What do Rav Avrohom Ausband, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva of Telshe Alumni in Riverdale, Rav Elya Meir Sorotzkin, rosh yeshiva of the Yeshiva Gedolah of North Plainfield (Springfield), and Rav Elya Chaim Swerdloff, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Gedolah of Paterson, NJ, have in common?
They all have successful yeshivos, they are all tremendous talmidei chachomim, and they are all sons-in-law and (except for Rav Swerdloff) sons of roshei yeshiva.
[Note: Rav Ausband is a son of Rav Eizik Ausband, rosh yeshiva in Telshe Cleveland and son-in-law of Rav Binyamin Zeilberger, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Bais Hatalmud. Rav Sorotzkin is a son of Rav Boruch Sorotzkin, rosh yeshiva of Telshe Cleveland and a son-in-law of Rav Shmuel Berenbaum, rosh yeshiva of the Mirrer Yeshiva. Rav Swerdloff is a son of Reb Moish Swerd0lff zt"l (an adam choshuv in his own right) and son-in-law of Rav Gershon Weisenfeld, rosh yeshiva in Bais Hatalmud.]
Most people in their situation would have just waited for an opportunity to fall into their lap. After all, with such yichus, the world “owes them” a royal shteler, complete with a frock and mizrach vant.
However, they did otherwise. They abandoned their “comfortable” positions where they were, and left to start themselves off, on their own, in unfamiliar territory, with absolutely no guarantee of success.
Why did they do this? Looking back now, it was a pretty smart move, but at the time it was considered perhaps foolish and risky.
The answer is simple, yet not understood by many. In order to be successful, one has to be able to operate on his own terms. You cannot be a person of significance in the shadow of others, bound to their rules and guidelines.
They all saw the future ahead of them. They were scared to sit still and do nothing, because that meant being restricted in what they could say, how they could learn, which talmidim they could take, etc.
And they knew that their potential could not be reached under other people’s rules. They knew themselves, and realized early on that their ultimate success depended on them getting out and starting fresh.
Everyone has within themselves the potential to do something well. Don’t stifle it by restricting yourself to other people’s rules. Get out on your own, and bring out the best things that you can only do when its on your own terms.