisrael are designed for one thing and one thing only, to create Gedolai Yisrael. This never existed in any time in our history. While it is true that this approach (that I believe was a Horaas Shah) was necessary at the time and without it we would not have the tremendous growth in Torah, it is now having the very opposite effect. The Gemorah tells us Harbei Assah K’Rabbi Shimonn Bar Yochai… and warns us that this is not the approach for everyone. Not every child will grow to be a Gadol BaTorah nor will they make Toraso Umnasso… yet they can and will still be beautiful Ovdai Hashem in the wide mosaic of a Mamleches Kohanim V’GOY Kaddosh… and entire nation, they need to feel and believe that we are “equally” proud of the child that works and sets aside a K’vius BaTorah as we are for the child in Brisk or BMG. We need to create a Chinuch system that offers the opportunities for this growth and not reject acceptance to a Yeshiva because “we only accept children of Yuggerlite” as if there is something wrong with a child that is geared for a different life. They see this, they understand the message of this rejection and this in my mind is the real cause of the problems today. There is much more to be said and I really hope you post this. Ashreinu for starting this dialogue and for the Tolner Rebbe’s thoughts… we need to expand this and look deep into our system at large and instead of digging our heels in deeper reevaluate the system at large, seek a broad array of guidance and execute… It is an Eia Laasos!

  2. my father beat me when i was young.i made a promise to myself never to do that to my children and i kept that promise no matter how angry they made me. sure i gave them a patch every once in a while,every child needs that but never hurt them physically or mentally. i B”h have married all my children and they confide in me knowing i will never tell any one including my wife.

    there is no excuse for a parent to say my father beat me thats how i was brought up.better not to have your children. i see some teenagers who are “off the derech” their parents are clueless how to deal with them. sometimes i go over to them and just shmooze.these children are crying out but no one listens.

    we have some Rabonnin here in Lakewood who deal with these children in a unconventional way. needless to say they are criticized. when i hear that i ask myself dont you want the children to succeed?

    there is so much to say on this subject

  3. All the posts here are touching and thought-provoking.

    Interacting with children should take as much thought and effort as when ones does a mitzvah.

    I know it is not easy, but I believe we can all up the ante and put more thought into how we come across to children and how we interact with them.

  4. This is one of the most incredible speeches I have listened too in my life !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    WOW !!!!!

    Can we get this to pinned!!!!!

    If we can make every parent and every Rebbi and every principle listen to it once a week.
    It would change our world.

  5. I wish he was my first grade rebbe, and my 2nd grade rebbe, and 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th grade rebbe. I was one of those boys who have gone off the derech. I went to a prominent yeshivah in brooklyn. From the very first day, I was made to not love learning. When my first grade rebbe started teaching us bereyshis and translated everything in yiddish, I asked him what “berayshis , in unfong” meant. He told me to stop asking narish questions and that he would not translate the heligah torah into english. This continued through high school. My sincere questions about everything I learned were not answered and I was told to stop being an “apikoris” simply for saying “this does not make sense.

    The damage is done, and I dont forsee every going back on the derech.

  6. Yes, I also love comment number 1. He is right on target. As a shadchan, I can tell you there are many frum young ladies today who will be happy to marry your son even if he is not going to learn in Kollel after marriage. As long as he is machshiv Torah and finds time for learning on a daily basis, she will be more than happy if he is going to support the family by working. So don’t hesitate if you have a son who will be more comfortable with this kind of plan. He will get married to a fine bas Yisroel, be”H.

  7. He is an amazing Rebbe, (your hearing this from a misnagad.) Just amazing!! He is an extreamly open-mind and a realeistic practical person.

  8. In response to “wow” #7 Thanks for posting and sharing with us. I can almost feel your pain from your post. I must say you have tremendous strengths to be able to come out here and tell us your story. I hope one day you will join those helping others to get back on the derech, I know you’d be excellent at it! Experiences we have in our lives are never for nothing!!

  9. The entire education system in the world is messed up. It used to be that kids were working already at 13 years old on the farm. Which 16 year old boy can sit in class all day. We are taking boys who should be driving horses and tractors, and forcing them to sit in class from morning till night. This is insane. No wonder kids are going off the derech. And don’t think this is only in the frum world. Kids are going off the derech all over the place. Look at the public schools with their drugs and crime issues. In the good old days these kids would be working at this age. But today they have to sit in class all day and that leads to all kinds of ADD and ADHD and drugs and knives.

    The entire world became one huge “system”. And this system isn’t working.

  10. This Rebbe changed my life several yrs ago & bh the life of my family. If u want to hear him weekly go to
    Becoming a gr8 parent takes work, if u listen weekly & implement his mehalech, it will improve your chances of raising better children

  11. unfortunately what #2 says is true. i have a son who is just not cut out for learning. He’s not stupid, he know the whole world looks down on him. If we would only be accepting of these boys who have it so hard. Why can’t they go out to work at 15-16 and be successful? Our son is such a talented boy with beautiful middos but he sees himself as a failure because he is not accepted by society. No matter what we, his parents say to encourage him, he feels like a nobody. Why are we trying to pressure our kids so much. Every Yeshiva is trying to out do the others in terms of pressure. The more pressure and less time off the better the Yeshiva! That’s why so many boys are falling through the cracks. Anytime somebody tries to open a Yeshiva on a lower level nobody wants to send there! Lets wake up and stop ruining kids – yours and others – before it’s too late. Not every one will be a Gadol Hador. Let’s help them be plain good ehrlicha kids.

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