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Goodbye to your Boy

Riki Goldstein

His bags are packed, the ticket in hand, and your anxiety is through the roof. Will he find his dirah okay? Will he get a good chavrusa? Long after a beis medrash bochur arrives at his faraway yeshivah, parents may continue to worry, wondering is he finding success — or trouble. Experienced parents and rebbeim offer invaluable advice for parents on how to continue nurturing their ben Torah from afar.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

In every generation, Jewish mothers continue to send their sons to centers of Torah far from home, fulfilling the mandate from Shlomo Hamelech in Mishlei, “Chanoch l’naar al pi darko” — educate each child on the path that is right for him. The dividends are huge, but the risks and challenges have grown too. For many young men, the hardest time is those first few weeks in a new place. Yocheved remembers when her sons first arrived to learn in Eretz Yisrael. They had lived there when they were younger so it wasn’t entirely foreign, but even so, they felt overwhelmed. “Until they got their bearings, figured out where to go for Shabbos, sorted out chavrusas and dirahs, they felt very green.” Advance preparation, along with some creature comforts, can make all the difference. Yocheved advises mothers to find their sons somewhere to stay that first week if possible. “And if you live somewhere where you can invite bochurim for their first Shabbos in yeshivah, that is the biggest mitzvah. They have no idea where to go if no siblings or relatives live nearby. I’ve seen big, macho boys in tears that first Shabbos.” Rabbi Kalman Rosenbaum, menahel at Yeshivas Aderes Hatorah (Rav Senter’s yeshivah) in Yerushalayim, offers a way to ease your son’s orientation before he even sets foot in the new place. “Whichever beis medrash he’s going to, it is worthwhile having someone who has been there tell him the score before he comes. He’ll be aware of the expectations and potential pitfalls and feel more confident.”

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