Never in Jewish history did we experience a renaissance in Torah learning such as we are witnessing today. The multitudes of yeshivos and the bnei Torah that they are producing are the troops upon which ha’olam omed, the world stands. We tend at times to take it for granted as, baruch Hashem, this has become the norm and expectation for so many of our families.
Many times, it’s when the teenager veers from this path that we afford him attention and express our concern and caring. True, this too should be done; however, we cannot forget about all the bachurim that continue to learn and grow within our yeshivos and who are standing up against the societal influences that seek to undermine the very foundation of our sacred mesorah. We, as their family and community, have to give them the attention and chizuk they truly deserve.
As a therapist, I often counsel teenagers who are on a journey towards finding their new selves.
There was one such teenage boy who was a typical ben yeshivah and was now in this process of self-discovery. His dress and attitude began to change dramatically. This elicited a sudden and overwhelming amount of recognition and attention from the community around him. This is something that he never experienced before. When I asked him how he felt about his new transformation, he responded, “Great, people are finally realizing that I exist!”
This is very telling and relevant. Although there are many variables why many teenagers struggle with their identity on different levels, low self-worth may very well be a factor in why some of our bnei yeshivah feel a need to explore other avenues. By giving our bachurim the proper encouragement and recognition, we can give them a sense of confidence and pride in who they really are.
Let us afford these young men the recognition they truly deserve and seek opportunities to celebrate their talents. It can be in the form of simply expressing genuine concern for them. It can be in giving bachurim opportunities to speak before their shul, as some wonderful communities do today. It may also be in the form of chessed opportunities in which they feel their talents and resources are appreciated. In this way we recognize their outstanding accomplishments as bnei yeshivah. This will only encourage them to further what they are already doing and to develop into proud bnei Torah.
While living in Eretz Yisrael, I had the zechus of hearing words of chizuk from the venerable Rosh Yeshivah, Harav Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg, zt”l. Harav Scheinberg told us that the bnei Torah of today are to be considered the “princes of our generation.” After I heard that, I developed a renewed appreciation of who bnei Torah really are and how they ought to be looked upon.
As Yom Tov approaches, let us welcome back our pride and joy — the “princes of our generation.”