A Unique Opportunity for a Kiddush Hashem
By Rabbi Y Reuven Rubin
Rosh Mosdos Ohr Shlomoh Manchester England
The mechanech was at his wit’s end. He had tried everything including the newest pedagogical techniques that he had learnt at a recent course. He just could not get this child to listen, and things didn't seem to be getting any easier. The boy seemed to be fine otherwise. His family was baaleibatish, yet nothing seemed to be able to motivate him. He didn't bother anyone; he just sat there, sometimes looking out the window with a far off gaze. The mechanech felt frustrated; if he didn't know any better he would have thought the boy had a personal axe to grind.
Our mechanech had a connection with a Tzaddik and when he visited his Rebbe he wrote in his kvittel about the problem with this boy. The Rebbe looked up to his chossid with warm sweet eyes and asked simply, “Have you davened for this talmid?” What a stunningly beautiful thought! Have you davened for this child? Does his pain enter your inner landscape? Is this child important enough for your sincere prayers?
Hearing this episode brought tears to my eyes. In the world of education we are often so obsessed with ticking all the boxes, achieving the right marks in tests, approximating preordained levels that we forget who we are teaching. Nothing brings us closer to our students than when we see their difficulties and tribulations as those of Yiddishe neshomas with whose care we have been entrusted. Who wouldn't daven for a loved one? What greater tool could any Torah Yied have?
In Parshas Shemini we come across an extremely deep lesson. “Moshe and Aaron came” (9:23). This “coming” refers to a specific prayer that Moshe and Aaron offered upon the completion of the Mishkan. Rashi explains that when construction of the Mishkan was finished and all the sacrifices had been brought, the Divine Presence still did not descend upon the Bnei Yisroel. Aaron was extremely distressed, because he took it as a rebuke for his participation during the episode of the Golden Calf. At that point, Moshe came and davened for Hashem’s mercy. It was first then that the Shechina descended.
Perhaps this is meant to show us that even after every detail of a set of instructions has been fulfilled, all the boxes ticked, still, it takes a tefillah to actualize the bringing down of the presence of Hashem.
We all are extremely aware of the challenges our young face, and we have all seen our mechanchim trying their utmost to advance their understanding of their students. But, as the Rebbe asked, have we davened for our students? Have we stood with a Sefer Tehillim in hand and beseeched Hashem for Divine help?
I would like to make a proposal. I do so with trepidation because I am fully aware that others may wonder about where this originates. However, sometimes you just have an intuition about something and you want to share it. What happens subsequently is in Hashem’s Hands.
My proposal is simple: once a year, at a date to be determined, every rebbe, mechanech, menahel, Rosh Yeshiva, Beis Yaakov teacher, indeed everyone who has our children's neshomas in their hands, should come together and daven for their students. This will be at one central location, embracing all mosdos.
Each participant will come with a list of their students’ names and after we all say a few chapters of Tehillim, each participant will quietly go through their list. The order of this event can be fine- tuned. I only want to offer the template.
Now, step back for a moment and just imagine the impact such an event could have. Children would see how their teachers care about them. Parents would witness the deep devotion that their rebbes have for their charges. Just the thought of hundreds, perhaps more, of our mechanchim coming with their lists, asking Hashem for help, beseeching that they succeed with the next generation of hielige neshomas, is awesome.
The children would feel a sense of connection, as would the teachers. Mechanchim from all mosdos would be in one place davening for their students.
This would be a Kiddush Hashem without any politics or factions. It’s just a case of Torah teachers offering their personal tefillos. Above and beyond all the rules and guidelines, they are coming simply as Yieden, asking for help in the most vital challenge of our times. My heart whispers to me that this would create kovod Shomayim, and I sense that our combined tefillos for our kinderlach would rip open the Gates of Shomayim.
I repeat, I am but a minor player in this huge field, and forgive me for my impertinence, but none is intended. I only bring this proposal because in a turbulent sea, any lifeboat is worthy of support.
I hope readers will take this matter to heart, and if it strikes a chord there, please let’s do something about it soon.
Our children need our tefillos, and we need to be offering them now.
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